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Posts Tagged ‘media’

Media Glee and Tiger Woods

Posted by AB on December 11, 2009

When the news came out that Tiger Woods had been in a car accident, I was watching a college football game on CBS.  During a commercial break, the CBS Sports anchor reported that Tiger Woods had been in a car accident, just outside his home, and was in serious condition.  The news seemed dire.  But a short time later, the same anchor backed off of the report that his condition was so serious.  I later went to my computer to see if there were any additional, more accurate reports.  I had no difficulty finding additional reports, but accuracy was at a premium.  Within about an hour, I must have read or heard a dozen different accounts of the story.  Unfortunately, weeks later, no one seems to know what really happened during that early morning incident, but that has not stopped the media from reporting each and every whisper that it hears.

In recent years, we have been inundated with the flaws of man.  The 24-hour cable news programs, along with the internet has magnified the sensational over the newsworthy.  They cannot be blamed, however, for the sensationalism.  It’s part competition, but it’s mostly because of the demand over an increasingly dumbed-down culture in our country.  What does it say about us that we are more interested in the “Octo-mom” or the “Balloon Boy?”  What does it say about us that we are more interested in the stories told by Tiger Woods’ mistresses than we are of health care reform?

All stories like that of Tiger’s have some journalistic merit, but I have rarely seen anything like the media backlash in this case.  Not since the Bill Clinton impeachment has infidelity received so much media attention–that’s saying a lot.  The thing has surprised and disappointed me is not so much the saturation of coverage, but the apparent glee on part of the media.  It has seemed as if many were just itching to unload on Tiger Woods.  No news or talk show host can refrain from shaking his or her head in response to the latest attention-grabbing rumor about Tiger Woods.  On the other hand, it is great to see that everyone in the media has been perfect throughout their entire lives.

No one can condone the actions of Tiger Woods, and I certainly won’t, but adultery is not a crime.  The relationship difficulties are between Tiger and his family, and no matter the disapproval by the media, he does not have to talk about that relationship with anyone.  So, media, it is okay to report on this story, but let’s just try to be a little less giddy about the fall of one of the world’s great popular entities. 

In hopes that Tiger Woods will have the courage to stand up after being knocked down, I’ll leave on a paragraph from Kahlil Gibran’s, The Prophet:

You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link.    This is but half the truth.  You are also as strong as your strongest link.                              To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam.                                                                                                                                                  To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconsistency.                       

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Posted in Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Obama’s Afghan Decision

Posted by AB on December 2, 2009

Last night, addressing the nation before the US Military Academy at West Point, President Obama announced his plan for moving forward in Afghanistan.  He announced that he would send 30, 000 more troops into Afghanistan through the next six months, part of a plan to begin removing American military from that country within 18 months.  The new strategy will focus on defeating Al Qaeda, training Afghan police and military, correcting government corruption, and support for the stability of Pakistan.

To the dismay of much of the media, the speech was not filled with “bumper-sticker” quotes, but with reason and responsibility.  His goal was to explain the strategy and reasons for that strategy to, not only American civilians and military members, but also to the people of Afghanistan and the world.  Something that I feel was especially significant and powerful was when the President looked straight into the camera, addressing Afghans, explaining the purpose of the US military presence in their country.  He told them, explicitly, that the United States had no desire to occupy Afghanistan.  That part of the speech might be overlooked and, although it may seem like an insignificant part of the speech, this subtle overture is important to gain the trust of the Afghan people.

This decision by President Obama has been, and will continue to be panned by the media, bloggers, and politicians.  This is one of those decisions that will please very few, right or left, but that could be a good sign, actually.  When no one in this divisive political atmosphere is championing the President’s decision, then he must be doing something right.  He, his administration, and the military seem to be on the same page on this decision, however, which is most important.  Popular support for all wars continue to wane in this country, and for good reason, but the populous reacts emotionally, while our nations leaders must rule with reason. 

Conservatives and Republicans, who are against every decision the President makes, are complaining that there are too few troops, and that the 18-month timeline for withdrawal is somehow equivalent to surrender.  Of course, all of this is nonsense.  I know that they must find something to disagree with, maybe they should remember the advice that they have repeated, again and again, for the past couple of months–listen to the generals.  Okay, let’s see what Gen. Stanley McChrystal has to say:  (from UPI)

“The clarity, capability, and committment outlined in President Obama’s address are critical steps toward eliminating an insurgency in Afghanistan and terrorist safe havens that threatened regional and global security….I believe our renewed coalition campaign is fortified by the path President Obama has put forward.”   

Democrats, liberals, and progressives–my side of political thinking–are not happy about the decision, either.  Many of them feel that it is time for us to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan.  Although President Obama, during last years election campaign, clearly stated he would place more focus of the war in Afghanistan, people on the left are disappointed or angry about this “surge” of troops.  They try to insult Obama by saying that he is acting just like George W. Bush.  That, too, is nonsense.  I only wish that President Bush would have placed the proper focus on Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, he forgot about Afghanistan.  He invaded Iraq.  He didn’t take care of business, so President Obama must.

There are no silver bullets for success in Afghanistan.  There seem to be no good options, but President Obama has properly deliberated over the facts and advice, and he has now announced the strategy that he believes is most likely to lead to success.  I don’t know if he is right or wrong but, as Americans, we should all hope that he is right.  It is time for Americans to unite.  “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Leave George W. Bush Alone!

Posted by AB on October 22, 2009

I know, I know.  Many of our nations obstacles are the direct result of his and his administration’s policies.  He was an utter disaster as a President.  We, as a nation, are dumber from listening to him explain his backward policies during the past eight years.  All of that is true–and more.  But I beg of the media, the pundits, and the comedians–LEAVE GEORGE W. BUSH ALONE.

It was announced, this week, that former President George W. Bush would be speaking at two motivational speaking events in Texas.  I know what you’re saying to yourself:  “Who in hell is going to be motivated by George W. Bush?”  Well, I cannot answer that question, but it doesn’t really matter.  He’s going to have some opportunities to make money, and we shouldn’t be mad about that.  Recent presidents and other public servants have made fortunes by speaking to large groups and corporations, so Mr. Bush should have that opportunity without being mocked.  We should pray to God, every moment of every day, in thanks that he is no longer in office.  If someone wants to pay him six figures to speak for 30-40 minutes, more power to them–and him.

Look, I disliked the leadership of George W. Bush and his administration as much as anyone, but it’s time to move on.  We have many challenges ahead, so just leave this man to his retirement.  He seems like a good man, in the sense that he’s not deliberately evil.  He seems like a good father and husband.  He is a former President of the United States and, for me, that still earns him a modicum of respect.  Just keep him as far away from critical decision-making as possible.  

All I am saying is that, at this point, making fun of George W. Bush is like beating a dead horse.  I don’t feel sorry for him, but I am tired of hearing about him.  I wish to put the former president as far from my mind as possible.  Just leave him alone; leave George W. Bush alone!

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Any Bill a Failure for Conservative Groups

Posted by AB on August 11, 2009

What do conservative groups want out of this health care debate?  Many conservatives, in public, say that we need health care reform, but they seem to have a problem with absolutely everything about it.  Conservatives in the media, in congress, and in other groups say, “No, no, no” so much that it is difficult to see what they are for.  Well, Politico has a short article about a recent conference call by conservative groups, including the National Tax Limitation Committee, the American Liberty Alliance, the Tea Party Patriots.  Apparently, they are pressing members of congress to kill health care.  An AFL-CIO union official who listened-in on the call, quoted the moderator as saying “The goal is not compromise, and any bill coming out this year would be a failure for us.”

There you have it.  What are conservatives for?  It sounds like they are for, well, anything but reform.  I assumed that this was the case, but was surprised that someone let it slip.  Any health care reform would be good for Americans, but their biggest fear is that any success would be accredited to President Obama and Congressional Democrats.  So, if you are for health care reform, and you run into someone who is against this bill or that amendment, the easiest way to shut them down is to just ask them what they are for. 

Always be respectful, civilized, and peaceful as you debate, even if others aren’t.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking Into Your Own Home

Posted by AB on July 23, 2009

Last night, the President held a prime-time press conference at the White House.  The hour-long press conference was focused on health care reform, but the very last question of the night is what everyone in the media is talking about. 

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times asked the President to comment on the arrest of African-American Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested in his own home on suspicion of breaking and entering.  The President, thoughtfully, answered by saying that he was biased because Professor Gates is a friend and that he didn’t know what role race played in the incident, but it seemed that the situation was handled “stupidly.”

It’s amazing that one word could be so controversial, especially when the statement is not arguable.  The police were called to investigate a break-in at Gates’ home on the afternoon of July 16.  Understandably, Gates was miffed that he was being questioned in his own home, and after proving that he was, in fact, the owner of the home, something happened.  The 58-year old, Gates was, in his words, “lured,” outside, where he was promptly handcuffed and taken to police headquarters for booking.  The charges of obstruction were later dropped.

Hiding from the health care debate, the GOP and conservative pundits promptly attacked the President for using the word, “stupidly.”  During the attack on the integrity of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the GOP dragged white firefighter, Frank Ricci, into the middle of the politicization of the Supreme Court.  The message?  Sotomayor hates white people.  The President says the arrest of a man in his own home was handled “stupidly,” and here come the attacks.  The arresting officer was white.  So, what’s the message?  The President hates white police officers.

