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Friday, October 29, 2004

Decent Qualifications

I recently mentioned to someone that I planned to cover the debate a bit in my blog. The response I got was "Well, what are your qualifications?"
The truth is, I'm not a government and politics major nor a journalism major. The only politics course I've taken was Rhetoric in American Political Humor. HOWEVER, I am a Public Relations and theatre major. I'm an expert when it comes to lying and 'creative reasoning.' In this election of spin, I think that might be pretty useful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Why the Media Makes Baby Jesus Cry

When I say that I don't trust the media, I mean I don't trust the MEDIA. That means ANY media, including the liberal/independent media, as well as the mainstream media. They both have their issues. In general, the same issues, just in different forms. The mainstream media is overly influenced by outside factors. The fact of the matter is that these networks like Fox, CNN, NBC, etc; all rely on advertising. Pissing off the corporate sponsors is a no-no. They're pretty much walking on eggshells all the time, especially on controversial issues. Not to mention that they don't want to piss off their viewers, the reason they're even getting advertising. Sadly, there are a lot of ignorant, but strongly opinionated people out there. They may not be fully educated on the issue, but by golly, they have an OPINION on it and how dare some fancy-pants anchorperson tell them they're wrong. Not to mention the boobs in the White House Press Corps who are literally being told what to say. Sadly, you can't report what you don't know and in the case of the White House, you don't know unless they tell you.

Unless, of course, you turn hearsay into truth.

So, this brings me to the liberal media.

Wake up and smell the coffee, kids.

The independent/liberal media is lying to you, too.

Just because they tell you something different doesn't make it true. A lie can take may forms and the facts misconstrued in thousands of ways. The liberal media is just another group of people writing to an audience in order to get more viewers/readers. I've seen completely untrue rumors be taken as fact as the liberal media. And I believe in helping the less fortunate, truly I do. However, the liberal media will take the side of the underdog in EVERY instance, even if the "underdog" is wrong. What the liberal media must realize is that sometimes the minority is wrong. Sometimes, the government DOES do the right thing! There's more than two sides to every issue. There's often a third party that the independent media will completely marginialize. The liberal media needs to start taking journalistic integrity more seriously and provide a truly unbiased report of the news around them and to stop writing to the angry college-hippies with not enough to do with themselves.

Now, I'll admit, I sounded a bit hard on the liberal media and maybe not hard enough on the mainstream. I used to be an avid follower of independent media until I opened my eyes to realize that they kept trying to tell me the same conspiracy theories over and over again.. And I think the problems with mainstream media is pretty obvious.

So you have to realize, just because it's scandalous, doesn't make it true. Research news for yourself. Trust no media. They're just several paths to lies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Aiming for the Wrong Target

I was recently priveleged (read: required to for class) to attend a lecture on public relations and specifically those regarding the upcoming election. Two alumni from UMD representing the McGinn Group firm gave a fairly impressive, informative, and interesting presentation. During the course of this presentation, they listed the mainaudiences they were targeting in their publicity campaigns for the upcoming presidential election. They listed 'Security Moms', "Nascar Dads', latinos, African-Americans, and the LGBT audiences. Surprisingly, they didn't list young adults, especially around the college age. I think this is silly. Don't get me wrong, it's easy to understand the rationale. College students and young adults are infamous for low voting records lately. However, I believe that ths election will be different. We have seen a surge of voting campaigns aimed at this demographic. After 9/11 and with the current war, we're becoming more politically aware. I voiced my disbelief to a feloow classmate while leaving the lecture.
"Yeah, but what issues are really affecting us in this election?" he responded with a shrug. My jaw dropped.
After a moment of thought, I discussed it with him. Women's rights issues, for one. Maybe that didn't affect him, but it did affect his girlfriend, right? The pro-choice movement is in fear of Bush being re-elected and furthering his anti-abortionist agenda. Furthermore, it is almost certain that at least one space will become available in the Supreme Court, allowing the president to appoint one or more judges to the Supreme court. The next-president's choice of judges will severly affect the laws and rulings made in the not only the next four years, but the entire life-long career of that judge.
I continued on. The economy was another important factor. How would the next president handle the job market? As soon as we finish college, we begin to look for jobs. How DOESN'T the job market and economy affect us in the next four years?
And let's not forget the war. How will the next president affect the war? Not to mention one of the new campaign hot topics: the draft. The draft is what affects us most of all. We need to vote. We need to have a say in whether we're going to be shipped off to the army.
A note about the draft. As I'll remind people many a time, I'm not a government and politics major. I'm not some political super-geek. I just tells it likes I sees it. Both Kerry and Bush have openly stated being against a draft.
Sadly, this is bullshit.
I spoke to an unnamed relative today who occupies a unnamed position in an unnamed department of the Department of Defense. Without getting into specifics, I trust his opinion. I asked whether he thought a draft was likely. He told me what he thought. He thought the draft was pretty much inevitable. Here's why.
We are currently in a war. Troops are needed to fight this war. Right now, Bush is instituting what's known as a "backdoor draft." For instance, military tours (service time) are being extended. Army members signed up for a tour period of six months, for example, are being kept on tour for over a year. Army members are being pulled out of retirement. This is Bush's current way of keeping troops in the war. This is also pissing a shitload of people off. If this 'backdoor draft' is ever abandoned, which many people will fight to have done, then "there's only one other way to get the people for the army we need." as my unnamed relative put it. A draft.
I asked if it was more likely that there'd be a draft with Bush than with Kerry. He said at this point yes, but he also reminded me that Bush is privvy to a bit more information about the war than Kerry is, what with him being the President of the United States. He went on to say that Kerry may also chsnge his opinion of the war should he get into office and is privvy to more information.
Pretty much, what I gleamed from it is, as long as we're still at war, the draft is almost inevitable. Less likely with Kerry, but still a good chance.
And personally, I don't feel any better about any of this.

Virginia May Finally Can Spam

Spam. Ew. Not only is it a rather unappetizing meat in a can, it's also the tech term for unsolicited bulk email. Some of us receive HUNDREDS of these emails a day. Bulk, yes. Unsolicited, yes. I assure you, I have never wondered how to enlarge my non-existent male-member nor do I have any interest in helping the Surgeon General of Zimbabwe transfer his money to the States. And like it's meaty namesake, this vegetarian has no interest in the loads of crap that clog my inbox every fucking day.

And neither does the State of Virginia, apparently.

Around April 2003, Virginia passed new anti-spam provisions under its Computer Crimes Act, fondly nicknamed as the Can-Spam Act. These provisions made it the toughest anti-spam law in the US. Spamming can now be tried as a felony in the state of Virginia. This applies to all mail routed through Virginia based servers, including Virginia-based AOL. In fact, 80% of internet traffic flows through Virginia servers at some point, claims USAToday. However, as great as this seems, there were many a doubter when the act first passes as to whether this law would be enforced.

All ye of little faith, now be the time of reckoning.

Virginia began the nation's first-ever spam felony trial on Monday. Three defendants stand to receive 15 years in jail and $10,000 in fines. This will be the test to see how useful is this severe spamming law. Without boring you with details, there's a link to the USA Today article below for that, I'll sum this up real quick-like. If Virginia manages to push through and successfully prosecute these offenders, there will be a hella lot more trial cases like this popping up. Then maybe spammers will think twice before pushing that send button. And maybe, just maybe, I'll receive less than 500 spam messages a day about discounted herbal Viagra.

USA Today article- http://yahoo.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2004-10-25-spam_x.htm?csp=1
Virginia's Spam Laws- http://www.spamlaws.com/state/va.html
The Official Spam Website- http://www.spam.com/