Tuesday, May 31, 2005
( 5:30 PM )
Man for All Seasons
Deep Throat revealed. No one suspected a thing. Too bad there aren't more of his kind nowadays.
p.s. funny how the press always gets these juicy stories right when we should be questioning the problems with the administration. The Downing Street Memo, something that could indicate offenses far and beyond anything Deep Throat ever revealed, continues to receive the mum treatment from the US press.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
( 1:18 PM )
Saw this website posted on a blog today (I forget where) - so I looked up all the Dumb Laws Oregon still has on the books. Some are pretty bizarre...
Dishes must drip dry
It is illegal to whisper "dirty" things in your lover's ear during sex.
Ice cream may not be eaten on Sundays.
One may not bathe without wearing "suitable clothing," i.e., that which covers one's body from neck to knee.
Canned corn is not to be used as bait for fishing.
One may not test their physical endurance while driving a car on a highway.
The City laws are even better! Look up your own state! (Texas, I'm quite sure, wins in the dumb law contest)
Monday, May 23, 2005
( 8:23 PM )
Kos has the scoop - and even more latest-newsy-goodness.
( 8:15 PM )
...and that's being nice. Get a load of today's sample of presidential logic:
Q: [...]And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight.
Good thing we're winning.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
( 2:07 PM )
The White House doesn't much care for press at all, much less a free one. And the mainstream media has conveniently forgotten its professional duty to actually report facts and investigate those who have power over us. The "Fourth Estate" has lost all its sense of duty or purpose. After this ridiculous Newsweek thing, Scott McClellan, spokesman for a president who proudly admits he doesn't read the news and doesn't care, thinks that to make up for doing nothing wrong in the first place, Newsweek should now become the next Armstrong Williams and do the White House's bidding.
Q Scott, you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the President want this American magazine to do?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's what I talked about yesterday. This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report. And we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region.
And I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled -- or is handled with the utmost care and respect. And I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report -- those that are opposed to the United States -- some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence.
Q With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not telling them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help --
Q You're pressuring them.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm saying that we would encourage them --
Q It's not pressure?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that's all I'm saying. But, no, you're absolutely right, it's not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.
Q Let me follow up on that. What -- you said that -- what specifically are you asking Newsweek to do? I mean, to follow up on Terry's question, are you saying they should write a story? Are you going that far? How else can Newsweek, you know, satisfy you here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as I said, we would encourage them to continue working diligently to help repair the damage that has been done because of this --
Q Are you asking them to write a story?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- because of this report. I think Newsweek is going to be in the best position to determine how to achieve that. And there are ways that I pointed out that they can help repair the damage. One way is to point out what the policies and practices of our United States military are. Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care --
Q Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you're saying here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Elisabeth, let me finish my sentence. Our military --
Q You've already said what you're -- I know what -- how it ends.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm coming to your question, and you're not letting me have a chance to respond. But our military goes out of their way to handle the Koran with care and respect. There are policies and practices that are in place. This report was wrong. Newsweek, itself, stated that it was wrong. And so now I think it's incumbent and -- incumbent upon Newsweek to do their part to help repair the damage. And they can do that through ways that they see best, but one way that would be good would be to point out what the policies and practices are in that part of the world, because it's in that region where this report has been exploited and used to cause lasting damage to the image of the United States of America. It has had serious consequences. And so that's all I'm saying, is that we would encourage them to take steps to help repair the damage. And I think that they recognize the importance of doing that. That's all I'm saying.
Q As far as the Newsweek article is concerned, first, how and where the story came from? And do you think somebody can investigate if it really happened at the base, and who told Newsweek? Because somebody wrote a story.
Q In context of the Newsweek situation, I think we hear the caution you're giving us about reporting things based on a single anonymous source. What, then, are we supposed to do with information that this White House gives us under the conditions that it comes from a single anonymous source?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to.
Q Frequent briefings by senior administration officials in which the ground rules are we can only identify them as a single anonymous source.
MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I know that there is an issue when it comes to the media in terms of the use of anonymous sources, but the issue is not related to background briefings. But I do believe that we should work to move away from those kind of background briefings. I've been working with the bureau chiefs on that very issue. And I think we have taken some steps, and I think you have noticed that.
But there is a credibility problem in the media regarding the use of anonymous sources, but it's because of fabricated stories, and it's because of situations like this one over the weekend. It's not because of the background briefings that you may be referring to.
Q What prevents this administration from just saying from this point forward, you will identify who it is that's talking to us?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of background briefings, if that's what you're asking about, which I assume it is, let me point out that what I'm talking about there are officials who are helping to provide context to on-the-record comments made by people like the President or the Secretary of State or others. I don't think that that is the issue here when it comes to the use or widespread use of anonymous sources by the media. I think it's --
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish -- I think it's a much larger issue. And as I said, one of the concerns is that some media organizations have used anonymous sources that are hiding behind that anonymity in order to generate negative attacks.
Q But to our readers, viewers and listeners, I think it's all the same.
MR. McCLELLAN: And then you have a situation -- you have a situation where we found out later that quotes were attributed to people that they didn't make. Or you have a situation where you now learn that a single source was used for verifying this allegation -- and that source, himself, said he could not personally verify the accuracy of the report. And I think that that's -- you know, that's one of the issue that concerns the American people when they look at the media, and I think sometimes the media does have difficulty going back and kind of critiquing itself. And sometimes it's convenient for the media to point to others or to point to something other than internally. I think it's an issue that they need to work to address internally, and we'll work to address from our standpoint, as well. And those bureau chiefs that I met with have indicated that it is a problem that they're working to address internally, as well.
