Reporters Without Borders just came out with their annual global freedom of press rankings, and it's not looking good for the Ol' US of A which slipped into a tie for 53rd with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga. Upon hearing the news, The Tonga Kid phoned Sergeant Slaughter, to gauge his interest in forming a tag team for the WWE Senior Tour. For the third year in a row, the lads and lasses in Ireland were ranked # 1. Fair play to ye. Also of note to some VTK readers:
10. Portugal *
58. Hong Kong
70. Burkina Faso
115. Venezuela **
119. USA (extra-territorial)
168. North Korea (ranked the worst)
* While Portugal should be commended for jumping 13 spots to a tie for 10th, it should be noted that they slipped to 168th place in the freedom of non-dirty soccer players index.
** Venezuela dropped to 115th, though RWB notes in their regional breakdown that "the consequences of the 'media war' between supporters and opponents of president Hugo Chavez persist". The rankings are based on questionnaires "sent to partner organisations of Reporters Without Borders (14 freedom of expression groups in five continents) and its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists." And the media has a long-standing war with Chavez, so you have to wonder how objective their questionnaires are. I don't say that to blindly defend Chavez' gov't, but it's certainly a consideration. That's probably an issue in many other countries' media's responses as well. Are the US media respondents exagerrating their scores as retaliation for 6 years of Bush Administration media bullying? Dunno.
This is unrelated, but it's about politics, I don't feel like doing a separate post for it, and it's certainly worth mentioning. Daily Kos is reporting (circa Washington Post) that, due to some "computer glitch", George "Welcome to America, Macaca" Allen's opponent's name got cut off on the electronic ballot and there isn't time to rectify it. So, voters in Northern Virginia will now be left to decide between George Allen, who is desperately trying to lose this election by being an enormous ass, and James H. "Jim" instead of James H. "Jim" Webb. The Webb campaign is "uhappy" about it but doesn't think it can be "remedied" by election time. Are you fucking kidding me? What? Put aside all the outrageousness and obvious illegality of this for a second. Here's a quick little solution I came up with: how's about dropping the 5 character "Jim" in favor of your 4 character last name. Seems like that would be the more important name to have on the ballot.
[CLARIFICATION UPDATE from the Post article: Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb's full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.]
And definitely unrelated but notable nonetheless is the revelation that Troy Polamalu has 3 legs. Certainly explains why he covers more ground than anyone since Rod Woodson in his prime.