Thursday, April 16, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I caught some crap from the owner of a site where I'd posted my critique of Insqueak's tongue-laving of the pseudo-economist/fabulist Richard Bove.

My reply:
i have listened to NPR for about 30 years, and over the years i have detected unbecoming changes in their whole oeuvre.

Do you remember when Michael Harrington, the leader of the Democratic Socialists of America, was on every week, on Fridays? When was the last time you heard a comparable voice? Noam Chomsky, or Michael Parenti, or Gore Vidal (though he's nearly in his dotage anymore), or any really liberal voices? Barbara Eherenreich? Every source is a bidness or govt 'leader,' or somebody hooked up with a think-tank (the intellectual leanings of which are seldom revealed).

They engage in the orgasmic descriptions of military operations. Did you hear Anne Garrels' report from the torture chamber in Iraq? Tom Gjelten has GOT to be a CIA plant. Don Gonyea would sell his soul not to have to return to Detroit and the "labor" beat from which the lottery removed him to cover the ShiteHouse in 2001...

They shut down the only decent magazine show, Day2Day, from LA.

Albuquerque is no hotbed of liberal radio, I assure you. The University station (KUNM--I worked there 40 years ago, when it first started...) however does carry Amy Goodman, and weekly the FAIR radio show. The local folks are always thunderstruck with the wonderfulness of the visiting panjandrums, and neever ask 'em hard questions. Vafancula TOny Scalia was here yesterday, and all we heard were his prepared remarks. Imho, if they won't answer questions, then what the astations do is just stenography...

yeah i'm a critic...i been in that business, most parts of it, for a long time, and I have lsot most of my respect for the national part of NPR, though I cherish the local, and grant it much more slack...

Porter Melmoth said...

Good blow there, Woody!

Just a comment on the recent Viv SHILL-er (OK, enough gagging of names) - I mean Vivian Schiller bit on On Point.

Viv is about as predictable as the NPR ME jingle. Of course she's a fast-talking, totally hip, and falsely-modest. She is a Diana for sure (i.e. Faye Dunaway's character in 'Network', which I saw yet again recently, as it is more topical and powerful than ever. Recommended.)

Porter Melmoth said...

Speaking of jingles, I CANNOT STAND all those dippy 'variations' on the already dippy ATC 'theme song'. I've heard better musicality on used car commercials.

See, NPR News is just ALL WRONG for me! If trivial crap like this sends me over the edge, well then, I'm doing the right thing by allowing dashing Jack Sp'eeeer only two minutes to spew his recitations. Then, Blob & Co. are mercilessly censored.

Thus, my solution to the ever-expanding NPR Problem: rigid personal discipline.

Hubertg said...

As a neophyte commenter: I have seen NPR go down the domestic tubes as one large game of trivial pursuit. Utterly failing to connect the dots that need to be connected.

SN said...

I realized after listening to BBC Radio 4 for some time now that it isn't mainly the lack-of-depth of NPR news stories that bothers me. It's the lack-of-depth presented in a smug, self-important manner that gets me. This really comes out during pledge drives when you will get a vapid (or Fox News-ish) story followed by a pledge-drive commentary on how deep and intelligent the news coverage at NPR is.

You get some fluff on BBC 4, as well. But they know when they're doing fluff, and don't pretend it's anything other than that. (Plus BBC reporters aren't so concerned with keeping friendships with political leaders as to toss softballs at them during interviews.)

a.m. said...

I have to say that it is infuriating that NPR is still using the cowardly, euphemistic phrase "harsh interrogation techniques" to describe practices that have always been understood to be torture in this country and others. Through this kind of evasiveness NPR continues to obscure the criminality and lawlessness of the previous administration and deliberately confuse its audience.

my!name!is!bunny!and!i'm!in!recovery!from!NoPR! said...

Exactly as Port describes, my seething over all the predictable music bits (there was that one which clicks off at 10 min. or so past & repeats at about the 35 min. mark - that I'm sure my local station is still streaming through ad infinitum/ad nauseum - that just drove me up the Thompkins Tree!). I came upon the realization that all this aggravation was becoming unhealthy (think Pavlov's Dog syndrome) and the time came for a little self-intervention. Pleased to report I'm a better bunny for it!

b!p!f!PS! said...

Oh yeah, there's a thing over at the uNPR site, "What's Your NPR Name?" (which I discovered out of sheer boredom today, that and office blockers decided to block my access to th' Check).

