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5/16/2003

 

nazis? i can take 'em or leave 'em.



not much time to post lately, but here's a quickie

The CBS affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas, has opted not to air a two-part miniseries dramatizing the young life of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

"The Nazi concept, if you will, is still very real, and I think anything we do to give that particular thinking a venue, a format, is a mistake," Remy said. "More people that are already on the fence on this and have issues might find something in this character to identify with, and that bothers me tremendously."


excerpted. emphasis mine.

on the fence? i know that moderates are the most wonderful, noble, pure, free-thinking, intellectually gifted of us all, but if you're fence-sitting when it comes to the nazis, then yes, you've definitely got issues. who rides the pines when it comes to hitler? what, are people sitting around thinking "well, i can see how he did some bad by killing six million jews and all, but he had a really nice moustache..."

you're either a jew-hating freak who thinks hitler's god, or you think he was satan incarnate. there's not really any middle-ground to be had here, folks.

air the mini-series. if it topples any humpty-dumpty's down to the bad guys then i say good. these are the kids who used to run with scissors, and frankly, the good guys are better off without them.

locdog's $0.02




5/15/2003

 

i told you so



ahem...

Before opening the session to questions, Mr. Raines made a pre-emptive attempt to address whether Mr. Blair's race — he is black — had played a role in his being added last fall to the team covering the hunt for the snipers in the Washington area.

Only six months earlier, Mr. Blair, 27, had been found to be making so many serious errors as a reporter on the metropolitan staff that he had been informed that his job was in jeopardy.

"Our paper has a commitment to diversity and by all accounts he appeared to be a promising young minority reporter," Mr. Raines said. "I believe in aggressively providing hiring and career opportunities for minorities."

"Does that mean I personally favored Jayson?" he added, a moment later. "Not consciously. But you have a right to ask if I, as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave him one chance too many by not stopping his appointment to the sniper team. When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes."


locdog is so right so often that, honestly, it's starting to bore him






5/14/2003

 

a few thoughts on shooting looters



when i finally stopped laughing at the new york times long enough to read it, i learned that they are reporting our new american administrator in iraq, l. paul bremer, has authorized soldiers to shoot looters on sight.

i must say i'm feeling very conflicted about this. on the one hand, the policy sort of appeals to me in an Old Testament sort of way. plus, it gets points for it's cool wild-west meets hobbes approach. on the other hand, i'm not sure looting should carry a death sentence...

A tougher approach over all appears to be at the core of Mr. Bremer's mandate from President Bush to save the victory in Iraq from a descent into anarchy, a possibility feared by some Iraqi political leaders if steps are not taken quickly to check violence and lawlessness.

But imposing measures that call for the possible killing of young, unemployed or desperate Iraqis for looting appears to carry a certain level of risk because of the volatile sentiments in the streets here.


so, before the looters were the scourge of humanity and now they're a bunch of helpless young wretches desperate for, what, museum artifacts and leather chairs? i think i feel another fit of laughter coming on.

ok, i'm back. if we want to be cynical about this, we must admit that the anarchy in iraq has been used by the media and democrats to bush's detriment. shooting looters could appear to be the product of a raw political calculation. but however, ah, desperate bush is to stop the looting, the iraqis themselves are clearly more so, so politics or not the move appears to be in the interests of the iraqi people. that said, it could still be a real disaster for the president. the times conservatively assumes that the only ones being shot will be actual looters--but you know as soon as someone gets capped we'll have fifteen sunni bystanders shaking their fists at the camera and telling us that he was only searching for a lost child or trying to save a puppy or something. and they could very well be right. who knows: a few shiite extremists might get themselves shot on purpose just for the public relations.

as far as the shooters are concerned, this goes way beyond a soldier's normal training. we aren’t talking about returning fire on clearly uniformed enemy combatants who are taking shots at you. we’re talking about killing unarmed civilians. we’re talking about being judge, jury, and executioner in an environment akin to pre-earp tombstone. that's a lot to ask of a nineteen-year-old. that's a lot to ask of anyone.

will it work? yes, probably. nothing so attenuates a looting jones as seeing one's accomplice eat a few 5.56 mm standard nato rounds. but will precautions be taken to protect the innocent? will this be in the context of some sort of widely-announced policy change, or are we just going to suddenly start shooting people? personally, i'd bombard the city with pamphlets for a few days warning that looting would bring a death sentence. i'd also want it made very, very clear which areas were off limits and which were not. surround them with police tape, fence them in with barbed wire, cover them in mr. yuck stickers. something. by approaching the situation comprehensively, american security forces could create an environment in which a would-be looter would have to knowingly take his life into his own hands to invade a baghdad hospital or museum. if he gets himself shot then, well, iraq will be better off without him.

