After a run of sordid beauty-queen stories, it doesn't get much more refreshing -- or inspiring -- than this. A beauty queen lays aside her crown not because of scandal but . . . to serve her country. Meet Jessica Gaulke, who has given up her crown as Minnesota's Queen of the Lakes because her National Guard unit has been activated. Jessica is scheduled for training at Fort Hood, TX and then deployment to Iraq.
The story gets even more dramatic. In the course of her interview by NBC's Natalie Morales on this morning's "Today," Jessica announced that a week from now she will be marrying her fiance.
"Today" generally played the story in positive terms as the graphic it displayed during much of the interview, "Brave Beauty", suggests. Still, Morales couldn't help but inject NBC's official line on the war into the interview:
"Do you have any reservations about going there, especially as you see how it's basically escalated into civil war there?"
Cam Edwards at NRANews.com offered something interesting to add to the Geoff Dickens list of Matt Lauer's frequent episodes of anti-gun bias. In August 2000, Lauer interviewed Knoxville, Tennessee auto dealer Greg Lambert about how apparently outrageous it was that Lambert offered guns as part of his car sales pitch. (I break down laughing when Lauer says "Even children who come to your dealership are going to get a free water pistol, and some people say that's just going too far.")
But here's the Greg Lambert story Matt Lauer hasn't done. In November 2006, Lambert used his own gun to defend himself against a 19-year-old man who came to buy a car, and then decided to hold him up. When faced with Lambert's gun, the man fled and was later arrested. (A Knoxville TV station offered early details here.) The Knoxville News Sentinel then added that the county sheriff was charging the assailant with a murder that occurred ten hours earlier.
The detritus of Nancy Pelosi's imperial celebrations have barely been cleared, and already at least one member of the liberal punditry, Robert Kuttner, is demanding that the new Dem majority do more of what Dems do best: tax and spend.
It's as if one of the Smithsonian's dinosaurs, taxasaurus democratae, patiently gathering dust all these last dozen years, had suddenly roared to life, broken from its exhibit, and began slouching toward Capitol Hill to be reborn. To mix a metaphor and a poem.
Annotated excerpts from Kuttner's impassioned plea, Get Serious Democrats, from this morning's Boston Globe:
It was hard to tell what was making Andrea Mitchell angrier: Bill O'Reilly's assertions that NBC has a liberal bias, or his repeated and perhaps ungentlemanly references to the lady's "30 years" of experience. In any case, the look on Andrea's face was unmistakable: she was not the happiest of campers.
Mitchell appeared on this evening's Factor for purposes of touting her new book. But kudos to O'Reilly for taking the occasion to directly confront a leading NBC light with the network's undeniable leftward tilt - which Mitchell proceeded to flatly deny.
This is must-see video, which you can see here, but let me entice you with these two tidbits.
NBC's Martin Savidge began a Friday story, on the rising murder rate in New Orleans, by pointing out how “in the last week more Americans have died in New Orleans than in Iraq.” Savidge explained in his NBC Nightly News piece: “Since December 29th, there have been eight military deaths. In the Big Easy, there have been 14 murders. Among the latest victims, Helen Hill, a 36-year-old mother shot in her home in front of her husband and two-year-old.” Savidge bemoaned how the Crescent City “killers are growing more brazen, striking in broad daylight, using assault rifles, even with police just 30 yards away. And witnesses are refusing to talk.”
Brian Williams introduced Savidge's report by showing the headline on the front page of Friday's New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Killings bring the city to its bloodied knees.” (PDF image of the front page)
How do you know when things have jumped ugly at Hardball? When host Chris Matthews himself has to jump in to separate the warring parties, even warning a Dem consultant to lay off the ad hominems.
Bob Shrum is always spoiling for a fight. In contrast, Ron Christie is normally mild-mannered and affable. But the former aide to Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had definitely eaten his Wheaties this afternoon.
The video portrays things beyond my poor power of description, but the fur began to fly when Shrum accused Christie of using talking points. Things went downhill from there.
I'd say Christie landed the single most-telling blow of the evening. Shrum gave him an opening, calling for the cut-off of funding for the Iraq war at a date certain, claiming "this is how we've always ended wars. We honored Gerald Ford last week for helping to end the war in Vietnam. And that's how it was ended - the funding was cut off."
