Old Reliable & Alito

Every morning I schlep to the curb to pick up the N&O and the New York Times.

The Times I read almost cover-to-cover.

With the N&O, I usually scan the front page for grammatical errors before I slip to the City/State section in hope of finding something of substance. Mostly I'm disappointed, though Under the Dome continues to have worthy tidbits from time to time.

In occasional moments of weakness, I'll also look at the N&O's editoral pages. If there's a Rick Martinez column, I close the paper. My life is tedious enough without having to endure his predictable nonsense.
For a fully insufficient reason, I read the N&O's editorial on ScAlito this weekend. Here's the part that took my breath away:

War on Stupidity

When things get slow in blogland, I often find my mind drifting from here to there and back again, settling on the meta-issues, thinking big thoughts (or so they seem). My thoughts lately have gotten stuck on the idea of stupidity, which I take to mean an amalgam of ignorance, bad judgment and self-defeating decisions.

My wife hates the word. Using it, she argues, implies a kind of intellectual elitism and arrogance that is off-putting. That is to say, stupid people don't like being considered stupid.

Point taken.

One real cost of stupidity is the largely free reign it gives to those who profit from exploiting others . . . others who may be less able, less informed, less comfortable with complexity, or just flat out more gullible.


I've been around market research for 25 years and often think in terms of scales.

How often do you think in terms of scales?

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 means you never think in terms of scales and and 7 means you always do.

See what I mean.


My scale of interest today is extremism . . . because I've been wondering lately whether I am one (an extremist) or not.

There's no doubt I'm an extremist to somebody.

This question got raised when I snarked at Targator about being so reasonable. And just to be clear, I adore reasonableness . . . and Targator is as good as reasonable gets.

Governor Watch '08: Cooper Gets Tough on Sudafed

NCDP.org offers news of AG Cooper's plan to limit methamphetamine production by moving Sudafed (and all other pills containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine) behind pharmacy counters. Sucks for me: I get sinus headaches and enjoy being able to find pseudoephedrine at any gas station; also, where will I get my meth ingredients? ( <== Joke ) We'll see how the idea plays with the rest of the state, but I'm underwhelmed. Now increasing the minimum wage, on the other hand.... Moore: 1; Cooper: eh.

One More for the 8th

Mark Ortiz is running for congress in the 8th district, making a total of four Democrats looking to claim Hayes's seat (if we count Lloyd Scher, who we haven't heard from in a while). I'm sure we'll all be learning more about Mark in the coming days and weeks, but it sounds from his announcing press release that his central issue is the war. He's against it.

I've copied the full text of the press release below, but first let me offer this fortune-cookie message: only one of these guys is going to be the official Democratic nominee. I think so far we can assume that each is running because he loves his district and his country, and to get a chance to go to congress, they have to argue and pick at each other. That's a good thing to the extent that it generates informed debate about the issues and enhances the winning candidate's understanding of the people of the 8th; it's a bad thing to the extent it gets ugly and balkanizes the base.

Damning Faint Praise

Julia Hejazi is the Guilford County prosecutor who was fired with a quickness because she planned to run for DA. The News & Record article on Jan. 4 quoted former prosecutor John Nieman saying that Hejazi's boss did what he had to do, that "it would be untenable for him to perform his duties" otherwise. Now Nieman has sent a letter to the editor ("Hejazi had a choice") in which he continues to pump up the current DA while offering Hejazi backhanded compliments.


As a J-school grad, I have a special interest and growing disdain for the so-called mainstream media. Under self-imposed pressures for higher profits, most media outlets have become parodies of real news organizations . . . especially local television news.

According to an N&O story today, nearly 20% of Triangle residents actually watch local tv news each week, and 42% of everyone watching television at ll pm are spending their time with the local news shows.

This is really sad.

I confess to watching local television news only once or twice a month, mostly to remind myself how pathetic and trivial local news has become. I can only hope people aren't really watching this trash for the real news, but rather to find out whether they'll need an umbrella the next morning.


Subscribe to Front page feed