"To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" -- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Perfume Donations: Over the Thanksgiving holiday my family took a trip to Glen Rose, Tx, where we camped at Dinosaur Valley State Park and took a drive through Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

An interesting side note to the trip: The male ocelot pictured to the right lives in a pen near the Fossil Rim visitors center. Texas ocelots are endangered--maybe 100 or so live in the wild. So he's a special guy.

Like many animals this ocelot likes to disguise his scent. And his keepers have discovered that he considers animal pelts doused with old perfume and cologne to be perfect for the job. The keepers apply the perfume or cologne to a pelt, leave it in his pen, and he rubs against it until he feels his scent is adequately "disguised."

Perfume doesn't grow on trees. We were told by a Fossil Rim employee that old perfume and cologne donations are gladly accepted.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Beach Boys Re-Mix: If you've read my bio page, then you know I work in radio. I'm a Broadcast Journalist by degree, but I do thoroughly enjoy the music side of the radio industry. Recently I decided I'd try to take an a cappella version of the Beach Boys hit "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and mix it with the original single version. Of the many a cappella tracks available on various Beach Boys boxed sets and special releases, I think "Wouldn't It Be Nice" offers the cleanest and most beautiful harmonies.

A friend of mine at the station, John Summers, also sat in on this project and deserves co-producer credit.

For your listening enjoyment, here's an mp3 of the result.

[ "Wouldn't It Be Nice Re-Mix" Direct Link ]

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Loss For Dallas Radio: Glenn Mitchell, the host of a general interest talk show on our local NPR affiliate, died in his sleep over the weekend. He was a local radio treasure.

I only met Glenn once--when he called me up out of the blue to see if he could come by the station and get a bit of Dallas Cowboys-related audio for his show. So I talked to him very briefly in the KLUV-FM parking lot as I handed him the tape.

But I've always been a fan of his show. I don't know how anyone could blend Public Radio with Talk Radio and do it better (and so effortlessly!).

If by some chance Glenn had originated from a New York or a Washington D.C. public radio station, I have no doubt that he'd have been given a national show.

He was one of those people who just sounded interesting. Whatever it was--his manner of speaking, the distinctiveness of his voice--if you happened upon him while channel surfing, you'd likely stay and listen.

My prayers are with his wife and family.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kinsley's New Home: I'm a huge fan of Michael Kinsley's column--especially the brand of humor it contains. But since his move to The Washington Post, I've somehow managed to miss his new mug shot. Who gave the thumbs up on that? He looks like Han Solo in carbonite. Slate, on the other hand, gets the job done right.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bernstein Defends: Not surprisingly, Carl Bernstein cautions Bob Woodward's critics.

And Woodward, by offering an apology, has wisely given Washington Post Executive Editor Leanard Downie Jr. some political wiggle room with angry Post staffers.

That was the New York Times' mistake. To appease the partisans on the staff, the Times should have given Judith Miller's legal case the sort of spin the ACLU offers when representing the KKK. Then maybe Times staffers could have set their knee-jerk emotions to the side long enough to have understood the journalistic legal precedents at stake. The broader New York journalist community continues to struggle with this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Release The Hounds: Uh, not really. But now that Bob Woodward has joined the Valerie Plame fray, it's going to be interesting to see if partisan media critics treat him, the Nixon slayer, as they have treated Judith Miller. The similarities between Miller's and Woodward's journalistic handling of their respective situations are striking:

Citing a confidentiality agreement in which the source freed Woodward to testify but would not allow him to discuss their conversations publicly, Woodward and Post editors refused to disclose the official's name or provide crucial details about the testimony. Woodward did not share the information with Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month, and the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place.

Conflicting memories. Honoring source confidentiality. An editor-reporter communications breakdown. It's Miller redux.

But it's also a lesson in how journalists do their jobs--especially journalists who cover national security beats.

Miller's Defense Continues III: Last weekend Judith Miller appeared on NPR's "On The Media" with Bob Garfield. Though Garfield's questions to Miller became a bit accusatory, Miller stood her ground. Here's the transcript; a link to a recording of the interview is available at the upper left of the page.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NYT On WMD: This morning's New York Times editorial makes some legitimate points. But like too many of the WMD opinion pieces being written this week--on both sides--what is legitimate is mixed with a liberal scattering of errors of omission. Take this excerpt:

It's hard to imagine what Mr. Bush means when he says everyone reached the same conclusion. There was indeed a widespread belief that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. But Mr. Clinton looked at the data and concluded that inspections and pressure were working - a view we now know was accurate. (my emphasis)

Really? By "pressure," is the Times referring to the embargo--a policy that was starving and killing Iraqis? And are the "working" inspections the ones that ceased to exist on Clinton's watch? Yet after the departure of U.N. inspectors from Iraq, the Clinton Administration continued to believe that Iraq did harbor existing WMD's.

Welcome to Bizarro World.

A summary: The embargo was causing starvation in certain Iraqi populations. There were no longer U.N. inspections teams in Iraq. Clinton continued to believe Saddam harbored WMD's. And the Times today is commending Clinton for retiring to the fiddle room.

It's hard to imagine a more ridiculous stance. But it's the sort of stance partisans must take if they're going to continue this charade of a debate over pre-war WMD intelligence.

The Times tries to score another partisan point here:

...Mr. Bush was working off the same intelligence Mr. Clinton had. But that is scary, not reassuring. The reports about Saddam Hussein's weapons were old, some more than 10 years old. Nothing was fresher than about five years, except reports that later proved to be fanciful.

And what is the Times getting at? Nothing that benefits reasonable observers. If intelligence was so bad--and it was--why then were we to have such faith in inspections? How could one be completely trusted and the other completely discounted--especially while Saddam played games with the inspectors? (And all the while, we were armed with the knowledge that, after the first Gulf War, we had been shocked to discover advanced WMD programs in Iraq.)

And then consider a caveat mentioned by Christopher Hitchens yesterday in Slate:

We can now certify Iraq as disarmed, even if the materials once declared by the Saddam regime and never accounted for have still not been found.

What do you do with that? Aside from the guessing games and the incomplete intelligence and the truncated inspections, we still can't account for the WMD's Saddam was willing to admit he had!

At this point, this national discussion has degraded into a tumorous lump of non sequitur illogic. There are too many faulty premises to count. My advice is to stay with Hitchens, and Sully and the Washington Post editorial board.

At least you'll have a fighting chance.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Katrina's Environmental Impact: I linked to this last week on the front page of The Coffee Shop Times. When I think of sandhill cranes, I seem to remember that they are used to reintroduce endangered whooping cranes into the wild. I had no idea that a subspecies of sandhill crane numbers around 100 individuals in the wild--less than the 300 or so wild whooping cranes. Unlike other sandhill subspecies, this particular group doesn't migrate and calls a wildlife refuge in southern Mississippi home. And then came Katrina. The human population in that area is having a tough enough time dealing with post-Katrina conditions, so the overall health of the sandhill colony is not yet known.

Miller's Defense Continues II: Judith Miller has now posted responses to Maureen Down and NY Times public editor Byron Calame on her Web site.

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