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Bob Schieffer On Why Reporters Matter

May 24, 2015


SCHIEFFER:  You know, we’ve got to have journalists.  The need for accurate information is more important than ever, and unless – I mean, in our system of government, having access to independently gathered, accurate information is as important to our process as the right to vote.  You have to have that in a democracy like we have.

I don’t know where reporters are going to work in the future but whatever their platform, we have to have that information, and getting accurate information, Brian, is harder now than it’s ever been.

STELTER:  You think so even though the internet has made it more accessible?

SCHIEFFER:  Yes, because most of the information is wrong.  I mean, you know, we’re just overwhelmed by news.  There’s so much news that we can’t get to the news.  And, you know, that’s what our job is as mainstream journalists is try to cut through this great maw of information and tell them what we think is relevant, what they need to know.

SCHIEFFER:  You know, I have seen so many wheels invented, reinvented in the time that I have been in television.  I’m not sure you can reinvent this wheel.  I think you have to get back to basics.

What people want when they turn on a news program of any kind is news.  They want to know what it is that they need to know about that’s going to impact their lives.  And that’s what we’ve tried to do, and I think that’s what the success in recent years of “Face the Nation” has been.

Mitch McConnell Allows Murky Congressional Waters To Become Even More Problematic

May 24, 2015

There is no way to cheer the way congress is operating. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must be held accountable.

One of the goals that McConnell has to achieve prior to 2016 is to prove to the nation the GOP can govern.   There is no evidence that the party in power in the legislative chamber can rub two sticks together and get any flicker of an idea going in any direction that works for the people of this country.   And that is a real problem for Republicans.

What happened this weekend is pure fodder for the Democrats to rightfully latch onto as proof there is no one in real control of a Republican Party which seems unable to untangle itself from the purists who wish to drive the party and the nation into the ditch.

“As senators raced for the airport on Saturday after a six-week session that ended in disarray, they left behind a wreck of promises made by Mr. McConnell on how a renewed Senate would operate. Mr. McConnell has found himself vexed by Democratic delaying tactics he honed in the minority, five presidential aspirants with their own agendas and a new crop of conservative firebrands demanding their say.”

“Mr. McConnell promised that his party would instill more discipline, avoiding the last-minute legislative cliffhangers that have long marked Congress and left government workers and the capital markets in a state of constant unease. Instead, he allowed the Senate to depart with a key national security program dangling on the precipice of extinction. Senators also failed again to find a long-term solution for fixing the nation’s crumbling roads.”

Madison Had a ‘Gay’ Radio Station

May 24, 2015

Hat Tip To Dan.

Slow rainy Sunday and lots of small things passing over my desk.  This one amused me as a former radio broadcaster.    Madison, Wisconsin is known as a very liberal city and so it should be noted that a radio station–833 -AM–was licensed on June 28, 1922 and owned by the North Western Radio Company.    What were the call letters for the station?


I can find no other information about the station but if anyone has some background I would be most interested in finding out more about this place on the radio dial.

Conservative Catholics Have To Soul Search

May 24, 2015

What gets jettisoned first?

Outmoded political thinking or the pope?   Whichever way a conservative Catholic Republican turns there are a series of questions that must be addressed.

Catholic Republicans are developing a pope problem. Earlier this month, Francis recognized Palestinian statehood. This summer, he’s going to issue an encyclical condemning environmental degradation. And in September, just as the GOP primary race heats up, Francis will travel to Washington to address Congress on climate change.

Francis may be popular with the general public, but key Republican primary constituencies — hawks, climate-change skeptics and religious conservatives, including some Catholics, are wary of the pope’s progressivism. Some, pronouncing themselves “Republicans first and Catholics second,” even say they would look askance at a candidate perceived to hew too closely to the bishop of Rome. This internal conflict flips a familiar script, in which Democrats like John Kerry and Joe Biden were labeled “cafeteria Catholics” when their stances on social issues like abortion and gay marriage differed from those of the church. 

“City of Scoundrels” by Gary Krist Wows With Racial Riots, Aircraft Crash, And Political Intrigue

May 24, 2015

I have been meaning to get this item posted on my blog for a few weeks.  Since it is raining and I have too much caffeine running in my system means it is time to get caught up on scads of small projects on my desk.  One of them deals with a simply stunning book, City of Scoundrels by Gary Krist.


It might occur to some readers that every book I mention on Caffeinated Politics has a most positive review.   That should not be interpreted to mean whatever I read is pushed off as a good idea for others.  I only encourage others to read the books that I have found to be powerfully driven by amazing events or a narrative that demands the pages to be turned.

Both of those are why I suggest City of Scoundrels for those who love history.  And might I add history we may have never heard of before. That certainly was the case for me when it came to the events of July 21, 1919–or for that matter the entire month of that year in Chicago.  I found this book so compelling I ordered a copy for a friend who I know will enjoy the pages of history unfold.

Many a time when reading this book I thought of Mom who loved Chicago history.  She would have enjoyed either hearing me tell in short order some of the larger themed events from July 1919 or as I often would do in the kitchen of our family home while she drank coffee from a mug—read a few passages that were sure to be dramatic. Then we would talk over the topics that were written about.

Out of a clear blue sky, amid a wave of terrorist bombings, a commercial airship crashes among the skyscrapers of the financial district, burning victims alive at their desks. But this catastrophe was not the work of Al Qaeda. It happened on July 21, 1919, when a stray spark ignited the 10,000 cubic feet of hydrogen in the Goodyear blimp Wingfoot Express as it floated above Chicago’s crowded Loop. With Twitteresque speed, sportswriters at Comiskey Park watching the Yankees play the soon-to-be-Black Sox began to telegraph the news across the country, even before the Wingfoot exploded through the skylight of the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, killing more than a dozen people.

Yet America’s first major aviation disaster was just the beginning of what Gary Krist, in “City of Scoundrels,” suggests were the worst two weeks in Chicago history. On July 22, a 6-year-old girl disappeared. She was last seen with a man who had shown “conspicuous interest” in young girls. The suspect was arrested, interrogated, deprived of a lawyer and sleep. Detectives employed an alienist (a psychiatrist) and one of them dressed as a priest to trick the man into confessing. They even let the girl’s father assault him. But the tactics failed to produce a solid lead, escalating pressure on them to arrest all suspected “morons,” as pedophiles were called in those days.

While this horrific whodunit was unfolding, wider municipal crises were also terrifying Chicagoans, including a rash of bombings thought to be the work of either Bolshevik revolutionaries or those hoping to intimidate the city’s black population, which had doubled in less than three years. “Half a Million Darkies From Dixie” is how Col. Robert R. McCormick’s Tribune described the migration, inflaming the resentment of working-class whites forced to compete for scarce jobs and housing.

15th Anniversary

May 24, 2015

Today James Wilson and I celebrate 15 years of being a couple.  I think only once in your life does someone find another who can completely turn the world around.  James did that for me and there is not a day that goes by I do not feel the full awareness of what love means and how much it is to be treasured once found.  Thanks for the shared journey down our road of life, James.  I love you.

oct 14

Same-Sex Marriage Will Be Law In Ireland

May 23, 2015

I am opposed to the idea that civil rights should ever be placed on a ballot. Having said that I am pleased however that Ireland has seen the wisdom of making same-sex marriages legal. The first official results released, from eight of Ireland’s 43 constituencies, showed voters backing same-sex marriage by around 60% to 40%, with turnout a little over 60%.  Full results will be known soon.

Meanwhile the United States will be the next nation to allow same-sex marriage in June when the Supreme Court hands down a much anticipated ruling.



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