Lost Creates New Mystery

Last year Lost concentrated on the mystery of what is in the hatch. Next season is expected to be about the mystery of The Others and possibly also answer what is really going on with Desmond. There is yet another mystery about Lost–why are those Tailies such awful drivers? Last season Michelle Rodriguez, who played Ana-Lucia Cortez and Cynthia Watros, who played Libby, were arrested for drunk driving, and subsequently killed off on the show in an episode entitled Two For The Road (story under the fold). Now Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays Mr. Eko, has been arrested for driving without a license. All three characters are among the Tailies–people who were in the tail section of the crashed plan and separated from the main group until the second season.

Last season showed that arrests on traffic violations can be shorten the survival of characters on this show. Eko’s fate was somewhat in question as he was in the hatch when it was apparently destroyed at the end of the second season. It is assumed his presence in Hawaii, where the show is filmed, means he is returning (although this is no guarantee as some characters have returned in flash backs after their death). It has already been announced that Desmond would return, increasing the chances that Eko could also have survived.


Setting The Record Straight On Fighting Terrorism

Republicans are running based upon the myth they created that they have a better record than Democrats on fighting terrorism. A number of blog posts this week have refuted conservative claims.

One false story which conservatives have spread the last couple of yeras is that Bin Laden would have been captured if not for Bill Clinton. It is quite ironic that they would invent such a story, considering that in reality it was George Bush who allowed bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora. Think Progress report that Richard Clarke has given a different story than the upcoming ABC miniseries on 9/11. The miniseries claims that the Clinton Administration denied the CIA permission to capture bin Laden. Even the conservative Washington Times has refused to go along with spreading this right wing lie.

AMERICAblog looks back at how the Republican-controlled Congress blocked Clinton’s push for anti-terrorism legislation. We expect AMERICAblog to criticize Bush, so I’ll quote The Moderate Voice instead on the significance of this:

This is an important post on an important story. Read it. Since 9/11, Republicans have run on terrorism, more specifically on the exploitation of the issue of terrorism, and have generally been extremely successful. More, Republicans have successfully spun the narrative, still prevalent in the news media, that they are tough on terrorism and trustworthy on national security while their opponents are cut-and-run doves who would expose America to more 9/11s and essentially the whole world to the omnipresent and ominous threat of “Islamofascism” (or whatever they prefer to call it and define it on any given day).

But the spin is not the truth and the narrative has been nothing but an elaborate lie. Hold the Republicans accountable for what they’ve really done, not what they claim they’ve done, this November, and do not let them get away with spinning the narrative any longer. It was Clinton, a Democrat, who recognized and sought to deal with the threat of global terrorism, the terrorism of al Qaeda and its ilk, long before 9/11. It was the Republican leadership in Congress that stopped him, that willfully and irresponsibly ignored the threat and left America exposed.

Now, which party exactly is tough on terrorism and trustworthy on national security? Which party tried to do something about terrorism even before it became a key electoral issue while the other has callously exploited it to win elections only after it could effectively be turned into a partisan issue in the wake of 9/11? Which party focused on terrorism both at home and abroad well before, and in anticipation of, 9/11 while the other has more recently pursued a disastrous military misadventure in Iraq that has nothing to do with terrorism and that has severely weakened America’s ability to deal with terrorism?

Another recent post here also looked at Bill Clinton’s record on terrorism. Joe Conason reviewed this in his book Big Lies (chapter available here).

Advertisers Avoid Survivor Race Wars

Advertising Age reports that many advertisers are dropping their ads on Survivor. I previously reported their plans ot divide up based upon race in this fall’s show. After twelve seasons GM is dropping out, which means that we will not see if someone can break the curse in which the winner of the car inevitably gets voted out before winning the million dollar prize unless Mark Burnett finds another auto maker to take their place. Others dropping Survivor include Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup.

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Chief of Strategic Planning Echos John Kerry on Terrorism

UPI reports that the chief of strategic planning on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff is sounding a lot like John Kerry when discussing terrorism:

The United States should rethink the label it uses for what is known as the “global war on terror,” the chief of strategic planning on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff said Tuesday.

What is needed, said Army Col. Gary Cheek, is to recast terrorists as the criminals they are.

“If we can change the name … and find the right sequence of events that allows us to do that, that changes the dynamic of the conflict,” said Cheek at the Defense Forum Washington, sponsored by the Marine Corps Association and the U.S. Naval Institute.

