Second-Day Lede
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
  Still blogging...

...daily on The Dagley Dagley Daily.

Here's what I posted there today.

Thursday, July 22, 2004
  "...And the Clinton administration before that"

We interrupt our summer hiatus with this breaking news: CNN's William Schneider just reported that the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks not only pressured the Bush administration, but "the Clinton administration before that", for an independent commission to investigate the intelligence failures and other shortcomings that allowed the attacks to happen.

Hope he gets an extra jelly bean for sticking to the GOP talking points, even though that required bending not only the truth but the laws of physics.

The Clinton administration ended on January 20, 2001. The attacks happened in September, 2001. The victims weren't victims until September, and that means the families of the victims weren't families of the victims until then. Nonetheless, Schneider tells the world, the families were prescient enough to begin demanding an investigation nearly a year before there were attacks to investigate.

If that's the case, Mr. Schneider, then let's hope the 9/11 Commission report recommends putting those families of victims in charge of our nation's security from now on, since they apparently are able to see the future.

We now return you to our summer hiatus, already in progress. 
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
  Thanks for your patience...

...Second-Day Lede is on summer hiatus until September 12. In the interim, postings will be intermittent. Meanwhile, our top story today and every day, reported live: Former President Ronald Reagan remains dead. And news organizations everywhere are finally recouping the investment they've made over the past few decades: generation upon generation of canned Reagan obits. 
Thursday, May 27, 2004
  Famed Tennessee Baptist comes to Greenwich Village to preach to locals about dominance, humiliation, and perversion

(The following is a simulpost with my other blog, The Dagley Dagley Daily.)

Does former Vice President (and my fellow Tennessean) Al Gore have a future as a fire-and-brimstone preacher? He showed quite a talent for it Wednesday at New York University as he preached to the choir: more than 800 cheering members of the moveon.org Political Action Committee. In a one-hour sermon on the subject of Iraq, Gore used his full dynamic range, from a hoarse whisper to a top-of-the-lungs shout that left crying babies in its wake. Bland? Wooden? Not this Al Gore. It appears that Bob Dole syndrome -- boring-until-out-of-office -- is an equal-opportunity affliction.

Gore did some party-line-crossing himself, quoting more Republicans than Democrats, as well as the Bible, Mr. Bush, tortured detainees, their torturers, and a whole contingent of retired and active-duty military personnel.

He got standing ovation after standing ovation, and thunderous applause when the crowd was taking a break from standing, all of which illustrated a basic rule of preaching (or performing) that Mr. Gore hasn't quite learned yet: when you're interrupted by applause, let yourself be interrupted. Don't just shout over the cheering and continue your speech, because nobody can hear you.

Fortunately I was only about 10 yards away from the man who won the 2000 popular vote, and I was able to see the Teleprompter -- otherwise I wouldn't have known that Gore was calling for the resignations of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Stephen Cambone, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The room was a bit quieter, though, as Gore called for the resignation of CIA Director George Tenet. "He is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately."

And just as fortunately, I was able to relay that information to some of those leaving the speech who were asking, "But what did he say? Whose resignation was he asking for?"

An effective preacher also needs to fire up the congregation with a hunger for something more than fried chicken and nanner puddin after the service, by assigning them a task for the week ahead. Gore fired 'em up all right, but he didn't assign a task. Moveon.org was already calling for the resignations of Rumsfeld and others, and even as Gore spoke, more than 1,000 Moveon members were visiting the local offices of their senators and congressional representatives to reinforce that call. In fact, Moveon members in the New York City area had to choose between making those visits and listening to Gore's speech.

A preacher also has to be able to do one more thing: change minds, get people to see the light. But everybody in this crowd already agreed with Gore; he'll have to go elsewhere to find minds to change.

Which brings us to the Rocky Top Brigade, a diverse conglomeration of bloggers of all persuasions who have only one thing in common: our connection to the state of Tennessee, which we also share with Mr. Gore. The Brigade is having one of its regular online git-togethers today, this time at a spot on the far right of the spectrum, Rebel Yell. Rebel Yell's proprietor, Stoney, has assured all us left-leaners that he won't poke fun at the Brigade's liberals, so I'm testing his limits by contributing this piece.

