GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA The Obama administration apparently wants to cover itself. News organizations are protesting the administration's decision to keep journalists from taking photos and video of President Barack Obama performing some official duties, as well as a decision to deem some official meetings private. Instead, the White House will hand out photos and video taken by its own photographers. Remember, this action was taken by a president who vowed to be the most transparent commander in chief ever when he took office. Events for which the White House distributed its own photos but denied access to photojournalists include a meeting with Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, an Aug. 26 meeting with African-American faith leaders, a July 30 meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and Vice President Joe Biden, and a July 29 meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Journalists were not granted access to these events in what can only be seen as an attempt to control the news distributed. It's unacceptable, and a serious break with tradition. What is the Obama administration trying to hide?
FLYING WITH CELL PHONES? Should airline passengers be allowed to use cell phones during flights? The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission thinks so, calling the current rules against making cell phone calls during flights outdated. But flight attendants, airline officials and some consumers are opposed to allowing cell phone usage. Beyond any technological issues, which we assume could be overcome, who wants to listen to someone yakking on a cell phone from Minneapolis to Miami? Isn't there anywhere we can get away from cell phones? Must everyone be on their cell phones every minute of every day, no matter where they are? We suspect cell phone usage aboard planes during flights will soon become commonplace, but don't be surprised when it leads to grumpy passengers and annoyed airline employees. Perhaps airlines could venture into a new business and sell or rent noise-cancelling headphones for passengers who want a little peace and quiet.