In less than half a century since Newton Minnow, then the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, called television “a vast wasteland,” the wasteland has become ever more vast and vastly more inane. And I am speaking not only of shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos or Dancing With the Stars. I mean the newscasts as well. Case in point: CBS News' Katie Couric won a Walter Cronkite award for her impact on the last presidential election. But Couric is no Cronkite.
Retreating somewhat from promises made during Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the White House announced on April 8 that the administration might agree to postpone auctioning off 100-percent of emissions allowances under a cap-and-trade system proposed to limit so-called greenhouse gas pollution. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, told reporters that a group of cabinet-level officials is trying to establish principles to guide the climate legislation now being considered by Congress.
A new grassroots phenomenon is sweeping the nation — Tax Day Tea Parties. One of the leading sponsoring organizations, the American Family Association (AFA), has announced on its website that AFA TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party Day rallies on April 15 are now scheduled in 1,837 cities. Meanwhile, the originators of the Tax Day Tea Party concept at taxdayteaparty.com list hundreds of Tea Parties scheduled for April 15.
Fox News has completely blown apart the mantra being chanted by politicians and the news media that 90 percent of the guns used in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. Fact is, says Fox News, only about 17 percent are trickling in from north of the border, and some of those legally.
The press has sensationalized recent sprees of mass shootings across the nation. From Jiverly Wong’s murder of 13 (plus killing himself) in a Binghamton, New York, language center to the shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the murder of eight by another gunman in a Carthage, North Carolina, nursing home just weeks earlier, the incidents are all over the press.
People who travel frequently are accustomed to the inconvenience and stress associated with dealing with the seemingly arbitrary “security precautions” administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Some examples include:
Bipartisan chicanery marked passage of the federal budget through Congress last week, with the Democrats using statistical deceit to hide deficit figures and the Republicans allowing the budget to pass without a fight while posing as dogged opponents of the massive deficit spending bill.
A full week after House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) jumped in front of the cameras and proclaimed “here it is, Mr. President,” on the Republican budget alternative, the House Republicans have finally released some of the details of their fiscal plan. But the details the Republicans unveiled on April 1 show they are strongly in favor of continuing huge annual deficits and piling up the national debt in a big way: they just want to do it at a rate of about $100 billion less per year than Obama.
The New York Times calls the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act the "largest expansion of government-sponsored service programs since President John F. Kennedy first called for the creation of a national community service corps in 1963." As anything that's created under the Kennedy name, the bill involves ever-bigger government. It authorizes what President Obama ominously calls an "army of 250,000 Corps members" who will serve in paid positions of national service, more than triple the 75,000 now in AmeriCorps.
President Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, Yale-educated Dawn Johnsen, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 19, after a hearing that lacked true intensive questioning. She awaits a full Senate vote before leading the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel as the assistant attorney general.