i don't know enough of the details of this plan to reach a firm opinion on it. it could be very effective or it could be a disaster. one thing is for certain, if bremer is serious about this then he needs to make it crystal-clear who the bad guys are, both to his own troops and to the iraqi people.

locdog knows bremer has his hands full, but in between shooting looters, he may want to get the water and power turned back on




 

uh...is FDR still running?



according to a cbs news poll, 66% of the american public cannot remember the name of one single democratic candidate for president. of those names that could be recalled, holy joe leads the way at nine stinkin' percent!

bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

it gets better.

among democrats, 64% can't think of one candidate, and holy joe again shows up in first with 10%. heck, i've been thinking about switching parties just to vote for sharpton in my state's closed primary. he's the only one who gots mo' flava and crunch than boiled celery.

but seriously, these numbers must be wrong. i mean, the donkeys all have such strong, distinctive personalities and bold, innovative proposals--how could you not know who they were?

hillary, where are you?

locdog thinks bush will be running uncontested in '04




5/13/2003

 

not exactly recommended reading, but...



between the language and the subject matter, this one's not for the faint of heart.

it's a compilation of 15 fiction entries from different posters who hang out on the fray (permalinked on the left). the fray fiction thread was written (ostensibly) in the comedy genre and other than that, no restrictions were placed on the *cough* writers--although we did evolve something of a broad story arc. if you're over 18, come see what one participant described as "a new low in literature!"

don't say locdog didn't warn ya




5/12/2003

 

nice knowin ya, jayson



by now you've heard of jayson blair, a 27 year-old reporter who resigned from the new york times amidst one of the worst scandals in the paper's history. mr. blair fabricated details, lied about witnessing events, plagiarized the work of other reporters, and claimed to be filing reports from various and sundry locations while it appears he seldom left new york. in response, the times forced him out and filed a massive, four-page story in which they detailed the worst instances of mr. blair's deceit. at least no one will accuse howell of trying to cover things up.

so how did this happen?

Still, in the midst of covering a succession of major news events, from serial killings and catastrophes to the outbreak of war, something clearly broke down in the Times newsroom. It appears to have been communication — the very purpose of the newspaper itself.

Some reporters and administrators did not tell editors about Mr. Blair's erratic behavior. Editors did not seek or heed the warnings of other editors about his reporting. Five years' worth of information about Mr. Blair was available in one building, yet no one put it together to determine whether he should be put under intense pressure and assigned to cover high-profile national events.


i can't help but be reminded of the aftermath of september 11th. lots of evidence, lots of dots, but no one individual managed to connect them all. still, we aren't talking about a clandestine terrorist agency infiltrating flight schools here. we're talking about a single, highly-visible individual with a disturbingly high rate of correction, negative performance appraisals, troubles with peers since he was an intern, and numerous run-ins with his editors--of whom he had several since he was bounced from department to department by a paper curiously unwilling to terminate such an obvious troublemaker.

it so happens mr. blair is black, but that, as william safire assures us, is purely coincidental. i find that hard to believe. the indefatigably liberal editors of the times have maintained an unflagging devotion to civil rights both in their editorial policy, story selection, and general slant of coverage. but now we are asked to believe that, contrary to every word on affirmative action they've ever published, their handling of mr. blair was based solely on merit? that's unacceptable. how could an organization so acutely aware of the gender and ethnic percentages in everyone else's house not consider their own? the desire to avoid terminating a black journalist and thus avoid disrupting the balance of ethnicities (not to mention the desire to avoid opening the times up to charges of racism) had to come into play. one can plainly see why the times posits the comedy of errors explanation. even maintaining what can only be described as gross incompetence on the part of every reporter and editor who had significant contact with mr. blair is preferable to a much simpler charge of reverse discrimination at the highest level.

i never placed much faith in the coverage of the new york times to begin with, and anyone who's read me knows it. so i won't pretend like my faith in the Old Grey Lady has been shattered by this incident as some on the right will undoubtedly do. the world is full of disingenuous people--as bill bennett recently demonstrated--from all age groups, races, and fields of employment. any organization will have to deal with a person like mr. blair sooner or later, and i applaud the times' decision to air out their dirty laundry rather than attempting to downplay the incident. but as i have argued in the past, the media, by virtue of its importance in our society, deserves the strictest scrutiny, and that's doubly true for the "paper of record." mr. blair, unlike mr. bennett, didn't operate in secrecy. his indiscretions were well-known to his supervisors and peers--people who get paid to be skeptical--even if the extent of his deceitfulness is only now being fully realized. we are left then with a bunch of bumblers who aren't qualified to publish my church's weekly bulletin let alone the most powerful newspaper in the free world, or a bunch of intelligent, competent individuals who had their hands tied by their paper's politics. one way or the other the new york times is a bigger loser than mr. blair, whose name will be forgotten--and rightfully so--in a month.

