Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Chipping away

Journalism can be fascinating because of all the things you learn that you otherwise would never learn. Journalism can be maddening because of all the things you have to learn, but have no reason to want to.

For example, this morning I've spent 20 minutes on the Web vainly trying to figure out how much it would cost to buy a special box containing v-chip technology for a TV manufactured before 2000. This is so that readers of a story I have coming out this weekend can buy the child-protection device for their TV sets, should my story move them to pursue television-filtering technology. Happy to provide the service -- but personally, because I have no children -- and should I ever have them, would certainly offer them limited TV-watching opportunities on a set manufactured in this decade -- there is no conceivable way I will have any use for this information.

I'll have to work it into conversation at some point -- maybe visit some friends-with-kids and, if they have an old TV set, say "Hey -- you could buy a v-chip set-top box for only $XX!"

I keep searching. Will have to call Best Buy when it opens.

It's amazing how packaging can affect perception. When I saw The Pitch's article on Kris Kobach earlier this week I'm like, OK, this is standard lefty alt-fare, and watched it pass by. Today, I saw the same article on Infoshop News with the headline, Kansas congressional candidate, "Kris Kobach, has neo-nazi, racist ties " and about 30 alarm bells went off. I mean, seems a bit over the top, doncha think? On the other side, we'll have to see how yesterday's House flag vote plays in the polls. The whole concept of stripping the Supreme Court of the ability to rule on anything is constitutional cuckoo-land, but as a protest vote against the judiciary, it could make some political waves. KS's three Republicans voted yes, the lone Democrat voted no.

The conservative Heritage Foundation has done an analysis of competing intelligence reform proposals, and likes much of what Sen. Pat Roberts has proposed. However, it calls his radical plan to subsume the CIA into a different organization a starting point, not a blueprint. From the report:

While the bill's notion of realigning functions and responsibilities to better support all the national critical intelligence needs has merit, it is probably not necessary to completely disrupt and restructure existing intelligence agencies to achieve these ends. Nor is it wise to overburden the National Intelligence Director with the management of multiple directorates while also requiring the director to continue to supervise the entire intelligence community. These goals might be better achieved by consolidating some existing organizations under the CIA.

And finally, the New York Review of Books just published its look at Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" linking it to all sorts of right-wing phenomena (Herman Goering gets a mention in the review, for example). Thank you NYRB, but WTMW you? We've been talking about this book ALL SUMMER -- and that, unfortunately, is slowly starting to fade.