Apr 25, 2010

Whispers in the Grass

Sometimes the simplest things - dried ornamental grass leftover from last Autumn - turn out to be glorious and spellbinding if we only pause long enough to be attentive.

My new photo gallery, slated to go live tomorrow, is a series of photos of dried grass. When one says that in words it doesn't sound like much. I suppose that's where we get the notion that a photo can sometimes be worth a thousand words :-)

download wallpaper-sized versions of this image here:


Mar 28, 2010

Ian Tyson, Songwriter

Ian Tyson was part of my 1960s and '70s Canadian childhood. He sang folk songs on the radio and hosted a television show. Later, when I embraced pop music as a teenager, he faded into the distance.

In our working class home, my parents listened to the country music radio station as soon as that became an option. By the time I left to attend university in the big city, I never wanted to hear country music again.

It's funny, though, how we become more or less receptive to ideas and influences depending on which stage of our lives we happen to be in. In early 2000, nearly 20 years after I'd departed my parents' hearth, I found myself in an airport giftshop in Colorado, searching for a souvenir to take back to Toronto. A smooth, warm baritone was singing over the PA system and when I asked the store clerk about it, she handed me Ian Tyson's All the Good 'Uns CD.

I brought it home, played it a lot, and turned my definitely-not-into-country-music husband on to Tyson. And then something truly remarkable happened. That CD became my bridge back to country music. Tyson's writing was so good that I was reminded that not everything in that genre is schlocky and banal.

Soon I was discovering the work of Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams (yeah, they've both got issues - but they're often brilliant), and reaquainting myself with Johnny Cash. Fast forward a couple more years and me and my hubby were attending a bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana and visiting Nashville, Tennessee.

It's been a fun time since then, and Tyson was an essential stepping stone for both of us. Last September he played Hugh's Room - a great Toronto venue for those who lean toward roots music.

I took a ton of pictures, but the conditions in these situations aren't kind. The light's bad and the performer is always in motion. So the vast majority of shots are a blurry disaster that go straight into the trash. I never use a flash in these situations because I think it's distracting and disrespectful to both the performer and the audience. If any of the photos turn out, therefore, I'm pleased as punch.

My gallery this week is from that shoot. It took place on September 22 - three days before Tyson turned 76.


Desktop wallpaper of the image above is available here:


Feb 7, 2010

iPhone Wallpapers

The TripodGirl collection of wallpapers for the iPhone/iPod touch is beginning to grow. See them here:



Jan 24, 2010

Mother Nature Can Be Unpredictable

Everybody knows beaches look this.

Except when they look like this.

See my photo gallery of Hawaii's Punaluu black sand beach HERE.

In Hawaii, beaches are brown, black, red, and green. Sometimes, things aren't as straightforward as we think.


I'm working on a book about the global warming debate. I blog about that HERE, if you care to take a peek. Right now, it's where I spend a lot of my time :-)


Jan 13, 2010

The Big Picture

I spend a lot of time doing photography. Often, my camera invites others to take a close, intimate look at everyday objects - to notice texture, delicacy, and intricacy.

When I'm involved in a writing project though, when I'm analyzing a subject as massive and complex as the climate change debate, I frequently employ the opposite strategy. I step back. I try to understand context and history. I strive to see the big picture.

It's easy to lose perspective when one is in the thick of things. Imagining how the situation will appear to a disinterested observer ten - or 100 - years hence is immensely helpful.

Certain ideas resurface again and again throughout human history. One of these is the notion that the world as we know it is on the brink of collapse. That the gods, Mother Nature, or our own technology, will wreak havoc - will, in essence, punish us for our transgressions.

Yesterday I read a number of news reports written prior to January 1, 2000 - the day the Y2K computer glitch was supposed to bring the world to its knees. I've long assumed that the reason we didn't encounter massive problems was because lots of time and money was devoted to preventing such an occurrence. But in recent months more than one source has argued persuasively that countries that paid almost no attention to the matter escaped similarly unscathed. [See, for example, the opening pages of Flat Earth News]

Those pre-2000 news reports are fascinating. A cover story published by Newsweek in June 1997 is titled "The Day the World Shuts Down." Readers are told that, by one estimate, half of all US businesses won't have their computer code fixed in time. Three paragraphs later, they're advised:
"It's staggering to start doing mind games on what percentage of companies will go out of business," says Gartner's Hotle. "What is the impact to the economy of 1 percent going out of business?" Or maybe more: Y2K expert Capers Jones predicts that more than 5 percent of all businesses will go bust. This would throw hundreds of thousands of people into the unemployment lines...
A bit later, the article quotes a tech expert saying there are two kinds of people: "Those who aren't working on [fixing the Y2K bug] and aren't worried, and those who are working on it and are terrified."

