Monday, April 30, 2007

An Untruthful Tenet

Former CIA Director George Tenet got some of his facts screwed up in his interview on 60 Minutes last night.

Here's an interesting revelation from William Kristol at the Weekly Standard:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has now learned of a second, more stunning error in Tenet's book (which is due to appear in bookstores tomorrow). According to Michiko Kakutani's review in Saturday's Times,

On the day after 9/11, he [Tenet] adds, he ran into Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative and the head of the Defense Policy Board, coming out of the White House. He says Mr. Perle turned to him and said: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility."

Here's the problem: Richard Perle was in France on that day, unable to fly back after September 11. In fact Perle did not return to the United State until September 15. Did Tenet perhaps merely get the date of this encounter wrong? Well, the quote Tenet ascribes to Perle hinges on the encounter taking place September 12: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday." And Perle in any case categorically denies to THE WEEKLY STANDARD ever having said any such thing to Tenet, while coming out of the White House or anywhere else.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Concealed Weaponry

Just a few thoughts and comments related to the horrific Virginia Tech shootings.

  1. The Press was horrid.  They immediately jumped on the release of videos by the madman killer.  I was traveling on business at the time, and the first thing that came to my mind was "why are they giving this madman any press coverage - all attention should be on the victims, their parents, and their fellow students and friends."  Such madmen shall go nameless on this blog.
  2. The tragic incident has triggered a discussion on gun control.  Students at Utah State are allowed to carry concealed weapons.  A recent editorial by a student there describes his confidence that such an event is less likely to occur where people could defend themselves.  I agree with that.  Had the madman known his spree was about to be truncated by someone equally matched in firepower, it may have changes his approach at least, and lives could have been spared.
  3. In discussions on this topic, I have referred friends to a very recent incident in downtown Salt Lake City (coincidentally) where another madman - possibly someone sympathetic to terrorists - started shooting innocents in a restaurant around Valentines Day.  Fortunately an off duty police officer carrying a concealed weapon was also in the restaurant.  Though he could not personally subdue him, he was able to minimize his damage and to hold him at bay until police arrived.  The police had to take the madman out.

So, if anything, the case strengthens to the idea of letting law abiding citizens with guns available in all places at all times, and especially as we begin to become a society facing greater dangers from terrorism.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Insurgency of the Humorless

Upon the demise of Don Imus and his CBS and MSNBC sponsored radio program, Imus in the Morning, I have reflected on my own behaviors.

You see, I often liked to listen to Don Imus.  His icon busting approach to politics, politicians and media personalities was amusing to me.  He made fun of just about everybody.  In my view, he treated everyone the same, with derision.  He made fun of himself every day.  His cohorts would often refer to him as looking dead or dying.  It was running joke.

Imus' views were pretty mainstream.  He was against the Iraq war, though he often had Sen. John McCain on his show, whom he admired as a patriot and war hero.  But he gave equal time to Sen. John Kerry, who he likewise felt was a war hero.

So Imus was no conservative.  But a media watch group that listens in on conservative talk shows like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (I don't consider O'Reilly a conservative by the way) happened to be listening in early that April morning to hear Imus utter the words "nappy,,,"  They were monitoring his show not because he is conservative, but because he often has conservatives on his show.

Friday's WSJ has the chain of events thereafter, and it is easy to see how things got out of control.  In fact, a lot had to do with the fact that Imus, realizing how his words were being taken, wanted to sincerely apologize, and by apologizing, brought more and more attention to himself and his whole approach and philosophy of radio entertainment.

I agree with Michael Medved, that the whole thing got way out of whack, and that the reaction was far worse than it should have been.

In fact, I have taken notice of similar sarcastic remarks on ordinary network TV shows.  Only the remarks were about other cultures, but similarly derisive, and actually, similarly amusing.

I am an Italian American, and Imus frequently referred to us as Mafia.  His characters on his show, Al Tomatoes, even Bo Deitl, often made fun of Italians.  I found it amusing.

But as I say, in retrospect, it was course, and finding humor in such things made me course, and less likely to see how others would be offended even if I thought they should have thicker skin, and be more self deprecating.  Who am I to require them to get a joke??!!

But I understand that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two who have never removed a speck out of their own eye, let alone the beams in others' eyes, had actually insisted upon the awful ritual, and placed the Rutgers girls in a tight spot, to which they probably reluctantly complied - but they were used, and by very, very morally frail men who had no standing in my book to complain about Imus, though they probably wanted to get back at him, since they were the regular brunt of jokes on his program.

I must say these men are humorless, and so are many of us who can't stand to be made fun of.  But I agree that we should be a more sensitive nation - but let us ALL be sensitive, not just a select few.  Though I prefer the humor, and I suspect Imus will be back, stronger and more supported by his listeners than ever, probably on Satellite radio, but so be it.

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