Saturday, March 31, 2007

Returning Dog

"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." --Proverbs 26:11

I thought I'd open this post with an apt bit of religion since NPR opted to end its Thursday story about the the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association (RTCA) dinner on an sanctimonious note with Bush saying, "And so to Bob Woodruff, the Bloom girls, Elizabeth Edwards, Tony Snow, and of course our men and women in uniform, Laura and I and millions of other Americans are praying for you and your families. May God Bless you and thank you very much." I was biking home from work when I heard that, and thought I might hurl, especially as it was preceded by Don Gonyea's fawning over how funny Bush's self-deprecating jokes were and how Karl Rove's creepy rap performance even "trumped" Bush's performance.

I didn't post on it because I was so much more angered by Jamie Tarabay's complacent attitude toward beating and killing Iraqis. But then today on Saturday Weekend Edition it was - like the proverbial dog - back to the RCTA dinner AGAIN! This time Brian Naylor was crowing about his great seat at the dinner: "I had a really great seat this year, right between Nancy Pelosi…and Dana Perino, who is the deputy White House Press Secretary, and I don’t think she’d mind if I revealed that she’s a big NPR fan."

Well, Brian, she might not mind, but I'm disgusted. Her job, as underling and now stand-in for Tony Snow, is to be the official apologist and liar for the White House -- no wonder she's a big NPR fan.

As the report goes on we are subjected to Bush's jokes and Rove's rapping AGAIN, and then Naylor's commentary: "A lot of people think it’s wrong for the media to mingle with the politicians they cover, and wrong to laugh at one another while there’s a war going on, but as I put my tux away until next spring, I think of my nephew Kevin in Iraq, and my good friend John who…is battling cancer and I think that once in a while laughing and mingling isn’t such a bad thing." Well Mr. Naylor, it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the rest of the year you and NPR News weren't constantly treating US government, military, and business leaders as if they were truthful and credible instead of holding up their words and actions to rigorous skepticism and scrutiny.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Skinning the Kangaroo Skinner in a Kangaroo Court

It was a bitter irony to listen to ATC today. Jackie Northam stooges for the Gitmo sham "trial" of David Hicks. She reports about his "guilty plea" and all the allegations he "admitted" to: "they essentially followed the trajectory of his few months in Afghanistan right through to when he was captured there in December 2001…allegations talked about how Hicks trained at al-Qaeda camps, he learned about weapons and basic explosives, he was trained in urban warfare at one camp and that included kidnapping techniques and assassination methods…how he fought with the Taliban and al-Qaeda members against US and coalition forces…" Not one reference to the fact that these allegations have no legitimate evidence backing them, that they flout international standards, and that the entire procedure was a legal farce. Also no reference to the sexual torture that America's finest inflicted on Hicks.

It was so perfect that this sorry excuse for journalism was followed by the story of the British soldiers being held by the Iranians and the justifiable skepticism over their "admissions" of wrongdoing.

Open Thread - Friday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

In the Labyrinth

(Image source)

Jamie Tarabay presented a disturbing piece of embedded journalism this morning. Renee Montagne sets it up with the "progress in Iraq" nonsense that has become standard fare on NPR: "Here’s an example of how signs of progress in Iraq can sometimes lead to side effects," she says.

Tarabay is with a US Army unit conducting "Operation Minotaur" in the town of Quba in Iraq - a town that used to have about 8500 people, but is down to about half that now. Here's what we hear about the operation:
  • The unit she's with "arrived at the southern entrance of Quba as artillery from a nearby forward operation base rained down on the northern part of the village..."
  • The Americans find three “suspects,” do a swipe test on them that’s positive for TNT and "Captain Few gets on the radio to the soldiers holding the detainees." We hear the captain say, "OK get rocking and start beating this guy up cause he’s obviously working some bombs right now and want to know where they’re at." Tarabay tells us, "The interrogation of the detainees took place out of view."
  • According to Tarabay, "By nightfall at least twenty insurgents had been killed and at least as many detained."
  • The Captain explains, "All and all it was a good day. All my boys are safe. We accomplished our mission. All my trucks are good. You can’t ask for much more. The first day of the operation went smoothly."
  • Tarabay finishes with, "The second day was deadlier. Four of the soldiers in Captain Few’s unit were killed by a roadside bomb. Two others were wounded. The operation continues."
I have a few questions for Lieutenant Tarabay: Does she have any problem with beating up detainees? Is she curious how the "interrogation" is done? How did she confirm that the twenty people killed were in fact insurgents? What happened to the twenty detainees--were they turned over to the hospitality of the drill teams of the Interior Ministry of Iraq or are they just being "beaten up?" Why do four US deaths make a "deadlier" day than twenty Iraqi deaths?"

This piece made me so angry I could barely stand it. Yes, it made me sad that four soldiers from my country were killed and two wounded, probably severely. And it also disgusted me that our President and Congress and generals are sending units of our soldiers to do the dirty work of this illegitimate war--that an operation goes into a town of several thousand people, rains down artillery on them, taunts them with loud speakers, invades their homes, kills twenty of them, disappears twenty more--and then broadcasts it as "a good day." Operation Minotaur (again) is a fitting name for this, although it is not clear who is Theseus and who is the Minotaur in this bloody operation, but the terrible labyrinth is clearly Iraq .

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tales From Afar

How many bogus success stories from Bushworld do we have to see dissipate like a mirage before NPR will just come out and state the obvious -- Bush is a liar. This afternoon on ATC we get to hear about the tragedies of "once-exemplary" Tal Afar. Newsflash NPR: there never was a success story in Tal Afar. And the earlier US actions in Tal Afar weren't very pretty either.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Freak Snow Storm

I have compassion for anyone who gets cancer, and I don't want to see anyone die young - but for God's sake having a terrible disease doesn't make an antidemocratic, lying, Limbaugh-like, sycophant a decent person. Don Gonyea could have just reported that current Bush-mouth, Tony Snow has had a recurrence of cancer which is very serious. He also could have mentioned that as four years of lies and deceptions around the Iraq War and the "war on terror" are unraveling - along with the lies surrounding the US attorney firings - that Snow's facility with fronting for the White House will be missed by the Bush administration.

Instead Gonyea praises Snow, saying "It is clear this is a job Snow has enjoyed; he’s often combative, but he’s also extremely comfortable at the podium and quick with a laugh..." Quick with a laugh! God yes - war, torture, warrantless searches, cluster bombs, secret prisons, and closed hearings are such a gas!

Why, under Tony Snow, learning about the Bush Administration has been like going to Disneyland....oops that line was in the Gonyea report as he aired Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino saying, "I do know that Tony Snow loves this job...he in fact has called it communications Disneyland."

Listen to Your Mother

A thumb's up is in order for Morning Edition for having Pat Tillman's mother on to take issue with the Pentagon's internal investigation clearing it of criminal behavior in the death of her son in Afghanistan. She raises the obvious likelihood that the conditions of her son's death may have been intentionally falsified for propaganda purposes.


Steve Inskeep continues the series about training US troops in Fort Riley, Kansas for missions in Iraq. How apropos that Inskeep opens the piece by noting that Fort Riley was one of the centers for the US wars against American Indians.

The training at Fort Riley is to make US troops into better "trainers" of Iraqi forces. It is, Inskeep tells us, "a job that may have to succeed before American troops leave Iraq." Sounds like "standing up and standing down"; there's a new concept! No mention that the US troops might leave Iraq because the American voters want them out, the Iraqis want them out, or that the original "mission" was a farce and a disaster.

I have to say that one of the saddest aspects to NPRs coverage of the Iraq War is how often the troops they interview are well-meaning, decent, intelligent (and often idealistic) people. And yet there is never a sense conveyed of how grossly these people are being wasted and exploited by the politicians they serve (starting from the top with the Doofus-in-Chief and working down to the members of Congress who abdicate their Constitutional responsibilities of declaring and or funding wars).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Smell the News

On Morning Edition Renee Montagne speaks to Frank Ahrens of The Washington Post about the stupid celebrity gossip site TMZ which is setting up an outlet in Washington, D.C. Ahrens says, "It’s the hottest news gathering site in terms of growth...." Montagne at least has the sense to raise a weak challenge to this statement, responding, "And you call it a news gathering site, I mean I think of it as a gossip gathering site..."

That's the high point of the interview. Ahrens forges ahead, "Let’s think about the definition of event happens and somebody sees it, reports it, and publishes many ways it’s kind of shoe leather journalism."

Shoe leather journalism! Does Montagne protest? Not a peep. On the contrary, as Ahrens tells Montagne that TMZ loves "vacation photos of, you know, celebrities in the Caribbean who are wearing swim suits and they shouldn’t" Montagne joins right in, aiming for the lowest common denominator, "yeah that’s a little scary," she says, "the thought of some of our folks on the Hill in a swimsuit..."

The Greatest Year of Our Life

How many times do we have to hear from NPR how the training of Iraqi troops is going to be the magic solution to the disaster of Iraq? This morning Steve Inskeep takes us on a trip to fantasyland Iraq complete with "imitation Iraqi villagers" and "contractors who play Iraqis." Inskeep lets us hear quite a bit from Major Jason Figuerido who is leading the training exercises in Kansas. In an audio clip that sounds like bitter comedy, Figuerido says of the coming mission in Iraq, "We’re all looking forward to it. I mean this could be pretty much the greatest year of our life. Very few times in your life where you’re thrown with eleven guys into such a overwhelming experience, but yet so important."

Inskeep, instead of offering any critical check, chimes right in with "Important for this reason: military officials do not regard the so-called surge of U.S. forces in Baghdad as a way to win the war by itself. They consider it a way to buy time, time for a political solution, or time to improve the economy, or time to build stronger Iraqi forces, which is where Americans like Major Figuerido come in."

Well, dear readers lets jump inside the old time machine and travel back about two year to April 12, 2005 when Vicki O'Hara was our tour director through the land of delusion. She noted that "General Peter Schoomaker, the Army Chief of Staff...spoke at the American Enterprise Institute: 'If we continue to see the kind of great progress that’s taking place in standing up Iraqi security services as the political process takes traction, as they continue to stand up and mature.'" Just in case any of the sane among us were doubting this fine serving of b.s., she added, "Analysts and military officials say there are reasons to be encouraged..."

If all this weren't insulting enough Inskeep finishes his Fort Riley commercial with a bit of tried and true racism. We hear Figuerido insist that "the most important things the transition teams will do here is learn to build relationships…and understand the culture and the mindset of the Iraqi Army..." and Inskeep concludes that "When Americans meet real Iraqis they may have to learn to tolerate divided loyalties or corruption..." Good thing the American mission in Iraq has never been tainted by divided loyalties or corruption.

See the 600-Pound Gorilla

If you suffered through Guy Raz's incredible-shrinking-defense-budget nonsense this morning, check out this Louisiana blogger's sharp critique. Also War Resister's League has been settting the record straight on the "defense" budget shell game for years.

Open Thread - Monday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Our Peacemaker

NPR continues its bizarre portrayal of Secretary of State Rice as a Middle East peacemaker. This morning 's report on Weekend Edition Sunday has Linda Gradstein insisting that "In the past the United States has tried to push the two sides together, saying there has to be bilateral negotiations." We are also told that "Secretary Rice seems to be saying, 'OK, you know there’s no other alternative,' and that she and the Bush Administration are going to try a new push for peace..."

And then tonight on ATC, Debra Elliot describes the report on Rice in the Middle East as being about "Secretary of State Rice and her quest for peace in the Middle East."

It is really maddening to hear such slanted, utterly unfounded statements used again and again on NPR's coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

If you think this bias is a slip-up or infrequent occurrence on NPR take a look back at previous posts on NPR's coverage of Rice.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Gold Stars for Scottie and Guy

The disgusting exploitation of Pat Tillman's death -- orchestrated by the US Army (like the dishonest exploitation the Jessica Lynch "rescue") -- gets soft peddled and papered over by Scott Simon and Guy Raz on Saturday Weekend Edition.

These two accept the latest Pentagon versions of events without question. Here's Raz: "...but I should say at the outset Scott, the report found no criminal intent at all among anybody involved. What it did find was a series of mishaps, bad decisions, that led to circumstances where Pat Tillman’s family and essentially the country wasn’t notified about the circumstances of his death..." The report comes from the Pentagon's own inspector general.

