‘I am not a bear!’

One thing my trip to Columbus did was stir up a bunch of those early-career memories. I recalled, but didn’t mention, the example Gary Kiefer used to teach me the difference between further and farther: “I can drive your car farther down the road, but I drive you further toward the brink of insanity.” I not only remember it, I use it when I have to teach it to someone else.

Then, today, in Axios, came this, about the return of the pandas to China:

I can still see the paper I extracted from my mailbox the day Kirk Arnott schooled me on this distinction after I turned in copy with the phrase “panda bear”: A cartoon panda with a dialogue balloon, saying, “I am not a bear!” Never forgot it.

Someone tell Axios.

Speaking of teaching, I went to see one of my former students play in his band last night, at a dive spot in Hamtramck, the kind of place where I, a 65-year-old grandma-ass looking woman, had to show ID AND open her purse for weapon/smuggled liquor inspection. As soon as their set ended, he came off the stage to see how the Ford-UAW settlement story his bureau was working on ended up. It’s a job that never ends. And that reminded me of the geezers who used to lead newsroom tours in Fort Wayne, who never failed to point out that some reporters might be reading the paper, and “that doesn’t mean they’re goofing off,” but that we were checking to see “how their stories look in print.” Ai-yi-yi.

Wait! :::touches earpiece::: We have this breaking update:

Well, I got that cartoon well before 1985.

Once again, I’m avoiding the news because it never seems to improve. I’m just reading about the mass shooter in Maine, and came across this uh-oh detail:

Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Koroknay of the U.S. Coast Guard said a 29-foot response boat was searching the Kennebec River for Robert Card, the suspect in the Lewiston shooting. A car linked to Card was found at a boat ramp in Lisbon, Maine.

And a boat linked to him is unaccounted for. We all know by now that Maine has virtually zero gun control, which we’re told over and over is the real solution to gun violence. Clearly the answer is, we have to harden our targets. So metal detectors, bag searches and maybe cavity searches in every bowling alley.

Which reminds me, this is something I think about a LOT:

Corporate media seems to lack the vocabulary to accurately describe the modern Republican Party.


But consider how poorly the words they choose describe the reality of the Republican Party and its current leadership.

In their lead stories, Johnson’s political views were summed up with words like “staunch conservative,” (AP) “conservative hardliner” and “religious conservative” (New York Times), and “lesser-known conservative” (Washington Post).

But there is nothing “conservative” about insurrection. That’s radical extremism.

Yep. What’s more:

Johnson, like the party he now represents, is an extremist and a reactionary. By calling him a conservative – a “staunch” one at that – the mainstream media coverage normalizes him. It even glamorizes him.

Exactly. When this country marches itself right off the cliff — the brink of insanity, if you will — it’ll be with the best-intentioned people leading the way.

I should wrap this up. The weekend awaits! Enjoy yours.

Posted at 6:05 pm in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

31 responses to “‘I am not a bear!’”

  1. Mark P said on October 26, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    When the “conservatives” finally get their Gilead, the rest of us will have to invade Canada, because they will never let us in voluntarily.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on October 27, 2023 at 4:58 am

    Did you see the repuggs around the microphones with their new Dear Leader the election denying liar and extremist?
    A reporter asked if Johnson still believes Trump is the real President, and those repuggs all began booing and screaming at the question asker.

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  3. alex said on October 27, 2023 at 9:38 am

    And there are kooks on the far right condemning Johnson as an “undercover leftist” because in 2020 he affirmed in an interview on NPR that systemic racism is a real thing. The interview took place before the right turned critical race theory into a bogeyman and book banning into a real thing.

    Jennifer Rubin — formerly a Republican and now one of the better columnists at the Post — has been fulminating for some time about the mainstream press and its false equivalency and failures to call radicalism what it is. I used to ignore her entirely when she was George Will’s Mini-Me during the Obama years. She has completely broken free from that suffocating role and has come into her own as an independent voice and a most astute media critic. No doubt one of the things that probably chaps her ass is that she has to post a parenthetical disclaimer that she is a contributor to MSNBC after she makes any mention of false narratives coming out of Fox or Newsmax. Not only does it clutter up her writing but creates false equivalency.

    I’m gifting today’s column as she takes the press to task for its lazy and inept coverage of Biden: https://wapo.st/3SyKVrl

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  4. robert said on October 27, 2023 at 9:53 am

    I believe the proper term to describe Johnson and his ilk is “xristo-fascist”

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  5. FDChief said on October 27, 2023 at 10:14 am

    I’d take issue with the description of the mainstream press as “best-intentioned”.

    The coverage of these raging wingnut bastards seems dominated by:
    1) greed – the despicable Michael Jordan “conservatives buy shoes” fear that calling a creepy fascist wingnut a creepy fascist wingnut means losing that wingnut’s precious nickel, and
    2) the fundamental conservatism of the owners, editors, and publishers desperate need to pretend there is a legitimate “conservative” party in the US so they don’t have to fall in with the dusky poor, uppity wimmen, hairy liberal kooks and soyboys.

