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Fri 29 Aug 2008 1:44 pm   //   Posted in: In the news, Right now

Palin? Really?

Until now, I thought the Republicans were going to make this election about the military. Wrong. It’s about abortion.

(Related: I wrote a post on my work blog about photo coverage of Obama’s acceptance speech.)

Wed 12 Jan 2011 10:24 am   //   Posted in: Stray data

What I’ve been up to lately

Hello! After a period of quiet time on this blog, I wanted to share a few things I’m working on.

First, I’m developing a new blog that will replace History Eraser Button. It’s a blog about copywriting called Breaking Copy. You can read my first real post today. It’s about Sarah Palin and it’s called “Blood Libel.”

Breaking Copy is still being developed and may have some bugs. I’m planning to spend the next few weeks ironing out the wrinkles, with a real launch date of February 1, 2011.

Also during the holidays, I created a page about the history of the building where I’m living now. See my 63 Wall Street Scrapbook.

Thanks for reading and watch this space soon for more information about the Breaking Copy blog.

Thu 28 Oct 2010 10:15 pm   //   Posted in: In the news, TV commericals

These ideas are crazy!

Here’s the best campaign ad I’ve seen this year:

I love it because it goes in for the kill with just five brutal words: “John Raese’s ideas are crazy!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Fri 22 Oct 2010 12:00 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Media, Stray data

Chart: How much tax money do we spend on NPR, anyway?

Every few years, it becomes smart politics to attack public broadcasting and call for Congress to stop funding it. This week, following the Juan Williams debacle and just a few weeks before the midterm elections, National Public Radio is taking an especially hard beating from the right.

  • Mike Huckabee: “NPR has discredited itself as a forum for free speech and a protection of the First Amendment rights of all and has solidified itself as the purveyor of politically correct pabulum and protector of views that lean left…. It is time for the taxpayers to start making cuts to federal spending, and I encourage the new Congress to start with NPR.”
  • Sarah Palin: “If NPR is unable to tolerate an honest debate about an issue as important as Islamic terrorism, then it’s time for ‘National Public Radio’ to become ‘National Private Radio.'”
  • Some dude on Huffington: “It’s clear that NPR would rather play consistently to the left than reach a balanced audience. And for that, they deserve to be pushed away from the public trough.”

I’ve never been a big fan of using tax money to support media programming; its too close to the state-run media in countries with less freedom of speech. But the truth is, in the U.S., public radio hardly gets any tax money. NPR gets no tax money directly. Most of NPR’s revenue comes from private donations. Federal money is funneled through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which doles out grants to local stations, which can use it to pay their NPR dues. How much did the CPB budget for radio this year? $90.5 million. That’s nothing.

I’ve become interested in data visualization, so just for fun, here’s a quick and dirty chart illustrating the amount of tax money spent on public radio compared to a few other choice areas. I threw News Corp’s annual revenues in for good measure. All numbers (except the TARP spending) are from FY 2010.

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Mon 16 Aug 2010 8:00 am   //   Posted in: New York is different

“Hallowed Ground”

A few photos of stuff the same distance from the World Trade Center as the “Ground Zero Mosque”:

New York Dolls Gentleman's Club strip club

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Thu 6 Nov 2008 10:17 am   //   Posted in: Failure, In the news

Scapegoat found

When the going gets tough, accuse somebody of not knowing Africa is a continent!


Related: All previous posts about Sarah Palin.

Mon 3 Nov 2008 7:57 am   //   Posted in: In the news

Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

This has been a long campaign, but it had to be. Because he is black, Barack Obama had to prove himself twice over any white male candidate. Consider how long it took this country to sort out that his name alone doesn’t indicate a lack of patriotism!

All the while, Obama has proven himself worthy of the office with a graceful campaign that has stayed true to his message of hope. He has played fair. In his public speeches, he has elevated this country’s discourse on politics, especially on race relations. If he wins, Obama will stand for more than just the Democratic party in the White House. He’ll be a symbol of things going right in America. Every kid who’s growing up a minority, or gay, or poor, or unfairly marginalized for any reason, will be able to look to Obama as an inspiration. This is more important for America than any tax policy or war strategy. That’s why I’m voting for Barack Obama tomorrow.

You haven’t heard many people on TV making this argument because it welcomes the charge of being an affirmative-action voter, picking the black candidate because he’s black. Voters are allowed to do that of course – and the chance to make history is a fair motivation – but that’s not reason enough. Because Obama has demonstrated good judgment, intelligence, a spirit of cooperation, and a willingness to use our government to help the less fortunate, he deserves our votes. And if that doesn’t work for you, consider the alternatives. There are no signs that Obama would make a worse president than George Bush, or John McCain, or Sarah Palin.

America was built to be run by representatives of the people, not by dynasties. The spirit of the country is encapsulated in the cliché that anybody can grow up to be president. For much of our history, that promise was a lie. I’d like to think it isn’t any more. A vote for Barack Obama tomorrow is a vote for that basic principle. In that respect, it’s probably the most conservative vote you can make.

(P.S. – Obviously this is my personal opinion. Per my standard disclaimer, this blog is separate from my full-time job and has no connection to the company where I work.)

Sun 12 Oct 2008 10:11 am   //   Posted in: Stray data

Google from the distant past: 2001

Renée calls attention to the January 2001 Google database, which was posted online as an historical curiosity. Neat!

I’ve been trying to think of simple phrases that have entered the lexicon since January 2001. For example, a search for “homeland security” brings up only 346 hits. (Today it brings up 21,200,000.) Can you think of others?

Tue 7 Oct 2008 10:06 am   //   Posted in: In the news

The wrath of a journalism major

Do not miss Dana Milbank’s column in today’s Washington Post:

“Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her ‘less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.’ At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, ‘Sit down, boy.'”

Thu 2 Oct 2008 8:11 am   //   Posted in: Failure, In the news

“There would be others…”

Things would be swell, but for those liberal reporters and their “gotcha!” questions!

(Direct link)

As a reminder, Sarah Palin has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. The more of these clips we see, the more I sense my degree in journalism depreciating.