Sunday, October 28, 2007
As soon as I heard that question, and how forcefully it was asked my thoughts shot back to Russert's numerous sessions with Vice President Cheney. I seem to recall those were mostly congenial affairs with Tim smiling and avoiding the tough questioning like I'm hearing today.
Why won't he ask the man most responsible for the war and it's thousands of dead the same damn question? And in the same tone.
Sure, Russert framed the question referring to a quote Dodd made the other day, "All that loss, for what?",which is an excellent question that should be honestly answered by Cheney and President Bush, but what stopped Russert from asking Cheney that same question when he's had the chance? He's had Cheney on his show multiple times since the beginning of the "war".
And if/when Cheney gives him the same 'political' reply only in a much more sanctimonious way as he does so well, would Mr. Russert pursue an answer in the same way? We would hope so, but I seriously doubt it. Maybe Russert is afraid that Cheney would somehow choke him with his mind.
If you think about it, that could be closer to the truth than you know.
Friday, October 26, 2007
This recent catch, despite how it was hyped, is nothing new and barely 'news'. I'm trying to figure out if it was 'filler' for the show, TV 'hype', or intentional right-wing FUD. Maybe I'm being overly cynical, but either way you slice it the story was poorly done. News should be about getting stories to the viewers with little to no personal bias evident, putting the issue in the correct context, and providing the basic who - where - when - why - and how of the story. Even those basics are woefully missing from so much of the 'news' we see these days in the main stream media.
Newspapers and online news sites do a much better job of covering these basics but there's no good reason that twenty four hour news channels can't do the same if they chose to. I don't want to hear the same old excuse that blames the attention span of the 'average viewer'. That might be partially true, but only because they've been trained that way by the very same institutions that use this as an excuse.
News shouldn't be presented the same way advertising is. Maybe the marketing industry's techniques have been co-opted by the big media owners for news coverage, filtering down to the producers over time but the end result is a shorter attention span of the average viewer and diminishing the end product, which should be news that educates the viewer rather than just entertaining them or lazily parroting the talking points the White House sends out.
It has contributed to the 'dumbing-down' of viewers and to a certain extent contributed to our country being misled into supporting the Iraq quagmire.
[Edited for clarity on 10/27/07 1:15 PM]
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The way this administration talks you'd think they were on top of things like this, but unfortunately that's all it is -- talk. Just a superficial sugar coating (that's what the main stream media "reports"), with a dank dangerous filling. (The following is a clip from the article with a link to the full story below) - TRD
By EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The U.S. has a shortage of laboratories to test the thousands of people who might be exposed to radiation if a "dirty bomb" detonated in a major city, according to a recent congressional investigation.
The federal government established 15 disaster scenarios for federal, state and local officials to plan for, including one in which a dirty bomb goes off in a major downtown area and potentially exposes 100,000 people to radioactive materials.
A dirty bomb would contain some radioactive material that could cause contamination over a limited area but not create actual nuclear explosions. Should this happen in real life, the nation would not be able to quickly conduct tests for these people, because there are few labs capable of doing so in the country; and the tests available only address six of the 13 radiological isotopes that would likely be used in a dirty bomb, according to the report prepared for the House Committee on Science and Technology. Instead, it would take four years to complete all these tests, according to the report to be released Thursday.
"I had hoped since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that our government had smart people lying awake at 3 o'clock in the morning, trying to think through everything that terrorists could be dreaming of, every kind of attack they could be dreaming of, and trying to think of ways to prevent it and to respond to it if it does happen," said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C. "Learning how poorly prepared we are for a dirty bomb, a radiological attack, makes me think that that's not happened."
Miller is chairman of the subcommittee holding a hearing on the report's findings.
The report acknowledges that this type of dirty-bomb scenario would probably not cause massive casualties, but Miller said four years is too long to wait for results of whether people are contaminated.
"I can't imagine a parent, who is told that their child can be tested for cesium in two-and-a-half more years, is going to be reassured to hear that their child probably won't die," Miller said.
- Article continues... (follow link below)
Monday, October 22, 2007
I've seen all too many "may"s in the press lately concerning the prosecution of crimes committed by members of President Bush's administration.
I want to read a headline telling me that any/all of these crooks are facing imminent criminal prosecution.
Think of the precedent it will set if the multitudes of crimes committed by members of this administration go unpunished.
When someone like John Dean states that the apparent crimes of the current administration have gone beyond what even Nixon's committed, and that the members of Bush's crimino-political administration have gone mostly unpunished for, and others like Bruce Fein and Jonathan Turley speak about the multiple abuses of power and Presidential authority, I can't understand why the heck so little is being done to address those criminal acts and bring those responsible to justice so that it will be less likely to be repeated in the future.
