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Today’s Odd “Considerettes” Search Phrase

ma sued over seer rating – #6 on AOL Search

I’m pretty sure the searcher wasn’t looking for an article about a mother being brought to court over her views on mediums. Rather, it’s about the state of Massachusetts being sued over something related to air conditioner efficiency ratings.

Still, the link to my blog was to an article that had nothing to do with that. Hence its “odd” classification.

Shire Network News #98

Shire Network News #98 has been released. The feature interview is the second half of a conversation with Professor Deborah Lipstadt about the resurgence of anti-semitism worldwide, and why it’s not just Jews who should be afraid. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary segment.

Hi, this is Doug Payton with Shire Network News, asking you to “Consider This”.

This week, we take a run through headlines of the recent past, starting with this Associated Press headline, “Shuttle crew practice countdown”.


See, I knew I was astronaut material!

Next up, we have a story from the NY Times, discussing the progress in the war in the area of Ramadi in Anbar Province. You don’t hear much about Anbar these days, probably because it’s going so well there. Here’s a clip from that story.

Now, a pact between local tribal sheiks and American commanders has sent thousands of young Iraqis from Anbar Province into the fight against extremists linked to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The deal has all but ended the fighting in Ramadi and recast the city as a symbol of hope that the tide of the war may yet be reversed to favor the Americans and their Iraqi allies.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Oddly, the story appears to be invisible to the editorial writers who wrote these sentiments on the very same day.

“It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit. . . . Milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. . . . Whatever [President’s Bush’s] cause was, it is lost. . . . Keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.”

It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is writing. If these folks do indeed read their own newspaper, what does it say about the quality of reporting if even their own editorial writers don’t believe it?

Also from the terrorism front comes this headline atop an article from ABC New’s Investigative Team; “Exclusive: Terror Commander: New Attack Will Dwarf Failed Bomb Plot”. OK, maybe something big is indeed coming, but how big does it have to be to dwarf a “failed bomb plot”? Sounds like the Taliban are setting the bar rather low for the future.

CNN is reporting that the United States wants ex-Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, extradited to France. This sounds like some sort of prisoner rendition. Isn’t there a law against torture?

And finally we have an assurance from Senator John Kerry that our knowledge of history, of 165,000 dead in Vietnam and 2 million in Cambodia, was not as bad as we thought it was. (Click here for the video.) He responds to a caller to CSPAN who wants us to leave Iraq but is concerned that the aftermath in Iraq might mirror Vietnam.

Let me just say to the first part of your question with respect to boat people and killing, everybody predicted a massive bloodbath in Vietnam. There was not a massive bloodbath in Vietnam. There were reeducation camps, and they weren’t pretty and, you know, nobody, you know, likes that kind of outcome. But on the other hand, I’ve met lot of people today who were in those education camps, who are thriving in the Vietnam of today.

So there you have it. While reeducation camps aren’t pretty and generally distasteful, the fact that some survived it means that they couldn’t have been all that bad. One wonders if they were pretty, if a little more attention had been paid to the decor, they might have been just marvelous. Next week on CSPAN, Senator Kerry brings an Auschwitz survivor in to show how they’re thriving.

And those are the headlines from “Consider This”. Back to you, Brian.

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Title of the Post

The song, “Title of the Song”, is by DaVinci’s Notebook, and is a hilarious take-off on every boy band song ever written. The video is by a group of guys from my alma mater, Asbury College and is a take-off on every boy band video ever produced. Nice to see scenes from the campus. Gotta go back there soon.


Shire Network News #90

Shire Network News #90 has been released. The feature interview this week is with filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney, whose documentary, “Indoctrinate U”, examines the extent of political bias in American higher education. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary segment, complete with links.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to Consider This:

Paul Harvey has a phrase he uses to introduce some of his news stories. “Self-government without self-control is self-defeating.” I think that phrase fits quite well with this story.

Earlier this month, the German magazine “Der Spiegel” reported that the Hamas-backed al-Aqsa TV station was broadcasting a new children’s show into the Palestinian territories. It involved an obvious copy of Mickey Mouse, named “Farfur” which means “butterfly”, and a little girl named Saraa, and is called “Tomorrow’s Pioneers”. What brought this innocent-sounding show to the attention of the world was that its two loveable characters were engaged in cutesy things like showing how to hold an AK-47 and inciting violence against Israel and America. How positively charming!

Later on, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the program had been yanked and was “under review”. He complained that “some American television stations” were still covering the story after it was supposedly resolved. The mouse, named “Butterfly”, was no longer on the air.

Except that wasn’t the case. Hamas announced that it would defy Barghouti’s request and show the mouse, named “Butterfly”, according to schedule. Barghouti then decided that this “review” would take place on the air, while he watched the show. Recently, Fathi Hammad, Chairman of the television station defended the program saying it didn’t violate any moral or professional standard, and that it would not be withdrawn, nor would its content be modified.

So to recap: Saraa and her friend Farfur the Mouse, or Butterfly, tell kids how Islam will militarily conquer the world, on a TV station owned by Hamas. Israel reacts. The Palestinian government, who’s senior partner is Hamas, says that they’ll take it off the air and review it, while complaining that this is a non-story. Hamas defies its own government and continues to run the show, thus making this non-story a story. The Palestinian government, trying not to look irrelevant, says, “Well, OK, but it’s still under review”, but the TV station continues to demonstrate that the government is, in fact, irrelevant.

Self-government without self-control is self-defeating. And sometimes becomes self-parody.

This isn’t an isolated incident. “The Children’s Club” was another program in this vein, that mimicked “Sesame Street” but included kids shouting for jihad against Israel and one little girl singing, “”When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber.”

“Hey kids, today we’re going over to the trash can of Schlomoe the Grouch and teach him a lesson. After that, we’ll find our 72 vir…er…playmates.”

And there have been others. If Israel were doing this, there’d be a UN resolution. In the meantime, the mouse called “Butterfly” merrily continues to influence the next generation of jihadis.

I’d have more to say, but I’m currently reading “The Protocols of the Muppets of Zion”, and I’m just getting to the chapter on Miss Piggy. Should be interesting.

Back to you, Tom.

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Only 68 Days Until Christmas!

I was in J C Penny this evening, and while browsing around I noticed that the background music sounded familiar. For a minute I thought that it was some song that had a melodic phrase similar to a very popular piece of music; just an interesting coincidence. But as I listened to see if the melody changed, I realized that what I was listening to was the more popular tune.

“Angels We Have Heard On High”.

I said to the guy at the register, “Christmas music? Already?” He gave a light-hearted roll of the eyes and said, “Tell me about it.” I love Christmas music, don’t get me wrong (my father is a non-repentant Christmas-aholic), but this does seem a little early.

So you know what that means, right? When you start hearing Christmas carols played in the stores, it’s almost…

Right. Halloween.

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Tom Lehrer and Political Satire

As part of a chemistry “assignment”, one of the teachers for our homeschooling “co-op” gave her kids the URL to an old Tom Lehrer song where he sings many of the elements to the tune of “Modern Major General”. In doing that, we looked up some information on Lehrer, who’s songs I’d heard here and there as a kid. Funny stuff.

Lehrer was quite the Harvard liberal. On Wikipedia, it says he quipped that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. I just wonder if good ol’ Tom had anything to say when Yassar Arafat won it. Just wondering.

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