What is interesting is that there is no intelligent coverage (such as can be found here) given to the actual facts or context of the Tillman story (and nothing about Pat's antiwar views or his brother Kevin's passionate critique of the current US war policies - in fact there has never been any coverage of this dimension of the story on NPR [see this search and this one]). Still Raz can say, with no embarrassment, "Well, we all know the story about Pat Tillman of course..."

Given that the original story of Tillman's death was a shameless propaganda ploy, what is the main journalistic concern of Simon? He asks Raz, "Does this in any way endanger the Silver Star that he received?" Now there is the question that gets to the moral heart of this sad tale.

Raz assures Simon that Tillman's Silver Star will not be revoked. Whew...I know I was worried. What Scottie and Guy don't tell us is that they have earned their gold star stickers for being loyal apologists for the Pentagon propaganda machine...good work boys.

Open Thread - Weekend

NPR related comments welcomed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Prison Nation

ATC had a piece about Colorado agriculture using prison labor to make up for a shortage of seasonal workers. As I listened to the report I kept thinking that its not really fair to report on prison labor without contextualizing it in the current growth of the prison industrial complex and the horrific history of convict leasing.

A brief bit of searching will turn up some fascinating history such as this resource from Florida, the state I was born and raised in, or this general history of the practice. In fact, even NPR has covered convict leasing a few times in the past.

As far as the current prison system, it would have been interesting to hear from someone at Critical Resistance or the Prison Activist Resource Center which has a link to information on prison labor.

Smart Imperialism

Given the dreams of militaristic domination and triumphalism that neocons were dreaming of back in the days of PNAC - it is refreshing to see some of them like Iran-Contra Armitage and go-it-alone Fukuyama are changing their tune (and trying to hide their own culpability). But today's Morning Edition piece on US foreign policy was a true work of constricted debate. The "experts" brought in represented a range of opinion varying from the Pentagon to the US State Department.

The scholarly guest list was as follows:
  • James Carafano, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation. Carafano had a long career in the US Army.
  • Joseph Nye, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Nye has been a loyal servant to both the Pentagon and State Department.
  • Richard Armitage, currently working with Nye on a "bipartisan" study for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Armitage was a Deputy Secretary of State during Bush's first term.
  • Edwin Luttwak, a senior advisor at the CSIS who as his bio states "has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force."
  • Francis Fukuyama of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Worked for the State Department.
  • William Martel, an associate professor of international security studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Professor Martel has worked for the Air Force, the RAND Corp., Air War College and Naval War College.
You can probably guess that none of these fellows is going to challenge the underlying premise that the US can and should dominate the globe. Instead these men all agree that since 2001 the US has relied too much on threats, military action, and unilateralism--what they call "hard power." But don't despair, by using more carrots and diplomacy Jackie Northam assures us that "...the US can attract them [allies] with the legitimacy of its long-standing policies and values. Nye calls this soft power."

Don't worry, NPR is not suggesting any wild-eyed hippie ideas like dismantling our global network of military bases or slashing our bloated war budget. Northam lets us know that "Professor Nye is the first to say that soft power by itself is not enough, and that hard power — whether it be coercion or military might — is also needed. The key, he says, is to balance the two so one doesn't undercut the other. The new term for this is 'smart power.'" And if any of you peaceniks are still whining about this, "Armitage says the ability to balance soft and hard power is a sign of a country's maturity and confidence."

And so children, the bedtime story ends: the US is a gentle giant at heart, with a history of noble and legitimate values, and the last six years have just been a little aberration (like the Vietnam War) and now we will get back on our best behavior, just like after Vietnam when as Northam tells us, "within a few years after American troops pulled out of Vietnam, the U.S. had regained its prestige and diplomatic power."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Good Corrective

I was headed out to a state park this afternoon with the car radio on when I heard a reporter talking about Josh Marshall and Talking Points Memo. It's a good thing I was able to stay on the road as I had to look down to be sure that the radio was in fact on my NPR station.

On this blog's Tuesday's Open Thread a reader commented:
"One thing I've noticed in the last few days is the determination of NPR to defend the Bush administration explanation on the firing of US Attorney Carol Lam.

As Josh Marshall (talkingpointsmemo) has argued, understanding the Lam firing is crucial to understanding the whole scandal. The Bush administration's explanation is garbage, as is NPR's defense of it."
Well, today NPR did a fine thing--a story on Talking Points Memo that gave them credit for breaking and sticking with the US Attorney purge. The report was done by NPR's Robert Smith, and opened with Michelle Norris stating, "the web site Talking Points Memo dogged the story, gathered information from around the country, and pushed the issue forward with a little help from their readers."

Way to go NPR. Man, it feels good to say that!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Inside Edition

Renee Montagne talks to two guest about two different issues this morning, and lets just say NPR doesn't go very far afield for expert opinions:

On Russia and the UN sanctions against Iran we get to hear from Mark Fitzpatrick, only identified as director of the Non-Proliferation Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. His and Montagne's opinions are strictly within the approved State Department view of Iran. It's no surprise though if you look at Fitzpatrick's bio. Notice that it states, "Mr Fitzpatrick comes to IISS from a distinguished 26-year career in the US Department of State...." I had to laugh at the following: "In previous State Department postings, he headed the South Asia Regional Affairs Office, responsible for non-proliferation and security policies regarding India and Pakistan." I don't think I'd put that on my resume!

Then on the Khalilzad appointment to be UN ambassador Montagne turns to Richard Haass, who was - as she puts it - "an advisor to former Secretary of State Colin Powell." Excuse me, but I'm not interested in hearing from yet another advisor to a disgraced, dishonest public offical. The man offers nothing new--surprise. He hammers on Iran and asserts that Syria assassinated Hariri in Lebanon (no challenge from Montagne), but there are a few laughers:

He says of Khalilzad, that "he’s someone who comes with a good reputation from his experiences in both Iraq and Afghanistan ." Ah, yes, I'd say he's done a "heckuva job." Then later he describes the role of John Bolton at the UN as someone who used "it as something of a podium, and they use it as a way to speak to the world from the position of the United States." Not exactly how I would have put it!

