Newsweek's year-end Interview Issue included a brief interview with Lori Berenson -- but never provided the reader any context besides the title "Freed Peruvian Prisoner." That might give the wrong impression: Berenson is an American communist who traveled to Peru and allied herself with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), and rented a house in Lima they could use as a headquarters and used press credentials as a cover to scrutinize the halls of Congress and facilitate an eventual attack to hold the entire Peruvian congress hostage. She was imprisoned in 1995 and released in May. None of this context was included for the reader:
What’s it like being labeled a terrorist?
I don’t consider myself a terrorist. I think saying someone is a criminal is enough. It’s not helpful to look for ways of qualifying our enemies in drastic terms instead of trying to figure out exactly what we’re faced with.
What’s your take—are the things you did good or bad?
There are things I could have done differently, but that’s part of my history, and I have to assume the consequences. I don’t regret what I’ve done, because I don’t think my intentions were bad. My intentions were positive, whatever that’s worth.
Do Peruvians have the wrong impression of you?
Oh, I think most of them don’t know me at all, because they think I’m associated with bombs and horrendous attacks. I’ve never killed anyone, never harmed anyone, never done anything to cause physical damage to anyone. And I’m sorry that I am seen as a person who would do that.
Someone finally -- finally! -- has drawn the obvious correlation between NFL quarterback Michael Vick's killing of animals in an illegal dog-fighting ring and the monstrous injustices committed against blacks during slavery and the civil rights movement.
What's hardly surprising is who's making the connection -- Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC's go-to gal for all things racial, appearing last night on "The Rachel Maddow Show" with guest host Bill Wolff to discuss President Obama praising the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick a second chance after serving time in prison and Tucker Carlson saying on Fox News that Vick should have been executed.
Harris-Perry, as is her wont, sought to put matters in historical perspective (video after page break) --
President Obama made a set of recess appointments to get around Senate confirmation yesterday, including a new ambassador to Syria, reversing the Bush administration's decision to withdraw an ambassador after the assassination of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri. Obama also went around the Senate to give Attorney General Eric Holder a deputy, a number-two named James Cole. Who is James Cole? The networks never reported on Cole's nomination in 2010 -- this Justice Department isn't the least bit newsworthy, compared to the complete pounding the networks gave Alberto Gonzales and John Ashcroft in the Bush years.On Fox, Sean Hannity warned about his views back on June 16:
All right, this president sure knows how to pick them. The Anointed One's nominee to be the number two at the Department of Justice thinks that 9/11 is similar to any other domestic crime. In a 2002 article James Cole wrote, quote, "Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime including countless acts of rape, child abuse and murder. The acts of September 11th were horrible, but so are these other things."
I can hardly wait for this guy to get to the Department of Justice.
In the Bush years, liberals worried out loud about how our war on terrorism was destroying our reputation among our noble socialist allies in Europe. But in the Obama years, they are showing their old colors. The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel delighted in Barney Frank's idea that our NATO alliance with Europe is strategically worthless and our spending on it should be slashed:
"These kind of restrictions on domestic spending with unlimited spending for the war -- and you always have to talk about both -- is a great mistake," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told The Huffington Post last week. "And the liberal community's got to focus more on Afghanistan, Iraq, NATO. NATO is a great drain on our treasury and serves no strategic purpose."
When you're subbing for Ed Schultz on MSNBC, the race to the bottom is apparently irresistible . . .
Cenk [pronounced, I hasten to add, "Jenk," thus adding to the headline's alliteration] broke out a dubious double-entendre this evening when speaking of John Bolton. Describing the ambassador's allegedly bellicose tendencies, Cenk claimed that, if he could, Bolton would "like to invade Uranus."
The next two years, more than the last two even, depend on President Barack Obama. While conservatives and fiscal hawks pin their hopes on the newly elected House members to trim the Federal government, nothing will happen if President Obama vetoes.
There are few things that can surpass the self-conscious weirdness of a Lady Gaga video. One would be the Daily Kos blog analyzing a Lady Gaga video as a "Fascist Recruitment Tool." The blogger Vets74 called Lady Gaga's video for the song "Alejandro" the "Worst MTV Video of 2010." Since a lot of leather-wearing dudes goose-step around Gaga, it is dubbed "Triumph of the Will II." Why is this somehow comparable to fascism?
Worldwide success based on black leather, woman-hating Corporatism. Overt Nazi recruiting gets pushed to the center of pop culture.
It seems more like the Saturday Night Live satire "Sprockets" than "Springtime for Hitler."
Michael Moore, in his Christmas Message to his readers, cited a quote by William Rivers Pitt who is best known to the world as one of the perpetrators, along with Jason Leopold and Marc Ash of TruthOut, of the journalistic hoax that Karl Rove had been indicted on May 12, 2006. Here is Moore quoting Pitt who is quoting without attribution Douglas Adams in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy":
I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas (or a Merry Everything) and hope you are all well today.