It’s a shame, really, that arresting a man for breaking into his own home wouldn’t be universally disdained, no matter the race of the homeowner or the officer.  I know that I would be angry.  It should also be pointed out that Dr. Gates walks with the aid of a cane; hardly a threat of physical violence or flight.  Just Saying.

One good thing came from this, for me at least.  It reminded me of a Dave Chappelle stand-up comedy special, “Killing Them Softly.”  If you get an opportunity to see the entire routine, you won’t be sorry.  The beginning of the following clip is eerily reminiscent of Gates’ troubles.

Posted in Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Republican Health Care Plan

Posted by AB on July 21, 2009

With all of the calls of “socialism,”  “rationing,” “government-run healthcare,” and even warnings of death, I have been patiently waiting for the Republican health care plan.  Well, I must wait no longer.  It has been revealed in a memo from the Republican National Committee (RNC), and Huffington Post’s Sam Stein has obtained a copy.

What is the plan, you ask?  The plan is to scare Americans with words like “risk” and “experiment,” in order to delay, and eventually kill any reform coming from President Obama and Democrats in Congress.  The media is inundated, daily, by idea-less Republicans and cowardly Democrats, saying that the President should “slow down” on health care.  This is understandable, but gutless, nonetheless. 

The Democrats who are dragging their feet are mostly moderates or conservatives with representative constituencies.  They fear being perceived as being too liberal.  Most Republicans care more about politically injuring the President, not what is good for the country.  They know that if health care passes, they will be on the wrong side of history, again, and they will get absolutely no credit.  The President has given Republicans the opportunity to take part, but trying to score political points, they have missed out on collaboration.  Now, they have only one play, and that is to obstruct. 

Fortunately, all of that it is too late; health care will pass.  It will not be pretty–there is far too much at stake–but the will of the American people will be felt, and President Obama is the right person to get done something that is far-overdue.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Two Names

Posted by AB on June 3, 2009

Two names:  Scott Roeder and Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad.  When you see the these two names, what comes to mind?  Believe it or not, these two men have a great deal in common.  They are both American citizens.  They both feel very strongly about their beliefs.  Oh, and they are both domestic terrorists.  My guess is that you may not be surprised that Mr. Muhammad, a converted Muslim, is a terrorist.  But Mr. Roeder?  A white, Christian, anti-abortion advocate?

For many years–at least since September 11, 2001 for most Americans–we have been continuously conditioned by the media and other groups that terrorists are Arab, Muslim men who hate America.  We have been conditioned to be suspicious of anyone wearing a turban, or other traditionally “foreign” dress.  Americans have been conditioned to keep an eye on Arab-looking men with beards out in public places.  There have even been suggestions that “racial profiling” might be a good idea, because we all know that all terrorists are Muslim, right?  Wrong.

Let us take a look at the definition of terrorism from an online Military Dictionary

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

Scott Roeder, as you may know, has been is the news, recently, for his actions on Sunday, May 31.  On that day, he walked into a church in Witchita, Kansas, and shot down controversial OB/GYN, Dr. George Tiller.  Dr. Tiller, dubbed “Tiller, the Baby Killer” by his critics, was one of only a few doctors in the country that performed “late-term” abortions (after 21 weeks) for women who were having complications with their pregnancies.  No matter how you feel about abortion, I think that most can agree that it is wrong to murder anyone.  Mr. Roeder has been an anti-abortion activist for many years, and even served time in prison in the late 1990’s for possessing bomb-making materials.  Take a look at the definition of terrorism above, and this incident clearly falls within that description, but you will be hard-pressed to find a media outlet call it for what it is:  domestic terrorism.

Another case of domestic terrorism happened just a day later, when Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, a converted Muslim, previously know as Carlos Bledsoe, opened fire on an Army recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The shooting killed Pvt. William Long, and wounded Pvt. Quintin Ezeagwula.  When it was discovered that Muhammad was believed to be targeting military members for political and religious purposes, there was no problem calling that an act of terrorism.

There you have two acts; both acts of terrorism, both dispicable, both sad for the victims’ friends and families.  They both fall into the description and definition of terrorism, but only one is actually called terrorism.  Why is that?  Is it because killing a man who performed abortions is okay?  Is it because the terrorist is a white man in the Tiller case?  Is it because Muhammad is Muslim?  Or is it because of the way that we have been conditioned in this country to think of terrorism?

There are bad people lurking in all races and religions, many of which who use religion to justify lawlessness.  If both of these men are convicted, and there are no other suspects at this point, then they deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, and some will say that they should be executed.  At this point, I could think of no better way for these two men to live the rest of their lives than to spend them together as cellmates in Leavenworth.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »