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The Empire that couldn't.....(repost)


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:00:23 PM EST

Thanks to an idiot spammer leaving heavy code as multiple comments to this, which tied up my machine evry time I tried to view them to delete them, I'm reposting this entry with the one legitimate comment appended, and deleting the original post.

Originally posted Sat Mar 04, 2006:

Have you noticed the incredible deterioration of basic journalism skills? The Who, What, When, Where, & Why school of giving readers the information they need to know whether they want to read the story?

I read a NY Times story the other day--scanned is more like it--and reached the end without seeing any info that would have justified the headline. So I went back and read more slowly. There it was--in the 11th paragraph. And the point they had pulled for the headline wasn't the primary point of the story, or even the secondary point of the story. It was tied with probably 5 other points for being the tertiary point of the story.

And that was the NYT.

In Rochester, NY a few years ago there was a sudden deterioration of headline writing ability. Here in Vermont, where almost all newspapers are "small town" by definition, I've seen headlines that would have been laughed out of any journalism class in the country 30 or 40 years ago. The one example I can remember:
Flakes pile up, then vehicles across the county

I know I'm getting old, but I don't think that explains it. Things are deteriorating a lot faster than they are being fixed. A water heater that once carried a 30-year warranty might now have a 5-year warranty. You can't reach a live human being at hardly any business you call. Most businesses think they're doing you a favor by keeping you as a customer. Headline writers can't write headlines, reporters can't report, legislators can't legislate, analysts can't analyze, NASA has an accident rate that would make a car manufacturer blush in shame, and on and on.

This is the basis for an "American Empire?" Someone should tell the Project for a New American Century that we need to worry about making products that work and won't kill you, creating customer service departments that can at least define the words "customer" and "service," and keeping citizens here healthy and employed before we even start start worrying about controlling the world.

Comment from Sarah on Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 11:30:39 AM EST

Tell me about it...

Our regional rag, the Virginian Pilot, ran the AP story about the FEMA tape of the Katrina presidential briefing on the front page (The first shocker, as usually news this big and revealing would be relegated to a deep inside page) with the headline, "President Confident During Katrina Briefing". The tie to this headline was a short reference in the 12th paragraph of the article to Bush expressing confidence in the level of preparedness of the government to deal with the situation. If the headline would have been written from the lead of the story as would be proper, it should have read, "FEMA Tape Shows President Warned About Levees Before Storm".

As a former managing and copy editor this sag in journalistic competence and ethics makes me sick.

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Social Structure, Fascism, Entertainment, Blogs and....


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:27:06 AM EST

I can't help it, I keep seeing parallels between the rise of Fascism in Germany in the 1930s and what we're experiencing in America today. That's "parallels," not "an exact replica," but the parallels are strong enough to bother me.

This is all triggered by a 12-18-05 NY Times Book Review piece by Brian Ladd, reviewing the book "The Third Reich in Power," by Richard J. Evans.

(469 words in story) Full Story

Bush (flip) versus Bush (flop)


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:34:08 PM EST

Not to beat the flip flop theme to death--serious injury will do fine--but have you been keeping up with the string of Bush versus Bush statements? You know, the ones where Bush was against something before he was for it?

Recent examples follow.

(1 comment, 289 words in story) Full Story

Air Force adopts new, "sovereign" mission statement


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 07:31:25 AM EST

So not only has the Army changed advertising firms for its annual quarter of a billion dollar ad budget, but the Air Force suddenly felt the need to update its mission statement.

Both the timing and the content of the new mission statement trouble me.

(271 words in story) Full Story

Disingenuous is as Joe Pitts does


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 04:40:41 PM EST

Congressman Joe Pitts (R, Pa) has never really been known as an intellectual. And since he broke his promise to abide by the term limits in the old Gingrich Contract with America, even the Republicans don't think too much of his honesty.

Add me to the list of people who feel that way. Here's the honorable Mr. Pitts on the venerable Town Hall web site:

"It is also important to understand why these brutal killers have chosen to make Iraq the central front in the war on terror. Having lost their base of operations in Afghanistan due to the exemplary success of coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom, the terrorists are now seeking to find safe harbor elsewhere."

(279 words in story) Full Story

The insidious Declaration of Independence


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:27:37 AM EST

I was going to post this as a comment to a diary entry from Number 6, but that entry seems to have disappeared.

Just wanted to point out 2 things about our Declaration of Independence:

  1. It specifically says "That to secure these rights [life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." Notice that it doesn't say that government is derived from GOD.

  2. There was an experiment years ago in which some people had the Declaration of Independence typed up on ordinary paper. They took it to a supermarket parking lot as if it were a petition, and randomly asked people to sign it. Almost all refused, and many got very angry at these commie/revolutionary ideas.

(2 comments) Comments >>

What's old is new again..and again..and again


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 09:30:22 AM EST

Take a guess: what and who do you think the sources are for these (scroll down for the answers):

  1. "When 30 million are for something and 30 million are against it, things balance out and nothing happens. That is how things are with us. We are the world's Pariah not because we do not have the courage to resist, but rather because out entire national energy is wasted in eternal and unproductive squabbling between the right and the left. Our way only goes downward, and today one can already predict when we will fall into the abyss."

  2. "We may at times during the gray preceding months have looked at the situation with a grim expression, but we never resigned ourselves to the blows of fate. The opposite....Quietly and without a lot of excitement, great things have been accomplished. The enemy's campaign of nerves is having no effect on us."

"Our dead have left obligations for us, and we the living are under obligation to do their will. Anyone who doubts victory has no right to be part of our community. Whoever pays attention to what the enemy says is a traitor to our cause. Who harms our war efforts by passing on enemy rumors sins against our people, for which....soldiers have died heroic deaths."

  1. "Fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power"

  2. "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."

  3. "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

(1 comment, 502 words in story) Full Story

Wal-Mart Weasels


By Lee Russ, Section Diaries
Posted on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 10:07:00 AM EST

How do you know that Wal-Mart has decided to get serious about "fighting back" against its critics? Well, when two major newspapers run OpEd pieces by "respected" names, both extolling the virtues of the "retailer you can't avoid but would love to," I'd say it's a pretty good sign.

So here's a big cheer and a solid tribute to the Wal-Mart (W-M) weasels of the week, John Tierney and Sebastian Mallaby.

(18 comments, 684 words in story) Full Story

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