To me, the failure of Congress (for one) to effectively redress these crimes is a bit like a mother in denial of a child's criminal activity. It's easier to be in denial, otherwise you have to do the hard work of dealing with the problem.
Democratic (and Republican) leaders, you need to grow up and do not what's necessarily best for you, but what is right, and what is best for our country, our rule of law, and our future!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
If done correctly, the negative aspects of doing what's necessary can be minimized, and the transition into what are evolved and much healthier industries can work for all those concerned.
It's always difficult to see the necessity for change from within.
People's livelihoods are at stake and that's threatening if not seen in the right context. It's part of the evolution of humanity, and as we learn more, certain industries have to change or put at risk the health of the earth itself, but it cannot be denied without making the problems worse. I'm thinking of industries like logging, fishing, and energy where sustainability over the long term is necessary. The earth is remarkably tolerant and adaptable, but only to a certain extent. We need to work towards eliminating those who would carelessly squander it's resources for temporary profit in favor of those with wisdom who will intelligently use what resources we have in a measured and responsible way.
When I think of the process working correctly, I think of some of the most 'primitive' cultures, and how they only use what's necessary, aren't wasteful, and protect their resources carefully for future generations.
If you think about it, who are the real "savages"?
---------------------------------- Original Post ->
The first thing I noticed was the purposeful error CNN made in their show description of "Keeping them Honest", and no despite the humorous and disingenuous title of the show, I'm talking about the way they quoted the name of Al Gore's film "The Inconvenient Truth" instead of it's actual name "An Inconvenient Truth" and later "Inconvenient Truth". Small difference, maybe, but that was just the beginning. Not quite the same thing as when Fox "News" identifies Republicans as Democrats when they get into trouble, but in the same vein of subtle subconscious attempts to effect the viewer.
Not too different from that was Miles' claim that "many scientists disagree..." with the conclusions drawn by the film about Global Warming. No Miles, the only way that statement would be true is if you said "many scientists on the fringes of the scientific community who work for energy companies and the Bush administration disagree...". (edit 10/26/07)
Wow, as far as we've come lately in coming to terms with the fact that we as humans have altered the earth's climate to the degree that we need to change our behavior and move away from burning fossil fuels, and on comes Miles O'Brien and CNN insinuating that it's not true and Al Gore and the vast majority of independent (and respected) scientists are just alarmists. Quite a public service you're doing there CNN, way to shill for the deniers.
And as for Miles O'Brien, well this doesn't surprise me a bit, but it is disappointing that instead of being on the side of humanity and common sense, you're working to aid those who would have us remain ignorant in favor of corporate profits.
I expect this kind of propaganda from Fox, now "The Most Trusted Name in News" has joined "Fair and Balanced" as examples of the antithesis of 'truth in advertising'. If this is CNN and Miles O'Brien's idea of "Keeping Them Honest", I'll pass.
A sad day indeed, but expect more and more of this as a result of the FCC ruling that allowed so few big media companies to control so many media outlets. If it wasn't for the internet (and the ethical portion of print journalists, PBS' Bill Moyers, and a scant few in the MSM like Keith Olbermann) providing a door through the propaganda machine, their control over the perceived 'reality' would be complete.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I don't recall any news advising us that what we want doesn't matter anymore. As far as I know our representatives still claim to listen to and represent our concerns, especially while they're running for office. But recent events prove otherwise.
Now I'm not referring to my own state of New Hampshire in this case, but the fact that 80% of Americans favored the passage of the recent "SCHIP" legislation that the president vetoed, that should have been overturned if the people's representatives truly represented their constituents.
The same holds true regarding many other issues. The "war"*, impeachment, domestic spying, retroactive immunity for Telcos, universal health care, and others where the majority of the American people aren't seeing their wishes translated into votes.
In so many ways it's like the 2006 elections and the mandate for change that was so evident never happened. The majority changed hands, and there was so much optimism that all the excesses, corruption, and back room deals were, if not over, substantially reduced.
We're seemingly left with nothing but the power to organize and attempt to replace them, but is that really a solution? There is so much institutional corruption inherent in the way the entire government works, especially these days that even fresh faces won't help. They're ineffective and repressed if they try to change the status quo, and the only way to get anywhere is to conform to the culture and the demands of the entrenched leaders.
I don't want to hear that it's always been like this, or that we don't understand how things work and that we have to trust them to do what's best. That's a huge load of bull.
