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Comments made by Zugzwang

Firing Juan

If this brouhaha reveals anything, it's that people tune into media these days and almost miss the news because they're so obsessed picking everything apart for bias. I think it's great that they do - the media needs watchdogs as much as government, business and school board meetings. But people seem to be projecting a lot on NPR and reading a little too much into what all this means.

I'm inclined to agree with Tom's original post suggesting this was simply a convenient time to fire Williams. It's the same with Rick Sanchez. Both their comments were stupid, though I don't really think of either one of them as racist (both have made silly, xenophobic statements, but neither of these men are going to be leading ethnic cleansings of any sort, and it's just as stupid to exaggerate the meaning of their comments).

Sanchez was a terrible anchor who often looked ignorant and pompous on the air. While NPR could honestly use a few more opinionated op-ed writers (ones who make clear their words are only their own, and not "news" per se), I can see why Williams was a serious thorn in their side.

To suggest they fired him because the secret liberal cabal run by George Soros grew angry over his comments is ridiculous. As with most dust-ups in life, this had more to do with incompetence than conspiracies - and that includes incompetence from NPR's management, who shouldn't have fired Williams the way they did.

October 29, 2010 at 2:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How Would Legalizing Pot Affect Calif. Budget, Communities?

There are reasonable concerns to have about what will happen if Prop. 19 passes, but Roger Morgan expresses none of them. I'm not allowed to drink at my job now; if marijuana was legalized, I wouldn't be allowed to smoke on the job. Kids aren't allowed to drink now (but they do); if marijuana was legalized, they'd still not be allowed to smoke, and there's a better chance that we'd keep it from them (most kids get their alcohol from their own homes because it's easier than getting it legally from a store; the same would be true if marijuana was sold from tightly regulated dispensaries).

Issues regarding "pot tourism" could cause problems by inviting less desirable druggies from out of state to come out here for vacations. But ultimately, people need to realize that it's not the drug as much as the people that need to be feared: If you're a crazy b****** with a criminal record, you're probably going to be one high. If you're a normal suburbanite, or a lawyer, or a doctor, or a college student, or any of the many, many types of law-abiding citizens who smoke pot *right now*, then you'll be the same person after pot is legalized.

I think the issue is that for generations this drug has been associated only with criminals (naturally, since it was illegal). But plenty of people engage in it every day without more risk than you take when smoking (even less so with vaporizers). It's not dangerous enough for the state to tell you it's a public hazard and ban legal adults from using it.

July 30, 2010 at 1:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Carl DeMaio And Marti Emerald Discuss City Contracting Initiative

Good God. No wonder nothing gets done in City Council.

First up, anyone who says Maureen favored one side or the other in this debate is letting how they feel about this issue to cloud their judgment. She was fair--if too polite for her own good (and the show's own good). Both Carl and Marti acted like children, both talked over one another, though it did seem to me that Marti spoke over Carl more often.

That said...I'm looking forward to These Days having an investigative reporter look into Carl's initiative and tell us what it's seeking. On its face, I would support it, because I do feel like we need to put pressure on the unions to offer the city a better deal. If they want to keep their contracts, they have to earn them. Competition *is* a good thing.

I'm somewhat skeptical that this would create a whole new underclass, as Marti suggests. If there are people willing to work lower wages, they should have just as fair a shot at these city jobs as union workers. It's about fairness for those who *aren't* in a union.

These Days producers: PLEASE give us a more in-depth report about this initiative, one that excludes the childish bickering of politicians.

June 17, 2010 at 3:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How a Local Journalist Sees God

I consider myself someone who is highly skeptical of organized religion, but I'm not close-minded enough to discount the possibility of God, and certainly not enough to discount the thousand of years of thinking and philosophy that has gone into the world's largest religions. The top comment on this thread, unfortunately, is more reflective of what Mr. Nelson refers to as that bent kind of skeptic that slides into cranky, and even bigoted, cynicism.

There have been terrible things done in the name of religion--but in the vast majority of cases, the cause was a deviation from the central beliefs of the faith in question. It seems to me that the cultish believers that have given religion a bad name and the arrogant "free thinkers" that look down on anyone who embraces a spiritual life deserve each other.

August 24, 2009 at 3:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

District 9

I would think that by now people were familiar enough with the Internet to not freak out when they spot a typo or misused word. These things happen--they even happen to professional writers, more often because of a mental hiccup then because of the ridiculous assertion that they don't understand the language they write in. Unless they happen on a consistent basis, there's no reason to get "piqued" about it.

Anyways, good review, though I disagree with Beth (and with most critics, since they generally seem to catch this) that the alien backstory is handled well. I appreciate the fact that Blomkamp goes out of his way not to spoon-feed us details, but I think the bit about the missing queen and the destabilization of the hive could have been a bit more clear. For me, the way the aliens become absorbed into human society was more interesting than the machinations of the MNU.

Maybe if there's a sequel I'll get my fix of backstory.

August 18, 2009 at 12:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )