Monday, January 17, 2011

King Day

The Courier's extra focus on King Day over the past few editions has been welcome. King's message of peace and brotherhood has been a natural in the context of the Tucson shootings, and the King Foundation focus on community service is something we all need to hear more about. But for those of us who remember Dr King as a living force in this country, an important element is missing.

He was murdered not for his commitment to peace, but rather for his insistence on speaking truth to power and requiring of us that we walk the talk about our ideals of social justice and fair dealing. When his vision of peace extended to the war in Vietnam, he became the target of more hateful rhetoric than ever, encouraging another "lone gunman" to stalk and murder. Let's remember that lesson as well, and honor Dr King's memory by living up to his robust example.

Editorial: A show of unity way overdue

The unnamed Courier editor thinks mixed company in the joint session for the State of the Union would be very nice. My problem with this is that even if our fractious houses of Congress can be persuaded to go along -- I expect they won't -- it really would be just a show, a stunt to try to mask the political gamesmanship that will almost certainly monkeywrench our national government for the coming two years and make a stagnant economy the new normal.

Sorry, editor, I have no use for political theatre. If there's a core point to the recent calls for more adult political rhetoric, it's to make our political process work better on the ground. We should be demanding a little more than a nice photo op.

Amster: Constructive dialogue our only recourse

Randall regularly writes once a month and the most recent was last Tuesday, so today's column is an extra, I expect solicited by Tim as part of his unusually heavy King Day coverage. It could be Randall's best-written piece ever, inspiring but not too flashy, his big picture fairly drawn from personal reflection. Well done, Randall.

Weekend insults

Weekends are busy for me so I generally let off on the bloggerator during the days of rest for working stiffs. The Courier marshals on, of course, and a few details caught in my mental craw nonetheless.

Saturday's story on Gov Brewer's budget ideas included a pic of herself from the Tucson memorial service. I get that it was the most recent photo on file, but it's still really bad practice to run a photo of anyone other than the President behind the Presidential Seal on a story from a separate context.

Sunday's Business section headline, on local effects on gun sales following Tucson, just pissed me off. As I wrote in the comments:

After the tragic events of last weekend and the continuing public focus on incendiary rhetoric, the editor's use of "Reloading" as the headline strikes a particularly dark note. In an editorial suite grown inured to the equation of politics with violence and safely on the right side of the gunsights, it may have seemed clever to reference Sarah Palin's famous tweet. But to those of us who are on the other side, this is another "what could they be thinking?" moment.

And last night when I previewed the Monday edition, I hoped that someone in a hurry just bobbled an online headline and it'd be quickly corrected, but this morning I find that no, it got into the print edition too: "Sharlott Hall Museum library to close for a couple days." C'mon, guys, this is just inexcusable. (Update, 1:45pm: I see someone corrected one of the headline's typos, while adding some garble at the end of the story.)