Sure there are many valid considerations that go into legislation and oversight that most Americans don't usually think about or even know about, but that's not the point in this case. This failure to overturn the President's heartless veto directly contradicts of the clear wishes of the majority of the American public, and that's just plain wrong.
I send the political action emails to my state reps (that I write myself if given the option), and I get neat little form emails back thanking me for my thoughts, but does it do any good?
Are they effective? Sometimes I wonder, are they even read?
In this case it appears the answer is a resounding no!
And what does that teach people who are trying to be good citizens, trying to make a positive difference by letting their elected representatives know how they feel about certain issues?
Our "leader" says he issues vetoes "just to be relevant".
If that isn't the most asinine and irresponsible statement by a President of the United States in living memory I don't know what is**.
* It's called war, but I define loosely it as some form of military action against different adversaries where people are needlessly dying.
** And Bush has made many worthy of consideration.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
But in the case of activist Bruce Fealk you came very close to tossing at least part of him (maybe just his foot?) under the proverbial bus. I got the impression that your personal fear colored part of tonight's piece. Absolutely nothing in the video shown on your show was illegal. You should have investigated that aspect and made it clear. The visit to the politician's home as I understand it was done in 'good humor' (with ice cream offered), and the 'fear' alleged by his wife and their neighbors is completely manufactured.
Politicians might not like dealing with their constituents face to face, but really that's too bad. And when they're out in public as they were in this video they shouldn't expect any form of 'privacy' or just happy contented citizens praising them.
That's not the real world, and that's part of the big problem we're fighting, especially these days. All too many politicians try to live (and legislate) in a separate reality. It's been that way forever to a certain extent, but over the last seven years the Republican Party has brought it to a whole new (and unconstitutional) level, and it has no place in a representational Democracy. Peaceful dissent is a right and a responsibility of a conscientious citizenry isn't it? I believe that you might even find something written about it in a recently 'crumpled' piece of parchment kept in Washington, DC. called the Constitution.
(The actual wording is quite a bit more forceful than mine if I recall correctly.)
You work for a news network (well, partially at least) whose reporters and photographers stake out and intrude on people's lives whether they're politicians or not.
Political activists, doing their patriotic duty as citizens obviously need to act within the bounds of the law, and hopefully in a polite and legal manner (which Bruce Fealk appears to have done), and if they stray beyond that point they should expect the consequences.
If I knock on someone's door and politely ask them directions and they claim 'assault', it's not my fault that they over-reacted. I don't believe there's any law prohibiting citizens from going to their elected representatives homes to ask questions is there? It's not something that I personally would do or advocate except as a last resort, but if otherwise denied, political activists maybe should, and I think the Founders of this great nation would agree!
You can plainly see what kind of staff controls access to Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and I commend Bruce Fealk for maintaining his civility during this exchange. It can't be easy trying to have a civil discussion in the face of such a apoplectic response from Trent Wisecup (the person controlling access to the congressman).
In a perfect world the politicians would have nothing but happy contented constituents, but in the real world citizens with serious questions have every right, and really the obligation to speak directly with their elected representatives, and when you deny them that [belligerently] and your chief of staff calls those who ask the hard, legitimate questions "un-american" and worse, some of the more 'active' activists might actually go to their home with a video camera trying to ask them the questions they were denied asking earlier. And I realize that Mr. Fealk was at the congressman's home prior to this on-camera incident, but he also had prior run-ins with Trent Wisecup, and as you noted, the staff had a meeting deciding to 'confront' Mr. fealk for being a terrible 'un-american political activist' who dared to ask pointed questions!
But in closing, tonight you chose the safer path, and in so doing strayed from your usual confrontational 'Truth to Power' discourse which so many of us admire.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I just made the mistake of following the link over to Redstate….
Amazingly I made it most of the way down the first page.
Most of the comments read like they were written by dangerous psychopaths. Some of the comments border on threatening violence and hate speech, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of them would actually act out their hatred if given the opportunity.
This is not covered under ‘freedom of speech’ and they should realize that.
On the right there was a link to “Conservatives are more tolerant that lefties”, and to the left of that was nothing but comments filled with intolerance and hate.
The nastiness and venom is so thick there, but it’s worth remembering that their actual numbers are thankfully small and closed, as are their minds. That does not mean that it’s to be tolerated or accepted. Decent people have the obligation to say “We don’t accept this, this is wrong!” as loudly and forcefully as we can.
We will prevail in the long run, but not by tolerating this kind of malevolence.
This is one case in which I will not be tolerant!
