Richard's Ramblings

The War, off the record, Moore and American Idol

A few random ramblings


By Richard Zowie

Times Guardian


As we approach the summer, here are a few random ramblings that came across my mind...

Rambling One: The recent events regarding how some of our military service members have maliciously treated prisoners of war frustrate me endlessly. Here we are trying to convince the Iraqis that we are a tolerant, caring, freedom-loving nation that wants to give them something better than Saddam Hussein (which shouldn't be difficult to do) and this happens. If military courts have to ruin the careers of service members who didn't have the decency or initiative to refuse to obey "orders" and go along with such terrible actions, then so be it.

I'm amazed, though, at how angry the world is over our treatment of POWs considering that they have virtually ignored:


· How Hussein paraded our POWs on TV early in the war in a clear violation of the Geneva Convention

· The blood-curdling atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein and his sons (rape, unspeakable torture, threatening harm to children if their parents didn't cooperate, and on and on and on)

· How Hussein had hundreds of thousands of Iraqis murdered and buried in mass graves and used mustard gas and nerve gas against Kurdish civilians

· The countless times Hussein turned away United Nations weapon inspectors (if Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, why not cooperate? What's there to hide?)


The list indeed could go on. When the world becomes balanced in its reaction to injustice, then I'll take it seriously about its hostility toward America. Frankly, I don't understand why America is hated so much considering that we allow things like freedom of speech and religion-wait! Never mind. I just answered my own question.

Rambling Two: Want another example of liberal media bias? President Bush recently got some scrapes on his face and hands after falling off a bike on his ranch. Late on May 22, Matt Drudge reported about Democratic presidential candidate-to-be John Kerry's response to President Bush's mishap: "Did the training wheels fall off?"

The Washington Times reported that Kerry spokesperson Stephanie Cutter "would say only that the words Mr. Drudge reported were off the record."

I seem to remember something slightly similar happening in 1990 here in Texas. Republican gubernatorial nominee Clayton Williams, comfortably ahead in the polls against Democratic nominee Ann Richards, joked about the cold, rainy weather at his ranch. Thinking he was telling an off-the-record joke, Williams inexplicably compared the bad weather to rape. "If it's enjoyable, relax and enjoy it," he said.

The thoughtless, idiotic comment made headlines across Texas the next day (as it should have), and not even Williams' best spin doctors could cauterize such a gushing jugular wound. Williams went on to narrowly lose the election.

Not to say that Kerry's joke about Bush is the same as Williams' comment, but Kerry's comment won't endear him as a caring man (or even a tactful man); Kerry already has a reputation among many for being aloof. If Kerry doesn't watch out, he just might slip and say something really bad. Kerry was probably making a joke but chances are, though, if Bush had made the joke about Kerry, you'd see the joke on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. During the 2000 campaign, when Bush used an expletive to describe a New York Times reporter not knowing there was a live microphone nearby, it was reported everywhere. So much for the myth of no liberal media bias.

Rambling Three: Michael Moore won big at the Cannes Film Festival recently with his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, a scathing attack on President Bush. While I don't agree with the president on everything, I sincerely hope that this time Moore made a documentary that at least attempts to be accurate.

Rambling Four: David Crosby from sixties music group Crosby, Stills and Nash once referred to Britney Spears' music as being "as deep as a bird bath." Maybe that's the reason I don't watch American Idol. It's hard to take a show seriously when it's obvious they deliberately put terrible singers on there for the entertainment value of humiliating them on national television. I can't say I plan to invest in Simon Cowell's record label. To me, it and American Idol represent what's wrong with music today: style over substance.


Richard Zowie is a reporter and columnist for the Times Guardian. E-mail comments to and include your number if you want your comments published.

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