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An Unfortunate Reality
By Lee Barnathan
on January 4, 2006
In the Jan. 4
Los Angeles Times, columnist Bill Plaschke - the same one who appears on “Around the Horn” - spotlights a Texas
superfan who isn’t given the time of day by the university because he contributes only $800 a year to the athletic department
(read it here). As usual, Plaschke’s column is well written
and makes you think about the state of collegiate athletics.
My response: It is an unfortunate reality that a guy who loves his school that much can’t get the love reciprocated. This guy hasn’t missed a Texas football game since 1977 (and won’t miss the Rose Bowl, either) and holds season tickets to several other teams, but he gets no
recognition or special treatment the way a “fat cat” receives invitations to special events and other perks.
In a perfect world,
a school would at least acknowledge the Superfan with some sort of gesture, such as throwing out the first ball at a baseball game, flipping a coin
at a football or soccer game, walking to center court and letting the basketball fans shower him with cheers; or even have
the football coach or athletic director call him or present some sort of certificate of appreciation. Schools shouldn't forget the fan who gives in ways other than monetarily. It's those people who make the school’s
reputation. Think Duke’s Cameron Crazies.
the infrastructure, the facilities, the salaries, the naming rights and it pays for the non-revenue sports. It also invites
scandal, corruption and mismanagement.
I side with the
fans, who fill the stadium and arenas to cheer on the guys and gals in the uniforms. Without these fans, buildings are empty
But let’s face it: It’s all about money. And it’s a shame.
Peter Jennings' Unfortunate Legacy
By Debbie Schlussel
FrontPageMagazine.com | August
It's sad when anyone dies of cancer, but we cant' let the human side of the Peter Jennings story obscure his real "achievements."
While the rest
of the world is blindly singing Jennings' praises, here's
a reality check: Peter Jennings
did more for the cause of Islamic terrorism than any media figure today. And that's nothing to celebrate, honor, or even memorialize.
It's no coincidence
that al-Jazeera's chief Washington correspondent praised
ABC - and& Jennings,
in particular - for their "objectivity." Before there was al-Jazeera, there was Peter
From the beginning
of Jennings' career until his death, his biased coverage went beyond the pale, bending over backward in "understanding" the terrorists who hate us - from seeing "their side" when he covered the seige and then murder of innocent Israeli athletes at the
1972 Munich Olympics to honoring an al-Qaeda operative with a prized "commentator" spot during Jennings coverage of the 9/11
Throughout Jennings' coverage of the attacks, he frequently featured a man named
(whose commentary urged understanding for the radical Muslim world), identifying Hamdi only as
"journalist" on the chyron.
But, in fact, Jennings'
friend Hamdi was no journalist at all. As I've written, Hamdi was an accused Bin Laden associate and employed
by Sami al-Arian, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the United
According to prosecutors
and documents in the 1998 trial of the Osama bin Laden bombings of U.S.
embassies in Africa (the 7th anniversary of which was yesterday), Hamdi
provided Bin Laden a satellite battery instrumental in those bombings. He's also an unindicted co-conspirator with Islamic
Jihad financial head Sami al-Arian, who employed him at his Islamic "charity" fronts
at the University of South Florida.
Hamdi was also an employee of a Saudi-funded charity raided by Customs agents for allegedly laundering billions to al-Qaeda
through the Isle of Man.
Jennings mentioned absolutely
nothing about Hamdi's disturbing activities, but did note that Hamdi was his friend & repeatedly featured Hamdi in post-9/11 ABC News broadcasts. This is the type of "journalist" and "commentator" Jennings frequently employed in his so-called newscast of which he was an all-controlling editor.
Post repeats what I've said
about Hamdi, but adds more. Days ago, Hamdi was indicted for immigration and mortgage-loan fraud. While failing to mention Jennings, the Post also adds, "ABC
didn't respond to a request for more information about its relationship with Hamdi." The recently unsealed indictment also mentions that Hamdi
was the U.S. representative for the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia, "a London-based organization
that has embraced many of bin Laden's views," according to the Post.
