Thursday, July 3, 2008

Don't Drink a Fifth on the Fourth

If You Can Read This

If You Can Read This, You’re Too Damn Close: So said a popular bumper sticker from years ago. Of course, several “answer” bumper stickers followed along the lines of “If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher.” The more things change the more they stay the same. The message has to get out to the people. Only the medium has changed along with some of the cleverly put slogans. You Tube, Facebook, MySpace, and the myriad of other internet sites has brought the message off the paper and onto the screen. What Gutenberg did for the Bible and other printed words the internet has done for the airwaves. Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can become a citizen journalist – and at times it seems they all have. The face of communication has been altered. 2,4,6,8 let us all communicate. Citizen journalism may not keep politicians honest (Remember Cheney’s “So what?” remark) but it sure shows the warts that mainstream media makeup used to cover. Robert Greenwald is one person who removes the makeup. His clips showing candidates contradicting themselves are becoming legend.

Welcome Home Fellas: Hats off to the Columbian military coup that rescued 15 hostages who had been held by Rebels for six years and more. Three of the rescued hostages were American contractors whose plane had crashed while working. The episode happened so quickly and was so well reported that it could have been the plot from a movie – and probably will be. After the euphoria subsided the skeptic in me wonders if the story was just a little too perfect. It is not though our government has ever lied to us before, but I keep thinking of some of the stories of heroism from Iraq like the Pat Tillman story and the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch. Both initial stories turned out to have too many false and misleading components. We are all grateful for the heroism of our soldiers and for the rescue in time for the Fourth of July celebrations and hope the government spin doctors did not sully this report.

Tidbits from Yesterday: We reported in an earlier blog that the FISA amendment was about to be voted on. The original FISA act of 1978 gave government officials permission to spy on suspected wrongdoers and those who would conspire to do harm to our country. To protect the right of the innocent certain procedures needed to be followed prior to placing wiretaps and similar spying. However the current administration abused that law and many others by having phone companies such as AT&T place taps on lines of hundreds of people that were suspected of nothing. Now they are trying to push a FISA amendment through congress that will give the telecoms immunity for any laws they might have broken. The House already approved the amendment. The Senate votes on it July 8. If you are outraged call your Senator and hope s/he will not be on vacation that day.

Finally, Fun and Folly on the Fourth: Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, or Independence Day. This year with an early wildfire season in California the Governator asks the public not to shoot off fireworks. Sellers are unhappy (Light a Sparkler – go to jail). In Indianapolis the Highway Patrol warns that stopping on the Interstate to watch fireworks is illegal (Did anybody not know that?). In Connecticut officials confiscated a half million dollars worth of illegal sparklers and the manufacturer wants them returned (Damn the laws, full speed ahead). And finally, ABC reports that due to the shortage of ports available to receive dangerous cargo, China, which makes 98% of America’s fireworks, is unable to fill many of the orders, thus causing a shortage of fireworks for sale in the USA. U.S. companies stand to lose $ 35 million to $ 30 million in sales (The Fourth might whimper instead of bang this year).

A little blogging music Maestro... “Born in the USA” by the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

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