Friday, June 30, 2006

Wide World of Cable News

Before touching on the subject at hand, I've noticed that there have been a number of celebrity incidents over the week that made me shudder. To pass on the pain, I share them here (no, not pictures... I'm not that cruel). Britney Spears naked in Harper's Bazaar. Pam Anderson naked for PETA. Rush Limbaugh with Viagra. Star Jones appearing anywhere. Woody Allen calling Scarlett Johansson "sexually overwhelming."

Okay, that last one was a shudder simply because of Woody Allen. If it had been someone not creepy calling Scarlett "sexually overwhelming", the global response would have been along the lines of, "duh."

And now, on to the subject of this post. Last Sunday, Rep. John Murtha was (mis-)quoted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as saying some pretty harsh things about America. They then corrected themselves, letting people know that Murtha was quoting global opinion polls, so it's the global community, and not Murtha himself, that views America as "more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran." The correction was issued on Wednesday.

Well, in the fast-paced world of cable news, four days is plenty of time to take the incorrect information and blast it all over the airwaves, which talking heads at both FOXNews and MSNBC made a point of doing. In the few days that the world was running with the impression that John Murtha felt that his own nation was the largest threat to global peace, the news networks drilled that information into their viewers heads. Names were called, and Murtha was lumped up with other anti-America activists.

Since the Sun-Sentinel made their correction, one of the two news channels mentioned has issued on-air apologies, from two of their biggest personalities. On recent programs, FOXNews hosts Bill O'Reilly and Brit Hume both made the correction from the Sun-Sentinel known, and let the viewers know the details under which Murtha was actually quoted. In the meantime, Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson have been fairly close-mouthed on MSNBC.

This seems a little odd. Perhaps FOXNews, in an attempt to persuade people that they're "fair and balanced", has started offering programming to support that claim. Maybe MSNBC has been too concerned with the firing/cancelling/reorganization as it pertains to host Rita Cosby.

Or maybe the approval ratings for the President and his administration have finally sunk so low that we've entered into an alternate dimension, one where the name FOX becomes synonymous with accurate reporting without an obvious political bias.

Or maybe, just maybe, the events that caused me such disgust earlier this week are causing more than just me consternation, and everyone's a little off their game. We'll see how this one plays out.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Re-writing the rules

Once again, the American people are finding out more about Valerie Plame than we originally were meant to. Of course, when the most recent declaration concerning Ms. Plame originates from Tom Delay, it's probably a decent bet that he's simply trying to cover numerous tracks, and that truth may not actually be found within the statement.

Plame, the CIA operative outed first by Robert Novak, was the subject of an intense investigation surrounding who could have possibly leaked that information. So far, only "Scooter" Libby has been indicted, for perjury and obstruction of justice, but certain members of the administration, namely VeeP Fudd and KRove, have never officially denied that they knew about Plame's identity, and may have let some words slip.

Tom Delay recently appeared on MSNBC's Hardball, and, during a discussion regarding the New York Times leaks, he stated his feelings that leaks should never be accepted. Unless they are a leak that comes from within the Presidential administration. In which case, there wasn't a leak, because "Valerie Plame was not a CIA agent." Instead, Delay says she worked in one of the CIA offices, and, as she wasn't in the field, than that meant she wasn't a true agent.

Oddly enough, when the news first broke about Plame, it turns out that she was listed as an NOC (or non-official cover operative). NOC is the most dangerous of classifications to receive, as it basically is a statement saying "We don't admit to knowing you're there, in case your cover gets blown." In the case of an NOC, the agent is required to be active overseas for 5 consecutive years, but they do not need to live there. From the sounds of things, Ms. Plame was a fairly active agent, who may not have been in covert operations at the time (which was the contention of Libby and others), but she was still most definitely someone who could see field time.

Now, overall the law that pertains to this is a law called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which is a law meant to ensure that, if someone is or has recently been involved with a covert operations. Plame was outed in 2003. It was documented that, within her cover job, she spent time overseas in 2001, 2002, and 2003. That seems to be pretty recent to me.

Basically, what this comes down to is Tom Delay once again, as he and other officials have been wont to do since they found themselves facing possible legal trouble, is rewriting history to make it fit into his particular world view. Delay believes that the Bush administration did no wrong with regards to Plame. Therefore, if there was not any possibility for wrongdoing, then the administration is quite obviously innocent.

Kinda like if I said that I couldn't possibly have eaten all of the cookies you bought, because you never bought them in the first place. Except on a much larger scale, with more serious consequences. Of course, this really doesn't surprise me. Delay's the same guy who was smiling in his mug shot. I bet it makes a lovely Christmas card.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Important issues

Last night, there was a vote on the Senate floor regarding the (once again revitalized) flag burning issue, and whether or not there should be a Constitutional amendment concerning this. Well, the "do-nothing" Congress once again did nothing, as they proceeded to debate on an issue that had a whopping 4 documented cases of abuse thus far this year.

Wow. 4 cases of flag-burning. And our Senate wants to make sure that those 4 cases (along with the huge number of 21 since 2003) are clearly outlined in our Constitution as being illegal. The vote itself didn't pass, mostly due to Democrats voting against the resolution out of a crazy idea that the issue doesn't need to be specifically outlawed within the Constitution. Instead, they suggested that maybe a federal law with clearly definied punishments might be enough.

Silly Democrats. Of course the GOP is going to turn their noses up at the concept of not making a grand, sweeping, and utterly pointless gesture. Besides, this is proof that the GOP loves this country more than the Democrats. They want to protect the flag so much that they're willing to waste ink and alter permanently (until they overrule it... look at Prohibition) a document that holds a special place in American history.

But that's not quite all. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, knows exactly how important getting flag-burning into the Constitution is. In comparison to things like the energy crisis, the continuing war in Iraq, the minimum wage, the wage hike for Congress, and the issues with affordability of health insurance, quite obviously, Sen. Hatch knows right where the flag rates. It is "the most important thing the Senate could be doing."

Wow. Was I ever off-base. Here, I was thinking that something that's happened 25 times over the last 4 years getting its own special Constitutional designation would rank somewhere below getting pictures of the Pitt-Jolie Messiah (or the Cruise-Holmes Antichrist) into our magazines.

