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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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Super Mario Audiobook Miniature, The Daily Show and Colbert Report Roundup for the Week of November 13th, 2010

I came across this audio short story from the Podcastle series (subscribe here) called Mario’s Three Lives. Anyone who grew up playing the Mario franchise of games should enjoy this 8min short audio story, I know I did! How can you go wrong with any story rated Rated PG “for plumbers, philosophy, and good ol’ fashioned shrooms?” The story is by Matt Bell:
Mario’s Three Lives

Jon Stewart comments on all the people commenting on his Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, then about Keith Olbermann’s suspension. Later in the week Jon Stewart sats down for Rachel Maddow to interview him for 50min. He talks about the reaction to his recent rally in Washington, DC. He then talks about how he tries to see the political news as a climate scientist compared to the 24hr cable news channels that seem to only report the weather. It’s a great interview.
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Debunking the huge costs that Glenn Beck and Fox News commented on, which probably costs more like ~$5million/day, what’s being wrong by overestimating costs by ~$195million/day when you can insult President Obama‘s decision making for a week? Thanks to Factcheck.org and Snopes for the sourcing of RATIONAL numbers, I’ll take their sourcing over an “anonymous Indian official” any day.
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Texas Governor Rick Perry does an extended interview to promote his new book Fed Up! I must say, he is quite riveting and learned person to listen to, but I am also glad that he is not my governor.
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All I can say is, who knew that Obama lost his dancing shoes somewhere between his inauguration and today?
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I didn’t know I wanted a McRib, but I doubt President Bush will and Harrison Ford agrees with me (that’s right, Han Solo/Indiana Jones agrees with ME) while he promotes his new movie Morning Glory. The next night Jon shows all the different places President Bush was interviewed recently.
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Rosario Dawson seems so lovely, her new movie is Unstoppable and congratulations on breaking ground on the new Girls Club in Manhattan!
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Who knew Mick Foley was such a prolific writer, his new book Countdown to Lockdown is his 9th!
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I don’t know how Rand Paul can say there are no rich, poor or middle class, that just blows my mind. It will be interesting to see how this libertarian and Tea Party member governs over the next couple of years.
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Abbe Lowell helps explain how likely it is that in 2011 there will be a lot of investigations in the House of Representatives.
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I must agree, it would be very convenient when I needed to get me a crab, to buy it from a vending machine… THANKS CHINA!
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I know I don’t usually do music, it’s not my thing, but this week, there seems to be quite a bit of it. If you like music, you’ve gotta hear Quincy Jones, he has a new book Q on Producing and a new album Q: Soul Bossa Nostra.
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Cee Lo Green has this dirty little song on his new album The Lady Killer, so if you don’t want to hear or read the explicit language. just stop here… OK, for everyone else, the song is called Fuck You (music video). He does an interview with Colbert, then performs said song below, again, beware the foul language. He sounds a bit like Gnarls Barkley… just way more cursing.
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Enjoy

Dany

November 13, 2010 2:42 pm Posted by | audiobooks, books, China, clips, comedians, crazy celebs, DC, economy, guns, Iraq, Middle East, movies, music, music videos, newspaper, podcasts, politics, tv, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Dylan Ratigan Rants on the Idea of a War with Islam

This is especially prescient since most American’s have no idea who Wahabis are, but I have never seen a group of pundits awed into silence over comments like this from Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

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Thanks Danish for the video clip and to Gawker.

Enjoy

Dany

In case you want it, here is the full clip:
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October 22, 2010 12:38 am Posted by | clips, DC, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, military, politics, Religion, tv, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

This Week in the Daily Show for March 11th, 2010

There were a lot of interesting clips this week, from The Daily Show but I saved the best (and longest) for the end, a 3 part extended fully web-exclusive interview.

Enjoy The Daily Show this week.

Dany

Iraq may be a confusing and complicated place, but I don’t remember any election where some of the candidates running for office were killed being called a success… I guess until now?
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Jon Stewart interviews Harry Markopolos, the extremely angry investigator who sent letter after letter trying to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about Bernie Madoff for years before his $60+ billion dollar scandal came to the press. He has a new book No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller. Maybe he would make a good head of the SEC?
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Liz Cheney may want to publicize the identity of Justice Department lawyers who represented terror detainees, which on its own, sounds fine to me, but demonizing them with a scary commercial making them seem like evil people and even branding them The Al Qaeda 7 is just wrong. There are tons of reasons to hate lawyers, the fact that they may defend people you don’t like, even if they are potential terrorists should not be one of them.
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Virginia is for lovers… unless I guess you are gay. It may be getting harder and harder to be gay and work or be gay and go to college now in Virgina.
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Glenn Beck‘s interview with disgraced NY Representative Eric Massa did not go exactly as he expected, but at the same time, there were a ton of things that Rep. Massa said that I never thought I would hear come out of a politician’s mouth.
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After all the news scandals have come out about NY Governor David Paterson, I am very surprised that he is still in office, but at the same time, I guess if President Clinton could remain in office after years of scandal in the press, nothing is impossible. Can we please just throw all the dirty politicians out of NY State government though? It is getting embarrassing to be from such a corrupt state, although I’ll always love being from NYC.
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Vice President Joe Biden goes to the Middle East to try and jump start the peace process again now that the Palestinians finally agreed to come back to the bargaining table, then Israel announces more settlement projects on the same day… can we stop giving Israel so much of our money every year for such an insult and for wasting Joe Biden‘s time?
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Jerry Seinfeld comes on The Daily Show to promote his new show The Marriage Ref. It sounds like a great way for a panel of comedians and celebrities to make fun of problems in peoples marriages and each other… that actually like a pretty good show idea.
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Lastly, a great interview… well, more a heated half hour conversation between Jon Stewart and Marc Thiessen, the writer of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack. I don’t agree with the inflammatory nature of Mr. Thiessen‘s thesis, but at the same time, I don’t think my opinion is as far from his as I expected it to be.
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March 14, 2010 2:22 am Posted by | books, clips, comedians, DC, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, New York, NYC, Palestine, politics, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment