And yet more funny stuff. Who knew law-school finals could produce such comedy?
…is that he stinks on TV, writes The New York Observer’s Joe Hagan:
Watching Mr. Kerry on TV, [former McCain strategist John Weaver] said, “I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s a stream of consciousness or stream of unconsciousness.”
“Itâ€™s a lot of words and no clarity, a lot of presence and no warmth,” said Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBCâ€™s Hardball. … “And I think heâ€™s got to deal with that.” …
In recent appearances, Mr. Kerryâ€™s digressions and obfuscations about whether he threw a war medal or a ribbon on the White House lawn in 1971â€”or whether the young Mr. Kerry should have used the word “war crimes” to describe actions in Vietnamâ€”have obscured the candidate. At every turn, he has managed to turn the TV screen into smoked glass: Heâ€™s right in front of you, but you canâ€™t â€¦ quite â€¦ make â€¦ him â€¦ out. With his morose patrician mien and robotic deliveryâ€”parodied with precision by Jon Stewart on the Monday, April 24, Daily Show, surely not a good thing for the candidateâ€”Mr. Kerryâ€™s TV performances are sounding a gut-level alarm about his ability to inspire confidence in the electorate. “He needs to speak the truth and speak from the heart and not try to calibrate his views or his actions,” said Mr. Weaver. “The public catches on to these things, and they can see through whether thereâ€™s a calibration going on or not. He needs to stop that.”
He didnâ€™t need to speak the name of former Vice President Al Gore. But a media strategist for another Democratic Presidential candidate said that Mr. Kerry had to lose the “legislative speak” and begin talking “like a normal person communicates, speaking in simple, more declarative sentences that have a clearer meaning for people.” Compared to President George W. Bush, he added, Mr. Kerry appeared more intelligent, “but there are many instances in which George Bush communicates more clearly.”
Read the whole thing. Near the end, 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt is quoted as saying, “The Democratic friends I have keep saying, ‘Wait, wait, he’ll get better.’” [As if Don Hewitt has any non-Democratic friends. -ed.] He adds, “Well, Iâ€™m waiting, and I don’t know if he will or not.” I’m waiting, too, and wondering.
Am I the only one who finds it more than a little disturbing that a media conglomerate is ordering its stations around with regard to whether or not they should air Nightline’s on-air reading of the names of the Iraq war dead? (Poynter has more.)
Never mind the substance of the issue — whether Nightline is right or wrong isn’t what I’m concerned about here. I just think this sort of decision should be left up to the individual station. Call it “media federalism,” if you like. If the affiliate doesn’t want to air the show, fine! But why should a centralized corporate authority make the decision for them?
Those who defend the ever-tightening consolidation of media ownership typically insist that editorial freedom is not really harmed by these mega-mergers. But here we have rock-solid evidence that it is! This decision isn’t being made by journalists, nor even station managers — it’s being made by corporate executives who have no connection whatsoever to the local communities involved! Viewers in St. Louis, Tallahassee, Columbus, and various other cities scattered around the country will be unable to watch Nightline — because some suit in Maryland decided they shouldn’t!
Like Chris Rock’s character in Head of State says: “That ain’t right!” And don’t even get me started on the fact that all 175 Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers worldwide editorialized in favor of the Iraq war. Jeez…
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a good thing.
As your #1 source for McDonald’s-flag-related news and your #1 source for controversial-French-label-related news, I have several items of interest to share with y’all today.
Nancy King loves McDonald’s, but when she saw a restaurant in Gurnee [Illinois] flying the U.S. flag at half-staff last week in honor of the company’s late chief executive, she had to serve up a civics lesson.
After the Air Force veteran from Antioch and others complained, the fast-food giant quickly admitted its mistake in flag etiquette and asked its restaurant operators to raise the Stars and Stripes to full height.
“I got to work and said, ‘I just can’t let this go,’” said King, who knew that only the president or a governor can order the flag lowered to half-staff and that it’s normally done only for government officials or dignitaries. “I just wanted to bring it to their attention that this was not a right thing to do.”
A McDonald’s official said Wednesday that the company erred when it asked its restaurant operators to fly flags at half-staff to honor James R. Cantalupo, 60, who died April 19 at a meeting of franchisees and vendors in Orlando.
“We apologize for the mistake and plan to take steps to rectify [it],” said spokesman Michon Ellis. …
The company was trying to find an outlet for its grief, Ellis said.
Cantalupo was widely respected at McDonald’s and was credited for reviving the fortunes of the restaurant chain in his 16-month tenure as chief executive.
“We all were shocked with the loss of Mr. Cantalupo; that was the main thing on our mind at the time,” Ellis said. “By no means were we looking to disrespect anyone.”
Well, that settles that. Meanwhile, flag nerds note that such mistakes are quite common:
“A lot of people have really good intentions, but they really aren’t familiar with proper flag etiquette,” [Jerry Newberry, a national spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars] said.
“I’ve seen flags used as car seat covers, or they’ll lay them over a piece of furniture. I’ve seen them draped on stairs going up to someone’s front porch.”
More poignantly, many towns have sought to honor a slain local serviceman or servicewoman by lowering the flag, often at a mayor’s directive.
That, too, is a breach of the U.S. Flag Code, said Mike Buss, the American Legion’s assistant director of the Americanism Division based in Indianapolis.
The mayor or city council should ask the governor to issue a proclamation declaring that flags be lowered in town on the day of the serviceman or woman’s funeral.
“I know of many states where the governor has done this,” Buss said.
However, there are no legal penalties for mistreating the flag, and no one can stop a town from lowering the flag if it so chooses.
But the flag code is specific on how to treat the national banner, and Americans have a duty to do it properly, King said.
“Our flag needs to be held with respect, even if it’s at McDonald’s,” she said.
So, there’s your McDonald’s flag update. And now for your controversial French label update: Reuters has jumped on the bandwagon, running a story about the much-discussed labels that say “our President is an idiot” in French but not in English. The news service (or should I say, “news service”) declares the so-labeled products “a hit.”
Tom Bihn, the designer whose bags carry the “idiot” labels, is undoubtedly delighted with this latest bout of free publicity. He may be less delighted, however, with the questionable headline on one website’s story about the labels: “Bihn laden with buyers for US handbags bashing ‘idiot president’ in French.” Heh.
We believe in God and Minority Leader Dodd? Or would that be Governor Dodd? Or President Dodd? Whichever — GO CHRIS GO! Connecticut pride, baby! :)
USC freshman uses meal-plan money to buy free iTunes music downloads. This man is a genius!
Two of ten finalists in a Yahoo contest to interview the presidential candidates are USC students. If you have a Yahoo ID, you can vote for them. And they need your support: they’re in fourth and fifth place right now. Goooo Trojans!
Speaking of “goooo Trojans,” the undefeated, #1-ranked USC women’s water polo team will go for the conference championship this weekend.
The ACLU is suing the FBI over a provision of the Patriot Act that makes it possible for the bureau to demand confidential financial records from companies “in complete secrecy, without ever appearing before a federal judge.” Fittingly, the lawsuit was kept sealed and secret until now, because there was fear that its public discussion might be a violation of the Patriot Act!
Liquid body armor? Cool!
Robotic traffic cones? Cool!
And the winner of the USC Student Senate presidential election, after the two-months-long Ritter/Gasparyan/Directo/Ball/Mann soap opera is… Joe DeMiero?
DeMiero and runningmate Tessie Shih — who were not candidates in the original, nullified election — won Senate’s “revote” with 603 votes, a whopping 23 percent of the rather pathetic total of 2,641 votes cast. Talk about a mandate from the people!
Here is the full vote tally, according to the Daily Trojan:
Joe DeMiero and Tessie Shih: 22.83%
Courtney Beavers and Jedidiah Jenkins: 18.85%
Andrew Ritter and Agavni Gasparyan: 16.25%
Daniel Kenny and Jessica Lall: 14.65%
Lauren Ball and David Nava: 12.93%
Mike Directo and Harold Mann: 8.87%
Well, Directo and Mann certainly went out with a whimper, didn’t they?
Congratulations, President DeMiero and Vice President Shih!
“Federal officials have warned the LAPD about an unspecified potential threat to a Los Angeles area mall and said an attack may have been planned for today,” the Los Angeles Daily News reports.