Another Newsweek story published in late 1998, tells of a San Diego doctor who quit his practice, moved his family to a farm, and began lecturing about Y2K preparedness because he was convinced he could "save more lives getting people to make contingency plans."

Yet another news account tells readers that the "chief economist for Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, puts the odds of a [Y2K-triggered] global recession at 70 percent."

None of the really bad things happened, of course. Not even close. The power grid in big cities did not fail. Nor did large numbers of businesses. Nor did the economy. No matter how convinced the well-educated consultants, economists, technology experts, and doctors were of their position - no matter how persuasive they sounded when quoted by the media - their fears were overblown by a wide, wide margin.

It's important to recognize that not everyone got caught up in Y2K end-of-the-world thinking. In May 1999 Newsweek published an admirable essay by technology expert Danny Hillis who declared: "I have come to believe that the Y2K apocalypse is a myth." He felt "like a traitor," he said, "for breaking ranks with my fellow computer experts and admitting what I really think." In his view, Y2K would cause little more than inconvenience.

Ten years later it's clear that Hillis' sober-minded, quiet assessment was the correct one, that he was the voice of reason in a roomful of alarmists. He ended his essay with an observation that's highly applicable today, when we're being encouraged to believe in an impending global-warming-induced catastrophe:
There are no real experts, only people who understand their own little pieces of the puzzle.

Jan 3, 2010

Blue Turaco - iPhone Wallpaper

This clear-eyed beauty makes an impression when one powers up one's iPhone/iPod Touch.

(Click the image for a larger view. Copy that version to your computer, then sync the photo folder in which you've saved it to your Apple device. See here for more info and here.)

PC wallpapers versions of this image are available here.


Jan 1, 2010

Happy Twenty-Ten!

I call this photo Yakkety-Yak. Computer wallpaper versions are available here. Yesterday I re-cropped it so that it can now be used as wallpaper on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

(Click the image for a larger view. Copy that version to your computer, then sync the photo folder in which you've saved it to your Apple device. See here for more info and here.)

The above image format is challenging for a few reasons. Because personal computer wallpaper is traditionally horizontal in orientation, not all images shot from that perspective do well when cropped vertically. Moreover, when one powers-up one's iPhone, much of the screen at the top and bottom are obscured by the time/date info and the "unlock" slider.

There are currently more than 1,000 photos available on TripodGirl.com. It's not yet clear how many of them will translate successfully to this new format.

Starting this month, though, I'll try to offer an iPhone-friendly version of all newly-released TripodGirl images.

New Year's is a time for taking stock of where we've been and where we're going. It seems to me, with the recent proliferation of iPhones and netbooks, the formats in which I make my images available (first chosen in August of 2007) are due for a rethink.

All the best to you, dear reader, in 2010.


Oct 23, 2009

Bias: How the Media Distort the News

Align Center
Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
by Bernard Goldberg, (2002-3, Perennial/Harper Collins)

