Thursday, May 22, 2003

You catch more flies with...:Women and golf. Annika Sorenstam versus Martha Burke. Both had relatively the same goal, get women into the men's world of professional golf. One had a year's worth of hype and controversey and plenty of help from the New York Times editorial page. The other was simply the best at what she did. One barely got a van full of supporters and became a laughingstock, the other became an instant sensation and brought a huge audience to an otherwise average event.

Golf aside, this should be a lesson to those seeking to break barriers and open new avenues of opportunity. Walking the walk is gonna get you a hell of a lot farther than whining will. Annika didn't have to beat all the men or win to prove she belonged there. She had to put up a good score, play the part, and try to achieve. She did so in excellent fashion.

My feelings? I think she ought to be there if the sponsors want her to. It's their cash and it's not a major or anything. The men ought to just smile and wave at all the cameras that wouldn't otherwise be at the event and all the fans that woudn't otherwise be watching. And hope to God she doesn't beat you.

Bad Times: This story has been done to death but it's so odious that I can't help but add to the dogpile. What's going on the the NY Times are some serious problems. The entire organization looks rotten from the reporters to the big Raines himself. How can you expect to run such a powerful organization with no accountability at the top? Answer: you can't, and that's why the Times is drifting badly. The Times is looking more and more like the Enron of the news media on a daily basis. The connection is more than symbolic with former Enron advisor Paul Krugman as assigned in-house Bush basher.

Don't even get me started on that communist asshole Chris Hedges. He took someone else's day and made it all about himself with his near-insane rantings. He ought to be in tears at being booed off stage. Crap like that is why the liberal media is doing a big fat Hindenburg right in front of our very eyes. "Oh the humanity!"

Anyways, in the future expect the liberal media to recieve severe regular beatings on this page. Everyone has the right to free speech, but failure to stand up to bad and dangerous ideas is what gave us Adolf Hitler. (glad to see the miniseries got decent ratings) Boo them, shout them down, slice and dice their ideas in your blog. Show elitists with an adgenda that you think for yourself and will stand up for yourself. That's free speech in the forum of ideas.

Lord of the Opinion: The Return of the Monger: Ok, so I'm back after a month-long hiatus from blogging. In all fairness, most bloggers have been slowing down after the war so I don't feel too bad. I never intended this to be a daily blog anyways, more of a weekly journal with in depth discussion of a topic or two. It's far too easy to just light up who or whatever needs bashed for the day though. SO come on back and have a look around!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Undead News Network: Latest in a humiliating series of problems, CNNs website today published obituaries on several individuals who are very much alive and well. Included were VP Cheney, Castro and the Pope. Never mind the obvious gaffe in allowing these obits to be made public, doesn't the floundering CNN have better things to do than write about the deaths of people who are still alive?
Air Pollution: In a move probably designed to be a big joke, Columbus radio station 610 WTVN interviewed Ted Rall this morning. I say joke since host Bob Connors announced a guest that would hopefully 'light up the switchboards and generate some webpage traffic'. The usually insightful Connors pretty much let Rall rant uninterrupted for five minutes on Bush administration failures in Iraq with none of his witty or poingant questions.

Rall, a rabid Bush-hater, claimed Bush-administration failuers in nearly every aspect of the war and clean-up operations. He even clamied that the European media was full of stories about looting by US Marines (although of course no specific instances or stories could be mentioned) and the US media was too jingoistic to report such stories. The most entertaining segment came near the end of the interview when Rall was asked why he wasn't signing up for the military if he claimed were so short on manpower in the region. Rall replied that he was better at running his mouth...

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Mowed down: In an effort to "concentrate on news reporting", CNN has dumped Connie Chung and is cutting Crossfire's time in half and moving its time slot. This will apparently allow us to see one talking head surrounded by graphics and crawlers for a longer period of time. As noble as this effort is, it's not likely to make much of a difference in the totality of CNN's content. Why, you ask?

The problem is not the talk show format. Shows like Crossfire inject opinion and entertainment into the news, but the debate is still guided by the news of the day. You won't see a debate on social security, for example, unless there is a S.S. bill before congress or someone has mentioned it in a prominent speech or interview. You may not get all the core news of the day in a talk show format, but you'll get a lot considering the goals and sources of the show. The real problem is that opinion is becoming increasing leaky, spreading into all news formats.

