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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Al Franken Show Edition

Update: I read an amusing (it's all how you look at it) article on an interview President Bush gave; my comments can be found here. Peace protesters were kept from Central Park, an ill advised decision in part influenced by what Laura Flanders calls "protester scare stories." BTC News pointed us to an excellent speech by activist Arundhati Roy. Have a nice weekend.

The Al Franken Show* (his partner is on vacation, but he seems to have been a good boy) was good today because it had various segments that spoke to the issues, which is how things should be -- focus on personality, be it how great Kerry is or how bad Bush has been is somewhat limiting. Tom Oliphant, on record as a Kerry supporter, also pointed out the danger. Presidential campaigns have become a matter of attacking people and determining how much one side can take it.

It amazed and aggravated Republicans, for instance, that Clinton survived so many attacks. The guy is a damn weasel and people still supported him. They must have laughed with glee, however, when McCain took that attacks personally. And, then, he himself showed himself a bit less than a saint over the Confederate flag in South Carolina. McCain was an underdog to begin with -- such tactics, which suggested he was unbalanced, only put the nail in his coffin. Kerry should be careful, therefore, and not fall in the same track. The same applies to his supporters, who have been making this too personal.

Oliphant also has begun aggravated at the stenographer tendencies of the press -- taking what is "out there," but not analyzing it. The First Amendment brings with it a responsibility to respect certain journalistic ethics, including not printing stuff that is not true, or at the very least, analyzing the stuff that is reported. He rightly is not satisfied with a "better late than never" philosophy. The NYT or whomever finally deciding to analyze the Swift Boat story weeks after it has gained traction is just not enough. This realization that we should not be satisfied with mere crumbs after weeks of being hungry is a basic principle so often honored in breach.

[I discuss President Bush's ridiculous attempt to change the subject here.]

The nature of the problem should concern us own, though often one particular side in particular in hurt. The same applies to the issue of depriving the right to vote for those who committed a felony. I discussed this matter before, but it was useful to hear from one such person, who notes that it is particularly hard to look at his paycheck and look at the taxes he now has no voice in passing.

Taxation without representation. Something that Canada, Puerto Rico, and other places realize is a bad idea. What about Florida? And, why is it called felony disenfranchisement anyhow? The idea the you are a felon for life once you served your time, perhaps with a scarlet 'F' seems outrageous to me. I'm not alone, it seems, but that doesn't help the millions who served their time and cannot vote. Perhaps, they will be given their birthright back, the difficulty in being able do so depends on the state.

Some might even understand what this stem cell business is all about. This segment was interesting if a bit rushed -- the show really needs to stop having these strict time limits, be a bit more flexible. Anyway, the segment did a good job giving one a taste of what stem cells are all about. Al was confused why people are against them -- the cells come from embryos used during in vitro fertilization that would be lost anyway.

The idea is that they oppose in vitro fertilization, but at best can prevent funding one aspect of the result. I would add, however, that embryonic stem cell research itself is a problem to them because of what the next step might be . In vitro fertilization is not completely separate from this either, but stem cell research arguably has a slightly more dangerous feel to it. More Brave New World. If the segment was expanded and cell cloning was discussed as well, this might have been touched upon.

Still, it's an example of the opposition not being truly heard, or their views fully covered. It's important to resist this tendency, to resist stereotypes and easy targets. Air America sometimes has trouble doing this, but it surely is not limited to them. It is a fairly human tendency, but one we should still try to avoid.


* Follow this link, and you can find a promotion of Steve Earle's new CD, The Revolution Starts Now. He also currently has a show on Air America 10-11PM on Sundays. I just listened to the CD, and it is pretty good, if a bit short. I particularly liked "Rich Man's War" (for both sides) and "Condi Condi" (yes, a valentine to Condi Rice).