The Mr. Nice Guy Show Blog

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My thoughts on what's goin' on in the world,

just like years ago on the radio.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Real Journalism

I knew there was some hope for us: New York Times article below does a fair job of covering the story, unlike the suck-ass Hunt from AP (see earlier entry).

November 28, 2003
Democrats Temper Praise for Bush Visit With Criticism

With his Thanksgiving Day excursion to Baghdad, President Bush moved to regain control of an issue that Democrats have increasingly viewed as a political liability, reinforcing his commitment to the war while displaying solidarity with troops his rivals had accused him of neglecting, Democratic officials said yesterday.

The surprise visit stunned and confused his rivals, who struggled — in the midst of Thanksgiving dinner — to balance praise for the president's gesture with renewed criticism of his Iraq policy, which they said would be among his greatest vulnerabilities in next year's election.

"It's nice that he made it over there today, but this visit won't change the fact that those brave men and women should never have been fighting in Iraq in the first place," said Jay Carson, a spokesman for Howard Dean, one of the biggest critics of the war among the nine Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts issued a statement saying that the trip was "the right thing to do for our country." But, he added: "When Thanksgiving is over, I hope the president will take the time to correct his failed policy in Iraq that has placed our soldiers in a shooting gallery."

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, described the visit as a "daring move and great politics," but added: "I think these kids need more. I'm sure they were buoyed by his coming, but they need more."

The trip came at a time of rising criticism of the president for not attending the funerals of the returning war dead. It also came in the same week that Mr. Bush met with families of 26 soldiers killed in Iraq, and thus appeared to be a concerted effort by the White House to deal with a political problem.

And now, in a single day, Mr. Bush may have managed to supplant what has become the single most problematic image of him in this war: The picture of him swaggering across an aircraft carrier in front of banner reading "Mission Accomplished."

That image, which already has shown up in an advertisement by Mr. Kerry attacking the president, now seems likely to be overtaken by the picture of Mr. Bush, his eyes glistening with tears, addressing cheering troops on Thanksgiving Day. It was a moment fraught with imagery that was certainly a central subject of discussion at Thanksgiving tables.

Even aides to Democratic presidential candidates expressed grudging admiration for the political skills of this White House.

"Those guys can do some pretty smart stuff sometimes," a senior adviser to one of the Democrats said.

Matt Bennett, the communications director for Gen. Wesley K. Clark, said: "We're not going to throw stones at the guy for trying to do a nice thing for the troops. When the president goes and spends time with the troops, that's a good thing."

One of the most prominent Democrats in the field, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who helped write the Congressional resolution that led to the war, declined to comment on the trip.

In this context, the Democratic candidates sought to stand with Mr. Bush in his gesture of solidarity, while not letting go of the issue of how he has handled the war since the fall of Baghdad. Chris Lehane, an adviser to General Clark, praised Mr. Bush for the trip, but said, "He also has a responsibility to offer us a real success strategy in Iraq so we can get our troops out of there so they don't have to spend future Thanksgivings in Iraq."

Jano Cabrera, a spokesman for Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, said: "In fairness, visiting with the troops is exactly what a commander in chief should do. That said, we hope that he's also reassuring them that the administration will eventually have a plan to win the peace and bring our troops home soon."

Mr. Bennett expressed skepticism that yesterday's events would remove the issue of the war and Mr. Bush's handling of it from the table next year.

"They made their bed with that `Mission Accomplished' trip, and that's going to be around for a long time," he said. "That's not the last ad you will see with that. I will guarantee you that whoever the nominee is will have that image up."


Fair Use Notice


Look at this AP article.

Why doesn't the author just get down his knees and fellate the president? He's obviously already handed his pen and judgement over to the White House press office; why not just go all the way?

Here's a better article, real journalism (as opposed to press release journalism), by a reporter who obviously doesn't have his head up his ass.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgving Surprise: It's the Prez

BBC story below is getting lots of coverage, especially by the lapdog media in this country.