Comment by TRDaggett — October 13, 2007 @ 11:51 am
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Even when talking about someone like president Bush, who's record of failure should speak for itself, he's stated how much 'respect he has for the man'. Sometimes when Chris says things like that it almost makes my head spin around and I think, did he really just say that?
What's equally weird are the times when he really seems to be back within the bounds of reality. Sure, if you're honest with yourself your feelings can change about certain things as you grow and learn, but as I've watched Chris over the years it appears depending on the day, his mood, or something unknown [to me] that he'll be on opposite sides of the issue.
It's like there's two separate Chris Matthews, one voice coming from his head and the other coming from his heart.
Now regarding Greenspan's comments tonight about how social security should ultimately be 'fixed', he says that cutting entitlements will have to be done.
Now I'm currently "living" on a single social security disability payment each month, similar to what retirees with no other source of income do (I have no 'assets' whatsoever).
I'm just trying to think about what they're supposed to do if their benefits are reduced.
Barely above the poverty line as it is, there is no way that they should have to even contemplate trying to get by on less than they already have, especially when the rich are getting richer (and growing in numbers). Greenspan's cold assessment doesn't include those factors it seems.
They seemed to dance around the fact that one of the major factors in the equation is the massive profits the HMOs and pharmaceutical companies suck out of the system, made worse by raising their rates far above the rate of inflation. The subject about reigning in that major problem is rarely mentioned, and when it is, the agents of the health care lobby (and their partners on strategic government committees) come to their rescue.
The way our government runs these days is shameful. Sure lobbyists aren't new or inherently bad, but the balance is so tilted to one side now that the public's 'representatives' don't work for them, but in many cases look to be working directly against them, giving much too much weight to the upper class and major business interests. And although there are some wonderful, caring people included in this upper class, all too many seem to live by the motto "I've got mine, if you can't get here by yourself, too bad" (or "Sucks to be you!")
When I try to distill this in my head and relate it to the Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats lean towards helping their fellow Americans who are in need, and the Republicans lean towards helping only themselves, and only those who share their philosophy (and wealth). And this attitude has been 'distilled' over the past seven years by the man and administration who promised to "unite" the country.
And briefly, I want to get into my feelings about why someone who I admire greatly, namely Keith Olbermann, is so reticent to say anything relating to some other members of the media's comments, especially (but not solely) in the case of Chris Matthews, "My good friend".
I hope he does speak up at least privately behind the scenes. I know he has to work with him, and it's unreasonable for me to expect absolute honesty from Keith in this particular situation, but from what I've seen of Keith's character, and the 'special comments' that are so right-on, he must cringe [inside] at some of the inane statements and positions Matthews has come out with. And to speak out against comments others in the media have made, as he does regularly (and rightly so), then neglect those made by his "good friend" is less than I expect (even if it is unreasonable) from the conscientious professional I admire.
The other night after the Republican debate Chris was his usual manic (rude?) self interrupting Keith and not taking time to hear the points Keith was making in favor of his point, whatever that was.. I got the feeling that even his good friend was testing his patience at that point.
So often Chris' interviews are more like an interrogation than an interview.
Chris calls it "Hardball", but all too often it's just him rudely pushing his own twisted philosophy down the throats of his 'guests'.
What makes me shake my head is every once in a while he acts perfectly normal, reasonable and courteous. Seriously, it makes me think he needs medication. I wonder what psychiatrists think when they watch his show?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
A bit groggy, I got on with my business and soon was out the door on my way to the grocery store about a block away to exchange some pork that had gone 'green' before it's expiration date.
On the way there I took my usual shortcut through an alley behind a bar-restaurant that's on the ground floor of my building. I had some junk mail to get rid of and our dumpster is back there in it's new spot since the brand-new parking garage was built by the city.
Right next to the dumpster is a new set of concrete stairs (in fact the whole back area is brand new concrete), and smack dab in the middle of the stairs was the remnants of a french roll and it's contents, which included some kind of yellowish goopy sauce spread all over the top step.
Now it's not the first time there's been a mess left around the dumpster. Between the mess left behind from the driver emptying the dumpster every morning, the hundreds of cigarette butts scattered around, and anything that doesn't quite make it into the dumpster when the restaurant's employees dump their trash (and the occasional mess from people walking through the area), it gets to be quite nasty at times. Of course nobody seems to want to take responsibility for cleaning it.
