Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Is Racist Speech Free?

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 13, 2015

As Rush and others have pointed out, rappers can use racist language as bad or worse than the idiot frat boys at U of O and get rich doing it. The 1st Amendment guarantees free speech with very few limits (can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire). Painful as it is, racist speech is protected speech as is speech and protests opposing such speech. We have the 1st Amendment not just to allow people to speak their mind but to keep the government or any other entity from impinging on that right.

When I posted the above on Facebook, I received the following comment: ” Anyone can ‘speak their mind’ but must be willing to ‘bear the consequences.’ Legality has nothing to do with morality or kindness or empathy.” I agree but if the “consequences” in and of themselves go beyond counter speech into legal repercussions, care must be taken to not to violate the 1st Amendment. See:…/


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Paglia and Prager Find Common Ground

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 31, 2014

The name Camille Paglia or Dennis Prager may well cause a visceral reaction depending on where one sits on the Left/Right political spectrum. Prager, a Jewish conservative (both religious and political) and nationally syndicated talk show host conducted a fascinating interview with Paglia, a Yale PhD, college professor, lesbian, feminist politically far to Prager’s left. No shouting, interruptions or ad hominen attacks, just a straight forward exchange on various political and cultural views. Listen and see if you hear some common ground (about 23 minutes).


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Starbucks Annual Meeting – Seattle’s Premium Entertainment Event

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 20, 2014

Every year Starbucks shareholder meeting (Click HERE to view it) features inspiring individuals and performers along with company performance data and factoids. For instance, did you know that during the most recent holiday season, 1 in 8 adult Americans received a Starbucks gift card? Or that a small Seattle coffee company launched in 1992 with 125 stores now has over 20,000 stores and 200,000 partners (employees) worldwide? This year’s meeting, however, topped them all. Yes, there was a great band (unfortunately not on the video), free coffee, lattes and “fat pills” (pastries) and the usual goodie bag handed out at the meeting conclusion but this year Oprah was there. She and CEO Howard Schultz sat down in a stage set like Oprah’s TV show to talk about two topics, her love of Chai tea and her charities. On the former, she and Schultz announced Oprah’s Chai Tea would be available by Mother’s Day. She had come to Seattle earlier to personally help create the blend. Her tea is not a paid brand endorsement but Starbucks will donate to Oprah’s youth education charities with every tea sale. Not unexpected, the audience reaction was electric, bigger than the other announcement about a new Starbucks iphone app that will allow payment including tip and eventually preorders. Will pouring coffee directly out of your smart phone be next?

Starbucks bills itself as a capitalistic company with a social conscience. Not everyone agrees with all they do in support of the latter but there are few complaints about the former. Since 1992 the stock has risen from just over $7 to a high of about $82 in November 2013 (March 19, 2014 after close price was over $76). They have a goal of growing the company from its $57 billion market capitalization to $100 billion. With over 7.2 billion people on the planet susceptible to coffee addiction, the goal may be a little low.

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The Media Bombs the Boston Bombings

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 22, 2013

The “race to be first” reporting on the Boston bombings by the media was appalling. One example, CNN, in a breathless exclusive, reported an early arrest only to walk the story back later in the day but not before other media from Fox to the Associated Press also ran the story. The 24/7 media has been criticized for their performance but Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune said it best with what has to be the editorial page cartoon of the year.

But even worse was the rampant speculation and politicization surrounding the event. It was said, the perpetrators were most likely right wing Tea Party types angry with the government so they set off bombs on Patriots Day in Boston. The gun rights folks were also to blame. One commentator on Salon, an on line news site, even tweeted “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white guy.” He was concerned that if it were a person of color or a Muslim, it would set back the liberal agenda. Just look at a dozen plus examples from media opinion leaders including the aforementioned Salon tweeter : 12 ridiculous cases of media bias after boston bombing

Social media, (tweets, Facebook, blogs) also burned up the web with inflammatory rumors, opinions and misinformation that did nothing to inform the public, falsely maligned innocent people and may have hindered the investigation.

It may be difficult to cover a story like the Boston bombings 24/7 without slipping into speculation or skipping Journalism 101 source verification but that is no excuse for the performance failures, both hard news reporting and opinion commentators. For the consumers of social media, a large dose of skepticism is in order. As the song from Porgy & Bess says, slightly rephrased, “The things that you’re fed on the web ain’t necessarily so.”

