Thursday, June 30, 2005

Still no Times Commentary on the President's Speech

Today's Times editorial page left the President's speech on Iraq unanswered. Perhaps it's taking them a while to assimilate all the big MSM editorials and to rearrange all the juiciest sentences to make them their own. One of the predictable (as Captain Ed says) complaints about the President's speech is that he dares to mention 9/11 in the context of the War in Iraq. How darest he?

James Taranto, in one of the other MSM publications, reminds us of a speech given by a fairly well-known U.S. Senator who is not now the President, but who did serve his country in Vietnam:
September 11 changed a lot, but other things have changed: Globalization, technology, a smaller planet, the difficulties of radical fundamentalism, the crosscurrents of religion and politics. We are living in an age where the dangers are different and they require a different response, different thinking, and different approaches than we have applied in the past. . . .

A brutal, oppressive dictator, guilty of personally murdering and condoning murder and torture, grotesque violence against women, execution of political opponents, a war criminal who used chemical weapons against another nation and, of course, as we know, against his own people, the Kurds. He has diverted funds from the Oil-for-Food program, intended by the international community to go to his own people. He has supported and harbored terrorist groups, particularly radical Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal, and he has given money to families of suicide murderers in Israel.

Read the rest of Taranto's commentary in today's Best of the Web Today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush's Speech

Notably, the Roanoke Times did not editorialize about the President's speech last night on the Iraq War. I'm guessing that they're waiting to read the editorials in WaPo, NYT and LAT so they can figure out what they think. For a preview, then, read the Captain's Quarters post: Editorial Response To Bush Speech: Predictable.

Legalizing Thievery

What a bunch of bullsh*t this recent Supreme Court decision on Kelo v. New London is. Interestingly, the editorial staff of the Roanoke Times agrees:
But in Kelo v. City of New London, the court stretched the definition past the breaking point by allowing property to be taken from unwilling sellers (still, at least, with the Fifth Amendment's required "just compensation") for the sole purpose of economic development.

What the Times' editors don't mention is that the Court's liberals, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer were the ones who voted to uphold the thievery, while Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas dissented along with O'Connor (whose "impassioned dissent" is quoted in the editorial). Furthermore, the Times takes some comfort in the "required 'just compensation'", without wondering who gets to decide what constitutes "just compensation".

On the bright side, it appears that a game is afoot to build a hotel on land currently owned by Justice Souter. The new hotel will be called The Lost Liberty Hotel, and will surely create higher tax revenues for the city of Weare, New Hampshire than Justice Souter is currently providing. I hope they get the three votes they need.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Kaine declares self "the do-nothing candidate"

In what Virginia Democratic political consultant Dave "Mudcat" Saunders labels an "absolutely f**king brilliant piece of g*dd*mn rural Southern political strategy," Tim Kaine has promised that though he believes Virginia's transportation grid is deteriorating and his religious faith makes him oppose the death penalty, he will neither raise taxes or oppose executions if elected Governor. These policy statements come hard on the heels of Kaine's vow to leave gun owners alone though he personally desires more gun control, further solidifying Kaine's vow to be the "do nothing candidate."

Kaine says he will close transportation budget shortfall with low-bid road work. Posted by Hello

"This is boudacious," said Mudcat as he gutted something small with fur on it. "This is what I've been trying to tell people, g*dd*mmit. Rural voters can do business with a Democrat who promises to do absolutely f**king nothing, hell yes. Rednecks are open to proposals that challenge their assumptions about the world, as long as those ideas don't come from someone who seems to disrespect what they believe. And since the Democratic party disrespects everything they do believe, why not promise to do nothing? Liberal, my ass. A liberal is always going to meddle in your sh*t, and Kaine's promising he won't. It's f**king brilliant, I'm telling you. Give me that Mason jar, willya?"

Friday, June 24, 2005

Visitors from the County

I stopped by Salt Lick World Headquarters on my way to vacation, just to check up on things. Some folks from the county were there, measuring and taking pictures. They were real pleasant, inquiring about about Salt Lick's health and whether he had an attorney. They must have just come off of vacation themselves because they were jabbering about "New London." I guess the only bad thing they saw there was a Ms. Kelo, who sounded like a cantankerous old biddy who'd just soon sue you as look at you, but I was in a hurry and didn't have time to get that story.

