A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys

A couple of days ago, I did my bit for one of my local progressive organizations, Wake Up Ohio. A few weeks back they put out a copywriting and casting call for a radio ad about the new power of the military to acquire names, addresses, and phone numbers directly from the schools for high school students covered by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Wake Up Ohio plans to air the ad in all the major radio markets in my state. It should be quite topical. Recently, the story broke that the Pentagon is gearing up to actually use this power to compel schools to provide student data:

Washington Post
June 23, 2005

The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches. The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates.

The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying. The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

Of course Joe Claus couldn't resist the opportunity. I sent the copy below in to Wake Up Ohio, and tried out for the talent. They liked the copy and were kind enough to select me for the primary male voice role.

We cut it in Columbus, at station WTVN, 610 on the AM dial, part of Clear Channel Communications, of course, and the home of sociopathic right-wing radio such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The debut of the ad will be in the time slot that covers both of their programs on WTVN, which pleased me no end.

So I huddled in the soundproof booth with Mrs. Claus, my fellow talent, and our engineer. When my turn came, I put on my best Ohio blue-collar dialect and imagined a Saturday afternoon in front of the tube with one of my buds, a cold can of Old Milwalkee in one hand, the remote in the other hand, with a huge bowl of Snyder pretzels on the coffee table in front of the couch. Then I let 'er rip!

Here's the result:

Baseball announcer:

Count of three and two on Daborski, last out of the inning...Here comes the pitch... (bat/ball crack, cheer from the crowd, sound fades down)

Male Voice:

Dave, Daborski’s still in that slump. Bet he’s as ticked off as I was on Friday. A military recruiter called MY Unlisted Phone Number, and wanted to talk with my 16 and 17 year old kids, Jake and Kelly. Said he got my number from the High School. So I called up the Principal and I chewed him out good. I said there oughta be a law!

He said there WAS a law, The No Child Left Behind Act, and it made him give out every kid's name, address, and phone number to the military. "Didn't you know about it?" he said. "We mailed you a notice that you could write a letter to prevent it."

So I asked, "What do they want all those names for? It isn't like there's a draft or anything." Know what he had the gall to say? "Maybe there will be....”

Contralto female voice-over:

The No Child Left Behind Act lets the military violate your family's privacy. Find out more by asking at your child's High School, or log onto Wake-Up Ohio.com. Paid for by Wake Up Ohio, Madeline Breslin Treasurer.

How could you not love it? Doing good and actually doing it in the Belly of the Beast!

And then George W. Bush goes on TV the same day and has this to say:

Some Americans ask me, "If completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops?"

If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job.

Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight...

As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders....

And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission.

I thank those of you who've re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you.

And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces.

We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves...

Now Joe Claus is a fat and cynical old man--and a scapegrace baby-boomer in the bargain--so you can discount anything he says about causes greater than himself.

But when a shining idealist such as the President speaks about patriots willing to serve a greater cause than themselves, in a theater of war where we actually need no more soldiers, and where we are experiencing such stunning success, you should listen to what he has to say very carefully.

When you do, you can obviously see why the Pentagon has to hire a public relations firm to keep track of everything they can about every military age American. And also why they have to compel schools to give them that data with the force of law.


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