Entertaining...and scary.


Richard Harris and Renee Montagne pick apart Al Gore's case on global warming in a strange exercise of focusing on the trivial while admitting but minimizing that the heart of Gore's argument is correct.

Harris says of Gore, "But that said, he does get the big picture very well. Most scientists say he really can see the forest for the trees." You can't say the same for Harris and Montagne; these two apparently can't even see the tree for the twigs!

This was a strange piece. The main complaints they raise with Gore's case are an overstatement of Arctic ice melt, sea level rise, and Hurricane Katrina. It's funny because they pick apart the Arctic ice issue because Gore gives an over-exact number of 34 years for something that should be an inexact estimate, but then they pick apart his argument on Katrina because he only "implies" that Katrina was due to global warming and he does this in (note the intended disparagement) "a very lawyerly way." Well, guess what NPR? Nobody is going to say Katrina was "a result of" global warming, but only fools or crass Bushists would fail to consider the obvious connection between global warming and the ferocity of the back to back hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005.

Too bad that in correcting the overstatements by Gore on sea-level rise, NPR doesn't mention that the predictions for sea-level increase have lately been revised significantly upward--and even a meter increase will be devastating here and globally.

It's sad that NPR can't address the heart of Gore's case--which is that if the leadership of this country, Democrat and Republican, don't take decisive action on CO2 emissions we are going to be seriously screwed...Seriously even Sports Illustrated gets it!

Open Thread - Wednesday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jail Break

All right, he's not in jail yet, but that doesn't stop Steve Inskeep helping Tom Delay rehabilitate his less than savory image. Interviewing Delay, Inskeep comes off as a dithering Dr. Phil, asking questions such as "Do you think it affected you in some way that you did not have a more stable family life?" and "Did you learn anything coming from a dysfunctional family that proved to be useful when you became part of what some would call a dysfunctional family in Congress?"

Delay's answers to these pop psychology questions are real winners: "I think it made me a better person" and "to rely on others…to reach out…" respectively. Let's just say "better person" and "reaching out" are relative terms.

Throughout the interview Inskeep seemed dismally unprepared. Why weren't some of Delay's mean-spirited statements brought up as they are by Johathan Alter of Newsweek who notes "This is a man who calls the Environmental Protection Agency 'the Gestapo of government' and favors repealing the Clean Air Act because 'it's never been proven that air toxins are hazardous to people'; who insists repeatedly that judges on the other side of issues 'need to be intimidated' and rejects the idea of a separation of church and state."

Inskeep also could have explained the complicated indictments that Delay is under instead of allowing Delay to frame it as a personal, partisan campaign (He is accused of serious violations of Texas law after all.)

Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of this interview came in this interchange:
Inskeep: "You seem to have made a career out of jobs that a lot of people would consider dirty or unpleasant jobs--"
Delay (interrupting): "Like what?"
Inskeep: "Lot of people don’t like to count votes."
Delay(laughing): "I love counting votes..."
Yes he does--unless, as John Nichols pointed out in the Nation, it's legitimate votes that might elect a President that people actually voted for. Yes, that little mob action paid off in spades, but Inskeep, asleep at the wheel as usual, can only follow up with, "Do you miss it?"

Open Thread - Tuesday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blathering of Eagles

Seeing today's post on Informed Comment about continuing, vigorous protests against the Iraq War and seeing this coverage in other outlets such as Iraq Slogger and the BBC got me to reexamining NPR's coverage of the antiwar rallies. Here's what I noted:

This morning, nothing.

On Saturday Morning Rachel Martin spent about 4 minutes covering antiwar Christians gathering at the National Cathedral who then marched to the White House. The report was a reasonable summary of the event and gave a lot of airtime to participants and organizers.

Saturday evening found Jackie Lyden spending about 3½ minutes reporting on the main antiwar march in Washington DC on Saturday. It fairly conveyed the main points of the demonstrators and interviewed a few participants.

AND THEN on the same show there was Allison Keyes' unprofessional send-up of the prowar counter-demonstration sponsored by Gathering of Eagles. Now, if the counter demonstrators were able to mobilize a significant turn-out (which is unclear from other news reports), I don't have any problem with NPR covering it. Putting a mike in front of the leaders of these people is quite informative (on Keyes' report we hear one speaker calling antiwar folks "traitors" and accusing the network media of calling soldiers "mercenaries" and "murderers."). But Keyes makes a telling statement revealing her sympathies:

"...there were a few funny moments as the two sides shouted across wooden barriers at each other. A glaring blond female anti-war protester faced off against a bright-eyed man on the pro-troops side..."

Additionally Keyes dutifully repeats the slander against antiwar marchers by stating that "the anti-antiwar demonstrators were planning to spend the day guarding the Vietnam War Memorial from the antiwar protesters."

Ah ha! So you see - in spite of the larger rally of antiwar protesters, in spite of the rallies occurring in many cities (here and abroad) over several days, in spite of the presence of veterans an military families in the antiwar marches, and in spite of the concern for wounded and killed troops by the antiwar protesters - it is the prowar crowd that is "pro-troops" and while the antiwar marchers are traitors who want to deface the Vietnam War memorial. Unbelievable...

An apology is due.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

He Got His Gun

An anonymous reader of this blog left this comment today:
"Yet more pious war death porn for the Heartland this Sunday morning..."
I'm guessing this person was referring to two stories that ran on Weekend Edition Sunday. The first was about Justin Rollins, a 22-year-old from Newport, N.H., recently killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. The second story was a longer piece on three young men killed in Iraq who all were from one small town in Delaware.

I listened to these pieces and they were filled with the usual patriotic cliches that continue to lure young people to join in, kill for, and die in causes like the war in Iraq that have nothing to do with defending our country, spreading freedom, or protecting democracy. In the first piece it is reported (with no since of the tragic irony) how according to one teacher, this young man "was apathetic about academics but he had strong opinions in class debates, especially on the right to bear arms....[and] also voiced his support for the war in Iraq." From another teacher we hear how the military transformed the young man "from a pudgy unfocused teenager to a trim handsome soldier who’d outgrown being average…"

In the second story, Liane Hansen mainly conveys how loyal and patriotic small towns are. The city manager of Seabrook insists that "the town remains extremely supportive of the war and the President," while the mayor seconds that notion, telling us his town "has really supported the war, and it makes you proud that we did have three that did give their lives for a good cause."