locdog wishes the new york times could be forgotten




5/11/2003

 

i love you mom



i'd blown into town for an evening because that was just about all i could spare. my wife stayed home since she was going shopping with her mom on saturday, but i wanted to hunt the woods behind my parents’ house for turkey. mom, dad, and i sat on the porch that friday evening and talked for a couple hours about this or that. people who died, so-and-so was sick, your dad and i went there just last week... i turned in early and was up at five the next morning. i switched on the coffee pot, which mom had setup the night before, drank a couple cups, ate a quick bowl of cereal, and was in the woods well before six.

i'd sat down beneath a towering oak tree and began calling for turkeys, but i could tell the weather wasn't going to cooperate. distant rumblings became staccato cracks and booms, and i knew the rains were about to fall. i didn't mind. if the turkeys had to sit through it, i could too. besides, between work and other obligations, i didn't have much time to hunt. there was a thick canopy above my head, and even though the rains grew quite severe, few drops found their way down to me. this wasn't so bad. weather the storm for half an hour or so and hopefully the rest of the morning would be better. hard rains never last too long in this corner of pennsylvania, and sure enough the deluge had dwindled to a sprinkle in about ten minutes. i was dry for the most part and felt pretty pleased with myself for not being driven out of the woods like a lesser hunter. a city hunter. it was when i was convinced that the worst was over and that i could resume my hunt that God opened up the spigots. with astonishing suddenness the storm reclaimed lost ground and then some. water fell in a continuous torrent of cold, heavy droplets that smashed through the canopy like stones and pelted the floor relentlessly. if i had gotten dressed, grabbed my shotgun, and climbed in the shower i probably would have been better off. the sound was almost deafening: millions of droplets splashing on millions of leaves combined to form a roar that reminded me of niagra. were someone there beside me, i would have had to shout to them. my clothes were wet and clingy and i began to get cold, but i knew these rains couldn't last forever--and besides, it's not like i could get any wetter. i decided to hold fast. not a moment later, a bolt of lightning struck a tree perhaps a hundred yards away and quite nearly gave me a heart attack. time to go.

the most direct path between the oak and my parents' house was a large, overgrown hillside. it was a tough hike but i knew the deer paths well enough that even in such blinding rains i managed to make it in about twenty minutes. i slogged across the field that comprised the home stretch and could see the garage door was open. it had been closed when i left. that meant that my mom was woken by the storm, knew that i was out in it, and probably couldn't get back to sleep. as i neared the house, my mom opened the door and came out to meet me with a big blue towel in her hands.

"i was worried sick about you. i woke up when it started storming and i couldn't get back to sleep. i woke your father up and everything. i was afraid that you wouldn't come out of the woods." her words were coming almost as fast as the rain.

"i wasn't going to," i admitted "but lightning struck a tree near me and i figured it wasn't safe to stay any longer."

"ahh," she said wagging a knowing finger in my direction. "i prayed for that to happen."

"you prayed for me to get hit by lightning?"

"no, i prayed that God would scare you out of the woods. i knew that you were determined to get a turkey and i didn't think you'd come out any other way."

i came inside (although mom made me take off my muddy boots first) to find that, sure enough, the house was wide awake. the lights were on and dad was stirring upstairs. the tv was on the weather channel. there was a blanket on the couch where mom had obviously been sitting up waiting.

before my grandfather passed away, he had spoken to me many times of his mother. how she used to thrash him for stealing from the garden. how she always seemed to know when he was fooling around with the wrong sorts of girls. how he, the last son, made a deal with the recruiter to stay home until she died before he shipped off to fight the japanese. how sure he was i would have liked her. "i had a good mother," he would say with that distant smile he wore more often as he neared the end. "no one will ever love you like your mother."

i used to wonder what he meant. my grandfather worshipped the ground my grandmother walked on. he'd built a wonderful life and raised five fine sons with her. could his mother's love for him exceed his wife's? could he love her more than grandma?

now my mom was putting on another pot of coffee and i was changing into dry clothes. i thought of my mom standing there at the door, waiting for me to come home, and i thought of my wife. if my wife would have been there, she would have been worried right along with my mother, but i know that it would have been different. the fear wouldn't have been quite so great, the panic not quite so acute. to my wife, i'm invincible. a knight in shining armor. to my mom, i'm that wobbly little boy who used to wreck his bike or get hurt playing football. who is right and who is wrong is a question for a great philosopher; i'm just thankful for the beautiful women i have in my life. and i'm thankful that i finally understand what my grandfather was talking about.

i love you mom, and happy mother's day.

locdog has been richly blessed