Thanks, Sen. Hatch, for correcting me. And thank you for being willing to put your foot down on this "most important" issue.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Interviews and opinions

In the world of the reporter, how much of their personal bias are they allowed to show before it crosses a line and becomes too much? More specifically, is there or is there not an unwritten code of remaining unbiased and impartial during, at the very least, interview segments? And isn't that part of why reporters will interview people that they don't necessarily agree with?

Take, for example, a recent appearance on "FOX and Friends" by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). During the interview, questions were raised regarding the recent proposals from Gen. George Casey, a general on the ground in Iraq. Gen. Casey has a number of proposals for dealing with the situation in Iraq, and the suggestion gaining the most ground (at least, news-wise), is the idea of starting to pull troops out of Iraq later this year, with a more concentrated effort in the future. Part of the reason that this particular proposal of Casey's is getting so much attention is that it fairly closely mirrors suggestions that the Democrats in Congress have put forward, only to be met with allegations from the GOP about how they are looking to "cut-and-run".

Sen. Levin, in an interview with FOXNews host Brian Kilmeade, brought this proposal into the light again, and questioned openly whether or not the GOP would attack Casey for his suggestion of removing troops the same way that they'd attacked the Democrats. Kilmeade made the correct move initially by pointing out that the removal of troops was one of a number of different suggestions Gen. Casey made. Levin, in true politico fashion, maintained his point, driving home that the Democrats suggested a similar withdrawal plan, only to be lambasted by the GOP. The real problem, and the obvious crossing of journalistic impartiality came just after, as Kilmeade announced what the "best-case scenario" was, and that he firmly believed that Casey had as much hope as Levin, but that the fact remained that it was one of a number of different proposals presented by the general. By injecting his own opinion into the conversation, Kilmeade inadvertantly downplayed the facts as they existed. The final comment by Sen. Levin was, "I was hoping this would be an interview of me rather than an interview of you." Kilmeade snapped back, and that was that.

Again, the big question has to be whether or not journalistic impartiality still exists. Sure, the pundits and talking heads are allowed to spew whatever vehemence they want, regardless of the side they take (I admit to liking Keith Olbermann, but he's a very very angry man, and he DEFINITELY has a slant, and Bill O'Reilly is never afraid to speak his mind, even if it means being incorrect on the details), but aren't the journalists supposed to be held to a different standard? Or is this a sign of things to come, as network and cable news gets further and further from impartiality, and we're completely tied to a news organization based off of our political beliefs?

Maybe this is a good thing, really. Maybe, before long, we'll be able to see cartoon characters, who are known for being caricatures of extreme viewpoints, espousing their political statements. I, for one, would love to see a debate between Harvey Birdman and Yosemite Sam.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Set shotguns to bizarre

Some days, one article leaps out, practically screaming for attention and skewering. Some days, there's just too many items to really focus on one. Regular readers will be familiar with that, and the shotgunning philosophy of aiming at a group, hoping to get something insightful and/or funny out of one piece. Today is part of the second group.

Some days, the news is full of very serious items; items that are so serious that it takes a special level of callousness and twisted humor to find something to poke fun at. Today is not one of those days.

Today, we take aim at some of the more bizarre news stories that I was able to find. Chances are, they'll already be too ridiculous to really allow for skewering, and we'll all have learned something about ourselves at the end of the experience. That being said, climb in, buckle up, and let's get ready to take a ride.

First off, we head over to Germany, and the FIFA World Cup. Sure, I could talk about the fights that randomly break out, but come on. These are soccer fans, and these people fight faster than the Irish (unless they're Irish soccer fans, in which case, duck). Instead, let's talk about the relationship between soccer and sex. Apparently, during the World Cup, that relationship isn't quite so good. In a country where prostitution is legal in designated areas, the World Cup seems to be hurting business. Sure, there's a wealth of new potential clients, but those clients are soccer fans who are looking to get more bang for their buck by getting low-cost beer and partaking in the open air party zones. After spending large amounts of money on simply getting to the World Cup, let alone on tickets into the games themselves. This pretty much leaves them with little money to spend on prostitutes. To make matters worse, the larger concentration of traffic is keeping the regular customers away. Note to self, if I really feel the need to get a prostitute ever, head over to Germany. Not only can I see part of Europe, but I could help booster a sagging economy. Although maybe one shouldn't say "sagging" when referencing prostitutes.

Secondly, let's take a jump up to Great Britain, as a military unit was forced to demote one of its members for his poor behavior during a ceremony for the Queen. Apparently this member couldn't keep marching order and was throwing others off their stride. The culprit, who was demoted to fusilier (which is the equivalent of private), was the unit's mascot. Their pet goat. Apparently, in the UK, goats can have rank. Even more disturbing, previously the goat was actually receiving salutes, due to the fact that it outranked some of the soldiers in the unit. This has been put to a stop. Maybe America can follow suit, and demote it's military monkey.

Finally, speaking of America, we just don't like each other that much anymore. A recent study shows that Americans now have, on average, two close confidants, down from the three that we had twenty years ago. Even more to the point, 25% of us no longer have any. Of course, anyone that's had to spend any long amounts of time talking with people through a customer service position can probably get a good guess as to why people don't have as many people that they can rely on anymore. Sure, the study claims that a lot of this could be due to more time spent at work, and less time out socializing. Others claim that, while we have fewer close friends, the overall number of friends and acquaintences doesn't seem to be fluctuating much. The biggest and most important thing to take out of this study? There are certain organizations that have too much free time, and decided to study relatively random items, like the number of friends Americans have.

And thus ends our own little experiment, at least for today. We'll see if anything good actually comes out of it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

When is a law not a law?

This is something that Arlen Specter, R-Penn, is going to attempt to find out. The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee will be questioning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, also known as AGAG, about the "signing statements" used by the President during his term of office.

Just in case anyone has somehow escaped this concept, basically each "signing statement" is GDub signing a piece of legislation into law, but including stipulations that, because it may infringe upon his presidential powers, the law doesn't apply to him. He's used these statements on a variety of issues, including surveillance and torture. Basically, it's GDub deciding (there's THAT dangerous word again) that he likes the law fine, as long as he doesn't have to abide by it. However, as Specter has said, "Our legislation doesn't amount to anything if the president can say, 'My constitutional authority supersedes the statute.'"

