Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Second banana is important too

While we await the outcomes of the Democratic and Republican presidential primary season, it's not too early to begin contemplating who the two conventions will pick as vice presidential candidates.

Much was made of Fred Thompson's quick swoon from the race, fueling speculation he might have been after the #2 spot all along. Others are suggesting Mick Huckabee (who appears on the verge of dropping his quest for President) would make a good running mate for Mitt Romney. I don't see either one getting the VP nod, no matter who eventually wins the Republican nomination. If not Huck or Fred, then who?

For now, we can rule out Mitt Romney, if John McCain (if you believe the MSM it's no longer "if") wins the GOP nomination. CBS quotes Romney, "I'm not going to be any vice president to John McCain." It would appear Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor and brother of President Bush will not push for the number two spot on the Republican ticket. He was nowhere to be seen in the Sunshine State in the run-up to the Florida primary..

Others being mentioned here and there include several state governors, South Carolina's Terry Sanford, Georgia's Sonny Perdue, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Alaska's Sarah Palin. "Alaska?!?", you ask. From what I've read about her, Governor Palin is a common sense conservative. She even stood up against Senator Ted Stevens' "Bridge to Nowhere" earmark. And a "Draft Sarah" blog has joined the blogosphere.

Betsy Newmark is also looking at the nation's GOP governors, mentioning Pawlenty and Sanford. Gina Cobb offers Condi Rice as a great choice, especially for Romney. Meanwhile, the Anchoress suspects something is afoot to engineer a brokered convention and deny McCain the nomination.

Now to the Donkeys.

State governors are likely to dominate the long list of potential Democratic VP nominees as well. Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell does not really make a lot of sense for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, although it would not be a far stretch to see the former Philadelphia District Attorney as Attorney General in a Democratic administration. BlogKC reports that it appears Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is being groomed for the national stage, but the Democrats are more likely to seek demographic balance with a tried and true white male. New Mexico Governor (and now withdrawn presidential candidate) Bill Richardson would provide demographic and geographic balance.

Over at Outside the Beltway, the speculation centers on Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, Virginia Senator Jim Webb, or Indiana's Evan Bayh.

Anybody have some insight or opinion? Share them in comments.


The Governor of our 49th State appears to be getting more attention, at least within the blogosphere. There’s a report out that somebody at the Daily Kos suggesting a McCain-Palin ticket would be a team the Democrats should fear. I haven’t tracked down the Kos entry to confirm. Meanwhile, over at the New Conservative, there’s a good post highlighting Governor Palin’s conservative credentials.

It is refreshing when, especially in the GOP, there is a politician willing to stand up for ethics, and against corruption... especially in Alaska, where corruption in the government is a common occurrence.

She has a 90% approval rating in her state, and has a broad appeal across the conservative board. She is an outdoorsman, an ACTUAL lifelong hunter, a
conservationist, pro-life, pro-marriage, and a defender of capitalism.

Alaska news media are reporting that the governor remains coy about backing a particular candidate, but has narrowed her choices to John McCain or Mike Huckabee. She is quoted in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, saying, “I would ideally love to speak with them personally on their positions on resources and national security.”

We may be on to something here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever

Kathy at Cake Eater Chronicles serves up one of those lists that make the rounds from time to time. This one is a sampling of memorable metaphors and analogies from high school essays. Here are several that made me simultaneously laugh and grimace:

  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  • McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

Kathy shares 25 of these gems over at her blog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The “dumbing-down” of television news

In many ways Don Henley's 1982 hit "Dirty Laundry" was too kind to my former profession.

We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When it's said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
Give us dirty laundry!

Gina Cobb offers a very thoughtful essay on the topic under the title "Most Newsreaders Are Like Katie Couric" in which she observes just how little thought, introspection, and analysis goes into the stories that are cranked out like sausage for the 24/7 TV news cycle.

I have done hundreds of media interviews, and met many reporters and newsreaders. Honestly, most of them are like Katie Couric.

If it seems that they know little about their subject matter, or they are superficial, it's because they are. They don't have to know anything in great depth. Mainly they have to be very engaging on camera.

They only have to know a little more than the average person, and they must be extremely articulate and smooth in delivery. They have very little airtime. When you subtract the time they spend reading straight from tele-prompters, cut-aways to other reporters, and commercial breaks, the newsreader spends very little time in substantive discussions where they have to think about the topic at hand.

An interesting thing about the depth of knowledge is that it diminishes with each step up the food chain. The anchors who read the stories usually have little or nothing to do with the content except to read the final copy in front of a camera. The street reporters (local) or producers (network) who actually gather, write, and edit the video and audio do not have the time (even if they have the inclination) to learn more than absolutely necessary about the topic du jour. When I worked as a street reporter in the 1980s and '90s, I was often able to spend a whole day on one or two stories. That allowed time to gather additional background information that I found useful in providing context as I put together a story for the evening news. Even so, one can only tell so much in a minute and a half.

Near the end of my broadcast career, the story count increased to five or six stories a day, as well as rewrites for the growing number of newscasts, making it difficult to conduct any kind of background research. The increased work load was no picnic, but the final straw that resulted in my changing careers was the comment by a new station manager who called the entire news staff together and announced, "It's not news, it's entertainment." And he meant it. More regrettably, he was right about the fate of an industry I once loved.

On that note, here's a clip of the former Eagle singing his first solo hit during a 1989 concert:

Monday, January 7, 2008

A dead soldier's perspective

I'm back from my self-imposed exile from the Internet (the real world is an awfully interesting place after all.)
In browsing through the several dozens of blogs I read regularly, an entry at American Princess caught my eye. Titled "Something Very Sad", through it we learn of the death of a blogger/soldier in Iraq. I had never before read anything by Andrew Olmsted. This, his last word is a must read. May God bless his family and friends.