Others will offer comments much more articulately, I'm sure, but here's my reaction:

big fucking deal.

There have been over 500 US and allied casualties, no weapons of mass destruction found, no Saddam Hussein found, Halliburton keeps cashing-in, the president hasn't attended one funeral, families greet the holiday devastated, but this draws cheers and kudos?


Bush pays surprise visit to Iraq

US President George W Bush has made a surprise visit to Baghdad to mark America's Thanksgiving holiday.

The event was kept secret until Mr Bush left the Iraqi capital because of security concerns. Had word of the trip leaked it would have been cancelled.

Mr Bush spent two hours having dinner with about 600 stunned US troops at Baghdad airport before leaving Iraq.

Even they had not been told in advance that Mr Bush was coming on the visit, the first to Iraq by a US president.


Mr Bush declared major combat in Iraq over on 1 May, but since then 70 more US soldiers have been killed in hostile action than during the war itself - and November has been the worst month for casualties so far.

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Baghdad says the visit will have given battle-weary troops a much-needed morale boost.

Paul Bremer, the top US civilian administrator in Iraq, who was on a scheduled visit to the troops, told them he was going to read a message from the president.

But he then announced he would defer to the most senior person present - Mr Bush's cue to appear.

"I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere," Mr Bush said. "Thanks for inviting me to dinner ... I can't think of a finer group of folks to have Thanksgiving dinner with than you all."

Mr Bush told cheering troops he brought a message on behalf of America: "We thank you for your service, we are proud of you and America stands solidly behind you."

He said the US would not give up in the face of ongoing guerrilla attacks.

"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," he said.

The remark brought one of several standing ovations he received from soldiers of the 1st Armoured Division and the 82nd Airborne Division.


Mr Bush left Texas on Wednesday night, stopping briefly in Washington to change planes before heading to Iraq.

The trip was shrouded in secrecy. Secret service agents guarding his Texas ranch were not told, and his family found out only a few hours before he left.

It had earlier been announced that Mr Bush would spend Thanksgiving with his family at his Texas ranch - a menu for the dinner was even made public, the Associated Press reported.

Air Force One arrived at Baghdad International Airport at around 1732 local time (1432 GMT) on Thursday - landing in darkness, with its lights dimmed to make it less of a target.

A missile had been fired at a courier plane landing in Baghdad at the weekend. The plane landed safely despite being hit and having a wing catch fire.

Mr Bush spent around two-and-a-half hours with US troops before heading back to Washington.

He was with a small pool of journalists and camera crews - who were not allowed to report on the event until after they were airborne again.

The BBC's David Bamford in Washington says the trip stirred a ripple of patriotic enthusiasm at home as Americans learned the details of the secretive visit.

Mr Bush's trip comes on the heels of a brief visit by UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who also did not announce his trip.

The US Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz visited Baghdad a month ago. A rocket was fired at the hotel where he was staying, killing one US officer.

President Bush's father visited US troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day 1990, on the eve of the first US-led war in the Gulf.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2003/11/28 02:04:04 GMT


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Be thankful you're not Dubya

Thanksgiving reflections by Mark Morford in today's San Francisco Chronicle.


Media and Democracy...and Baseball's Jim Bouton???

Excellent essay by Bill Moyers.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

More on Jackson

Excellent column below by Leonard Pitts, Jr., in the Miami Herald and syndicated nationally (in my local paper today).

This is probably a much better assessment than what you will see in Jackson's new Web site, obviously designed to feed us more of his oddball bullshit. How stupid do y'have to be to believe what he puts up there?

And, for that matter, how stupid do you have to be to attend a rally in support of him, as many people did all over the world this past weekend? Why would you defend him without seeing any evidence, because he sang "Rock with You" so nicely???

Posted on Fri, Nov. 21, 2003

Jackson doesn't get it -- so why didn't parents?

And so, Michael Jackson's story comes round to a place that seems, in hindsight, inevitable. A police raid on the Santa Barbara amusement park he calls home. New accusations of child molestation involving a 12-year-old boy. Jackson's arrest.

