Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich won the 2006 Pulitzer in his field for an astounding collection of work but I think the cartoon posted here is the main reason. His work showing the names of service members killed in Iraq is insightful and asks a question that the Bush administration can't seem to answer.
Click here to see the other works that garnered him his nomination and prize.
Internet neutrality is the ability for anyone to access the internet and attach any device to it. Several internet service providers are against Congress passing any legislation that would limit their ability to regulate access speed to websites. Providers like AT&T and Verizon favor being able to control broadband use for their own video services. According to this article at infoworld.com, providers are giving businesses a "free lunch" by providing access to websites.
"On Tuesday, The Washington Post quoted Verizon Vice President and Deputy General Counsel John Thorne as complaining that Web sites like Google are getting a "free lunch" by using telecom carriers' networks. "The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers," Thorne was quoted as saying. "It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers."
Free lunch? Give me a break. I pay plenty for my broadband cable access.
Almost laughingly, Senator John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada said: "Everybody agrees that we want to the Internet to be free. We also have to recognize there's a balance. You do deserve a return on your investment."
I'm sure Senator Ensign feels that way. After all, his campaign received $38,100 from AT&T and $21,000 from Verizon. It doesn't take a genius to figure why he would be opposed to this sort of legislation.
So, urge Congress to keep inernet neutrality in place and allow free access to any legal site. There is a petition here.
As interested as I am in politics, I watch a lot of political commentary and listen to a lot of talk radio. Much of that media is dominated by right wing commentators who love to push their agenda. That list includes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. As I listen to them I often shake my head in disbelief or chuckle at what passes for well thought out political discussion in America in the 21st century. After all, much of their commentary consists of using the "straw man" technique, wherein they set up the opposing argument on their own terms and then knock it down. Anyone who has listened to Limbaugh even once recognizes this tactic. Franken, however, has done more than chuckle. His excellent book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, is a well researched look at the right wing media in America. This includes the aforementioned commentators, Ann Coulter and the Fox News Channel.
Franken and his team of researchers (Harvard grad students) examine the works of these contemporary political analysts and find their statements wanting. For three hundred fifty four pages, Team Franken gives examples of the lies these people tell in their pursuit of a conservative agenda and pick them apart, word by word. Their research is impeccable. Citations litter the book for anyone to examine. I imagine it would be very difficult for anyone to refute the evidence laid out by Franken and his researchers. Whether it's Bill O'Reilly and his lie regarding the Peabody awards he never won or Sean Hannity presenting irrelevant data regarding defense spending, this book takes them to task for sloppy research, badly formed arguments and outright lying.
I know conservatives and count many of them as friends. They don't argue this way. They have resons for why they think like they do and you can engage them in a political discussion with being told to shut up. If I were them, I would be embarrassed that these jackals claim to represent my views. Heck, I'm a liberal and I'm embarrassed that Alan Colmes, of Hannity and Colmes fame, purports to represent mine.
I won't review the book by providing you with the myriad examples laid out within. You can read the book for yourself and see how well and witty it is written. What the book made clear to me is how badly the American people are being served by the media.
Political discourse used to take place in the op-ed pages of newspapers or on Sunday morning talk shows. Now it is the domain of screaming, chittering baboons who are taking up time in the 24 hour news cycle. It has become a sport, us against them, and we should win at any cost, whichever side we're on. Gone are the days of well thought out and reasoned discourse. Now every event must be analyzed within the scope of how it relates to a left/right position and the opinion cowboys on both sides saddle up and race to the cable networks.
When I was in college, earning my Poli Sci degree, we were to taught to think critically, to examine issues objectively and formulate arguments about how they affected the country. At no point did any of my professors mention yelling, screaming, telling people to shut up and most importantly, they left out applying personal bias to every issue.
John Stewart was on CNN's Crossfire last year and made this same point. You can watch it by clicking here. Al Franken's book goes a long way toward showing how research and critical thinking improve political discourse no matter which side you are on. Those commentators spotlighted in the book should examine how they present their arguments and why they were humiliated by the truth.