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Monday, May 31, 2004

The Pilot's version of Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and the Pilot celebrates it with the headline: “Goodwill at a Price.” The story is Iraqi reconstruction … No, it is about the US military’s efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis by building schools and digging wells. This is not reconstruction because these wells and schools were never there. We have gone past the point in Iraq where things are back to the ante bellum period. We are now building a country where schools and wells are built, not Presidential Places with marble walls and gold fixtures in the bathrooms.

But the headline reflects the Pilot’s attitude. The headline is trying to tell us that: “US Army Trying to Bribe Iraqis to be Good.” The fallacy in logic is that this is what Americans have always done. We fly aid to the world’s disasters and trouble spots. After WW II, we reconstructed Japan and created the Marshall Plan to reconstruct Europe. When the Russians were hauling whole factories out of defeated Germany after the war, we were feeding starving Germans and helping them rebuild their nation.

Is our altruism pure and without regard for our own good? Yes and no. The billions we have sent into that bottomless pit known as Haiti was almost wholly altruistic, although we hope that we can improve the situation there so that we won’t see boatloads of Haitians landing in Florida. The Marshall Plan turned Europe into a trading partner – in the long run. But in the short run we did it to kick-start a Europe devastated by a global war. And our aid to Japan was good for both of our countries. Macarthur was supposed to have cabled the President: “Send me food or send me bullets.”

There is another story on page A3 “Mother of Slain Marine feel the loss and sorrow of Memorial Day every day.” This – on Memorial Day – is a reprint of a Denver Post story about a mother. It isn’t about the slain soldier, why he died and the cause in which he died. He is a prop for a maudlin tale of a grieving mom whose son could as well have been killed in an auto accident. It is a tool with the subtext being: see the grief and anguish you are causing … George Bush … you devil. People are dying for nothing, and it’s your fault.

The rest of section A is filled with reports of ambushes, crimes by American soldiers via Jason Blair’s NY Times and advertisements. Have a memorable Memorial Day.

Why do Nazis get all the press?

There were two death cults in Europe during the 20th Century: Nazis and Communists. Of the two, the Communists killed more. So why are the Nazis getting all the attention?The Nazi Seduction

Why the Killers Chose

For an insight into the selection process the killers who slaughtered (some say throats were cut) their victims in Saudi ... Belmont Club

Is the Post Liberal?

From TNR's "Corner"
Remember Friday’s paper whenever anyone tries to tell you that The Washington Post is not a liberal newspaper – that it’s not written by liberals, written for liberals, and if they’re lucky, written to mint new liberals. Every section of the paper today carries some evidence of liberal bias.

On the front page comes the latest attempt to keep the Abu Ghraib bubble inflated: “Warner Bucks GOP Right On Probe of Prison Abuse.” Reporters Helen Dewar and Spencer Hsu describe Sen. John Warner as “a throwback to a forgotten era of congressional comity” with “a penchant for bucking his party, taking heat and surviving.” Readers who go deep enough in the story get a list of all the times Warner has betrayed his party (oh, he’s Comity Central, all right). But senators who buck their own Democratic Party never get a front-page puff piece. Do they, Zell Miller?

At the very bottom of the front page of the Business section (that’s Section E) – the Post buries what should be on the front page of the A section: 4.4 percent economic growth. At the very bottom of the Business section’s front page is the headline: “Growth May Be Slowing.” Reporter Nell Henderson wrote: “The U.S. economy grew at a healthy 4.4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, but growth appears to have slowed more recently as consumers and businesses deal with rising inflation and interest rates, economists said yesterday.” The front page of Business also carried a chart showing “Help-wanted ads dipped, despite evidence that the labor market is creating jobs.” Nowhere in the story did Henderson report that growth in the last 12 months is the highest 12-month growth rate since 1984.

In the Sports section, Liz Clarke’s notes on the French Open, the major tennis tournament currently under way, include a report on the debut on the scene of the al-Jazeera Sports Channel. For the apparently clueless sports fan, Clarke suggested the notion that al-Jazeera has a bias is debatable: “The al-Jazeera satellite news channel, based in Qatar, has been criticized by some American officials for having what they say is an anti-American slant.”