So I think we need to talk about the larger issue here when we talk about it.
Q With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are okay and everyone else's aren't.
Not only should Newsweek print a story that the White House writes for it, but all reporters who use anonymous sources shouldn't do that anymore, unless it's a White House anonymous source.
So much for Deep Throat. Guess Woodward and Bernstein made a sham of reporting with that crackpot stuff they wrote.
( 1:26 PM )
The American Image Abroad
David Sirota issues the true story.
The Associated Press had this yesterday about the Newsweek fiasco:
"It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not...The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."
The irony of this White House "outrage" in light of all the lies about Iraq the Bush administration has fed America is really incredible. A reader sent me a good response to this latest Bush administration rhetoric:
"It's puzzling that while the White House now acknowledged that they haven't found WMD or a link between Al Queda and Iraq, they have refused to retract their claims. I think there's a certain standard of governing that should be met and in this instance has not. The claims the administration used to send this nation to war has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."
Thanks to maru for the link.
( 1:13 PM )
Billmon nails it.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
( 7:28 AM )
The More Things Change...
This entire Newsweek issue has brought once again to the forefront this administration's adept manipulation of the mainstream media and the media's likewise willingness to be stomped all over. In fact, of all mainstream media news reports last night, only Keith Olbermann reported that the story of Americans abusing the Quran to intimidate prisoners in our prison camps in Guantanamo Bay is an old and proven one. The Bush administration is once again able to distract people from the actual story (our ongong abuse of people who have never been charged with a crime) by focusing on the source of the story instead.
Speaking of history repeating - I have to teach Iran/Contra today. Though I'm leaving out all the gun runners and spies and CIA operatives just because it gets so incredibly complicated, it will still be a challenge. The whole thing is so twisted. I remember watching the hearings on tv and just feeling this sense of indefinable doom, but not knowing exactly why. Just on a personal note, the thing I still don't get is that the Marines never gave North a dishonorable discharge at the very least. Only months after Iranian-backed terrorists killed 240 Marines in Beirut, North was working to sell weapons to Iran and do back-door deals with the very people who killed his fellow marines. Isn't that treason? Or did I mistake that whole "aiding the enemy" part of the definition? Why do people treat him like such a hero? And why does he get to act like this courageous and proud Marine when he "reports" for Fox News? I don't get it.
Shouldn't we be learning from history how NOT to behave? Then again, with the same people back in charge again, there's not a whole lot of learning going on.
Friday, May 13, 2005
( 8:31 AM )
Meanwhile, back at the war...
Mainstream media is quite adamant that nobody cares about what is happening in Iraq and that it's simply not worth reporting that the US casualty rate is now consistently 2.5-3 per day, and the Iraqi casualty rate is literally in the hundreds every week. Daily Kos points out things are horrible there, and it's disgusting that no one cares. This ongoing action near the Syrian border is taking a huge toll. An entire Marine squad has been wiped out and the platoon it belonged to is suffering 60% losses.
The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.
Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.
In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.
Every member of the squad -- one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment -- had been killed or wounded, Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon -- which Hurley commands -- had sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.
Is anyone paying attention?
( 8:23 AM )
Thesis done. No more night classes. The end is in sight (mid-July my masters program ends). Being a grad student and teacher and mother at the same time is a great lesson in ... something. I hate that my blogging has suffered. I went back to look in my archives of a year and two years ago and the quality was so much higher - and so much more frequent. But this is just a season and I'm sticking around - so it will get better again. Hopefully soon.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
( 2:42 PM )
Again. For the 44th time since March 2003, Oregon flags have flown half-staff. Forty-four children of Oregon or with connections & family here have lost their lives in Iraq. 44. Out of 1593 as of today. Not to mention 100's of thousands of Iraqis.
Oh, I'm sorry...did you not realize there was still a war going on? I understand. It's hard to focus with all the runaway brides.
Monday, May 02, 2005
( 4:36 PM )
David Brooks: Seer of Chaos
I just read David Brooks' column from April 28 - which was just in our local paper today. He warns about the collapse of society in Russia because of its years of dictatorship. The people are left leaderless and without personal discipline or social structure and things are going to get bad. Fast. It's even worse with China.
On the surface, China looks much more impressive than Russia. But this is a country that will be living with the consequences of totalitarianism for some time. Thanks to the one-child policy, there will be hundreds of millions of elderly people without families to support them. Thanks to that same policy, and the cultural predilection for boys, there will be tens of millions of surplus single men floating around with no marital prospects, no civilizing influences, nothing to prevent them from assembling into violent criminal bands.
Criminal bands of Chinese men! Aaaahhh!! Run!
Brooks' social critique of other nations soon to be chaos in the streets with men running wild in violent bands of criminal elements seems to discount American society and the problems we face with immiment national bankruptcy, the collapse of a health care system people can use, and the loss of thousands of jobs and income. China's threat to us isn't random gangs of hormonal single men, it's the fact that China could try to cash in our debt and literally OWN us if it wanted to. Not to mention the fact that it can buy up oil and steel supplies faster than we can negotiate for them. Priorities, Mr. Brooks? Nah - it's easier to focus on the irrelevant fantasies of conservative denial.
( 4:17 PM )
In the midst of writing my thesis paper and planning and teaching 3 high school classes.... where did my life go?