My spuriously charming alter-ego skipped the robo-generator to devise all on my own:

Stepford Fann


Anonymous said...

"Seeking to move beyond what he calls a "a dark and painful chapter in our history," President Barack Obama said Thursday that CIA officials who used harsh interrogation tactics during the Bush administration will not be prosecuted."

No surprise there.

When it comes to cowards, NPR is in good company.

Obama is pathetic, especially so, considering that he is America's first African American President.

I hate to say it, but Ralph Nader was right.

a.m. (Annie Maude, of course) said...

Hmmm, I'm not particularly pleased with Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA officials for torture either, but am not sure how his status as an African American makes his pusillanimity in this case more censurable than it would be in a white president. In any event, a President McCain would never have released the memos, nor would he have appointed an attorney general who says that waterboarding is torture.

In cheerier news (if I may be permitted a gratuitously bitchy comment--or two), Louisa Lim appears to have received speech therapy during her absence from NPR these past several months and is now pronouncing the letter "r" with reasonable accuracy. Now if we can just get Jackie Lyden to see the same therapist.

Anonymous said...

Woody Post #1;

Thank you for so eloquently expressing feelings that I'm sure most all long time NPR listeners share.

I keep flashing it is '1984', I'm Winston Smith listening to a Ministry of Truth broadcast and the Truth Police are about to kick in the door any moment to provide me with a bit of reeducation.

Check out . . .

Thanks again for a well thought out and well written comment. PEACE

Anonymous said...

Make that 'Thought Police' Heh!

Anonymous said...

Annie Maude said I'm not particularly pleased with Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA officials for torture either, but am not sure how his status as an African American makes his pusillanimity in this case more censurable than it would be in a white president."You can't be serious.

Ever heard of slavery? Whippings of blacks? Lynchings?

Sure, Obama approved the "release" of more memos, but it's not like we did not already know what they contained.

And in "return", Obama agreed not to prosecute those who were responsible for torture and yes, in some cases, murder.

If you honestly can not see how that reflects extra poorly on an African American President, then I'd say you really should start hitting the history books -- and not just th mainstream "Whitewashed" ones.

Anonymous said...

Here's how NPR's Planet Money spins the recent revelation by the NY Times that "A.I.G. Chief Owns Significant [$3 million] Stake in Goldman"

The Planet Money title says it all:
"Tone-Deaf Banking"

Ah, yes, this is little more than a case of "Tone Deafness".

Of course, that ignores the fact that it occurred before the public ever found out about any of this stuff, to say nothing of the fact that there is a LOT of context to this that NPR is conveniently ignoring (has been since the every beginning of this economic meltdown)

This latest "tone deafness" is a small part of the big picture, of course

remember, AIG originally got bailed out to the tune of $80 billion (subsequently
increased to $170 billion) and "funneled" $12.9 billion of that bailout money
to Goldman Sachs (and others like Bank Of American and even $5 billion to a Swiss bank
(UBS) that had just been fined $750 million for defrauding the US government!)

Also, remember that the ones who "set up" the whole AIG bailout scheme/scam
were former treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (also a former CEO of Goldman), current
treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (formerly head of the NY branch of the Federal Reserve),
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

As Eliot Spitzer said:
"the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury
Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO
Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman's collapse, they
feared a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG's inability to pay the counterparties
to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold."

"The appearance that this was all an inside job is overwhelming. AIG was nothing
more than a conduit for huge capital flows to the same old suspects, with no reason or

"So here are several questions that should be answered, in public, under oath, to
clear the air:

What was the precise conversation among Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, and Blankfein
that preceded the initial $80 billion grant?"

Above is FROM
"The Real AIG ScandalIt's not the bonuses. It's that AIG's counterparties are
getting paid back in full.
By Eliot Spitzer
/////////// end Spitzer quote

"A.I.G. Chief Owns Significant Stake in Goldman"

Published: April 16, 2009

Edward M. Liddy, the dollar-a-year chief executive leading the American International
Group since its bailout last fall, still owns a significant stake in Goldman Sachs, one
of the insurer’s trading partners that was made whole by the government bailout of A.I.G.
Skip to next paragraph
Times Topics: Edward M. Liddy | American International Group Inc.