Christie pounced: "Now you're going to tell me that's how we end wars? We actually end wars when we achieve our objectives that we've set militarily."
I know, you thought things must be pretty darn good for the economy when you were spending an hour circling mall parking lots for a space so you could plunk down about 900 bucks on everything from a Nintendo Wii to a Tickle Me Elmo T.M.X.
Well, Katie Couric wants you to know that the 2006 Christmas shopping season was just "ho ho hum."
ABC, once again, tries to have it both ways on global climate change. As Noel Sheppard blogged back in November, Good Morning America hyped heat waves last summer as symptomatic of global warming. When reports came out that October was unusually cool, and the hurricane season was unusually quiet, the same reporter blogged on the ABC News website that "weather is not climate." Are you following this? Weather is climate, then it’s not. Now, with an unusually mild winter, weather is now climate again in the ABC News world.
On Friday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer questioned again whether the mild winter in the eastern half of the United States is a result of global warming. Sawyer started her global warming hype stating, "And [climate change] can make a warm winter even warmer and more repetitively warm as we face the years coming up."
This week, the Democrats certainly got their fair share of good press as they took control of the Congress. Looking back at the evening newscasts from the first week of January 1995, it’s interesting that the Republicans got fairly positive coverage on January 4, the day they ended 40 years of Democratic control of Congress. “This was the country at its best, making a peaceful political transition while elsewhere in the world men are killing one another in the name of freedom and unity,” ABC’s Peter Jennings optimistically intoned that night.
But the GOP honeymoon was not long-lasting. The very next night, ABC’s World News Tonight featured an interview with President Bill Clinton where Jennings suggested that the Clinton’s problem was that voters were unaware of the fantastic accomplishments of the Democratic administration. And then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown offered a lengthy report designed to rebut the very premise of the Republican platform, arguing that conservative voters don’t appreciate all the wonderful services they receive for their federal tax dollars.
NBC's Matt Lauer celebrated 10 years at Today this morning and to be sure his run as co-anchor is chock full of biased interviews and liberal slants on a range of issues from the environment to the war on terror but a review of Lauer's record indicates one issue stands out as a particular obsession of Lauer's - guns. Whenever the issue of gun control was hot in the news Lauer could be counted on to push his guests for the harshest restrictions on the Constitutional right to bear arms. On September 5, 2002 Lauer asked then NRA President Charlton Heston: "Have you ever gotten up one morning, read the newspaper or seen the news about a particularly horrific crime or event that involved a shooting and thought even for a second, I may be on the wrong side of this issue?" And when asked by an interviewer in 2000 if he could ask Bill Clinton just two questions, Lauer eschewed impeachment, declaring: "It wouldn't be about [Monica Lewinsky]. I'd ask, 'What are you going to do about guns? Why not make this issue one of your legacies?''
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper began the Thursday edition of his "AC: 360" program by announcing that he intended to "keep them [the Democrats] honest." A few seconds later, reporter Dana Bash described Nancy Pelosi’s elevation to Speaker as "a moment to savor." For everyone? Ms. Bash elaborated, saying that portents of Democratic power could be seen everywhere, including the appearance of Hollywood celebrities and the sight of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert sitting in the back of the chamber:
Anderson Cooper: "Day one for lawmakers who are promising a whole host of legislation in their first 100 hours of work. We're here tonight to help keep them honest. So, throughout the hour, we will be looking at how Democrats hope to make law. First, though, CNN's Dana Bash on how they are making history."
Dana Bash: "A moment to savor -- Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel and, with it, power for the Democrats, an ambitious agenda, but, today, history, the first female Speaker, second in line to be president."
The distinctly liberal Dan Froomkin writes the "White House Briefing" column for the Washington Post's web site. Here, in its entirety, is the last item in Froomkin's Friday column:
How long did your New Year's Resolutions last?
Bush's didn't make it a day.
Bush was telling reporters last week about how his thoughts were with the troops when he volunteered: "People always ask me about a New Year's resolution -- my resolution is, is that they'll be safe. . . . "
The Department of Defense reports: "Sgt. Thomas E. Vandling Jr., 26, of Pittsburgh, Pa., died Jan. 1 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on combat patrol."