That's a "journalist"
in what was "The World According to Peter Jennings."
now fled the U.S. Don't count on him coming back to face justice. Question for ICE press flack, Dean
Boyd: Why was Tariq Hamdi allowed to leave the U.S.?)
I always say,
pillow talk is the most effective form of political speech. And it apparently had its effect on Jennings early on. When developing and heading up ABC's
Beirut headquarters, Jennings "dated" Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi. And it colored his insidious, anti-American, anti-Israel
coverage ever since.
Then there were
the sneers, the sneers of a Canadian high school drop-out for anything conservative, anything mainstream, anything pro-Western,
pro-America, pro-Israel, etc. Jennings' sneers and snide comments
were always evident for those who didn't meet his very left-of-center point of view. A great example was his sneering during
the 2000 vote recount and after, when Bush was declared President. Another was his sneering just after the 9/11 attacks when
Bush delivered his speech to a joint session of Congress. Then there was his sneering reaction
and say-it-ain't-so comments when conservative revolutionaries led Republicans to capture the House of Representatives in
1994. And who can forget Jennings' sneering ABC
News Special in which he decried America's
bombing of Heroshima and Nagasaki, which saved American lives.
Jennings' elitist sneers
will NOT be missed.
During ABC's Gulf War coverage, when ABC military expert
attributed much of the success of our military forces to Israeli improvements to our weapons systems and as command and control
advised by the Israelis, Jennings became enraged & argued
death is a human tragedy, it is sad that his despicable brand of advocacy journalism - parading as "news" - wasn't laid to rest along with him.
that will not happen. His version has spawned a thousand clones. Sadly the female, more personable, non-toupeed version of Jennings - Elizabeth Vargas - is set to
step into Jennings' shoes. She got off to a great Jennings-esque
start in her first hosting duties at ABC's "20/20," last fall. She delivered
a very sympathetic profile and interview of Hamas operative and fundraiser Cat Stevens. Expect more of this to come.
It's sad when anyone dies of cancer. I won't dance on Jennings'
grave, even though he managed to justify the early graves of young, innocent athletes slaughtered at the Munich Olympics -
the way he blasphemed their murders with his shallow, understand-the-Islamic-terrorists coverage. Unlike the murdered Munich athletes he dishonored,
Jennings died in peace and without pain. He got to say good-bye to his loved ones. They didn't.
for the less than honorable person he was - not the emperor with no clothing that's now being memorialized.
Jennings used to end his
newscasts with, "And that's a look at our world." No, it wasn't a look at our world, at all. It was Peter Jennings' slanted world and every day he acted
as if he was doing us a favor giving us his warped look at it.
Jennings' legacy is helping
advance the cause of Islamic terrorists on broadcast television, parading it as news. He wrote his own epitaph with it. Unfortunately, it came with a lot more tombstones and epitaphs than just Jennings'
- and most of those buried beneath are a whole lot more innocent.
They're the victims of Islamic terrorism - the brand Peter Jennings helped build into a network
news product. That cancer, unfortunately, is
still here. And it has metasticized.
(Read more on the REAL Peter Jennings.)
Visit Debbie Schlussel's website
at DebbieSchlussel.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The unfortunate poster boy
The U.S. military
airlifted 12-year-old Iraqi orphan Ali Abbas to Kuwait
for better medical care. But he's still angry that we killed his family. What's his problem?
April 17, 2003 | Ever since the war began, I've wished the American
media would pick up on the stories & images the rest of the world is seeing, especially when it comes to Iraqi civilian
casualties. Now that they have, I wish they'd stop.
cable news networks discovered the plight of Ali Abbas, a 12-year-old Iraqi boy. Ali's suffering
is almost surreal: He lost 15 relatives, including his parents & three siblings, as well as both of his arms, in an errant
missile strike on a Baghdad suburb in the early days of the
war. His mother was 5 months pregnant with a fourth child. He's got burns all over his body, some of them are infected, he's
in constant pain & he's had to be moved from hospital to hospital thanks to looters.
Ali's been a favorite story
outside the United States for weeks. "Do
you think the doctors can get me another pair of hands?" he was widely quoted asking reporters. "If I don't get a pair
of hands, I'll commit suicide." London tabloids launched appeals
to readers on Ali's behalf & camera crews have come from all over the world to
capture his misery.
An unfortunate incident
It's still too early to know precisely why U.S.
troops opened fire on the vehicle transporting Italian journalist Giuliana
Sgrena, killing the Italian intelligence official who negotiated her release from
her terrorist captors. Not only are conflicting accounts by Miss Sgrena,
Italian intelligence & the U.S. military
adding to the confusion, but political forces are being brought to bear on an unfortunate accident.
From her hospital
bed, Miss Sgrena, a
self-identified Communist, has helped fan anti-American sentiment within her own country & abroad by suggesting that the
U.S. military targeted her for assassination.
"The United States
doesn't approve of this [ransom] policy & so they try to stop it in any way possible," she said. Later, she added, "If
this happened because of a lack of information [as the U.S.
military has said] or deliberately, I don't know, but even if it was due to a lack of information, it's unacceptable" - a statement which doesn't make much sense. The Washington Times reported yesterday that it's likely Italian
agents withheld information about negotiating Miss Sgrena's
supporting evidence, Miss Sgrena's assertion is more than a stretch;
it's absurd, as White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. For instance, if the troops manning the roadblock had been trying
to kill her, why did they immediately cease fire once they realized what they had done? Also, killing Miss Sgrena hardly advances U.S.
interests in the region, the push for democracy or America's relationship
with Italy, so far a steadfast supporter
in the war on terror.
But for the
anti-American mindset, this is all consistent. Simmering in the background of this controversy is former CNN chief news executive
Eason Jordan's comments earlier
this year that the U.S. military has targeted journalists in Iraq. For some, Miss
Sgrena's account vindicates Mr. Jordan's
unproven allegation, which cost him his job at CNN. It's usually best to ignore these specious conspiracy theories, but not when they endanger the lives of American servicemen & women.
The worst possible
outcome is if Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
is pressured to withdraw the 3,000 Italian troops now stationed in Iraq.
So far, Mr. Berlusconi
has held fast & should be commended for it. Whatever the investigation of this accident reveals, it would be a tremendous
blow to the war should Italy withdraw
Who's really supporting our troops?
by Paul Waldman, Senior Contributor
television ad from the Bush campaign is another attempt to convince people that John
Kerry is an enemy of our soldiers. Like a similar one already on the air, this
ad takes a single one of Kerry's votes – his opposition to the $87 billion supplemental appropriation funding operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan – and with a little Senate roll call re-enactment makes it appear as though Kerry actually cast
three separate votes, one against "funding our troops," one against body armor and higher combat pay for soldiers and one
against improved health benefits for reservists.
This is what
my people call "chutzpah," and not just because it makes one vote seem like three. George W. Bush,
who, the ad tells us, "approved this message," sent those troops to war without proper body armor, tried to cut combat pay
for soldiers and cut veterans' health benefits.
But wait –
isn't George W.
Bush a friend to the man and woman in uniform? The man who told them in 2000,
as he criticized the alleged failures of the Clinton administration,
that "help is on the way"?
why is that we believe Bush is a friend to the man and woman in uniform? The answer can be found in the
"National Security Photo Album" on the Bush campaign web site. There's Bush
in an Army jacket! There's Bush eating lunch with soldiers! There's Bush speaking to soldiers! There's Bush
in another Army jacket! And hey, there's Bush with more soldiers!
in these pictures look happy to participate in a photo-op for their Commander-in-Chief. Most of them are unaware that just before announcing that the Iraq
war had begun – and thus that he would be sending them into a conflict in which many of them would die or be gravely
wounded – Bush was caught by a camera pumping his fist in glee, as though he had just scored
a touchdown. "Feels good," he said to an aide.
Most of the
soldiers – like most Americans – have never heard this story, because the American press decided that it was a
glimpse of the President that was just too vulgar for us to know about. So what remains is the image of the Bush the reluctant
warrior, the friend of soldiers who surely stays up at night worrying about their safety and trying to devise ways to stabilize Iraq
and bring them home.
