Story #1 Wagging the Dog. Sabre-rattling by the Retard-in-Chief. Hold up...I thought the Iranians were Shiites, right? So aren't they helping the same folks our dumb asses put in charge? It's the Sunnis who are the enemy, correct? Oh damn, I'm so confused. But hey...details, details. Saddam didn't have WMDs nor did he have shit to do with 9-11, but who cares?! We need to just shut up, turn off our brains and support our President:
WASHINGTON - Deeply distrustful of Iran, President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens.
Bush's warning was the latest move in a bitter and more public standoff between the United States and Iran. The White House expressed skepticism about Iran's plans to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq. The United States has accused Iran of supporting terrorism in Iraq and supplying weapons to kill American forces.
"If Iran escalates its military actions in Iraq to the detriment of our troops and - or innocent Iraqi people, we will respond firmly," Bush said in an interview with National Public Radio.
The president's comments reinforced earlier statements from the White House.
"If Iran wants to quit playing a destructive role in the affairs of Iraq and wants to play a constructive role, we would certainly welcome that," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. But, he said, "We've seen little evidence to date (of constructive activities) and frankly all we have seen is evidence to the contrary."
Sharply at odds over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, Washington and Tehran are arguing increasingly about Iraq. American troops in Iraq have been authorized to kill or capture Iranian agents deemed to be a threat. "If you're in Iraq and trying to kill our troops, then you should consider yourself a target," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week.
Iran's plans in Iraq were outlined by Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi in an interview with The New York Times. He said Iran was prepared to offer Iraqi government forces training, equipment and advisers for what he called "the security fight," the newspaper reported. He said that in the economic area, Iran was ready to assume major responsibility for the reconstruction of Iraq.
"We have experience of reconstruction after war," the ambassador said, referring to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. "We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis."
Johndroe said the Bush administration was looking at what the ambassador had to say.
The White House says there has been growing evidence over the last several months that Iran is supporting terrorists inside Iraq and is a major supplier of bombs and other weapons used to target U.S. forces. In recent weeks, U.S. forces have detained a number of Iranian agents in Iraq.
"It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops or stop us from achieving our goal, or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them," Bush said on Friday.
Story #2. The right wing bloggers and the douchebags of Fox News are at it again. Hopefully they'll keep screwing the pooch, and drive regular folks even farther away. Like Satchel Paige once said, "The more you keep slappin' the same old hog, the more folk with common sense are going to saw that you ain't got the bacon." (I'm sure it made sense to Satchel). Matt Drudge, Booker Rising and the usual army of scumbags should be retooling from the miscue below, if they're smart. Oh well, it's about time they took a break from Hillary:
NEW YORK - U.S. Sen. Barack Obama hardly could have anticipated that the first minor media crisis of his presidential bid would involve where he went to school at age 7.
The Illinois Democrat's welcome into the world of modern campaign coverage last week offers lessons for both candidates and reporters on the marathon run until November 2008. And it's undoubtedly a sign of things to come.
Chances are "about 100 percent" that a candidate will be ruined by a story that he or she hasn't anticipated, said ABC News political reporter Jake Tapper.
Stories seemingly trivial or even untrue will appear instantly and reverberate madly through the media. Candidates most skillful in anticipating them and reacting swiftly will have a big advantage.
A magazine article's charge that Obama had attended a radical Islamic school while living in Indonesia as a boy was spread on blogs and, most prominently, on Fox News Channel.
Other news organizations sent reporters who learned the school in Jakarta was public and secular and has long accepted students of all faiths. CNN's Anderson Cooper seemed to relish sticking the knife in a rival. "That's the difference between talking about news and reporting it," he said. "You send a reporter, check the facts and you decide at home."
CNN had time to do that because it wasn't a hard news story, said Sam Feist, the network's political director.
"One of the things that's dangerous about a presidential campaign when it comes to the facts is the echo chamber, where one news organization reports a story and it's not true, and one outlet picks it up, another picks it up and another," Feist said. "Before long the public assumes that it's true even when it's not."
Tapper wrote about the story, with the Obama campaign's denials, on his blog when it first surfaced. But like CNN, it didn't appear on the air at ABC until after a reporter had gone to Jakarta.
Whether the same caution would have held a year later, if the charges had surfaced in the few days between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, is an open question.
"A long and protracted campaign like we're going to see means you're going to have long periods with not much news and news outlets are going to want to fill the void," said Tom Rosenstiel, a former political reporter for the Los Angeles Times and now director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "In some ways, there are more openings for opposition research, dirty tricks, to get into play."
Back in 1992, when the story first surfaced about Bill Clinton and his alleged affair with Gennifer Flowers, a reporter asked him about it one day and received a response. Yet the story was left off all three network newscasts that evening.
That notion of restraint, of major news organizations taking time to weigh the newsworthiness of these kinds of stories, seems almost impossible to imagine today.
Before the Internet's spread, a newsroom used to have only a handful of news sources coming into their computers, said Marty Ryan, political director at Fox News Channel.
"Now there are hundreds, thousands," he said. "Many of them have a political agenda and many of them have different standards for what they put on their blogs and their Internet sites. We just have to be real careful about what happens in the future."
Being careful about the facts is a lesson drummed into every journalist. But opinion-based talk shows aren't run by journalists. They're a staple of Fox's lineup and spreading around other cable news outlets.
"You can't say it's right or wrong, it's just different," Ryan said. "We acknowledge that. We acknowledged the error with the Obama thing and let's just move on."
Television quickly magnifies stories that might have been forgotten or not even noticed otherwise, with Howard Dean's scream an infamous example. Remember: Most Americans did not have three cable news networks in their homes until the 2000 campaign.
Similarly, it wasn't too long ago that the only Web site political professionals watched carefully was the Drudge Report. Now, there are dozens of political blogs that must be monitored.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, an expected GOP presidential candidate, has gone out of his way to cultivate relationships with prominent bloggers. He learned their bite earlier this month when a Massachusetts gadfly, Brian Camenker, wrote a lengthy report questioning Romney's conservative qualifications that spread quickly on the Web.
Most campaigns have opposition research staff, whose job it is to search for damaging information about an opponent. The smart candidates do aggressive opposition research on themselves, so as not to be surprised by anything.
Campaigns are actually less likely now to feed damaging material to mainstream news organizations, Tapper said. The campaigns prefer the blogs.
"There are so many ways to get information out to people _ whether or not that information is true," said Elizabeth Wilner, chief of NBC News' political unit.
Many Democrats believe that John Kerry's inability to respond quickly to an unanticipated story _ charges by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that he didn't deserve his Vietnam War medals _ doomed his 2004 campaign. Swift response is now valued. So is aggressive response.
Still, the political whirlwind may not slow down because of the Obama example.
"I honestly think that no one is going to be chastened by anything this year," Rosenstiel said.
These news items have taken me back down to my pre-holiday doldrums. Nevertheless, thank you for keeping us alert and aware.
My wife has purchased the book you recommended by Eisa Ulen. It's not her usual fare, but variety keep us sharp.
You should do a novel on the history of the U.S. Coast Guard/Revenue Cutter Service. The first black skipper was the brother of Fr. Healy, the son of a slave who presided over Georgetown University's ascendency as a first rate American university.
Er...excuse me homeboy, but didn't you vote for the Retard in Chief in 2000? (then again, I voted for Bill Clinton in '96 while holding my nose) I know you redeemed yourself in 2004, but I had to call you out.
very handy, thanx a lokt for this article ..... This was exactly what I was looking for.
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