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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Getting Their Undies In A Bunch

You have by now heard all about the Armstrong Williams scandal. He is the radio talk show host who is being castigated for having taken $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education in return for his support - on air - of the "No Child Left Behind" initiative. The editors of the New York Post pile on this morning:


... conservative pundit Armstrong Williams seems to have allowed simple human greed to overpower professional ethics — and simple common sense. USA Today revealed last week that Williams, a syndicated columnist and radio and TV host, accepted at least $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" policy in his various media outlets. Williams happens to support this policy, irrespective of the money.

But his decision to take the cash — compounded by his failure to disclose the fact that he was, essentially, on the government payroll — renders everything he says on that subject and any others irrelevant to serious people.

Williams admits to "bad judgment," a time-honored scoundrel's refuge — but he says he isn't returning the money.

Appropriately Tribune Media Services — which distributed his column — has dropped him, and that probably won't be the end of his professional troubles. (link)

I have a little problem with the reasoning behind the outrage. I don't think it was wrong for Williams to have taken the money. I see it as acceptable that he spoke effusively about "No Child Left Behind." I remember, back when I listened to Rush Limbaugh each day, his promoting a snack beverage called Snapple on his show, going on and on about how tasty and refreshing it was. I can even remember him slurping (Yes, if you are wondering, it was disgusting.) iced tea on the air in order to give people the understanding that he really enjoyed the product.

The difference between the Rush Limbaugh promotion of Snapple and Armstrong Williams' boosting of "No Child Left Behind" is in the fact that Rush made it clear that he was being paid (dearly) by the manufacturer of Snapple for his endorsement while Williams kept his payment a secret - until USA Today brought it to the newstand.

Taking him at his word that he truly supports the federal education initiative, that, then, is what he should be criticized for - his failure to disclose his relationship with the government. Not that that isn't enough. He has announced his intention to keep the money he was paid. That is a mistake. Perhaps he understands that his reputation is forever damaged and he knows he'll need the money going forward. Still, he did wrong. He should give it up.

There is a larger question here that needs to be addressed. Who in their right mind would pay anyone a quarter of a million dollars to say good things about a federal education program?!! Is our Department of Education in a position where it has to spend all its budgeted allowance by the end of the year and, therefore, has to throw exorbitant sums at trivial matters like this? If that's the case, I'm hereby putting the word out: I'm a big believer in daycare.

Make checks payable to: Jerry Fuhrman, Bland, VA.

Gotta Love Those Democrats

The Democratic party seems to be the repository for every psychotic nut not currently chained to a wall in an insane asylum. The latest evidence that one has to be completely harebrained in order to qualify for membership in the party of Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barbra Streisand is this;

Democrat Urging Anti-Bush Boycott on Inauguration Day

By Adrienne Schwisow Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) - David Livingstone says the idea behind the economic boycott he's organizing is simple: If people don't show up at work or buy things, companies lose money. As he sees it, that's money the Bush administration can't tax, and can't use to run the war in Iraq, protect polluters or chip away at the Constitution.

So the Detroit Democrat and a handful of other anti-Bush groups across the country are urging others of like mind to withhold their cash and labor on Inauguration Day - from all businesses. They don't think they'll inflict a huge economic pain, but they do want to make a point.

"I view the inauguration of Bush as a black Thursday for this country," Livingstone says. "We've tried marching in the streets to stop the war, we tried writing letters, we tried initiatives on the Web, but Bush doesn't listen. It seems to us the only thing Bush and the Republicans will listen to is money."

Livingstone, a 41-year-old writer, hopes to be in Washington for the Jan. 20 festivities, which for him means protests, black armbands and backs turned to the parade route.
And he's vowing not to buy gas, food or use his credit card that day: He wants the GOP, big oil, big banking, big box stores and any other "bigs" to know they can't push him around or ignore him - at least not on Jan. 20.

In New Orleans, Buddy Spell says his January 20th Committee eagerly endorses the idea of an economic boycott. He remains primarily concerned with organizing a jazz funeral procession through the downtown to mourn a second Bush term and what he calls the death of democracy. But he says a boycott is worth pursuing, in part because it can help unite disparate anti-Bush forces.

The groups hope to see several million people eating brown-bag lunches and dinners on Inauguration Day. If people don't want to boycott all business, the groups suggest buying from just those that support Democrats. The protesters say they'll measure success not in economic terms, but by whether people know about the boycott and if it sparks future activism.

