Saturday, June 18, 2005

Peggy Noonan Fails to Make an Argument against PBS 

Ms. Noonan seems to have a problem with PBS based on her perceived liberal bias and assumption that this is shared by everyone (although she doesn't quote or cite a single person to support her assumption).

But arguing over whether PBS is and has long been politically liberal is like arguing over whether the ocean is and has long been wet. Of course it is, and everyone knows it.

The then outlines that PBS does indeed provide a service by funding, then broadcasting, informational shows that have no chance of being either created or broadcast elsewhere:

At its best, at its most thoughtful and intellectually honest and curious, PBS does the kind of work that no other network in America does or will do. Sumner Redstone is never going to pay for an 11-hour miniseries called "The Civil War"; he's not going to invest money and years of effort into a reverent exhumation of the rich loam of American history. Les Moonves is not going to do "Nova." Bob Iger is not going to OK a three-part series on relativity theory. Jeff Zucker isn't going to schedule a calm, unhurried adult drama like "Masterpiece Theatre." They live in a competitive environment.

She then moves on to the crux of her argument, explaining what PBS - in her opinion - should not be doing:

Why, then, doesn't Congress continue to fund PBS at current levels but tell them they must stick to what they are good at, and stop being the TV funhouse of the Democratic Party? Nobody needs their investigative unit pieces on how Iran-contra was very, very wicked; nobody needs another Bill Moyers show; nobody needs a conservative counter to Bill Moyers's show. Our children are being raised in a culture of argument. They can get left-right-pop-pop-bang anywhere, everywhere.

To make that argument stick, shouldn't Ms. Noonan explain where else investigative pieces like the type she criticizes are being produced and broadcast today? Could she explain why historical shows on the Civil War is acceptible, but not historical shows explaining the corruption of the Reagan Administration (that she used to work within)? She doesn't claim that the shows are innacurate. Apparently, the only problem with the shows is their coverage of issues she'd rather not see covered at all.

She fails to provide arguments against ANY of the other fine programming on PBS, including childrens shows, the News Hour with Jim Leher. She also fails to explain why other PBS programming such as the Nighly Business Report and other financial shows are bad choices.

As far as I can tell, her argument comes down to her opinion about ONE show, and ONE person: Bill Moyers. However, Bill Moyers isn't even on PBS any more, so why the outrage?

Daniel Henninger Has to Distort to Make his Point 

Mr. Henninger's editorial seems to be suggesting that ALL terrorism will eventually be prevented if we stay the course in Iraq. He goes as far as loosely insinuating that all terrorism factions around the world receive their marching orders from Baghdad.

Has Mr. Henniger missed the news that the war in Iraq was justified based on manufacturered evidence? Does Mr. Henniger still believe that Iraq has connections to 9/11? How could someone writing for such a reputable newspaper come to such conclusions?

Terrorism is Everyman:
If we removed our troops from Iraq, the terror would not stop. But the U.S. news of innocent civilians blown up in Iraq would move to the unread round-up columns. Then, in a way, the phenomenon of terror would indeed shrink--to this:

December 2004: A powerful explosion ripped through a market packed with Christmas shoppers in the southern Philippines yesterday, killing at least 15 people and injuring 58.

Notice the lumping of terrorist events in Indonesia and Spain with Iraq. Two of these things are NOT like the other. Two have ties to Al Queda, and one does not. One of these events is draining our economy, getting our soldiers killed, and does so without justification. That is Iraq:

No matter how fat the diet of stories about Iraq suicide bombings or Gitmo shoved down our throats and no matter how many distraught opinion-poll results come back up, no serious person can allow post-9/11 American security to be reduced to that.

The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act--whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Andy Brehm: Don't shortchange Americans' generous aid to world 

Apparently, Andy Brehm thinks is generous to spend $16.2 billion on aid, in the same year we spent $365 billion on the Pentagon and an additional $62.4 billion destroying Iraq.

Andy Brehm: Don't shortchange Americans' generous aid to world: "According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. government sent $16.2 billion abroad in 2003."

"When President Bush on Jan. 5 announced our government's financial commitment to help tsunami victims, for example, Americans had already eclipsed that number on their own."

Sounds impressive, but it's actually quite pitiful that our president couldn't take time away from his vacation to react to the disaster (but could make an emergency flight to DC to sign a bill on behalf of Terri Shiavo's parents).

ABC News: U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350M: "The newly announced aid came after some critics claimed that the initial U.S. contribution of $35 million was meager considering the vast wealth of the nation.

France has promised $57 million, Britain has pledged $95 million, Sweden is sending $75.5 million and Spain is offering $68 million, although that pledge is partly in loans."

Monday, June 13, 2005

...far better than by 'any other government on the face of the Earth? 

Is Dick Cheney REALLY trying to say that our treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo (no charges, no rights to lawyers, held indefinitely while being subjected to physical and psychological torture), is better - no not just better, but FAR better - than how prisoners are treated in Sweden? Switzerland? Iceland? Canada? Australia? The British West Indies?

That's 100% frozen concentrated evil.

Amid Concerns, Cheney Defends Guantanamo - New York Times: "Responding to calls by some Democrat and Republican lawmakers to shut down the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Vice President Dick Cheney today strongly defended the treatment and detention of prisoners there, saying that the detainees have been treated far better than by 'any other government on the face of the Earth.'"

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