I'm currently working on a book about the global warming debate. The way environmental issues get presented by the media has become a major theme. This volume, written by a gent who worked on CBS television news shows for 28 years, has provided food for thought. Below is a quick-and-dirty list of some interesting quotes that appear within. Page numbers refer to the US/Canadian paperback edition (the first 14 pages of which comprise a new introduction).
  • "When it comes to arrogance, power, and lack of accountability, journalists are probably the only people on the planet who make lawyers look good." - attributed to Steven Brill (the book's opening epigraph)
  • "...the media divide Americans into two groups - moderates and right-wing nuts." p. 1
  • "...the media elites [are] a bunch of powerful, arrogant, thin-skinned celebrity journalists who can dish it out...but can't take it." p. 2
  • "I kept thinking of how my colleagues treat cigarette...oil, and other company executives in the media glare. The news business deserves the same hard look..." p. 3
  • "When I wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in 1996 about liberal bias among the media elites, my professional life was turned upside down. I became radioactive. People I had known and worked with for years stopped talking to me." p. 4
  • "Right after the WSJ piece came out, I was taken off the air, pending some decision on whether I would be fired." p. 36
  • "...in the elegant phrase of the journalist Brian Brown, liberals these days have forgotten how to be liberal." p. 36
  • "...God forbid someone in their diverse newsroom has a diverse view about how the news ought to be presented." p. 38
  • "Reporters who see more death and destruction than the Red Cross were in pain and suffering over..my opinion?" p. 39
  • "...the rules, which clearly state: We journalists can scrutinize anyone we want...But you had better not scrutinize us or we'll bury you." p. 8
  • "I couldn't get on any network TV news program at any time of the day or night to talk about [this book], despite the fact that it had been a number-one bestseller" p. 11
  • "Remember, these are the people who investigate everybody else - but they didn't want me on their networks talking about their shortcomings." p. 12
  • "The president of a major network news division says he doesn't have any interest in a book about a major problem facing his own news business." p 12
  • "...the media label conservatives far more often than the do liberals because the media elites think conservatives need those warning labels; they think conservatives are out of the mainstream - and therefore must be identified - while at the same time thinking that liberals are the mainstream." p. 13
  • "There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one of them, I'm more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don't trust us." p. 19
  • "...everybody to the right of Lenin is a 'right-winger' as far as the media elites are concerned..." p. 19
  • "...TV journalism had become: a showcase for smart-ass reporters with attitudes, reporters who don't even pretend to hide their disdain for certain people and certain ideas that they and their sophisticated friends don't particularly like." p. 21
  • "There is absolutely no way - not one chance in a million - that [CBS] would have aired a flat-tax story with that same contemptuous tone if Teddy Kennedy or Hillary Clinton had come up with the idea." p. 22
  • "Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news reporter calling Hillary Clinton's health care plan 'wacky'? p. 23
  • "...many TV journalists simply don't know what to think about certain issues until the New York Times and the Washington Post tell them what to think. Those big, important newspapers set the agenda that network news people follow." p. 24
  • "I understand why Al Gore and other liberals call something they don't like a 'scheme.' Politicians and partisans are allowed to do that. But should supposedly objective people like news reporters...use that kind of loaded language?"p. 25
  • "...here's one of those dirty little secrets journalists are never supposed to reveal...a reporter can find an expert to say anything the reporter wants - anything!" p 26
  • "The problem comes in the big social and cultural issues, where we often sound more like flacks for liberal causes than objective journalists." p. 28
  • "I had always expressed my concerns privately...All I wanted was a discussion, someone to take these concerns seriously. But no one ever did."p. 28
  • ...the New Yorker's otherwise brilliant film critic Pauline Kael, who in 1972 couldn't figure out how Richard Nixon had won the presidency. 'I can't believe it!" she said. "I don't know a single person who voted for him!" Nixon carried forty-nine states to McGovern's one,for God's sake - and she wasn't kidding!" p. 30
  • "[journalism's] elites are hopelessly out of touch with everyday Americans. Their friends are liberals, just as they are. They share the same values. Almost all of them think the same way on the big social issues of our time...After a while they start to believe that all civilized people think the same way they and their friends do. That's why they don't simply disagree with conservatives. They see them as morally deficient." p. 30
  • "The sophisticated media elites don't categorize their beliefs as liberal but as simply the correct way to look at things." p. 30
  • "I see myself as an old-fashioned liberal. I'm a liberal the way liberals used to be." p. 57
  • "...the national news media...were not just covering this important trend in American culture. They were taking sides." p. 62
  • "...we pointedly identified conservatives as conservatives, for example, but for some crazy reason didn't bother to identify liberals as liberals." p. 62
  • "If we do a Hollywood story, it's not unusual to identify certain actors, like Tom Selleck or Bruce Willis, as conservatives. But Barbra Streisand or Rob Reiner, no matter how active they are in liberal Democratic politics, are just Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner." p. 63
  • "To Dan Rather and to a lot of other powerful members of the chattering class, that which is right of center is conservative. That which is left of center is middle of the road." p. 65
  • "Why is it that the word 'left-wing' has virtually vanished from the media's vocabulary?...We have right-wing Republicans and right-wing Christians and right-wing Miami Cubans and right-wing radio talk show hosts. Isn't anybody left-wing anymore?" p. 66
