Tuesday, February 24, 2015
For the past few weeks the media have been abuzz with the revelations that Brian Williams of NBC News embellished some of his news stories regarding Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War. Facing the allegations of lying he did the manly thing and accepted responsibility for what he had done, apologized to his listeners and stepped down from his position as news anchor until there was a full investigation. This is what would be expected from a decent professional journalist.
Shortly after these revelations it was discovered that Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was accused of the same thing by a number of veterans groups. Instead of acting as a professional journalist, as Williams did, O'Reilly acted as a typical Fox News employee. He attacked the veterans accusing him of the misdeeds, in a vitriol filled tirade of name calling and threats. Unlike NBC news, which immediately launched an investigation into the accusations against Williams, Fox News offered wholehearted support for O"Reilly.
This incident involving O'Reilly only strengthens the negative views of Fox News as an organization dedicated to right wings agenda of news fabrication and outright lies. If Fox allows O'Reilly to get out of this unscathed it loses any credibility that it may have had.
Friday, February 13, 2015
It seems as though the closer we get to Valentine's Day the more commercials we see for online dating websites. When I was younger there were only a couple of legitimate sites around, Yahoo Personals and Match.Com. I haven't seen anything about the Yahoo site in years and am not sure if it still exists. It seems like the 2 biggies that are still around are Match.com and Eharmony. Match.Com TV commercials are actually well done and somewhat entertaining, while those of Eharmony are rather annoying because of the snake oil salesman like founder, who appears in each and every one of the ads. Eharmoney is actually a Christian website in disguise that, after a number of lawsuits, decided to offer an affiliate site for gay people. I would imagine that both of these sites are legitimate upfront dating sites conducted in a very businesslike manner. They don't pretend to be anything other than what they actually are.
The commercials that really amuse and annoy me are the ones for Christian Mingle. It doesn't bother me at all that there are sites that appeal to those daters who are looking for someone of the same religion or ethnicity. Those sites make it clear that they are for Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Asian singles. They basically tell you that if you join their site you will have a number of people of the same religion or ethnicity to chose from. As in all sites you pay a fee and look for someone whose interests match yours. Not so with Christian Mingle! A computer doesn't find your match. The site doesn't find your match. God finds your match!
This to me is not only unethical but fraudulent. Maybe it is just a humorous way to attract possible members, but there are, I am sure, many devout, but naive and ignorant Christians out there who actually believe God will be making the matches. This is just another example of a religion fleecing it's followers. If indeed the owners and staff of this site firmly believe that God is making the choices, then the services should be free, since, as far as I know God doesn't charge for his services! I wonder if the relationship doesn't work out who gets the blame. God?
I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day with their loved ones, regardless of who made the match!
Thursday, February 12, 2015
One of the painful aspects of returning to the US, in particular New York State, was having to obtain auto insurance and having to start the process of getting a NYS driver's license all over again. I have been driving for 50 years, both in New York and Massachusetts. Kevin has been driving for 1 year here and 12 years in Malaysia. When we first arrived back here I searched around for car insurance to cover the both of us. We settled on Geico, as it was the cheapest and offered the best policy. The other nationally known companies, either were way too expensive or refused to even talk to me, as I had lived in Malaysia.
With the Geico policy we were given a generous amount of time to obtain our New York driver's licenses and to update our policy. In November we took the required 5 hour pre-licensing course and made our appointments to take our road tests. The closest tests were 3 months away in January. The date finally came and went with both of us passing our road test. The next thing to do, as a good customer was to notify the insurance company, by updating our information on their website. Immediately when I entered the new driver license numbers for Kevin and myself the premium jumped to over $400 a year!
I contacted the company asking why there was such a big jump in the premium. They informed me that Kevin was classified as an inexperienced driver since he has never had a NYS license. I explained that he has had a Malaysian license for over 12 years and driving in Malaysia takes a lot more skill than driving in the US. They explained that previous driving experience in Europe, South America, Europe, Asia, and North America, except for Canada, is not recognized as driving experience. How arrogant of them!
They did inform me that "I" could research their main website, not "them". So now I am in the process of the painstaking task of looking for car insurance quotes again. I don't understand how when Kevin was driving with a Malaysian license he got a lower rate than being a good customer and resident driving with a New York license. I guess it's just another example how our insurance companies, whether they be auto or health insurance companies love to put the screws to us!
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
In the past few days the media has been abuzz with the Brian Williams story of his lying about an incident in the Iraq war and during his coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Some people are calling for his immediate resignation, while others are willing to forgive and forget. Williams apparently has a strong following of fans who will not abandon him. He has appeared on his news program and apologized for his deeds, while also taking a leave of absence from the show, while the incidents are being investigated.
Two incidents are causing all of the furor over his honesty and reliability in reporting the news. One incident involved his reporting of a story during the Iraq war, where he said he was aboard an aircraft that took enemy fire. He has referred to this a number of times over the years, but apparently no one on that aircraft remembers it as Williams does! He really didn't give a false impression about the war or the courage and bravery of the service men and women who fought the war. At most I could say he was guilty of a bit of self aggrandizement. The second incident was in regards to a report he made during Hurricane Katrina, where he said he was able to see bodies floating in the streets of the French Quarter. The truth of the matter was that the flood waters in this location never reached a height where bodies could float, even though this was happening in other areas of the city. Here he was guilty of a little poetic license to emphasize the extent of the tragedy. It didn't minimize or trivialize the depth of suffering of the residents of New Orleans.
I really don't think a great deal of damage was inflicted upon the American news viewing public. If there was any damage done, it was to Brian Williams' career and reputation. Instead of reporting the news for the past couple of weeks he has become the subject of the news. He has been humbled and embarrassed by having to apologize on his news program as well as taking a leave of absence. To me this is one person from a network news program who made a couple of mistakes, as a result of being a bit too eager or trying to inflate his own importance. On the other hand if you take the entire staff of Fox News, it is a horse of a different color. Fox News consistently lies, embellishes stories or twists the context of news stories to further their extreme conservative agenda, which is to destroy President Obama. They have lied and given half truths to fan the flames of violence, hatred and racism in order to divide the country. Yet they never apologize, as they don't admit any wrong doing.
If Brian Williams if forced off the air, then fair play would be for the entire Fox News team to be taken off the air too. All news programs have embellished the truth on many occasions, I am sure, and it will continue to do so, hopefully rarely though. With Fox News dishonesty in reporting is the entire crux of the show. In my opinion Brian Williams is paying for his mistakes and hopefully he has learned his lesson.