Thursday, March 29, 2007

What We Call The News

You may remember the very funny political short animation film "This Land" that was made by Jibjab Media, Inc. in 2004. They've come up with another one that will make you laugh, for sure. It's called: "What We Call The News," and it takes a poke at TV news. Great stuff.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things...

Let's see:

  • Soldiers...check!

  • Pigs...check!

  • A gentle poke at Democrats who claim to "support the troops"...double check!!

This has all the elements of a great cartoon.

From US News & World Report, via

Friday, March 16, 2007

BBDS (Before Bush Derangement Syndrome)

This morning, I happened across this story from BBC News. It is dated October 11, 2002 and describes - via unnamed senior administration officials - the Bush administration's plan to occupy Iraq. The writer is skeptical that an occupation will really happen.

Here is the lede:

"It has been reported that the Bush administration is developing a detailed plan to occupy Iraq and install an American-led military government in Baghdad if the US topples Saddam Hussein.

The New York Times newspaper and the Associated Press news agency have been briefed on the plan by unnamed senior administration officials.

However, the Associated Press says the two officials it spoke to consider that of all the plans being studied in Washington, this is among the least likely to be approved.

One prominent Iraqi opposition figure told the BBC the Americans would be naive to attempt to occupy the country."

You may notice a definite lack of anti-Bush hysteria in this piece. That may be because it had been written only a year after 3,000 innocent Americans were killed on that sunny Tuesday morning in NYC, DC, and PA. It was a few short months since Daniel Pearl, journalist, was beheaded in Pakistan. In October 2002, al-Qaeda and anyone else who supported terrorism, was viewed as more of an enemy than President Bush.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Whither the poor pig farmer?

I recently met a pig farmer from Canada on a Caribbean cruise. The man was very nice, had a lovely wife - both physically and in personality, and I think they had five children. It seems that they worked very hard on the pig farm and made a comfortable living. As I spent the week with them, I did have one underlying worry - how long would it be before pork was banned and they would have no livelihood?

Overreaction, you say? Been reading a few too many right-wing opinion columnists?

Well, it looks like the pork jihad has come to Minneapolis. Here is a story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune's web site detailing an incident of a cashier at Target refusing to scan a pepperoni pizza. The post is by Chris Serres, a Star Tribune staff writer.

As an isolated incident, I'd say ignore this. But, as you read the many comments to the post, you find that this is not an isolated incident at all.

How long will it be before businesses decide to drop pork products because it is simply too difficult to deal with the multi-cultural issues surrounding it? How long will the pig farmer survive?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Some more thoughts on Walter Reed

I've been pretty quiet lately - busy at work, and now on the road again. I've been thinking a lot about this Walter Reed issue, and it still sticks in my craw. But not for the reasons that most Americans are getting riled about it.

You see, it seems to me that this story didn't get legs because of concern for the soldiers by the media. There is no doubt in my mind that members of the media have received reports of this type of treatment for years...and so have politicians. It is the nature of government bureaucracy and of war for horrific cracks to develop in the system. We have no perfect bureaucracies and no perfect wars. We do have bureaucracies that have benefitted the greater good and unfortunately we have needed wars to deal with real evils such as terrorism, Hilter's nazi regime and communism.

The fallout from the Walter Reed scandal is not going to create a perfect VA medical system. There will always be human failings. However, it has claimed a Secretary of the Army and a two-star general has been relieved of his command.

A follow-up story in the Washington Post says this: "Several forces converged to create this intense reaction. A new Democratic majority in Congress is willing to criticize the administration. Senior retired officers pounded the Pentagon with sharp questions about what was going on. Up to 40 percent of the troops fighting in Iraq are National Guard members and reservists -- 'our neighbors,' said Ron Glasser, a physician and author of a book about the wounded. 'It all adds up and reaches a kind of tipping point,' he said. On top of all that, America had believed the government's assurances that the wounded were being taken care of. 'The country is embarrassed' to know otherwise, Glasser said."

Yes, you, the American public, are being told that up until now men like Senators Kennedy and Durbin and Kerry or Congressmen like Murtha and Pelosi had no national voice; that it took a cold-call to Dana Priest for anyone at all to realize that there was a problem.

Now, the military and administration are being painted as entirely uncaring of its vets. This is the perfect political tool for a nation that adores its troops.

What is forgotten in all of this is that soldiers sent to Iraq overwhelmingly re-up, that the vast majority do not have post-traumatic stress syndrome, and that Tri-care provides great coverage. And in this description, I'm not talking simply of the hundreds of thousands of unknown troops who have gone through Iraq. I'm relating the story of one soldier that I know very well - my son, who was wounded in Iraq, re-upped in the week he was coming back, and whose wife is likely alive today because of expensive medicines provided by Tri-care after the birth of my grandson. I, for one, am very grateful not just for the the Armed Forces' efforts to fight terrorism but for them returning my son home alive. An attitude such at this, however, does not garner much media attention.

If the media were terribly interested in the welfare of the soldiers you would hear more about the progress that is being made and less about fired generals. However, there are Pulitzer Prizes to be won and scalps to be had. Stories of success simply get in the way.