For security reasons, we weren't supposed to bring anything -- no purses, backpacks, cellphones, cameras -- so I left everything at home except my wallet, keys, notebook, pen, and ticket to the speech. I must have been the only one who followed that directive, and now I wish I hadn't been so obedient. I took notes like crazy, which wasn't necessary since the entire speech is available online.

Gore seems to have aged more than his 2000 opponent, although he might just have decided that Grecian Formula is for those who seek the center. In any case, he's letting his gray flag fly these days, and he's definitely not seeking the center.

"George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility," Gore began. "Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world. He promised to 'restore honor and integrity to the White House.' Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon.

"Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as 'a decent respect for the opinion of mankind.' He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins."

In a neighborhood where leading people around on leashes is a form of entrepreneurism, Gore addressed the Bush administration's fondness for the word "dominance."

"An American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does. Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens -- sooner or later -- to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul."

Amen, brother. Preach on:

"Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens. Listen, then, to the balance of internal impulses described by Specialist Charles Graner: 'The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer says'" -- Gore paused to apologize in advance for the language he was quoting -- "'I just love to make a grown man piss on himself.'"

He quoted the Institute of Strategic Studies, which reported Tuesday that the U.S. invasion of Iraq "has arguably focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition."

(It wasn't surprising that within hours, right-wing commentators were comparing Gore's fiery speech with the "Dean scream." You remember Howard Dean, who months ago pointed out that the Iraq war did not make us safer? Remember when that suggestion was controversial? Can you think of anyone, other than Rush Limbaugh, who disputes it today?)

Gore quoted Gen. Joseph Hoar, former head of the U.S. Marine Corps: "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."

And he quoted retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, who says our nation's current course is "headed over Niagara Falls." He quoted Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr., commander of the 82nd Airborne, who said, when asked if the U.S. was losing the war in Iraq: "I think strategically, we are." He quoted Army Col. Paul Hughes, who directed strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq. Hughes, who lost his brother in Vietnam, said that "I promised myself when I came on active duty that I would do everything in my power to prevent that from happening again." Hughes said that, "unless we ensure that we have coherence in our policy, we will lose strategically."

And he quoted one of the Judge Advocates General in the Defense Department who asked a human-rights lawyer for help, telling him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity where the mistreatment of prisoners is concerned."

In light of the photos, affidavits, and other evidence of abuse of prisoners held by the U.S. in Iraq and elsewhere, including at least 37 deaths in captivity, Gore shuddered as he quoted Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, in which he reported that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested and "many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."

Gore quoted Gen. William Boykin, who apparently doesn't realize this nation was founded on the concept of freedom of religion, since he told evangelical groups that in the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. is "a Christian nation battling Satan."

He quoted victim Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh, who told the Washington Post that he was ordered to denounce Islam after torturers broke his leg and continued hitting it, ordering him "to thank Jesus that I'm alive."

Then Gore quoted the Bible:

"In my religious tradition, I have been taught that 'ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit...Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.'"

He quoted Abraham Lincoln's Dec. 1, 1862, address to Congress: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history ... the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation ... We shall nobly save, or meanly lose the last best hope of earth ... The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

And as the Tennessee preacher got around to the subject of salvation, he quoted another Republican, Reagan-administration Labor Secretary Ray Donovan, who, when cleared of all charges in a corruption investigation, asked, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"

Where do we go to reclaim our nation's honor? To the polls, Gore said, just six months and a few days from now. And he quoted Lincoln again:

"We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility."

Helen Thomas wasn't on hand for the occasion, so as Gore concluded and the crowd went wild, I stood in for her.

"Thank you, Mr. President!" I hollered -- not that anybody heard me, but just for the record. 
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
  All the apology that's fit to print

The New York Times now acknowledges that its reporting leading up to the invasion of Iraq was "not as rigorous as it should have been."

They could have said so in far fewer words, such as "We were had" or "Michael Massing was right.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
  Fake news guy addresses real grads

The worse the news gets, the more we enjoy the fake news on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It's in reruns this week, but for those who need a few words from the fake newsman himself, here's Jon Stewart's address to the class of '04 at William and Mary College
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
  Questions somebody should be asking

This is the most-linked-to item in the Blogosphere today, according to Daypop. For those who prefer not to follow that trendy link, I'll summarize: a childless heterosexual couple married 8 years went through extensive fertility testing, during which doctors discovered they'd never had sex and didn't know what it was. The doctors blamed the couple's religious upbringing. The pair are now being trained in the proper procedure.

