Thursday, February 10, 2005

Show Me the Moonie

If you aren't familiar with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon or the Moonies you should be. This cult leader has a lot of power in Washington DC (he owns the Washington Times) and a very interesting blog keeps track of his crazy antics and our politicos involvement with him. Check out Where in Washington, DC is Sun Myung Moon?

The latest discovery by the blog is the involvement of a former Reagan official with the Top Moonie:

Elliot Abrams, former Reagan official and ex-convict, took to the road in 1998 to appear at events attacking "deprogrammers," kidnappers hired by parents to retrieve young people from Reverend Moon's movement.

There are three guiding principles for the world to choose among: democracy, communism and Godism…It is clear that democracy as the United States knows and practices it cannot be the model for the world. - Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Open Records Fever

The Tulsa World today touts a journalists victory in getting Oklahoma State University to release grade records to the university's Daily O'Collegian newspaper and the Tulsa World. The university had complied with the open records request earlier but had provided the data in hardcopy form and not in the electronic form demanded by the newspapers. Seems that the Daily O'Collegian wanted the data in an easily number-crunchable format for their convenience so they made a big issue over this as if the university was somehow denying access. The newspapers doth protest too much.

When I first read the article in the World (sorry, the World wants you to pay for looking at them so I can't link to the story) my first thought was, "what the &^% are they doing releasing students' grade records to newspapers?" - but it appears the university did delete names from the data. In a sloppy bit of journalism the World article never explains just what the objective is of the O'Collegians open records request. Do they suspect some sort of hanky panky with grades? Not atypically, the newspapers make the story about the press rather than about the story behind the story. The reader is left to wonder what all this is really about?

I'm no fan of the current OSU administration but I sympathize with them having to take time off their focus to deal with journalists with open records fever. Now don't get me wrong - I'm all in favor of public access to public records but I have little patience with journalists who believe that the records must be delivered to them in a form most convenient for them. Does OSU charge the O'Colly for the time and expense of providing the data in a form that makes the O'Colly journalist's life easy? Somebody has to pay for it.

Journalists are valuable. Good journalists are indispensable. But journalists need to remember they aren't the story.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It's My Party

The Chinese New Year is this week and while it is being celebrated around the world wherever ethnic Chinese people have settled, there's one group that finds itself excluded in some of the celebrations. Even in democratic Australia members of the Falungong martial arts group find themselves banned from participating out of fear of reprisal by China's Communist dictators. Organizers of a New Year parade in Sydney told the Falungong they couldn't come to the party because of Beijing's opposition to Falungong.

A few years ago the Communists declared the Falungong to be an "evil cult" out of fear of the movement's growing influence in China. Millions of followers were persecuted in China. It's as if the US Government went after Pilates. The irrational fear Beijing showed toward Falungong reveals how weak the dictators really are. Unfortunately Beijing's persecution is allowed to extend far beyond China's borders.
Humiliating Defeat?

I received a form letter in the mail from the National Republican Congessional Committee that addressed me as "Dear Loyal Republican," and included an "Emergency 2005 Legislative Priorities Survey". You've gotten those fake surveys in the mail before - the one that ask a few loaded questions and then ask you how much you want to contribute. I doubt if they even count the votes as their mail order company rips open the envelopes and deposits the checks.

This letter, from Tom Reynolds, NRCC Chairman is humorous to read. Keep in mind that the presidential election was quite close - about 49/51. But Reynolds says "after suffering a humiliating defeat, the Democrats are desperately trying to block Republican efforts to" - blah, blah, blah. Reynolds goes on to claim a "clear mandate" and accuse the liberal Democrats of using "dirty tricks" to block the President.

The Democrats use the same direct mail lies to solicit money for their side but when I compare the appeals from both extremes I can see the current Republican Party takes it further, skews more, lies more. A mandate? Tom Reynolds, don't kid yourself.