I'm sure everything will be in order when Salt Lick gets back. I sure wish my county would check up on my place while I'm gone.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Out Hunting

Weel, after a slow start that seems to have fizzled out altogether, the Grouse Hunter has been mostly AWOL. Chalk it up to summertime blues, and going out hunting other game. As a matter of fact, I canceled my Roanoke Times subscription, so I haven't even been reading what ol' man Denton has been writing these days. I'll be back in the Salt Lick woods soon, though. Over and out (for now).

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Well, Salt Lick, I've been hiding in the weeds near your headquarters, hoping for a glimpse of the Grouse Hunter, but I've haven't seen any sign of him. It's hot as hell so I'm going to find a watering hole. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll see one of the candidates.

I tried to find something outrageous in your Roanoke Times, but nothing stood out. Your boy Tommy Denton is all fired up about ending the estate tax, but what else is new? They want an energy policy, but they don't like those windmills up in Highland County, apparently because they don't generate enough electricity. It's tough to please those folks.

Please come back, Salt. It's lonely here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Visiting with kin

Jethro's packed up the jalopy and we're a heading for the hills to see some kin folk. I hear Sam Drucker has an internet connection in his General Store these days, so I may check in at the old Salt Lick, but don't count on it. When I get with the kin, I don't feel like doing nothing but enjoying myself.

Those two rascals City Slicker and Grouse Hunter have the keys to Salt Lick International Headquarters, though I'm not sure it's a good idea. I might get back and find all the game shot up, Granny's shine gone, and a new bypass through the property. Lordy.

Anyone suffering withdrawal pains from Roanoke Times hectoring while I'm gone should click my blogroll links to -- From on High, The Roanoke Slant, One Man's Trash, and occasionally, Commonwealth Conservative.

Y'all enjoy what's left of Spring.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Congressman Rick Boucher being testy, or being tested?

Today's Roanoke Times hardcopy carries a commentary (apparently unavailable online) by 9th Congressional District Representative Rick Boucher titled "The Patriot Act was a rush job that abused the legislative process."

Interestingly, Boucher's piece comes only days after RT editor Dan Radmacher's self-humiliation in a Patriot Act "debate" with U.S. Attorney John Brownlee. Cavalry to the rescue? Now that would be constituent service.

Salt Lick understands that reasonable men and women differ on Patriot Act, and notes that some liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have joined in suggesting change in certain of the act's provisions. That Boucher may join these calls is unremarkable. What caught Salt Lick's eye in Boucher's piece, however, was its sharp tone. Boucher is normally the deliberate chess player, keeping his rhetoric under control, stating his case in a lawyerly manner. In public pronouncements, he usually stays above "politics" and personal attacks. Salt Lick has admired this and thinks it's been a secret to Boucher's success. This time, however, Boucher's language is harsh and accusatory, far beyond the nevertheless supportive critiques of the act by self-proclaimed liberals like former Mayor Ed Koch, for example.

Boucher writes:

...the Patriot Act...tramples on the basic rights of Americans...[its]enactment...grossly abused the legislative process...

...the Ashcroft bill was too extreme...sweeping invasions of civil liberties.

In my 23 years in Congress, I have never witnessed a greater abuse of the legislative process or a more careless act by the leadership of the House.

The law was passed at a time when the country was traumatized by the attacks of 9/11. Ashcroft and a compliant House leadership took advantage of the public's fear to circumvent long-honored legislative procedures and place an unworthy statute on the books.

This is a remarkable departure for Boucher. He is not just accusing his opponents of having bad ideas, he's accusing them of bad faith -- of fear-mongering and abuse of power.

These claims of abuse are interesting stuff coming from a man who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, read a statement supporting Bill Clinton and voted against his impeachment for abuse of power. Likewise, the concern for an overbearing government is intriguing coming from a Congressman whose aides, presumably while on government payroll, watch local newspapers for dissenting opinions and mail their opponents unsolicited letters answering them personally (as they did Salt Lick). Not that there is anything wrong with that. Constituent outreach, you know. (And any blogger who thinks he can attack Boucher anonymously needs to remember Boucher is very active in internet issues and technology. Constituent outreach, you know.)

Then there is the question of why play the "John Ashcroft card?" Few figures in the Bush administration raised liberal hackles more. But Ashcroft is gone. It's as if Boucher hopes to taint the Patriot Act not by argument, but by insinuation.

So, what's going on? Why this huge departure in style for Boucher? Has Rick caught the Washington bloviating fever? Was he sincerely upset because he respects the processes of legislature? Or is he just angry he was left out of the power loop in the House?

Or is it something else? Something connected with the fact that if the Democrats retake Congress, Boucher's seniority (23 years in a secure district) will place him high in the ruling ranks? He does, after all sit on two key committees -- Commerce and Energy, and Judiciary. And Commerce and Energy are very important to Southwest Virginia's coal industry. The prospect of acquiring these plumbs would be tempting to a politician of either party.

"Abuse." "Trample our rights." We've heard similar words from Democrats and their allies frequently in recent months.

Senate Minority leader Harry Reid at a recent Democratic fundraiser:

[Republicans] want to scrap rules that have been in place since our nation's beginning that give every Senator the right to speak their mind and say their piece. They are demanding a power no president has ever had: the ability to all-but personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges without giving the other party any say.

That's too much power for one person. That's too much power for one President. That's too much power for one political party.

Or the press releases of House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

"Republicans have broken their promises, betrayed the public trust, and abused their power... They have undermined the ethics of the House, abandoned any principle of procedural fairness or democratic accountability, and overreached into private family matters and the federal judiciary.

Hillary Clinton e-mailed supporters:

What I see happening in Washington is a concerted effort by the Administration and the leadership in Congress to really create absolute power.

and said at a recent fundraiser:

There has never been an administration, I don’t believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda.

Offical Democratic Party websites warn:

Republicans Warn against Frist-DeLay-Bush Power Consolidation

which matches the anti-Bush hysteria of others such as Bill Moyers and the Roanoke Times.

So again, what's going on? Why so many Democrats saying the same thing? Could these be talking points supporting an...


Salt Lick doesn't know. He wonders if Boucher received marching orders from somewhere to get with the Democratic program. It would be a shame if Southwest Virginians' congressman moved to the Howard Dean wing of his party. And Salt Lick thinks it's a shame we have no Southwest Virginia newspaper willing to seriously watchdog our representative's intent and motives, to find out for us what's going on.

Now, that kind of journalistic integrity needs to be tested.

Every slice of Bacon has two sides

Heretofore, the only picture of Jim Bacon Salt Lick has known is the scholarly, dignified visage at his website. I think the photo may have been cooked.

HERE is raw Bacon.

Promoting balance in public broadcasting -- Get 'er done, Ken

The most recent edition of the Weekly Standard offers an update on resistance to Kenneth Tomlinson's efforts to bring balance to PBS, including additions to the Salt Lick's analysis of Roanoke Times' patron saint Bill Moyers.

Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman -- "Democrats are mostly Jews and Blacks and Atheists"

Actually, Mehlman didn't say that. But if he had, do you think it would have appeared in the Roanoke Times?

So why has there been no -- zero, zip, nada -- coverage of the recent storm over Howard Dean's dismissive remarks about Republicans being mostly narrow-minded "white Christians?" The controversy has made the evening network news. It's been covered by The Washington Post and other major news outlets.

Even RT news editor Mike Riley's old employer, CNN (the Clinton News Newtwork), has covered the story.

Oh, now I remember. Mr. Riley once managed the CNN website "AllPolitics."

All politics. I forgot.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Southwest Virginia -- Little Switzerland

The Radmacher children revolt. "You promised only one hour, Daddy. These liederhosen itch and this dog stinks. I wanna go home."  Posted by Hello

Jerry over at From on High is again questioning the prevailing mantra that Southwest Virginia's economic future lies in tourism.

Salt Lick saw enough big-time "economic development" in the Peace Corps to know it's beyond his expertise (did I mention Africa is still poor?). Some of those wonks over at "Bacon's Rebellion - the Blog" could probably figure it out if they tore themselves away from how to travel 10 miles in less that 1 hour in major Virginia urban areas. But with the delights of Dollywood and Pigeon Forge four hours south, and Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg about 5 hours northward, I do wonder if what we'll get here is low-spending, anti-globalization granola heads.

Oh well, as long as they don't try to get Jethro to smoke crawdads again.

I guess it's a step up from "crabby old men"

The Roanoke Times continues showing how much it respects bloggers, even those on its offical blogroll. Consider cub journalist Peter Dybdahl's sidebar for today's article on blogging -- "Ax-grind online" -- taken from the the Roanoke Times' soulmate Atlanta Journal-Constitution (not available online):

"It used to be that if you wanted to get your message out, you got a loudspeaker and a soapbox and put on a special helmet to protect yourself from alien laser beams. Now you start a blog...

Everything I just wrote is ridiculously biased, according to Lars Hagen,"

No Petey, everything you just wrote is sophomoric, uninformed, and, come to think of it, pretty much suits you for the Roanoke Times.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Patriot Act vs. just acting out

Truth be told, I knew very little about the Patriot Act last night when I began listening to the debate between U.S. Attorney John Brownlee and Roanoke Times editor Dan Radmacher. My guess was that given the American system of checks, balances, and high sensitivity to obtrusive government, it was unlikely the Act was the proverbial camel's nose of tyranny under the tent of individual privacy. Dan Radmacher said nothing that changed my mind.

Despite Salt Lick's smart-alecky (Jethro says "snarky") remarks about Roanoke Times' editors, he has nothing against them personally. In fact, he felt downright sorry for Dan Radmacher last night as John Brownlee figuratively took his hand, patted it, and said, "You're going to be fine, Dan, you're going to be fine."

At first, I thought maybe Radmacher had not had time to prepare properly, he sounded so uninformed. We are all busy these days, and sometimes we just get caught out. But that didn't make sense. Lberal newspapers such as the Roanoke Times have screeched about the Patriot Act since its enactment several years ago.

As the "debate" went on, I recognized the real motivation of Radmacher and his fellow travelers -- our old friend Liberal Hysteria. It was the current left-wing theme of Bush McHitlerburton is getting too much power. We are living in a fascist state, etc. For example, while discussing the appointment of special judges (FISA judges), Radmacher said danger lay in these judges because they are appointed solely by Chief Justice Rehnquist. Now, if you are critiquing a system, why not say "the Chief justice of the Supreme Court?" Why "Chief Justice Rehnquist?" I was tempted to call in and ask if it would be OK as long as Justices Scalia and Thomas helped Rehnquist choose.

Then Radmacher repeated what is apparently an urban legend about a librarian vs. FBI standoff that tested the Patriot Act. I Googled it, but found absolutely nothing. This is the type of stuff created by the liberal American Library Association, a liberal group that howls about the potential problems of the Patriot Act but won't condemn Castro when he throws librarians in jail. Oh yeah, we all know those librarians are one tightly wound group (sorry, Sis), but for a journalist to traffic in anti-globalization camp scuttlebutt...

Program callers supporting Radmacher didn't much help his case. My favorite was the fellow who related how his friend "Geronimo" has been followed by the FBI for nearly 30 years. (Maybe this guy and Geronimo were the "scrotum inflators" with Ward "Walking Eagle" Churchill at the Anarchist Book Fair?)

Then someone named "Dewey" (last name "Eyed?"), perhaps one of Radmacher's associates from his work with the environmental movement, called in to say he knew George Bush would use the Patriot Act to stifle environmental protests and for George "to bring it on." (Psst. Dewey. The frequency is 710 AM, WFNR.)

The real tragedy is that the Roanoke Times could avoid falling for some of this hysteria if its staff were intellectually diverse. Reasonable men can, and do, differ on whether to keep the Patriot Act. Former New York Mayor and liberal Ed Koch and former conservative congressman Bob Barr, for instance, both want changes. That's the greatness of America. We reason, we debate. And we usually get it right.

Come on, Wendy and Tommy, hire a conservative or two into your editorial staff. It would be a patriotic act.

Sorry to burst your bubble...

George Bush at Yale. Posted by Hello

...but it appears from Commonwealth Conservative that our young hero made higher grades than the supposedly brilliant and nuanced John F'ing Kerry. (Did I mention the Cheney's daughter is a lesbian?)

Gee, I had no idea Frank Zappa was in George's class.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

TONIGHT: The Patriot Act -- Roanoke Times' editor debates U.S. Attorney

Roanoke Times editor Dan "Yes-I-am-a-liberal" Radmacher will debate the Patriot Act with John Brownlee, United States Attorney for Western Virgina, tonight (Tuesday, June 7) at 7:00 p.m. on National People's Radio station WVTF .

UPDATE at 7:15 pm: Heck, I can't find it. Maybe 7:30?

UPDATE at 7:30: OK, it's on.

So when will Tommy Denton hit bottom?

Roanoke Times editor Tommy Denton's Sunday column quoted pundit Molly Ivins' "First Rule of Holes: When you're in one, quit digging."

Oh yeah, Molly "I'm-a-Bush-hater" Ivins, the nationally syndicated columnist for Tommy's former employer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Oh yeah, Molly Ivins, author of "Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America."

And this Molly Ivins, too.

Wait, what's that it says about "Her television commentaries have been featured on National Public Radio and the McNeil/Lehrer program?"

NPR? PBS McNeil/Lehrer? Aren't those part of the same biased Corporation for Public Broadcasting that has made left-wing pundit Bill Moyers wealthy and into which Ken Tomlinson is trying to inject some balance?

I'm not sure that's dirt you're shoveling Tommy, but you're definitely in over your head.

Our slithering country friends

Jerry over at From On High has a photo and a post most of us in the country can identify with -- big 'ol black snake. I saw one of these "pets" stretched out in my yard while I was mowing last weekend. He was the same size as Jerry's, and wet and shiny. I assume he'd just molted his skin. I had to mow around him until one of the cats came over and bopped him on the head and made him leave.

One of my friend's wives will actually stop mowing, pick one of these things up, and move it out of her way. We know another couple that lives with several in their attic, though they occasionally come down into the living quarters. They are real good at keeping the mice under control.

Farm living is the life for me. Keep Manhattan, just gimme that countryside.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Casino consultin'

Salt Lick International HQ -- The Salt Dome  Posted by Hello

Blogging will be light at Salt Lick International Headquarters over the next few weeks. Jethro has asked me to act as what he called "a consultant" to his new "Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in Carson City, Nevada.

Lord, I hope this turns out better than when he wanted to be a double-naught spy or an astronaut.

I hate to say it, but sometimes I think that if brains was lard, Jethro couldn't grease a pan.

(h/t to Florida Cracker)

D-Day, June 6, 1944

Roanoke Times editorial roundup

Tuesday, May 31 -- Real Estate taxes: problem and symptom. Plans to stem rising assesments should take into account local needs, and federal and state governments' failure to meet their obligations. Kaine...acknowledges that real estate tax relief would require increased state aid to localities. Kilgore apparently would tie communities' hands and walk away.

Wednesday, June 1 -- The real cost of development. Impact fees could help local governments pay for infrastructure needs generated by new growth -- but only if the General Assembly will allow it. In most parts of the country, the fairy tale that development pays for itself has been laid to rest. Virginia should recognize that reality, and grant local government the ability to recoup the costs associated with new growth.

A president at odds with reality. Iraq, Afghanistan and the terrorist threat all contradict Bush's misleading rhetoric.

Thursday, June 2 -- Holding Virgina on the road. The outgoing transportation chief forced the state's road agency back on course. Whether it stays there will depend a lot on the next governor. Virginia has an estimated $25 billion in long-term transportation needs. The General Assembly, supposedly flush with revenues from a small tax increase that anti-tax idelogues decry as folly, gave highways an $848 million fusion this year. The state has far, far to go.

Friday, June 3 -- Scott voter registrar should step down. A mom [Willie Mae Kilgore] and election official with two sons on the ballot has a higher duty to the public interest.

Saturday, June 4 -- Bad news for investors. SEC nominee Christopher Cox lacks the current commissioner's commitment to reforms necessary to restore confidence in financial markets... President Bush's nomination of Cox paid lip service to the importance of financial market integrity

Sunday, June 5 -- The widening gap in child care. OK, demand more work from parents getting government aide, but they'll need more help watching the kids. Need now exceeds subsidies...In Bush's America, more workers are poor, and the poor on TANF will have to work more.

If not a U.S. gulag, far too much like one. Abusive secretive treatment of prisoners from Iraq and Afghanistan is troublingly similar. President Bush dismissed as "absurd" Amnesty International's charge that his administration has set up a Soveiet-style "gulag" for prisoners in the so-called war of terrorism. But Amnesty is off the mark in degree, not substance. The Soviet Union...

Monday, June 6 -- America Inc., up for sale. Lobbyists, spreading money strategically across party lines, exert undue influence in Washington. The people need to take back their government. The influence-peddling that barely masquerades as lobbying in Washington - the "free expression" of "political views" that increasingly amounts to the purchase of public policy by big campaign contributors - is rotting the republic at its foundation of representative democracy.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bill Moyers, patron saint of the Roanoke Times?

“I share the sentiments of Bill Moyers, one of my journalistic heroes.”

So wrote Tommy Denton, Editorial Page Editor of the Roanoke Times, for an address ("Why Not Blame the Media?") he delivered as a visiting scholar last year at Tarleton State University. Denton wasn't speaking lightly. His address mentions Moyers nine times.

Tommy Denton's admiration for Moyers isn't surprising. Besides being journalists, both are Texans and Texas political insiders, having served powerful Democratic politicans -- Denton as a press aide to Senator Lloyd Bentsen, arch rival of another Texas political family -- the Bushes -- and Moyers as press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson. While Denton appears to have labored in relative obscurity and only for a few years, Moyers served Johnson in some of his most heady and troubled times. In fact, Moyers headed the Johnson campaign team responsible for the infamous "daisy" ad which insinuated a vote for Goldwater was a vote for nuclear war. At the time, Moyers wrote Johnson, "[W]hile we paid for the ad only once on NBC last Monday night, ABC and CBS both ran it on their news shows Friday. So we got it shown on all three networks for the price of one." Some believe that ad and Moyers' subsequent career helped create today's toxic take-no-prisoners politics.

It's likely that the Roanoke Times' Bill Moyers' fan club includes more staff than just Tommy Denton. Moyers once praised the work of recent Roanoke Times hire and Tommy Denton admirer, "Yes, I am a liberal" Dan Radmacher. Moreover, long-time Roanoke Times readers often see Moyers quoted in the Times' editorials as if he were an important authority. So, for anyone wanting to understand the Roanoke Times, it's important to ask -- just who is Bill Moyers?

Bill Moyers Posted by Hello

If you are totally unfamiliar with Moyers, a good place to start is the basic information in the on-line encylopedia Wikipedia. Most folks, however, know Moyers as the moderator and producer of a variety of PBS documentaries, and most recently, the PBS weekly program "NOW with Bill Moyers." He retired last year but has been in the news lately expressing his outrage that Kenneth Tomlinson, the new Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has launched a personal crusade aimed at "eliminating the perception of political bias" in PBS programs.

(Here's something that makes Salt Lick chuckle -- Kenneth Tomlinson grew up just outside of Galax, Virginia! Tomlinson and Salt Lick! Southwest Virginia against Texas! IT'S A VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY! Read about it here. )

Tomlinson is not alone. For some time now, many -- other -- people have said Moyers has used PBS not only to broadcast his own left-wing ideology, but to enrich himself and his family. Others simply note the imbalance in PBS programing and cite Moyers as a chief example.

It does indeed seem that the original PBS logo has changed slightly over the years.

The Donkey in PBS Posted by Hello

As mentioned, Moyers is often quoted in Roanoke Times' editorials. And there are many similarities in how Moyers and editor Tommy Denton express their ideas. Both frequently cite famous figures. Moyers can name-drop an astounding number of intellectuals into anything he writes or speaks, no doubt the harvest of his many documentaries. Ben Franklin appears to be a favorite of Denton's.

Likewise, as the "new media" of cable news, talk radio, and bloggers raised serious doubts of "old media's" objectivity and accuracy, both men have recently sounded an almost apocalyptic note about America's future. Last December, Moyers bewailed the new challenges to old media and said,

What I know to be real is that we are in for the fight of our lives. I am not a romantic about democracy or journalism... journalism and democracy are deeply linked in whatever chance we human beings have to redress our grievances, renew our politics, and reclaim our revolutionary ideals. Those are difficult tasks at any time, and they are even more difficult in a cynical age as this, when a deep and pervasive corruption has settled upon the republic. But too much is at stake for our spirits to flag...

While Tommy Denton ended his "Why not Blame the Media?" with,

...freedom and democracy are hard labor — yours and mine, not just the politicians’ and not just the media’s. So I invite you to ponder the response of Ben Franklin in 1787 as he left Constitution Hall after completion of the new Constitution, to the woman who asked: “What, Dr. Franklin, have you wrought?”
“A republic, madam,” he said, “if you can keep it.”

Another interesting similarity in Moyers' and Denton's style is their use of religion. While both condemn an intolerant "Religious Right," each cites faith, morals, and "authorities" of the "Religious Left" in support of their arguments. Denton, for example, once grounded the better part of a column on the words of Religious Left leader Jim Wallis. Similarly, Moyers weaves religious quotations and imagery into his work so often that some have dubbed him "PBS's Evangelist."

Lately, Moyers seems to have gone off the deep end of this theme. He got so worked up in one speech this year he smeared James Watt, Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior, by saying Watt and many other Republicans wanted to cut down all trees to hasten the second coming of Christ. To his credit, Moyers apologized.

But perhaps weirdest of all was Moyers' comparison of himself to Jesus Christ and his claim of having God on his side. In an interview widely quoted, but often parsed to eliminate the weirder parts, Moyers reacted to Tomlinson's investigation of PBS bias:

First, let me assure you that I take in stride attacks by the radical right wingers who have not given up demonizing me although I retired over six months ago. They’ve been after me for years now, and I suspect they will be stomping on my grave to make sure I don’t come back from the dead. I should point out to them that one of our boys pulled it off some two thousand years ago after the Pharisees, the Sadducees and Caesar surrogates thought they had shut him up for good. I won’t be expecting that kind of miracle, but I should put my detractors on notice, they might just compel me out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair.

"...stomping on my grave... to make sure I don't come back ... one of our boys pulled it off..." (?)

Woo boy. At 70, Moyers probably doesn't have too many years left in his first life. Get ready for the Rapture.

There's plenty vintage Moyers' invective here and here and here and here, if you want to read it. If you are a long-time reader of the Roanoke Times, you'll recognize some of it as having been repeated there word for word. And you'll begin to understand one source of the Roanoke Times' left-wing tone.

So there you have it. Tommy Denton admires the work of Bill Moyers, who admires the work of Dan Radmacher, who admires the work of Tommy Denton. And they're all pursued by Salt Lick and his newfound journalistic hero, Kenneth Tomlinson.

Which reminds me of something Benjamin Franklin said which applies to preachy, invective-ladling journalists who simultaneously call for more "diversity" and civil public dialogue.

"The bell calls others to Church, but itself never minds the sermon."

Good man, old Ben.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

But which one will respect us the morning after?

Salt Lick rarely understands the ins and outs of politics, but for what its worth, last night Channel 10 out of Roanoke reported on Southwest Virginia: 2005 Battleground, stating that since the end of the legislative session Tim Kaine has visited SW Virginia 18 times (10 times in May; more than twice a week), and Jerry Kilgore has visited 12 times since mid-March.

Our regional political commentator, Virginia Tech's Dr. Robert Denton (often referred to locally as "Dr. Bob") told Channel 10 that rural Virginia would be the main battleground in the Governor's race, so old Salt Lick perked up at that.

Battleground? Oh Lord, it's gonna be sign wars all over again.

A soldier in Iraq puts it in perspective

One of Power Line's regular correspondents, a U.S. Army Major reports the real story in Iraq.

BBC broadcasts and online reports... could easily persuade a viewer that my BBC acquaintance’s "sky is falling" prediction was the most accurate. In fact, even when reporting the results, the network focused not on the achievement of yet another milestone in Iraq’s transition from tyranny to democracy, but instead on some minor Sunni minister who was unhappy with his post. I think it was the Minister of the Environment, so perhaps his next step will be to contact Christine Todd Whitman's literary agent.