Question 1: Why would anyone encourage these people to reproduce?

Next, why is firing live ammunition into the air anybody's tradition for celebrating anything?

Finally, one of the main points made by those who doubt the official story about what happened to Nick Berg and when is this: the executioner is wearing a gold ring, which is forbidden in Islam. That leads us to our last question for today:

Wearing a gold ring is forbidden in Islam, but beheading a hostage isn't?
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
  More abuse

In this case, the victims included four Iraqi journalists, working for Reuters and NBC, subjected to treatment consistent with those famous photos, detained last January by the U.S. military in Fallujah.

Most underplayed story of the day

As of June 30, the U.S. will stop paying $340,000 a month to Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress
Monday, May 17, 2004
  Missed connections

If the press corps were a basketball team, they'd be stepping all over each other on the court, unaware that the ball had bounced out into the parking lot. Here are some of the connections they've missed lately:

Missed connection #1:

We told you about it in January.

We didn't know until we saw it on 60 Minutes II.

How could that be? They told us all about something they hadn't heard about themselves. But what did enquiring reporters want to know on yesterday's Sunday talk shows? "Has Rumsfeld had it with the media?"

Missed connection #2:

The 50th anniversary today of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling that "separate but equal" is an oxymoron.

The beginning of court-sanctioned government-approved same-sex marriages today in Massachussetts.

One reporter got that connection, and wrote about eloquently in an op-ed piece published today in The New York Times.

Mr. Bush didn't see the connection: he practically took credit for the Brown v. Board decision today, while calling for separate-but-equal in that discriminatory constitutional amendment he's pushing for.

Missed connection #3:

Colin Powell was in the middle of answering Tim Russert's question yesterday on "NBC's Meet the Press" when this happened:

Russert: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein citing...

Powell: Not off.

Emily: No. They can't use it. They're editing it. They (unintelligible).

Powell: He's still asking me questions. Tim.

Emily: He was not...

Powell: Tim, I'm sorry, I lost you.

Russert: I'm right here, Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

Powell: We really...

Russert: I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

Powell: Emily, get out of the way.

Emily: OK.

Powell: Bring the camera back, please. I think we're back on, Tim. Go ahead with your last question.

Russert: Thank you very much, sir. In February of 2003, you put your enormous personal reputation on the line before the United Nations and said that you had solid sources for the case against Saddam Hussein. It now appears that an agent called Curveball had misled the CIA by suggesting that Saddam had trucks and trains that were delivering biological and chemical weapons. How concerned are you that some of the information you shared with the world is now inaccurate and discredited?

"Emily" is apparently Sec. Powell's press aide.

Missed connection #4:

This one's a local story in the blogosphere. Blogware provider Movable Type announced it would be charging for what was previously free almost immediately after Blogger irritated some of its users with a redesign that giveth as it taketh away. If Movable Type had waited a few weeks, they might have picked up some Blogger emigrants before they announced their new pricing plan.
Friday, May 14, 2004
  Global dimming

It's been happening for the past 50 years, at least, so most of us don't know the world any other way, but science tells us that it's not just our imagination: we don't see as much sunlight these days as we used to.

The next time Al Gore gives a speech in the daytime, I expect some rightwinger will say that proves conclusively there's no such thing as global dimming.

Thursday, May 13, 2004
  Bible quoters take on Bible thumpers

The Bible thumpers you already know about: they have control of the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court, but not Iraq.

But it's possible to do more with a Bible -- if you stop thumping it long enough to look inside, you find some revelatory reading, as Bible-quoters Buddy Don and Kurt Vonnegut tell us. 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  U.S. Army needs to change its recruitment slogan forthwith...

...because "put yourself in the picture" has taken on a whole new meaning. 
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
  Ugly American du jour

Today's winner is Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who today was the embodiment of ignorant hatefulness, and who has flushed the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" down the toilet:

"I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment...These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations.. "If they're in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands and here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals."

A Red Cross report quotes coalition military authorities themselves as saying that "70 to 90 percent" of those detained were "arrested by mistake."
Monday, May 10, 2004
  Was it a photo contest?

