jenk: Faye (daria esteem)
[Poll #1135493]

TV news

Jan. 2nd, 2008 09:40 pm
jenk: Faye (Default)
I thought that I didn't watch network news because the signal-to-noise level was way too low. But this article in Technology Review by former Dateline correspondent John Hockenberry has numerous good points too. On To Catch a Predator:
Dateline's notion of New Media was the technological equivalent of etching "For a good time call Sally" on a men's room stall and waiting with cameras to see if anybody copied down the number.
On watching trends:
I knew it was pretty much over for television news when I discovered in 2003 that the heads of NBC's news division and entertainment division, the president of the network, and the chairman all owned TiVos, which enabled them to zap past the commercials that paid their salaries.
On "edgy" programming:
Entertainment programs often took on issues that would never fly on Dateline. On a Thursday night, ER could do a story line on the medically uninsured, but a night later, such a "downer story" was a much harder sell. In the time I was at NBC, you were more likely to hear federal agriculture policy discussed on The West Wing, or even on Jon Stewart, than you were to see it reported in any depth on Dateline.
Oh, and there's the bit about how GE owns NBC and does lots of business with the Bin Ladens. Could GE help Dateline get an interview with the Bin Laden family? Oh. Dear me. No.
jenk: Faye (Default)
Kids asleep in the backseat
We're just counting the miles, you and me
We don't measure the blood we've drawn anymore
We just stack the bodies outside the door

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die, for a mistake

The wise men were all fools, what to do

The sun sets in flames as the city burns
Another day gone down as the night turns
And I hold you here in my heart
As things fall apart

A downtown window flushed with light
Faces of the dead at five
Our martyr's silent eyes
Petition the drivers as we pass by

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Well Darlin' tyrants and kings fall to the same fate
Strung up at your city gates
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
- Bruce Springsteen
Currently this song is between The Rising (about 9/11) and Long Walk Home in the setlist. No, really?
jenk: Faye (SydneyStress)
I don't get it. Why now? Why the day AFTER the election?
jenk: Faye (daria esteem)
As a followup to this post, here's a "local profile" in the Rocky Mountain News on Steve Howard. Who's Steve Howard? He's a former lobbyist who found out that telling Vice President Cheney, "Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible" can turn into an arrest for assault. He's suing a Secret Service agent "for illegal search and seizure and retaliation while exercising free speech, violations of the Fourth and First Amendments, respectively" (Vail Daily News).

Here's a Vail Daily News article from the arrest in June and another from a couple days later. The blog entries from Daily Copy Editor Mugs Scherer at the same newspaper are mildly amusing...excerpts behind the cut ) The kicker? It's not the first time.
jenk: Faye (Tea)
From Leonard Pitts, Jr:

We are often told that terrorists threaten our "way of life." We hear this so often that it's jolting to realize it's not true.

Oh, they threaten our lives, certainly. Your life, mine. But our "way" of life? No.

Granted, that's a broad and vaguely defined term but still, no. Whether you take it to mean things frivolous (baseball, MTV, fireworks on the Fourth) or things fundamental (freedom of speech, equality under the law, the native idealism of our national character), there is no way suicide bombers and fanatics with box cutters can destroy our way of life.

[...] Unless we, in fear, knuckle under and destroy it ourselves.

I think the guy's got a point.
jenk: Faye (knowing)
I know the Republicans have been acting as if they have no limits - even when the military prefers them. But this just crossed some line somewhere in my head. excerpt )
What is with these people? Why are they so afraid of judicial review?
jenk: Faye (knowing)
Slate has published an annotated copy of Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell's letter supporting Senator McCain's efforts to require the US to abide by the Geneva Conventions. It is DEFINITELY worth reading.

General Powell's letter references a letter from another former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Jack Vessey (PDF). It's also worth reading. One excerpt:

I continue to read and hear that we are facing a "different enemy" in the war on terror; no matter how true that may be, inhumanity and cruelty are not new to warfare nor to enemies we have faced in the past. In my short 46 years in the Armed Forces, Americans confronted the horrors of the prison camps of the Japanese in World War II, the North Koreans in 1950-53, and the North Vietnamese in the long years of the Vietnam war, as well as knowledge of the Nazi's holocaust depredations in World War II. Through those years, we held to our own values. We should continue to do so.

This is part of the current dispute over Bush's push to "clarify" (read: decrease) protection for prisoners and to "allow terror suspects to be convicted by military commissions relying on classified information not shared with the suspects." McCain disagrees - and the Senate's Armed Services Committee approved McCain's version of the bill, not Bush's.

Contact information for senators is on the Senate website. I expect Washington's senators will support McCain's bill already, but encouragement doesn't hurt. Neither would thank-yous to McCain and the Republicans who backed him on the committee: Chairman John Warner of Virginia, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
jenk: Faye (maggie)
I ran into this on the slog and couldn't resist.

