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Sunday, January 23, 2005

CNN In Freefall

CNN continues its dramatic decline in viewership the latest survey shows (stats provided by drudge.com). The numbers are startling.


CNN hemorrhaged more than half their audience from the 2001 Inauguration, overnights show. The troubled news network only averaged 779,000 viewers during yesterday's Inauguration coverage from 10am-4pm with just 168,000 of those viewers landing in the coveted 25-54 demo.

Like CNN, MSNBC also suffered major losses, only averaging 438,000 viewers throughout yesterday's coverage (141,000 in 25-54), down a whopping 68% over 2001 and faring even worse in primetime with just 385,000 viewers. In contrast, Fox News averaged 2,581,000 viewers from 10a-4p (up 30% over 2001) and their 25-54 demo average of 705,000 came close to CNN's total coverage ratings yesterday.


FNC -- 2,439,000 (up 57% over '01)

CNN -- 1,353,000 (down 14% over '01)

MSNBC -- 385,000 (down 47% over '01) (link)

I will occasionally tune in to CNN for my news (a number of hotels offer only CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC for 24-hour news, so I have no real choice). There is something missing from the CNN broadcasts when I watch. The only way I can put it is that CNN lacks personality. In fact, it often fails to keep my attention. It is a mystery particularly because I always enjoyed Paula Zahn's newscast in that brief period when she was at Fox, but I can't tell you the last time I watched her show. Odd.

It would seem I'm not the only person that gets bored easily by CNN these days. Ted Turner's creation is very nearly at the point that it is averaging half of the viewership of Fox News. It is fair to assume a major overhaul is on the horizon.

While We Look To The State For Guidance ...

Another company announced on January 10th that it is closing a Southside Virginia textile plant. 450 area residents will be packing up and making the migration north to find a future.

Another Southside factory to close
Company will close Drakes Branch plant; town to lose 450 jobs
BY Jamie C. Ruff Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

DRAKES BRANCH - There's a bitter chill in Charlotte County, and it's not just the weather.

The WestPoint Stevens plant in Drakes Branch is among several the Georgia-based company plans to close as it trims several thousand jobs.

The closing of the Drakes Branch plant means the loss of about 450 jobs and the largest employer in the rural Southside county (population 12,700).

The closing, announced Jan. 10, will take place in March. (link)

This news came on the heels of Governor Mark Warner's journey to the area to tell an eagerly expectant crowd that help is on the way. He's going to seek funds to create some more bike paths and hiking trails for ... well. nobody knows. And his timing was perfect.
Last week, Gov. Mark R. Warner stomped through Southside to drum up support for an agenda that includes providing funds to tear down old facilities so that the sites can be used to help attract new industry, and raise funds to help save existing businesses.
Drakes Branch now has another plant for Warner to tear down. See how our state government is there when we need it? We can put another bike path through there. Let's call it the "Governor Mark Warner Commemorative Hiking Trail and Memorial Bike Path To A New Job Up North."

And local politicians, it seems, have caught the Warner fever.
... the town is not dead, the mayor said, noting a $100,000 Virginia Department of Transportation grant has been secured to establish a welcome center for the town.
A welcome center. A WELCOME CENTER! That will employ all of TWO people!

To laugh. To cry.

We've Already Forgotten

I am in the process of rereading a book that I originally purchased back in the 70's entitled, "The Gulag Archipelago," written by "enemy of the Soviet state," Alexander Solzhenitsyn. If you've never heard of him or heard of his book, please leave now and go to the MTV website. It is more for you.

This masterpiece described in horrible detail, for all the civilized nations of the world, the evil that was the Soviet empire of the twentieth century. Millions of people were erased, forever, from the face of the earth by a government that attempted, in its own classically brutal fashion, to create a workers' paradise, no matter how many citizens had to be slaughtered to make that ideal a reality. May I suggest, if you've not read, find it.

I bring this up for a reason. In the Washington Post this morning, I read an article about another great evil, the Holocaust as carried out by the Nazis in the 30's and 40's. The author, Samuel Pisar, a survivor of Nazi death camps, asks a simple question:
Will We 'Never Forget'?

Sixty years ago the Russians liberated Auschwitz, as the Americans approached Dachau. The Allied advance revealed to a stunned world the horrors of the greatest catastrophe ever to befall our civilization. To a survivor of both death factories, where Hitler's gruesome reality eclipsed Dante's imaginary inferno, being alive and well so many years later feels unreal.

We the survivors are now disappearing one by one. Soon history will speak of Auschwitz at best with the impersonal voice of researchers and novelists, at worst with the malevolence of demagogues and falsifiers. This week the last of us, with a multitude of heads of state and other dignitaries, are gathering at that cursed site to remind the world that past can be prologue, that the mountains of human ashes dispersed there are a warning to humanity of what may still lie ahead.

The genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda and the recent massacres of innocents in the United States, Spain, Israel, Indonesia and so many other countries have demonstrated our inability to learn from the blood-soaked past. Auschwitz, the symbol of absolute evil, is not only about that past, it is about the present and the future of our newly enflamed world, where a coupling of murderous ideologues and means of mass destruction can trigger new catastrophes.

When the ghetto liquidation in Bialystok, Poland, began, only three members of our family were still alive: my mother, my little sister and I, age 13. Father had already been executed by the Gestapo. Mother told me to put on long pants, hoping I would look more like a man, capable of slave labor. "And you and Frieda?" I asked. She didn't answer. She knew that their fate was sealed. As they were chased, with the other women, the children, the old and the sick, toward the waiting cattle cars, I could not take my eyes off them. Little Frieda held my mother with one hand, and with the other, her favorite doll. They looked at me too, before disappearing from my life forever.