An Al-Jazeera journalist who was held by the U.S. in Abu Ghraib prison told Britain's ITV, among other things:

"They were enjoying taking photographs of the torture. There was a daily competition to see who could take the most gruesome picture.

"The winner's photo would be stuck on a wall and also put on their laptop computers as a screensaver."

Attention, all you people who've been chanting "God Bless America" since September 2001. You might want to update that to "Heaven help us." We have met the evil-doers, and they is us.
Friday, May 07, 2004
  Secretary of Evasiveness

"...if there's a failure, it's me." -- Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on torture of prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq

If? If? If? If? If? If?

Here's another "if" for you: if Rumsfeld takes the fall and resigns, that resignation would most likely be announced sometime between 6 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday.

And one more: IF Rumsfeld resigned, would that solve the problem? Only if he were the whole problem.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
  Sticking to the script

George Bush continues to say, in most every campaign appearance, that "the torture chambers are closed." He's insisted it all along, even after the February report that he says he didn't know about, and even as the International Red Cross "repeatedly asked the U.S. to take corrective action.

Does anybody believe him anymore? If you're one of those who do, please use the comments field here to tell us what you believe, and why.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
  The only way...

...George Bush's appearance on Arab TV might even possibly make even one iota of difference would be if he put himself in the position of the torture victims. So for this appearance, he won't need a suit, a tie, or even cowboy boots. He doesn't even need a hood, though he might prefer to wear one.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
  Maybe we all need to read this again, carefully

The Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, 1949.

because the people who did this (caution: disturbing images that you've probably already seen on TV) didn't.

Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Seymour M. Hersh, who told the world about the My Lai massacre in Vietnam back in 1969, is also telling the world about this disgraceful scandal.

Monday, May 03, 2004
  Mission not accomplished, Iraq veteran says

Iraq veteran Lt. Paul Rieckhoff, U.S. Army Reserve, rebutted Mr. Bush's weekly radio address with some words of his own on Saturday. (Yes, that's a link to, of all places, Fox News -- it's the only place I could find the transcript posted.) 
Friday, April 30, 2004
  Not just a number

As every high-school journalism teacher knows, numbers induce numbness. Even big, important numbers, such as the more than 700 people in the U.S. military who have died in combat in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We see them, we hear them, and we know those numbers represent people -- it's just hard to picture any of them, let alone so many. Sometimes the best way is to tell just one person's story, as Marine Lt. Col M.R. Strobl does in an eloquent first-person account, "Taking Chance Home." If you follow that link, you may notice that it's to a blog far to the right of this one. As Sen. John McCain pointed out today, paying tribute to the fallen is not partisan, despite what some small-minded broadcasting executives might think.

...another look at the news and the industry that delivers it to us

By Janet Dagley Dagley

Read the feed...Click here to read Second-Day Lede in handy ATOM format

What's a Second-Day Lede?

"Second-day lede" is journalistic jargon for putting a new spin on a story for a second or subsequent news cycle. A 'lede" is the lead sentence of an article, deliberately misspelled to make it more easily recognizable as jargon. Once upon a time, news moved in daily cycles, but now it has become a constant flow of rewrites and "second-day ledes."

Second-Day Lede is also the name of this blog, where you'll find commentary on the news, and especially on the industry that cultivates, harvests, processes, packages, distributes and delivers it to us.

Who's writing this stuff?

A veteran of more news cycles than she'd care to admit, Janet Dagley Dagley entered the profession of journalism as a teenager, covering local government meetings at night for the Dayton Daily News in Ohio, becoming a full-time staff writer at 18 and later moving on to the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times (Orange County Edition). Over the years she has worked as a freelance writer, editor, and radio producer in the U.S. and Europe. Although she has won numerous awards, she lost both times major metropolitan dailies submitted her work for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, and also lost on Jeopardy! (though she did win a trip to Hawaii). Most recently, she was editor of AIRSPACE, the journal of the Association of Independents in Radio, a U.S.-based group of public-radio producers, and a member of the AIR Board of Directors. She has been blogging independently at The Dagley Dagley Daily since February, 2003.

Recently on Second-Day Lede...

Lord of the Hats in the Ring?

The News Story that Wasn't

Why Same-Sex Marriage isn't for the Majority, or the States, to Decide

Homophobes Attack Heterosexual Marriage

Truffle-Skin Ballots may be Our Only Hope

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