Madison Can Be Proud of WISC-TV’s David Douglas

When I tuned in “Live At Five” on Monday afternoon I found myself taking a step back, breaking into a grin, and clapping.   I found myself feeling a lot of pride that one of Madison’s talented journalists, David Douglas, was reporting live from in front of the White House. 

For David Douglas who is making journalism his career it must have been quite a day.  For those of us who follow Douglas’ stories on WISC-TV we know he earned the right to report about the Medal of Honor from Washington.  

I just know that Douglas would rather folks blog about  U.S. Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the soldier who is honored, or the soldier from McFarland, Sgt. Joshua Brennan, who died from battle wounds.  There is no doubt that both men deserve lots of words and praise.

But if we take a step back from the story about the award to be presented at the White House on Tuesday, there is no way not to feel pride about David Douglas.

Though he has covered a multitude of stories I think Douglas’ best job, and perhaps the toughest, was reporting earlier this year from Sauk County about the little boy who would be found drowned in a river.  He got the facts, reported them with solid writing, and added a dose of humanity.   That is the type of person we want to not only report the news, but also are proud to have live in our city.

It is because of his most remarkable ease in front of the camera, the ability to report authoritatively, while allowing his humanity to show, that makes him the perfect reporter for the story about the people involved with the Medal of Honor.

At one time I  thought about broadcast journalism as a full-time job.  So I can imagine the smile when Douglas with his passes and credentials was allowed into the White House compound today.  I can sense what he must have thought as he stood in the area with major network reporters doing stand-ups from the lawn of the White House.  So tonight I am very happy for this reporter.  

At a time when there are so many awful stories about sports heroes who let us down, singers who spend time in jail, and Hollywood stars hopped up on drugs we have every right to feel pride over the achievement of one who worked hard at his job and is making a difference.

On behalf of a lot of Madisonians, thank you David Douglas.

Stupidity Wins: Sarah Palin’s “Refudiate” 2010’s Word Of The Year By New Oxford American Dictionary

I was talking with a 27-year old neighbor today. He brought up the topic of how the level of education in this nation has slipped, and what that means for shaping policy both in Wisconsin and across the nation. When we reflected on the outcome of the recent elections it was obvious to us that angry folks who sit and drink beer on the sofa, and have no real insight or interest in policy, cast votes. 

When it comes to educational standards many nations around the globe are passing us by.   From math and science, to history and literature, America is getting left behind.  There are many reasons for the education hole we are in at this time.  Policy wonks can debate them for years. 

But there is no doubt we are slipping further behind educated folks around the globe when bad word usage….or more accurately….speaking out of your ass… gets praise.

Which leads me to Sarah Palin.

This astounds me. 

Sarah Palin may have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of mockery when she inadvertently coined the term “refudiate” last July, but now the former Alaska governor is getting her due – kind of. The New Oxford American Dictionary has named “refudiate” 2010’s Word of the Year.

Palin introduced the term into the American lexicon last July when she used it in a Tweet about the proposed Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City. “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” she posted on her Twitter account. 

The message was removed from her Twitter page shortly after its posting, but Palin (who had also, it was soon discovered, used the word during a previous appearance on Fox News) defended her usage of “refudiate” in another Tweet: “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

Pictures: Neighborhood Hawk Spreads Its Wings

Today the hawk was hunting from a power line.  Every move the hawk makes conveys a powerful, commanding, graceful tone.  Just mighty impressive.

I am glad he is a part of the neighborhood.

When the hawk took off for better hunting grounds I was in a prime location for these photos.

What 90 Days Can Get You…If You Are Israel

What could Israel have obtained for 100 days?

This is insane.   If there are any new faces in Washington that truly think the old ways of conducting business needs to be changed, well, this story should be the one to make them react. 

For 90 days of holding off continued illegal construction on occupied lands Israel will get 20 advanced fighter jets (worth $3 billion and will also be able to buy 20 more), and other military aid, and a long list of American pronouncements and actions that run counter to sensible international policy.

On the 91st day Israel does what it always does.  Go against world opinion and inflame the Middle East by continuing illegal construction on lands they stole from the Palestinians.

Lets see how much Washington has changed after the recent election by watching how this story is reacted to inside the Beltway.

Anyone placing bets?

The pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to push for a new, one-time-only freeze of 90 days on settlement construction in the West Bank represents a bet by the Israelis and the Americans that enough can be accomplished so that the Palestinians will not abandon peace talks even after the freeze ends.

The Israelis would stop most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Those negotiations began in Washington in early September, but soon faltered over Palestinian anger at resumed settlement construction, when a previous 10-month freeze ended.

In return, the Israelis would receive 20 advanced American fighter jets and other unspecified military aid, as well as American promises to oppose any Palestinian attempt to obtain international recognition of statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza without Israeli agreement.

Newsweek On-Line To Shut Down

Not good. 

There apparently isn’t room for two sites at the Newsweek Daily Beast Company. The new joint venture will kill off Newsweek.com, even though its audience is larger than the Beast’s.
 
Newsweek.com, the offshoot of a 77-year-old brand, has 3.8 million monthly unique visitors to the two-year-old Beast’s 1.5 million, according to Compete.com.
 
The Beast is the survivor, said Stephen Colvin, the company’s new CEO, “Because the Daily Beast is a very credible and successful news and opinion Web site. And with great vitality and distinct voice.”

The site will publish Newsweek.com-branded content, and Newsweek.com traffic will be directed there.