Their train went directly to Auschwitz-Birkenau, mine to the extermination camp of Majdanek. Months later, I also landed in Auschwitz, still hoping naively to find their trace. When the SS guards, with their dogs and whips, unsealed my cattle car, many of my comrades were already dead from hunger, thirst and lack of air. At the central ramp, surrounded by electrically charged barbed wire, we were ordered to strip naked and file past the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. The "angel of death" performed on us his ritual "selection" -- those who were to die immediately to the right, those destined to live a little longer and undergo other atrocious medical experiments, to the left.

My labor commando was assigned to remove garbage from a ramp near the crematoria. From there I observed the peak of human extermination and heard the blood-curdling cries of innocents as they were herded into the gas chambers. Once the doors were locked, they had only three minutes to live, yet they found enough strength to dig their fingernails into the walls and scratch in the words "Never Forget."

Have we already forgotten? (link)
It would seem so. At least from the reaction I've witnessed to our attempt at rescuing millions of people from the evils perpetrated by Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Democrats here in this country and nearly everyone in Europe it would seem (Europe!), have absolutely no interest in the fact that Saddam slaughtered 300,000 of his own citizens. They direct their anger at Donald Rumsfeld instead.

They choose to forget.

When Bill Clinton was the leader of the free world, a genocide began in Rwanda. In just 100 days, 800,000 Rwandan men, women, and children were brutally murdered while the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in history, Clinton, dawdled. As has become customary for people like him and most Europeans, he issued an apology after the genocide ended, essentially saying, "Sorry, we forgot."
"... the international community, together with nations in Africa, must bear its share of responsibility for this tragedy, as well. We did not act quickly enough after the killing began. We should not have allowed the refugee camps to become safe havens for the killers. We did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide. We cannot change the past. But we can and must do everything in our power to help you build a future without fear, and full of hope ..." (link)
We are going to be really tough on you - next time - buster.

Well, next time came. Saddam gassed thousands of his own citizens in Halabja in 1988. We all got to see the photos afterward. They made great viewing on the evening news. We chose to do nothing. Mass graves are being uncovered this very day that held the remains of hundreds of thousands of Shiites and Kurds and "enemies of the state," and yet our Democrats and their European soul-mates denounce our having intervened to put a stop to it. (link)

What I have come to learn is that the slogan that brought about the founding of the Jewish state of Israel, "Six million. Never again," actually means - to far too many people - "We are going to give you just one more chance before ... ."

In answer to your question, Sam: Yes, we forgot. Quickly. Though some, like Solzhenitsyn have tried to force us to remember. He wrote:
I dedicate this
to all those who did not live to tell it.
And may they please forgive me
for not having seen it all
not remembered it all,
for not having divined all of it.

This Is More Like It

I beat up on a couple of Northern Virginia Republican state senators the other day for introducing legislation banning the use of cellphones by teenage drivers. My point was that Republicans, by their very nature, do not micromanage our lives. We rely on Democrats instruct, by official edict, what we are allowed to eat, where we are permitted to pray, and when we can relieve ourselves. And the like.

To prove that point, once again, I give you (a portion of) this editorial, entitled 'Tougher on Teen Driving,' in the Washington Post this morning:

Two state delegates from Montgomery County, William A. Bronrott and Adrienne A. Mandel, have pushed legislation for the past few years that addresses the problem [of teen car accident] head-on. The Democrats' bill would prohibit drivers under the age of 18 from carrying unrelated teen passengers for the first six months after they received provisional licenses (which in Maryland can be had at age 16, after the learner's-permit phase). It is hardly a draconian measure, but the governor has given it the cold shoulder for the past two years. Some Marylanders may regard it as an imposition that their newly licensed teenage children are barred for half a year from taking teen passengers in their vehicles. But we agree with Mrs. Mandel. "The opposition comes from people who fear the inconvenience of being parents for an additional six months of their lives," she said. "They're talking about inconvenience, and I'm talking about saving lives." (link)
A law proscribing who can be in an automobile with your teenage daughter when she goes to church on Sunday. Introduced by Democrats. Endorsed as a swell idea by the Washington Post. This is in line with the macrocosm. Republicans are sane. Democrats will do anything short of killing you to "save lives."

Uh oh. I may have just given them an idea.

Al-Zarqawi Captured?

This report from the Associated Press seems a bit odd:
Iraqi Official Mum on al-Zarqawi Rumors

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's interior minister on Saturday refused to comment on rumors that the top terror leader in the country had been taken into custody.

"I wouldn't like to comment for the time being," Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said when asked about rumors that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been arrested. "Let's see. Maybe in the next few days we will make a comment about it."

Al-Zarqawi, the leader of Iraq's al-Qaida affiliate, has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces, along with the kidnappings and the beheadings of several foreigners, including Americans. (
It would be a great thing if the number 2 terrorist in the world was in fact in U.S. custody. But it is baffling that the interior minister would let the rumors just hang out there. Rumors like this one:
Rumors spread that Iraqi authorities had al-Zarqawi in custody but were waiting to announce it just before the Jan. 30 elections.
It could be that Falah al-Naqib just didn't know, what with communications inside Iraq being so intermittent. Or there could be some quirky Iraq thing going on here, where government officials prefer to simply play with the truth, a la Baghdad Bob. You may remember him. He was the laugh-a-minute Minister of Information in the Saddam regime who famously held a press conference, announcing the "fact" that American troops had not entered Baghdad at the same time the reporters covering his address could see U.S. tanks rolling down the street several blocks away.

Anyway, let's hope we have al-Zarqawi, or a collection of his body parts, in custody.