News, or lack of it

How cool – this goes along very well with my whining on the subject.

CNN: Good old Rick

As you probably know by my previous postings, I don't watch the news.  Where I work, however, they have CNN on the TV in the lunchroom.  Rick Sanchez has a show on at that time, and occasionally I watch a little (though with the very poor subtitles as there is no audio).  Rick seems to be a pretty good guy, and is reasonably even-handed when doing interviews and so forth, so I don't fault him personally.  However, I just don't get the point of the whole dang show.  They like to say "it's YOUR newscast!" and that it is interactive news which is "audience driven".  It seems to me that this takes newscasting's already shaky credibility and drops what little was left right down the toilet.  Why on earth does anybody care what "Joe from Pacoima" thinks… about anything?  I sure don't.  I don't know Joe, and since I've noticed that people who call in to talk shows and so forth usually are idiots, I inherently don't trust Joe's opinion.  I can get the same unqualified drivel from the myriad of blogs on the web.  Um, like this one.  I guess.  Anyhow, my point is that it's not "news" if it's stories which seem more appropriate for Jerry Springer, focusing on the hype and trivialities, and supported by commentary from Joe Q. Public.  Where's the credibility?

Oh yea, and the show is really into Tweets.  BZZZZZZTTTT! Ring up no sale.  Say no more, Squire!

Update: Apparently CNN felt the same way – Rick's show is no more.

Political Correctness

It’s time for a witch hunt.  That witch is Political Correctness!!  Witch you say?  Isn’t that a bit harsh?  After all, Political Correctness is funny and amusing, and doesn’t hurt anyone, right?

One of the things that we Americans love about our constitutional amendments is Free Speech.  One would think that this is pretty high on the priority list, as it is the First Amendment.  We all seem to think that this is a very important right, and I’m right there waving the flag on that one!  However, in recent years, it has become fashionable to be “Politically Correct”.  What this amounts to is a self-imposed limitation on free speech.  Burn the witch!

How could this be?  Are we really giving up some of what is universally recognized as a key American tenet?  What’s next?  Baseball? Apple Pie?  Horrors, Agnes!

Okay, I get why all this started.  We can choose our wording to be hurtful or not, and whenever possible we should strive not to be hurtful.  Racial slurs, gender bashing and so forth really should not have a place in modern America.

On the other hand, we are driving full steam ahead into some rather dangerous territory.  If you “call a spade a spade” these days, you will no doubt garner disapproving looks or comments at the very least.  This process seems to be accelerating, so the parameters of what is “correct” and “acceptable” are narrowing daily.  People trip and stumble all over themselves in an effort not to “cross that line”, and in the process actual problems are caused.  Here are a couple of examples that pop up in my mind:

Problem #1 – We are weakening our kids’ psyches.  Yes, little Johnny, when you are playing baseball, and your team does not win, you Lose.  That shouldn’t be damaging, but it is perceived that way in many circles.  You hear garbage like “everyone is a winner”, or “he’s not a Loser, he’s a uniquely fortuned individual on an alternative career path”.  Puhleease!  If you want a good laugh, check out some of these gems.  To me, this is like my diatribe on hand sanitizer.  Do we really want to raise a generation of weak-minded people who can’t deal with reality?  Let’s give them some matches instead and help them burn the witch.

Problem #2 – trying not to racially profile gets in the way.  Security folks have to try really hard not to racially profile, or anything along those lines.  This makes it very hard for them to do their jobs.  Let’s see, if an NTSB security officer is busy with a random strip-search of an 85 year old grandmother with a walker, they have to let the swarthy young man with the shifty expression behind her go by because it’s random, don’t you know.  This doesn’t make me feel very secure, if I’m a fellow passenger.  Can we please stop being so sensitive, and get the job done?  C’mon, NTSB, pull out that Tazer you love so much and Taze the witch.

Problem #3 – The workplace is becoming littered with land-mines.  I do see sexual harassment as an issue which should not be ignored.  However, in other areas we tend to be overly careful.  Let’s have a meeting and downsize the witch.

Problem #4 – The media has to be very careful when reporting a story.  Now, this one I don’t necessarily think is such a bad thing, given the media’s track record.  However, when stories have to be diluted and presented with mealy-mouthed verbiage just to not offend anyone, we’re going too far.  The top news story should start with “Ding Dong, the Witch is dead”.

General Aviation as a Terror Weapon

Is General Aviation as a Terror Weapon a Real Threat or Red Herring?

Here’s a really good article on it: General Aviation as a Terror Weapon: Technology at Officer.com.

However, what post of mine wouldn’t be complete without my own spin?

Actually, on this one, it’s hard to improve on the article above.  I completely agree.  The media in general has been playing Chicken Little with General Aviation since 911, and as a private pilot, I know just how limited that threat really is, and how silly they are being.  Small planes just can’t carry very much payload, and they aren’t very big and heavy (that’s sort of the point of an airplane – make it light so it flies), and they don’t carry all that much fuel.  A typical light plane will carry around 48 gallons of AvGas.  Since they burn 10 gallons per hour (some more, some less, but an easy number for discussion), unless some nutter’s target is right next door to the airport, odds are only 38 gallons would be remaining on board after you allow for taxiing around the airport, taking off, climbing, getting out of the pattern and heading toward your target.

My verdict: Red Herring

Reporters

Ok, so reporters and the media in general is a HUGE topic, so I’ll try to be somewhat brief and only touch on a couple of areas (for now… bwahahaha!)

Todays’ topic: Reporters and their “demands”.  Recently, when a couple “crashed” a white house party, the media was all over it.  They examined every angle, and had experts talking about security and so forth.  On more than one occasion, I heard “We’re demanding to know how this happened”, and “We’re demanding to know who is responsible”.  OK, reality check time!  Is the reporter suddenly director of the security staff?  Perhaps they should demand to know the toilet cleaning schedule, and why isn’t it more often?  Perhaps they should demand an accurate accounting of paperclip usage in the white  house.  Perhaps they should… um, mind their own business?  Yes, that’s what I’m thinking.

I can see demanding an explanation of a human rights violation, or something similar.  That’s entirely different.  That is a useful function the media serves, as a watchdog, and a force that makes people think twice before doing something which will be unacceptable to the public.

In my humble opinion, reporters frequently need a more realistically sized pair of underwear.