  • "...we must make sure to identify them as conservatives so our audience won't think that they're objective - or worse, heaven forfend, that they're also sensible, reasonable, and rational." p. 67
  • "If you hooked network news reporters and producers to polygraph machines and asked them, 'Do you think you are guilty of liberal bias?' most would almost certainly answer, 'No.' And they would pass the polygraph test because they're not lying. They honestly believe what they're saying." p. 68
  • "No matter how bad a problem really is, advocates think they need to portray it as worse. This is standard operating procedure with lobbies...We have come to expect this of advocates. They know their cause is worthy, so what harm can a little exaggeration do? But reporters - when they also see the cause as worthy - buy into it. They also become advocates." p. 72
  • "It's as if our coverage...was being directed not by objective journalists but by the advocates for the homeless themselves. We took what they said at face value even though we would never do that with advocates for causes we did not embrace." p. 73
  • "...advocates for the homeless misled us about all sorts of things - the number of the homeless, who they were, why they were homeless - and because we embraced their cause...we pretty much said, 'Hey, no problem,' and passed their misinformation on to the American people." p. 73
  • "For years,the activists played the media as if they were part of the homeless PR machine...A lot of news people, after all, got into journalism in the first place so they could change the world and make it a better place...showing compassion makes us feel good about ourselves..." p. 74
  • "Did anyone, least of all seasoned reporters who pride themselves on their skepticism, really believe that the vast majority of the homeless - the addicted and the mentally ill - would virtually disappear from America's streets if only Ronald Reagan hadn't cut housing programs?" p. 76
  • "Once again, the media were more than willing to set aside their usual skepticism and go right along. While AIDS was devastating minority and gay communities in America, while it was leaving Middle America virtually untouched, the news stories conjured up some other reality." p. 83
  • Oprah Winfrey in 1987: "Research studies now project that one in five - listen to me, hard to believe - one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That's by 1990. One in five. It is no longer just a gay disease. Believe me." p.83
  • "...an epidemic was racing across America. An epidemic of fear. You couldn't open a newspaper, turn the page of a magazine, or tune in to the nightly news without reading or hearing about the deadly link between AIDS and heterosexuals." p. 84
  • "In 1987 the highly respected surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, said AIDS was 'the biggest threat to health this nation has ever faced.'" p. 84
  • "...journalism by sentiment...Victims of America correspondents, the ones who specialize in uncritical stories about the downtrodden." p. 85
  • "That anyone is still contracting HIV is a tragedy of huge proportions. That the gay lobby would try to mislead us is understandable. That the media go along is disgraceful." p. 90
  • "When the cover of Life told us in1985 that 'No No One is Safe from AIDS,' it had the story all wrong. So did all the others that warned of the coming heterosexual AIDS epidemic." p. 95
  • "This is what happens when entertainment 'values' infect the news." p. 96
  • "48 Hours point was to scare the hell out of America. Scaring the hell out of people makes for good television even when it makes for shallow journalism." p. 97
  • "The men who started up the networks in the earliest days of television thought news was special. They made their money on Lucy and Ricky and Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny. For years and years, news wasn't a money-maker and wasn't expected to be. Don Hewitt, the creator...of 60 Minutes, loves to tell the story about how, when the show first went on the air, Bill Paley, the founder of CBS, told him, 'Make us proud!' 'Now,' Hewitt says, 'they tell us: Make us money!'" p. 98
  • "infotainment" p. 98
  • "If news could actually make money, the suits who ran the network would expect just that. Sure they would want quality, in theory. But they wanted ratings and money, in fact." pp. 98-99
  • "So if Andrew Heyward didn't get ratings for 48 Hours and didn't make the network money, they'd cancel it. He knew it, and he lived with that sword hanging over his head every single week." p. 99
  • "So do I believe my good friend Andrew Heyward would put on a scary program whose primary goal was to get high ratings even if it meant telling half-truths about who was getting AIDS in America and how they were getting it? In a word, Yes!" p. 99
  • "If you want to sell newspapers or get people to watch your show, you want to say, 'This is a threat to you, too.'" - attributed to the late Randy Shilts "the best-informed journalist on AIDS in all of America" who later succumbed to the disease p. 100
  • "...the activists did what they felt they had to do. They got the word out that it would spread to all of us. And the media passed it along to America, at first because they didn't know better, then because they thought heterosexual AIDS was a better story, but eventually because it was another way to show compassion." p. 101
  • "...perhaps on Planet Bizarro in some parallel universe [journalists'] personal views about life and the world really wouldn't matter. But they do here on Earth, because...reporters and editors really are only human, which means they bring all their biases and life experiences to their stories." p. 124
  • "Does anyone think a 'diverse' group of conservative journalists would give us the news straight? I sure as hell don't. They'd be just like the Left...It's the human condition." p. 126
  • "No conspiracies. No deliberate attempts to slant the news. It just happens. Because the way reporters and editors see the world, the way their friends and colleagues see the world, matters." p. 127
  • "...if long ago we came to the conclusion that newsrooms with too many white men were a bad idea because all we got was the white male perspective, then why isn't it just as bad to have so many liberals dominating the culture of the newsroom?" p. 127
  • "This is a big country with a lot of people, and there's room for all sorts of views." p. 128
  • "89 percent of journalists said they voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, compared with just 43 percent of the nonjournalist voters." p. 129
