The Presidential Debates…In Case You Missed Them

November 18, 2008

Synchronized debating by Sens. Obama and McCain…

Watch the video here.


Newspapers: History Will Always Need Its First Draft

November 17, 2008

This is a column written this week by Beth Grace, the executive director of the North Carolina Press Association. A former bureau chief for the Associated Press, Beth has spent 30 years in the newspaper business.


On Nov. 5, I remembered all over again why I love newspapers.

As fast as presses around the world could crank them out, newspapers trumpeted in the largest possible font the outcome of the most historic presidential election of our lifetime – of any lifetime, perhaps.

Everyone, everywhere wanted to share and remember this moment. They talked, phoned, e-mailed, watched TV and listened to the radio. But those who wanted to keep the memory close did what most of us do in times of national trouble or triumph.

They bought the newspaper.

Actually, they bought hundreds of thousands of newspapers.

In North Carolina alone, weekly and daily newspapers produced a few hundred to almost 40,000 extra copies that day when people – subscribers, mingling with those who rarely or never read the paper — began streaming into their lobbies seeking souvenir editions.

Newspapers broke speed records that day to produce more copies (sold at the regular price – no mark-up, mind you) to anyone and everyone who wanted one.

Let me tell you — the crowds that day, that rare chance to order a second press run, the outpouring from subscribers and those who haven’t touched a page of recycled newsprint in years warmed a lot of ink-stained hearts in the newspaper industry.

It’s not every day we are reminded that no matter how hard the economy has hit us, no matter what anyone says about the future of print, no matter what else is happening in the world, newspapers matter.

Newspapers are important.

Newspapers are vital to our collective memory and history.

Newspapers are what publisher Philip Graham once called the “first rough draft of history,” the first place we turn – even now, even with an ocean of information just a mouse click or two away – to learn, to understand, to remember.

They’re the destination of choice for people anxious to read the whole story — and the story behind that story.

Newspapers are a sort of “everyman’s souvenir” of the moments that change our world.

There are some who believe that the electronic media – TV, satellite radio, web sites — will one day erase the need for the printed word and newspapers will cease to exist.

I don’t believe it.

And, I suspect, neither do the thousands and thousands of people who bought those extra papers on Nov. 5.

Nor do those who saved the paper the day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the day after man first walked on the moon, the day after Sept. 11, 2001.

Nor do the many, many people who still subscribe faithfully, who know and savor the joy of reading the paper cover to cover with their morning coffee.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t save a clip from TV, snatch a screen-shot off the web or download a podcast to your MP3 player.

Gosh, you’ll be able to enjoy those for historical e-moments for … what? About an hour and a half — right up to the moment that technology is wiped out by the next new thing, which based on my on experience will be completely incompatible with whatever you already have in your home.

Newspapers don’t have that problem.

We are the ultimate user-friendly software.

No download instructions needed.

No switch. No mouse. No card. No cord.

Just open your eyes, read and remember.

And here’s the really interesting thing: Newspapers do this every time they publish.

The history of our own lives, our own communities, our own world is reported with the same vigor and dedication every day, every week of the year.

As avidly as we gathered up those Nov. 5 editions, we save and tuck away, safely encased in plastic and secured in a drawer or memory box, the papers that carry the major headlines of our lives: our graduations, our weddings, the birth of our kids, the deaths of our loved ones, the big award our son just won, the job promotion our daughter landed.

For just pocket change, we hold the first draft of our own history, our own life story in our hands.

This is why I don’t believe those who say newspapers won’t always be with us.

Of course they will.

History will always need its first draft.

On Screen: Another Will Smith Gem

November 14, 2008

Lots of good, promising films coming out between now and Christmas. “Seven Pounds,” starring Will Smith, looks great. Here’s the trailer…

Another Hit From Behind

November 14, 2008

KOSTOPOULOS GETS THE GATE | Habs forward suspended after hit on Van Ryn

Another hit from behind, another injury, another suspension…here’s the latest from the NHL…

The National Hockey League on Monday suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos for 3 games for a hit from behind on Toronto defenseman Mike Van Ryn in a game Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seven minutes into the game, Van Ryn chased a puck into his end, with Kostopoulos trailing. When he caught Van Ryn, Kostopoulos cross-checked him and drove him face-first into the end boards. Van Ryn suffered a concussion, a broken nose and a broken hand on the play. He had to be taken from the ice on a stretcher, and is expected to miss a month.

Kostopoulos was assessed a roughing minor, a boarding major and a game misconduct.

Capital Punishment

November 13, 2008


In the wake of last night’s disaster at the RBC Center comes this tidbit…

Last night four Washington Capitals accounted for all 14 of the team’s scoring points: Alexander Semin (2 goals, 3 assists = 5 points), Nicklas Backstrom (1 goal, 3 assists), Alex Ovechkin (1 goal, 2 assists) and Mike Green (1 goal, 1 assist). It was only the second time since 1987 that an NHL team had 14 or more scoring points in one game with no more than four players responsible for them.

