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Dany's RaaD Roundup

Helen Thomas Tells Her Story to Playboy

A little bit of time has passed since Helen Thomas has left the White House Press Corps and recently Playboy wanted to get her side of the story about what happened, along with that though, they got a great retrospective of her time at the White House covering almost 1/4 of the Presidents of the United States (the last 10 Presidents). I don’t know what to think about Helen Thomas, she is a great reporter who said some things that I didn’t agree with, but I still think she should be sitting up front in the White House Press Corps asking the tough questions that no one seems to ask anymore. Sadly, I agree with her view of the current state of journalism in the US.

This is a great in depth interview with her, check out the Playboy interview here (or here).

To get an idea, here are of my favorite exchanges:

PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement?

THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism.

PLAYBOY: Take us back to the White House courtyard on May 27 when Rabbi David Nesenoff pointed his camera at you and asked for your comments on Israel.

THOMAS: He pulled that thing out like a jackknife. I mean, he started out very nice, introducing me to these two young boys who wanted to be in journalism. He said, “Got any advice? Go for it.” I didn’t know it was Jewish Heritage Month, which is why he was at the White House and also why he asked “So what do you think of Israel?” That’s when I said, “They should get the hell out of Palestine.”

PLAYBOY: Did you realize how controversial those words were as you spoke them?

THOMAS: I knew I’d hit the third rail. You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist—but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home. I’ve had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn’t I say it? I knew exactly what I was doing—I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up.

PLAYBOY: What was life like in the immediate aftermath as millions started viewing the video on YouTube?

THOMAS: I went into self-imposed house arrest for two weeks. It was a case of “know thyself.” Isn’t that what Socrates said? I wanted to see if I was remorseful—and I wasn’t.

PLAYBOY: Did the phone ring off the hook?

THOMAS: No. Nobody called. But I still have some friends in the White House press pool, who reached out to me. I understand they formed Jews for Helen Thomas at one point.

PLAYBOY: That’s interesting.

THOMAS: I also heard from Jimmy Carter. He called a few weeks later.

PLAYBOY: Has there ever been an honest press secretary?

THOMAS: Jerry terHorst. He lasted one month. He was President Ford’s press secretary. He had covered Ford in Washington. He had been here for 29 years as a reporter from the Grand Rapids paper and then The Detroit News. He understood the press. But he was incapable of lying, and he quit when Ford pardoned Nixon, on the very day. He couldn’t take it. Poor Jerry Ford. He just wasn’t ready to be president. He had prepared himself to be Speaker of the House and stepped into those shoes okay, but he just wasn’t equipped for the big job. We saw that Betty Ford struggled too, of course.”

Thanks to Playboy for the above pic, to Firetown for the pic below of Helen Thomas Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS and to No Agenda (subscribe here) for informing me about this interview.

Enjoy

Dany

March 21, 2011 12:45 pm Posted by | DC, Iraq, Israel, magazines, Middle East, military, newspaper, Palestine, photography, podcasts, politics, Religion, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

This Week in The Daily Show for March 5th, 2011 and the New Dead Island Game Trailer

Here is a great find by the Daily Show team of how when the issue is people making over $250K/year in business with giant benefits packages, 24 hour news pundits feel one way, but once you knock more than $150k/year off their yearly earnings and call them teachers, they are now treated as scum.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

When it comes to unions, any deal where it becomes virtually impossible to fire workers is bad, just look at the NY teacher rubber rooms where bad teachers just sit in rooms away from students all day and wait years before their disciplinary hearings… but that doesn’t mean that unions are bad and should be abolished and if you can’t reneg on Wall Street bonus contracts, why is it rational to do just that with union contracts? If you want to join a union, you should have that option. Unions for the public sector though are a bit tricky because the government can’t really fold and the money the workers get paid are not the politician’s money, it belongs to the constituents of the state, so any deal an official makes to increase longterm benefits only comes into play years after they are no longer on the hook for making the deal, while in the private sector, the owners that agree to these contracts are on the hook if they make a bad deal because the business could fail and have to close its doors.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here is an interesting interview with the Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra’ad. King Abdullah has already dismantled the previous government, but I don’t think anyone yet knows what will come of his changes. The prince brings up some interesting possibilities, like what happens if the region unfolds into a battle between the Sunni‘s and Shia‘s on top of between the middle eastern countries that have already modernized vs the more conservative countries.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here’s just a bit of the absurdity what’s going on in Libya. With Muammar Gaddafi seeming to have lost his mind, although I don’t know how recent an event that actually is.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Allison Stanger tries to explain just how much money is flowing from the US government to military contractors for her new book One Nation Under Contract. One point she brings up is that because there was no military draft, that changed the political discussion over going into Iraq and how we probably would not have gone into Iraq like we did if a draft was a possibility.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Diane Ravitch talks about how complicated the issue of education is. How we stack up worldwide and what poverty does to education. Her book is The Death and Life of the Great American School System. I still think there needs to be a better way in a lot of these school districts to get rid of bad teachers, but it’s hard to put all the blame on them without dealing with the issues behind why the kids are doing badly in school. Teachers can’t make kids go to school and they can’t make them do their homework, sometimes the blame for why children do poorly in school is because of their family or their family situation.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lastly on a different note, thanks to the 404 episode465 (subscribe here) for letting me know about the new Dead Island video game trailer. I know the game won’t end up looking like this ultimately, but it certainly has piqued my interest.

Enjoy

Dany

March 5, 2011 9:39 pm Posted by | books, clips, commercials, economy, education, food, Iraq, Law, Lybia, Middle East, military, New Jersey, podcasts, politics, Religion, tv, video games, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment