Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Better Day Today

By way of The Flight Deckan achingly beautiful song by a woman who “gets it,” who loves her man, and respects what he does. Originally posted at The Wood Shed.

Now, I ask you: Is that beautiful, or what? And the song is excellent, too.

It was but a few short days ago I posted a link to a snarky article that mentioned, in an offhand way, the fact that Jana Bennett, the BBC’s director of vision, had invited BBC producers to come forward and confess their sins…specifically the sin of misleading the public with distorted programming. Well, come forth they did:

Much to the apparent surprise of Bennett and Abramsky, two experienced and highly respected corporation bureaucrats, a procession of contrite and nervous producers came forward to ’fess up. The public, it seemed, had been deceived with unnerving consistency, particularly over programmes with phone-in polls and competitions. And on the corporation’s most noble flagship enterprises, too. Comic Relief and Children in Need, for example.

“We just sat there absolutely stunned,” one executive board member told me, “shocked beyond belief. Nobody had any idea that this was going on on such a scale.”

Not even Bennett and Abramsky, when they asked for producers to come forward?

“Nobody. Nobody at all. And we had the very powerful sense that there was a lot more to come. And we thought this time no excuses, something really has to be done.”

Dang. The proverbial light bulb illuminates above their wooly heads. But what’s to be done?

In the short term this might mean the ceremonial defenestration, for the benefit of a baying Fleet Street and an angry public, of some high-ranking executive. Bennett perhaps, even though she is one of the corporation’s most talented and savvy apparatchiks?

“But if Jana, why not Mark [Thompson, the director-general]? He is about as remote in the hierarchy from what went on as she is.”

The feeling within the upper echelons of the BBC is that the sacrifice of a senior figure would be a capitulation too far to critics, although how far that view is shared lower down is a moot point. There is a certain glee and schaden-freude in some parts of the corporation, long dismayed at the grubby and antiReithian business of chasing the ratings with lowest common denominator broadcasting.

It’s one of those nightmare moments that occur in every organization, no matter the size. There used to be this ol’ saw floating around many years ago about the six phases of a project, the last three steps of which were “search for the guilty,” “punish the innocent,” and finally, “distinction for the uninvolved.” No doubt— abso-frickin-lute-ly none at all — this is what’s gonna happen here. You’ll note, if you read the Times article, that this has already happened in the case of an outside production company that was a source (just one!) of the current brouhaha.

Unfortunately the issue will not be resolved by throwing one, two, or three very senior members of the Beeb’s senior management out of Auntie’s top floor window…or even getting rid of the whole frickin management team. The issue will only be resolved when individual reporters, copywriters and editors (especially editors) at the working level are fired for demonstrated and substantiated incidences of biased and/or misleading reporting. Once the word gets out amongst the rank and file that it’s hazardous to your financial health to introduce your personal point of view into news (as opposed to op-eds), the biased reporting will stop. But not until then.

I saw on the news last evening Algore’s son is being charged with two counts of felony drug possession, two misdemeanors for drug possession without a prescription, and one misdemeanor count for marijuana possession. No schadenfreude here…I feel genuinely sorry for Al Gore III. And his parents. At the same time, I sincerely hope more sons and daughters of our political shooters get busted for drugs…simply to highlight the sheer ridiculousness of our drug laws.

The cost of this massive growth in incarceration is staggering. Americans will spend nearly $40 billion on prisons and jails in the year 2000. Almost $24 billion of that will go to incarcerate 1.2 million nonviolent offenders.4 Meanwhile, in two of our nation's largest states, California and New York, the prison budgets outstripped the budgets for higher education during the mid-1990s.5

The number of people behind bars not only dwarfs America's historical incarceration rates; it defies international comparisons as well. While America has about 5% of the world's population, almost one in four persons incarcerated worldwide are incarcerated in the US.6

Perhaps if more relatives of our politicos (and other “nice” or “good” people) get their asses put in this particular sling there will be sufficient motivation to change the laws. The general public is apathetic, at best, and vengeful, at worst, about our drug laws. By “vengeful” I mean… “they got it comin’”, ya know? I hear this reaction more often than not when the subject of drug laws comes up in “polite company.” Spirited debate always ensues…but I’m quite certain it’s just talk, no minds are ever changed. Change requires a catastrophe, and a catastrophe is when something bad happens to ME…not YOU.

Today’s Pic: Going deep into the archives…Here’s the fountain in the central plaza of Matamoros, Mexico, with the cathedral in the background. (apologia: taken with a first-generation digital camera, quality commensurate. But you get the picture, right, Gentle Reader?)

February, 2000.

Oh. I owe ya. For the record, I took the Tylenol yesterday morning and finished the coffee without going back to bed. Further…it rained off and on all freakin’ day, but we came nowhere near the forecasted high of 85. We might have hit 70, but that would have been a stretch. We did get some serious rain, though. And we’ll pay today with murderous humidity.


  1. For someone who rips on Ron Paul a lot you sure sound like you'd agree with the non-war side of his platform...;-).

    Oh, and I'm surprised no one here or over at the Flight Deck made the requisite comment...the only reason the loving spouse of that Navy skyjock is worried in the first place is that her husband's mount is a plastic bug. Now, if he flew a real man's airplane, like the Tomcat, or even better, a Raptor, she would have nothing to worry about.

    Seriously though, that video was really cool. She definitely "gets it."

  2. For someone who rips on Ron Paul a lot you sure sound like you'd agree with the non-war side of his platform...;-).

    Well, frickin' Cindy Sheehan and I agree on at least ONE point, but I wouldn't vote for the b!tch if she were the only one running. ;-)

    There's a lot to like about Paul and his non-war policies, but the war is THE defining issue for me.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.