And if you ever liked him, if you sent $2 to the fan club to be ''Michael's Personal Soul-Mate'' in 1971, if you stayed up late to catch him on Carson in '74, if he made you 'wanna be startin' somethin'' in '83, maybe it leaves you feeling old, or angry, or sad.

The one thing it ought not leave you is surprised. No more than one is surprised to see a recklessly driven car skid into a wall. Between the obsessive plastic surgery, the sham marriages and the creepy fascination with little boys, Jackson has been skidding toward this wall for years.


Not that he hasn't been, as they say, enabled along the way. To note but the most obvious: What kind of parents would allow their kid to spend time with Michael Jackson?

He is a 45-year-old man wearing lipstick and eyeliner on a surgically altered face that could give Charles Manson nightmares. He is 10 years removed from a child molestation scandal. His home is a monument to arrested development.

So, how asleep at the switch, how besotted by fame, how flat-out stupid do you have to be, to allow him access to your child? When he comes calling with his Mary Poppins umbrella, his parchment skin and his Disney nose to ask if Billy can play, what excuse could you have for not turning on the sprinklers, grabbing a pitchfork, calling 911?

At some point, perhaps, a reasonable answer will be offered. Until then, we can only marvel at the power of celebrity to make crazy OK, reduce obsessions to eccentricities, get us to celebrate what we'd never tolerate if we were not blinded by the glare from the spotlights.

Did Michael Jackson molest the boy at the center of the new complaint? I don't know. Is he the victim of a vendetta from officials who failed to snare him 10 years ago? I have no idea. There is, though, one thing I do know: Whatever this is, Jackson himself created it.


He had a chance to learn his lesson after the first scandal, when he was accused of molesting a teenage boy and settled a civil suit out of court. No matter how he sees, or purports to see, his dalliances with adolescents, the 1993 episode should have taught him that virtually the entire world sees them as disturbing and improper, if not illegal. That ordeal should have sent Jackson the message that it was time to grow up.

But the message never got through. In an infamous interview in an ABC documentary earlier this year, Jackson introduced correspondent Martin Bashir to a 12-year-old boy with whom he said he'd shared his bedroom. He explained how he had slept on the floor while the boy slept in the bed.

''Why can't you share your bed?'' Jackson asked. ``The most loving thing to do is share your bed with someone. It's a beautiful thing. It's very right, it's very loving.''

Anyone who found that unseemly, he said, was simply ''wacky'' and ``ignorant.''

Which suggests a disconnect from reality too profound for words. Maybe we shouldn't expect anything else from someone who's been famous since he was 11, who became the biggest star on Earth when he was 24, who has lived virtually his whole life behind gates and under guard in a personal fantasyland constructed from air bricks and dream mortar.

Still, it's sad to see. Apparently, no one ever said, or he never heard, the word ''no.'' Now the law is at the door and it's no longer about fame and fantasy, but about that message Jackson never received.

As someone who once liked him, I hope he gets it this time, hope he gets help this time, hope this is truly the crash and not just more of the skid.

Because his chances are running out, if indeed, they are not already gone.


Fair Use Notice

Monday, November 24, 2003

Finally, the Religious Left

New clergy group opposes Bush re-election!




In response to Assssscroft:

Public Statement by American Library Association President Dr. Carla
Hayden Submitted to a Judicial Committee Hearing, "America After 9/11:
Freedom Preserved or Freedom Lost?"

"The American Library Association affirms the responsibility of the
leaders of the United States to protect and preserve the freedoms that
are the foundation of our democracy, and we are committed to ensuring
that our country is safe and secure," said Dr. Hayden. "We believe, and
we practice the belief, that the free flow of information and ideas are
at the core of what we seek to protect, of what makes our country
strong. Vibrant discussion and expression and the ability to research
both broadly and deeply are what have made the United States a beacon of
freedom and they are what keep us strong."

More here.