You are currently viewing archive for June 2007
Tying up some loose ends:

1. For weeks now, I have been calling on the President to end the current immigration reform debate, as it is unlikely to produce a workable compromise and more likely to precipitate the destruction of the Republican coalition.

2. I officially pronounced Immigration Reform 2007 dead on June 8th. I stand by that call. Although the President and the Senate leadership seem determined to resuscitate the ill-fated patient, the bill is brain-dead. Keeping it alive by unnatural means will only prolong the tragedy.

Moreover, I have grown tired of talking about this particular incarnation. No more posts from me on this bill.

A big problem remains, however, which will continue to fester. We will need to address it in the future, which is why I have continued to talk about the important issues and ideas surrounding the greater question.

In the spirit of the next debate, I do want to leave you with this brief explanatory note from Football Coach in aid of his excellent post, "California: Still the Promised Land," from a few days ago (review here):

Why am I more fearful of the "solutions" than the problem?

Quoting Coach:

• Building a wall will make it harder to get in illegally, but it won't stop it. Desperate people will take desperate measures. Remember the Haitians and Cubans?

• Sending all the illegal aliens back to their countries will seriously impair our economy. A significant amount of the work done in the service, food, and agriculture industries is done by these workers.

• If some kind of “guest-worker/visa” system is put in place, I shudder to think what kind of bureaucracy will be set up to accommodate it. The social security administration and DMV are bad enough, and they deal with people who are motivated to come forward and get something done. How inefficient and expensive will a “Dept. of Guest Workers” be?

End Quote.

One other note: Immigration and Gay Marriage

Although it may not look like it, we are moving toward a renewed discussion of gay marriage (at least on this blog we are). I see an analogy between immigration and gay marriage.

As you know, I believe the most exigent problem in American culture is the loss of a unifying narrative. That is, we no longer celebrate the distinctiveness and elevating elements of our national history, which causes all sorts of problems--not the least of which is a nagging sense that we are an amoral, self-interested imperial force promoting evil and destruction in the world. We are in a civil war over how we will perceive ourselves. A hint: we will be what we decide we are.

I am frustrated with cultural conservatives who have allowed us to slip into this crisis of uncertainty, seemingly willing to accept this moral sickness as a permanent condition. On the other hand, these same cultural conservatives, desperate to fight the fight on some level, pounce on the issue of illegal immigration, suddenly awake and convinced that our cultural survival turns on the ability to turn away and deport illegal aliens. The irony: so many cultural conservatives want to blame the influx of new arrivals for a national crisis of belief, decades in the making, and one that we have allowed to take root.

How is that analogous to gay marriage?

We have a separate moral crisis in America concerning marriage and families. Cultural conservatives have allowed the dangerous deterioration of family values, again, leaving our national community in critical condition. But, now, cultural conservatives, seeking to avoid accountability for their own actions and poor stewardship, seek to blame proponents of gay marriage, at best a fringe movement, for the crisis we confront.

Again offering a hot-button issue as a magic bullet to place our collective souls on the road to recovery, cultural conservatives are doing mental gymnastics to avoid responsibility for a crisis we tacitly helped to create. Let's begin our revival by removing the motes from our own eyes.

May God Bless America—and may he grant us “firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, [and] let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds.”

Other Bosque Boys conversations:

Immigration. Click here and scroll down.

Same-Sex Marriage: Click here and scroll down.
Leslie Moonves is in the public eye today castigating the masses for their "vitriol" and "sexism," blaming rampant prejudice against women news anchors for the plummeting ratings for the CBS Evening News (story from the Financial Times here). It seems an appropriate moment to reissue my review from last fall.

October 8, 2006

Katie Couric arrived at CBS News a few weeks ago in a big way, making news as well as reading it. Her ratings initially spiked, then dived, then leveled and now may be inching up. We will continue to watch as the story unfolds, but the decision to hand over the CBS Evening News franchise to Couric exists within a larger framework of the Feminization of American News Culture.