Anyway, the episode reminded me of how the media tends to view such events—always as potential cataclysms, rather than as small, positive steps forward. Portraying events that way probably gets more television viewers and sells more newspapers. But the growth of alternative media indicates that the public is learning that they may not be getting the story as objectively as claimed, which creates a thirst for other sources of information, whether it be Fox News, emails from troops, or blogs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for all of the support you and your readers give to the troops.

Of course, if enough mainstream news organizations like the Roanoke Times and Newsweek keep using the news to create more terrorists, many more innocent people will die.

Read the whole thing.

So, the Roanoke Times is racially and intellectually bigoted?

"I'm telling you, Billy, it's a sign. Tommy Denton is ready to come out of the closet and under the sheets. Do you realize this means our group'll finally have somebody that can write?" Posted by Hello

Oh, probably not, but the Times would definitely hint at "institutional racism" if these figures applied to a business or other entity it didn't like. A 50% decline in newsroom diversity in the last ten years? A minority workforce far below the minority percentage of Virginia's population? Racism? Or just a sign that the Roanoke Times might be experiencing the same difficulties in attracting qualified minority candidates as other corporate and academic entities? Probably the latter.

More at Poynter Online concering the lack of "diversity" at most newspapers.

Of course, there are other, more important forms of "diversity" than skin color.

All this certainly brings back memories of a terrible chapter in American history -- the story of The Old Negro Space Program.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Those Pesky Congressional Globetrotters

Today's Briefly Put remarks that
At least 43 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and nearly 200 aides have belatedly reported trips financed by special interests.

Of course, the Roanoke Times also suggests that the attention is due to the fact that Tom DeLay is among the 43.

But, as Lars Hagen pointed out three weeks ago,
Since 2000 members of Congress have taken 5,410 trips, half were sponsored by non-profit groups that don't have to disclose who is providing the money. Democrats took 3,025 trips; Republicans 2,375, Independents, 10. Rep. Harold Ford, Democrat of Tenn. took the most trips: 63. Delay (clearly not one of the worst offenders) took 14 trips. He [Delay] ranked 28th for value of trips, and 114th in the number taken (data: usa-today 4/26 -- clearly not one of Delay's supporters).
(emphasis added)

Just another example of the Roanoke Times' inability to pay attention to any of the facts that don't fit their particular bias.

Paying My Debt to Society

Thank you, Salt Lick, for inviting me to join The Salt Lick. I will endeavor not to grouse too much, but the Roanoke Times can ruffle my feathers from time to time.

(picture pinched from Grouse Hunter Magazine)

See ya'll in the woods,
Grouse Hunter

Caught a trespasser

Other day I caught this fellow hunting on my land despite the "Posted" signs. Not that I'm opposed to hunting, but since Mrs. Salt walks her dang dogs all over the land, sometimes at dawn and dusk, I can't afford to risk an accident. Those dogs have cost a lot. (Lordy, I'm glad she doesn't read this blog. :-))

Anyway, I told the fellow I'd let him off if he became a commenter on this blog. I don't know when he'll show. He looked shifty to me. You'll know him by "Grouse Hunter."

"God is laughing at us, Sabu."

So both Nixon and Clinton were forever tarnished by Deep Throats. It's strange coincidences like this that make me wonder if God does indeed have a sense of humor. Why not have some fun while you're watching the universe unfold?

A newspaper at odds with reality

I often wonder in what kind of closeted world the Roanoke Times editorial staff lives. The image of New York Times arts critic Pauline Kael regularly comes to mind. After Richard Nixon was reelected in a landslide in 1972, Kael lamented, "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon."

What else can explain a newspaper that cites the opinion of a "French anti-terrorism judge" in a critique of American intelligence and military services?

I'm just a little old feller down here on the farm, but even I can get better-informed, more diverse opinion examining --

the recent revelations on the Saddam-Al Quaeda connection


a soldier's view of the "piss-poor reporting from third-rate news organizations."

It's out there, Roanoke Times. You just have to turn off Bill Moyers and NPR, where "all things are not considered." A mind is a terrible thing to waste.