|Friday, December 3, 2004
Nevermind: Today the "most forwarded article" at the progressive site CommonDreams.org is "Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada." A sign that the Despondent Left is recovering from 11/2?
No one likes to lose. But I think this particular defeat hurt worse because of the erroneous exit polling. Armed with Wonkette's polling leaks, the liberal and Democratic half of America (it is a proper half, you know) spent the afternoon of Nov. 2 preparing for an Election Night party. Before the real votes started coming in, anchors on most major networks were light-hearted and buzzing (with the exception of Fox News, of course). Then everything flipped.
With a month having gone by, maybe the collective liberal mind-set now resembles the day after a normal election loss--one where exit polls nicely predicted the outcome, and hopes were never raised and then dashed. If that's the case, then maybe--soon?--we should look for a significant drop-off in sarcasm and hate-filled, theophobic stereotyping from the Leftward punditry. Here's hoping.
War Of The Worlds: With the discovery of methane in the Martian atmosphere, scientists must operate under the presumption that microorganisms live on Mars. Maybe they really do, maybe they don't. But, with plans for future NASA missions to retrieve soil samples from Mars and return with them to Earth, a War of the Worlds scenario must be considered.
Just as H.G. Wells accurately predicted that the tiniest of life forms would impact relationships between Earth and its neighbors in the Solar System, other science fiction writers have enjoyed similar successes. In 1865, Jules Verne wrote of a space ship, on its way to the Moon, reaching the midway point and experiencing zero gravity--while not exactly correct, very nicely anticipated. Obviously, most of science fiction's predictions don't pan out, but it's lots of fun when they do.
Thursday, December 2, 2004
A "Red State World": The night before Tom Brokaw's retirement, Bob Wright, the chairman of NBC Universal, described America as a "red state world." A ruffled Frank Rich is on the trail. Rich demands better from TV network news than pandering to a demographic--especially in a time of war; and more especially still, at a time when the rest of the world, he says, is increasingly developing a hatred for both red and blue America.
Rich stops short of explaining why network news is so interested in demographics. He doesn't mention that the corporately controlled media demand profit rather than good journalism. There was a time when the news departments at networks and TV stations were considered public services, not cash cows. No longer.
I suspect that Rich's motivation for writing this column wasn't really about bringing serious journalism back to network news; it was about his sense that the red perspective hasn't been invited to the party.
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
AM Stereo: Over the last couple of years, I've become a fan of AM Stereo. Although there's no denying that AM, even at its best, can't compare to the sound quality of FM, your first listen to an AM Stereo signal will provide you with an extremely pleasant Hi-Fi surprise--hence AM Stereo's growing base of enthusiastic fans.
AM Stereo isn't all that well-known, because, in its infancy in the early 80's, the FCC couldn't decide upon one AM Stereo broadcasting system. Radio stations were left to themselves to choose among four transmitting options. You can imagine how this impacted radio makers--they didn't know which of the four decoders to include in their units. And worse: most radio makers took a wait-and-see attitude, and never produced radios with AM Stereo.
By the time the FCC chose one AM Stereo broadcast standard (in the early 90's!), most stations had long since quit promoting their AM Stereo signals; and more importantly, most radio makers had quit making AM Stereo-capable receivers and tuners. These days, AM Stereo radios from the 80's and early 90's are quickly snatched up on eBay at premium prices--demand is high. And quite a few stations have never turned off their AM Stereo exciters.
Many car radios have AM Stereo capability, and so you may already hear it every day without realizing it. Your best chance of finding a good example of AM Stereo here in the U.S. is via Radio Disney (if your affiliate is on the AM dial, of course).
Here in Dallas, I do have an AM Stereo Disney affilliate (620 AM), as well as an Adult Standards station, 770 KAAM-AM, which broadcasts Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and other Golden Oldies (including some fun, old Christmas music this month) in clean, wide-band AM Stereo. Again, it's not FM, but it knocks the socks off AM mono. And, especially during the holiday season, it's hard to beat the comfy, nastalgic feel of music in AM Stereo. (If only I had an AM Stereo Classic Jazz offering here in North Texas...<sigh>.)
