MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann

November 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Media, Peeves | 6 Comments

You may have heard that MSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann without pay, indefinitely. If you haven’t heard about it, you can read about it in the New York Times, here. Those of you who are conservatives will no doubt rejoice; the rest of you will be saddened.

I sent the following comment to MSNBC:

You made a poor decision when you suspended Keith Olbermann. He has never pretended to be objective, and therefore the contributions he made cannot endanger his status as an objective journalist.

I am a constant viewer of his, and I hope you will quickly reverse this decision—and revise your policy to specifically exempt commentators (like Mr. Olbermann) from the prohibition.

Mr. Olbermann is an effective voice for the liberals in this country, at a time when our very political system is in danger. I look forward to seeing him back on the air again very soon.

I hope you will join me by sending your comments to MSNBC. Their online comment form is located here.


A Quaker Statement on Torture

June 6, 2008 at 8:12 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Iraq, Peeves | 2 Comments

I regularly attend the Quaker (Society of Friends) meeting in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Although I’m not a Quaker, I agree with them on most things. Like the Quakers (and most Americans) I’m horrified by the fact that our government uses torture. The following is the text of the statement:


It is the custom of Friends Meetings (Quakers) to write official statements, called Minutes, concerning current moral issues both as an exercise among ourselves to come to clarity and unity about them and as a public witness to our neighbors.

Because of our concern for prisoners, military service members, and civilian workers involved in the United States government’s alleged interrogation practices, the Fayetteville Friends Monthly Meeting has written the following Minute on Torture.

Fayetteville (NC) Friends Meeting’s Minute on Torture

“Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.”

                            Hebrews 13:3 NRSV

                        (New Revised Standard Version)

Recognizing that of God in every person, we condemn the use of torture for any purpose by any person, group, or government. Torture by any means is immoral. It debases the humanity of the tortured, the torturer, and those who have knowledge of it.

For Fayetteville, NC Monthly Meeting, torture is not a distant issue. We are located near a major hub of a growing international torture complex. Hundreds of torture flights have taken off nearby; training for the brutal techniques takes place in the region at secretive military and other facilities. Our public officials have ignored protests.

The acceptance of torture is making our society an international pariah. We appeal to Friends and others everywhere to take up this concern and follow it through. Let us bear down into the work of bringing this immoral practice into the Light. Let us do all we can to bring about the day when torture is banished from our country and from our planet.

A Comment from The Curmudgeon

I urge you to write your elected representatives to let them know how you feel. (An easy way is to join see the link at the right.) You may also want to visit the National Religious Campaign Against Torture at For additional information on Quakers visit the Friends General Conference at

The Bottle Vs. the Tap

July 3, 2007 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Peeves | Leave a comment

Have you noticed?  In the last few years fashion has decreed a new accessory for men, women, and even children:  a bottle, filled (if you believe the label) with exotic… water!


Yes, water.  The water in bottles is almost indistinguishable from the stuff that gushes from the tap.  (We’re talking about public water supplies here, not private wells)  Both are very carefully processed, tested and monitored to ensure that dangerous chemicals and other impurities are removed.  Both look exactly the same in your glass.  Both are safe to drink.  Both provide exactly the same health benefits.  In most cases the taste is similar enough so that given a blindfold test using chilled water, people can’t tell the difference.  (If your tap water tastes bad, a water filter can fix the problem.)


But there are differences between bottled water and tap water.  The water in the bottles costs more than the gasoline you put in your car.  The water that runs from your tap is a lot cheaper, and usually contains fluoride, which dentists agree is important to reducing tooth decay.  Bottled water almost never contains fluoride.

Bottled water has a bigger impact on the environment.  It takes energy and petroleum to make the bottles, and more energy and petroleum to fill them and transport them, sometimes over thousands of miles, to you.  After you finish drinking the water the bottle goes to a landfill, where it sits for thousands of years.  It has been suggested that you can get an idea of the environmental impact if you imagine the water bottle being a quarter full of oil.

But drinking bottled water is cool.  People use it to make a statement:  “I’m not just an athlete, I’m the kind of person who drinks Perrier during my morning run.”  Or, “I can afford to eat here, and  I’m so sophisticated that I chase my Chardonnay with Evian.”

I don’t.  I clear my palate with cool tap water and a bit of bread before tasting my Merlot.  That way I have more money to spend on the wine!

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