Archive for the Media Watch Category

To blog or not to blog

Posted in Media Watch on October 5, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p>As someone who has conducted research in artificial intelligence, I have been interested in the human construction of meaning in order to find inspiration for creating better artificial systems.  I look to philosophers like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein">Ludwig Wittgenstein</a> to help me understand how we come to understand the meaning of a word.  I understand Wittgenstein to say that <u>the meaning of a word is in its use</u>.  What does this have to do with blogging? </p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">As a new member of the Communication and Media Studies Department, I am interested in the social construction of reality, given our increasing reliance on Internet-based communication.  I view this as a large-scale version of Wittgenstein's perspective.  Society's meaning (reality) is in its collective communication.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">If we wish to construct a healthy, realistic, and inclusive view of reality, the more democratic our forms of communication, the better.  In this age of intense concentration of media ownership (very few corporations own the means to communicate), it is critical that the world's citizenry have a voice, and blogging is an important way for individuals to express themselves to the world.  I want PSU graduates to play their role in creating our collective reality by being heard on par with other individuals.  Please invest in our students' voices.  It's the best investment you'll ever make!</font></p>

Shades of "I'm not a crook"

Posted in Media Watch on January 18, 2006 by Blog Admin

<p>So, George W. is spying on us without court oversight, and he claims that he's done nothing wrong.  And despite media criticism of his illegal activities, Bush has <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/19/bush/">no intention of ceasing these warrantless wiretaps</a>.  Historically, courts deny very few wiretaps, so what is W's excuse for by-passing the court system, whose role is simply to ensure that the executive branch does not engage in spying excesses?  Who could object to that?  No one is saying that Bush cannot root-out <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda">Al Qaeda</a> operatives.  Just keep the courts in the loop! </p><p>In addition to the spying, Bush feels that the ban on torture introduced into the defense appropriations bill by Vietnam veteran Senator <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain">John McCain</a> does not apply to him, despite signing the legislation.  According to the Boston Globe article from January 4, 2006, &quot;Bush issued a &quot;signing statement&quot;, declaring that he will view the interrogation limits  in the context of his broader powers to protect national security.&quot;  I shudder to think what this might mean for US citizens in the hands of hostile forces!  </p><p>It seems W. feels that he's above all laws! Is somebody feeling a little superior?</p>

Rumsfeld VS Cheney

Posted in Media Watch on November 3, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p align="left">For a long time I was torn between Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, as to who was the sleaziest.  Dick Cheney had a slight lead with his clear conflict of interest through Halliburton that this country engages in war.  But watching Donald Rumsfeld on the yesterday's evening news made an open-and-shut case for him.  Donald Rumsfeld was clearly suppressing laughter while characterizing the <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/21/144252">hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay</a> detention facility as being on a diet.  Given our human rights abuses, I am so in fear for our troupes!  Please, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld stop chuckling at our human rights abuses.  If we do not treat others humanely, how can we expect others to treat our citizens humanely?</p>

New Orleans and Racism

Posted in Media Watch on October 6, 2005 by Blog Admin

<font size="2"><p>A recent <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9280375/site/newsweek/">Newsweek poll shows</a> that 55% of the American people think Bush is doing a poor job and only 28% think that he is doing a good job. Hooray to the American people! We finally understand that, yes, George W. Bush has never accomplished anything productive in his life, other than take advantage of his family name, and create business (or job) opportunities for his political contributors, like Michael Brown.  <font size="2">Finally an opportunity presents itself for George W. to lead, and what happens?  Disaster!  The outrage that is directed at Michael Brown should be redirected to the real culprit, George W. Bush.  Michael Brown clearly has no qualifications to lead FEMA, other than agreeing to sit by and watch silently while FEMA is gutted.  Hearing Brown recently whine about FEMA's lack of funding was nothing short of sickening.</font></p><p>In stark contrast to the lack of food and water that thousands of Katrina survivors experienced in the Super Dome, <font size="2">I was struck by the Herculean efforts that are being made to rescue individual houses that are threatened by California wildfires. <font size="2">I watched in amazement while plane after plane dropped fire retardant or water in the vicinity of a single home.  All this is happening for individual multimillion dollar homes, while over 100,000 Katrina victims still live in shelters and almost 1/2 million live in hotels.  Given the racial disparities in wealth, the racism occurred when FEMA was dismantled, because the wealthy do not depend on such agencies.</font></font></p></font>

Hypocrisy of the snowflake babies

Posted in Media Watch on May 27, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>At <a href="http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050525/news_1n25stem.html">George W's recent press conference</a> in which he held fast in his opposition to using human embryos for advancing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell">stem cell</a> research, I couldn't help but notice that the all of the &quot;snowflake&quot; babies where white as snow.  Isn't that interesting!  The snowflake babies/children were created from donated embryos left over from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IVF">in vitro fertilization</a> (IVF).  The inherent hypocrisy stems (pardon the pun) from the fact that IVF wastes many embryos because many IVF attempts do not implant successfully and die/are wasted depending on your perspective.  Additionally, once a women is successfully implanted (becomes pregnant), her left over embryos are discarded.  It seems those who are crying foul on stem cell research, should also be protesting IVF.  Wouldn't you think?</p>

Please just shoot the "runaway bride"

Posted in Media Watch on May 8, 2005 by Blog Admin

Are there really so few things to report, that the majority of mainstream news outlets, NPR excluded, have spent an inordinate amount of time on <a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/all-jennifer0504,0,4085414.column?coll=ny-top-headlines">Jennifer Wilbanks' runaway bride story?</a>  Is it coincidental that this story is about a pretty, middle-class woman?  I was doing my morning workout about a week ago, watching CNN for a bit of distraction, when I first encountered the story of the runaway bride.  Since then I have been sickened by the amount of coverage dedicated to this fluff!  Do we not have anything better to talk about?!  How about some clarifications on the George W's assault on the Social Security System?  This excessive coverage is particularly disheartening in the face of the zero (again other than NPR) of the <a href="http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/11159.html">recent gay-bashing in SantaFe New Mexico</a>.  What kind of &quot;free press&quot; do we have.  Is our press doing its job informing the US citizenry of important social issues?  Does this help explain why after four years of blunder after blunder George W. still got re-elected?