The sneakiest but most obvious way this is done is simply to select what stories are presented and when. Do you lead with war news or protest news? Video of a bombing run or a weepy mother? Do you report news from dubious sources (Iraqi Information Minister)? Is it news simply because someone has said it or does there need to be proof? In the opening days of the war, you might very well think the US was losing if you were watching CNN if it was your only source of information and didn't have sufficient background knowledge.

CNNs woes will not stop by re-shuffling the way it presents the news unless it also changes its content. People are most comfortable when news is presented in proportion to its importance. Mentioning the protesters at any particular event is not necessary unless it is significant, for example. Saying that "the war plan has failed" due to a minor setback days before a major victory is another example. News watchers are becoming sophisticated enough to glean information from several sources and tune out insignificant information. This becomes a problem when much of your news line up is considered insignificant, as CNN is currently realizing.

Verdict? Re-shuffling the same deck isn't going to help CNN for any length of time. If they don't fundamentally change their news lineup, their dwindling audience will continue to stay away.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Slowly now...ter-ror-ism: Infamous terrorist and hijacker Abu Abbas was Baghdad of all places. Gee, hmm. Wasn't uberterrorist Abu Nidal found (dead) in Baghdad last year? Gee, hmm. Wasn't that a big terrorist camp we raided and destroyed in northern Iraq? Gee, hmm. Why are so many foreign nationals being found fighting in Iraq? Gee, hmm.

Looks like that whole war on terrorism thing is progressing just fine. Nancy Pelosi? Tom Daschle? Hillary? Eat it y'all. And don't bother opening your drooling mouths until you get a clue. Leave running the country to people who know how.
The Death of Satire: Comedy has been having a problem in recent years, dating back probably to the waning days of the Clinton presidency, through the 2000 elections, September 11th, and the Iraq war. The problem? Life has become so absurd in itself that parody and satire don't have much of an effect anymore. Saturday Night Live making fun of the news? Who cares when you can watch real broadcasters humiliate themselves on a daily basis? (although last week's skewering of a listless and incompetent CNN was quite humourous) The Onion poking fun at "oil wells being liberated from Saddam Hussein?" Aside from the attempted personification, there's really nothing funny about it since Saddam did desire the oil wells to be blown up.

Will comedy recover? In time, yes. Part of the recovery will require Hollywood celebrities to shut the hell up about political events that they can not grasp or convey an intelligent message about. Hollywood ceases to maintain the illusion of fantasy when it's stars fight politicians on their own turf. Dan Quayle looked stupid when he took on Murphy Brown over family values...Martin Sheen looks equally stupid going after President Bush on the war. The other part will just require a return to a normal life where war and terrorism are secondary concerns. Let's hope that times comes soon for all our sakes.

Monday, April 14, 2003

THE WAR PLAN HAS FAILED: Not to beat a dead horse, but it's about time opinion makers were taken to task for their gross mischaracterizations and commentary on the war. Why are people like Fisk, Arnett and their ilk like still employed and given a public forum for their ideas? It isn't just a question of ideology, there people were laughably wrong and presented arguments better suited to a middle school debate club than international journalism. Major media have dealt themselves a wicked blow with their frantic and hysterical coverage of this war, and the public won't soon forget it. Expect the ability of the media to quickly polarize opinion to diminish markedly in the future. Barring an unforseen disaster the event most impacted should be the 2004 Presidential elections. And just a hint, the Democratic Party did not handle itself well during the war. Can they recover or is it time to write them off for a generation?

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Anti-War Update: Several days have gone by since my "Not in My Name" survey and the results have been disappointing. Only one response was made, and many of the email addresses listed on the group's website were invalid. Not very impressive. I was at least expecting a stronger response to my rather goading email. Oh well. It's probably indicative of the state of the anti-war movement as a whole. Inneffective, out of sync, and rapidly losing the initiative in the opinion war. Better luck next time guys.
Ewww: Messes in Iraq abound and now it's time to clean up with the war being over. Who will run Iraq and for how long? Where are the chemical weapons? How many of the 55-most-wanted will be found? To what extent did France, Russia, Germany and China violate UN sanctions? Will Syria be next?

