It’s Luke Russert’s world, we’re just living in it

Interesting back and forth about Jenna’s “Today” show gig in a WaPo chat::

Florida Chick: Dreadful pandering, this hiring of Jenna Bush for the Today show. It wasn’t enough that she was green-lighted for two books? With two years teaching experience and an unimpressive academic record? She would be lucky to get the teaching job on the merits she earned. Same greased skid as the dad had. I am boycotting the Today show. This is almost as bad as the Luke Russert hire, which was all-time bottom for “if you’re famous you’re in.” I am disgusted. boycott.

Roxanne Roberts: To elaborate: Think like a TV producer. Who’s going to get viewers: An education expert with years of experience who no one has ever heard of? Or Jenna?

Jenna, of course. The topics covered in a five-minute segment should be well within her talents (plus she’ll have producers helping to make her look good.) She can be quite charming when she chooses, and will appeal to the morning television set. This isn’t C-Span, people.

and

I’m with Florida Chick: Jenna Bush’s new job is especially galling at a time when thousands of journalists with real training and experience have lost their jobs. “Within her talents?” I didn’t realize being born to privilege was considered a talent these days.

Amy Argetsinger: Well, let’s break it down here. If you were outraged when Summer Sanders and Tiki Barber and Giada de Laurentiis got “special correspondent” gigs on “Today” without prior journalism experience, then go ahead and be outraged here. It’s possible you haven’t seen “Today” lately; we’re not talking about NBC News so much as we’re talking about the show that gives over an entire hour to Kathy Lee Gifford. This is in the realm of celebrity spokesmodel stuff.

I’d probably be more worked up about this if this were a full-time actual journalism job — it’s just a once-a-month personality-driven thing. And even if it were… you know, this is how the world works. The Kennedys and Cuomos and Shrivers and Buckleys and Russerts all sent kids into real journalism jobs where they basically started right at the top, without having to labor in the trenches and small markets. It happens all the time.

I mostly agree with the question-answerers. There’s nothing at all unusual about “Today” hiring Jenna and it’s less egregious than Chris Wallace, Cokie Roberts, and Luke Russert, who purport to be something other than spokesmodels.

But this will strike many as more blatant. With so many things, the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdum of modern American medio-politics. There are times when I think they almost deserve our thanks for this.

Update. I almost added Andrea Koppel to this list, but it sounds like she’s somewhat qualified and worked her way up at least a little bit. I was disturbed to learn she is married to Ken Pollack, though.

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152 replies
  1. 1
    sparky says:

    i’m looking forward to the Bush-Palin cage/mud matches, meself.

  2. 2
    Comrade Jake says:

    Anyone with half a brain probably turns off the Today show after watching it for five minutes. The problem is: people with half a brain are a minority in this country.

    You can dismiss this kind of thing pretty quickly, but the fact of the matter is a good number of people get their news from the show. Twenty minutes in the morning is all they get, and they tune into Matt friggin Lauer and the rest of the clown show for it.

  3. 3
    Brian J says:

    I can’t say I watch much television news or many opinion shows, so it’s not like I have that much interest in the outcome. But I think the person above who made the distinction between a job on “The Today Show,” which isn’t really hard news, and something more serious is right. It might be frustrating for some reason, but she isn’t being given an editorship at The New Yorker.

    I’d also say that we should reserve judgment until we see what she does. If she’s going to use the position she has and the attention it is drawing to actually inform people, then so much the better. I guess the thing to hope for is that she reaches out to people who are more informed than she is–and I don’t mean that as an insult–and those people respond positively.

  4. 4
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    When Jenna Bush smiles she looks like her dad in a wig.

  5. 5
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    With so many things, the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdium of modern American medio-politics.

    Holy crap, what a great sentence.

  6. 6
    raff says:

    “…the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdium of modern American medio-politics.”

    What, no mention for Elizabeth Cheney? Jenna at least, as has been noted, will only be appearing once a month, spout off some mindless pablum for 5 minutes & be done. Cheney appears on TV constantly & lies every time she opens her mouth, often doing some real damage to the political discourse along the way. How she (& her father) are accorded any kind of credibility is beyond me.

    I don’t begrudge Jenna her talking-bobble-head gig… that’s just the way things work. Cheney, on the other hand…

  7. 7
    Brian J says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Again, I don’t watch these types of shows very often, but a lot of them don’t try to be anything more than they are: mostly fluff, with the occasional serious topic thrown in. I don’t see anything wrong with that. You could argue that this mindset is creeping into what should be more serious broadcasts, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for two separate types of shows to exist. There’s definitely room in this world for People and for The New Yorker, as long as each realizes its limits.

    On another note, I find it interesting that an organization like CNN isn’t trying to go in the opposite direction and do very serious journalism, even with some opinion mixed in. If nobody else with the reach of the network is trying for it, and it’s looking to stand out, isn’t the incentive strong enough?

  8. 8
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    I’m boycotting TV. Hopefully, if enough people do that it will eventually go away.

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    I don’t mind so much the higher ability for the well-connected to get an opportunity. I do mind when they then cannot serve up to the capacity of that opportunity.

    I didn’t know Giada de L. was of the famous family when I first began watching, because I just didn’t pay any attention to the last name, it was just ‘a Food Network show’ about Italian cooking and she seemed to cook interesting dishes and have insight on techniques.

    (That said, the 1st episode of Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s American Road Trip,” where he lives in East L.A. and works with former gang-bangers, will simply blow anyone away. It’s god-damned way beyond any ordinary foodie show. It really is something else, even beyond “Ministry of Food”.)

    But when you not only give the well-connected a shot, but then go on to completely and utterly abandon the notion of merit-based continuance and performance, then you’re nothing more than a cheap, nepotistic bunch of leeches on the royal court system.

    The L. A. Times fires Bob Scheer and replaces him with Jonah Goldberg, and then we have to hear bullshit about how liberals don’t respect meritocracy. Pffft.

  10. 10
    cfaller96 says:

    “If you were outraged when Summer Sanders and Tiki Barber and Giada de Laurentiis got “special correspondent” gigs on “Today” without prior journalism experience, then go ahead and be outraged here.”

    Tiki Barber was an all-pro running back for (IIRC) multiple years. Summer Sanders won multiple Olympic medals. Giada de Laurentiis hosts a successful cooking show and I assume has published a successful recipe book or two. In short, all those other people had noteworthy accomplishments that were earned, not given because of their family name. Jenna Bush does not.

    Are people in the media so blissfully ignorant of the substantive difference between accomplishments and “accomplishments”? Are they really that out of touch.

    Apparently, yes.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    have insight on techniques.

    Along with lots of cleavage and an absolutely enormous head. Look out, John Tesh!

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    Are people in the media so blissfully ignorant of the substantive difference between accomplishments and “accomplishments”?

    I agree that part was stupid, about GDL and Tiki. But the point about Wallace et al. was correct.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    What a great caper to an excellent media decade! Can we get, like, a few Nixon grandkids to anchor, maybe? McCain’s daughter already has a gig at the Daily Beast. Does Michelle Bachman have any media-aged family? Eric Cantor maybe have a cousin or something?

    I mean, for what it’s worth, I don’t see Jenna being any different than any other ditsy newsmodel bobble head. She fits all the criteria for the spot. It’s just another indictment on the long rap sheet that is modern American TV.

  14. 14
    Crashman06 says:

    Eh, who cares about all of this journalism, smernalism.. I’m gonna go watch ‘Ow My Balls!’ on my toilet recliner.

  15. 15
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    In other TV news, Charlie Gibson is stepping down from ABC World News, to be replaced by Diane Sawyer. I don’t know how I feel about this. Sawyer’s obviously got a long track record, but she always comes off to me as a little Barbara Walters Lite.

    Could they possibly get someone to anchor these shows who has a bit of a harder journalistic style?

  16. 16
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    I want my news read to me by the Taco Bell chihuahua. Can the nightly news on the latest bombing in Iraq be read to America by a talking dog? Would the talking dog have too much integrity to interview former President Bush? If so, can a computer-animated gecko interview him?

    I promise I’ll start watching TV again if TV producers promise to stop pretending that they think I’m an adult, and that they’ll just treat me like the moronic child they clearly think every TV viewer in America is.

  17. 17
    Savage Henry says:

    I wonder what Jenna Bush’s feelings are about Affirmative Action? Probably the same as other hard-bitten journalists like Bill Krystol and Jonah Goldberg. See, we live in a MERITOCRACY goddammit! Everyone should earn what they get.

    More evidence that if they want to get rid of Affirmative Action they also have to eliminate legacy.

  18. 18
    ironranger says:

    I have no idea who Sanders, Barber, de Laurenetiis or Argetsinger are. Roxanne Roberts sounds vaguely familiar but maybe not. Are they on the Today show?

  19. 19
    cfaller96 says:

    DougJ, it seems like the retort with Tiki et al assumes that everyone has a problem with hiring Jenna Bush because she has no journalism experience. But that is so absurd and insulting and nonresponsive, I don’t know what to say.

    Wait, yes I do- when all these douchey traditional media infotainment outlets start/continue losing money and these arrogant royalists have to deal with not being able to get a job and pay the bills, I will laugh and cheer and throw rocks and garbage at them.

  20. 20
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Bring Barney the Dinosaur out of retirement. Let him do it. He has a long track record of commanding younger Americans’ respect.

  21. 21
    Dr. Squid says:

    For some reason when I read Ken Pollack, I thought Neal Pollack instead.

  22. 22
    Froley says:

    Tiki Barber was an all-pro running back for (IIRC) multiple years. Summer Sanders won multiple Olympic medals. Giada de Laurentiis hosts a successful cooking show and I assume has published a successful recipe book or two.

    Exactly. Plus Giada has the Luca Brasi hands that could kill anyone that tried to stop her.

  23. 23
    Stooleo says:

    Rick Santorum has a bunch of kids, lets get those freaks on TV.

  24. 24
    Ajay says:


    I was disturbed to learn she is married to Ken Pollack, though.

    Thats really sad to know. When I used to watch TV I thought of her as someone with some ability and common sense. The villagers need inbreeding to continue to have some meaning to their life.

  25. 25
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @El Cid:

    I don’t mind so much the higher ability for the well-connected to get an opportunity. I do mind when they then cannot serve up to the capacity of that opportunity.

    See, I do. Especially when you hear so much whinging about “affirmative action” for minorities. There are a lot of quality journalists (fill-in-the-blank profession) who weren’t born into wealth or politics who have to struggle to get ahead without those connections. And then these people hold political outlooks that deny that America isn’t the great meritocracy/boot-strapping country they pretend it is.

    And libertarians are the worst. At least the GOP doesn’t pretend they’re not elitists. Libertarians just think they were destined for greatness because of their own hard work.

  26. 26
    Zifnab says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Could they possibly get someone to anchor these shows who has a bit of a harder journalistic style?

    Well, Katie Couric and Jenna Bush are already spoken for so…

  27. 27
    JHF says:

    Haven’t watched teevee for over a dozen years. Don’t read news magazines or newspapers, either. Refuse to fly.

    Oddly, the idiocy rolls on and keeps expanding. Funny how that works.

  28. 28
    bartkid says:

    Everyone with the surname Bush who is of enlistment age should be serving in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan, or New Orleans.

    Every last one of them.

  29. 29
    Eric U. says:

    Diane Sawyer was a Nixon staffer. I think that should be disqualifying for any show that purports to be news. If not, they should hire Howard Dean to read the nightly news.

  30. 30
    DanF says:

    Where did that Katie Couric person get her national television exposure … hmmmm … I can’t quite remember.

    And yet somehow I’m supposed to believe that Jenna will just stay on the Today show doing five minute pieces and never “cross-over” into what passes for the hard-news division on some network somewhere. Right. And for what? Being born a Bush. The great Circle of Jerk continues…

  31. 31
    Anne Laurie says:

    The L. A. Times fires Bob Scheer and replaces him with Jonah Goldberg, and then we have to hear bullshit about how liberals don’t respect meritocracy. Pffft.

    In Conservative World, being the fruit of Lucianne Goldberg’s loins constitutes “meritocracy”. What, you don’t think ‘winning the genetic sweepstakes’ is a genuine talent?

    When that argument fails, if my experience with CW dwellers is any indication, they’ll go directly to “Hey, I thought you lie-brals were in favor of giving the handicapped extra points! You think it was easy for a dull-normal like Jonah to grow up under a clinical sociopath like Lucianne?”

  32. 32
    geg6 says:

    When will someone put on a morning news show that actually treats news as news? I would watch that. All of the network morning shows stink (though I sometimes will catch a little Harry Smith). As is, I only watch the local newscast over and over and over on their digital news channel because everything else in the morning sucks and I need something to distract me as I drink coffee and put on makeup before work.

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @Savage Henry:

    More evidence that if they want to get rid of Affirmative Action they also have to eliminate legacy.

    There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with legacy. If I’m a plumber, and my son is a plumber, it makes sense that he inherits the family business.

    Likewise, if I’m a conservative pundit, my son William aspires to be a conservative pundit, it makes sense that he will one day take my money and start a conservative newspaper and call it the Weekly Standard. However, if that newspaper then proceeds to run fifteen years without making a profit, I’m left wondering how the hell he’s still in business.

    Either way, the problem isn’t legacy. The problem is an ownership society that looks suspiciously like feudal fucking Europe. If the King of ABC or NBC or CBS keeps sticking his loyal knights in charge of the Castles of Morning/Evening News, the problem isn’t nepotism, it’s despotism.

    That said, if the peasants don’t want to revolt, there’s not a lot you can do.

  34. 34
    Michael D. says:

    Next thing you know they’ll be giving cushy media jobs to the Vanderbilt kids!!

  35. 35
    noncarborundum says:

    Just to satisfy my proofreader’s itch, I need to point out that the phrase is reductio ad absurdum, not reductio ad absurdium. And while I’m at it, it’s ad nauseam, not ad nauseum. (Note to DougJ: I’m not specifically accusing you of ad nauseum, it’s just something else I’m venting about.)

    I realize that I’m opening myself to criticism here as (a) a pedant and (b) a person who complains about incorrect Latin while using a dog-Latin phrase as his moniker. Still, I had to get this off my chest and now I feel much better.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    If you were outraged when Summer Sanders and Tiki Barber and Giada de Laurentiis got “special correspondent” gigs on “Today” without prior journalism experience, then go ahead and be outraged here.

    Amazing how that point goes whizzing past her head without so much as a flicker …

  37. 37
    Eric U. says:

    @geg6: I also think that a morning news show would be great. No bullshit, no uniformed opinions, no opinions at all. If someone could make a tv show like NPR without the lying republicans, it would be great. In the past, CNN international has fit the bill. Of course, for Republicans, straight news is liberal. Too bad we can’t have a liberal version of Fox News to highlight the difference.

  38. 38
    Evinfuilt says:

    Giada de Laurentiis hosts a successful cooking show and I assume has published a successful recipe book or two.

    @cfaller96:

    Well that and she actually left the family business to go train to be a chef (in France of course), then ran a catering company, and only reluctantly became a TV chef after.

    Kinda odd how someone who is successful in a field unrelated to family, but due in large part to actual training in talent is being compared to Luke/Jenna, who uhm, fail upwards?

  39. 39
    eric says:

    The key to the response is not the defense of the hiring but the shock that there COULD be outrage at the hiring.

    Atheletes make the transition all of the time when they are personable and accomplished. Plus, they have FANS that can be drawn to watch.

    Jenna does not have fans she has drinking buddies. Not the same thing.

    eric

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I wasn’t arguing that institutionalized favors, nepotism, and rankism is a good thing. I was just mentioning that, given these ills, what bothers me most.

    In a theoretical example, say, maybe the child of a doctor or scientists gets all sorts of legs up on being a doctor or scientist or whatever that another individual would not receive. Or might be appointed to some commission or something partly because of their name.

    Fine, it isn’t ideal, it isn’t what we should strive for, etc. Agreed.

    But what really gets on my nerve is not the above rare example where a favored professional might still prove his or her own value and productivity via performance, however initially favored; it’s when we staff so many important government and media positions to the brim with incompetent, inane nepotistic and particularly lying shitbags just because they’re part of a courtly elite, and, as you said, then these worthless nepotized shitbags turn around and ‘argue’ (mouthfart) against ‘liberal’ policies which aim to favor those not so nepotistically gifted.

  41. 41
    DougJ says:

    Just to satisfy my proofreader’s itch, I need to point out that the phrase is reductio ad absurdum, not reductio ad absurdium.

    Thanks. Fixed it.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    The celebrity nepotism problem is severe and damages the quality of our news media, and the associated political talkies.

    I do believe Jenna may be the most qualified of the neps, if she actually works as an education beat reporter.

    That is not saying much, since the bar is now lying in a muddy ditch deep in the ground, but is a small something.

    I cannot believe they will use her that way, though. ‘Education beat’ -that is so earnest and twentieth century and ‘facty’ Very dull and chump-like for todays news celebs, don’t you think?

    So, I am not sympathetic to hiring Jenna, but unlike others, I am genuinely curious, and very slightly hopeful she will be better than some others.

    That is very small beer, but something.

  43. 43
    Heather S says:

    Jenna should get a guest slot on FOX. She could pair up with Mike Huckabee and discuss chick peas.

  44. 44
    jl says:

    Not sure where the strike out came from, that was supposed to be:

    “I cannot believe they will use her that way, though. ‘Education beat, that is so earnest and twentieth century and ‘facty’ Very dull and chumplike for todays news celebs, don’t you think?”

  45. 45
    catclub says:

    I don’t understand why people are hating on Today.

    Matt Lauer did some great reporting from LA after Michael Jackson died.

    They didn’t just phone it in.

  46. 46
    Zifnab says:

    @catclub: Your words hurt me.

  47. 47
    itsbenj says:

    I don’t see her as being some potential ratings bonanza on this show. Who cares what she says about anything? Nobody I’ve ever met.

  48. 48
    soonergrunt says:

    I know this is off topic, but it’s about even with the state of affairs in this country.
    From The Onion:
    http://www.theonion.com/conten.....=b-section
    Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama’s Placenta

    WASHINGTON–In the continuing controversy surrounding the president’s U.S. citizenship, a new fringe group informally known as “Afterbirthers” demanded Monday the authentication of Barack Obama’s placenta from his time inside his mother’s womb…

  49. 49
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    I can’t say I disagree with the responses. The Today Show isn’t a ‘news’ show. They give you a five-minute update on the hour but the rest is all tabloid crap and these hires just solidify that. I’ll keep my early morning blogs for news, thanks!

  50. 50
    Brett says:

    I don’t see her as being some potential ratings bonanza on this show. Who cares what she says about anything? Nobody I’ve ever met.

    I figure it’s probably TV Producer Conservatism again – they have significant risks of losing money when they put on a show or new personality, so why not pick somebody who at least has a recognizable name and so forth? Sort of like how whenever there’s a successful new type of show, all the other networks spin out copycats.

    I’m honestly not that bothered by the Jenna Bush appointment. TV News is a heavily visual-driven medium, which is why attractive anchors and the like get picked in the first place. It’s also a highly competitive place to make money, so anything that might lead viewers to refrain from changing the channel is a plus. Jenna Bush is reasonably attractive and is at least recognized, so it’s a safer bet on those two criteria than some random-ass Journalism Major.

  51. 51
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @JHF:

    There aren’t enough of us. But print and television are hurting, thanks to the Internet. Just a matter of time.

    My main concern is that someone will figure out a way to render the Internet idiotic. Right now, the online experience can be as thought-provoking and interactive as you want it to be, unlike the passive, spoon-fed medium of television.

    It will take Republicans longer to learn how to warp the Internet, as they warped television in the 1960s. I have no doubt that if Nixon could be made acceptable to 1968 television viewers, the GOP will find a way to accomplish this. But it should take them at least a couple of election cycles to really get it. Meanwhile, they’ll keep chasing the diminishing television demographic.

    Wither, fuckers. Wither.

  52. 52
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @catclub:

    True. For stupid bullshit reporting about stupid bullshit topics that have zero relevance to the world in general or to me personally, television is still a great source of information.

