Monday, May 7, 2007

Herron: "Shimizu's anti-gun control stance goes too far"

That's what I'm talking about, Al. Take a stand and write with vigor.

I like that he includes Ben's Email address as a reply contact as well, making a cute little statement.

Editorial: "Congress isn't concerned about the crucial issues"

Isn't it interesting how closely the "crucial issues" here track with Republican campaign talking points?

I have no doubt that the Congress would be working on truly crucial issues if it felt that the Current Resident could be persuaded to allow the legislation to become law -- crucial issues like: our broken health-care system; the climate change that threatens our economy, our food supply and, as in Kansas this weekend, our lives; our public infrastructure; our suspect voting system; pick your issue. As it is, the Congress is concentrating on the public issue that voters clearly agree is most crucial right now -- getting our troops out of Iraq. That is responsive representation, exactly what our system is designed to provide.

Does the editor simply neglect to mention that the single person most responsible for creating a "Social Security debacle" is the Current Resident, who is spending our Social Security trust fund in Iraq far faster than any previous administration has dared? Or is that a conscious choice?

But his real goal here is to criticize the extension of hate-crimes protection to the disabled and sexually different. He fails to understand the difference between a crime and a hate crime -- or perhaps he wants to make the reader dumber in that regard. It's really pretty simple. If you assault a black person, it's an assault. If you assault a black person because she's black and a prosecutor can prove it, it becomes a hate crime and additional penalty is applied. Saying "the government will prosecute crimes against certain classes with greater enthusiasm than crimes against every-day folks" with this is evil demagoguery.

This goes beyond opinion, folks. These are lies.

Letters: Property taxes

Kathy Lopez offers a clue to people who are up in arms about their property assessments. Turns out there's no reason to panic. Surprise!

The address she provides isn't what you really want, though. Here's a link to the actual presentation, in PDF format.

Why are the readers (in this case, I suspect, a county employee) doing the work the Courier should be doing to inform voters on this? It would be so easy! One might conclude that the editors are happy to have people ignorantly agitated about property taxes.

A1: "Holistic medicine for animals gaining acceptance"

I've met Todd Metcalf, he's a great person and very good at what he does. That doesn't make him news. Again, as in the piece below, also by Paula Rhoden, we have a puffy, uncritical profile more suited to a slick Chamber of Commerce magazine than a newspaper. I'd really like to know the thought process behind this assignment.

Then there's the headline, an assertion completely unsupported by the text. That's a high-school mistake, guys.

A1: "County health department provides services from womb to tomb"

This profile of Yavapai County Community Health Services by Paula Rhoden is done well enough -- for a magazine. I'm not clear at all what makes it page-one news. The public-information angle makes a certain amount of sense as a B1 feature. But there's exactly zero information from any outside perspective on how well the agency is doing its job or handling its budget, things voters need to know to evaluate this public service. I would like to know that the Courier is looking out for the community. Uncritical puffery bodes otherwise.

A1: "New Elks' manager brings the show back home"

Lorin McLain's introduction of Joe Place is meant to highlight policy changes for the facility intended to make a difference in its success. The answers are pretty vague, however -- not necessarily the fault of Lorin, of course.

I interviewed Joe last week, and information I got is at odds with some of this. I plan a followup with him this week for the Read It Here piece.

Now here's what really ropes me off: Why can't the Courier figure out how to write the theatre's name? People are so frequently writing this wrong, and the Courier should be helping, not making it worse. It's not plural possessive as we have in the headline (Elks'), it's not singular possessive as we have in the photo caption (Elk's), its a simple plural: Elks. This ignorant apostrophe-tossing is just ludicrous. Lorin apparently got it right, everyone else messed up.

Update, May 9: Joe has never conducted a symphony or managed a theatre. His relevant experience is entirely church-based, as a musician, music director and producer.

A1: "Magazine scammers back in Prescott"

This alert by Mirsada Buric is proactive, well targeted, well placed in the paper and, we hope, timely. I'd be awfully surprised if the tactics and target areas remain the same after this morning, of course, and if the reader is expecting a scammer to mention Walter Cronkite and she doesn't, the reader may decide to go along with the gag anyway. But what can you do?