“It makes sense for us to find another name for the GWOT,” said Cheek. “It merits rethinking. I know our European allies are more comfortable articulating issues of terrorism as criminal threats, rather than war … It ought to be our goal to partner better with the European allies so we can migrate this from a war to something other than a war.”

The “war” moniker elevates al-Qaida and other transnational terrorists, giving them legitimacy as an opposition force to the United States. It also tends to alienate Muslim populations in other countries, who see the war as a war on Islam, and feel they need to support al-Qaida as a matter of defending their faith.

It also tends to frame the fight as one in which the Defense Department has the primary role, when it is becoming increasingly clear that the “long war” against global terrorism is going to be won on other fronts — economic, political, diplomatic, financial. Other government agencies and departments must become more engaged; only they have the expertise to help other countries take the actions necessary to defeat terrorists.

The political implications of this is noted, including how this undermines one of the favorite attacks from Republicans while repeating John Kerry’s advice:

And one of their chief attacks on Democrats is their alleged preference to manage terrorism as a law enforcement problem rather than being serious about defeating them in a war.

It’s a tactic borrowed from President George W. Bush himself. Campaigning for his second term in 2004, Bush hit that theme often, attacking Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry for saying the war on terror was “far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering law enforcement operation.”

Bush responded: “After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and supporters declared war on the United States of America — and war is what they got.”

But a little more than a year later, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers said in a speech at the National Press Club he had objected to the use of the term “war on terrorism” because it causes people to think that the military is the solution.

Perhaps it is time for Bush to listen to those who understand the problem. Of course Bush’s failure to do so has been at the heart of our problems from the beginning.

Birth of a Resistance to the Cylons

Battlestar Gallactica fans don’t have to wait until the third season begins to see what has happened since the surrender of New Caprica to the Cylons. The Sci Fi Channel is posting ten web casts which show what has happened between the end of season two and season three, which begins on October 6. The web casts will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday, with today’s opening episode showing attempts to form a resistance after sixty-seven days of Cylon occupation.

Colonel Tigh appears to have a more heroic role than last season as a leader of the resistance. If the rumors are true, he will pay a price. I’ll place the spoilers under the fold.


Angry Bloggers, Angry Americans

Coverage of the liberal blogosphere by the mainstream media frequently includes the word angry. If we are angry, it appears that us angry bloggers are just representative of the population as a whole. CNN reports on their new poll with the title Voters are anti-incumbent and angry, new poll finds. The word angry appears again in the first and third paragraph.

Rather than criticizing bloggers for being angry, the media should look more closely at what is going on that is making the bloggers, and voters, so angry.

Of course liberal blogs, such as Blonde Sense, Middle Earth Journal, and The Democratic Daily do not appear angry about these polling results. Conservative blogs might not be angry, but aren’t thrilled with the results and in some cases are in denial.

Slublog would prefer to vote against both the Republicans and Democrats. Poliblog is surprised that the economy rather than Iraq is the major cause of anger, and believes polls such as this “are not all that helpful is really understanding what the outcome of the race will be, leading me back to the notion that we have to look race-by-race.” While specifics of each race do matter, especially due to the built in advantages for incumbents, there does appear to be a nation wide trend developing which makes victories by challengers and Democrats far more likely. Quando believes that incumbents will improve as they return home to campaign and predicts Democrats will take the House but only pick up three Senate seats. Outside the Beltway actually does sound angry, considering this a “stupid poll” as it is not limited to registered voters.

Hope, or dismay?

I’m not sure what to make of this news item; Pakistan military to reduce their military presence in Afghanistan return for expulsion of foreign Islamic militants. OBL himself would be classified as a foreign Islamic militant.

Is this good news? Do I believe the Taliban would readily expel some of the strongest warriors in their jihad in return for a reduced presence of Pakistan military? If that’s the case, it seems to contradict this report’s claim that local support for the Taliban has increased.

More here.

Pakistan ‘Taleban’ in peace deal

Pakistan has signed a deal with pro-Taleban militants on the Afghan border aimed at ending years of unrest.

The North Waziristan accord calls on tribesmen to expel foreign militants and end cross-border attacks in return for a reduced military presence.

Tens of thousands of Pakistani troops are fighting foreign Islamic militants and their local supporters in the country’s restive tribal belt.

Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in North Waziristan this year.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says some observers believe the deal offers the government an exit from a military strategy that has largely failed.

Dozens of soldiers have been killed in North Waziristan over the past year and local support for the Taleban seems to have increased rather than decreased, she says.