Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And Now for a Word from Our Sponser

Much has been made about the fact that >more and more Americans get their news from late night comedy shows such as The Tonight Show or The Late Show than they do from local news broadcasts. Ironically, Americans might be better off watching these monologues for their news information than tuning into their local network affiliate news cast.

>This new study shows that in the month before the 2006 election, the average thirty-minute television news broadcast aired four minutes and twenty-four seconds of political ads but only one minute, forty-three seconds to election news coverage. From early September to early October, local news broadcasts devoted thirty-six seconds to election coverage. The study also found that throughout the election, news stories engaged in an "echo effect" where the political story was about a specific campaign ad.

This is probably the strongest indictment of television news in recent years and it is indicative of the larger problems with political coverage in mass media. There is no real inquiry, just repetition of talking points given by the candidates at their parties.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The More Things Change . . .

Two weeks ago when the Democrats won back Congress, many took it as a sign of hope, that things were really about to change.

Now Representative Charles Rangel, a Democrat from New York, said he would like to reinstate the draft. This comes on the heels of the Pentagon's new Iraq study which reveals three options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out.

initially it would seem that a draft is entirely unlikely since it is an unpopular idea. However, with US forces stretched so thin and military recruiters constantly coming short on their recruiting quotas the government will have to find some way of making up for the lack of manpower. The military has already relaxed its standards (Except, of course, if a potential soldier is gay. That is still not acceptable.) and given that the Bush administration is apparently most interested in sending more troops to Iraq, as many as 20,000, and the potential conflicts in Iran, North Korea, and Somalia, there might not be any other option.

This makes the draft proposal coming from a Democrat even more frightening. This is the party that should have been acting as the loyal opposition, but only in the past year and a half has it truly begun to question the war and stand up to the White House, and even that has been half assed. But now, after reelecting them to power, to have a high ranking member of the party suggest that they reinstate the draft, is very worrisome. And while it is unlikely, if someone had told me in 2000 that by 2003 we would be fighting in Iraq and by 2006 the United States would be losing the war, I would have laughed.

I'm not laughing now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day of Freedom

Yesterday Americans cast their vote and gave Democrats control of both houses of congress. Unlike the elections of the six years, the public was unable to ignore the debacle that is Iraq, the homophobia and hypocrisy of hardcore Christian conservatives, the mismanagement of tax dollars, and a misguided border policy. The overwhelming amount of scandals, impropriety, hypocrisy, and just plain bullshit has finally caught up to the Republicans. They are now being served what they have sown.

Things have been fairly quiet in Valhalla's War Room for these past couple of months, mostly due to issues of a personal nature that kept me from blogging on the election and other relevant topics. And while I am thrilled that Bush's agenda now faces an uphill battle, I am not prepared to let the Democrats off the hook. I do not, and have never, considered myself a Democrat. I just find them easier to take. If, as I fear, Hillary Clinton is the next Democratic presidential candidate, I have plenty worry about.

And, lest we forget, yesterday was also a day of freedom for another prominent American. While I do not usually pay much attention to this sort of thing, this article still has me laughing.