    I still think they should get the talking chihuahua to read the news. Look! A talking dog! And he’s talking about a bomb going off in Dagestan, killing dozens of Russian soldiers! Isn’t that cute?

  53. 53
    Zifnab says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    My main concern is that someone will figure out a way to render the Internet idiotic.

    Oh, I see you’re new here.

  54. 54
    slag says:

    With so many things, the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdum of modern American medio-politics. There are times when I think they almost deserve our thanks for this.

    Some of my thank-you gifts come wrapped in pure derision. It’s the “uniquely American” way.

  55. 55
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Zifnab:

    I’m not saying there aren’t vast swaths of idiocy. But you could also spend your days on blogs like Calculated Risk and various international news sites. It’s more thought-provoking than trying to balance Fox by whatever’s on PBS or CNN, that’s for sure.

  56. 56
    4jkb4ia says:

    @Zifnab:

    Safin loses :) Unfortunately CBS will not do a retrospective of his career to “One Shining Moment” which I have playing in my head now. “And when it’s done” etc.

  57. 57
    Zifnab says:

    Oh, completely off topic, but… ANUSES!
    http://wonkette.com/410864/con.....ers-anuses

  58. 58
    Legalize says:

    Well Tiki Barber and Summer Sanders are both world-class athletes with a record of accomplishment a mile long – hired specifically to comment about the fields in which they distinguished themselves. And from what I’ve seen, they’re pretty good at it. And yes it helps NBC that they are famous. Was Jenna hired for the sole reason that she is a Bush? Of course. Has she accomplished ANYTHING? Not that I know of. That said, I’ll reserve judgment until I see what she does., ’cause she might be good at it. Seeing lying sack of shit, Liz Cheney defending her criminal father every time I turn on the teevee is far more infuriating. Even if Jenna sucks, I won’t lose that much sleep; it’s just the Today Show.

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:

    @Zifnab: Hard to get upset about that. It’s consensual and off duty. There are plenty of good reasons to hate blackwater. This isn’t one of them.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss: Well, right right. I just read the one sentence and immediately through of everything from RedState to 4chan and was, just, like… wow.

    The internet is content rich. The moment someone figures out how to snuff out that feature – like media consolidation did over the last forty years – you’ll likely see a return to GOP lockstep stupidity. But the great thing about the internet is that you can have your 9/11 Truthers side by side with your Furries and your Internet Luddites and your wacky Christian cults and your web comic enthusiasts and your sports fans, and no one can really drown the other guy out because all IP addresses are more or less equal.

    So it’s a lot harder to get everyone chanting to the same stupid message unless you can manage to consolidate a sufficient number of eyeballs on a select few sites. I mean, once the GOP cracks that, they’re back in business. But it’s going to be harder than just throwing money until you own it all.

  61. 61
    Crashman06 says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss: I’m not sure if they could totally corrupt the net in the same way as TV. TV, afterall, is a passive medium. You don’t have much of a choice on what to watch. It’s way easier and cheaper to disseminate information on the web though, and a lot harder to control to boot.

  62. 62
    gypsy howell says:

    I used to watch the Today show every morning about 15-20 years ago, and I don’t remember it being quite so full of silliness and fluff. Did my tastes and expectations change, or has the show actually gotten worse over the years? I remember watching the interviews, and being interested in what was said. Now the rare times when I’m fliiping by and see Matt interviewing someone, I find myself so disgusted with the inane level of questioning and the spin that’s allowed to spew forth form the person being interviewed, that I have to turn it off. Maybe the intertoobs have spoiled me, and I’m not as naive as I was back then.

    Was it always this bad?

  63. 63
    Zifnab says:

    @MikeJ: Well, except for this part –

    In one incident in May, the report says, more than a dozen guards took weapons, night vision goggles and other key equipment and engaged in an unauthorized “cowboy” mission in Kabul, leaving the embassy “largely night blind,” POGO wrote in the letter to Clinton. The guards dressed in Afghan tunics and scarves in violation of contract rules, and hid in abandoned buildings in a reconnaissance mission that was not part of their training or duties. Later, two heads of the guard force, Werner Ilic and Jimmy Lemon, issued a “letter of recognition” praising the men for “conspicuous intrepidity” with the State Department logo on the letterhead.

    And, of course, the bit about the prostitutes.

    All I’m saying is, you look at the military contractor situation and you look at the cost of swelling the rank and file military to fill the needs those contractors “provide”. And you talk about effectiveness and cost efficiency. And you start asking some funny questions about what, exactly, you want your tax dollars going towards.

    If wingnut conservatives can get up in arms about tax dollars paying for abortions and going to welfare queens, I think this is fair game, too. If a bunch of corporate types were caught doing this and it leaked to the national media, I imagine some exec would be filling out a whole bunch of pink slips.

  64. 64
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Zifnab:

    Agreed. The Internet really does seem to restore the freedom of the old 18th century public square, with criers bellowing out every position (or so legend has it, anyway). Unlike the public square, though, it’s a lot harder to hire goons to knife an unpopular crier as he’s leaving the tavern later that night. I think we’ve got at least until 2016 before the GOP reaches a consensus that it absolutely needs to shut most of the online voices down, and then hopefully we’ll still have an election cycle or two before they figure out how to do it. By 2028 or so, though, we’ll be in trouble. When Red State and the Fox News website are two of the only ten “news” sites you can go to, and when the idea of reopening the Internet to its current state is greeted with the same derision as the notion of restoring the Fairness Doctrine, the Dems will be pretty well fucked.

  65. 65
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Crashman06:

    I hope you’re right. It’s the filters that would worry me. Filters, and making it economically unfeasible to run blogs. Start making domain names cost $250,000 each, and you’ve shut down most of the blogosphere instantly.

    Unfortunately, I’m not well-educated enough on this topic to talk about it without sounding like a hysterical alarmist rube. I’m sure someone on this blog can tell me why my fears are totally unfounded and ridiculous. That would comfort me quite a bit.

  66. 66
    jt says:

    Assuming they are reporting about swimming, football and cooking, respectively, Summer Sanders, Tiki Barber and Giada de Laurentiis are experts in their fields, so far more qualified to report on those topics than Ms. Bush is.

    There are famous people with real accomplishments and expertise. How qualified they are to be reporters is debateable, but they are different than people whose celebrity derives from who gave birth to them.

    And yes, I know de Laurentiis is related to the famous movie producer, and benefited from that relationship. But she knows a lot about food.

  67. 67
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    I think we’ve got at least until 2016 before the GOP reaches a consensus that it absolutely needs to shut most of the online voices down, and then hopefully we’ll still have an election cycle or two before they figure out how to do it. By 2028 or so, though, we’ll be in trouble. When Red State and the Fox News website are two of the only ten “news” sites you can go to, and when the idea of reopening the Internet to its current state is greeted with the same derision as the notion of restoring the Fairness Doctrine, the Dems America will be pretty well fucked.

