Monday edition - May 12, 2008





An 'awfully special' wedding day for Bushes
Dallas Morning News, TX - 5-12-08
By ALAN PEPPARD / The Dallas Morning News A few details from the weekend wedding festivities of Jenna Bush and Henry Hager have leaked out...


Obama Shifts Campaign Focus To McCain
U.S. News & World Report, DC - 5-12-08
Jeremiah Wright will play an important role as they decide whom to support." US News and World Report, in an article titled, "Why Clinton Stands To Lose

Number of disabled vets up with Iraq, Afghan wars
The Associated Press - 5-12-08
Another factor driving up costs and the overall number of disabled veterans is Vietnam. Veterans from that era make up the biggest group of vets today


White House will sell DVD's of Jenna's wedding to raise funds for McCain. - Grant Gerver,





Iraq Cease Fire


Representatives of firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and lawmakers from Iraq's main Shiite political bloc signed a four-day cease-fire Monday in an effort to end seven weeks of fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City slum.



"The Democrats are in a tough spot now, because if the superdelegates somehow give the nomination to Clinton, that's going to alienate a lot of African-Americans who support Obama, but if Obama wins, there's going to be a lot of disappointed women voters, which is why I think, now more than ever, we need a President Oprah." --Jimmy Kimmel






Disturbing News




USA Today, Jenna Bush's Wedding, and the nature of contemporary journalism

By Walter Brasch


The editors of USA Today, as they do every day, had to decide what to make its “Cover Story.”

The death toll from the cyclone in Myanmar was approaching 25,000, with about almost a million homeless, and the ruling military junta was still refusing to accept foreign assistance.

A Pentagon report revealed that about 43,000 medically unfit troops were sent into combat.

In Philadelphia, six police officers were under investigation for beating suspects. And, in Russia a new president was inaugurated.

What the editors chose to dominate the front page was a three-column head photo of presidential daughter Jenna Bush and a story about her forthcoming non-public private wedding. The only reason USA Today didn’t run the story on its front pages Saturday and Sunday is because it doesn’t publish on weekends. But, just about every other news medium gave the wedding heavy play.

When USA Today debuted in 1982, it was a glitzy full color alternative to the average gray newspaper. Focused upon an audience of travelers, and primarily available at airports and hotels, the five day a week newspaper, then as now, had short, quick looks at the news. “Across the USA” is a series of one paragraph stories from every state, plus the territories, something to let the lonely traveler know his home state still exists. A color weather map informs travelers what to expect when they arrive at an airport a dozen states away. Extensive business stories target middle- and upper-management workers who don’t have the time to read that day’s Wall Street Journal.

With an emphasis on polls, USA Today tells us what we think. And what we think is divided into four equal parts—News, Lifestyle, Sports, and Money. Thus, news is one-fourth of the newspaper.

Ridiculed as McPaper, but read by about two million people a day, most of whom get their daily dose from vendor boxes that look like a TV on a stand, USA Today has set the agenda for almost every newspaper in the country. Following the USA Today model, local newspapers have splashed color and graphics on its pages. The stories are shorter, but not necessarily tighter. And, in an era of downsizing, in which publishers who don’t pull in 20 percent a year profits are often reassigned, there are fewer reporters, fewer in-depth stories, fewer and narrower pages, and a greater reliance upon wire service stories. But, celebrity-based stories and increased fluff—what editors wrongly believe the readers want—have taken over the front pages.

USA Today was never designed to replace the local newspaper, nor should it be a model for local newspapers. It has a niche, and serves that niche well. But, local newspapers have become USA Today clones. That’s why if USA Today places a celebrity wedding as its most important issue of the day, then it’s reasonable to believe that the clones also believe that 25,000 deaths can be relegated to the inside pages.

[Walter Brasch, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and president of the Pennsylvania Press Club, readily admits he reads USA Today and several other newspapers. His latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available through You may contact Brasch at  or through his website at:  ]




"Best wishes to President Bush's daughter, Jenna. She's getting married this weekend. I understand both John McCain and Dick Cheney will attend. That way they'll have something old and something blue." --Jay Leno







"Now here's what I don't understand about government and politics and stuff like that. ... Earlier today, President Bush asked Congress to okay ... an additional $50 billion for his daughter's wedding." --David Letterman





Cyphernaut - Learn a Foreign Language Resource Site


Click here for Cyphernaut  -  a site that celebrates the diversity of the world through language.




McCain Backs Free Trade On Global Warming


Republican John McCain, reaching out to both independents and green-minded social conservatives, argues that global warming is undeniable and the country must take steps to bring it under control while adhering to free-market principles.





Subject: Hillary, Obama and McCain


We need each other. Democrats are split down the middle for each candidate. Now we must decide who will be on the top of the ticket.


McCain hasn't been tested yet. Who would win a debate with McCain? That's who I want.



The mountains of Oregon


Interesting question, Lee.


I think McCain's visual appearance will hinder him against both Hillary and Obama. He just doesn't look well and that will come across on the camera.


Hillary is the better debater of the three.  Obama could beat McCain in a JFK/Nixon TV debate moment.


Hopefully, McCain will break into singing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!"






Obama Advisor Met With Hamas. He's Out Of There!


Rob Malley, a Middle East policy adviser to likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, resigned after news surfaced that he had been meeting with Hamas -- something Obama pledged he himself would never do.





"Barack Obama picked up four more superdelegates this week. Those are the party big shots whose votes, for some reason, mean a lot more than our votes mean. Even so, it's nice to see a politician pick up something other than a prostitute every once in a while." --Jimmy Kimmel





I went to the gas station and a recession broke out. Grant Gerver,





Valerie Plame Update


Former CIA operative Valerie Plame is trying to resurrect a lawsuit against those in the Bush administration she says illegally disclosed her identity.



"This weekend, in Crawford, Texas, at the Bush family ranch, one of president Bush's daughter, Jenna, will be getting married. As a matter of fact, tomorrow she is getting married. And I thought this was cute. Because the groom went to President Bush and he asked President Bush for his daughter's hand in marriage. And President Bush said, 'Well, it's okay with me, but you gotta run it by Cheney.'" --David Letterman






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Odd News



Lightning bolts appear above and around the Chaiten volcano as seen from Chana, some 30 kms (19 miles) north of the volcano as it began its first eruption in thousands of years in southern Chile May 2, 2008. Cases of electrical storms breaking out directly above erupting volcanoes are well documented, although scientists differ on what causes them.
Photo/Carlos Gutierrez