These stories left me shaking my head and yet thinking a lot about the sorrow of friends and families of those killed and maimed in Iraq (Americans and Iraqis). I actually can sympathize with the quandary that reporting on individual American losses might present for radio news. Let's face it; it's probably the minority of people- the Sheehans and Tomas Youngs of the world - who have lost someone in the war or been wounded and yet are willing to call this war the sham and crime that it is.

So what could NPR do? I actually appreciate the silent tribute that the Lehrer Hour on PBS offers for US soldiers killed (although a photo tribute to Iraqis killed would be humane too). I think NPR ought to simply read the names, hometowns, and survivors of those killed in Iraq (and they could do the same for Iraqi civilians for balance). Otherwise we end up with the schlock of Liane Hansen saying (as Albinoni's Adagio opens in the background) "In the history of American wars small towns have always borne the brunt of loss (music begins). Bedford, Virginia lost 19 in the first hour of the Normandy landing in World War II. During the Vietnam War 5 young men from Bardstown, Kentucky died in one night when their firebase was overrun. Seaford is a small town in a small state. Delaware has 644 men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; today the death toll stands at 15."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Crocodile Tears

It's good that NPR reports on the death of a key witness/survivor of the 1981 El Mozote massacre in El Salvador - and NPR deserves praise for inviting Ray Bonner, the reporter who broke the story, on to talk about El Mozote. Yet there is an illuminating interchange in the interview that highlights how locked into the pro-US government worldview NPR is (and how devoid of journalistic integrity Scott Simon is).

Bonner has been talking about the details of the massacre of over 700 civilians by the Salvadoran military when Simon comments "You reported this story and she came forward and spoke to you and Alma and Susan Meiselas at a time when the Salvadoran government denied that, (hesitation) that that had happened, (hesitation) uh-"

Bonner interrupts, "Not only the Salvadoran government but the US government. To which Simon responds, "Yeah."

? So much for the touchy-feely Simon. That significant bit of history gets a "yeah" and no more, but that is the story. That and the complicity in the campaign against the story by most of the US media, including heavyweights such as the Wall Street Journal and Time.

This is not just nitpicking over keeping some sordid footnote to history from disappearing down the memory hole. This story is timely and relevant for three reasons not even mentioned in today's NPR story: 1) The killers in Mozote were trained and supported by the US government, 2) the key actors in covering up the Mozote massacre are major players in the Bush Administration, and 3) the "counterinsurgency through death squad" model practiced in El Salvador is frequently championed by featured experts on NPR.

Platinum Blonde?

"Platinum blond and glamorous as a movie idol, Valeria Plame Wilson set off a storm of clicking camera shutters when she strode into the hearing room."

That's David Welna opening his report on Valerie Plame testifying before Congress. What more can you say? So now it's okay to report on someone's appearance when that has nothing at all to do with the substance of the report? At least I can now look forward to NPR's next report on Karl Rove opening with "In walked the double-chinned look-alike for the right-wing drug addict Rush Limbaugh."

Or maybe not...

Open Thread-St. Patrick's Weekend

NPR related comments welcomed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Divest for Big Brother

Morning Edition offers uncritical airtime to the land of Ashcroft's state treasurer--Sarah Steelman--as she promotes her efforts to push divestments of companies that do business in countries on the State Departments absurd list of state sponsors of terror.

This report is a labyrinth of right-wing creepiness. As mentioned above it prominently features Steelman who's proud accomplishment as a Missouri legislator was to place "on the ballot Constitutional Amendment No. 2, the Sanctity of Marriage Act, which was adopted by voters in August 2004, to define marriage in Missouri as a union between one man and one woman." Then we hear NPR favorite and slimy neocon, Frank Gaffney, talk about "state sponsors of terror" without being challenged. Finally Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) chimes in with "Right now the door is open to American dollars going into the pockets of terrorist countries." Sherman has an interesting little history with NPR and Zionist militancy.

Of course there is no counter to this version of who sponsors terrorism, not even an indication that a rational look at history and current events might lead one to conclude that one of the main state sponsors of terrorism is missing from the list.

A fine moment comes at the end when Michele Kelemen wraps it up by noting that "with some key members of Congress working this issue and the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC starting a campaign to pressure states to divest, this movement is likely to pick up some steam in the months ahead." Notice that she humbly forgot to add that this steam will also pick up with the help of narrow and complicit media outlets like NPR.

Open Thread - Friday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In Court?

On ATC tonight I heard Michelle Norris describe the upcoming story analyzing the supposed "confession" of Khalid Sheik Mohammed as one that would look into "what to make of claims made in court by Al-Qaeda’s number three."

Some might call it quibbling, but it is insidious to refer to the travesty of justice taking place in Guantanamo as "court." To call it court gives it a dignity and legitimacy that it does not deserve. A court? No. A kangaroo court? Definitely.

And of course this doesn't even touch on the perversity of the story itself, where Siegel interviews Paul Pillar, a former CIA official, to discuss and analyze the "confession" of a man tortured by the CIA.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"24" World

The mainstream news is all abuzz with "confessions" from Gitmo. Since when did the confessions of tortured individuals, tried in secret military tribunals count as legitimate news. Oh silly me, I keep thinking we live in a democratic republic with laws and a free press (that is so pre-9/11). I feel like I'm living in an episode of "24" with Jack Bauer.

NPR was right in there with the rest. On the top-of-the-hour news broadcast (at 8pm) I heard Cory Flintoff say "military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay Cuba say Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has claimed responsibility for organizing the September 11th attacks and many other acts of terrorism..." Amazing!

It may be true or it may not be; does it really matter? In my humble opinion what does matter is that the whole procedure of kidnappings, ghost detainees, torture, renditions, secret prisons, and military tribunals--a betrayal of whatever American ideals are worth defending--is being given the media stamp of legitimacy by these uncritical broadcasts from Guantanamo.

