“Rudolph” accused of promoting bullying

Some experts are saying that the song and the cartoon “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” promotes bullying! See Does ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Promote Bullying? « CBS Pittsburgh.

This is a classic example of confusing the content of a story with its meaning.  Yes, the other reindeers are mean to Rudolph because of his nose, making fun of him and not letting him play in any reindeer games.  But the story doesn’t teach its hearers to do likewise!  The sympathy of the story is all with Rudolph.  And Rudolph ends up triumphant over the bullies when the quality that they made fun of turns out to save Santa’s Christmas journey.

The meaning, the message, and the effect of the story is to teach children not to bully!

What other examples have you noticed of this confusion of content and meaning?

Payroll tax cut conundrum

An issue is before Congress that has both Republicans and Democrats tied up in ideological knots.  Republicans oppose deficit spending.  They also are in favor of tax cuts.  Democrats are usually fine with government spending, which they are willing to finance with higher taxes.  So what do they do about extending the payroll tax cuts?

Part of President Obama’s stimulus package was to cut the amount people have to pay into social security, thus adding some dollars to their paychecks.

Now that provision is expiring, and the Obama administration wants to extend it.  But some Republicans are arguing that social security is already being starved and is headed for bankruptcy.  So it isn’t responsible to just take even more out of social security funding.

So now Democrats, including the President, are accusing Republicans of wanting to increase taxes!

See Republicans split on Democratic plan to extend payroll tax cut – The Washington Post.

What would be the statesman-like thing to do, as opposed to the political-rhetoric thing to do?

Morning after pill update

The Food & Drug administration had decided to make the abortifacient “morning after” pill available over the counter without a prescription.  But now the Health & Human Services Department has over-ruled that decision, keeping the drug by-prescription only:

The federal government Wednesday rejected a request to let young teenage girls buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.

In a rare public split among federal health officials, the Health and Human Services Department overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug available to anyone of any age without a restriction.

In a statement, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said she had decided the medication could be used safely by girls and women of all ages. But she added that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had rejected the move.

“I agree … there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said.

“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision to allow the marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription for all females of child-bearing potential,” she said.

In a separate statement and letter to Hamburg, Sebelius said she overruled the FDA because she had concluded that data submitted by the company that makes the drug did not “conclusively establish” that it could be used safely by girls of all ages.

“About 10 percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

The surprising decision is a stunning blow to some doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, members of Congress and others who backed relaxing the restrictions to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.

via Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions – The Washington Post.

How safe it is. . . but it isn’t safe for unborn children.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which took the lives of 2,300 Americans, destroyed 12 ships and 160 aircraft, and brought the nation into World War II.

See Pearl Harbor attacked: A witness remembers, 70 years later – The Washington Post.

Reflections, thoughts, and lessons learned?

Liberal vs. Conservative television tastes

How do political beliefs relate to taste in TV shows?  A study has found some patterns:

In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

Focusing on well-known cable and broadcast original entertainment series (rather than, say, sports, music, news, repeats), here’s who wins the 2011 prime-time primaries:

LIBERAL-DEMOCRAT FAVORITES:

– The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): As you might expect.

– 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (NBC): Literate media-savvy comedies score high among Dems in general, notes Experian-Simmons senior marketing manager John Fetto. “Sarcastic humor is always a hook for them,” he adds.

– The View (ABC): Shows that skew female tend to do better among Dems, while male-friendly shows tend to do perform higher among Republicans.

– Glee (Fox)

– Modern Family (ABC): Last year, the progressive Glee and Modern Family scored surprisingly strong among both political leanings. Among conservatives this year, the shows still do fairly well, but have dropped out of their top ranks.

– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

– Treme (HBO): GOP Kryptonite. Not only a Dem favorite, but so unpopular among Republicans that the report scores the show with a “*” because not enough conservatives in the study group had actually watched it.

– Cougar Town (ABC)

– The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS): Dems favor late-night programming, with one big exception that we’ll see below.

Also in the mix: The Soup (E!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), Raising Hope (Fox), Saturday Night Live (NBC), The Office (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime), Shameless (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Conan (TBS).

CONSERVATIVE-REPUBLICAN FAVORITES:

– Swamp Loggers (Discovery) and Top Shot (History): Gritty documentary-style work-related reality shows on cable index really strongly with conservative Republicans. Swamp Loggers is particularly polarizing.

– The Bachelor (ABC): They also tend to gravitate toward broadcast reality competition shows.

– Castle (ABC): Ranks fairly high among Dems, too.

– Mythbusters (Discovery)

– Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Swamp People (History): If you’re a Republican candidate looking to raise money, put ads on History.

– The Middle (ABC): Does well among libs, too.

– The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): “Did you hear about this? Yeah, this is true: Jay Leno is the late-night choice among conservatives… “

– The Biggest Loser (NBC)

– Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, The Mentalist (CBS): Popular crime dramas — except the left-wing Law & Order franchise — tend to draw a conservative crowd.

Also: Dancing With the Stars results show (ABC), Man vs. Wild (Discovery), Auction Kings (Discovery), Wheel of Fortune (syndi), Top Gear (BBC America).

via Republican vs. Democrat survey: Who watches the best TV shows? | Inside TV | EW.com.

What does this tell us about both liberals and conservatives?

Does this track with your tastes, one way or the other?  Are there other shows that would seem to exemplify a liberal or a conservative aesthetic?

Occupy foreclosed houses

The Occupy Wall Street folks, who in many cases are being evicted from their downtown campsites, have started a new strategy:  Occupying foreclosed houses.  This includes blocking efforts to evict people, disrupting auctions, fixing up abandoned homes and giving them to homeless people, and just moving into abandoned properties.

See  Occupy protesters take over homes, block evictions – Dec. 6, 2011.


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