    Neither of those are well-intentioned. The first is just vile, the second even more loathsome, since it’s throwing everyone and everything the wingnuts will savage to these scumbags because the media types know they’re safe in their little cocoon of privilege.

    So no. The MAGAt trash are to blame. But their allies in the press busily “staunching” and bothsidesing away are not doing well by anyone other than the garbage people under the red caps.

    Makes one sympathetic to the Emperor Caligula’s wish that all these nitwits had one neck so a single sharp blade could solve the problems they present.

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  6. Jeff Borden said on October 27, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    It’s been said ad infinitum that reporters lean liberal, which generally is fairly true, while their bosses are quite conservative because, well, they’re wealthy and they want to retain as much of that money as possible.

    We can thank St. Ronald of Reagan for so much of this. The ol’ Gipper opened the gates of hell when he eliminated the Fairness Doctrine and conservative economic policies allowed for the creation of huge media conglomerates. He’s the gift that keeps on giving, the bastard.

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  7. Mark P said on October 27, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    “I am a bear!”

    There used to be some confusion about what pandas are, but studies almost 40 years ago concluded that they are bears.

    From Wikipedia:

    “For many decades, the precise taxonomic classification of the giant panda was under debate because it shares characteristics with both bears and raccoons. However in 1985, molecular studies indicate the giant panda is a true bear, part of the family Ursidae.”

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  8. brian stouder said on October 27, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    Jeff, by the end of the conversation we’d have (over icy-cold Diet Pepsi, b’gosh), we’d be nodding in agreement (and chuckling and chortling!), but I always liked ol’ Ronnie. He was the first President I voted for, and he seemed to me to be the right guy at the right moment. Now I WILL concede that, here in 2023, it seems to me that we’d have done at least as well without him, but he did well – and he survived the gunfire that struck him – and here we are. By way of also saying – I genuinely despise the twice-impeached Ronald Rump – but I view him as the delayed payment we had to make for two terms of the best President of my lifetime, Barack Obama. (President Biden is credible enough, and he knows everybody; so here’s hoping for President Harris in the near future!)

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  9. Mark P said on October 27, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    For me, Reagan’s legacy comes down to two things. The first is the removal of solar water heating panels that Carter had placed on the White House roof. When they were installed, Carter said, “ … a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.” Carter planned for a renewable energy policy that would have put the US in the forefront of that process. Instead, 40 years later, we’re playing catch-up.

    The second is the US response to the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon almost exactly 40 years ago. Our response was to withdraw four months later. There was no military response to that actual event. I think the lesson Mideast terrorists learned was that these colors do, indeed, run.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on October 27, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Don’t forget how Reagan touted his big tax breaks, but remained silent on how they worked: those of us with modest incomes paid significantly more, while the rich paid less.

    I have a whole screed about the health care system and 91 yo women, but no energy to write.

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  11. Deborah said on October 27, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    There is a new campaign ad series photographed by Annie Lebowitz for Canada Goose, a high end outer wear company. We noticed an ad in the window of the CG store that we pass nearly everyday and noticed that that the large photo was taken in Abiquiu. It made me put a few things together and I remembered one of our neighbors who opened a restaurant in Abiquiu said that some of Annie Lebowwitz’s staff came in and said they needed good coffee in the early morning before they were going to be doing a photoshoot and would she (our neighbor) come in to the restaurant at 5am and serve them all, including Annie, some good coffee. They said they would pay our neighbor $500 if she would do that the next day, and she agreed. When our neighbor told us about that I wondered what Annie L was shooting in Abiquiu, and now I know. This link shows some of the shots that were taken, and some videos too. Jeff G, you’ll recognize Ghost Ranch https://www.essence.com/fashion/actress-sheila-atim-canada-goose-campaign

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  12. Jeff Gill said on October 27, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    I know EXACTLY where that first big picture was taken, with Pedernal right behind! Nice. If the photographer turned ninety degrees to their right, and had a zoom, they could look right at the recreated Los Alamos across the valley on the opposite mesa (across the highway). They tell me it’s going to be left standing and maintained and opened for tourists to visit.

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  13. LAMary said on October 27, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    Not only can we thank St. Ron for killing the Fairness Doctrine, I believe he also was the guy who got us paying income tax on Social Security and allowing prescription drugs to be advertised on TV. And Rupert Murdoch was allowed to own multiple news outlets in cities. Other than that Ron was swell.
    Speaking of swelling, I’m watching the ballgame and when Corey Seager came to bat he was described as being six foot four and weighing 215 pounds. Just like trump.

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  14. Dexter Friend said on October 28, 2023 at 2:51 am

    Ronald Reagan was deranged. He thought his movie roles were his real-life past. He tried his damndest to start a crazy star wars program, which prompted , along with his policies regarding The Evil Empire, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to move the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than ever before.
    He fired the entire group of air traffic controllers strikers and placed untrained managers in their seats…the country was falling apart.
    He lied as much as Trump does, and always said he could not recall anything about the Iran-Contra scandal.
    And he invaded Grenada.
    He hated young people and advocated rounding up and jailing hippies because he didn’t like seeing them.
    He joked about bombing Russia. He was the worst President in history. The goddam worst.

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  15. Deborah said on October 28, 2023 at 9:25 am

    Jeff G, if you watched the videos you see that at one point they’re sitting up on Chimney Rock, which is my favorite hike at Ghost Ranch. It’s at least a mile up to the chimney maybe more I think, or at least it feels like it, so I think they must have helicoptered the models up there because they look way too perfect to have hiked.

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  16. Mark P said on October 28, 2023 at 9:50 am

    I never understood why people called Reagan “the great communicator.” Everything he said came across as insincere, the way TV evangelists do. Behind every word the message was, “I’m selling you snake oil.”

    Star Wars was a hoax, and I say that having worked in missile defense since 1986. No decent scientist thought we could build a system to protect the US from a large-scale attack with maybe hundreds of warheads and thousands of decoys. But when someone offers billions of dollars, they don’t say no.

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  17. jcburns said on October 28, 2023 at 10:26 am

    “Unit 1, I say again, helicopter the models! Helicopter the models!”

    By the way, as you probably saw, crazy shooter guy in Maine: found dead.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    The creepy new speaker says the Maine slaughter –like all mass shootings– is a “failure of the human heart.” He says this is all the result of the ’60s, Darwinism and abortion, of course, because people have lost their respect for life.

    Interestingly, every other advanced nation went through the ’60s, taught science-based education and generally have liberal abortion laws, but their hearts must be okay because they don’t have mass shootings every fucking day.

    It’s our hearts, people. Our hearts.

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  19. Mark P said on October 28, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    These mass shootings, as well as the constant single murders and suicides, are a failure of the human heart. It’s the same failure that brought slavery to this country, and Jim Crow, and the backward health care system in the US. It’s a failure of the human heart to value guns over lives. How insightful of the guy. Who would have thought it?

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  20. Dexter Friend said on October 28, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    Goodbye Mike Pence… we hardly knew ye….

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  21. Mark P said on October 28, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    So, Pence drops out and leaves a blank spot in his place, and no one notices that he’s not there.

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  22. Suzanne said on October 28, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Poor Mike P. He was so sure that God wanted him to be POTUS.
    I can guarantee, though, that if the love of his life, DJT, asked him to be his sidekick again, he’d do so in a heartbeat, even if it killed him.

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  23. David C said on October 28, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    When the first thing normal people remember about you is that a fly landed on your hair helmet, and the first thing your own party think of is that they want you hanged, Mikey probably heard god wrong when he though he told him to run for President.

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  24. LAMary said on October 28, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    Trump went on a rant about a fly a few days ago. I’m thinking this is not a coincidence. Hmmm.

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  25. Dexter Friend said on October 29, 2023 at 8:00 am

    Some earlier posts here told of not even ever hearing of the World Series 2023 teams. I understand. I never saw one moment of the late Matthew Perry on TV or the silver screen. I knew nothing about him. Now I know he was a pill junkie with a 55 Vicodin tablets daily habit. My reports I got say he died in his backyard pool. I remembered Joe Flynn died like that years back. He played “Captain Binghampton” on McHale’s Navy and a swindler on “Gunsmoke”. He had over 500 roles in his 49 years. I seem to recall Flynn’s body was poisoned with an overdose of pills. For Perry, we probably won’t know. And who cares except the recovery wide web, who could use the information only if it’s a positive OD.

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  26. brian stouder said on October 29, 2023 at 10:05 am

    I think our next President will be Kamala Harris. She strikes me as intelligent, experienced, and genuinely well suited to take the reigns after President Biden, and proceed seamlessly forward

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  27. Dorothy said on October 29, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Happy birthday, Julie!

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  28. Icarus said on October 29, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    Pence aborted his presidential campaign but it would be nice to force him to carry it to full term*.

    * joke stolen and slightly modified.

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  29. Deborah said on October 29, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Didn’t another “Friends” actor die sort of recently of something drug related? It must be hard to stay sober in that environment.

    We’re finally getting into some cooler weather in Chicago and I couldn’t be happier just a couple of days ago it was nearly 80º and now there’s a 50% chance of snow on Tuesday. We’re probably going from summer to winter as the climate continues to goes wild.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on October 29, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks, Dorothy! Just finished a sumptuous meal with the extended family. Nap to follow after they leave.

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  31. Jeff Gill said on October 29, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Gunther died; I believe it was pancreatic cancer. He was videoed into the Friends “reunion” and died a few months after that, so a year ago? His name was [opens another tab] James Michael Tyler, almost precisely two years ago. This was the white haired coffee shop manager who had a crush on one of the women (Rachel?).

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