Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Wow, that’s quite the temper tantrum.

November 23, 2014

From yesterday’s San Antonio Express-News:

 Gun open carry is openly dumb

…Handguns are for killing — people. Of the 8,896 firearm deaths nationally in 2012, 71.6 percent of them were by handguns. That equals 6,371 people, now dead. Handguns in particular have not made this state or this nation safer. Quite the opposite.

Bad enough that concealed weapons permits exist, but we have no confidence that the amount of training required for such permits makes holders able to use firearms in public with the kind of good judgment or accuracy necessary. This requires the kind of constant training given to sworn police officers. And if a bad guy intent on bad stuff sees this unconcealed weapon, maybe he starts shooting first.

Wow. I haven’t seen such a shit fit thrown on the editorial pages of a major Texas newspaper since…well, at least since when the Houston Chronicle threw their little hissy fit about CHL records being taken out of the public domain. Somehow that’s oddly fitting, considering the Chron and the Express-News are both owned by the same people. Hell, for all any of us know it was written by the Chron editorial board.

No matter who wrote it, it’s quite comical how wrong they are. Constant training given to sworn police officers? You mean the same ones who most likely fire fewer rounds out of their duty pistols in a year than many civilian shooters fire in a month out of their personally-owned firearms? All righty then.

As for the bit about “handguns are for killing people” and “bad enough that concealed weapons exist”…well, you know what that means, right? Means that the Express-News thinks you shouldn’t be allowed to own a personal defensive arm, let alone carry one to defend yourself. They’re just too chickenshit to come right out and say it. I mean, I didn’t agree with the Washington Post’s advocacy of a handgun ban some years back, but at least they had the stones to put it right out there in the open. I can respect the act itself even if I violently disagree with it. But here, the Express-News shows yet again why they’re a complete joke all around.

Yet another illustration…

June 27, 2014

…of what’s wrong with the local newspaper.

Apparently the Dairy Queen at West Avenue just north of Blanco Road got robbed last night, and you know what San Antonio Express-News reporters are writing about?

They’re writing about a party in a pasture 350 miles away. And the story seems to be almost completely lifted from the website of a Tyler TV station. Freaking pathetic.

Well, duh.

January 19, 2014

…or, Yay, consistency!

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

Of course bloggers and the public have First Amendment protections for such — or at least they damned well should. If they didn’t we might as well not even have the part of the First Amendment that pertains to speech. We rightly talk about how ridiculous the interpretation of the Second Amendment is that says that amendment protects the right of the states to have their respective National Guard units; well, it is every bit as ridiculous and dangerous to say that the First Amendment only protects “official” media sources — perhaps even more so.

Why is that, you ask? Well, just ask yourself — who gets to define who is or is not an “official” media source?

A consortium of Old Media sources like CBS and the New York Times? Oh hai, conflict of interest!

The government? I have one word for you: Pravda. Another word: Izvestia. (Look it up, kiddies.)

No. No, no, no. The court absolutely made the right call. Let us all hope the higher courts do the same if it goes that far.

So long, 93.7 the Arrow, and thanks for the memories.

January 1, 2014

From the Houston Chronicle’s Newswatch blog:

The new year rings out with a sad ending for classic rock fans in Houston: 93.7 The Arrow KKRW has flipped its format to something completely different after 20 years on the airwaves.

Local media blogger reports the new 93.7 will be an urban station to compete with 97.9 The Box KBXX.

Well, that’s depressing. It might not have been a Houston institution like KILT or KLOL (back when the latter was a rock station), but KKRW was pretty good even with the Stairway-to-Hotel Freebird playlist. Of course, I probably say that because I didn’t get a chance to listen to it that often, and I’d probably not like it now as much as I used to after listening to the classic rock stations here in San Antonio. Way back when, though, it was the preferred soundtrack to many a fun weekend at Crystal Beach — the Arrow, 106.9 the Point, and on Saturday nights it was Rowdy Yates and his classic country show on KILT. Good times.

(A lot of the time I listened to Rowdy Yates on my Walkman, that had a cassette player. How’s that for a blast from the past?)

“Oh my fucking God. Hearst’s fucking PR flack for the ATF is at it again.”

November 3, 2013

Hand to God, that was my completely involuntary reaction when I saw this story plastered across the middle of the front page of the Express-News this morning:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is an agency under siege, a hostage of sorts in the long war over guns and their proper place in America’s social fabric. It is the federal agency that National Rifle Association members and other gun enthusiasts love to hate.