Some positive observations on Katie Couric (although, admittedly, I have not watched her newscast much):

1. The voice over of Cronkite. I am thrilled every time I hear Walter Cronkite say: "the CBS Evening News..."

2. The "Free Speech" segment. It is innovative. At least it is something new in the way that everything old is new again. The commentary at the end of the newscast hearkens back to the days of Eric Sevareid adding his perspective to Cronkite's newscast. Of course, the segment is designed to be light and popular; thus far, it certainly lacks the erudition and penetrating analysis of Sevareid.

3. The leg shot at the end of the show. One of these days, undoubtedly, we will look back and all agree that Mary Hart was a great pioneer in broadcast journalism. Although I am distressed that Couric seems to be wearing more pant-suits.

Some cranky (crankier) observations:

1. Couric contorts her face into an uncomfortable and unattractive mask when she segues into serious news.

2. The good news in that regard is that serious news is not nearly as prevalent as you might think on a network evening news broadcast. There is a lot of time for good-natured banter and teasing of colleagues and cute cajoling of newsmakers. In an interview with New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Tom Kean, in the midst of Democratic scandals in the state, Couric focused on Kean and whether he wanted President Bush to visit him. "Come on now," she giggled, persisting in several humorous attempts to portray Kean as running away from the President in a blue state. It was all very cute--but not very Cronkite-ish.

3. Some of the copy seems better suited for a satire of a bad news program. For example: After watching a four-year-old drum phenom on You Tube, Katie intones: "drums not your bag? [cue film of a bagpiper] Maybe these are. More after we pay the piper."

Serious question: Why not just cut to the chase and offer Oprah Winfrey the franchise?

I stand by my observations. Link to original post: here.

FOR FURTHER READING. Another Bosque Boys post on media (here): The Genius and Humor of "Fair and Balanced" (I'll opine, you decide).
Category: American Culture
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Oh, the things you will hear; oh, the things you will see...

watching network morning TV.

This morning on GMA:

In between stories about the "hottest bachelors," clothing that provides the "best UV protection," Michael Moore, Tina Brown on Princess Di, promoting the new Nancy Drew movie and deciding how long dropped-food can sit on the ground and still be edible--the mood turned serious.

Dateline: Tyler, Texas. GMA reports:

"Would you watch a former swimsuit model read the evening news?

"Fox is betting you will. The network's new reality show Anchorwoman...stars former model Lauren Jones, who is trying to make it as an anchor at KYTX-TV, the local CBS news station in Tyler, Texas."

Additional info: "Jones isn't just a former model. She's also a former soap star and World Wrestling host."

"While few people deny the buxom blonde is pleasing to look at, many are outraged that someone with no reporting experience has been put in the anchor seat for the sake of entertainment."

They are "making a mockery" of our profession, exclaims an irate competitor (full story here).

The GMA on-air crew was aghast, huffing repeatedly at how some are willing to compromise journalistic integrity for the sake of entertainment and glitz.

Shame. Shame.

Next, we will be right back with Sam Champion on the beach with Miss USA in her bikini...

Oh what power the gift would give us, to see ourselves as others see us...
Every Friday afternoon, NPR's All Things Considered features a sports-week wrap-up conversation with Wall Street Journal sportswriter Stefan Fatsis. Last week, Fatsis and Rebecca Roberts chatted mostly about Jason Giambi and the ongoing tragedy concerning the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB (listen here).

They also commented briefly on a story in the Seattle Weekly in which a Boston Red Sox fan trespassed against a code of conduct (heretofore unknown to him or me) for guests at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

The Code:

Foul/abusive language or obscene gestures

Intoxication or other signs of impairment related to alcohol consumption

Displays of affection not appropriate in a public, family setting

Obscene or indecent clothing

Any disruption of a game or event, including throwing of objects or trespassing on the playing field or other restricted areas

Sitting in a location other than the guest's ticketed seat

Fighting, taunting or making threatening remarks or gestures

Smoking or the use of tobacco products, in any form

Fans are issued Red Cards for "abusive behavior," which is a final warning before removing the violators from the arena without refund. An entertaining story and worth the read (here).

