My Two Cents: My comments on some recent happenings in politics, journalism

As a connoisseur of current events, I enjoy the news, whether it be from television, print, radio or the Internet. However, some recent stories have ticked me off, and I’m using my column to vent.

– In a replay of a May walkout to Oklahoma to thwart a White House-backed power grab for more Republican seats in Congress, Texas Democrats have skipped town again. Eleven members of the Texas Senate fled the state capital on July 28 for Albuquerque, N.M. to prevent a vote on a Republican redistricting plan that would likely add seven Republican seats in Congress. Their departure meant the state senate did not have a quorum to vote. This type of behavior isn’t acceptable by children, let alone adults who have been elected to public office. In what other job – besides pro wrestling – is it an option to just run away if things aren’t going your way? It’s a good thing these people weren’t defending the Alamo, as they would have just found a back way out when the shooting started. I hear the Texas Democrats are thinking of changing the state’s motto to “Don’t mess with Texas…or we’ll run away.”

– And speaking of bad behavior, disgraced journalist Jayson Blair, who resigned from the New York Times over his fraudulent reporting, has been commissioned by Esquire magazine to write a review of a film about another famed media fraud. The film, “Shattered Glass,” is about Stephen Glass, who admittedly made up sources and whole stories while a staff writer at The New Republic. Isn’t it great that the message being sent is that you can lie and cheat and be rewarded for it? A note to Esquire magazine: You might want to fact check Blair’s review, and verify that he actually saw the movie, before running the story.

– While we’re on the topic of media misbehavior, much ado has been made of Bush’s charge in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa (“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”), with several reports characterizing the claim as “discredited.” Britain still stands by their intelligence, and so do some American intelligence agencies. However, the CIA was uncertain about the claim, the springboard for the ensuing controversy. The intelligence is more properly characterized as “disputed,” not “discredited.”

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who thinks Jayson Blair should get a job making up stories for the Weekly World News – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that states you only get a penny for your thoughts.