Freshly Sponsored News

My last post about the Mets Pizza-Citifield sleeve patch had me thinking about other troubling corporate sponsorship.  Now, the Mets thing is annoying–I imagine more to the players than anybody–but it isn’t anything to get angry about.  When “news” is sponsored, this is something else entirely.

I’ve never been a big fan of Joe  Scarborough, so my complaining about his show isn’t too surprising.   But “Morning Joe,” Scarborough’s AM talk show on MSNBC that he cohosts with Mika Brzezinski (whom Scarborough is pretty condescending to, but who often does the show without him), is now “Brewed by Starbucks.”  They say it at the end of all the segments–with the Starbucks logo featured.  Anyone on the show is always drinking from a Starbucks cup.  It’s really embarrassing.

The biggest problem, though, is that Scarborough (and MSNBC?) doesn’t see any conflict here between ostensibly objective news Anyone shocked to see Joe with a frappuccino?coverage and corporate sponsorship.  Of course Scarborough’s comments (and everyone else’s) are fairly colored by his political views, but that’s something of a given with the current state of cable news channels.  To add to that the corporate puppet strings–to whatever degree they are being pulled–is just awful.  I know it’s a big financial boon for MSNBC, but I better not see Hardball and Rachel Maddow’s show being “Brought to me” by anyone!  I find it hard to believe those hosts would allow such a selling-out, but who knows how power is wielded behind the scenes at these places.

I tend to believe, though, that Scarborough sees nothing but good coming from building on the ‘brilliant’ pun of his show’s title with a little branding.

Mets Pizza Patch

As a Yankee fan living in the Midwest, I don’t get to see many games.  This weekend, the Yankees have been playing their cross-town rivals, the Mets, and tonight’s game is the first of the series that I am seeing.  It’s also the first I am seeing of the Mets.  I have been overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of the “Inaugural Season 2009” patch.  I can’t believe I haven’t seen/heard about this yet, especially since I am pretty devoted to The Colbert Report, and (as I just found through Googling) Colbert did a bit about it.

This patch is so big, I don’t see HOW the players don’t complain of interference.  I don’t see how NO ONE in the whole process of designing these things and affixing them to the uniforms thought better of this!  From afar, all you can tell is that the patch resembles the Citigroup logo, so it seems like they have TOTALLY sold out by having their uniforms sponsored, like a little league team.  That allusion can’t be coincidence, especially since the only thing this is an inaugural season OF is Citifield.  And everyone knows that.  You don’t need a Boy Scout badge to remind all the viewers.

It’s tough playing in the same city as the Yankees, but decisions like this mega patch help to do nothing but make the Mets seem worthy of great pity.  Especially since those patches are so big, they have to be affecting everyone’s swings and throws–and self-image.

Local Caper

Someone stole my dryer sheets at the laundromat the other day when I stepped out for a quick change of scenery.  I believe I even saw the guy leaving with the box of them in a pillow case and thought, “Gee, that looks like he has nothing but a box of dryer sheets, and I left my box on a machine.”  Of course, then I also thought, “It’s a laundromat.  Everyone has a box of dryer sheets in there.”   How wrong I was!  Turns out, the guy also stole someone else’s PILLOW CASE!  Bet you didn’t see that coming!

Tomorrow, I will try to garner the courage to return to the scene of the crime as I, alas, again, have a heaping pile of dirty clothes that need washing.  If you don’t hear from me in three days, send in the reinforcements.

In my long absence from the blog…

some dissertation progress has been made.  Chapter one is drafted (woohoo) and chapter two underway–daunting, but underway.  We’ve also had some great developments, like the legalization of same-sex marriage in my current state of Iowa (of which I am so proud), as well as in several NE states that should have done this ages ago.  My home state of NY is behind the mark here, but not so far behind as CA, it seems.

I’m hoping to be back to regular blogging, but make no promises, as I am chronically unreliable re: anything that isn’t necessary or a favor to a friend.  Perhaps I’ll post soon about my woes with Henry James or the strange insects that have been wandering into my basement apartment…

Big Cheers to Bill Richardson for Repealing Death Penalty

Bill Richardson repealed the death penalty in New Mexico today, stating, very wisely and sensibly, “Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives and who dies for their crime.”

This is the most sensible position to take on this issue, and I can’t believe it isn’t a unanimous opinion.  Over 130 people on death row have been exonerated in the last ten years; surely no one can feel good about wrongfully killing people in the name of ‘justice.’

The other reason to cease the imposition of the death penalty is that it is more expensive for taxpayers than sentencing people to life in prison without parole.  An interesting discussion about the costs of the death penalty is here:   http://www.fnsa.org/v1n1/dieter1.html

Perhaps the most succinct argument against the death penalty comes from former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Robert F. Utter, who acknowledges not only its vulnerability to erroneous implementation, but its racial bias and hypocrisy.  Justice Utter resigned owing to his opposition to the death penalty, and explains that decision here:  ‘I believe society has a right to protect itself by imposing life sentences without the possibility of parole. However, it became obvious that there were certain inherent contradictions that made unfairness and discrimination not merely uncontrollable accessories of the punishment of death, but its very essence.’ For more, see The Death Penalty Information Center.

So, hooray, Bill Richardson!  I hope every governor follows your lead with this very sensible proclamation against the death penalty.

For CNN’s coverage of the Richardson announcement:  http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/18/new.mexico.death.penalty/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

For information about the death penalty in the US, see The Death Penalty Information Center:  http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/home