  • "There's hardly a candidate in the entire United States of America who carries his or her district with 89 percent of the vote. This is way beyond landslide numbers. The only politicians who get numbers like that are called Fidel Castro or Saddam Hussein." p. 129
  • "In the world of media elites, Democrats outnumber Republicans by twelve to one and liberals outnumber conservatives by seven to one." p. 130
  • "...it's not just that so many journalists are so different from mainstream America. It's that some are downright hostile to what many Americans hold sacred." p. 133
  • "...some real diversity to the newsroom, not the make-believe kind we have now." p. 136
  • "News executives are always saying we need our staffs to look more like the real America. How about if those reporters and editors and executives also thought just a little more like the real America? And shared just a little more of their values?" p. 136
  • "...over the years, news has morphed into entertainment...News isn't special, the way it was in the early days of television. News magazines aren't on the air to perform some public service. Maybe they were when 60 Minutes first got started, but not anymore. Prime-time news magazines are on TV to make money, just like everything else on television. So they have to play by entertainment's rules." p. 160
  • "...national TV reporters, as a group, are lazy. I know this is a generalization, and I know that Mark Twain said generalizations aren't worth a damn, but it's generally true nonetheless. 'There's no culture of ideas around here,' one CBS News executive told me, meaning hardly any of his reporters ever look out at the bigger American culture and wonder why certain things are happening and come up with something resembling an original story. These reporters and producers cover news conferences and plane crashes and hurricanes and easy stuff like that." pp. 173-174
  • "One can be in favor of women's advances and still be concerned about the attendant costs, especially when the costs are borne by children. If the media were open-minded, there would be a true debate about this issue." p. 175"
  • "...once again the elite journalists on television have taken sides...I am not against 'better day care,' and I have no problem with the evening news doing stories about how that might be done. The problem is that they don't let the other voices on." p. 177
  • "...whenever you hear an anchorman or reporter use the word 'controversial,' it is usually a signal that the idea that follows is one the media elites do not agree with." p. 178
  • "Why is one point of view valid and the other nonexistent on the evening news?" p. 181
  • "Why is it that when liberal media stars say nasty things they're merely sharing their thoughts with us and (even more important) their feelings, but when the same sentiment comes out of a conservative's mouth, it's seen as mean-spirited?" p. 191
  • "The media elites...can hear even the whispers of what they consider hate speech fifty miles away - whether they imagine it's coming from conservative talk show hosts or right-wing religious fundamentalists or just about anyone opposed to affirmative action. But they can't hear it dripping off their own nasty tongues..." p. 192
  • "...twenty-one years later, in 2001, the share of the audience watching network news had sunk [from 75 percent] all the way to 43 percent." p. 194
  • "...that's not entirely the fault of the evening stars...Today, there are cable and satellite TV and the Internet, competition that Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley didn't even have to think about....[Americans] haven't abandoned the news. Just the news people they no longer trust." p. 194
  • "It's about how they frame the big issues of the day...On these issues they are reliably and predictably left of center." p. 197
  • "...because of newsroom framing, the real national conversation on homosexuality is not really being reported." p. 199
  • "In an 'entertainment culture,' even the news is entertainment." p. 201
  • "The message was clear: Conservative talk radio and conservative politicians created an anti-government atmosphere in America that spawned Timothy McVeigh and therefore were at least partially to blame for his [Oklahoma City federal building] terrorism." p. 204
  • "Why would journalists, so interested in connecting the dots when they thought they led to Rush Limbaugh, be so uninterested in connecting the dots when there might actually be dots to connect - from the hateful, widely held popular attitudes in much of the Arab world straight to the cockpits of those hijacked [9/11] jetliners?" p. 205
  • "...sometimes even the underdog can be evil." p. 212
  • "...to a lot of liberals, Fidel isn't a communist dictator. I mean, technically, he is. They know, for example, that he hasn't allowed a free election in the last forty years or so, that he doesn't tolerate dissent, and that he'd rather drink battery acid on the rocks with a touch of lime than allow a free press. Mere technicalities...To the...liberal cognoscenti in the media - Fidel is a celebrity. So what if he doesn't tolerate freedom of the press? That doesn't mean an American newsman can't like the guy, does it?" p. 215
  • "...a high percentage of the American public has been lectured to since the early sixties and is a little fed up with it." - attributed to Michael Jordan, then chairman of Westinghouse, CBS' parent company p. 216
  • "...it's just Newzak, the TV news version of elevator music." p. 220
  • "The [New York] Times is a newspaper that has taken the liberal side of every important social issue of our time, which is fine with me. But if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don't have a clue." p. 227-228
  • "Conservatives must be identified because the audience needs to know these are people with axes to grind. But liberals don't need to be identified because their views on all the big social issues - from abortion and gun control to the death penalty and affirmative action - aren't liberal views at all. They're simply reasonable views, shared by all the reasonable people the media elites mingle with at all their reasonable dinner parties in Manhattan and Georgetown." p. 228
  • "Liberal bias among the television networks has done something that market forces could not have engendered, the revitalization of radio. Rush Limbaugh would never have become the success he has if the firm of Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings had done its job." - attributed to Herbert T. Russell, p. 237