By the Boston Globe's account, GDub has signed at least 750 such statements since he originally took office back in 2000. This number is higher than any previous president for memos of this type. Truth be told, this number is higher than the total number of statements signed by all U.S. presidents since Washington. So yes, there is a precedent for this type of statement, but that precedent has never before been exploited quite so often. Of course, Specter stands by the belief that GDub using so many of these statements is simply another indication of how much the administration has stepped over and above their own guidelines and authority.

With this development, it appears that some of the GOP is finally making bold statements to distance themselves from the administration that is experiencing some of the lowest approval ratings in history. The question is, is it already too late to save face?

A couple of quick hits before wrapping up. Saddam Hussein ended a hunger strike after skipping one meal. I can just imagine the exchange. "No, please no. I am on a hunger strike in honor of my murdered lawyer." (three hours later) "Give me the food now, pig dog!"

Daily Show viewers may be more cynical regarding politicians and the electoral process than people who get their news from other sources. May be? Looks like Stewart and company really need to step it up. After all, being from a television show that advertises as fake news, and yet provides more thorough and insightful coverage of stories (admittedly peppered with jokes) than the Big Three tend to do is obviously weighing on them. They seem so tired... or is that the politicians they're making fun of?

Beijing bans disco from clubs, in an effort to halt the sale of illegal drugs. Makes sense, as too many listenings to the BeeGees or Abba can certainly drive me to shoot heroin.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ready, aim, shotgun

Another Thursday, and another pile of too many stories to focus on just one. So let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

First up, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) proceeds to find out just how good his own loafers taste. In comments regarding an Islamic belief that death suffered while engaged in a jihad will result in being met in the afterlife by 72 virgins, King stated that, with regards to al-Zarqawi, "There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at and if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas." That would be Helen Thomas, esteemed long-standing White House correspondent. While it's true that being met by 72 different versions of her would be a rather frightening experience, it would be so due to the hard-hitting questioning and reporting she'd be doing. From 72 different mouths. Needless to say, King has apologized for his remarks, and his opponent in the elections for November is jumping at the chance to make an even bigger deal out of his comments. King could've made things a bit better for himself politcally, by referencing Paris Hilton instead of Helen Thomas. Heck, he might've even brought in a youth vote, for showing that he's "hip". By the same token, nobody believes in a Paris Hilton virgin, even if you subtract 72 from the total number she's slept with.

Second up, poor Rick Santorum, and poor FOXNews. The only thing they can seem to do is create controversy for each other, and broadcast completely false information over the cable channel. Namely, Ricky was on FOXNews recently, and he stated that, contrary to every single report that's been released, Iraq DID have WMD's, and that these were found. Shortly after that statement, the Defense Department debunked the entire thing, leaving Santorum a bit red-faced. Meanwhile, FOXNews has continued to air the story as though it's true, going so far as to assert that there's a conspiracy involving the US, Russia, France, and China. Of course, this is also the network (and the story) that had Santorum showing "classified documents." Which, if it were true, could net severe sentences for all the laws broken. Maybe Ricky should stick to stumping for street vendors with "English Only" signs. At least that piece of paper can't net him any legal trouble.

Third, in a valiant effort to save the penny from extinction, VirginMobile has gotten in touch with someone who can feel the penny's pain. Kevin Federline, who would maybe have two pennies to rub together if it weren't for being better known as Mr. Britney Spears, has come out in support of the cent, which, oddly enough, now costs more than 1 cent to produce. He joins the likes of Darryl Hannah and Angelina Jolie in supporting the little copper guy. Unlike the other two mentioned, KFed actually has a vested interest in keeping the penny around. He probably needs to collect all the change he gets in a big jar, just to take it to the bank and have spending money for the week. Now if only he had two brain cells to rub together. Wait, that's a little incorrect. If only he and Britney combined had two brain cells to rub together...

And finally, in another round of being completely out of touch, an editor for the Wall Street Journal has made it clear that he believes that gay marriage will lead to people marrying domestic animals. This is, of course, coming from the story out of India about a woman marrying a snake. Stephen Colbert took the story apart in his own way, and I harbor no foolish notions that I can even approach Colbert's level when it comes to the shredding of the ridiculous. Still, I can't help myself. This editor believes that men marrying men and women marrying women will lead to people marrying dogs, or cats? Sure, looking Biblically, we see that a snake was used as the ultimate instrument of temptation during the time in the Garden of Eden, but that doesn't mean that either Adam or Eve was looking to marry it. There are just too many instances of animals being horribly evil (the Serpent in the Garden, the dog who "talked" to the Son of Sam, Garfield), whereas it's hard to imagine gays (Harvey Fierstein, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O'Donnell) as being really all that bad. Except for that last one. She's a bit out there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why doesn't Europe like us?

Maybe it's because, when GDub is in Austria for a press conference, he claims that Europeans didn't take the attacks of 9/11 seriously enough. In his words, "for Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us it was a change of thinking." Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there a huge outpouring of support from the European community after the attacks? And didn't the nature of the attack and the cities struck cause the global community to think differently? Wasn't there a large amount of martial support drummed up to help our cause in Afghanistan, as we sought the man who orchestrated the whole mess?

But, as he has shown so many times in the past, GDub doesn't view Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden as being truly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He views the ruling powers of Iraq. He acknowledges that people disagree with his decisions concerning Iraq, but also vows to remain steadfast, because he is "not going to forget (the lessons of 9/11)."

He even goes so far as to say that "Some people say, It’s OK to condemn people to tyranny." This sounds like he's saying that, if you disagree with him, you believe that allowing others to live in tyrannical nations is perfectly acceptable. He goes on to say that, while America is tough on terror (and nothing could be tougher than abandoning pursuit of the actual guilty party to chase after a family grudge), we're helping provide food in Africa. That we're devoting more money than ever to AIDS research. Nevermind that, as a percentage of the GNP, the amount we spend on AIDS research and helping to curtail starvation are mere pittances compared to what some other countries spend.

Almost makes you wonder if he'll dance the same dance after he's declared war on Iran. And North Korea.

To think. As children, anyone who would so adamantly follow the same course of action while ignoring their peers would be ostracized from the community they exist in. And our President wonders why our country is currently facing the same fate?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Absolutely fabulous!

