Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, October 23, 2017 7:13 pm

From the Wayback Machine: Sinclair Broadcast Group

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 7:13 pm
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Sinclair Broadcast Group is one of the most important media entities you’ve never heard of. If they’re successful in buying Tribune, they’ll become one of the most influential local-TV-news companies in the country. Only they’re about propaganda, not news.

Here is a takeout I did on the company back in 2004. They’ve only gotten worse since.

 

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017 7:58 pm

The bigoted Mr. Guarino

It was no surprise to me that Greensboro physician Joe Guarino, who blogs at Triad Conservative, was unhappy at the outcome of Tuesday’s primary elections for Greensboro mayor and City Council. Guarino sees commies in every corner, so the fact that most of the conservative candidates got waxed and that the lone conservative incumbent trails his challenger heading into the general election was disturbing to him, and he sees no good end for the city as long as it keeps electing people he thinks of as “cultural Marxists.”

He’s certainly entitled to his opinion as far as that goes. And if he had said nothing else, I’d’ve shrugged and moved on. But then he added:

The fact that we now have a majority-minority city is another bad prognostic indicator. It will be nearly impossible to elect good people here. In fact, it was already very difficult; but now it is even more difficult. The council we elect is a reflection of the demographics and values of our local population; and it ain’t pretty.

Read that again. He’s actually arguing that because whites are now a minority in Greensboro, Greensboro can’t elect good people anymore. Even if you give Guarino the greatest possible benefit of the doubt — which, frankly, he hasn’t earned in recent years — he’s saying that demographics makes it impossible to elect good people to the council. In other words, it’s those uppity colored folk keeping Greensboro from being what it can be.

He goes on to imply that “decent” white folk will move out of the city because of this. I say implied, but his meaning is pretty damned clear.

I met Guarino more than a decade ago at some blogging meet-ups. He struck me then as likable enough, if well to the right of me on the political spectrum — sincere but misguided. Either I completely misjudged him or he has migrated to a far darker place since we last met, because his anti-Semitism and racism have become too overt to deny.

 

What do you call a fired Salt Lake City police officer? A good start.

Detective Jeff Payne, the Salt Lake City police officer who handcuffed a nurse and dragged her, screaming, out of a hospital emergency room for (correctly) not allowing him to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant, has been fired.

So far, so good. Now the Salt Lake City PD needs to take the next logical step and arrest him. I’m not conversant in Utah criminal law, but I would imagine some possible charges might be kidnapping and felony assault on an emergency worker.

And the charges mustn’t stop with Payne. As the original story showed (see first link above), some of Payne’s co-workers stood around and let it happen. While I don’t know that you could make a criminal case against them, they, too, should be fired. That’s the only way you’re going to fix the culture of corruption that obviously pervades the SLCPD.

And, finally, I hope the nurse, former two-time Olympic skier Alex Wubbels, takes Payne and the Department to court and takes them for a moderate fortune. The taxpayers need to understand that they, too, must pay a price for supporting a corrupt police department.

The local cops asked the FBI about a month ago to join the investigation; as nearly as I can tell, that investigation remains ongoing. Good. Several more shoes need to drop here.

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 1:01 pm

World Mental Health Day

Hi. I’m Lex, and I have chronic, severe depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I bring this up because today is World Mental Health Day.

I’d had depression since my mid-teens, but it wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was 36. I’d probably had the anxiety all along, too, but it wasn’t diagnosed until I was 52. Thank God it was, and thank God for Lexapro and Buspar. Depression made me want to feel dead. Anxiety made me start thinking about ways to make it happen.

I’m lucky. I got, and continue to get, good care (except when the meds don’t work, which still happens occasionally), and I’m lucky to be employed by a place that provides decent health insurance. I’m also lucky to have family, friends, and an employer that, for the most part, understand at least the basics of mental illness and don’t stigmatize me.

Mental illness is a brain disorder, just like brain cancer. It needs to be treated, not stigmatized. And health insurance needs to cover that treatment. Anyone who argues that mental-health issues should be penalized as a pre-existing condition is literally arguing to make it easier for me and people like me to die. And I don’t take death threats kindly.

If you’re suffering, get help. If you’re in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They’re there to listen and help, 24 hours a day. And get help, where and however you can. Mental illness is a chronic illness, but it doesn’t have to be a chronic crisis.

Thanks for listening. And now back to the usual foolishness.

 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:11 am

RIP, Tom Petty

Filed under: Sad,Salute!,Say a prayer — Lex @ 6:11 am
Tags: ,

As much as I have idolized rock musicians over the years, dating back to when I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was 4, I can’t point to any I actually wanted to be. Indeed, there were plenty whom I would not have been for love or money — Bruce Springsteen, for example; my own father was bad enough.

But of all the musicians I have appreciated over the past 50+ years, the one who was most like me was Tom Petty.

