Really- He Isn’t Wishy-Washy

More nuance from John Kerry:

COSTAS: If you had been elected president last November, by this point what would President John Kerry have done in Iraq?

KERRY: Well, I laid out — you know, I don’t want to get in — I mean, I think that’s not quite the way to go at it.

He still doesn’t get it, does he? He goes on to list a number of things he says should be done, but he can’t commit to saying he would have done it. Calling John Kerry wishy-washy was not unfair. It was one the only truly honest things that Republicans said in the 2004 campaign.

Damned Liberal Media

Sometimes I read something and I have to re-read it several times to let it sink in. This is one of those times:

Several Senate Republicans denounced other lawmakers and the news media on Thursday for unfavorable depictions of the Iraq war and the Pentagon urged members of Congress to talk up military service to help ease a recruiting shortfall.

Families are discouraging young men and women from enlisting “because of all the negative media that’s out there,” Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Inhofe also said that other senators’ criticism of the war contributed to the propaganda of U.S. enemies. He did not name the senators.

Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker urged members of Congress to use “your considerable influence to explain to the American people and to those that are influencers out there how important it is for our young people to serve this nation at a time like this.”

The Army on Wednesday said it was 14 percent, or about 7,800 recruits, behind its year-to-date recruitment target even though it exceeded its monthly target in June. With extended deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, recruiting also is down for the National Guard and the Reserves.

“With the deluge of negative news that we get daily, it’s just amazing to me that anybody would want to sign up,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record), a Kansas Republican.

The real problem I guess, is that the prospective recruits are hearing this is dangerous work, if you believe Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Roberts. So what should we do? Dress up all our recruiters like large Boy Scouts, and tell kids they are going off for two years of smores, nature hikes, homoerotic male bonding activities, and campfire tales? Oh, and by the by, you might get killed. Here is a signing bonus.

Nice to see it took so long to break out the sharp knives on this story (I guess the ‘we met our diminished recruiting goals’ story didn’t stick. No doubt the fault of the media.). Yes, the media is reporting that people are getting killed in Iraq. That is because it is their job to, well, report that people are being killed in Iraq.

Pretending that this would not be an issue if only the media had covered more school openings or spent more time talking about the free chapstick, toothbrushes, and playing cards our soldiers will get is simply idiotic. Sure, I would like more positive news coverage out of Iraq. I would also like more positive news.

I hate it when the media screws shit up as much as anyone, but blaming the media for low recruiting numbers is asinine. It is the job of this President and this administration to point out that this is a mission that is worth undertaking, and that their sacrifice is not only needed but will lead to something better. The President needs to use his bully pulpit and make a direct appeal for volunteers, and stop with the ‘noble calling’ act. Put it plain- “we need brave men and women, and we need them now.” Roberts and Inhofe need to do the same. But pinning this all on bad war coverage is a non-starter, as the members of the media are just doing their job when they report casualties.

*** Update ***

I don’t agree with Kos that people have to offer up their children (despite the fact that I think Operation Yellow Elephant is funny), because military service is a choice adults should make on their own. I do, however, think this administration needs to come forward and do everything they can to aid enlistment, and Kos and I do agree that blaming the media and/or Democratic lawmakers for recruiting shortfalls is offensive, unproductive, and indefensible.

Mainstream News

Because this is now a respectable web magazine, it is my obligation to keep you as informed as the mainstream media. That is why they have all that privilege stuff, right? At any rate, here goes with the hard hitting news that makes my opinion really count:

1.) Sharks are predatory animals that eat meat. They have large teeth, a keen sense for blood, and they reside in the water. They are generally attracted to things they can eat, and thus, it is dangerous to swim where they are looking for food. I know this sounds like common sense, and two people who are bitten when swimming in shark infested waters is hardly worthy of a lot of attention, but this picture is really scary:


That could be you, so clearly we should talk about this every hour for the next two months. Here are some tips on how to not be turned into tuna helper, including this one:

“Avoid areas where sharks are known to be present “

How to tell? Easy- if you see a big fin, hear funny music that goes Du-Duhmp every few seconds, or if you feel your leg being ripped from your body and replaced with a large pool of blood, there is a shark present. Immediately get out of the area.

2.) Some people are itinerant fucktards. Ward Churchill is one of them. Ignore him, and if someone is dumb enough to email you ten times asking what you think of him and why you aren’t writing about him, instead of recoiling at the stupidity of the question, simply say “Ward Churchill is an itinerant fucktard.”

3.) Puppies are cute. Stealing puppies is uncool. That is why MSNBC has this hidden video of puppies being stolen as the top US News story of the day.

4.) Somewhere in America, a pretty white girl is missing. Film at 11.

That should about wrap up our news coverage for the day.

Just looking Out For God

My new favorite idiot is in the news again, and he isn’t taking the Supreme Court decisions well:

A deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that it’s OK for the government to display the Ten Commandments if the intent is secular, but it is unconstitutional if the monument’s purpose is solely religious.

Many in Congress are troubled by the decision and intend to do something about it. One of them is Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., who said the “unconstitutional decisions” by the high court do not have to be tolerated by either Congress or the White House.

“Congress can remove funds for the enforcement of this unconstitutional ruling,” he said. “And the president, in his executive prerogative, exercising his executive prerogative, can, as we say, just say no to the court.”