Mr. Liddy earned most of his holdings in Goldman, worth more than $3 million total, as
compensation for serving on the bank’s board and its audit committee until he stepped
down in September to take the job at A.I.G. He moved to A.I.G. at the request of Henry M.
Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary and a former Goldman director."

////end NY Times quote

Anonymous said...

RE: Tone Deaf banking

I'd have to say the ones who are really tone deaf in this case are our politicians (especially Obama) and mainstream propaganda outlets like NPR who actually seem to believe that the American public are buying the load of manure that they are shoveling on us (as opposed to the words of bank fraud expert, William Black and the words of Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz: "Quite frankly, this [Geithner plan to] amounts to robbery of the American people."

I think both our politicians AND our media like NPR are vastly underestimating both the intelligence AND the outrage of the American public.

And I suspect that Obama AND NPR will pay the price in complete loss of credibility with the public.

William black is not exaggerating when he says that if Obama stays on the current course, it will destroy his Presidency.

That would be too bad.

I could not care less if NPR went down the toilet, on the other hand. Good riddance!

Anonymous said...

RE: Obama agreeing not to prosecute those who may have committed torture.

I believe that Dave Lindorff says rather eloquently why what Obama has done is reprehensible and especially so, given the history of slavery in this country.

"Obama, Seeing Darkness, Conjures up the Mists of Time" -- by Dave Lindorff

"Now I don't want to equate America's torture of a few hundred or a few thousand captives by making them endure waterboarding or by placing plastic neckbands and leashes on them and slamming their heads into walls, with what the victims of Buchenwald or Auschwitz endured, but that is really not the issue. The issue is, do we as a nation now subscribe to the idea that the way to deal with evil perpetrated by ourselves is to bury it?"

"Isn't that precisely what we have been for decades accusing the Germans and the Japanese of doing: burying in the mists of time their criminal behavior as a people and as a nation?"

"And now our president-whose own wife and daughters are descendants of slave victims of another era of American atrocities-is telling us we should do the same thing as Germany and Japan: forget and move on."

by Dave Lindorff

Anonymous said...

It certainly looks to me like Obama has committed an impeachable offense with his recent decision not to prosecute US Nationals who almost certainly engaged in torture (waterboarding) and other activities in violattion of the Geneva Conventions.

but of course, no one will hold Obama to account, just as no one holds Bush administration officials to account.

Certainly not anyone in Congress.

One thing that really surprises me is that Senator Chris Dodd has not been more outspoken in all this. His father was a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials and I would have pretty much expected him to come out in disapproval of Obama's stance.

Dodd is apparently not the man his father was.


"Obama & Holder Trash Nuremberg Principles (updated)"
A dark, dark day for America."

Anonymous said...

I love how Ari Shapiro parrots the official Obama administration line to make it sound like Obama is still looking into to prosecution of Bush admin officials for torture.

"And, although the Obama administration has said it will not prosecute CIA officials who relied on the legal guidance in the memos, there is an ongoing investigation into the Justice Department lawyers who wrote the memos and whether they violated professional legal standards.of course, once you decide that one official somewhere (and in this case, not very far) down the line can not be prosecuted because they were "simply following orders"...I mean, "relied on the legal guidance in the memos" ... one can use that argument all the way to one step from the top. technically, the only person who would not have been following orders is the one AT the top (Cheney and/or Bush in this case). I'm sure Bush would simply arghue that he was following the orders of someone much higher in the chain of command (God).

There is a reason that Nuremberg disallowed this "just following orders" defense and it was a good reason: once you allow it, prosecution simply becomes impossible -- a joke, really.

Anonymous said...


there should be a break in the text above, between
"Justice Department lawyers who wrote the memos and whether they violated professional legal standards." -- Shapiro's words

and my words:
of course, once you decide that one official somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Why so many British accents today? I just finished listening to BBC, but now Weekend Edition continues. It's like Euro-overload. This is an American radio show, after all. First Dan Shoer's substitute, now this rapper. But its not that they just have the accent, they comment on having the accent. This is like British Accent News. And those VT shooting victims had the most annoying voices ever.

gopol said...

I heard it again on KCRW: Scott the Sermonizer being sponsored by an ad for Scott tissues. I can't rememmber the wording of the plug, but the connotation was clear: this stuff is really good for shit.

big!pink!fuzzy!flashback! said...

Heh! Like the old middle school joke...

1) Scott sez "hi."
2) Scott who?
1) Scott Tissue - he knows all you asswipes!