We both were Southern and cognizant of it — and, therefore, carried with us the weight of what was good and what was bad about that, right down to our evolving views on the Confederate battle flag. We both appreciated the classics. We both struggled with difficult — and, in some ways, abusive — father figures. (Weirdly, both our dads sold insurance.) We both struck out professionally and personally in directions of which those father figures did not approve. And neither of us forgot where we came from or lost our appreciation for the classics in our fields, even as we forged new work for new audiences in those respective fields.

Obviously, we’re not completely alike; just for starters, although a more than competent journalist, I’ll never wind up in anybody’s Hall of Fame. But I did do some pioneering work in database journalism and social media. Tom Petty didn’t ever get that innovative. He didn’t have to. He just kept mining a rich vein of classic rock and found ways of making it relevant to multiple generations. He lived and created long enough to become one of those artists whom parents and children go to see together. I was fortunate enough to see Petty and the Heartbreakers on their “Damn the Torpedoes” tour with Tony, and it was one helluva show.

Petty’s songwriting alone would have gotten him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it also is not coincidence that he spent most of his career with most of the same musicians with whom he first worked, years before he had a recording contract. The working relationship he developed with those musicians, primarily guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench, anchored a 40-year career, and hit song after hit song resulted from Petty’s lyrics applied to a tune Campbell or Tench had given him.

Petty’s songwriting touch was so universal that parents and children alike could describe his work as “the soundtrack of my life.” You didn’t have to be female or from an anonymous Midwestern state to identify with the subject of “American Girl” — you only had to yearn for something you hadn’t yet gotten. “Learning to Fly” could apply to 22-year-olds on one level and the middle-aged on a wholly different one, but in exactly the same way. Indeed, you have to work hard to peruse Petty’s catalog for any dated references; about the closest I can get is from “Even the Losers”:

Well it was nearly summer, we sat on your roof
Yeah we smoked cigarettes and we stared at the moon
And I showed you stars you never could see
Babe, it couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me

Not that many people, even young adults, smoke anymore. Otherwise, the sentiment is timeless.

I remember reading about 20 years ago a piece handicapping the likelihood of Petty and other artists’ being inducted into the then-new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (that happened for Petty in 2002). I don’t remember the exact percentage the piece placed on Petty’s chances, but I do remember it was in the 90s, with the lone comment: “The songs will suffice.” And so they did. And so, now and forever, they must.

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 2, 2017 7:31 pm

An immodest but entirely justified proposal

If you think that 58 dead and 200+ wounded and 273 mass-shooting incidents in just three-quarters of a year are “the price we pay for freedom,” for God’s sake just kill yourself.

Sunday, October 1, 2017 11:49 am

Journalists, here’s a story idea at no charge

Last night, five people were killed here in Greensboro when a stolen car being pursued at high speed by a sheriff’s deputy ran a red light and crashed into another car crossing the intersection of Battleground Avenue and New Garden Road.

Around midnight, a Guilford County sheriff’s deputy spotted a suspicious vehicle that turned out to be stolen from Greensboro, according to a news release from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy turned on his blue lights and the suspect vehicle sped south on Battleground Avenue. The deputy was about ¼-mile behind when the vehicle ran a red light at the intersection of New Garden Road and Battleground.

The stole car struck a car crossing Battleground that had the right of way.

Five people in the two vehicles were killed  two females in the vehicle crossing Battleground and two males and one female in the suspect’s vehicle.

As far as I know, the deputy was following departmental procedure, although I’ve been out of the game now for most of a decade and don’t know what policy changes might have taken place since I left the News & Record.

At the same time, anyone with a lick of compassion has to ask: Granted, this case is kind of a black swan as law enforcement goes, but was this chase really worth five human lives, at least two of whom, and possibly up to four of whom, were wholly innocent?

This brings up an idea I had in my reporting days that I never got to execute: What if news outlets did comprehensive cost-benefit- analyses of high-speed chases by law enforcement in their area and used those findings to advocate for changes, if any be needed, to local law-enforcement policy on high-speed changes?

As I see it, such an analysis would look something like this: Journalists partner with experts in cost-benefit analysis to total up the cost of such chases, assigning a dollar value to everything from damaged vehicles, fences, mailboxes, etc., to human lives. And also assign a dollar value to the benefits of such chases: the dollar value to society of getting a murderer — or, in this case, a suspected car thief — off the street. And then calculate how those costs and benefits add up.

Is catching an auto-theft suspect worth one life, let alone five? If so, current policy stands. If not, then ideally, policy would be amended accordingly.

News outlets are uniquely situated to carry out this research, but I invite any journalist, pro or citizen, to take this idea and run with it. If we’re paying too high a price to apprehend fleeing suspects, we need to know that. And if we’re not, we need to know and accept that, too.

 

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