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Felix & Howard Get Paid

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 15, 2013

“One happy King.” So reads the St. Valentine’s Day headline in a Seattle Times’ sports page article on Felix Hernandez’s new seven-year $175 million contract. Twenty-five million per year for pitching in maybe 40 games a season before a million plus fans, being the lynch pin of Mariner success and boosting Seattle’s bragging rights. Not bad compensation in any occupation except perhaps CEO of a corporation. Compare the reaction to Felix’s paycheck to that of Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz’s $16 million per year (plus about $52 million of other at risk compensation, like stock options). Howard is on the job 24/7. He’s responsible for managing worldwide over 18,000 stores and over 150,000 employees as well as increasing the value of Starbuck’s stock held by millions of people personally or in retirement accounts and ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty from more millions of coffee aficionados.

One is a greedy rich guy who “didn’t do a damn thing” to earn his pay while the other “restored faith” and teared up at his good fortune.

Read the “comments” on one blog to get a sense of the reaction to Mr. Schultz’s compensation: Click HERE

For Mr. Hernandez, read Seattle Times sports writer, Jerry Brewer:’s article: Click HERE

While I don’t think the super rich need my sympathy, I do wonder if sports and other entertainment stars get a pass on criticism of their high incomes because they require constant media exposure to stay on top; Entertainment Weekly, MTV, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated to name a few. We know far more about their glamours lives than any boring corporate manager. Corporate CEOs mainly hit the news if they are being pilloried for bad decisions or the money they make. Is it jealously or failure to understand the market for talent? Would you rather have the market or some government agency set the compensation packages? Careful liberals how you answer this, Schultz is one of you.

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Down Time

Posted by Warren Peterson on January 25, 2013

Thanks to F.C. for sending the below article:

In the internet age, with e-mail, twitter, Facebook and the like, Scott elsky argues for taking time to clear your mind and just ponder, think. He calls it down time and offers five ideas to achieve it. Of course reading this blog does not qualify as down time but I hope it gives you something to think about in your down time.

Click here: Down Time

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Posted by Warren Peterson on October 12, 2012

I used to clean my gutters by taking a blower on the roof and blasting out the leaves and debris. As I aged, I began to think it was only matter of time before I took a header off the roof so I had Leaf Guard gutters installed. Expensive but still cheaper than potential damage to my body from a fall. I still had to sweep off two flat roof areas but that only required going up a ladder to the roof a few times a year.

All this brings me to yesterday. Though I know better than to lean a ladder against a wall at a steep angle, I didn’t want to put the ladder on the gutters or the metal flashing around the flat roof nor did I take the time to get the adjustable ladder I usually use. So I set the ladder on the wood siding and stone walkway at about a 45-degree angle. Went up to the roof, fine, but coming down, the ladder slid out on the stone footing and only stopped from crashing to the ground with me on it by a flower pot bracket. Good luck so far except when the ladder hit the bracket it twisted sideways and tossed me onto the stone about four feet below. I don’t usually carry my cell phone while doing outside work but fortunately I had it with me so I was able to call Barbara for assistance.

Bottom line: Six hours at Northwest Hospital Emergency Room for a cracked bone in my left arm near the wrist and a gash to the bone on my left elbow and a cast in a sling from above my elbow to the middle of my hand.

Lesson Learned: Use the right equipment for the job and set a ladder properly. Yeah, I knew it, just stupid!

Blessing: It could have been a much worse.

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Mitt Romney – Think About It!

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 18, 2012

I received two e-mails today both of which should make the election of Mitt Romney as POTUS your highest priority.

The first one said:

Subject: Think about it

If Mitt wins the nomination, I will enthusiastically support his candidacy. For my friends who have hesitation on that score, I’d just ask you to keep four things in mind:

1. Justice Scalia just turned 78.
2. Justice Kennedy will turn 78 later this year.
3. Justice Breyer will be 76 in August.
4. Justice Ginsburg turned 81 about a week ago.

In addition, Justice Ginsburg has cancer. Justice Stephens has already said he would retire and is just waiting for Obama to be reelected. The next president could appoint as many as 4 new Justices over next 8 years. This election is about more than ObamaCare Tax.

We wish them all well, of course, but the brute fact is that whoever we elect as president in November is almost certainly going to choose at least one new member of the Supreme Court, in addition to hundreds of other life-tenured federal judges, all of whom will be making momentous decisions about our lives for decades to come.

If you don’t think it matters whether the guy making those calls is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, I think you’re smokin’ something funky. So for anybody who is thinking of not voting because your favorite didn’t get nominated, or writing in a candidate who can’t win, imagine this:


After you have stopped gasping, kindly forward this to your list of concerned citizens…..

And the second one is a short video.

Click HERE

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Primary Voter’s Guide

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 3, 2012

Thanks to State Auditor Candidate James Watkins for publishing the url for the Online State Voters Guide.

To see the Guide, click HERE

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Christmas Joy

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 18, 2011

Thanks to D. W. for the great You Tube video below:

The Hallelujah Chorus “done like you’ve never seen before. This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area” but it has gone viral. Enjoy.

Click on the blue:

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