It’s really marvelous to watch a member of the media get slapped around, especially on their own turf. Such was certainly the case on Thursday’s “Today” show when co-host Meredith Vieira tried to catch multibillionaire Donald Trump in a “Why are you talking about Rosie O’Donnell” trap. Even though Vieira claimed to know Trump “for a while,” she dramatically underestimated his ability to dance between the raindrops and demonstrate to the audience why he could buy and sell her a thousand times over (video available here, hat tip to Hot Air).
The pummeling came early and often after Vieira asked, “Why would you reduce yourself to this kind of mudslinging with Rosie O'Donnell?” After Trump gave a reasonable answer, Vieira said, “But is it dirt.” And that’s when the fun began, as Trump appropriately responded:
Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, kisses Miss Piggy who popped out of a cake to surprise him during his 10th anniversary show, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Lauer has been co-anchor of 'Today' since January 6, 1997. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Matt Lauer, left, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, is embraced by the show's former co-host Bryant Gumbel during Lauer's 10th anniversary show, in New York, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Lauer has been co-anchor of 'Today' since January 6, 1997 when he replaced Gumbel. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
On a recent episode of rightANGLE, a current-affairs TV talk show I host, I had the opportunity to interview Charles "Cully" Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs. While Stimson has responsibility for detainees world-wide, much of our discussion focused on those held at Guantanamo Bay -- Gitmo.
Observed Stimson: "We've had over 2,000 journalists visit Gitmo. People who go and see it for themselves realize it's almost Alice in Wonderland - down is up and up is down. The caricature of Guantanamo is exactly the opposite of the reality of Guantanamo. Detainees at Gitmo are treated humanely, in accordance with Common Article Three of the Geneva Convention."
Dana Milbank's column in the WashPost today does occasionally dare to unwrap little tidbits that won't please Democrats. In the midst of yesterday's Pelosi-palooza, he chose instead to cover the Senate swearing-in. He reported that Senate President Pro Tem Robert Byrd was effusive at being sworn in yesterday, yelling "Hallejujah!" And "Yeah man!" Milbank added:
"His colleagues were amused. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) at one point pretended to tilt a bottle into his mouth, though it was unclear whether Byrd was the target of that gesture."
Milbank reported Reid was not only overshadowed by the new female House Speaker, but by Senate spouse Bill Clinton, who attracted a wave of press attention by using the bathroom in the Senate press gallery.
Geraldo Rivera had it in for both businesses big and small as he attacked them and conservatives over minimum wage and compensation packages on last night's Geraldo At Large. During his final commentary, on the Fox News syndicated program, Rivera found conservatives' resistance to a minimum wage increase, "deeply troubling," and claimed it exposed "a cancer at the very heart of capitalism," compared to the "obscene fortunes" made by "mediocre business executives." Rivera then proclaimed his "belief in free enterprise," but invited on Rep. Barney Frank to spew this socialistic propaganda: "We are talking about a very real inequity in our society where a very small number of people are monopolizing almost all the increased wealth and most people are getting none of it." To expose inflated compensation packages Rivera singled out former Home Depot exec Robert L. Nardelli, calling him a "loser," but perhaps Rivera shouldn't be so quick to attack the overpaid given that his own employer, Fox News, just axed his show.
The new year may have just begun, but members of the media are relying on time-tested bias to attack conservatives and Republicans. Chris Matthews recently slimed Fox News host Bill O’Reilly by linking him to such despotic leaders as Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
During the funeral of President Gerald Ford, Katie Couric attacked the Reverend Billy Graham for being "remarkably partisan." A "Time" magazine correspondent slammed the departed Ford for not criticizing the Iraq war publically, calling it "unpardonable."
A groundbreaking study of 1,946 male veterans of World War II and Korea suggests that vets with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are at greater risk of heart attacks as they age.
The conclusion: war is bad for your health.
Wow. Wonder how much taxpayer money was wasted on THAT study!?
At least our veteran's aren't so stupid that they wouldn't have been able to know it all upfront, without a "study".
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out," said John Oliveira of New Bedford, Mass., a former Navy public affairs officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, I certainly don't want to make light of the problems of coping that our veterans confront upon returning from war. Robert E. Lee once said that it is good that war is so horrible or we'd get too fond of it and he knew whereof he spoke.
People are vastly different and, whereas some may never experience much discomfort or anguish from their war service, others are bothered with the mental images for the rest of their lives. And we, as a society, should be observant and responsive to the needs of our returning heroes even as they advance into old age.