And if there's by chance a blip in the GDP, that would be a bonus. (link)

Brown-bag lunches. That'll shake things up. Maybe they could wear blue beanies and carry little flags that say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm eating boloney today to prove it." What idiots. Franklin Delano Roosevelt must be rolling over in his grave.

CBS Starts Cleaning House

CBS began its purge of individuals responsible for the shameful and intolerable effort to foist a blatant fraud on the American people in the 60 Minutes II Bush/National Guard "Memogate" story.

CBS Guilty of 'Myopic Zeal' Over Bush Story

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CBS News fired four employees on Monday after an independent report critical of legendary anchor Dan Rather found a "myopic zeal" led the network to disregard basic journalism principles when it aired a faulty story on President Bush's military service record.

The panel was convened after a Sept. 8, 2004, report by Rather on the "60 Minutes II" news program claiming Bush won special treatment in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. It found CBS failed to determine the accuracy of key documents used in the report.

CBS then waged a "strident" defense rather than probe the heart of the matter, it said. It allowed the same staff who produced the original report to produce follow-ups,
it said.

"These problems were caused primarily by a myopic zeal to be the first news organization to broadcast what was believed to be a new story ... and the rigid and blind defense of the segment after it aired despite numerous indications of its shortcomings," said the panel, headed by former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, retired head of the Associated Press. (link)

For some inexplicable reason, the panel let Dan Rather off the hook, essentially declaring him the "useful idiot" in the saga.

The report found Rather, paid millions of dollars to serve as CBS News' top anchor and managing editor, "does not appear to have participated in any of the vetting sessions or to have even seen the segment before it was aired."

CBS said since Rather apologized and accepted some blame, "punitive action would be neither fair nor just."

In a conference call with reporters, Thornburgh said the report's authors had nothing to do with CBS' decision to fire four people. He said Rather was "more culpable" of errors after the segment aired because he "exaggerated and somewhat misrepresented the findings of the experts and mischaracterized some of the corroborating evidence."

Even though Rather has announced his retirement from CBS Evening News, he is apparently going to remain on the payroll as a correspondent for 60 Minutes, involving himself in developing special segments for the weekend show. This seems no longer sustainable and, it appears, he should be dismissed as well. Forthwith.

The scandal that errupted as a result of CBS broadcasting a story based on patently - and obviously - phony National Guard documents purportedly showing George W Bush to have shirked his duty to his country demonstrated - for all the world to see - how biased in the extreme the leadership at CBS News is. The hatred that existed - and make no mistake, still exists - in the CBS newsroom for George W Bush and for all of red-state America led the CBS staff to air the most egregious, most reprehensible, most libelous story I have ever seen.

And with the many egregious, reprehensible, libelous "news" stories I've seen come out of the mainstream press over the years, that is saying something.

Senators Side With Marxist Dictator

Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd (CT) and Bill Nelson (FL), along with Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI) have come to the support of dictator and marxist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. They think President Bush should be nicer to the man who has gone out of his way to alienate the entire western world, who has befriended Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and who has slaughtered and imprisoned thousands of his own people, and has, at every opportunity, denounced the USA.

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The United States should build on its mutually reliant energy ties with oil supplier Venezuela and seek better cooperation with President Hugo Chavez to fight terrorism and drug-trafficking, three U.S. senators said on Monday.

Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat; Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida and Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee said after talks with Chavez in Caracas they wanted to see Washington turn a new page in its relations with his populist government. (link)

Chafee is a Republican who, because he is such a flake, would do us all a favor by switching to the Democratic party. Bill Nelson is a Democrat who is normally level-headed and, therefore, should be a Republican. Dodd is who he is; a big supporter of leftist causes in South and Central America. He was a cheerleader for the marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua (even after the citizens there drove them into exile) and has always been a stooge for Castro, routinely apologizing for the human rights excesses that have been a part of Castro's reign of terror for decades. I expect this from him.

So what does Mr. Chavez have to say that would lead these three illustrious ambassadors to think he deserves one minute of President Bush's attention? Here is all that the Reuter's article has to say;
Chavez, a fiery nationalist first elected in 1998, often attacks U.S. policies as "imperialist" and has accused President Bush of trying to overthrow him.

Nelson, who has criticized Chavez as a potential enemy of U.S. interests ...

Chavez, who condemned the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ...
Well, he certainly seems accommodating.