"If it's necessary to do that because the military situation on the ground requires that, we'll do it," he said. "If we have to call in more forces because it's our military judgment that we need more forces, we'll do it."
Abizaid said that right now the current number of troops "are prudent force levels" that are achieving the needed military effect.
There are moments where it becomes painfully apparent that the media elites think that the only thing redeeming about Western culture is its ability to regret its existence. Their dream president is a lip-biting man from Arkansas, traveling the globe apologizing for every historic fault, real or imagined, America has ever committed.
This was exactly their mentality with Pope Benedict XVI over his remarks at the University of Regensburg. One wonders if any of his critics had bothered to read his address, the theme of which was the inseparability of faith and reason. He quoted a Byzantine emperor – who argued that God could never countenance the coercive violence of radical Islam, and therefore a radical Islam invoking God is irrational. Lost on the outraged was the other argument posed by Benedict: A religion that embraces reason but not faith is also bankrupt. That message was directed at radical Catholics. His call was for a serious and urgent "genuine dialogue of cultures and religions" based on faith and reason.
Friday's Good Morning America featured a segment with Robin Roberts in Memphis with three Southern women, identified as Republicans, who are all supposedly "having second thoughts about their party" and now plan to vote for Democrats. But a quick Internet search found that two of the three have backgrounds which raise questions about their fidelity to the GOP. Janna Herbison, identified on screen as "Former Republican turned Democrat," declared: "I used to consider myself to be a Republican." She scolded Republicans: "Don't say they're [Democrats] aligning themselves with the terrorists because they disagree with you. That's un-American." But while Herbison was Press Secretary to Republican Tennessee Governor Donald Sundquist, best known for a failed effort to enact a state income tax, she was also the Press Secretary for the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus. The other, Robin Rasmussen, who insisted that "I voted Republican in every election since I was 18," appears to be on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood for the Memphis area, which doesn't make it impossible for her to be a Republican, but certainly suggests she's long been politically active for a liberal social cause.
Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney today writes the first edition of "Political Action," a new political column in the Times that will run in the paper every Tuesday until the November elections. The first entry is (rather predictably) "The Republican Divide."
"With fewer than 50 days left until Election Day, as many as 40 House and 10 Senate seats are in play, fueling Democratic hopes of capturing power in November. Washington is awaiting polling data that will show how much success the White House has had in trying to put Democrats on the defensive on national security -- and whether that effort has been undercut by the battle among Republicans over what is permissible in interrogating terrorism suspects.
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, well known for slamming conservatives, talked last night with former President Clinton and proceeded to offer him non-stop softball questions. The ex-President plugged his new Clinton Global Initiative program to fight poverty, global warming and support racial reconciliation. (Stewart did not press as to what specifically the project will do.) The tenor of the comedian’s questions can be summed up in this query on what makes Clinton happy:
Stewart: "All right, so what, in your mind, you’ve worked, you’ve worked in government for most of your career. Now you are out and doing private initiatives, these types of things. What’s more effective? What are you having more fun doing and what do you think is more effective?"
Yes, that’s right. Jon Stewart asked the former President what he found "fun," political or private life? It became clear, very early in the program, just how the talk show host differentiated between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Stewart: "We got a fine program for you tonight Former president Bill Clinton will be sitting down with us today. And uh, I'll ask him probably questions about the political climate and the complex issues, and he will be like [high pitched, hysterical voice], duh, I don't know. Oh, no, wait. That's, uh, oh, right, no, this is President Clinton."
On Monday's edition of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central -- the same edition rolling out the red carpet for Bill Clinton promoting his latest Global Initiative talk-a-thon -- Jon Stewart opened his show by trashing conservative columnist Robert Novak over his C-SPAN critique of Stewart as a self-righteous comedian with airs of grandeur. Admitting he's "mean" and "sophomoric," Stewart described Novak as a heartless "vampire demon," a "terrible person," and even an "enemy of American democracy."
New "The View" co-host Rosie O'Donnell recently sparked controversy by saying that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." Her behavior has been so offensive, reports the National Ledger, that she frequently brings conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck to tears on the set.
The transition from Star Jones to Rosie O'Donnell hasn't been easy at "The View," especially not for Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
"She is crying every day," an insider tells us. "No one can control Rosie, and Elisabeth can't contain her feelings. She gets so upset all the time."