    Of course, the Robber Baron section of the Eternal Republican Triangle has been working on this for years already. See, for example, Rupert Murdoch’s ongoing tango with China. My main hope, for the last decade and more, has been that the Murdochs with the most to lose are 60 years older than the 4chandroids who will gleefully fvck shite up just coz they can. But then, I’m past fifty myself and will probably be dead before the Rich Pigs can monopolize the really skillful AI webnannies.

  68. 68
    Crashman06 says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss: Filters are worrysome. So are ISPs attempting to limit the total bandwidth you can get per month. But, I still remain optimistic. I’m not all that educated on the topic either, but I feel like things move so fast when it comes to electronics and the web, attempts to keep things under control might not be too effective. Hell, about a generation has grown up with the wild west freedom of the web already existing as a given. They won’t want to give that up.

    I could be totally wrong though.

  69. 69
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    LOL I’d originally written “America,” but then I remembered that America’s already fucked.

    “Of course, the Robber Baron section of the Eternal Republican Triangle has been working on this for years already. See, for example, Rupert Murdoch’s ongoing tango with China. My main hope, for the last decade and more, has been that the Murdochs with the most to lose are 60 years older than the 4chandroids who will gleefully fvck shite up just coz they can. But then, I’m past fifty myself and will probably be dead before the Rich Pigs can monopolize the really skillful AI webnannies.”

    You’re probably right. It’s bound to happen eventually. Nixon got Roger Ailes his start when he figured out that Ailes was the best television pimp available. Can’t wait to see some junior Red State Strike Force member lead the Goopers to victory (and what’s left of America off a cliff) someday.

  70. 70
    gwangung says:

    The internet is content rich. The moment someone figures out how to snuff out that feature – like media consolidation did over the last forty years – you’ll likely see a return to GOP lockstep stupidity.

    Net neutrality.

  71. 71
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Crashman06:

    I hope you’re right. Time will tell. It does seem like it would be easy to throttle the medium to death legislatively, but that would only affect one country at a time. Only filters could then protect Americans from those Commie Canuckistani bloggers. That would be the mother of all First Amendment Supreme Court battles.

  72. 72
    MikeJ says:

    we’ll still have an election cycle or two before they figure out how to do it.

    What do you think the fight over network neutrality is about? Comcast et al want to charge websites for the right to let their customers visit. If Comcast can determine which websites you can and can’t visit then the internet as we know it is doomed.

  73. 73
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @gwangung:

    That’s what I was thinking of. But we’ll still have Internet Free Montreal blogging away at us. I’ll still be able to access other country’s websites. Net neutrality is only one hand on the throat. To get the other hand around the throat, filters would be necessary. Then, the GOP could strangle away.

  74. 74
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @MikeJ:

    Christ. Well, the appopriate response seems to be to ask one’s municipality to provide free Internet access as a public resource. My understanding is that some cities (like Philadelphia) are already doing this. Wouldn’t that solve the problem- essentially murdering Comcast in the process?

  75. 75
    MikeJ says:

    And yes, I know de Laurentiis is related to the famous movie producer, and benefited from that relationship. But she knows a lot about food.

    Plus she’s cute as a button, which is responsible for a lot more unqualified people getting jobs than nepotism ever has been.

    (Not that de Laurentiis is unqualified. On the contrary, I like most of the stuff she makes on TV. )

  76. 76
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Zifnab:

    That said, if the peasants don’t want to revolt, there’s not a lot you can do.

    I’m getting very close to “blame the victim” mode myself with regard to the stupidity and venality of our news media. The consumers have some degree of responsibility for continuing to put up with toxic products decade after decade. In the short run, blame the folks who control content, etc., but in the long run nobody puts a gun to your head and forces you to watch this stuff. This isn’t like “Clockwork Orange” where we all have our eyelids clamped open so we can’t look away. Turn off the damn idiot box.

    The really telling quote in the story at top is ‘It’s possible you haven’t seen “Today” lately’.

    Could they possibly make it any clearer than this? The product is crap. They know it, we know it, everybody with a brain in their head knows it, which is why the folks producing it don’t even bother to hide their contempt for their audience any more. It isn’t worth their trouble to even bother attempting to lie to us about what they are doing. It is what it is. Either turn it off, or admit that you (*) don’t deserve anything better – because you can’t claim that there is any bait-and-switch deception going on here. We passed that point years ago.

    (*) note: the generic you, not you personally.

  77. 77
    Whispers says:

    Tiki Barber was given a job because….he’s Ronde Barber’s twin brother? And Jenna Bush is Barbara Bush’s twin?

    I see…it’s anti-twinism!

  78. 78
    ricky says:

    @raff:

    I don’t begrudge Jenna her talking-bobble-head gig… that’s just the way things work. Cheney, on the other hand…

    And Daddy never got Jenna a cushy job on the government payroll where she got to work alongside Wolfy’s girlfriend at the State Department, either.

  79. 79
    ricky says:

    @Whispers:

    So who plays offense and who plays defense in the Bush twin lineup?

  80. 80
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Giada couldn’t cook her way out of a soup kitchen. But she is cute.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    JK says:

    @raff:

    I’m with raff. The frequent tv appearances of Liz Cheney parroting the same nonsense as her dad is far more offensive and nauseating than what Jenna Bush will be doing.

    I’m also sickened by the sudden stardom of Meagan McCain. I know some people want to embrace her because she’s criticized Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, but she also whines that Obama is getting a free ride from the MSM. Meagan McCain is a loudmouthed, obnoxious jackass just like her make believe maverick dad.

  83. 83
    gwangung says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    That’s what I was thinking of. But we’ll still have Internet Free Montreal blogging away at us. I’ll still be able to access other country’s websites. Net neutrality is only one hand on the throat. To get the other hand around the throat, filters would be necessary. Then, the GOP could strangle away.

    But I think it’s a big piece of their puzzle. Could use it to force similar actions elsewhere.

    Better to cut it off at the pass…

  84. 84
    gwangung says:

    And yes, I know de Laurentiis is related to the famous movie producer, and benefited from that relationship. But she knows a lot about food.

    Plus she’s cute as a button, which is responsible for a lot more unqualified people getting jobs than nepotism ever has been.

    Looks and skills beats just skills, and I doubt few people have a problem with that.

  85. 85
    chopper says:

    bush’s new gig isn’t ‘galling’. what’s galling is just how totally expected it is. this is the media today.

    yeah, i know, its today. still, i wouldn’t expect anything less from the modern media than the absolute lowest common denominator (and come on, if that aint ‘bush’ what is?)

  86. 86
    MikeJ says:

    That’s what I was thinking of. But we’ll still have Internet Free Montreal blogging away at us. I’ll still be able to access other country’s websites. Net neutrality is only one hand on the throat.

    You won’t be able to access anything unless your ISP allows it. We don’t need a government run Great Firewall like China has if your ISP will do it for them.