Hostettler added that a constitutional amendment is not the best route, though, because the Constitution is not the problem.

“The clear wording of the Constitution is in no way violated by what is going on in McCreary County, Kentucky, or Texas,” he said, referring to the locations of the two Commandments displays ruled on by the Supreme Court on Monday. “Congress does not need to suggest a deficiency in the Constitution by suggesting an amendment.

Because, as we all know, no one is prepared to determine matters of Consitutionality like a wingnut from the Corn Belt. Not even the Supreme Court. They don’t understand that we must display the Ten Commandments everywhere, because God would want it that way. Otherwise I might start lusting for my neighbor’s wife, begin thieving from convenience sotres, or, poray tell, I might turn the dismissive and disrespectful attitude I have towards Hostettler and his ilk and aim it at my elders.

Unfortunately, there was no immediate word on why God wouldn’t like an amendment to the Constitution.

*** Update ***

And then there is this:

Ms. Pelosi: Again, without focusing on the actual decision, just to say that when you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court you are, in fact, nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court. This is in violation of the respect for separation of church — powers in our Constitution, church and state as well. Sometimes the Republicans have a problem with that as well. But forgive my digression.

So the answer to your question is, I would oppose any legislation that says we would withhold funds for the enforcement of any decision of the Supreme Court no matter how opposed I am to that decision. And I’m not saying that I’m opposed to this decision, I’m just saying in general.

Q: Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?

Ms. Pelosi: It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It’s an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q: Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi: The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.

Ugh. Dear Ms. Pelosi- you can have your own thooughts irrespective of Supreme Court decisions. Blind fealty and total subservience is not expected nor wanted.


Terrible news:

Sixteen bodies have been found at the crash site of a US military helicopter in eastern Afghanistan and some were Special Forces, a top US general said.

Lieutenant General James Conway told a Defense Department briefing that 16 bodies had been retrieved from the site where the Chinook military helicopter crashed on Tuesday west of Asadabad, a town in the insurgency-plagued eastern province of Kunar.

The Taliban militia has claimed that its fighters shot down the helicopter but US officials gave no details on the cause of the crash.


Blogger My Ass, I’m Respectable

I regret to inform you that as of right now, Balloon Juice is no longer a weblog. This is now a web magazine:

Atrios asks some good questions about the FEC’s proposed regulations on bloggers :

Why is somebody who prints up and mails out weekly vanity newsletter entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is Michael Savage entitled to the media exemption but not me?

Why is entitled to the media exemption but not me?

In order to avoid any potential pitfalls, let me use this opportunity to announce that this post will be the last one on The Talent Show blog. Starting either late today or tomorrow, I will relaunch (without any fanfare whatsoever) my new web magazine, The Talent Show. I will still be the primary writer around here, but the traditional blog posts will be replaced with articles of varying lengths and topics. I will also be replacing the comments with article specific message boards. The look of the site, the writing style, the subject matter, the content, and the technological back-end will be identical to what I’m using now, but the change (as least as far as the FEC is concerned) will be drastic. Starting tomorrow, my days as a blogger are ending and my days as a writer begin.

I appreciate your continued support of this former blog and current web magazine. Feel free to place your comments “Letters to the Editor” in the comments section magazine sponsored message board.

*** Update ***

As proof of my new-found respectability, this web magazine was just featured on MSNBC’s Inside the Blogs. Blogs- so turn of the century. This is media, baby. Thanks, Jeralynn!

Woops! Make that MSNBC’s Connected Coast to Coast- you see- I can’t get basic facts right- I AM just like the media, only faster!

Wrong, Oliver

I am not going to get involved in a long discussion over whether or not this administration is poll-driven or not (all administrations are to some extent, and that is pretty much Rove’s job- or at least it used to be), but Oliver is mistaken about this:

The right has had a lot of fun claiming that while President Clinton led based on polls, George Bush has led based on his gut. Anyone whos paid attention for five seconds knows this, but the myth persists.

End it, now.

The White House recently brought onto its staff one of the nations top academic experts on public opinion during wartime, whose studies are now helping Bush craft his message two years into a war with no easy end in sight. Behind the presidents speech is a conviction among White House officials that the battle for public opinion on Iraq hinges on their success in convincing Americans that, whatever their views of going to war in the first place, the conflict there must and can be won.

There is a distinct difference between reading polls and shaping policy, which would, in fact, be a poll-drvien agenda, and what is being reported here. Rather than reading the polls and changing the policy, what is happening here is that Bush and crew are reading the polls, and trying to shift public opinion.

A poll-driven approach would be gauging public opinion and then shaping policy to fit that opinion, which would create a decidedly poll-driven agenda. What we have here is the use polling data to change public opinion about the goodness of an already determined policy- to sell it, if you will.

These are completely different things. Imagine you are a company- ther former would be finding out what kind of product the public wants and then making that product and selling it. The other is deciding what product you want to sell, and then using poling data and experts to sell, to market, or to advertise.

It isn’t the same thing, Oliver.

FYI- The appropriate knne-jerk left-wing response to this story in the WaPo is:

“See- the public is so against Bush’s Iraq policy that they are bringing in experts to shore up support!”