Wikipedia v. Wackopedia

sciIn NPR's wide world of center-right relativism, reason and reality should never get in the way. If it had been April 1st I could have understood the serious and respectful coverage given to the Eagle Forum's favorite spawn, Andy Schlafly, as he promoted his rightist-Christian Conservapedia.

This would have been a great opportunity for NPR to do a little contextual analysis of the far right Christian movement and its neofascist tendencies (see for example Esther Kaplan's book or Chris Hedges new book). Instead NPR allowed Schlafly to control the discussion and make his points with little confrontation.

Robert Siegel never identified Schlafly as a member of the Eagle Forum and never challenged Schlafly's argument that Wikipedia has a "liberal" bias because its surveyed editors are more "liberal" than the American public. He should have insisted on Schlafly producing evidence of consistent distortions of facts in favor of a leftist point of view on Wikipedia instead of attacking the supposed point of views of the editors! Furthermore Siegel actually could have used the interview to point out that reality-based and factual knowledge (such as can be found in encyclopedias) generally undermine many beliefs sacred to the far right such as "creationism" or the supposed moral goodness of the free market. As the Daily Show often illustrates, reality does have a decidedly progressive anti-authoritarian bent to it.

Illinois blogger, ArchPundit has an excellent post regarding Conservapedia.

Main Street Ramadi

Take a look at Juan Cole's post today where he writes about Al-Maliki's visit to Ramadi yesterday: "this photo-op visit is bogus and can only take place because the US military is managing it so as to produce an image of pacification." Cole sums up the US press coverage of this event and and past two days(!) in Iraq as follows: "The US press is so busy looking for signs of improvement that they have already forgotten about the slaughter of hundreds of Shiite pilgrims just last week, and are interpreting the relative calm of Sunday and Monday as some sort of turning point. Unlikely."

NPR jumped right in. Jamie Tarabay describes General Petraeus as being in an "upbeat" mood as he take a stroll through "downtown Ramadi." She states that US forces are maintaining "the city’s newfound and fragile stability."

The overall presentation is that Ramadi is now a model city for "counterinsurgency" and that things are going really well there. This kind of glowing coverage is not new on NPR and I'll be really curious if NPR revisits these "Potemkin Village" radio reports when the whole situation there really goes all to hell again after this "lull."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Open Thread - Tuesday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Greeted Warmly

(the graphic comes from this site)

I wish I could write that David Greene did a great job reporting on Bush in Guatemala. It would be great to say that he both conveyed the words Bush's spoke and that he accurately explained the history of Guatemala: how in 1954 the US orchestrated the overthrow of a peaceful government and proceeded to direct and advise one of this hemisphere's most gruesome, sadistic assaults against poor people, resulting in the murders of over 200,000 people. Furthermore, I'd tell you how Greene explained that the champions of this torture and mass murder policy - people like Elliot Abrams, Dick Cheney, and John Negroponte - are important members of the Bush administration.

Instead on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Greene (and Robert Siegel) simply parrot the words of our sociopath President and let them stand unchallenged - even Bill Clinton had more decency!

  • Siegel: "Mr. Bush visited the countryside there to make the point that the US is using its financial resources to help solve the regions problems."
  • Greene: "The town [Bush is visiting] was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1976 and was rebuilt with help from the US. Mr. Bush was greeted warmly."
  • Greene: "Mr. Bush did everything he could to send a message that the United States cares. "
Greene does hint at the dirty little secrets that follow the leader of the "free" world: "There are also memories of this country’s 36 year civil war when the US at times backed the repressive government. " That's it - but that should come as no surprise, NPR has a real fondness for the US policy in Guatemala and for counterinsurgency in general.

Open Thread - Monday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Real Thing

"Colombia has been one of the largest recipients of US military aid for well over a decade and the largest in the western hemisphere....Yet torture, massacres, 'disappearances' and killings of non-combatants are widespread and collusion between the armed forces and paramilitary groups continues to this day." - Amnesty International USA

"But once Plan Colombia was being fully implemented in 2002 and 2003, the situation in Colombia improved dramatically.....Plan Colombia did not magically save Colombia, but it did provide vital support to Bogota at a critical and lonely time in its war against narco-terrorists and drug traffickers....And all of this has been accomplished without sacrificing adherence to human rights principles, as happened at times during the Cold War." - Russell Crandall

This morning NPR had two stories on Colombia and neither dealt with the documented truth that the US policy in Colombia has created a human rights hell there. NPR's first piece featured the slippery Juan Forero telling us how Uribe, the current President of Colombia, "came into office in this country at a time when the government was teetering...buffeted by violence, drugs, by Marxist guerrillas..." He conveniently leaves out that the Colombian government itself was the major perpetrator of violence and that its paramilitaries were heavily involved in the drug trade.

The second story involves an interview with Russell Crandall, a scholar who is a participant for one of sides in the armed struggle in Colombia! Imagine if a university professor was a paid consultant for the FARC in Colombia and was brought on as a scholar and expert...and yet this tool of the Pentagon is trotted out for our edification.

Needless to say NPR doesn't even touch the ugly story of the US government support for drug trafficking, the irony of "anti-drug" Bush returning to the likely source of his alleged coke dabblings, or the sordid business of that other Coke in Colombia. That would be just a little to much of the real thing and we all know what happens to journalists who go down that road.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Who Wants to Be an Anti-American Nemesis?

Since Bush started his trip through Latin America I've heard the word "nemesis" on NPR more times than I care to count - always in reference to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.

This got me to thinking about "nemesis." A little rummaging around turned up this lovely definition from Greek Mythology Link:
"Nemesis, the messenger of Justice, is Retribution or Divine Vengeance....This goddess is implacable to men of violence, but she is best known for deeply disliking the absence of moderation, and for...the punishment of excesses of pride and undeserved happiness. Nemesis puts to sleep presumptuous boasting and checks offensive words, exacting a heavy penalty for them."
And this from Encyclopedia Mythica:
"Nemesis is the goddess of divine justice and vengeance. Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the natural, right order of things and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues the insolent and the wicked with inflexible vengeance."
She clearly has been busy of late!

But one term has even outstripped "nemesis" in the NPR word-repetition count: "anti-American." NPR is liberally(!) applying it both to Chavez and - more generally - to any march, protest, government, or caring human being who dares oppose the foreign policy of the United States. But wait, I'm also dissatisfied with US foreign policy; I don't like funding death squads, overthrowing elected governments, breaking unions, invading countries, bombing civilians, and torturing people...I guess that makes me anti-American too...and - for that matter - if I were a goddess of retribution, I'd also want to be taking our little puffed-up, don't-read-newspapers, "bring'em on" twit down to size too!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Killer Koppel

"You remember the Contras in Central America?" Ted Koppel asks Steve Inskeep this morning.

Oh yes, I do remember those mass murderers, rapists and torturers (who get pretty good PR from NPR whenever they come up).

That's not how the "liberal" Ted Koppel remembers them. After waxing eloquent on the US strategy of using locals and proxies to fight for our global dominance (as in Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia "with US special operations forces on the ground and backed by US aircraft overhead") Koppel responds to Inskeep's doubts of whether this tactic has worked or not in the past:

"Well sometimes it did; sometimes it didn’t. You remember the Contras in Central America; did it work, did it not work? I mean the fact of the matter is that now we no longer worry about global communism as we did for about fifty years…"

Ah yes, Nicaragua's 50,000 killed, its destroyed social services infrastructure, and one of the poorest economies in the hemisphere (just ahead of Haiti). Did it work or not? least we all sleep without fear of the Ruskies coming up through Texas!

The Iranian Threat to...South America!

Thursday was a real stinker! Whether it was the militaristic thrill of "the suck" (see previous post), the surge into Sadr City portrayed more as a delivery of Girl Scout cookies than the military operation of an occupying army, or the coverage of "softer gentler" Bush trip to South America.

Consider Morning Edition's story on the Bush trip to South America. NPR prominently featured Bush touting the figure of $1.6 billion in aid to Latin America as being mostly "social justice money." There was absolutely no attempt made by NPR to challenge this statement or analyze the numbers (this report from the Library of Congress shows that a lot of the money goes to "anti-drug" programs and "stabilization" efforts.) And, it goes without saying, there was no historical context provided regarding the violent nature of US aid to the region as in Colombia. A serious look at US aid, as in this lengthy article, would reveal the many contradictory effects of aid (e.g. how food aid - food dumping - often is part of the agricultural subsidies that undermine farmers in the recipient countries).

All this was bad enough, but the whole framing of the debate in the story was ridiculously narrow. There were Bush and Bush loyalists, such as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, arguing that the Administration is simply handing out aid for altruistic reasons. The opposing opinion was that this generous aid was too little, too late to counter what Steve Inskeep called "anti-American government's on the rise." The shining moment of this piece had to be Renee Montagne grimly reminding us that "other lawmakers, including Rep. Ron Klein, a Democrat from Florida, warned that the Bush administration has been ignoring the region at its peril — that it's not just Chavez making inroads, but Iran as well."

IRAN! - of course!

Open Thread - Friday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Semper Lie

"Embrace the Suck" - that does about sum it up...might be a good motto for NPR news. This morning they had on rightwing military man Austin Bay. Here's a little recent flavor from his blog lauding Guliani for the next prez:
"It’s bitterly ironic. Media elites whose careers and lives depend on the defense and expansion of individual liberty hammer America with the harshest criticism, strangely equating American inadequacies with the terrorists’ and tyrants’ depravities. In a hundred years –as they survey The War on Terror– historians will ask why America’s most creative and able communicators at best reluctantly engaged in the global battle against the tribal and oligarchic killers who threatened the great political experiment which gave them the chance to create without fear."
Holy crap, this is the joker NPR turns to for a bit of the cheery warno-lingo coming out of the military. We get to hear the jolly wit and humor of Anbar province being called "Marineland"--har, har. And Bay just love's the twist of "Semper Fi" to "Semper I" to describe a Marine who is only watching out for himself. His driving theme is that the best jargon skewers the foibles of the system, while actually lauding and reinforcing the overall premises and goals of the system--hmm...sounds like someone's approach to reporting news!

As I listened I kept thinking how this witty lingo reminds me of the humor of torturers--such as sleep deprivation at Gitmo being called "the frequent flyer program." I also wondered why we didn't get to hear about any derogatory terms the military uses for Iraqis and Muslims -- we know this kind of culture exists. In an excerpt from Bay's book posted on the NPR site he writes:
"Warrior slang, however, has a peculiar appeal and influence. That's understandable. Waging war is a risky, all-encompassing endeavor physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It displays humankind at its best and at its worst, and the warfighter's slang reflects the bitter, terrible, and inspiring all of it."
At its best? That's the lie that NPR wants to fob off on all of us. The obvious truth of war is that - yes, men and women in war may behave decently and courageously - but waging war is the most debasing, grotesque, sickening, pornographic endeavour that humans engage in. There is nothing redeeming about it, and this aggressive war of choice is all the more disgusting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Team Bush

"Amen," I thought when I saw the guilty verdict against Libby pop up on the Internet this afternoon. That's one sleazeball down - out of many occupying the Bush White House. As Dave Lindorf noted on Common Dreams, if we have a press with any integrity left, this will be just a starting point for outing the rest of the thugs and liars running the executive branch. Regarding the Libby verdict, I also saw where picked up this prescient warning from Media Matters about lies in the media to watch out for.

And then I made the mistake of tuning in to ATC as they came storming out of the dugout to see what damage control they could effect for Bush-Cheney. Within minutes of the guilty verdict, someone at NPR must have been busy on the phone seeking out one of their many go-to right wing extremists. They rounded up one of their favorites, Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute (interestingly NPR has run into trouble with this creep before).

Here are a few of the whoppers that Goure, who at least is identified as a former employee of Libby's, is allowed to air without any challenge:
  • "We now know that neither he nor Cheney first outed Ms. Plame.
  • "No one in the Vice President’s was responsible for the leak."
  • "Cheney did not leak."
  • "...a miscarriage of justice."
So why does NPR want to have on a liar like Dan Goure to defend Libby? And if they are going to give such important airtime to him, where is the counterbalance? Why bring someone like him on the first news show after the Libby conviction? Why don't we get to hear from someone with a progressive viewpoint to challenge these falsehoods? (Interviewing Wilson doesn't count--he's not a progressive.) Why not at lease have on someone like The Nation's David Corn who has written about the full scope of the operation that was being waged against Wilson?

