Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not Where We Expected to Be

Aired 8/28/06 Not Where We Expected to Be

With multiple anniversaries of significant events in Bush's terms in office I thought of trying to put together some sort of global sense of the national mood. Why are the polls so intractably negative on the president? Is it that these things have been costly? Other efforts, militarily and otherwise, have been costly. Is it that they are long term? Again that is hardly unique. Why such a sense of unease and dissatisfaction?

Friday, August 25, 2006


Aired 9/8/05 W.W.D.T.D
One year ago as the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina became known I was hardly alone in calling for Brown's resignation and criticizing Bush for not doing so himself. But I think I had one of the more memorable ways of phrasing it.

I don't often do a 'segment within a segment' but it worked here.

Decision at a Drug Store

Aired 8/25/06 Decision at a Drug Store

Issues easy in the abstract become harder in reality, and sometimes they have a way of showing up at your feet. Such is the case of this thought provolking scenario It is a situation which I really think is much more realistic that the presumption that 14 to 17 year olds really going to find doctors to write a prescription for emergency contraception.

So listen and ask yourself what would you do in this situation.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Silk Railroad

Aired 8/21/06 The Silk Railroad

A story about news stories connecting fifteen thousand feet above sea level. I would venture to guess that two of the three stories I talk about in this audio clip weren't covered in your media sources, maybe all three. It is indeed true that despite their importance to our economy, their population, and their geopolitical importance less attention is given to India and China than for example Europe. What most people hear about China and India is just "that's where all the manufacturing jobe have gone". But if so, wouldn't it be rather important to understand these places if we are now so dependent on, and so in competition with, them?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Keeping an Eye on Them

Aired 8/18/06 Keeping an Eye on Them

What to do about Hezbollah? Everybody is saying that they should be disarmed, but I don't think that is in anybody's best interest. Not Lebanon's, not Israel's, and not the United States. Depending on your point of view they are either too valuable, or too dangerous, to just let go.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Aired 8/14/06 Straw-Men

There were some big items in the news this week so it wasn't easy to decide to cover something that was mostly glossed over. But one of my goals is to prod listeners to examine more critically what is sent to them by the media and this one was to much of a breach of journalistic ethics to let go by. Journalists, particularly Anchors, aren't supposed to be interjecting biased argument into the discussion, but to do so and then disguize it as 'some people say' when it turns out that there are no 'some people' saying that at all is truly outrageous.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment looking at the state of current broadcast journalism, particularly cable news, is that the line between pundit, commentator, and journalist has been smeared. The cable networks have made stars of commentators who act like pundits and then expect their journalists to behave likewise so as to not contradict the wisdom of the stars.

Update: Chuck Roberts had Ned Lamont on the show and said the following:

"You know, I owe you an apology. Last week, I led into an interview with a guest analyst and really botched the set-up. The guest had wanted to discuss the Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman statements suggesting that terror groups — Al Qaeda type, to use Cheney’s words — would be buoyed by your win, but I posed it badly, stupidly ad-libbing about "some saying Lamont is the Al-Qaeda candidate." No one, in fact, used that construction. Anyway, I wanted to correct the record, and I’m glad we had this chance to do it. Now, let’s get to the insinuations that were lobbed…"

It seemed like a genuinely heartfelt apology, but it does point out part of the underlying problem, and that is turning the anchors and reporters into being subservient to the analyst and commentator. Roberts was there to 'set up' the pre-arranged questions that the guest already said he wanted to talk about.

It reminded me of a CNBC TV interview with Ann Coulter and a liberal commentator. The host gave Ann both first and last comments (which meant she had one more), agreed with her comments, always put her on top in the split screens, and then cut away to stock war footage when the token liberal commentator started speaking. I had expected such tactics from FOX, but they now seem common across cable news. Is that because CNBC has suddenly gone neocon? I think it was more because Coulter was the 'celebrity' and they didn't want to not be able to book her in the future.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Waltons

Aired 8/11/06 The Waltons

Those pushing for a reduction in the estate tax have certainly been putting up a lot of spin. I try to sort through some of the worst of it in this episode. Between the lifetime gift exclusion and the individual and the basic exemption you have to have a truly huge estate in order to have a chance of being dinged by it. So having Senator Frist talk about how 90 percent of family businesses not last the third generation is silly. Family business don't last three generations because the grandchildren aren't all that interested in running grandpa's business so they have either gone public or merged. Do you think that Paris Hilton is really interested in running hotels?

Come to think of it the Frist family is nearly as wealthy as that from its founding stake in HCA. I wonder how much Senator Frist's personal relatives stand to save from this little proposal.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Aired 8/7/2006 Militia

It is pretty safe to say that american media is anti-Hezbollah. Which may be only fair since Hezbollah is anti-America. But in the rush to declare their disdain for Hezbollah there has been a tendency to make some bogus arguments. For example there has been a tendency to look at the high ratio of civillian casualties and say that it is Hezbollah's fault and not Israel's because Hezbollah was operating withing civillian areas. Unfortunately, operating out of their homes is what citizen militia do. Criticizing a citizen millitia for operating out of their home is like criticizing an air force for flying. High percentages of civillian casualties comes from relying on bombing to conduct urban operations. No matter how smart you make them bombs won't be able to tell whether they are killing a bystander rather than an enemy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Six Nation Talks

Aired 8/4/06 Six Nation Talks

Listening to the generals testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about how they had never seen the sectarian voilence this bad yet it still wasn't a Civil War I thought...But what would make it a civil war? It then struck me that if it really was a full blown civil war then Iran would be dumping as much money into the Shiites as they were pumping into Hezbollah. And Syria and Saudi Arabia would be pressured to support their Sunni bretheren to match. Yes that really would be worse. That's when it hit me that Iraq can never be peacefull unless its neighbors were willing to let it be peacefull. And that was going to take...six nation talks, the subject of this audio.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Favorite New Word

Aired 6/21/06 My Favorite New Word

Having learned this new word called Takfiri I hit the search engines and web and gained some interesting insights. This sub-cult of Islam counts as its followers just about all the top names in Terrorism. Which is not surprising because if you were to design a set of doctrines specifically to justify terrorism this would be it. Not only that but the predecessors of the Takfiri in the Mideast go back centuries. The predecessors of this cult were the root of the English word assassin. Which brings back the point that talking about having a 'war on terrorism' makes as much sense as having a 'war on assassination'.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A New Word

Aired 6/16/06 A New Word

Sometimes you come across a word that you wished you knew before because it so precisely describes what you had been wanting to say for years. This time it came in a press release that said what the Iraqis describe folks like Abu-Musab Al-Zarqawi. The word is Takfiri.