In the Metro section, Vanessa Williams reports on how openly gay Republican D.C. Council member David Catania left the Grand Old Party yesterday, after a rather unsurprising turn. Since he pledged publicly that he is not supporting President Bush in the fall (and even pledged to campaign against him at one point) over the president’s endorsement of a Federal Marriage Amendment, the D.C. Republican Party decided not to certify him as a delegate to the Republican convention. Much hand-wringing follows about agonizing gay Republicans. That is news in old D.C. , but the Post has not done any reporting this month on the Democratic convention’s delegate selection, where 15 states and Puerto Rico are setting “numerical goals” for the number of openly gay delegates. In California, the target is 22 gay men and 22 lesbians, for example.

In the Weekend section, film critic Michael O’Sullivan’s review of the green disaster flick “The Day After Tomorrow” concludes “the film’s biggest joke comes when the vice president goes on national television to apologize for his advocacy of the rapacious depletion of the earth’s natural resources at the expense of our children’s future. Like that’ll ever happen. Not in my lifetime, pal.”

In the Style section, Mel Gibson/Passion-bashing film critic Ann Hornaday is much cheerier about the weekend’s Christianity-satirizing films, a reissue of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and the Jesus-freak-high-school movie “Saved!” She adores the line of the film’s cynical heroes when they see a Christian girl coming out of Planned Parenthood. There’s only one reason for that, one says. The other says: “Planting a pipe bomb?” Hornaday says the film “bears the unmistakeable stamp of authenticity, even at its most outrageous.”

Ann Coulter opines on Tet and "Quagmire"

Ann Coulter is always provocative ... and right.Tit for Tet

Patriotism and the Press

An excellent discussion by Jonah Goldberg

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Critical BS Shortage?

Honest discussion based on shared ideals and logic are welcomed by all thinking Americans. What I find offensive is BS. And I have a special dislike for BS that appears to emanate from people who are apparently full of themselves. For one effective discussion of this phenomenon read this American Digest

Falling off your bicycle

Politician's pratfalls have always been the subject of political commentary. Remember Gerald Ford's propensity for bumping into things? What's revealing - about the media - is the way the media runs with these things.

When John Kerry fell down during his skiing vacation he blamed his fall on a Secret Service Agent assigned to protect him, calling him an SOB in the process. Rather ungracious, I thought; and rather revealing. I didn't see it in the Virginian Pilot. John Kerry follows this with a spill from his $6,000 racing bike. Nothing in the VA Pilot. Now George Bush takes a spill during a 17 mile hike on his mountain bike. John Kerry makes a mean spirited remark about Bush needing training wheels and the Washington Post's editorial cartoonist Toles shows Bush in an endless series of belly flops as he hits the rocks in Iraq. This the VA Pilot prints.

The value of the VA Pilot...? A life lesson. Some people grow up, others just grow old.

Pissing off the customer.

I realize that in the first amendment to the Constitution - referring to a free press - there is no requirement for fairness.

I live in the part of Virginia referred to as "Tidewater." It is home of the largest Navy base in the world. Ironically, this area has also been known for its anti-sailor bigotry even as its merchants made fortunes out of fleecing them.

So perhaps I should not be surprised that the local Press Lords should take it on themselves to denigrate the services that our sailors, soldiers and airmen perform. To disparage the President and his administration for the War on Terror. And doing so not thoughtfully, but stupidly. Saturday's edition had an editorial cartoon blaming Bush for the proliferation of WMDs. A previous edition contained a lame poem telling Bush to put training wheels on his bike.

Abu Ghraib stayed around for weeks. Dan Berg was a one day story.

The Public Editor uses his valuable space apologizing for misplaced commas and poorly worded puzzles. The Letters section is one long anti-war screed. I never knew Dr. Dean had so many Virginian constituents.

Part of the reason for this blog is to expose the Virginian Pilot to the ridicule it so richly deserves. Let the flogging begin.