Tuesday, May 8, 2007

U.S. Postal Service Plan to Impair Dissemination of Alternate Media

I heard about this about a month or two ago and wrote a letter to the U.S.P.S. in objection. But I feel it's important to inform my fellow students and citizens since we have been discussing the conglomeration of the media and how it affects our access to the news.

Prior to now, only small publications were opposed to the Postal Services proposed rate plan increase -- because they will be most adversely affected by it. However, now the NY Times has come out in opposition of it so hopefully there will be more news and discussion about it.

The plan that the U.S.P.S. is considering adopting for media mail was proposed by Time-Warner and benefits them the most.

Also see:
Jonathan Stein's blog at MotherJones


The Political Action opportunity at FreePress.net.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bush AIDS Abstinence Appointee Quits State Dept. in Hooker Scandal

I find this so terribly amusing, yet at the same time... it's terribly sad. We are the leaders of the free world and those in power in America cannot even hold themselves to the same standards they hold for those less fortunate than themselves.

If the richest people in the world are not capable of behaving ethically, how can we expect others -- who live in states much closer to Hobbes' state of nature -- to behave ethically? How can Americans expect others in the world to view us with respect when we are unwilling to afford them the same? When we are the cause of so much suffering, death and violence throughout the world, how do we dare to be shocked when violence, suffering and death arrive at our own doorstep?

America, we must set the example. I hear Christians harp on this concept endlessly, yet I have met few who actually live their faith. Our leaders use this rhetoric in the policies and laws, yet our national actions do not match our words. Yet everywhere, everyday, little-known acts of goodwill and kindness take place amongst those who are less fortunate and tread upon by those in power. When will our society cease to hold those who hurt as our leaders, rather than those who help?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Today we're watching Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism and discussing propaganda. This movie is incredible and hilarious. I've heard a lot of this before but it's still so unbelievable that Fox News presents themselves as serious news. Bill O'Reilly's interview with Jeremy Glick was a prime example of Fox's unwillingness to accept any information that contradicts their preconceived notions of what should be, not what is.

I have had my own experience with Fox News. In 2003, I wrote a letter to John Moody, who according to his Fox News Bio
"... serves as the Senior Vice President, News Editorial for FOX News. He is responsible for both the design and editorial direction of FOX News Channel and oversees all story content for FOX News." My letter asked Moody and Fox News to accurately report casualties and injuries suffered by our American troops in Iraq.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ruairaidh*
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 10:33 AM
To: Moody, John
Subject: Tell Us the Full Story About American Casualties

Dear John Moody,

I am writing to urge Fox News to join other major media to regularly
report the full toll of the occupation in Iraq including both the total numbers
of U.S. military deaths and those wounded in Iraq.

Most embedded reporters quickly took leave of Iraq after the fall of
Baghdad. But now we know that the war is far from over and the serious
consequences of the resulting quagmire concern many Americans. Although
Fox nightly news mentions a few individual attacks, it rarely refers to the
total of those killed in Iraq. It is impossible to know the reality of
what is happening on the ground without being informed of the total number of
deaths and injuries suffered by the U.S. military on a regular basis.

Newspapers like USA Today, the New York Times and Washington Post have
recently made major changes in reporting Iraq deaths. They have revised
their reports to include all military deaths, not just those who die by
combat, which doubles the count. They have also started to report the
thousands who have been wounded.

Please join these newspapers in regularly reporting the complete story
about U.S. military casualties and wounded in Iraq.

Please let me know how you intend to proceed on this issue.



I actually received a personal response from Mr. Moody, but he did not seem open to my suggestion.

From : Moody, John
Sent : Thursday, November 20, 2003 3:34 PM
To : "'ruairaidh@hotmail.com'"
Subject : RE: Tell Us the Full Story About American Casualties

MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: from vscan-out.FOXNEWS.COM ([]) by mc11-f4.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.6713); Thu, 20 Nov 2003 07:35:38 -0800
Received: from by vscan-out.FOXNEWS.COM (InterScan E-Mail VirusWall NT); Thu, 20 Nov 2003 10:35:23 -0500
Received: by ROMEO with Internet Mail Service (5.5.2657.72)id ; Thu, 20 Nov 2003 10:33:08 -0500
X-Message-Info: JGTYoYF78jFxM3DAWprz5Bu03gKGOOVF
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2657.72)
Return-Path: john.moody@foxnews.com
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 20 Nov 2003 15:35:38.0465 (UTC) FILETIME=[F2BA7510:01C3AF7B]

the full story? ok, you're full of it.

* Editor's note -- I have removed my personal name and email information to protect that email address from spammers. John Moody's email address is available on the Fox News Website.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Attorney General scandal and porn

According to this story at Salon.com, some of the U.S. Attorney's were fired for failure to prosecute adult pornography cases.

According to the story, the Department of Justice has been targeting obscenity and pornography since the Reagan Administration. Now, it apparently was such an important issue to the Bush Administration that they decided that those in charge of eliminating obscenity from America were not doing a sufficiently good job.

It's comforting to know that our tax dollars are hard at work protecting us from that which could really harm us. I wouldn't want to turn on the news tomorrow and find out that terrorists infiltrated and bombed Los Angeles Port because the security there remains so terribly lax.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stanford Students Hold Hunger Strike for a Living Wage

I came across this and it reminded me of the CSU's recent negotiations and struggles with attaining commensurate compensation for our faculty.

Stanford Students Hold Hunger Strike for a Living Wage

Monday, April 2, 2007

Reporters behind bars

Blogger Josh Wolf has been jailed for refusing to submit to subpoenas of his videos of a protest. He holds the dubious honor of being the longest-incarcerated journalist for failure to comply with requests for information in order to carry out prosecutions. Some argue that Wolf isn't truly a journalist because he's a blogger.

Mother Jones interviewed Wolf in February: Reporters Behind Bars

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hate Speech and Compassion -- Dovetailing HCOM Classes

In addition to taking HCOM 310 this semester, I am also enrolled in HCOM 304 -- Relational Ethics. We are currently working with compassion -- for ourselves and others. In short, we are exploring how to incorporate greater compassion in our relationships and therefore heal ourselves.

While reading "
On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes," it occurred to me that not only can these issues of free speech be addressed with additional speech (as we discussed with pornography), but also with compassion. Yes, I realize that, like the concepts we studied in 312, it seems rather idealistic. Yet remember what we've been learning -- that we can only start with ourselves. If we begin to practice compassion in our lives and conversations, that's at least one small improvement in the dialogue.

When we become angry over some injustice or some experience we have had with hate speech, if we simply start with being compassionate with ourselves and exploring why this makes us angry and what the root of that anger is, we are closer to resolving the problem. Did we have the urge to respond to that hate speech with hate in return? If so, we are not so different from the perceived offender.

Many of us will chafe at such an idea and deny it, but if we are truthful with ourselves, we will find that there are many things about our ownselves that we don't care for either. Perhaps we can even find it in ourselves to be grateful for the offense, which gave us the opportunity to explore these thoughts and feelings.

I am probably not conveying the concepts of compassionate communication and relationships as well as I would like, but I hope I have at least sparked a little kernel of interest. Holding compassion for myself and others certainly hasn't been easy thus far, but I believe that if I can continue to work with it, I will be well-served by these teachings.