The previous instance was by the Canadiens on Oct. 21, 2000, and the Hurricanes were the opponent in that game as well. Montreal beat Carolina, 5-2, that night with its 14 points garnered by just three players: Brian Savage (3 goals, 2 assists), Martin Rucinsky (1 goal, 4 assists) and Trevor Linden (1 goal, 3 assists).

On Screen: Transporter 3

November 12, 2008

COMPLETE THE MISSION | In theaters Nov. 26

Shoot ’em up car-chasing thrillers generally aren’t my thing, but it’s hard not to love the Jason Statham and the “Transporter” series.

The third installment comes out in a few weeks…

Chuck Norris’ Letter to President-Elect Obama

November 11, 2008












CHUCK IS WATCHING | One of Obama’s ‘300 million bosses’

To me, Chuck Norris will always be Walker, Texas Ranger (even though I’ve never seen the show) or the home gym guy on the commercial, working out with Billy Joel’s ex-wife. But these days, in becoming a more couth, refined version of Ted Nugent, the martial arts-legend turned TV star has become someone my boys talk about in can-you-top-this one-liners heard at school:

– Chuck Norris was born in a log cabin he built with his own hands.

– Chuck Norris doesn’t actually write books. The words assemble themselves out of fear.

– Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

– Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King…and got one.

– Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

– If you Google “Chuck Norris getting beat up,” it generates zero results – it just doesn’t happen.

Add to his resume the job of being an columnist…here’s something he wrote today – an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama…Dear President-elect Obama:

First, congratulations on your victory. The historical magnitude of your presidential win is nothing short of stupendous and a colossal fulfillment of the American dream (an achievement embedded long ago in the equality clauses of the Declaration of Independence).

It’s likely no big surprise that I don’t see eye to eye with you politically. Actually, I stand in stark opposition to most of your politics. Still, I realize that we must learn to work together if we are to see our country get back on track. After Election Day, I asked myself, “How can I work for our new president to help better America?” Then a thought occurred to me. The first question that should be answered is: How will you work for me? After all, “We the People” of the United States employ you, correct?

So here are a few ways you might begin to gain the respect of those who oppose you and to show that your campaign pledges to bridge the divides were not empty promises to get you into office. And these requests I make are based upon the inaugural oath you will make Jan. 20, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” No doubt these won’t be my only requests through the years, but they serve as a good beginning:

–Use and cite the Constitution. If that constitutional oath (“preserve, protect and defend”) is the central duty of your job description, then I assume we will be hearing often from you about exactly how you are doing just that. There is no replacement for strict adherence, application and defense of the Constitution. And it’s high time that presidents quit reciting the presidential oath tritely and then abandoning its tenets when they enter the Oval Office. You should be quoting from the Constitution publicly as often as a preacher quotes the Bible to his congregation — at least weekly. If you take this oath and challenge seriously, you will limit the powers of federal government, reduce taxes (for everyone), encourage the freedom of religion and expression (even in the public square), and stand up for such things as our right to bear arms. The American public and the government have lost their grip on the content and role of the Constitution, but if you daily choose, you can help to re-educate and model its usage for them.

–Protect American life. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1809, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” Those are powerful and enlightening words. Of course, such a role was created and secured in the very fabric of our nation — in the Declaration of Independence. The commitment to protect life should serve as the basis for all you do, even as a foundation for your national defense strategy. I’m sure the first of your secret briefings this past week on our global security threats have opened your eyes to the extensive onslaught of our enemies. Don’t allow your pride, partisanship, personal bias or political abilities to jeopardize the safety of Americans lives. As commander in chief, you are called to preserve American life. Quite frankly, that is why I’m surprised that a man such as you, who professes to fight for minorities, would not recognize the clear value of a human life in a womb. Federal law should not decree the sacrifice of one human life for the preference of another. Both lives should be protected. Otherwise, what do Jefferson’s 1809 words mean? As president, you are called to protect (not destroy) human life; it is the “first and only legitimate object of good government.”

–Lead more from the center. It’s been pointed out by countless pundits, and your track record is clear: You have one of the most liberal records in the Senate. You’ve had the liberty of voting and fighting for an agenda “from the left” as you’ve tried to persuade state and federal lawmakers to do the same. But if you continue to lead our country down a more liberal road, you will follow the peril of Bill Clinton, who stepped into office and initially tried to lift the ban on gays in the military and extend abortion rights, only to prompt the creation of a more balanced and strong Republican Congress in the 1990s. Don’t underestimate the resurrecting power of the conservative voice. You observed in last week’s election how three states across this union voted to protect marriage in their constitutions (the 28th, 29th and 30th states to do so — California, Arizona and Florida).

We will be watching who you choose to be in your Cabinet. We will discern how you lead Pelosi and Reid. We will be observing those you select as candidates for Supreme Court justices. The election is over. No more promises. No more words. You might work well in a team, but this time, you don’t have congressional members to hide behind. You’re on your own — leading the pack — and the whole country is watching. I, especially, am watching. So make sure you lead more from the center.

One of your 300 million bosses,

Chuck Norris