In light of the past couple of posts, I felt that I needed a bit of a sedative. And some more calming and, possibly, laugh-provoking material in the news.

Thank goodness for that Advocate. Overall, the site provides a pretty good service, and they do a very good job of addressing the concerns that face the gay community. For example, they take the time to point out that the military still considers homosexuality to be a mental disorder, 30 years after mental health professionals realized that such a classification was wrong. They talk with Kevin Aviance, the man who was unfortunately horrendously beaten for the simple fact that he was a gay man who performed as a woman.

And then, every once in a while, they feel the need to lighten up. And they deliver hard-hitting stories, such as "How Gay is Superman?" Not that they're really saying that the Man of Steel is gay. More to the point, the article talks about how a lot of the things that affect gay culture definitely affect superheroes in the comicbooks. From secret identities, complete with a fear of being "outed", to overall persecution experienced by characters such as the XMen, the article points out similarities between supers and homosexuals, while also discussing why homosexuals may find themselves drawn to the comics in the first place.

But I think they missed a golden opportunity. Let's not focus on the similarities between the two cultures. Let's instead look at the possibilities of the two cultures being a lot more closely linked than previously believed. If you look merely at the costumes that the supers wear, there's already an indication that maybe, like professional wrestling, the characters are a bit more homoerotic than the majority of fans may want to believe. After all, there is a fairly unhealthy fascination with tights and spandex. It almost makes you wonder how many readers would bat eyes if Aquaman showed up in fishnet stockings (pun semi-intended), or if Thor put on lipstick before swinging his hammer. Nevermind that in many cases, most notably Batman, the most meaningful relationship that these heroes have with other people is with a sidekick, who is, generally, a younger, fitter version of themselves. And the entire concept of running around as a vigilante wearing a cape? Almost sounds like something you could see on FOX during sweeps week.

I mean, come on, Advocate. If you're going to ask how gay Superman is, at least take the steps to point out how many gay tendencies he, and, for that matter, his ilk, possess. Plain and simple, no man should ever wear that particular shade of blue, while also wearing bright red briefs.

And Supes? The boots are a little much.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Auto focus

Tony Snow has already made quite a mark during his short tenure as Press Secretary for the White House. Unfortunately, that mark hasn't quite been the positive one that the administration must have been hoping for.

Less than one week after declaring that 2,500 dead American soliders in Iraq were "a number", Snow appeared on FOXNews, and decided to criticize the media for the amount of attention being paid to the two soldiers who have gone missing. Two soldiers who may or may not have been kidnapped by groups tied to al Qaeda. Two soldiers who, if they are found unharmed, will have miraculously escaped being more contributions to the growing "number".

American troops are combing the area in an attempt to find these troops. The concept of never leaving anyone behind, no matter the personal cost, is apparent in this situation, tragic as it is. Meanwhile, our mouthpiece for the current administration is stating that we are focusing too much on these missing Americans, and not enough on what has happened since Zarqawi was found dead. This is the same man who has stated, "Most people realize simply pulling out would be an absolute unmitigated disaster."

Unfortunately, on this point, Tony Snow is 100% correct. It would be a disaster for us to pull our troops out at this point, because of the environment that we've created. An environment that, instead of curtailing the number of insurgents, simply breeds higher numbers, with more desire to overthrow those they view as infidels.

And through it all, we're focusing too much on missing soldiers. Truth be told, we can't focus enough on those missing soldiers until they've been found, and a resolution to their situation is provided.

Friday, June 16, 2006

More than a number

Yesterday, in response to the 2,500 American death in the ongoing war in Iraq, Congress held a moment of silence. A moment to look back and absorb the huge toll that this ongoing conflict is placing upon our country and our people, not to mention the Iraqis. A moment to reflect on all the other moments where they've been silent about ending the conflict.

A moment was more consideration than was given by the White House, as Press Secretary Tony Snow referred to the report of 2,500 by saying, "It's a number."

Senator Larry Reid took the moral and political high ground by giving a speech pointing out exactly how wrong it is to look at 2,500 as "a number." And he's right, because each and every single one of those numbers is a person, who has left behind a grieving family. While there are families of the deceased who still support the war effort, there are also families who are adamantly against the ongoing battle.

Meanwhile, the battle rages on, both in Iraq, and in Washington D.C. The insurgency in Iraq hasn't lost steam, and a resolution that looks at planning a timetable for removing the troops has been handily rejected, in language that both praises the troops, and abandons them to an even longer conflict with no end in sight. Not to say that pulling the troops out of the Middle East at this point is the right decision at all. After all, we have created the mess that is currently been dealt with over there, and embroiled ourselves into what, by many accounts, is a civil war. Ultimately, given that this is OUR mess, we need to clean it up, and simply pulling the soldiers out of the area won't come close to accomplishing this.

Still, this is a conflict where there will ultimately be no winners, only hundreds upon thousands of losers. There are reasons why there are people who steadfastly support the troops, but refuse to support the war. There are reasons why there are people who "Love my country, but fear my government." There are reasons why the support for the war and for the administration that caused it are spiralling downwards.

Congress observed a moment of silence for the 2,500. The same moment of silence when the war began.

And, despite what Tony Snow says, 2,500 is more than a number. So very much more.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Is it support?

Ann Coulter has recently been all over the television, making appearances in support of her newest book. She is someone who has furthered the partisan divide in the country with her rhetoric, and who inspires hate mail and fervent attacks from any that are opposed to her views. Truth be told, Coulter relishes the ability to inspire such hatred, standing firmly in the belief that, well, it's still publicity. And she may have found herself a strange new bedfellow in this endeavor.


Coulter is no stranger to channels like FOXNews, networks with a blatant political slant and agenda. But she has recently appeared a few times on NBC programs, and the nature of the appearances seems a little suspect. For example, when she was on the Today Show, Matt Lauer at least called her on the carpet regarding her statements from the book "Godless", specifically her statements about the 9/11 widows who have weighed into the political arena. However, when it became blatantly obvious that Coulter was not going to actually answer his questions, but was merely set to spew more rhetoric and vitriol, it became obvious that the interview could not continue. After that sort of a reaction, and the response it provoked from viewers, that should have been the last time Coulter appeared on NBC, at least until she drastically changed her tune. After all, Michael Moore is held accountable for what he says during interviews, and, if he acts like a petulant child on television, he is treated like a petulant child.