Defective Yeti published a few factual inaccuracies in "The Path To 9/11". (comments are mine)

  • Evidence that the Taliban was founded by Tipper Gore is (alas) circumstantial at best.

  • The scene in which Howard Dean punches Jesus is a dramatization. (He actually punched St Francis, but concerns that depicting St Francis would be misunderstood by non-Catholics dictated a change.)

  • Blooper! When the Clintons are in bed and Bill is reading to Hillary "to get her in the mood" he is holding Mein Kampf upside-down. (His accent, however, is impeccable.)

  • The finale, in which Bush crashes Airforce One into a remote Afghan stronghold, emerges unscathed from the wreckage, and defeats Al Qaeda using nunchucks and pyrokinesis, is actually a composite of several different events.

There's more over at the defective yeti...


Sep. 8th, 2006 06:48 pm
jenk: Faye (eyes)
I once sat in a car forever waiting for my mom to come out of a grocery store. I thought that was the definition of "interminable." I had no idea "The Path to 9/11" was in my future.

This is what happens during 4 1/2 lonnnng hours of "Path." Terrorists talk about killing Americans for Allah. FBI and other security officials try to track them but fail. 9/11 happens.

You don't say.

This is the most anticlimactic, tension-free movie in the history of terrorist TV.
- Doug Elfman writing in the Chicago Sun-Times
No, really, tell us what you think....
jenk: Faye (knowing)
Re concerns that ABC's 9/11 miniseries is inaccurate - former Secretary of State Albright has described scenes as "false and defamatory" - I offer this song:
Well they can change my name or they can leave it
They can change my story too
Or they can make me black or Chinese
And do things that I never do
They're gonna give my life a whole new ending
And put me in prime time first-run
And when it's over, what I did there will be what I done

Well now, it's one two three you take the money
Yeah it's as easy as A B C
Yeah they're gonna make a TV movie out of me
- Bruce Springsteen, "TV Movie"
There's some song clips available too...
jenk: Faye (StainedGlassAngel)
No, it's not David Weber. It's columnist John Tierney, writing in The New York Times. He starts with the apparent contradiction of Hezbollah's soldiers proudly firing at civilians with their stance of being "men of honor":
[U]nfortunately they are — by their own definition. We in the West can call them barbaric, which they also are, but they’re following an ancient social code, even if we can’t recognize it anymore.

[...As James Bowman, author of “Honor: A History,” puts it:] “The honor system in Arab culture is the default honor system, the one you see in street gangs in America — you dis me, I shoot you.” [...]

In the West we’ve redefined “honorable” as being virtuous, fair, truthful and sincere, but that’s not the traditional meaning. Honor meant simply the respect of the local “honor group” — the family, the extended clan, the tribe, the religious sect. It meant maintaining a reputation for courage and loyalty, not being charitable to enemy civilians. Telling the truth was secondary to saving face.

This “tyranny of the face” continually frustrates Westerners trying to understand the Middle East. Reporters want facts; Iraqis want to save face. )
What made our honor system different? The Bowman credits the influence of Christianity, which emphasized inner virtue, not outward glory.
The result was a new honor system in the West, chivalry, that was an uneasy combination of Christian virtues and knightly violence. Eventually, with the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the bourgeois and democracy, the system evolved into what Bowman calls honor-by-merit, epitomized by the Victorian ideal of the gentleman who earns his reputation by working hard, playing fair, defending the weak and fighting for his country.
Tierney also compares this to Lancelot declaring himself "proved innocent" of adultery after defeating his accusers. Winning meant he saved face which meant he was honorable - by the old definition. Of course, the Lancelot/Guinevere story is set during the time the new code of honor, chivalry, was coming into we remember his guilt and (at least in some versions of the story) him leaving Camelot in disgrace.
jenk: Faye (Bruce)
Bruce Springsteen took Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" from December 1929, wrote some new verses for New Orleans, and dedicated it to "President Bystander" at Jazzfest. Sample:
There's bodies floatin' on Canal & the levee's gone to hell
Martha get me my 16-gauge & some dry shells
Them who's got got out of town
Them who ain't got left to drown
Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?"
Video: is here on YouTube, probably aided by the concert being webcast....

News Story.
jenk: Faye (KirkMorons)
Aahz emailed this one to me:
As Kinzer writes of the Iranian hostage crisis, 'because most Americans did not know what the United States had done to Iran in 1953, few had any idea why Iranians were so angry at the country they called 'the great Satan.'' They still don't. )

- From Anatol Lieven's review of Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer. Full review is at The New York Times.

Fear of communism made us overthrow the democratic PM of Iran and put the shah back in power. When the Ayatollah overthrew the shah, we backed Hussein...and now we're in Iraq to "save" it from Hussein! What next - another coup in Iran?