Whatever the reason, the fact is that the crucial first commentary NPR airs on the case, the first impression that its listeners get, is one that is fully loaded with misinformation favoring Bush and Cheney - and that is really sickening.

Added Wed. am: For a refresher on the whole sordid Libby-Bush-Cheney-Rove affair take a look at Juan Cole's Wed. post here.

Open Thread - Tuesday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cute Little Eagle and The Big Bad Bear

The host (Michelle Norris or Melissa Block) of ATC introduces the story on Russia's new assertiveness by stating, "Fifteen years after the collapse of what President Reagan called 'the Evil Empire,' the Russian bear is growling again...." She's not being facetious!

Gregory Feifer then picks up the ball and runs with it. We hear that "Russia's new aggressiveness was also starkly evident at a recent defense and security conference in Munich. President Vladimir Putin shocked the West by lashing out against Washington, helping to plunge relations between the United States and Russia to their lowest level since the Cold War." Now, what was the "new aggressiveness?" Did Russia preemptively invade a country, back a coup in South America, or threaten to use "bunker busting" nukes?

According to NPR, what Putin said was, "One state's rule has overstepped its national borders in all areas, in economics, politics and the humanitarian sphere, and is trying to force itself on other states--well, who would like that?" Those are the words that NPR labels as aggressive and lashing out; that's odd - to me they sound like stating the obvious.

Feifer then turns to Sarah Mendelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pro-US government think tank, for input on Russia. According to Feifer, Mendelson claims that Russia "has reverted to Soviet-style obstructionism in international forums, such as the United Nations Security Council, where Russia has veto power."

Mendelson claims that "Time and time and time again, the Russians are voting with the Chinese on a variety of issues, often having to do with human rights, that are simply meant to put a spoke in the wheel as the international community is trying to do something about gross human-rights violations. And that is very much a legacy of the Soviet Union, and it's very disturbing." Not like the US, which never obstructs international consensus on the Israel-Palestine issue, or on Kyoto, or on the International Criminal Court, or on the Land Mine Treaty, or....

Really the only offense one can lay at Russia in this story is that they have dared to name the policy of global domination that underlies US foreign policy. You don't exactly have to have a full deck to come to that conclusion! Furthermore, I've commented before how whenever NPR covers Russia, its reporters show a perverse inability to see how much the faults they find with Russia mirror those in the US. A choice moment in this story comes when Feifer cites Nemtsov, a Russian pro-Western reformer, who says that "Putin and his allies think other countries are run just like Russia, and that in a powerful country like the United States, the government must have control of the judicial system and the media."

Nemtsov says, "No independent court system, no opposition, no independence of press. This is special cynical game against Russia. He [Putin] believes in that.’ Gee what could possibly lead Putin to think that the US has a weakened judiciary, a lapdog press, and a pseudo-opposition party? Those crazy Russians!

Open Thread - Monday

NPR related comments welcomed.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


A thread runs through NPR news. Any history unfavorable to US foreign policy is completely ignored even when that history is essential to understanding the story that NPR is reporting. Saturday morning I woke up to hear an NPR story about an apparent narco-crime assassination involving government officials in Guatemala and El Salvador--and yet there was no mention of the policies of institutional violence and drug-dealing that the US inflicted on El Salvador and Guatemala - especially in the 1980s.

This got me to thinking of a few other very recent stories missing a little background. Indeed, again on Saturday morning Julie McCarthy talked to musician Gilberto Gil of Brazil. A lot was made of his time in jail in 1968 and the military dictatorship in Brazil in the 1960s--but there was not even a mention made of the role of the US in advising the dictatorship in torture techniques (seems relevant to events today) or in fostering police-torture states throughout South America during those years.

And then just the day before (Friday morning) there was a powerful story about the rise of violently, repressive Islamic fundamentalism in Gaza. It is an unnerving situation, and yet I was struck at how there was no mention of Israel's role in fostering the rise of Hamas, or the US role in fostering the rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East in general. That would be uncomfortable territory--wouldn't it?

It's provocative to consider how often NPR news presents its stories utterly devoid of truthful historical context. I'd love to know how this happens-who makes the decisions, where in the process does it happen, just how is the sausage made?

Ha Ha

If an eighth-grader habitually stalked the school playground punching, kicking and tormenting third-graders and then ran off to hide and shift the blame onto someone else-NPR might open a report on such a kid with Melissa Block saying "Since coming onto the playground this feisty eighth-grader has never backed away from a fight." And so in opening David Greene's homage to Cheney, Block tells us, "Since he took office in 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney has never backed down from a fight." Of course, this overlooks Fightin' Deferment Dick's attempts scuttle democratic oversight into his infamous "Energy Taskforce" (which, by the way, laid out plans for Iraq's oilfields long before 9/11).

Greene has the chutzpah to announce his threadbare report by claiming, "This is going to be one of those stories that Dick Cheney just doesn’t like. " On the contrary, Cheney couldn't have written a more dishonest, uninformative bit of blather himself.

Greene's story makes a big deal out of Cheney not running for President in 2008 and states "there are several reasons: age, a history of heart problems, very low poll ratings, and a media image that’s irresistible for late night comedians like Jon Stewart." THAT'S IT! Greene reduces the well-documented violence and sleaze of Cheney's life to heart problems and media image - nothing about his love of torture and his fondness for launching wars he doesn't have to be in.

Greene turns to Cheney's "long time adviser" Mary Madeline for input. She doesn't disappoint, snarling praise for Cheney. Greene also looks to academia, speaking to Professor Joel K. Goldstein, who when asked to sum up Cheney's vice presidency says, "What’s happened with the vice presidency beginning with Mondale is I think a very positive thing....” Unbelievable- except when you consider Cheney's Likudnik leanings and Goldstein writing an article called "Israel at 49: The Ultimate Democracy."

You know mainstream journalism has sunk pretty low when you have to turn to GQ for the most substantive reporting on Dick Cheney, but that is what it's come to. The GQ article by Wil S. Hylton is well worth reading - presenting the reasons for Cheney's impeachment replete with specific details and evidence.

Open Thread - Weekend

NPR related comments welcomed.