There’s nothing really revelatory or earth-shaking here; it’s mostly the same gripes talked about here — the NRA always on the poooooor ATF’s back, how those poor ATF agents are just so overworked and under-funded, and on and on and on. This did catch my eye, though:

The resource issue raises the question: Is the agency capable of fulfilling the NRA’s mantra invoked to prevent new gun legislation – “Enforce the laws already on the books”?

“The short answer is yes,” said Vivian Michalic, the bureau’s chief financial officer. “Can we be more effective with additional resources? I think the answer to that is also yes.”

More effective? Since ATF agents seem to be into things like harassing FFLs for customers abbreviating state names on 4473s, then they’re already far more “effective” than they need to be.

And then there was dutiful flack Freedman bemoaning the lack of a national gun registry:

The NRA’s efforts to control the ATF have ended up costing the bureau millions. An NRA-supported congressional appropriations provision prevents the agency from building a national gun registry. As a result, the 375 contract employees at its National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., work largely without computers, relying on phone calls and scanned or microfilmed paper records to connect crime gun serial numbers to original purchasers.

William Earle, who retired in 2004 as the agency’s chief financial officer, said the failure to computerize the registry had cost the bureau “hundreds of millions of dollars” it could ill afford to lose.

My response? “Shit happens. Deal with it.” The ATF as a whole isn’t an agency that acts in good faith with what it has at its disposal now. I really shudder to think of what they’d do with a national gun registry. Sure, it might not be another Waco (at least one would hope not) — but even so, the prospect of ATF agents visiting gun owners’ homes for whatever reason is a rather frightening one.

Say, what’s this? Another media double standard?

October 20, 2013

The hell you say

The Washington National Cathedral, a symbol of unity among faithful Americans, was the site of a politically divisive event promoting gun control on Sunday.

(I should note that I am by no means bashing Emily Miller here. She has shown herself to be on the right side of this debate on innumerable occasions. I merely post this story as it’s the only story about it that I have seen today. With that said, let’s move on to the meat of this…)

Now, what’s the double standard here? Well…

On one hand, we have a group assembling on public property for a pro-Second Amendment rally down here in Texas, who doesn’t have any kind of tax status, and the national media raises hell. On the other hand, there in Washington, they have a tax-exempt organization more or less overtly engaging in political advocacy — which they’re forbidden by federal law to do as a condition of their tax-exempt status — and no one blinks an eye.

And none of those aforementioned allegedly pro-gun bloggers has a damn thing to say about it either. I think it’s about time to start asking whose side they’re on.

I am of two minds…

October 9, 2013

…on this:

Should dealing with shooters be part of teacher-training?

Teachers should be prepared for any eventuality, including a school shooter. The fact that we’re still hemming and hawing around the answer to Cepeda’s question as posed in the headline says so much about our society, none of which is good.

That said, though, Esther Cepeda should be applauded for giving another response to the question besides the same answer we get from everyone else. Instead of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about guns and the eeeevil NRA, we get an honest, open-minded assessment of such proposals. And even though Cepeda doesn’t say anything about guns, the above in itself is something to be celebrated. Baby steps, as they say. We ARE better than that, but better this than the same old hysterics we’ve been getting.

I ddi get a kick out of one of the comments, though:

What happens when an armed teacher goes berserk?

1995 called, dude. It wants its unfounded fear back.

Some corporations and lobbies are more equal than others.

September 15, 2013

Every so often, you’ll see progressives railing against conservatives and Republicans for proposing laws and regulations that would benefit certain industries and such, branding such laws as for example, “a sop to the gun lobby” or “another giveaway to Big Oil.”

Well, reading about a certain law that’s being debated in the Senate right now, it struck me. Check this out (h/t David Codrea):

A Senate panel has approved a measure defining a journalist, which had been an obstacle to broader legislation to protect reporters and the news media from revealing their sources.

The Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 on Thursday for a compromise worked out by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin in coordination with news organizations.

You know what that is, right? It’s a Progressive Democrat sop to Big Corporate Media, that’s what it is — in collusion with Big Corporate Media, to add insult to injury. I can just imagine the dialogue:

Big Media: “Hey y’all, you know all those embarrassing stories that have been leaking out from the bloggers, Examiners and whatnot about the deal in Benghazi, running guns to Mexico and all that? All those things we wouldn’t talk about, covering your asses? Well, we have a way to marginalize them even more than they already are! Here are some guidelines…”

Progressive Democrats: “Okay!”