Anonymous said...

"CIA Waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 Times In One Month...
Abu Zubaydah 83 Times In One Month"


Sunday's New York Times called on Congress to impeach federal judge Jay Bybee over his now infamous role in authoring one of the Bush administration memos arguing for the legality of torture."

///end quotes

Hell, Bybee was just a "piker".

The policy clearly came right from the top (Cheney and Bush).

IF Obama refuses to uphold his sworn oath of office to
"faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States"

including "faithfully executing" the laws of this country (including the "Geneva Conventions" and other treaties to which the US is a signatory),

THEN Obama himself should be impeached.I'm pretty sure neither will happen.

If Pelosi, Reid and the other cowardly Democratic "leaders" refused to even consdser impeachment of Cheney or Bush, they certainly would never entertain the thought of impeaching one of their own (Obama) and probably not even Bybee)

Anonymous said...


If Pelosi, Reid and the other cowardly Democratic "leaders" refused to even consdser impeachment of Cheney or Bush, they certainly would never entertain the thought of impeaching one of their own (Obama) and probably not even Bybee)

Many, if not all, top Democratic "lawmakers" were appraised of this torture program. They accepted and proceeded in silence even as they knew crimes were being committed. Just like the Tele-Com retro-active immunity (another thing Obama supported) issue. NPR would never do any thing in depth as to Democratic (leaders) complicity.


Anonymous said...

Many, if not all, top Democratic "lawmakers" were appraised of this torture program. "

We know that to be the case with some of them (eg, Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller), but I'd bet that some were simply afraid of the other dirt that Bush would dig up on them if they pursued impeachment.

I'd also bet that there were some who simply did not want to "rock the boat."

many of these people have made a career in government and simply do not want to do anything that violates the Old Boy Club rules an/or threatens their comfortable lifestyle.

gopol said...

many of these people have made a career in government and simply do not want to do anything that violates the Old Boy Club rules an/or threatens their comfortable lifestyle.I've seen this phenomena played out at my place of work: Those who are compromised by secrets they don't want revealed are promoted because they are manipulable. And there are many more who just don't want to make wave. Pezactomeau.

Anonymous said...

Just Kookie being Cokie:

And it is a damn shame that America doesn't get the credit it "deserves" because of things like torture - world according to Cokie!


Anonymous said...

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol started things off by saying: “I’m not confident that forswearing the use of these techniques is prudent.”

Then Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume took it a step further by emphasizing that Obama “needs to aware of what he may have unleashed here,” warning of the possibility of “Congressional show trials” and emphasizing:

“What we really need is to have all these techniques at our disposal… they talk about the banging of the guy’s head against the wall. It turns out to be very controlled and it’s a soft wall that gives way… I’m not at all sure that’s torture.”

The program’s host, Chris Wallace, agreed with Hume’s assessment of the “soft wall” technique — “it strikes me as fairly cautious and careful.”

Let me put a riot squad plasti-cuffs around any of these people's head and then bang their heads into a wall (soft or not) and then see if torture is somehow or other morally acceptable. But as I read this I don't think these people are all that far from Roberts, Simon, and the assorted talking heads on NPR. Not in their heart of hearts, anyway.


Anonymous said...

edk says: Let me put a riot squad plasti-cuffs around any of these people's head and then bang their heads into a wall (soft or not) and then see if torture is somehow or other morally acceptable.But most of these people already suffer from brain damage and that clearly has not helped their thinking. Indeed, it may actually be the very source of their problem.

On the issue of Obama's recent decision to let (torture) "bygones be bygones"

Chris Hedges has a very eloquent piece ("Where’s Rev. Wright When You Need Him?") in which he pretty well points out why it is even more reprehensible for Obama to urge us to just "look to the future" rather than looking back.

"The Obama administration's decision not to prosecute CIA and Bush administration officials for the use of torture because it wants to look to the future is easy to accept if you were never tortured. The decision not to confront slavery and the continued discrimination against African-Americans is easy to accept if your ancestors were not kidnapped, crammed into slave ships, denied their religion and culture, deprived of their language, stripped of their names, severed from their families and forced into generations of economic misery. The decision not to discuss the genocide of Native Americans is easy if your lands were not stolen and your people driven into encampments and slaughtered. The doctrine of pre-emptive war and illegal foreign occupation is easy to accept if you are not a Palestinian, an Iraqi or an Afghan."