Here's a good thought from the writer William Rivers Pitt:
"Before Santa and presents and shopping and all the attendant Christmas (stuff) got involved, this holiday was enshrined to commemorate a guy who got nailed to a tree for daring to tell people to be kind to one another. If you have two cloaks, He said, give one away. Remember those who have less than you, be charitable, be good, be merciful."
Clearly, our president is not doing his fair share in the fabled War on Christmas. If only he'd muttered a begrudging "Happy Holidays," the celebration of bitter wingnuts would have decked the proverbial halls with boughs of conspiracy holly.
Not only that, Barack and Michelle Obama discuss love, peace and redemption. Then they salute the military and their families, and urge Americans to volunteer to serve one another and find volunteer opportunities at serve.gov.
Why, it's almost as if the two of them believe there actually may be more to the holiday season than ginning up the culture wars and buying obscene amounts of useless crap.
In an interview in Sunday's Parade magazine with former ABC correspondent Lynn Sherr, Oprah Winfrey refused to express disappointment with Barack Obama. Sherr asked "Can I ask about President Obama? Are you concerned, disappointed?" Oprah grandly suggested Obama saved us all from a second Great Depression:
No. I think that no one understands until you’ve been in that seat the enormous pressure to please and satisfy everybody. And I think instead of being grateful for where we are and what he has done, we’ve forgotten that we were on the brink of a depression when he took over this office. And as everybody celebrates the holiday season and sits around with their families, regardless of your circumstance, we could’ve had breadlines. How soon we forget that.
As NewsBusters readers are well aware, vulgarian comedienne Kathy Griffin spends a lot of time bashing the Palins.
On Thursday's "Late Late Show," she told Craig Ferguson, "Half the fun is knowing I will irritate Elisabeth Hasselbeck and then maybe the other ladies at “The View” as well as hopefully Fox News's Bill O'Reilly (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It seems that every year, American pop culture continues to push the envelope of what is acceptable in society, and 2010 was no different. From Cee-Lo Green’s hit “F**k You” to Enrique Iglesias’ new song set to release next year titled, “I’m F**king You” the “F” word is going mainstream. One has to wonder if the media will ask the question: Is there anything attention-seekers won’t include in a song?
Iglesias is an internationally recognized artist famous for his fairly tame, catchy romantic pop tunes, such as the smashing single “Hero” which topped the UK charts in 2001. But just ten years later, Iglesias has decided to seek more fame with a raunchy new song, set to debut in 2011 called “Tonight (I’m F**king You).” The boundary-pushing lyrics include:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – especially if you’re expecting a little extra naughtiness from mildly attractive celebrity women. Despite the original spiritual message of Christmas and typically cold weather, female Hollywood goddesses have taken to greeting loved ones with Christmas cards featuring themselves in skimpy outfits and sultry poses.
What would a Christmas card from Paris Hilton be without the hotel heiress donning a low-cut dress and her signature pout? Well, it wouldn’t be a Christmas card from Paris Hilton. Her 2010 card features her in a shimmery low cut, yet high-hemmed halter dress, arms above her head, in a pose fit for GQ with the simple words “Merry Christmas” in the bottom right hand corner. Nothing says “the miracle of Christ’s birth” like that.
On today's Style section front page, Washington Post theater reviewer Peter Marks gave unqualified praise for "Oy Vey In a Manger," a production at the Jewish Community Center in Northwest D.C. that features irreverent parodies of traditional Christmas and Chanukah songs in a ribald fashion:
Don they now their gay apparel! In an ecumenical display of wicked joie de vivre, the Kinsey Sicks are sending up everything that's holy in "Oy Vey in a Manger," a raunchily audacious declaration that nothing about the holidays is sacred.
If you haven't made the acquaintance of the Kinsey Sicks, it's high time you did. (Warning: for immature mature audiences only.) They're at Theater J through Jan. 2, and while other festive events may be decked out in red and green, theirs is of a bluer variety.
It's all good, the humor is equal-opportunity, offensive to Jews and Christians, Marks approvingly writes:
In case someone hadn’t discovered The Huffington Post is a leftist website, there’s a new slide show and poll asking what will cause the apocalypse in 2012? The leading votegetter right now is “Sarah Palin becomes President of the United States.” They promoted their poll with this copy:
According to the Mayan calendar, the world will end on December 21, 2012. Considering we only have two years left of life, it is only natural to consider how the world will eventually destroy itself.
What cosmic event will tip destiny over the edge? Will it be Justin Bieber turning 18? Or Sarah Palin becoming president of the United States? Vote on this below!
In Tuesday's New York Times, Larry David, of "Seinfeld" fame, tried his hand at political commentary. The attempt was pretty funny, if not in the sense it was intended. David should probably stick to his more traditional brand of comedy.
The column was a sarcastic jab at Congressional Republicans' deal with President Obama to extend current income tax rates. David incorrectly, if predictably, called the maintenance of static tax rates a "tax cut," and it only went downhill from there.
Now that openly gay men and women will be able to serve in the U.S. military, will liberal Ivy League institutions that shunned military Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs work to quickly welcome them back to campus?