13 March 2007
Who said what about whom?
On my daily news sojourn, I end up checking out half a billion sites so that I seem half informed while discussing whatever idiosyncratic anomaly is causing the e-mail boxes of America's net-izens to shoot messages back and forth. Today was a tremendous day for news.
The newest Washington scandal involves White House ordering Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to terminate eight federal prosecutors who were not actively pursuing voter fraud cases. This was one of many charges levied behind the scenes at the White House. It's good to see the Bush White House get serious about voter fraud in his final term. Better late than never.
This comes on top of a number of reports that have begun to identify combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as returning with a noticeable mental health problems. The ratio of troops returning with mental health problems is as high as one out of three. Well, at least they can receive treatment at Walter Reed. Err, I mean...
On top of all the other positive vibes emanating from the armed forces comes this little nugget. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace has called homosexuality "immoral" in a Chicago Tribune interview. This is obviously going to be an enormous setback in my campaign to help Andy Dick by allowing a military experience to help him maintain a little discipline.
In international news, the Sudan is still a mess. Now, not only are government troops a problem. Now the rebels are causing problems. Both SLA and janjaweed troops are gunning down aid workers. Mark Sudan down as a fantastic place for a reporter to make their career, and an equally fantastic place to dodge gun fire.
Media reports were blowing up all over the place. The big money story involves Viacom filing suit against YouTube and Google for $1 billion. Viacom wants compensation for what it claims are over 160,000 unauthorized clips posted on the video sharing site YouTube. If you would have asked me two years ago to put a cash value on Carlos Mencia and My Super Sweet 16, I would have offered you all of the change in my pocket and the red pepper hummus in my refrigerator. But what do I know?
Although this isn't news per se, it is a fantastic journalistic tool. The Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index is a large project that analyzes 48 or more news sources in order to paint a picture of what the American media are covering in a given week. This week, Scooter Libby is the big topic, followed by the 2008 election and Iraq. The index breaks down different media separately. They also do a talk show index in case you want to know what Papa Bear O'Reilly has to say. This is an excellent resource and it is well worth checking out.
In freedom of information news, the state of Texas is expected to file more than 400 bills that involve freedom of information issues. These bills are expected to remove documents that are currently available from a Freedom of Information request from public access. I expect all of the journalists in Texas, the major legal defense groups in the field and all of the hippies in Austin to battle this one out.
In the list of hirings and firings, ESPN has hired NFL Hall of Fame Running Back and Dancing With the Stars champion Emmitt Smith as a network analyst. Smith is replacing former teammate, loose cannon and jailbird Michael Irvin. Way to be a team player Smitty!
Where Emmitt Smith goes, Sports are sure to follow. The Pittsburgh Penguins will keep playing in Pittsburgh according to a report in the Post-Gazette. This should be extremely good news to both National Hockey League fans in the city.
Again, however, college basketball is the story of the day. Instead of being stories about impressive athletic performances, however, today's stories focus on overwhelming failures. The New York Times profiled suspended Gonzaga power forward Josh Heytvelt, a sophomore who was arrested with an ounce of psychedelic mushrooms earlier this season. I always thought Adam Morrison looked stoned with that ridiculous mustache. However, it is fairly obvious in most instances that the only way to watch West Coast Conference basketball is with an ounce of mushrooms in hand. It makes all the other schools look competitive with Gonzaga, who is in the NCAA tournament.
Also in the same department of overwhelming college basketball success stories coupled with indubitable failure comes the report in the Sporting News that 10 percent of Ohio State basketball players graduated with degrees from Ohio State between 1996 to 1999. It is sometimes difficult to criticize a school where academic stalwarts like Andy Katzenmoyer roamed the sidelines and excelled in the classroom.
Hopefully Greg Oden's 11 teammates get a degree before he bolts for the NBA in a month.
An emphatic happy birthday goes out to Twins pitcher Johan Santana. Santana wants the Twins to give him a contract extension. They should give him anything he wants. If I had been smart enough to trade that pocket change and hummus for Comedy Central and MTV stock, I'd chip in and send him to the Cubs and mail Mark Prior to Peoria myself.
Speaking of the Cubs, I believe that Carlos Zambrano should walk, not run, when he puts the ball in play.
Cleaning up the leftovers, today marks the 226th anniversary of William Herschel's cataloging of Uranus as a planet. In local oddities, the Dayton Daily News reports on a person being arrested with 350 pounds of marijuana, basically ruining John Popper's plans of doing a special impromptu event in Columbus. Finally, California Congressman Pete Stark is the highest ranking U.S. official to come out as an atheist. God bless him!