Friday, February 04, 2005

 

Press Conferences Made Simpleā„¢

Those journalists sure can ask some pesky and downright hard questions. How can we stop that? Well...why not place our own people with the journalists!

The thought process above must have occured in the White House at some point, because as the Boston Globe reports here, a man named Jeff Gannon (who has next to nothing in the credentials department) asks softball questions, frames things in partisan rhetoric, and is the go-to guy when the President's grilled on tough issues by actual, real journalists. He's also funded by a GOP activist organization.

After the outright propaganda of the Karen Ryan ordeal, and the recent revelations of commentators being paid to spout White House policies, I guess I'm not that surprised. Still, I always liked to think historical Soviet practices were confined to...historical Soviet practices. It's true that America has a long, flourishing practice of propaganda, I'm just not sure it's been quite this flagrant before. Upcoming headline: President Bush Announces Creation of Ministry of Truth Department. "I'm for the truth," the President said, " and terrorists hate us for our truth."

UPDATE: The aptly titled The Propaganda President at Slate goes over some of the same issues.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

 

Blame the Moon

Rumors of full moon madness have persisted in myth and folklore for centuries, but could there be any truth to such, well...madness? I decided to conduct a thorough, exhaustive investigation consisting of a 3.42 second web search to find out whether there was any truth to the idea.

It turns out, I'm not the only one who was interested in this topic. In fact, my first Google hit was Neuroscience for Kids--The Full Moon, and they cover the topic quite well. Check it out for details and sources, but in summary:

Well, the full moon is pure evil.

Actually, I'm sad to say, these were the only positive correlations out of many, many more studies that found no link whatsoever. Most, including police arrest records and suicide rates, showed no link at all. And a few things, such as mental hospital admissions, actually decreased on the full moon and increased on the new moon.

So that's one less scapegoat in my repertoire...



Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

The Social Security Swindle

To immunize everyone from the slated onslaught of Social Security propaganda tommorow, I thought it would be good to outline how completely ridiculous, deceitful, and dumb the President's ideas for "revamping" the program are.

Actually, I'm just going to point you in the direction of two people who've already done the hard work:

Paul Krugman--Genius economist/columnist. Start with "Inventing a Crisis" from 12/7/04 and work your way up to the present.

Jonathan Schwarz--When it comes to Social Security (among other things) he knows what he's talking about. Check out this Q&A section from his upcoming book, Hands Off Social Security!

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