Oct 18, 2009

The Folly of "Us" and "Them" Thinking

A friend of whom I'm fond, posted a provocative piece on Facebook recently. It was written by a FB friend of his, whom I'll call Sue.

Titled Random Thoughts On The Difference Between “Us” And “Them” it's a 9-point list which begins with the following:

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, they don’t buy one.
If a liberal doesn’t like guns, then no one should have one.

Points 2 and 7 are in a similar vein:

If a conservative is a vegetarian, they don’t eat meat.
If a liberal is, they want to ban all meat products for everyone.

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

I think these are valid observations. The Left thinks of itself as tolerant, but often it doesn't behave that way.

The difficulty, however, is that Sue implies that the Right is composed of broad-minded free-thinkers by comparison. Not quite. I left this comment on Facebook, beneath Sue's list:

Some valid points, but alas, life is perhaps not so simple. Many conservatives have their own laundry list of things they want to prevent other people from doing:
  • watching pornos
  • smoking pot
  • drinking booze (there still are dry counties)
  • marrying someone of their own sex
  • having an abortion
Independents like moi are kept busy fending off the busybodies from both directions.

I felt my contribution was polite and respectful. Nevertheless, Sue's response was telling. She likes to present herself as tolerant, but when she encounters someone who values different things than she does, she's quick to reach for the ridicule. Here's the response she posted a few hours later:

i won't be complete until I'm smokin pot and chuggin' a brewski, while watching cheap porn with my newlywed lesbian lover, after having had my abortion after that crappy "other" relationship folded. yeah! Now I am really liberated, unopressed and my life is complete! burp! do I feel better now!!! thanks for the input.

The moral of this story is that there is no "Us" and "Them." The more we insist we're better than other people, the more we embrace the very characteristics we say we despise.

True tolerance is hard work.


Sep 15, 2009

Free Speech Rules

I've stumbled across a brand new Facebook group. It's called End the Hate! and was started by Emily Chatman Duffy from East Bay, California. The description of the group is as follows:
It's long past time to put a stop to the cult of hating in our media. This style of so-called "reporting" which more honestly recalls it's roots from the Jerry Springer Show, than from the work of Walter Cronkite, began with FAUX (Fox) News owned by right wing Australian Rupert Murdoch. Hate is not a commodity to sell. It's a volatile emotional state that should be respected. It's not packaging for right wing dogma. THIS MUST END!
In a discussion board post titled "Clean Up the Media" Emily writes:
If we don't clean up the media then America's big issues will continue to be shown as screaming matches rather than actual debates. Facts will not be aired and wicked threats against the President and Congress will continue to be. The fact is, this shit SELLS! The best way to stop it is to make it UNPROFITABLE for the sponsors of hate media. I know many of you have some great resources to share on how we can do that. Let's get to work! I'm posting two of my favorite sites in the links section of this group. Please post any you have and also please share this group around even of you don't want to join yourself.
Let's get this done!
This is followed by a wall post from her that reads:
Two great organizations that research and report on the media:



Finally, under the page's Recent News heading, appears the following:
Already one of the biggest mouths in right wing TV, Glenn Beck, has lost 54% of his advertising for his inflaming of hatred against President Obama. Let's work together to get these haters off the public airwaves. [emphasis added]
Well, Emily, now would be a good time to recall those wise words from Noam Chomsky: "If we don't believe in free speech for those we despise, we don't believe in it at all."