No matter what happens, the world is going to be a safer place. Two terrorist harboring states have been destroyed and major damage has been inflicted on al-Queda and other terror groups. Even more importantly, the USA has sent a message that terrorism will not be tolerated and those that make it possible will not be allowed to do so. Just think, before September 11th the Taliban was running Afghanistan and giving Osama and friends free run. Iraq was harboring, training, and funding terrorists and probably supplying them with poison and nerve gas. Whatever the political fallout, this war has been a good thing for security and humanity. May evil dictators everywhere share Saddam's fate.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Connie Chung was lucky: Wow. May CNN burn in hell after it admitted today that it covered up the brutality of Saddam's regieme even as its own personnel were beaten and tortured. What price access? Apparently the truth and basic humanity are secondary to the need to make a buck. This war will be the death knell of CNN as a major player in the news industry. It's rotted away and shamed itself beyond repair.

This is just another chapter in the well established media meltdown that this war has exacerbated. The opinion world will settle along new and much different lines when the war wraps up. The media's response will be telling. Will it demobilize its spin and opinion-shaping operations and get back to hard news reporting, or intensify in trying to regain infulence? Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


Nancy doesn't have much to regret. A voracious liberal from the heart of left-wingville, Pelosi probably can say near anything she wants without suffering at the polls. She really has no possibility of being elected to a higher national office because of her radical views also so blowing her mouth off won't cost her anything there either. Hopefully she and her fellow Democrats will maintain this mindset the next time some of their pork-barrel projects come up for a vote.

She's also right in saying we could have brought down the statue for less. Here's an alternative war plan:

1. Nuke central Iraq and any enemy troop concentrations into radioactive glass.
2. Carpet bomb all major population centers.
3. Capture all northern and southern oil fields and fortify
4. Appoint a military governor to administrate

Ok, that would take about 4 days and probably none of our soldiers would die. Instead we chose a much more risky plan and fought with the utmost honor and respect for civilian life. We won an amazing victory anyways. Poor Nancy Pelosi. At least she can still coldly calculate the price of human life and freedom on her adding machine while Iraqis celebrate their victory.
Talkback: "Amy H." offers up the first response of the "Not in My Name" survey. Let's see what she has to say...

"I wish the Iraqi people well! Which doesn't mean
that I think the US did the right thing-- if it
is justice at all it is vigilante justice, and
most of us outside of Texas prefer the rule of
law. Yes, the Iraqis that weren't killed, maimed,
or traumatized by the war may be better off now
than they were under Saddam, who was a thug and our thug
if you don't mind reading a little bit of history."

A reasonable response, if not slightly naive as far as international politics are concerned. United Nations or no, any realist political science scholar will tell you that the international system is one of anarchy or self-help. Therefore all justice can be characterized as "vigilante justice". There is no real supra-national government, military, or court system. Participation is voluntary. At best, the UN system acts as a catalyst to propel nations into action. The Korean War was a good example of this. At worst, it is a forum where dictators and thugs can stand on the same platform as free democracies. Most of the time, it functions as a bureaucratic debate club where little of value is actually accomplished.

As far as the rest of the letter goes, I would have to agree but to a very less degree. Were Iraqis killed during the war? Certainly. I'm willing to wager, however, that far more innocent Iraqis would have met far worse fates in the same amount of time under the continued rule of Saddam. The measures our forces have taken to prevent excess damage and hardship to Iraq have been amazing, and will be remembered as a centerpiece of the war effort. Thanks for your feedback, Amy H.
Faster than you can type: That's how the war is progressing as these Washington Post pages humorously contradict one another on the status of the city of Kirkuk. Of course, one is opinion and the other news.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Not in whose name? In the interest of garnering the opinion of a "major" activist group, the following email has been sent to every listed chapter of "Not in My Name". Let's see what they have to say...