  87. 87
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @IndieTarheel:

    Oh no! We’ll just have to award her anchor chair to one of her puppies. Luke Russert can come visit the studio and pet her.

  88. 88
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @MikeJ:

    I see. Forgive my ignorance of the subject. It saddens me, though, to find out that my hysterical alarmism is not founded exclusively on my utter ignorance of how the technology works.

    What would it take to get ISPs to pucker up like that? And could local initiatives (like providing city-wide wireless access) defeat such measures?

  89. 89
    Sylvie says:

    Here’s the problem. It’s one thing for the upper classes to give their relatives jobs. They do that everywhere. But to tell people this is just the way the world works in a country that is, at least nominally, committed to the idea of merit and equal opportunity, that signals a slide toward the casual elitism that is just part of the air they breathe in “old” Europe.

  90. 90
    chopper says:

    @Zifnab:

    There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with legacy. If I’m a plumber, and my son is a plumber, it makes sense that he inherits the family business.

    as long as he actually knows his stuff, that is. it makes no sense at all to hand the family business over to someone who doesn’t know it.

    that’s the thing about legacy. it starts with the incorrect assumption that someone is going to be good at something just because his or her parent was.

    hell, in the bush case it isn’t even that. george bush wasn’t really good at much at all.

  91. 91
    Xenos says:

    @MikeJ: Great. We can then go back to the days of FidoNet.

    I think there has been a real cultural change, though. If an American government were to shut down most of the internet, I think people would find a way to build a new one, for political content, at least.

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    you’d know about soup kitchens, since you live in a van down by the river.

  93. 93
    HyperIon says:

    @ironranger: Roxanne Roberts

    a regular on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”

  94. 94
    Ken F says:

    I stopped watching TV “news” years ago, when Barbara Walters interviewed the husband of the woman who drove her car into a lake, drowning her kids. Barabara asked him, apparently without irony, whether he was exploiting the tragedy. Rather than follow them both down the rabbit hole, I switched back to watching hockey, and never returned. I see I haven’t missed anything.

  95. 95
    Fleem says:

    @MikeJ: @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    Sort of an interesting parallel between health care providers and internet providers. Not enough competition in the markets. Captive consumers. Privacy concerns.

    Not sure what conclusion to draw from it, just interesting.

  96. 96
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Fleem:

    The invisible hand of the marketplace touches me inappropriately on a daily basis.

  97. 97
    Interrobang says:

    You’ve got it backwards — net neutrality isn’t the hand on the throat, it’s the opposite of it. Net neutrality says that open protocols and standards have to be respected, that ISPs aren’t allowed to choke some users and not others, and aren’t allowed to interfere with content, in essence keeping alive the historical dictum that “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

    Granted, the telco lobbyists have done a really good job of muddying the issue, but that’s not much of an excuse. On the other hand, if the backbones and infrastructure we’re currently using get choked and clogged by corporations who want to turn the net into television with fewer moving parts, there’s no reason why enterprising geeks with technical skills can’t just build another one to replace it. That’s the nice thing about open standards and protocols, people, and why corporations hate them so much.

  98. 98
    mdh says:

    Why not just hire her dad DIRECTLY to report on the long term effects of “No Child Left Behind?” on America’s schools?

    If she were to be a ’20-soimething lifestyle’ correspondant, i’d be fine, but this is going to be whitewashing of the first order – and I mean first order relative.

  99. 99
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Interrobang:

    Sorry. Like I said, I’m completely ignorant on the subject. I’ve got a basic grasp on what an ISP is, I think; anything beyond that is way over my head. But that doesn’t stop me from looking up at the sky I don’t understand, and worry that it’s falling on me.

  100. 100
    Crashman06 says:

    OT, but horrifying. Pat Buchanan snaps the dial off the crazy volume control. Argues that Hitler didn’t really mean to start WWII. Read it and vomit:

  101. 101
    kay says:

    I never had a problem with the Bush daughters. I have a problem with the Cheney daughter, and her husband, because they were on the public payroll, and are horrible war-mongering ghouls, but that’s different.

    This is the blonde, right? She always looked cheerful and non-controversial. She’s probably a good hire for this sort of thing.

  102. 102
    Zifnab says:

    @chopper:

    that’s the thing about legacy. it starts with the incorrect assumption that someone is going to be good at something just because his or her parent was.

    Well, it starts with the assumption that the progeny will follow in their parents’ footsteps. If you have a plumber’s son who becomes a doctor or a teacher, he’s probably not carrying forward the family trade anyway. If you have a plumber’s son who runs a shitty business, he’s going to go into debt and fail.

    But the TV giants don’t fail. They have the core channels set and serve as gatekeepers of content. And these broadcast frequencies are like ever-flowing gold mines. It doesn’t matter what you put up. People will watch it. And they’ll take their cut in ad dollars.

    So the media barons become a lot like old age land barons. They have their turf staked out. Competition is futile. They get to install whatever petty bureaucrats they want, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

    Unlike the plumber, ABC is never going out of business. At worst, they’ll just get scooped up by another mega-corp if they lose too much money. And all the tools who parroted the old company line get to learn new songs. Cause they’re too god damn valuable. No one is ever going to vacate that real estate. So if you’re the CEO, you can make grizzled old Gruffy McSerious your anchor or you can make Bambi Titsalot the face of your network and it doesn’t fucking matter. People will still watch your show.

  103. 103
    Exurban Mom says:

    Andrea Koppel actually worked her way up the television hierarchy. I remember seeing her as a correspondent for CNN years ago. She’s always projected a real intelligence and knowledge of what she was covering.

    She didn’t get a free pass straight to the top like Jenna. And Luke Russert.

  104. 104
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Crashman06:

    Too stupid for words. Why do liberals have to put up with “appeaser” comments when conservatives have a living, breathing, 70-years-post-hoc appeaser in their midst?

  105. 105
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Crashman06:

    OT, but horrifying. Pat Buchanan snaps the dial off the crazy volume control. Argues that Hitler didn’t really mean to start WWII. Read it and vomit:

    I know that Rush is always going on about how “Roosevelt is dead! But his policies live on!”, but I didn’t think the right wanted to take their attempted rollback of our 1940s era policy decisions to quite that extreme.

  106. 106
    JK says:

    @Crashman06:

    Thanks for this link. You’re 100% correct. Pat Buchannan doesn’t belong on MSNBC. He’s living in a non-reality based universe. You should email this link directly to John Cole.

  107. 107
    Crashman06 says:

    @JK: Yeah, this shifts Pat Buchanan out of the ‘crazy idiot we just ignore’ category into the full blown fascist sympathizer. I know he’s been around a long time, but I wasn’t politically active until 2002 or so; I didn’t know he was this much of a monster.

  108. 108
    Fleem says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    The invisible hand of the marketplace touches me inappropriately on a daily basis.