Back when I was in college, I was involved in journalism in various capacities, in the classroom and at student newspapers. I couldn't help but notice in each place I went, women far outnumbered men. The Star-Tribune of Minnesota has picked up on a similar trend in the television industry. Men seem to be disappearing:
In TV news these days, a good man is hard to find.
networks, men still rule -- Katie Couric notwithstanding -- but at the
local level, women have taken the lead. Nationally, they account for 57
percent of TV news anchors. [...]
The male disappearing act
starts in the classroom. At the University of Minnesota this fall,
women outnumber men 227 to 125 in the professional journalism major,
which includes broadcasting. Ken Stone, a broadcast journalism
professor who spent 20 years working in radio and TV news, has 10 women
and six men in his advanced reporting class; he said that's as balanced
as it gets.
Stone traces the trend to the 1970s, when women and
minorities protested about domination of the airwaves by white men. One
of his first journalism professors asked the men in his class to stand
up, then told them, "Get a new career, there are too many of you." [...]
Why can't you conservatives be more like this, unelectable? That is the message of HBO's documentary, "Mr. Conservative," profiling the life of Barry Goldwater. Many Democrats are quoted praising Goldwater, which should set off alarm bells that the purpose of this seemingly congratulatory 90-minute film has ulterior motives.
One major quibble: William F. Buckley Jr. is quoted nowhere in this program, which is such a ridiculous omission that viewers, particularly conservatives, will be agape at the oversight. What's the answer? Who knows, although a legion of Democratic admirers - Al Franken, Hillary Rodham Clinton (who campaigned as a "Goldwater Girl" in '64), Sen. Edward Kennedy (his brother John F. Kennedy and Goldwater were close friends, as well as potential presidential rivals) - are quoted. At least George F. Will is his usual eloquent self.
Al Franken's praising Goldwater? Does Franken admire Goldwater's racial policies, or does he admire Goldwater's embarassing defeat at the hands of Lyndon Johnson?
The essence of the documentary: longing for that old-style conservative who would readily wear a target for liberal potshots.
Well sports fans, the plot is getting so thick you can drive a truck over it. TV Newser is reporting that Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time” who went on quite a rant Friday night about being denied his free speech rights by CBS, might be mistaken. According to the New York Daily News (emphasis mine): “‘If I or my representatives got it wrong about how the 'Free Speech' segment of the 'CBS Evening News' is, sorry, our bad,’ Maher said yesterday in a statement. ‘I'm ready, willing and able to speak about the topic I originally suggested.’"
Isn’t that special? In fact, according to Vaughn Ververs at CBS’s “The Public Eye,” the “Evening News” is in no way opposed to addressing religion:
Breaking in a parallel universe somewhere: NBC is set to air live footage of actor Jean Reno portraying the Islamic prophet Mohammed engaging in sex acts with another man.
In our real world, according to Matt Drudge, the network is going to be airing a "special" concert featuring over-the-hill singer Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (aka Madonna) singing her song "Live to Tell" while standing on a disco-style crucifix and sporting a glittery pretend crown of thorns. It's a repeat of shows she's done in Europe.
Frankly, I have to yawn at this point. There's nothing new here. If these Hollywood types had any real guts or edge, they'd do PR stunts in the style of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America." But since they and Ciccone are pseudo artists, that's not likely to happen.
Note to the professionally offended: I am not advocating ridiculing any particular religion here. Just saying what Ciccone et al. would do if they ever thought about living up their supposed ideals.
With the election now less than 50 days away, I thought it might be fun to highlight some late evening/morning news items that the media might chose to ignore. After all, in the past three business days, the press have chosen to mostly ignore plummeting natural gas and heating bills as reported here, and plummeting gas prices as reported here. What might represent their most absurd negligence today?
Well, here are two obvious candidates; you decide. First up has to be the just released results of a USA Today/Gallup poll indicating that President Bush’s approval rating has risen to 44 percent (highest in a year), and that likely voters are now evenly split between Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming elections (details to follow).