Fatsis referenced the Sports Law Blog, which had weighed in on the issue with their post "Speechless in Seattle" (here and more here).

Quoting Sports Law Blog (abridged):

"[F]an-conduct policies have been the major focus for my arguments about the [First Amendment] constitutional protection for "cheering speech."

"The Mariners essentially are trying to enforce civility norms in a public space--something that the First Amendment does not permit."

End quote.

Wow! Let's hear it for the Rights Revolution. We now have the right to get drunk and be obnoxious at the ballpark; it's in the Constitution!

The NPR discussants laughingly made the point that this story reinforces West Coast baseball versus East Coast baseball stereotypes.

I love West Coast baseball.

» Read More

Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
Farmer has been doing good work fast on heavy issues. This post is a mental break. This link will take you to an interview with a star of early 60s pop, Ray (Paul) Hildebrand. Originally from Texas, now living in Kansas. Photognome is aquainted with him and sent the link. A couple of interesting bits below.

Q - And that led to...?
A - More tours. More of the same. They wanted us to become a nightclub act. That was the only thing you did then. I didn't particularly want to and that's part of my story. After they started training us, and getting some people who wanted us to pull away from the major and go big time with RCA Records, I got confused. I didn't know what to do and I just left. (laughs) I just took off one time and just became a missing person for awhile.
Q - What happened to Paula? Did she find someone to take your place?
A - When I took off, it was on a Dick Clark tour. It was a 3 week tour. About a week and a half into it, I kind of flipped out. These people wanted us to go to Philadelphia at the end of the tour and start a new life, I wasn't gutsy enough to say no, or wait awhile, I'm not ready. They had all the big numbers and painted all the big pictures. In my heart, I just felt I couldn't do that, that way. And so, I just took off. She stayed on the tour and finished the tour. Dick (Clark) sany "Hey Paula" with her. He'll never forget that.
Q - He was your stand in?
A - Yeah. I'm not sure of how much of the other stuff he did, but, maybe it was just "Hey Paula". But, she finished the tour and was angry at e, as well she should be. I was so immature at the time. But, I went up to Oregon with some friends and haulded hay for awhile, which I'd done the year before. I came back and sort of took it on the chin, and went back and started working for old Major Bill. That might have been a mistake, but, it was the best I had at the tkme.

In one British interview the Beatles were bumped to give this duo time. No one knows the future.

Timeless wisdom from Merle Haggard:

Wish a buck was still silver.

It was, back when the country was strong.

Back before Elvis; before the Vietnam war came along.

Before The Beatles and "Yesterday,"

When a man could still work, and still would.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

Are the good times really over for good?

Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?

With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.

Wish a Ford and a Chevy,

Could still last ten years, like they should.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

Are the good times really over for good?

The year was 1982. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and we were on the cusp of an American renaissance. Has the last twenty-five years been a aberrant up-tick in a longterm decline? Or, is it within our power to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off once again?

» Read More

The State of Oklahoma currently has an ad campaign to attract applicants for the Highway Patrol. I also notice more and more big-city police departments advertising for officers, even spending money out-of-state. And, as almost everyone knows, we have trouble attracting and keeping people in teaching.

When I was growing up the Highway Patrol did not need to advertise. They turned people away. They had stringent physical requirements including height. And, of course, only men need apply. Teaching openings also attracted lots of applications.

What's going on? In my view, a root cause of the present hiring difficulty is that positions of authority in America are difficult positions.

On the formal level, we hold teachers and especially law enforcement personel to standards of perfection. If your child does not learn it's the teacher's fault. If every last detail of procedure is not followed in enforcing the law, then woe to the officer from the political bureacracy and the courts. Meanwhile, the rights of students and criminals have been so expanded that little leverage remains.

On the informal level social attitudes work against the idea of authority. As a society we do not raise our children to submit to proper authority because it is the right thing to do.

Partly this situation results from the loss of metaphysics/religion from the public square. If we do not understand the universe to have hierarchy, then authority over others seems purely arbitrary. If we accept the notion, and our society does, that the individual is the supreme good, then authority is a concept without real meaning.

The cure? Parents, teach your children well.