And yet, a little over a week later, Coulter makes her triumphant return to NBC, this time on The Tonight Show, in a show that also featured George Carlin as a guest. However, instead of seeing the verbal fisticuffs one could expect from such a pairing (possibly resulting in the loss of some jaw tissue from Jay Leno), the overall confrontation was, by all accounts, incredibly bland. Bland enough that there is wonder if, perhaps, NBC told Carlin that he needed to be above and beyond his best behavior, and that he had to play nice. Given that, even with Leno at the helm, The Tonight Show can have a huge impact on what happens in someone's career, Carlin may have felt obliged to play it safe. Either that, or he was remembering the seven words you can't say on television, coupled with the increase in cost for indecency fines, and decided to simply bite his tongue for the betterment of his wallet.

As stated above, Coulter's return to NBC was triumphant, and for a couple of reasons. The first being the response she received upon being announced. This woman who inspires such hatred, and who claims to wear the "liberal's contempt like a badge of honor" is greated with typical Tonight Show exuberance, and then is set across from Leno, who is well-known for throwing nothing but Nerf balls for questions, all the while allowing the guest to talk about whatever they actually want to put before a national audience.

And this is where the question of support has to come in. Is it enough to simply state a disapproval for the words and views of someone, be it a regular network personality or a guest? Or is the simple fact of a continued access to a media outlet a silent acceptance and approval of what they say?

I'm not going to claim that Coulter doesn't have a right to say whatever she believes. After all, if she believes that angels are going to descend from heaven and save the US soccer team from World Cup elimination, she can say that all she wants. It's part of free speech, something I very adamantly support. But just because she has a right to say what she wants, that does not mean that she has the right to say it wherever she wants, or that any organization where she chooses to make her statements heard is not silently accepting and agreeing with her. Yes, I believe that Ann Coulter is a vile, hate-filled woman, who spews rhetoric and vitriol in an attempt to divide classes, political philosphies, and anything else she can get her hands on, in a simple attempt to gather more money for herself through her book sales. I also believe that, through allowing her to appear, NBC is just as subject to the hate mail that Coulter has inspired, so long as she continues to appear on their programs.

Ultimately, we can only wait until Conan takes over the Tonight Show. "In the year 2000..."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesday shotgunning

Another sampler platter of news stories. Nothing today really leapt out as being worthy of an entire post, but a few things definitely needed commentary.

First up? Eva Longoria, of Desperate Housewives and giant MAXIM covers is writing a book. You read correctly... she's writing a book. Of course, as can be expected from someone who talks quite openly (and often) about her love for lovin', the book will be a romance novel. Fact of the matter is that, unfortunately, she and the rest of her television counterparts are so popular (across gender lines, for different reasons), that she could drool onto a keyboard, print 150 pages, slap her name on it, and people would by it. Given that this IS Ms. Longoria, maybe I shouldn't have been so hasty in giving away the plot.

Second up? A retired farmer in Wisconsin wants to set up a memorial. On his farm. To Hitler. Ted Junker is attempting to "clear up inaccuracies about the war and Hitler's role in it." Inaccuracies like the conquest of other nations? The systematic genocide of multiple people? The one-testicle lunacy? Basically, Junker doesn't really hold Hitler responsible. Looking back at his own military history, you can kind of see why. He was a former member of the Waffen-SS, that special branch of the SS that engaged in combat alongside the regular German army. Guess brainwashing lasts a lot longer than people originally believed. You want to know what Hitler was like, and how responsible he was? Watch Triumph of the Will and you'll get a good, disturbing idea.

Third up? Congress has proven once again how much they suffer. In a bold move, they blocked a vote being pushed for by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah concerning a cost of living increase. And if the vote hadn't been blocked? Why, then the $3,300 more per year paid out to our congresspeople would have actually been open to debate, and, possibly, a vote to keep it from taking effect. This is, of course, at a time where the rest of the nation is facing joblessness and lower wages. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get automatic raises, unless we voted to see the topic discussed? If that happened, though, then there wouldn't be any perks to being a politician, aside from the six-figure salary, the bribes, the money for speaking engagements, and the ability to wield legislative power over the voters, possibly even causing positive change in the world. Nope. No perks at all.

Fourth up? In Michael Jackson's world, if you record a song for charity, you get paid. While there haven't actually been any songs released for charitable purposes by Jacko since "We Are the World", he was supposedly working on a couple of different ones, to help victims of 9/11, Katrina, starvation, freaky pop stars, etc. In the Jackson world view, all proceeds from the sale of the CDs would go to the charities. All proceeds from radio sales, or from others looking at copyrights and licensing, would go to Jackson. Pretty much confirms that he is somewhere out in orbit with regards to his views.

Finally up? Apparently Keith Olbermann and Rita Cosby, both of MSNBC, don't like each other much. Given that Olbermann doesn't have much of a reputation for either pulling punches or playing nice, this should really come as no big shock. Let's hope that Dan Abrams, the new MSNBC boss, finds a way to keep things as amicable as possible.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A tale of two spouses

One is shied away from, by even some of their most stringent supporters. One is embraced openly.

One cannot buy new friends, even when things appear to be righting themselves. One has a perception around them that they can do no wrong.

One is President of the United States. One is the First Lady.

In the middle of one of the more turbulent moments in history, with civil wars threatening to break out globally, weather disasters creeping through the jetstreams, and politics threatening to fall apart along partisan lines, GDub and his wife are treated very differently. Just one example of this is on the campaign trail, where GDub is asked to stay away, yet Laura is invited quicker than you can say "bribery scandal".

Looking at the legacy of George, it's not much of a surprise. This is the man who stated beyond the shadow of a doubt on May 1, 2003 that we had reached Mission Accomplished in Iraq doesn't have any answers as to why we are still trying to reach a conclusion to our involvement in Iraq. Even the recent death of al-Zarqawi hasn't really helped his poll numbers. If anything, it's kept them from falling too much lower, as his administration seems to be falling around his ears and he's been creating more division in this country than has been seen in decades. After all, this is the man whose war has surpassed Vietnam for the most reviled combat exercise in American history. This is also the man who seems reluctant to admit to mistakes, and to actually follow through with any harsh language and actions, especially with regards to those that helped put him into office in the first place. And yet, when surrounded by liars, cheats, and criminals, the image, justly or not, is going to rub off.

