The Blogging Curmudgeon

The Blogging Curmudgeon
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fear and Loathing on Television

Oh, the national American media.

Can't investigate massive electoral fraud.

Can't investigate the big corporations and their rape of the environment.

But oh, can they air a sensational video made by a mass murderer--thus victimizing the survivors of his massacre and the families of the victims all over again.

No, I won't post the disgraceful video Cho Seung-Hui made and the mailed while in the middle of his killing spree...but I guess my natural reticence to air something so disgusting and gruesome disqualifies me to be a member of the esteemed Fourth Estate.

The hypocrites are out in force, of course--including Curmudgette on MyLeftWing, whose sensitivity to online threats and real world violence against women apparently doesn't extend to the pain of the survivors and families of the victims.

(CNN) -- Angry students, faculty and loved ones urged the media to focus on the 32 victims of Monday's shootings on the Virginia Tech campus, not the twisted words and images of the man who gunned them down.

Peter Read, father of victim Mary Read, pleaded for media outlets to stop broadcasting the images that Cho Seung-Hui mailed on the day of the shooting.

"It's a second assault on us," he said. "It's a second assault on our children. Please put the focus back where it belongs: on these wonderful, vibrant, young human beings who were bringing so much to this world."

"It's made victims out of many of us a second time," Virginia Tech professor Richard Shyrock said on CNN amid a plea for the network to reconsider its decision to air the photographs and rambling, angry videos.

The package was mailed after two people were killed at a dormitory early Monday and before Cho entered the university's Norris Hall and exacted the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history.

NBC broadcast some of the angry images and video clips from the package and other media outlets -- including CNN -- quickly followed suit.

Doctoral student Ken Stanton, 29, said he resented that Cho was getting airtime while many of the victims, such as his friend, Jeremy Herbstritt, remained anonymous.

"I'm sick of it," he said. "It's like you can't get away from it -- every time I walk by a TV, there it is."

Source link

Here's a list of Cho's victims--none of whom get celebrity status.

Here's a video slideshow of the victims--which I find very moving (and yes, I'm aware that the video creator misspelled "tragedy"...I don't give a damn, ok?)

Hellza Poppin': The Housing Bubble Has Burst

This is Paul Krugman of the New York Times, 10 September 2006.

How big could this be?...You're looking at a hit to the economy that is as big as what happened with the stock market crash at the end of the '90s....It's well in the range where a serious slowdown is likely and an actual recession is not outlandish.

Democrats Boldly Respond to Virginia Tech Massacre, Supreme Court Step to Ban Abortion

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just kidding.

The Democrats are doing no such thing.

But I had you fooled there for a second, didn't I?

But remember, no matter how bad the Democrats are, no matter how many of your fundamental human rights they surrender (never to be reclaimed), the Republicans are always worse.

So, uh, vote you can have bold, decisive leadership from Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took no position on two of the hottest social issues in America today — guns and abortion — in a week when those subjects were brought before the public in quite compelling ways.

Asked about this morning’s historic and unprecedented decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a state ban on an abortion procedure, Pelosi — longtime backer of abortion rights — said, “This is an issue I need to review.” Reid immediately changed the subject to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. “That’s what it brings to my mind,” Reid said.

Two days after the slaughter of 32 innocents on the campus of Virginia Tech by a shooter with two handguns, Pelosi demurred on whether Congress was in any mood to examine gun control laws.

“The mood in Congress is one of mourning, sadness and the inadequacy of our words” to help the bereaved, Pelosi said.

Welcome to the Democratic Party 2.0. After years in the political wilderness — President Bush in the White House, Republican majorities in the House and Senate — Democrats are wary of engaging in hot-button social issues such as the “3 G’s” — guns, God and gays

by Jake Tapper
ABC News (4/18/2007)

Rant of the Week: George Carlin On Religion

"An oldie but a goodie", as they say.

My favorite part:

Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn't in God's Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a Divine Plan. What's the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here's something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? "Well, it's God's will." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing.

The Complete Rant

Fox Democrats: Scary Losers, or Enablers?

The quotes in the headline are from "The Real Fox News Democrats", the top feature story in today's Salon, by Alex Koppelman--and while I don't agree with everything he wrote, Koppelman got me thinking.

Koppelman has attacked many of the Democrats who appear on Fox--the paid commentators, the "regulars"--as belonging to one of three types:

It sounds harsh, but think of most of the Fox Democrats, at least those who appear on the opinion shows, which take up half the network's airtime, as one of three types. They are either scary liberals, losers or enablers.

Harsh, but fair and balanced.

Koppelman continues:

...Fox also has a stable of regular commentators, some under contract to the network, who pop up frequently as representatives of the Democratic or progressive viewpoint. They do not appear to know what they have gotten into. Though these Democrats tell Salon they are doing their best to reach out and sway potential voters, they often seem to be used to further a conservative political agenda, fulfilling one of several roles that ultimately just helps the network's right-of-center hosts make their arguments against liberals.

Oh, let's just say it: Alan Colmes is a wimp, and Sean Hannity beats the guy to a pulp on a regular basis. I'm surprised Fox doesn't make Colmes wear a "Dukakis '88" t-shirt and fake devil horns.

Koppelman is not arguing that Democrats should not appear on Fox; he is only pointing out that those people Fox News has chosen to represent the Democratic point of view, such as Alan Colmes, Patrick Caddell, Susan Estrich, and Bob Beckel, are simply not effective in doing so.

Gee, you'd think that was deliberate on the part of Fox or something.

What I find most interesting about Koppelman's article in today's Salon is that Fox News hires Democrats who are "enablers" of the Republicans. For example, Fox recently hired two failed senate candidates, Harold Ford, a Tennessee Democrat, and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

"Fair and balanced", right?

But as Koppelman points out:

this case is actually just another example of how Fox's choices of Democrats help to skew the very terms of discourse in favor of conservatives; Ford's politics are just left of George Will's, while Santorum lists slightly to the right of Attila the Hun."

In other words, the person "on the left" would comfortably fit into Reagan's Republican Party, circa 1988, and the person "on the right" would fit in with--well, best not think about Rick "Man On Dog" Santorum any more than you have to (especially if you haven't had your breakfast yet).

Democratic and liberal bloggers have already successfully lobbied for Democrats to boycott Fox for a presidential candidate debate that was to have taken place in Nevada this August, and MLWer Field Negro has written a passionate diary denouncing the efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus to have Fox sponsor Democratic presidential debates Oh No They Didn't! Our own Maryscott O'Connor has appeared on Fox television and radio programmes.

And now the question: Is it time for Democrats in particular, and for liberals and progressives in general, to boycott Fox altogether? Is it hopeless to try and get the progressive point of view across on a network that is so obviously, deliberately skewed?