Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007
It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey
the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog,
passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.
To those who have come to trust
The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial
tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped
lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects
and interest categories where others feared to tread.
Please keep Steve's friends and family in your
thoughts and prayers.
Steve meant so much to us.
We will miss him terribly.
photo by lindsay beyerstein
Doghouse Riley (of Bats Left, Throws Right) watches NBC so you don't have to
I'D planned on taking the day off, including blogging, but that was before I saw NBC News With Brian (Stay Out Of My Garbage Cans) Williams last night. Halfway saw, anyway, because I was roasting a chicken for dinner and sorta hovering over it. I'm really not sure what possessed me to turn the teevee on. Every now and then some vestigial trace of a long-dead carefree childhood of tanned feet on bluegrass will rise up long enough to convince me that one of the networks must be better than the worst, but it never pans out.
So I'm not sure who Ol' Raccoon Eyes tossed the Iraq Funding Bill story to, but the whole thing began as one of those half-lob, half-drives that Andrea (Moonball) Jaeger used to thrill the crowds with. (I'm sorry, does anyone else remember Andrea (Bell Curve) Jaeger? She's now a nun, and dedicated to helping young cancer victims. To which we say, "Bravo!" and "Please don't make them watch any of your old matches.") Brian tossed the thing with a comment about "Democratic defeat". We suppose this is awright, if you like such things, although a bit simplistic, but the thing then became the hyperreal anchor to the piece. Whatever would the Defeated Democrats do now? Jeez, they lost the battle for a veto override back in January, and it was a foregone conclusion then. The Congress didn't get around to trying to defund the Vietnam war until after it was over, and it's absurd to expect that it could just pull the plug on funding Iraq. Okay, they're too timid to my liking, but then I'd have jumped the table and challenged Alberto Gonzales to a throwdown the minute he started talking, and I'm still sufficiently grounded in reality to recognize that as a poor parlimentary maneuver. The Democrats forced one-time President Bush to the table, and they will force Congressional Republicans to back the war or back out this fall. That's about everything that was in their cards. Bush is not going to fold. Bush is going to match every raise until his final collapse. This is not news. In fact it passed from "News" to "Psychiatric Case Study" in the autumn of 2003, at the latest.
[Okay, a word on why I can't tell you who Williams tossed to--beyond that chicken and my natural level of inattention, I mean--and I apologize in advance. You were nice enough to sit through recollections of Women's Professional Tennis in the 70s without goading me into talking about Françoise Durr's invention of the Suspended Animation Serve. I have a seven year old Mac and I'm down two operating system decimals. I was gonna upgrade this Spring, but Apple delayed the next OS release to concentrate on its new Video Catheter Phone. At any rate, it's MS NBC, and in this Make Your Own Damn Transcript World I'm expected to watch WinVids if I want to catch up. I have never been one to engage in that silly PC vs. Mac stuff, but I have to say that when the 80% market share that Microsoft enjoys did not translate into millions of Americans traveling to Washington state to beat the shit out of Bill Gates over a piece of crap like Windows™ Media I, for one, simply Gave Up.]
Next up was Andrea (Moonball) Mitchell with a report on how those unscrupulous Iranians had falsely imprisioned an American professor they've charged with espionage, and how this Might Be Some Sort of Negotiating Ploy. I am, I think, not alone in immediately suspecting that any word, even one so concrete and well-established in the vernacular as "Iran", has had its very existence called into question by virture of its issuing from Andrea Mitchell's nasal cavity. However, I am more than willing to accept that certain rogue elements exist in or around the Iranian government. It's a fairly easy proposition for a modern American to grasp. What I don't understand is this: how'd she manage to keep all that natural skepticism in check when Dick Cheney was calling her in the middle of the night?
"You have a small minority, especially in Tehran these days, that are simply absolutely dismissive of international public opinion and are ready to do their own thing at all costs," says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian expert.
Yeah, I hate when that happens. Elsewhere.
By this point the chicken was out of the oven and resting, so I was able to get the full import of the Birth Control Riots in China story. NBC obviously expected me to take umbrage at this, but was careful to supply plenty of its own in case I fell short. Absent a transcript, let's peek at Edward Cody's WaPo story "Birth control sparks riots in China: Officials Enforce One-Child Policy With Brutal Drive to Collect Fines" via the MSNBC site, as it imparts the same savor:
Word came down from the central government in Beijing that it was time to strengthen enforcement of China 's one-child policy.
In response, people here said, birth control bureaucrats showed up in a half-dozen towns with sledgehammers and threatened to knock holes in the homes of people who had failed to pay fines imposed for having more than one child. Other family planning officials, backed by hired toughs, pushed their way into businesses owned by parents of more than one child and confiscated everything from sacks of rice to color televisions, they said.
The brutal fine-collection drive was launched last week around Bobai...
World's Most Brutal Fine Collecting! Coming this fall on FOX!
Outrage aside, it just swells ya with pride that you live in a country where reproduction is nobody's business but your own, don't it? Where no bureaucrats sent by the central government would, say, gang up on small time porn producers in an effort to convict through bankrupting the defendant, or that they'd try the same thing with a Washington, D.C. madam instead of providing her with an alternate source of income like they did Jeff Gannon. Me, I'm just glad we don't knock sledgehammer holes in the homes, cars, televisions, stereos and computers we seize from people accused of smokin' a joint. That sort of thing is hell on resale value.