Shades of Gray

Thursday, July 31, 2003

From the professor, comes this rumination on the domestic political problems caused by a low level terrorist conflict. Basically, the author posits that a lack of ongoing attacks against the U.S. and its interests allows the Democrats to attack the President's foreign policy initiatives, such as the war in Iraq, on fairly flimsy grounds and forces the Administration to affirmatively bolster public opinion to support ongoing military operations against terrorists.

An interesting read. I've certainly wondered about the effect the lack of attacks against the U.S. would have on our wherewithal. Generally, when the U.S. has been threatened, or gone to war, it has been a war of annhiliation (see Germans, Japanese, Native Americans). In a traditional conflict, the U.S. would seek out, actively engage, and destroy (or be destroyed by) its enemies. Here, however, its enemies are either not attempting to attack or lack the ability to carry out further attacks. The effect on U.S. cohesion and attitudes toward sustaining anti-terrorist efforts are the same either way -- it naturally fades as time passes.

I want to think about this more. I'm really not certain what the long-term effects of this dynamic are. I really need to consider what effect an unpredictable negative reinforcement (think Pavlov writ large by way of an unanticipated attack against American interests) would have on the collective American spirit. Let's revisit in a few days.

I caught a small part of the President's press conference yesterday. In fact, I only heard the question about gay marriage and the President's response. By way of disclosure, I could care less about the topic. As such, I find it hard to believe that a single one to two minute long answer affecting a small section of the U.S. populace given at a press conference during the middle of an ongoing global war against terrorists deserves as much media attention as this answer is getting.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

I've been away for some time. I'm sure my few lonely readers have long left me. Fair enough. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented my posting anything. I'm hoping to begin posting semi-regularly again. I'm going to keep deriding those things I find silly, but I think I'll also give you some thoughts on Arizona politics and life, and more personal philosophical musings. Give it a chance - I tend to grow on people, like mold. Thanks for visiting.

After watching 60 Minutes puff piece on Mr. Moore, I just had to comment. I sent the following to CBS News. Dollars to donuts, it never sees the light of day.

Dear 60 Minutes:

I just finished watching your report on Michael Moore (July 27, 2003). I was astonished that 60 Minutes, a supposed investigative program, repeated so many previously debunked representations made by Mr. Moore. Given 60 Minutes' reputation with its audience, such failings are incomprehensible.

Most notably, the piece opened with clips from Mr. Moore's latest movie which imply that customers of a certain small bank were able to pick up a gun at the bank after opening an account. As has been well documented in the press, Mr. Moore staged this event. The bank has repeatedly confirmed that Mr. Moore's version is simply false. Customers, who could choose to receive a firearm for opening an account, could only retreive the firearm weeks later at a licenced gun dealer following compliance with federal and state background checks. Nonetheless, 60 Minutes uncritically disseminated Mr. Moore's misrepresentations. Likewise, 60 Minutes uncritically repeated Mr. Moore's claim that Charleton Heston "provocatively" held a gun "rally" in Denver immediately after the Columbine tragedy. To emphasize this point, 60 Minutes played a clip of Mr. Heston holding an antique firearm over his head while making a provocative proclomation as to gun rights. In so doing, 60 Minutes clearly implied that Mr. Heston had made these comments in Denver immediately following Columbine.

Unfortunately, the clip portrayed events that had occured years before Columbine in an entirely different state. While the NRA did hold a vastly reduced and scaled back version of its previously scheduled national conference (which had been scheduled years in advance)in Denver following Columbine, Mr. Heston did not make the statement portrayed by 60 Minutes at that meeting.

I am amazed that 60 Minutes, a supposedly objective news magazine, would repeat and lend its credence to such blatant misrepresentations, especially when simple background research should have revealed these problems. Given the obvious flaws in this piece, I have lost all confidence in your program and will not be viewing it or relying on information contained therein in the future.