But all the
photo-ops in the world can't change the fact that morale among the troops is going nowhere but down. Not surprisingly, the
military is failing to meet its reenlistment goals. If you had spent the last year walking the streets of Fallujah,
wondering whether around the next corner was a roadside bomb or an insurgent hiding in a doorway with an RPG, chances are
you wouldn't be too eager to sign up for another hitch, either.
And when you
consider that enlisted soldiers' pay starts off at around $1100 a month, it comes as little shock that more and more service members find
themselves turning to food banks in order to provide for their families.
And now many
of those families, excitedly making preparations for the return of their loved ones after year-long tours in Iraq, are informed that no, they won't be coming home quite yet. Some, in fact,
were literally boarding the planes they believed would return them to their families when they were told to turn around; they'll be staying for 3 more months
to endure more danger and the blistering Iraqi summer.
At his last
press conference, President Bush told the story of a
wounded soldier he had met who told him that he couldn't wait to get back to his unit. The obvious lesson Bush
was trying to impart was that though soldiers may experience the occasional "rough week," they're only too eager to be serving in Iraq and
can't wait to get back once they're gone.
As they have
throughout history, soldiers pay the price in life, limb and psyche for the hubris and callousness of those who issue orders
a safe distance from the messiness of battle. Paul
Bremer decides to shut down a newspaper run by supporters of a minor cleric and
with utter predictability the cleric becomes a hero and an uprising is touched off. Within a few weeks, dozens of American
soldiers who would otherwise have completed their tours and returned home are dead, their futures gone, their families in
agony. The number of American soldiers under the age of 25 who breathed their last breath in Iraq now approaches 300.
And we are
told again and again by the administration and its supporters that it isn't those who sent these young men and women to their
deaths who should be hanging their heads in shame, who should fall to their knees before wives, husbands, sons and daughters and mothers and fathers to beg for
forgiveness. No, it those who raise questions, who don't pump their fists and proclaim "feels good" at the thought of sending these men and women to war, those who express concern about official lies and profiteering and unintended consequences – it's they who are accused of failing to "support our troops."
So when Bush is asked whether the deepening morass of Iraq bears
any resemblance to that prototypical quagmire of Vietnam,
he doesn't explain how the two might differ. Instead he says, "that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and sends
the wrong message to the enemy." Express pessimism about the future of the Iraq occupation and you betray the troops and give succor to the enemy; allow your infantile optimism to blind you to the possibility that things might not go smoothly so one might consider planning for the worst
– thereby insuring that chaos will reign and more of those troops will die – and your commitment to the troops and the country lies beyond reproach.
This is a technique
of argument Bush is always ready to employ: criticize him on matters military and you're attacking
not him but brave American soldiers. When Tim Russert
asked Bush to explain gaps in his National Guard service (one more non-scandal Bush escaped without ever giving a satisfactory explanation of his actions), Bush narrowed his eyes and said, "I would be careful to not denigrate the Guard. It's fine to go after
me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard, though and the reason I wouldn't, is because
there are a lot of really fine people who have served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today
in Iraq." Of course, no one had denigrated
the Guard, particularly not the Guard of 2004, a service whose members face far greater risk than Bush
did when he served in the "Champagne Unit."
a criticism of an administration policy or a mendacious president into an attack on those facing bullets and bombs is sure
to render the opposition frightened and mute. And as we march toward November, we will be treated again and again to more of the same: endless photos
of Bush in another Army jacket, with another group of soldiers, each one accompanied by another attack on Kerry for his insufficient
enthusiasm for sending those troops toward the possibility of death and disfigurement.
And while its ultimate success remains in doubt, this campaign will no doubt convince many that war hero though he may be, Kerry cares less about our troops than Bush, Cheney and the
rest of the chickenhawk army that assured us with such conviction that the war in Iraq, the rebuilding of Iraq and the democratization of Iraq would be quick, cheap and easy.
They, of course, feel no need to explain to the troops why they were so wrong and why the price for their particular blend of dogmatism and
stupidity is so high. But as Bush once said, "I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."