In the meantime, Laura has miraculously distanced herself from even her own husband. GOP members up for election this year are actually proud to have her on the campaign trail, stumping for them. Her name attached to a candidate can bring in large sums of campaign money. The overall commentary about the First Lady is that she's just "a nice person", and that she's not trying to run the country.

And that may be where some of the difference lies, and definitely where the difference between Laura and the previous First Lady lie. George strikes portions of the country (larger and larger portions with each passing week, if you believe the pollsters) as a child who has stuck his hand too far into the cookie jar, and has bitten off far more than he can chew. He flounders in the face of true leadership, preferring to espouse catchphrases and hold onto beliefs that have been proven incorrect, simply because they are convenient to repeat. Laura seems content to play the stereotypical First Lady role, of being the person who chooses the decorations for the White House, and plays no part in politics, except for pet projects that can respond better to a softer, more feminine angle (i.e. Nancy Reagan and the "Just Say No" campaign). Meanwhile, Hilary kept putting her face into legislation, and made it crystal clear that she was just as interested in running the country as Bill was. It should have come as no surprise that Hilary ran for Senate, and is toying with a Presidential run.

Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan was referred to as the Teflon President, because nothing ever really stuck to him or his reputation. Perhaps the American people should start referring to Laura Bush in a similar light. She has miraculously side-stepped all the bad feelings and discontent aimed at her husband, and emerged as someone who can draw support and positive thoughts towards the GOP candidates.

And, in light of all that George has put this country through, that is no small feat.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This just in...

A FOXNews correspondent connects with the rest of the world, and takes a stance that can't be immediately viewed as pro-convervativism and pro-right agendas.

In an interview being conducted by Shirley Phelps-Rogers, one of the zealots behind the Westboro Baptist Church and their crusade to protest as many funerals for soldiers as possible, under the despicable banner of "God Hates Fags", Julie Banderas of FOXNews got into a yelling argument. Ms. Banderas decided that any group that is thankful for events such as the roadside bombings of our troops in Iraq, or the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is a group that needs people to stand up against it.

For anyone that's miraculously avoided reference to this church since it's inception, just want to throw a little out there to bring everyone up to speed. They view each and every death of an American soldier as a little blessing from God, as punishment for American's "cozying up to and protecting homosexuals". Funny, as a country that is currently pretty dead-set against allowing gays to have equal rights, it doesn't really look like we're being all that friendly. But reality and the WBC quite obviously have never met. And, while Phelps-Rogers was expounding about how the military will be "always faithful to the fags", Banderas started pointing out exactly how disgusting and depraved the message actually was. In fact, Banderas went so far as to state that the WBC was "not a real church" and that the only thing the group preaches is hatred.

It's odd to think that the network which has brought us Bill O'Reilly could also bring us someone just as willing to stand up quite so readily against groups like this. Of course, by even giving them airtime, FOXNews ran the risk of validating their message. Thank goodness that Julie Banderas threw her professionalism aside for a moment to speak her true feelings, and attack this establishment which does nothing but spread hatred and intolerance.

Maybe she's working on getting a job with MSNBC.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The ratings game

In the world of entertainment and media, ratings are an important factor, causing either an intensified interest or acting as a warning label allowing people to shy away from something they may not like.

Take, for example, the recent advent of the "AO" rating for video games. This rating was spurred on, largely, because of the "Hot Coffee" patch to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The "AO" rating, for those that may have been secluded away from learning about these things, is for "Adults Only", and includes the signifier 18+. It's basically an NC-17 for video games, where M for Mature is the industry's R. Now, GTA already had an M rating, due to the content, and the extreme levels of violence contained within. Under the M=R theory, nobody under 17 could purchase the game, and be exposed to this material. Understand that this is all theory, much the same way as the theory that nobody under 17 is watching R rated films. Well, once critics learned that there was a (unlockable, and not easily so) sex scene contained within the game, well, that got them up in arms and they panicked, crying out in the dark for the AO rating to be created and slapped all over the GTA title. Lesson learned? Sex is far more damaging to the psyche than excessive random violence.

But where has that led us? Well, it's led us right to the inevitable end, where there are now companies working on creating pornographic video games. Now, given that the average video game customer is a 25-year old male, porn games seem completely logical. The biggest reason why there are discussions about this? Pornographers have always been searching for new media to get their fingers into, and, by creating the Adults Only category of video games, they now have an opening to pry into the realm of video games. If the rating had stuck with the "Mature" label, the likelihood of this avenue being pursued isn't as high, because there would be too much risk involved towards censorship and decency laws. As long as they can market the product to Adults Only, these things have been circumvented, and the industry has found a new pie to nibble at for awhile.

But I mentioned the flip side, where certain ratings are not welcomed, but reviled. This, of course, varies from project to project, based on content. There is a history of films not receiving ratings because they were too graphic in content for one rating, and felt that the next higher rating would keep audiences away. The movie Facing the Giants, due out this fall, is part of that category. The odd thing is that Facing the Giants is upset that it has been plastered with a PG rating.

PG is the rating for "Parental Guidance suggested", which means that parents may not want their kids to see it, dependant upon how they feel discussing the issues. It's still only "PG", so it's not like their going to be stepping into territory better suited for teenagers than for younger children. It's also a football movie, so there may be some curiousity as to how it received anything other than a heartwarming and family-friendly "G". Turns out, the MPAA feels that large amounts of overt religious messaging is something that parents may want to know about in advance, the same way as they would probably be curious if there was foul language or sexual content. That's right, folks. Facing the Giants has, by some accounts, a large amount of overt Christian messaging, and that alone caused the MPAA to throw the PG rating onto the film. Naturally, the film's producers are upset, and feeling that they are being lumped in with sex and depravity. Nevermind that, if the religion that was being espoused in the film was anything other than Christianity, there would be a clamor for warning labels and, quite possibly, anger if it didn't receive at least a PG rating. Seems fair that anything that broaches such a sensitive subject as openly as this film is purported to do contain a notice to give parents what basically amounts to a "heads-up", and allow them to decide if the content is suitable for their children.