Well I made an assumption that this was most likely left by an employee of the restaurant, so I went back to see if the manager/owner was available to speak with (I saw that one of their cars was there). I went in and was told by the young waitress there that she thought "they both just took off together", so I explained the situation. Immediately she started in with an attitude "how do you know it's from us?", she asked with a nasty tone. From there it went downhill.. I tried to remain polite and stated that I'd been in the service (including food) industry for many of my 50 years and it looked in my professional opinion that it most likely came from their place.
"Your professional opinion,huh?" she said snarkilly (sp?), at which point I went to leave, and told her that I could really do without her 'attitude'.
Ten minutes later when I returned from the store the owner was outside smoking a cigarette and had already been briefed by the waitress I spoke to earlier.
We spoke for a while, and I was trying to ease her defensive attitude while getting my point across. It ended by me saying hopefully that "I'd much rather make friends that enemies" and that we all need to work together.
When I got back to my apartment my blood pressure was way up there and figured that the best way to settle down was to write about the situation. I'm not sure of the best way to approach her and her husband with the following thoughts, but I do hope they will be taken in the spirit I intended.
The whole situation needs to be straightened out as to who is responsible for keeping the area clean, is it the city, the management company for the building, the dumpster company, who?
As it stands now nobody is, except for mother nature, who did a wonderful job the other night when a heavy rain swept way all the butts and lobster claws, etc..
Here are my thoughts as far as the bar (and employees in general) goes:
Reminder to managers and owners of a business:
Employees (with the management setting a good example) when confronted with a pushy or rude customer, or with undesirable people inside or outside of their place of business should always be polite. Even in the face of idiots and extremely rude and obnoxious people, they have to maintain a polite (and firm when necessary) and professional disposition.
If you've ever seen the movie "Road House", Patrick Swayze (the 'cooler') stresses that fact forcefully. "Be nice..!".
It's also been one of the basic rules of [good] management since the beginning.
I know that in most places it's an inside joke "sure the customer's 'always' right" or something like that. We know that the saying means that even though someone's wrong, in the long run it's always best for the business to be nice even when they aren't.
When your employees [aren't] 'nice' it's bad for your reputation and ultimately bad for your bottom line.
If there's an ongoing situation, like having an apartment building directly above your establishment* and some of the residents** are creating problems, the solution is not for your employees to be rude and confrontational to them, but deal with the apartment management.
Hopefully they will act professionally in kind and address of the issue(s).
But the bottom line is, for the best outcome everyone should work together (professionally) to resolve the problem.
Once 'attitudes' enter the mix things usually go downhill fast and little to nothing gets accomplished.
Most of this is old-fashioned common sense, learned the hard way, from experience.
People aren't perfect, and very little is black or white in this world, but being polite always pays in the long run (and personally it has always made me feel better afterwards, as opposed to a nasty confrontation).
*As in the case of the "Green Martini".
**Many of whom have psychiatric issues.
Friday, October 05, 2007
(FYI: You can find this quote in the "Think Fast" section towards the bottom of the page.)
"Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has launched an online petition asking conservatives to 'band together' and 'stand with Rush Limbaugh against liberal attacks.'"
Which leads me to say to them, if you're going to 'stand' with Rush, better wear your waders and bring a clothespin for your nose, although they all seem to rather enjoy the smell of Rushcrap.
Q: I try not to look at the Rush too closely, are his eyes brown by any chance?
Here's a copy of the letter I sent:
In your hearts you all know the right thing to do. As my subject line says "Please don't let politics get in the way", and I sincerely hope that every one of you will put the divisive politics of the past aside and help over-ride this unconscionable veto by President Bush.
The folks that this will help already have enough to worry about. They shouldn't have to avoid taking their children to the doctor because they can't afford it, and the children shouldn't be caught in the middle.
What does it say when we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a 'military action', billions of which can't even be accounted for, and neglect the needs of our children and poor.
Thank you. I know you'll do what's right.
Please help to get the Presidents veto overturned. Go to this web site and send your own letter to your state's representatives, and remember to be concise and polite.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
People with a sense of decency and truth need to stand up to the lies and disgusting contempt for any viewpoint other than his own that Rush Limbaugh displays daily on his radio show.
Contact your local stations that continue to carry Limbaugh's verbal diarrhea and let them know that enough is enough.
Like Bush and other chickenhawks, Limbaugh didn't have the guts to serve his country and has again falsely attacked the patriotism of decorated war heroes and those serving presently in Iraq who don't share his blind obedience to a failed policy.
There IS a line of acceptable behavior and Limbaugh repeatedly crosses it, and the radio stations who continue to provide a platform for his disgusting and dishonest rhetoric need to know that they and the advertisers are 'enabling' it and will pay a price if they to allow it to continue.