    Hey, that touch is a privilege, not a right.

  109. 109
    Fleem says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    … so you should lay back and enjoy it.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    Too stupid for words. Why do liberals have to put up with “appeaser” comments when conservatives have a living, breathing, 70-years-post-hoc appeaser in their midst?

    Should make for some interesting repartee the next time Crazy Ol’ Uncle Pat is on the Rachel Maddow show

    [cue video clip of teabag protesters, with signs saying “Obama is Hitler!”]

    Rachel: These people are nucking futs! Imagine comparing a centrist US President with the archetypal emodiment of modern evil..
    Pat: You know, Hitler was a seriously misunderstood fellow…

  112. 112
    Demo Woman says:

    @Crashman06: Wow and he still has a job on TV. This part really got to me

    Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser’s fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez? Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece? Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.

    So what is one to infer from Pat, that the death of millions of Jews was due to Poland and Britain’s arrogance? What a bas.tard. There are times that I actually hope there is a hell.

  113. 113
    Giants fan says:

    For the record, Tiki Barber did an early morning sports cast on local New York TV during his offseasons with the Giants, for several years. His name surely got him a foot in the door for the local gig (probably the Ronde connection), but you can’t say he didn’t put in time learning the, um, “craft” of television news. He was also a solid student in college, graduating with a degree in information systems from UVa. I once heard him explain Moore’s Law.
    I am a bit puzzled about Michael Strahan having his own sitcom, though.

  114. 114
    MikeJ says:

    @Demo Woman: Wow. That sounds as if he thinks the Vichy government was an independent entity. We now know what the yardstick is when rightwingers say the US wasn’t really trying to install a puppet government in Iraq.

  115. 115
    Crashman06 says:

    @Demo Woman: Yeah, that part was extremely despicable.

    That must be it, Pat! If it wasn’t for us rotten allies, continuing to fight a war that Hitler didn’t want, all those millions of people wouldn’t have been systematically executed. Guess it was our fault!

  116. 116
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Just watched “Broadcast News” on my DVR. Wow, that movie is timeless.

  117. 117
    catclub says:

    ThatLeftTurnInABQ@110

    No, no, no.
    Rachel: [Videos of teabaggers with Obama=Hitler signs] So Obama is like Hitler, now do you approve of him?
    Pat: [Head explodes]

  118. 118
    Redshirt says:

    The ISP’s are the weak point.

    You can think of an ISP just like a phone company — it provides much of the hardware and software in your local area, which ties to the national infrastructure, which in turn ties to a global infrastructure.

    Back in the days of dial up, any old person could start an ISP — you just needed phone lines. Not so easy anymore, but still possible.

    I would suspect the crackdown on internet usage or the imposition of filters would happen organically enough, probably due to a law suit or for some legal requirement for data retention. Something like “If you are found to have child-porn on your network, you will face fines of XXX”. This would spur the ISP’s to do what they can to keep child-porn of their networks (a good thing, right?). But once they can or do that, then it’s a simple matter to add some other subject to the filter — terrorism. Who would protest? And then we’re down the slippery slope.

    As for outside the US, while you could use a non-american ISP, ultimately almost all internet traffic in the world is controlled in America by the ROOT DNS servers. These are like the master address books for the internet. Any filtering/monitoring done at the ROOT DNS levels will be worldwide.

  119. 119
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Fleem:

    I can’t. Mrs. McSnufflepuss would get mad.

  120. 120
    gypsy howell says:

    #98 @mdh:

    Ding! ding! ding! Yes, we have a winner.

  121. 121
    freelancer says:

    @Crashman06:

    This should go upfront with a posting of the Hardball video where Kevin James was stumped, not knowing who Neville Chamberlain was after comparing Obama to him, as well as all the Obama = Hitler posters, finished with Buchanan’s defense of the teabaggers

  122. 122
    tripletee says:

    @Crashman06:

    Perhaps emboldened by the indefensible kinds of rhetoric that emanated from some on the Left during the Bush years, Pat Buchanan has arguably stepped over the line by advancing an impassioned -and strangely compelling – defense of Hitler. This line of argument, while perhaps chilling to some, is not surprising in such a politically-charged atmosphere, where the minority Republican Party struggles to make its voice heard over the din of partisan warfare sparked by the Democratic victory last November.

    [/Broder]

  123. 123
    tripletee says:

    Strike-out FAIL. Fucking WordPress.

  124. 124
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    If memory serves, didn’t Buchanan also call Hitler “a man of great personal courage”? About 10 years ago, or so?

  125. 125
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Crashman06:

    Oh. My. God.

  126. 126
    freelancer says:

    @tripletee:

    when using strikeout, avoid using hyphens at all cost. and yes, FUWP.

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:
    It’s not just Buchanan, I’m also reminded of “The Family”

    “He said it’s sort of a totalitarian idea of Christianity and he gave as examples men who he believed understood the way power should be wielded. He actually gave as examples, Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden and Lenin.”

  127. 127
    Jamie says:

    well, I can’t remember if I have ever watched the today show. And their hiring Jenna Bush won’t make me start

  128. 128
    YellowJournalism says:

    OT: A total WTF…I’m reading some education blogs and there’s all this fuss right now over the President’s national address to students on September 8. Education blogs are linking to articles like this: http://pajamasmedia.com/vodkap.....tter-idea/ that encourage parents to keep their kids at home, claiming it’s indoctrination. They point to the activities proposed on the education.gov web site as proof of this, despite the fact that suggested classroom activities and questions are 1) just a suggestion and 2) often included on education web sites like education.gov to use, especially in cases of major current events like the Presdient of the United States giving a big speech. This all leads back to the Obama-as-Hilter/Obama Youth Corps crap.

    The comments section on one blog I go to are filled with people demanding transcripts of the speech beforehand. They’re outraged that the President dare try to make a difference in education. They seem to forget that the previous president was all over our education system. NCLB? Hello? My favorite one:

    “My 4th grader told me yesterday to please let him go to school, let him listen to Obama, and then he would tell the teacher what he thought of the president (which is not much, because he hears about this from his father and I). Part of me wants to let him go and stand up for what is right, the other part of me wants to spoil Obama’s goal of indoctrination and in doing so, I will be making a statement to our school.”

    Yes, lady, because you didn’t just admit to indoctrinating your son into thinking just like you without having actually experienced what Obama will say.

    This just floors me. They are so focused on nitpicking every single thing the President does, even the most innocent thing such as wanting to encourage students to try hard and do well in school. The wingnuttery is out of control.

  129. 129
    freelancer says:

    There is an amazing post as of yet to be written about the head ‘asploding cognitive dissonance embodied in the Conservatives’ sporadic, long-time outspoken admiration for outright fascism, and the current black-helicopter batshits about the Dems turning this country into 1930s Germany, where GOTV organizations and educational/volunteer programs are actually citizen “armies” who simultaneously hate the 2nd amendment and want to deny Health Care to Republicans.

  130. 130
    freelancer says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    LOL Great minds and all that.

  131. 131
    Makewi says:

    With so many things, the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdum of modern American medio-politics.

    Amen. So Jenna should just know her place and slink off into a cave somewhere. She did, after all, have the nerve to be born in the wrong family. Poor girl, you’d almost think she thought she had a right to be an individual. Pathetic.

  132. 132
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Scruffy McSnufflepuss:

    I’m boycotting TV. Hopefully, if enough people do that it will eventually go away.

    Ditto here, since 1991. Alas, it hasn’t yet gone away.

  133. 133
    ironranger says:

    @HyperIon:
    That’s why her name niggled my memory.
    I try to catch Wait, Wait. Today show, I try not to.

  134. 134
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Makewi: Pie is such a versatile food. You can make fruit pies, meat pies, pot pies, and even blackbird pies. While I know you’re partial to trollberry pies, I really prefer blueberry and peach, with just enough honey to bring out the flavor.

  135. 135
    Makewi says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Well it is important to hide from ideas you disagree with. As long as you are being pure and brave in your cocoon, might as well have a tasty treat.

  136. 136
    kay says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Indoctrination into what? Studying in school? In all my years in public school, every single speaker/visitor told us to study hard.

    It’s a video visit to a school. That’s what I thought when I saw it. It’s Famous Speaker Assembly, writ large.

    Stay the hell home, Republicans, but don’t ruin it for everyone else. I always liked assemblies. Anything to break up the routine.

  137. 137
    freelancer says:

    @kay:

    You forget,

    Republicans hate studying. You learn about facts, not about what your gut’s telling you.

  138. 138
    YellowJournalism says:

    @kay: One blog I read today went on and on about indoctrination and Obama pushing his politics on the schools and the children, then admitted freely that if it had been Bush, she would have been slightly annoyed at him taking away from instructional time but would not opt her child out of seeing the speech.

    I need to start putting pillows near the computer so I don’t give myself a concussion banging my head on the table.

  139. 139
    MikeJ says:

    “Kids, I’ve placed a machete under each seat in your school. Your parents are the problem,and the death panels have decided to do away with them. Attack!”

  140. 140
    Makewi says:

    @kay:

    It’s standard fare for POTUS to appear at schools. This is just a larger example of that, as long as he stays away from policy. I don’t think he’ll be able to help himself, but we’ll see.

  141. 141
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Makewi: What policy? Do you really think he’s going to start talking about Afghanistan, torture, or even health care reform? Even during his campaign, the man was all about how students and parents need to start taking responsibility for their education. The only thing I could see him talking about that would offend those on the right is the national day of service planned for Sept. 11. (Another thing I think he’s nitpicked for.)

    Now, this isnt’ to say that I think Obama is doing all that great in regard to education. I think he picked a terrible Secretary of Education, and I don’t agree with his stance on merit pay for teachers based on the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a plan on implimenting it beyond test scores at the moment. But to criticize him for wanting to speak to students about starting the school year right? I just don’t get it.

  142. 142
    Makewi says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    My guess would be something along the lines of “your country needs you to stay in school and get educated so you can grow up and help us figure out this health care thing“. I hope I’m wrong, but we will all just have to wait and see.

  143. 143
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Makewi:

    My guess would be something along the lines of “your country needs you to stay in school and get educated so you can grow up and help us figure out this health care thing“.

    Oh thank goodness. For a minute there I was worried that it was going to be something more like “if you put poison in Grandma’s coffee I’ll use the money we save on paying for her healthcare to fund extra recess and make every day be pizza day.”

  144. 144
    Peter Principle says:

    I don’t see how you can expect the employees of a paper like the Washington Post to object to nepotism in a public forum.

    I mean, what would the boss think?

  145. 145
    gwangung says:

    @Makewi:

    Dude, you’re still throwing up stuff to see what sticks. Gotta do better.

  146. 146
    Skepticat says:

    Another reason–several, actually–for me to launch into my daily “This is why I refuse to own a television” routine.

  147. 147
    kay says:

    @Makewi:

    Obama is an educational success story. Whether conservatives like it or not, the focus on education, overcoming barriers, is an American story. I don’t know if it’s “true”, but that’s the storyline, and it is a consistent storyline in every public school I’ve ever entered.

    I can’t imagine anything more mainstream. It’s a freaking cliche.

    Conservatives are angry because you’ve waged a full-fledged battle to portray the very conventional striver-overachiever-upper middle class Obamas as ‘the other”, and they’re just not. They took a conventional route to success, particularly Michelle Obama, and she’s a conventional upper middle class “mom”. That’s what the hoopla is all about. You can’t put them in this ridiculous fantasy “radical” box you’ve constructed out of thin air.

  148. 148
    kay says:

    @Makewi:

    You know what is consistent? How ungenerous you are on the Right.

    It can’t just be Famous Speaker Assembly, a public school tradition. Obama has to have some Secret Objective, and only conservatives have determined the evil inherent in his every move.

    This pinched, stingy, nitpicky, nasty is coming from somewhere. Are you sure it’s coming from Barack Obama? It takes two sides to wage a war, and you’re up in arms almost daily. with equal outrage for each real or imagined transgression. It’s small, and it’s mean-spirited.

  149. 149
    KokomoJoe says:

    Giada has easily the most appetizing cleavage I’ve ever seen on a cooking show. Talk about presentation? What a dish!

  150. 150
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Hello? The speech is going to be posted at the White House website. Anyone … schools, bars, gyms…can get a live feed by going to the website. Or hey, they can check it out any time.

    Why no outcry when GHWB did it on live TV? To push a political agenda no less.

    Mr. Bush’s speech, which he delivered at Alice Deal Junior High School here, was carried live by the Cable News Network and stations of the Public Broadcasting Service. The White House hired Wetacom Inc., a production company with the local PBS station, WETA, to send in a crew for the telecast. Mr. Bush perched on a stool by a blackboard and read his speech from Teleprompters that were at the back of the classroom, out of the range of the three cameras. . . . ……………………………………………….
    Secretary Alexander had sent letters to all the nation’s 110,000 elementary and secondary schools beforehand, urging them to let students watch the President’s speech.

  151. 151
    CalD says:

    “I mostly agree with the question-answerers. There’s nothing at all unusual about “Today” hiring Jenna and it’s less egregious than Chris Wallace, Cokie Roberts, and Luke Russert, who purport to be something other than spokesmodels.

    …or in Roberts’ case, a David Bowie impersonator.

  152. 152
    Batocchio says:

    Um, I’m assuming Tiki Barber was commenting on sports, or maybe specifically the NFL? He has some qualfications to do so. What are Jenna Bush’s to discuss her subject? Did she excel in school or in teaching? Apparently not.

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