Then again, it may just be me, but I happen to stand firmly by the belief that all media should be considered PG. It might actually cause parents to spend some time with their families, as opposed to using the television as a babysitter.

But then there'd be no need for BabyFirstTV. Not that that's a bad thing, really.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is it the message?

Another shot-gun approach to the news, partially prompted by being unable to access my own site yesterday.

Item One, news out of Indonesia. Turns out that the leaders of the island nation have asked "Gin" Rummy to tone it down a bit. Rather than push U.S. foreign policy and security beliefs down the throats of other nations, those wacky Indonesians think that it may just be better for the States (also known as the Boss Hogg of the planet) to allow our allies to make their own decisions. They also seem to believe that if we continue to be "overinsistent", we may damage even further the way the rest of the world views us. And here I was, thinking that we couldn't possibly have a worse global reputation than we already do. What's next? Are the Indonesians going to suggest that we allow other nations to elect their officials in their own way? Wacky. Just wacky.

Item Two, news from the White House. Immigrants coming to this country need to, by GDub's recent declaration, adopt American values, and learn our national language. That's all well and good, except shortly after his little announcement, GDub was greeting a group of prospective citizens and, even though their instructor was teaching them in English, Georgie decided it would be most prudent to speak to them in their native Spanish. Thank goodness we're not giving any potential immigrants mixed messages. I'd like to think that we save those for our citizens. Of course, with the Border Patrol, this may have been one of the Great Decider's final opportunities to confuse and misdirect immigrants, so his hand may have been forced.

Item Three, news from China. The DaVinci Code takes another blow to its box office potential, just when you thought that all the damage possible was dealt out by the 1-2 punch of Ron Howard and Tom Hanks. Apparently the Chinese, in a bold move proving that they are just as discriminating in their cinematic tastes as India, and far more discerning than the Americans, have pulled the Dan Brown picture from their screens. Of course, people are wondering if this is in response to complaints from Chinese Christians. Some are wondering if the government line of "opening up the theaters for locally produced films" is legit, or if it that's just a song and dance, with Over the Hedge hitting the Sino-plex on Friday. It could be either of those things. It could also be that the Chinese government has decided that it doesn't need to have an outlet for American garbage anymore, and pulled the plug on the Code because it's a bad film.

And finally, Item Four, news from all over the place. Ann Coulter, a name that is cursed the world over, and even in some alternate dimensions, has of course been all over the news recently, for the new book that she put out. Since the release of the book, aside from the obligatory appearances on FOXNews (because when you pander to the right, you REALLY pander to the right), she's also gotten her shots in interviews with Matt Lauer and Tucker Carlson. I'm sure there's been more, but, blessedly, I've missed them. Well, Lauer and Carlson both got completely run over by her, and weren't really able to take her to task. Who can we look to in this dark time? Well, there's always Jon Stewart, but he'll generally pull some punches when dealing with incredibly controversial subjects due to the nature of being on Comedy Central (thankfully, Stewart abandons the gloves when he appears on someone else's show). So where do we look? Well, hey, there's MSNBC. And there's Keith Olbermann. Who is quickly becoming my news hero... go here to see the video of yet another scathing Olbermann report.

Now, as Blogger's been kinda temperamental the last couple of days, I'm putting this one to bed. Y'know, tacking it to a wall and framing it for your viewing discretion. And yes, by tempermental, I mean Blogger's been acting like some of my exes. Just goes to show that God does exist. And He doesn't prove it by saving people from lions, He proves it by reincarnating different events into new forms.

Here's hoping that Coulter's new form at some point is a flaming bag of poo. Unless she's already there.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Forget the Tigers and Bears....

The age-old battle between lions and Christians received another entry Sunday evening, in a place people probably didn't expect it. As it turns out, a man at the Kiev zoo decided that he would put his faith where his mouth was, declared, "God will save me, if he exists", and lowered himself by rope into an enclosure full of lions. He then removed his shoes, approached the big cats, and was promptly mauled by a lioness, who quickly severed the man's carotid artery. Of course, this was at a time where there was a large number of visitor's to the zoo, so, undoubtedly, a decent number of impressionable people must have witnessed this act.

Does this proof the lack of existence for the big G? I really don't think so. I think this does prove that perhaps entering into a dangerous environment armed only with faith may not be the best course of action.

It also makes me wonder if this could be a precursor. Will we see someone tickling a bear, swearing that the Lord will not only protect them, but make the bear laugh? Will someone get bitten by a dozen copperheads, and throw their faith into the concept that Jesus is the only antivenin they need? And what about playing a game of live-action "Frogger" across the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, hoping that God will cause the cars barreling down towards you to swerve ever so slightly past you, leaving you unscathed and somehow not disturbing the delicate airflow that keeps them from flipping over?

This is not proof of a lack of God's existence. This is proof that, when putting yourself into a situation where survival is questionable, maybe you'd be better served by putting your faith in a rifle.

After all, God doesn't have a long track record of saving those too stupid to save themselves.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Like a Rhinestone Agenda

Over the weekend, Pres. Decider made a strong decision, one that could cause echoes throughout the political world.

He decided that he wanted to push forward the proposed Constitutional ban on gay marriage.

There are so many reasons why this tweaks brains nationwide. First off, should the Constitution (theoretically the highest law in the land) be worrying itself with things like marriage of any sort? Isn't it supposed to be more of a handbook for the government itself, hence the obliteration of Prohibition? I mean, yes, tell us about our freedoms, tell us who gets the right to vote, but don't tell us who should be married.

Secondly, this is merely an issue because some of the more extreme religious zealots that this country has (and holds dear) want it to be an issue. They are basically saying "You need us more than we need you, and we want you to push these religious issues." In other words, if the GOP doesn't at least make an effort to get this issue on the table, then a large portion of their voting bank is threatening to turn their support away from them. We've discussed this and the likelihood of it happening before, and we know the result of the GOP making promises to followthrough on these topics. Of course, when you have people stumping on the campaign trail and declaring that the US is a "Christian nation", as they recently did in Texas. Of course this is going to bring the evangelical's even more firmly into the GOP pocket, and widen the "religion gap" with regards to voting practices.