And now for a link to a true Internet gem: 580 WBDH-AM provides an audio stream straight out of an AM Stereo-capable radio (in this case, a classic Sony SRF-A100). If you've got a headphone jack on your computer, then this would be the time to don your best set of cans and hear AM Stereo for yourself--compliments of Brave Sir Blogger.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Keepers: Slate's Jack Shafer is offering an interesting shake-down of a recent William Safire column. Safire, like many conservatives (and others), is suspicious of CBS News' original intention of breaking the Al Qaqaa story on the Sunday night before Election Day. Instead of simply labeling CBS's journalism "yellow," Safire chose a term that he says journalistic insiders use for holding a story until it can do the most political damage--a keeper. Shafer had never heard of keeper stories, and bristled.
I appreciate (and enjoyed reading) Shafer's research, but it doesn't strike me as all that odd that a clutch of conservative writers may use the word "keeper," while the rest of modern day journalism does not. And, whether keeper means the same in Boise as Boston, if the allegation against CBS is true, isn't that the story here? Shafer seems dangerously close to arguing that Safire's use of the word "keeper" should discredit his charge against CBS.
Alas, a Drudge Report attribution to a 60 Minutes producer didn't quite offer Safire his smoking gun:
Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."
If only Fager had said the story "wouldn't keep."
Nuance: Pro-choice and anti-Roe v. Wade? That's Michael Kinsley for you:
Although I am pro-choice, I was taught in law school, and still believe, that Roe v. Wade is a muddle of bad reasoning and an authentic example of judicial overreaching.
Whether you agree with him or not, he doesn't tow the party line. I wish I could say as much for other columnists with similar access to prime journalistic real estate. I haven't heard a report on Kinsley's Parkinson's lately. I pray he's doing well.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Quote Of The Day: "Our daughter thinks Martin Sheen is the president and Baby Jesus is a little girl." A nut shell assessment from my wife, Valier. It's a commentary on our fam's TV viewing habits; and it speaks to the misconceptions that can spring into a two-year-old's mind after only 48-hours of exposure to her first Nativity Scene.
"Nadering" Nabobs: Before November 2, there were very few liberals who hadn't turned on Ralph Nader. According to the Democratic Party's (and the compromised Left's) talking points, Nader's candidacy was nothing more than an ego trip. It wasn't enough to argue for strategic support of Kerry, Ralph had to be slimed.
The decision to brand Nader an egotist came early in the Kerry campaign, and the ensuing fire would never lack oxygen. The nerve of Nader's former friends: saying Nader's decades-old public crusade had suddenly succombed to a demon of arrogance. Meanwhile, they flocked to John Kerry--the selfless chap who toted a home video camera to Vietnam and had buddies film reennactments of instances where he imagined himself particularly heroic, or alpha manly, or whatever. Thankfully, after allowing myself to follow a few too many links that left my pro-Nader blood boiling, I developed an ability to shrug it off.
But late in the campaign, I checked back with one of those Nadering Nabobs of Negativism. I can only assume that some liberal minds, left too long to marinate in guiltless states of Bush Hatred, were slipping into the delusional. According to David Korten, support of Nader over Gore in 2000 may have allowed 9/11 to occur:
If Gore were president, the United States would not be bogged down in a pointless and unwinnable war in Iraq; we would not have the biggest budget deficit in our history; and we would not be experiencing a massive rollback in civil liberties and in environmental, health, and worker protections. We might not even have had 9/11.
I'm betting Mr. Korten needed a deep breath after that. Frothy and lathered.
Well, the election's over, of course (and becoming more decidedly over by the day). Here's hoping cooler liberal minds will begin to prevail. And as the Left's collective grey cells return to 98.6, maybe Ralph Nader won't seem like such a bad guy after all.