In the course of the last few weeks Keith Olbermann's "Special Comments" have become a Countdown staple in which the host plays to his Daily Kos demographic with vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush. I thought Olbermann had reached the nec plus ultra of nastiness with his suggestion a couple weeks ago that the Bush administration represented "a new type of fascism." I might have been wrong. MRC's Brad Wilmouth has comprehensively documented Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment' of last night. In the course of those comments, Olbermann chose to invoke, of all things, the people's right to overthrow a tyrannical government.
The online chat sessions with Washington Post reporters Monday at washingtonpost.com had a few revealing answers. In the daily politics chat, reporter Shailagh Murray seemed to disappoint the Post's natural audience by suggesting Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold was too liberal to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. This spurred Murray to turn around and find today's GOP is way beyond Ronald Reagan's conservatism:
Ames, ia: Re: Feingold. You may be right, but I recall when Ronald Reagan was universally considered "too conservative."
Shailagh Murray: That just shows you how polarized politics has become. Reagan would practically be a moderate today.
Remember last year at this time when you couldn’t turn on your television set without coming across a story on rising gasoline prices? Well, a year later, gas is now $2.50 a gallon, down 50 cents in just one month, twenty-nine cents lower than last year, and the broadcast network news programs couldn’t care less. As reported by Reuters Monday:
The freefall in U.S. gasoline prices continued as the average pump price dropped 12 cents over the last week to $2.50 a gallon, the government said on Monday.
The fall comes on the heels of an 11-cent drop the previous week.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline is down 29 cents from a year ago and the lowest since late March, according to the federal Energy Information Administration's weekly survey of service stations.
Last September, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, the media regularly warned of rising natural gas prices and exploding heating bills. Yet, when these same energy costs plummeted a year later – and utility companies announced large reductions in charges to consumers – the networks paid little attention to the news.
On September 14, natural gas prices declined to their lowest point in two years. As reported by the Associated Press: “October natural gas futures fell 55.7 cents to settle at $4.892 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The last time front-month natural gas futures settled below $5 was Sept. 16, 2004.”
Well sports fans, the plot is still thickening. TVNewser reported on Monday that a fellow comedian has responded to Bill Maher’s “free speech” rant reported by NewsBusters here and here.
To refresh memories, Maher said on his Friday evening “Real Time” program “if CBS News doesn’t understand what free speech is, what am I supposed to expect of Fox News?” Deliciously, someone who has worked for both HBO and FNC had an answer for Maher:
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" premiered on NBC tonight, and it looks like more of the same old, same old. Judd Hirsch's character, in charge of the Saturday Night Live-like show flew into a snit when the network standards and practices exec forced him to pull a skit called "Crazy Christians".
In the latest of a series of "Special Comments" attacking members of the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Monday Countdown show to make an over-the-top demand for an apology from President Bush for his recent comments that it was "unacceptable to think" the actions of America could be compared to those of terrorists. As recounted by NewsBusters on Friday, Olbermann took an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark by Bush at his Friday press conference, which was more likely intended to mean that it was "ridiculous to claim" a comparison between America and terrorists, and blew it out of proportion as if the comment were an attack on the right to think, and therefore a grave threat to democracy.
On Monday Olbermann chastized Bush for his "unrestrained fury" which the MSNBC host compared to that of a "thwarted three-year-old" who "demonizes dissent." Olbermann fretted about Bush taking America on a "fearful path," and worried about "what will next be done" with Bush's critics in the future. Harkening back to Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott meeting with former President Richard Nixon to convince him to resign, Olbermann suggested that Republicans similarly need to convince Bush to apologize. (Transcript follows)
Video clip of last two-thirds of Olbermann's eight-minute diatribe (4:45): Real (3 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (3.6 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (1.6 MB)
Often, the warmth of media memories toward a politician hinge on where they stood, or where they ended up standing. In Monday's Washington Post, TV critic Tom Shales reviewed the HBO debut of the documentary "Goldwater on Goldwater," made by C.C. Goldwater, the granddaughter of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, loaded with liberal experts who lauded his resistance to the religious right. Shales sermonized:
Goldwater, who died in 1998, was the man who defined conservatism for more than one generation and who essentially split with the conservative movement when it became allied with pseudo-religious extremists. To Goldwater, the essence of conservatism was that government should stay out of people's lives as much as possible, and he was "appalled," his granddaughter says, by the "social agenda" of the far-right-wingers who seek to control the Republican Party now.