Thirdly, you almost have to wonder if GDub is simply going through the motions of a lame-duck president, or if he's desperately trying to improve not only his own approval ratings, but the approval ratings of his constituents, many of whom are being left with a bag of flaming debris after his presidency. If so, maybe he needs to keep a better eye on what his friends are telling the press regarding the issues that he's trying to push forward. One of GDub's old friends, under requests for anonymity, was quoted in NEWSWEEK as saying, "I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a S--T about it." This contradicts WH aides, but when you look at which group is being paid to toe the party line, you've gotta wonder a bit.

Finally, is there really that much of a clamor against gay marriage that we need to put on the November ballot a proposed Constitutional amendment to keep Adam and Steve from becoming man and man? I certainly hope not, and, with the political and religious climate perking up around the country, I'm not entirely sure how much support a ballot item like this could possibly receive. Of course, I could be horribly wrong, and we could all wake up in November with the knowledge that gay marriage is gone, obliterated from our consciousness, a mere hallucination brought on by far too much drug abuse during the 60s.

I firmly believe that there is no call for such an amendment. While faith in this country (that's faith with a little "f", not the kind that inspires church visits and confessions) has been eroding bit by bit over the past decade, I don't want to think that we've gotten to a point where we are so infused with our own zealotry that we make laws stating not only who can get married to who, but how many children they can have, and whether or not they will learn evolution or creationism in school. I refuse to accept that we are in such a darkened age of acceptance that we are more willing to persecute someone for following Jesus differently than we do, than we are to listen and attempt to understand their perspective.

And if I'm wrong, I'm moving to Ireland. At least they're honest about their attempts to kill each other.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Religious fervor

Welcome to a "faith-based nation". Whether or not people want to admit it, religion is playing a larger and larger part in our day-to-day lives as Americans, just as it is the world over. Evidence of this is popping up all over the place, with various forms of Christianity taking the forefront, and any other form of religious expression being relegated to a backroom, where people don't ask or tell about it.

The first example of this is the "Faith Nights" being held at minor-league baseball parks. These promotions are causing spikes in attendance, and are bringing out something other than just a baseball game for those of the flock. Everything ranging from Christian musical acts to bobbleheads of figures from the Bible (excepting, of course, Big J) are being tied into a world that formerly was known as the location of soon-to-be and has-been big leaguers and semi-reasonably priced beer. Given the willingness that athletes themselves have shown towards talking about their faith, these promotions are really not that different from any other promotion that's thrown together. As these stadiums look at things, anything that gets butts in the seats is good, and Faith Nights are driving attendances up.

But there's always a flip-side to the fervor, and this flip-side is manifest in the new video game slated for an October 2006 release: Left Behind: Eternal Forces. This is a game where some of the worst aspects of the 9/11 attacks (religious fundamentalism, bodies strewn about, smoke filling vision) are praised, as opposed to decried. The big difference seems to be that the proponents of all these things are the "heros" portrayed in the Left Behind world, the conservative Evangelicals, as those that are left after the rapture work on converting the country into a theocracy to defend against the Anti-christ. And hey, if the people won't convert, well, then they'll quite obviously have to die, because they're heretics and they are standing in the way of the true glory of the Lord. And this "game" is being marketed through churches, and praised by religious leaders like Rick Warren. The very notion that this game exists is sickening, and the way that it co-opts some of the most visceral parts of 9/11, and then twists them to their own purposes should cause an enormous public outcry. Unfortunately, there's just as high of a chance that those that will rise up to rail against the game are merely heretics in and of themselves, and examples of why the game is needed to "educate the faithful" (no, nobody's said that specifically as of yet, but I'm waiting for it).

Finally, in a world where there is no apologies made if you've reached enough celebrity that you practically have a cult surrounding you and your words, Bill O'Reilly has choked on his hip, as Keith Olbermann of MSNBC recently pointed out during his program. Olbermann, some of you may remember, was one of the most vehement of news anchors shortly after the Hurricane Katrina FEMA collapse, and he recently trained his eye towards O'Reilly for the huge mistake of not checking full facts before announcing his news. This particular instance that Olbermann was referring to is related to O'Reilly's (glaringly) incorrect statements regarding what happened at Malmedy during WWII. As Olbermann points out, the issue is not simply that O'Reilly was so horridly incorrect twice (both times, while trying to rip apart statements made by Gen. Wesley Clark), but that FOXNews corrected the transcript in an attempt to cover his error, and that, when confronted by a viewer, O'Reilly did nothing to apologize, he merely changed his wording ever so slightly, and then moved on as though he had done nothing wrong. A partial transcript and full video can be found here...

This type of refusal to back down, showcased by the Left Behind people and by Bill O'Reilly, is part of what makes me afraid that eventually the "Faith Nights" are going to lead minor-league baseball fans down a similar path. Thankfully, the stadiums will still have things like "Nickel Beer Night" and foam bat giveaways to keep things in perspective. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to grab myself a foam bat and take it on a road trip. I think Mr. O'Reilly could use a little perspective...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Comparing apples to orchards

In attempts to curtail how quickly the general public is throwing their support away from the war, the NeoCons and their talking heads have decided to take an entirely new tactic. Let's point out just how much safer Iraq (a country) is than Washington, D.C. (a city).

When you look at the rates of violent deaths for those two areas, yes, techinically Iraq would be safer, clocking in at 27.51 civilian deaths per 100,000, compared to DC's 35.8. But, as mentioned, these figures, while valid, do not compare with each other, simply due to the scope. Looking just at national capitals, Baghdad ranks at 95 per 100,000. Suddenly the comparison doesn't look so good. If we go nation-vs-nation, then the U.S. sits with 5.5, and again, the NeoCon rhetoric doesn't look quite so good.

But we don't want to poke too large of a hole into their theory, so we'll leave it at nation-vs-capital. But let's take a moment to include the soldiers in Iraq, who are not Iraqi citizens. If you count their deaths, that brings the violent death rate in Iraq up to somewhere in the vicinity of 128 per 100,000.

In other words, no, Iraq is by no means safer than Washington D.C., or anywhere else in the nation. However, this is the message that is currently being pumped out. And, even more frightening, this is the message that people are going to mindlessly believe, the same way that they've believed just about everything else espoused by Rush and his cronies.

Even when they contradict themselves.