Editor's Notebook

Rockin' in the Free World


MC DC - It Could Always Be Worse for Metro

For those visiting the beautiful Washington D.C. area there is much to offer the casual tourist.

The right time of year and you can see the wonderful cheery blossoms. There is always the Smithsonian and the Nation’s toy box of museums down on the mall that can keep you busy for a week.

Then there’s the seat of Democracy – a little bar that offers great deals on bourbon – just kidding. But besides Congress, the White House and the usual history, you can branch out and take day trips to a variety of historical locales that show the First World splendor of the Capital of the Free World.

Just don’t look too closely at the worn varnish and rusted metal.


Newspapers and the Cosmic Future

20150601 181228-X3Moving forward beyond the GOP and Democratic Conventions we are forced to once again evaluate the effectiveness of our media in presenting news we can use.

As we wrote last week the short answer is we’re not doing so well. We are producing news you want rather than news you need.

The bottom feeding, bottom-line nature of our business has become so overpowering even John Oliver on Last Week Tonight mentioned it on his HBO series this week. It was part of his declaration that local newspapers are in trouble and without them we’d all be reduced to watching Wolf Blitzer bat around a ball of yarn.


The question of the moment

IMG 0112The convention I saw on television was not the convention I attended in Philadelphia. Many pundits talked about how the Democrats teetered and careened nearly off track from the beginning of their convention after another email controversy led the party to dump the DNC chair.

Since my first convention was in 1984 and it featured Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and a Democratic Party shouting at the wind against Ronald Reagan, I really couldn’t see the point.  The 2016 Democratic Convention appeared much different to me than to the television reporters and pundits – many of whom weren’t on the planet in 1984.


Big britches and little itches

Brian Karem in hat  Lennon t-shirt

“Move over here,” the woman commanded. I moved.

“We’re reporters working here. This is my work space. I need quiet,” a young AP reporter shouted from his seat at the Democratic Convention as 50,000 people refused to acknowledge his importance.

“Hillary has to prove herself to me bro’,” a Bernie Bro shouted during an impromptu sit-in as the Bernie Bros defied the candidate they supported after he threw his support to Hillary Clinton.

Earlier in the day Bernie, a man of the people, sat down with his Vermont delegation and the Secret Service and the DNC volunteers banned reporters and anyone else from entering “The Bowl” of the Convention floor except through one chokehold point because the man of the people wanted to show how populist he was by casting his vote with Vermont.

The S.S. didn’t tell anyone what was going on. When asked why hundreds of people who already had to pass through background checks and metal detectors needed to move for the “Man of the people,” A well-oiled S.S. commando said, “Move.”


Sliding into Philly


phl-dncI saw my family Saturday night in Philadelphia.

The last time the family got together for a reunion, it was rather remarkable to see all the different colors, shapes and demeanor of people who are in one way or another related to me.

There are many cousins who are of different faiths than the Maronite/Roman Catholic faith in which I was raised. There were Jewish members of my family, a few Muslims and I think we even have some Methodists and Baptists – the ones who only drink outside of their own home- at our event.

We’re a family of different beliefs, different sexual orientations and different opinions.


The Donald 47 years later

kp1299em-1 thumbIn the last two days our offices have been swamped with emails, tweets and Facebook posts dedicated to the GOP National Convention.
I’ve tried real hard to be angry, bored, or anything resembling interested in the faux issues being discussed by those who’ve sent me these communiqués.
More often than not they are trivial at best and wildly uninformed.


Term limits are for sissies




Of all the ideas floating around this county, the lowest-common-denominator proposal of term limits for office holders earns the title of “Least likely to be endorsed by someone with higher brain function.”

The idea behind the move, as espoused by perennial wannabe gadfly Robin Ficker is that we must guarantee our county representatives are more responsible to the electorate and we must keep them from becoming minor despots sitting perpetually on the local throne and availing themselves of county money much like pigs will avail themselves of truffles.


Take me on outta town


MC DC - A Plague of Locusts So What Else is New for   Metro

“Train. Train. Take me on out of this town…”

The lyrics to an iconic song may trip merrily through your head as you wander off to your rendezvous with your favorite Metro stop – but you best know the entire song and perhaps six more to sing in your head if you decide to commute using the Red Line after August 1.

That’s when Metro’s so-called “SafeTrack” initiative will begin and directly affect Montgomery County commuters.


Internet fairness - yes?


The woman was quite angry with me. She told me I had no idea what was going on in Texas, since I live in Montgomery County Maryland, and therefore Donald Trump’s idea of a “wall” across the southern border is both sound and logical.

When I informed her that she was factually inaccurate, she called me several names that I can’t reprint in a family newspaper but a lot of them rhymed with snitch, bass, luck-wad and piece-of-mitt.

Finally I was told – point blank – that my “liberal facts” will never convince her of the real truth.

Sigh. There are no “liberal facts,” just “The facts ma’am.” And there is no liberal and conservative truth. There is merely reality and the reality of the situation is the Internet is seriously skewing reality.

Ignorance may indeed be bliss, according to some who adhere to their bias no matter what facts exist. But for those who still have hopes of digging up facts and basing their opinion on those facts rather than searching for, or inventing, facts to justify your opinion – there is hope.


Transparency? NOT!


censorshipOne of the leading cries heard by politicians from the local to the federal levels is how they are struggling hard to be “transparent” in their dealings with the public.
Don’t believe it. Not for one minute.

Last year this newspaper joined others in the state as some local politicians – under the guise of “cost cutting” decided cutting costs would mean cutting out local newspapers from certain revenue streams while at the same time allowing the local governments to post important notices on their own websites without the public’s involvement. It’s just the opposite of transparency, but if you say it often enough there’s the thought you can get most people to believe anything.
Luckily the measure failed.
Meanwhile we have some local politicians who – since the demise of The Gazette – continue to say there are no newspapers left in Montgomery County – despite the fact The Washington Post and The Montgomery County Sentinel both have a large presence in the county. We have been around 161 years and serve this county exclusively.
Again, it’s an excuse and attempt to demean the Fourth Estate.

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