As [ profile] jhulten posted recently, "And all our yesterdays have lighted fools / The way to dusty death"...
jenk: Faye (working)
Iran has benefited enormously from America's military intervention in Iraq and continues to do so. The Shiite fundamentalist parties that America helped bring to power in Baghdad are deeply indebted to Iran for the years of sanctuary, training and aid they received there during Mr. Hussein's dictatorship. Now those parties are well positioned to repay those debts, while America, with much of its military tied down and its multilateral credibility in tatters, is poorly positioned to thwart Iran's advancing drive to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

It was never any secret that Mr. Hussein was Iran's most feared enemy. Nor was it any secret that Iraq's two main Shiite parties — the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party — were Iranian-sponsored. The only mystery is why Washington never bothered to put two and two together and figure out before the war how to keep Iran from becoming the biggest beneficiary of American intervention.
- from The New York Times column "Talking Points: 25 Key Questions on Iraq". The Talking Points columns are one of the reasons I subscribe to the premium service. They're not only in-depth but they include loads of links to more information. I have NOT included all the links below, just the ones from the sidebar. Read more... )
jenk: Faye (read)
The P-I editorial cautions against "rushing to judgement" in Saturday's killings. Yay.

I've seen several folks posting antiwar songs. And I thought of Springsteen's September '85 recording of "War". Listening to the intro, it's hard to believe it was recorded over 20 years ago:
If you grew up in the 60s, you grew up with war on TV every night. A war that your friends were involved in.

I want to do this song tonight for all the young people out there, in your teens... because I remember a lot of my friends, when they we were 17 or 18, didn't have much of a chance to think about how we felt about a lot of things.

And the next time, they're gonna be looking at you. And you're gonna need a lot of information to know what you're gonna wanna do.

Because in 1985, blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed. Read more... )
jenk: Faye (tinyme)
Thought about Guantanamo Bay lately? Probably not. What's going on? Well, as Dahlia Lithwick at Slate points out, two studies have found that most of the people being held are mostly unlucky; a third found they're being treated badly while they wait. Some of it is a comedy of errors:
[One] detainee "confessed" following an interminable interrogation, shouting: "Fine, you got me; I'm a terrorist." When the government tried to list this as a confession, his own interrogators were forced to break the outrageous game of telephone and explain it as sarcasm. A Yemeni accused of being a Bin Laden bodyguard eventually "admitted" to having seen Bin Laden five times: "Three times on Al Jazeera and twice on Yemeni news." His file: "Detainee admitted to knowing Osama Bin Laden."
Where did these people come from? According to a recent Seton Hall study,
86 percent were captured either by the Northern Alliance or by Pakistan "at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies." []60 percent are accused of being "associated with" terrorists [...] based on having met with unnamed individuals, used a guesthouse, owned a Casio watch, or wearing olive drab clothing.
And no, this is not just the Bush Administration at work. As Lithwick notes,
Congress is willing to pass a bill stripping courts of habeas-corpus jurisdiction for detainees but unwilling to probe what happens to them. The Supreme Court's decision in Rasul v. Bush conferred seemingly theoretical rights enforceable in theoretical courtrooms. The right to challenge a government detention is older than this country and yet Guantanamo grinds on.
There are days where I really wish there was a quick fix for things like this.
jenk: Faye (read)
Personally I find it easier to read Bush's speeches than to listen to them, so...

The White House transcript of last night's State of the Union address.

The New York Times put together an annotated transcript here ("as recorded by The New York Times, with links to related articles, documents and Web sites").

Alternatively, the Wall Street Journal provides "The full prepared text of President Bush's State of the Union address to the Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006" here.

That reminds me. The "God Bless America? God Bless The World!" bumper sticker needs to get onto the car....


Jan. 24th, 2006 03:01 pm
jenk: Faye (knowing)
The New York Times Sunday Magazine published My Father's Abortion War about the author's father's work as an OB/GYN who also provided abortions through the Operation Rescue years. In 1998 another OB/GYN in the same city was shot by a sniper. The author suggests that perhaps Dad should consider retirement. Quote:
[Dad] started telling me about his upbringing in Israel, how he got used to living in a world full of danger and not allowing it to deter him from doing what he felt was right.

"It's wrong, wrong," he said.

"What's wrong?"

"To give in to fanatics, to terrorists."
jenk: Faye (knowing)
In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. [...] I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered.
- Senator John McCain, writing in Newsweek

"I will tell you nothing more than I have told you; no, not even if you tear the limbs from my body. And even if in my pain I did say something otherwise, I would always say afterward that it was the torture that spoke and not I."
[...] I had always supposed that torture brought out the truth - everybody supposed it; and when Joan came out with those simple common-sense words they seemed to flood the place with light.
- Joan of Arc and the narrator, from Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain.

"[Torture] in cases where the patient doesn't know the answer is always a fatal mistake. As men of humanity we should neither of us ... and then, if you do go on, the patient naturally does not recover ... and if you stop, even the experienced examiner is haunted by the fear that perhaps he did know after all. It is in every way unsatisfactory."
- Wither in That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis.
There are other (and some would argue better) reasons not to use torture. However. The fact that it's damn unreliable at doing its supposed job seems pretty good right there.


jenk: Faye (Default)

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