Seriously, though, I know how a lot of folks feel about alternative media sources, and that’s all fine and good, but can we at least agree that letting the government in any way define who is and is not a journalist is a very bad idea?

Overheard outside the Whataburger at Alon Market…

August 17, 2013

Me: *chuckling*

Sabra: “What?”

Me: “I’m just amused that they gave that story (the Elisa Chan story — ed.) so much room on the front page.” (It took up most of the space above the fold in today’s print edition of the Express-News.)

Sabra: “Yeah, there go her chances for re-election. I mean, that story was just so poorly written…”

Me: “The Brian Chasnoff column?”

Sabra: “Yes! He writes like he brushes his hair–as though he were half drunk, and without any skill whatsoever.”

Me: “HAHAHAHAAAA!…He’s so bad he has to have his coherent arguments created by the subjects of his columns!”

And frankly, even that is hit-and-miss.

A humble theory on the state of newspapers…

July 27, 2013

…or, One reason daily newspapers are in the crapper.

You probably already had an idea that newspapers were in bad shape, for whatever reasons. I have been thinking about this for a couple of days. A little background…

You probably already know my real name by now, even if I don’t use it. If you have Googled my name you probably already know that I used to work at a certain small town newspaper in East Texas owned by an Alabama-based national chain, from early ’07 till I came to San Antonio. To give you a little perspective:

As of February 2007, the paper in question had three beat reporters, two sports reporters (one of whom was the sports editor), a copy editor/page designer, an editor, and a publisher. All of the hourly personnel worked full-time, and the paper printed seven days a week.

As of Thursday, this same paper had two beat reporters (one of whom I am thinking doubled as the copy editor/page designer), one sports reporter (who was also the sports editor), and an editor (who covered various beats here and there). The publisher’s job had long since been eliminated, with the publisher of one of the sister papers taking over that duty for both papers — and as of yesterday, the editor position was eliminated. And the newspaper in question only prints two days a week now. The cherry on top of all this? Since the first quarter of 2009, everyone in the company has had to take five unpaid days off per quarter, which basically amounts to a month of unpaid vacation every year. So, as you see, slashing hours and downsizing has been the name of the game for a good while now. And this particular paper isn’t the only one.

All of this brings me to a certain column from Stephen Dick of the Anderson Herald-Bulletin, whose rantings I (am ashamed to admit) I besmirched the op-ed page with here and there at the behest of the editor. I was curious to see what he had to say after the Sandy Hook shootings, and sweet zombie jeebus, did he deliver:

…let’s go after the NRA. Since the underlying philosophy of the leadership of this group is to have weapons to use against an encroaching government, let’s make the leap and begin investigating NRA leaders for conspiracy to commit treason. Or link them to terrorist acts, which is what Sandy Hook was.

How special. Now, granted, he did specify NRA leaders as the targets of his witch hunt…but who does he think pays the salaries of the NRA leadership? Why, the five million members of the NRA, of course. I don’t think it would be the slightest bit paranoid of the good folks in Anderson, Indiana (and everywhere else this column ran) who are NRA members to read that and think, “Holy shit, this guy’s more or less advocating that I be investigated by the government, thrown in jail and maybe even executed for standing up for my rights.”

How does this sort of thing factor into newspaper staffs being slashed? Well, let’s put it like this: if some newspaper hack wanted to see you imprisoned or executed for political advocacy he didn’t agree with, would you take that, let alone pay for the privilege? I sure as hell wouldn’t. If I were a small business owner in a town in whose newspaper this column ran, I would have been on the phone to cancel my advertising so fast it’d make the heads of everyone in the building spin, not just the ad reps. And of course I’d have cancelled my subscription if I’d been a subscriber.

And believe me, that’s far from the only odious thing Mr. Dick has written. From what I’ve seen, it’s just a steady deluge of bullshit as far back as I can remember. And he’s far from the only one. Such bullshit has run in every newspaper in the country at one time or another, from hundreds if not thousands of different names. People don’t want to read that shit. They don’t want to pay for the privilege of having their beliefs and intelligence mocked by self-righteous assholes who think they know better than everyone else. Now that the newspapers aren’t the only game in town anymore, they’re not doing it, as evidenced by the sorry state newspapers are in anymore.

And yeah, a lot of good people are losing their livelihoods, but when I see things like what Mr. Dick wrote, it makes me think, “it couldn’t be happening to a more deserving bunch of assholes.”