The "no fault" President

Posted in Media Watch on May 1, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p>Back in the day of &quot;The Gipper&quot; we had the Teflon President.  Nothing could stick to ol' Ronnie, mining the harbors of Nicaragua, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair">Iran-Contra Affair</a>, sticking it to the little people, nothing.  Now Boy-George goes one better.  He doesn't have to worry about anything sticking to him, when he's never wrong.  Despite so few high-ranking women in the US military, somehow <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13114-2004May9.html">Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski</a> is found to be culpable for the entire <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444">Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal</a>, with no male superior implicated.  </p><p>The latest incident that W's administration claims no culpability for is the wounding of the Italian journalist,  <font size="2">Giuliana Sgrena, and murder of her body guard, Nicola Calipari.  The &quot;investigation&quot; found no culpability, claiming that Sgrena's car failed to slow down for a checkpoint.  <a href="http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=7544">According to an interview with Sgrena in Z Magazine</a>, at the time of her shooting she was not at a checkpoint at all, and in fact was on a VIP road, reserved for embassy and US officials.  We need a real investigation into this matter, the abuse in Abu Ghraib, the entire rationale for making a preemptive strike on Iraq, and so many other issues.  Let's hear some straight talk from this administration for once!  Let's see what kind of mensch you are Georgie.  Can you take a hit?</font> </p>

The undiplomatic diplomat, John R. Bolton

Posted in Media Watch on April 24, 2005 by Blog Admin

<font size="2">President Bush's choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Bolton">John R. Bolton</a>, should withdraw from consideration.  Given the cowboy diplomacy that George W. has engaged in thus far, we need someone who is more respectful of the institution as our ambassador.  If we had only listened to international wisdom, we would not be in this horrific quagmire in Iraq.  So, rather than learning from our mistakes, we select someone who goes beyond cowboy to bully diplomacy.  Someone who has publicly uttered sentiments of disrespect toward the UN.  Even Republicans realize the damage that this man may perpetrate with his bullying, as illustrated by Ohio's George V. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_V._Voinovich">Voinovich</a>.  <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/03/29/bolton.ap/">Many former diplomats have expressed their opposition to his nomination due to his unwillingness to consider US arms control  in international security discussions.</a>  Thus, the true Bush agenda is revealed, perpetuating war and enriching his cronies through the defense industry.</font>

Bush's Schiavo Hypocrisy

Posted in Media Watch on April 15, 2005 by Blog Admin

<p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">George W. had proposed </font><a href="http://archive.stateline.org/html/2005/03/20/214_128.html"><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff">$14 Billion in medicaid cuts</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">, which were fortunately rejected by Congress.  The hypocrisy here is that Terry Schiavo's artifically sustained body was funded by Medicaid.   Can you imagine the cost incurred by tax-payers, if one were to extend the outcome fought for by Terry's parents (and George W.) to all people in persistent vegetative states?   Just as this case has prompted many people to clarify their end-of-life wishes to reject such futile measures, I fear the far-righters are clarifying their wishes to request life sustaining treatment when recovery is impossible.  As we have seen with Terry, we're talking potentially decades of treatment.  Talk about health care crisis!  What an image! Hospitals slowly filling up with vegetative far-righters who are using tax money that they so begrudgingly gave during their more productive years.</font></p><p><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff">Another hypocrisy is that George W, in his capacity as Texas Governor, signed the <font color="#3399ff">&quot;</font></font><a href="http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HS/content/htm/hs.002.00.000166.00.htm"><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff">Texas Futile Care Law&quot;,</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff"> which removes health care in hopeless circumstances independent of family wishes (good move George!).  Sadly enough, this law was applied to an infant recently. </font><a href="http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/democracy_for_new_mexico/2005/03/repub_hypocrisy.html"><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#3399ff"> Sun Hudson's breathing tube was removed and he died shortly thereafter</font></a><font style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#ffffff"><font color="#3399ff">.</font>  Why did we not hear the same uproar in this case?  Why did the press not have a field day with this hypocrisy?  It turns out that the infant was African-American, and the perpetrator of the hypocrisy is a Republican.  If Clinton had engaged in anything this hypocritical can you imagine the consequences? </font></p>

Shame on you Governor and President Bush!

Posted in Media Watch on March 24, 2005 by Blog Admin

I promised myself that I would not contribute to the already excessive discussion of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo">Terri Schiavo</a>, but here goes.  Politicizing the despair of the Schiavo family for political purposes is horrible.  That Jeb Bush found a politically motivated neurosurgeon to influence the legal process is a low, Rovian move.  The law is clear in terms of who makes this decision, and Terri's husband did everything possible while there was hope for her recovery.  Keeping Terri alive against her wishes is unlawful, and should stop.  The <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/03/24/supreme_court_rejects_schiavo_parents_appeal/">Supreme Court has rejected the parents' appeal for the second time</a>, so please let her die with dignity.