People of "Not in My Name",

With the collapse of the Iraqi dictatorship and the sudden disappearance of Iraqi "minders", cameras are rolling freely in Baghdad and across Iraq. Without fear of retribution from the secret police or military, Iraqi civilians are expressing their true feelings about Saddam Hussein, and showing its instruments of torture and repression to the world. An American woman was herself beaten and tortured by Iraqi soldiers. Iraqi soldiers rounded up children and forced them to fight or act as human shields. Recently a prison was thrown open and jailed children were allowed to return home. Strong evidence of poison gas and chemical warfare equipment has been found all over Iraq.

Not in your name? How do you feel about this?

Atrocity in Baghdad: Reporters squirmed nervously today as they witnesses an event most of them would rather not. Crowds of people shouting on the streets. American tanks deep in the heart of Baghdad. Cameras everywhere to record the event. Dan Rather commentating live seemed distraught. Other reporters shared their concern and worry about this regrettable event. What happened?

A US soldier had the gaul to unfurl an American flag! He draped the flag over the head of a Saddam stature for almost thirty mind-numbing seconds before folding it up and putting it away. Liberal press members were so horrified that this event was parrotted throughout the afternoon and evening news, apparently replacing stories about torture chambers, poison gas, child prisons, and chemical warheads.

This, my friends, is the reason why CNNs and most of the major network's numbers are down. People have had enough of this crap and are changing the channel when presented with obviously biased reporters and slanted opinion. American citizens do not want some talking head telling them to feel ashamed when a soldier whips out the Stars and Stripes. Dan Rather? Screw you. One generation away from Edward R. Murrow and this is what we are left with. Tragic.

A few years from now when the war has ended, one of the lasting effects is going to be a reshaping of the power structure of American opinion. We have seen journalistic objectivism turn to moral relativism to outright choosing sides. The meltdown of the liberal protest movement is a different story, but also factors in. Liberal opinion leaders bet on the wrong horse in this race, even if not expecting an American defeat, by betting on terrorism, large numbers of deaths and chaos in the Middle East. Their failure has driven large numbers of the impressionable moderate population away and not given them reason to come back anytime soon. We will see the consequences in the time to come after the war when public opinion stabalizes along new lines.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

De-nial on de Tigris: Not even the Nazis were this bad. The death throes of the Saddam Hussein regieme may well set a record for dysfunctional behavior. Their military actions have been dishonorable and dehumanizing in every way imgainable. This is a regieme more concerned with keeping its own people in line than repelling an invading army. Their tactics are bearing consequences as Saddam loyalists are being killed piecemeal as they offer a fanatical but chaotic and pathetic resistance.

Let this be an example to others who would use death, fear, and pain to gain power. A band of bullies is no match for a professional army, and that cruelty will be returned a thousand-fold on the battlefield. The books of history will not forget the humanity of coalition forces. Saddam will become a footnote.

Death Wish: No not Charles Bronson, this time it's Asad in Syria. What are these people thinking? Openly supporting Iraq, probably sending fighters and supplies into the country. For those not familiar, Syria makes Iraq look like a virtual paradise. Hey guys, Damascus isn't too far away and our military could stomp Syria flat almost by accident. Our forces are in the field, you don't want to get added to the list.
Resume-buster: Poor Hans Blix. Doubtlessly the unhappiest man in the EU tonight as US soldiers do in less than three weeks what he had years to do...find Iraq's poison gas and illegal weapons systems. This is going to put the UN in a bit of a bind when this sort of thing crops up in the future. UN weapons inspections failed miserably to find what everybody knew Iraq had. How can inspections possibly be offered as a useful solution to anything in the future? (Kim Jong Il can now be seen changing his Doctor Evil-esque uniform after soiling himself upon reading today's war news)
Hot Shots! Part Deux: Yes, you heard it here first. The description of the Hot Shots scenario where Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) drops a bomb into the lap of a poolside Saddam. It's happened again, with a US B-1 bomber dropping four bombs into a restaraunt where Saddam and other leaders were suspected to be meeting. It's looking like no one escaped this time, as this location didn't have elaborate underground defenses as the first leadership target was thought to have. Here's hoping that tomorrow we see a Saddam carcass being hauled from the wreckage.