Wednesday, February 11, 2015



Yes, it's time for a new Secretary of Defense.

It's the start of year seven of Barack's eight years as president and that means a new Secretary of Defense, apparently.

Already, his tenure has seen Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel serve as Secretary of Defense. 

So, if confirmed, Ashton Carter will be the fourth Secretary of Defense in the administration.

For context, let's turn to Bill Clinton's terms.

Bill was elected president twice (1992 and 1996).

In his eight years, he had three Defense Secretaries: Les Aspin, William Perry and William Cohen.

Aspin was a mistake.  He had health issues which got worse in his brief tenure and he also had a highly embarrassing public moment (the Mogadishu attack which left eighteen US service members dead and over seventy injured) which led Bill to ask for Aspin's resignation.

Barack's asked for no resignations (as far as we know) from Gates, Panetta or Hagel.  He just can't seem to keep them.  Maybe he should be singing "Shake It Off"?

I go on too many dates
But I can't make them stay
That's what people say
-- "Shake It Off," written by Taylor Swift, first appears on her 1989.




 Now we're going to move over to the issue of celebrity and liar Brian Williams.  He'd be a paragraph were it not for all the drive-by e-mails.  I don't buckle under pressure.  No, I push back.  So all the little whiners -- most of you citing your love of MSNBC and Comedy Central -- grasp that Gina long ago defined this site as a private conversation in public sphere. 

You're free to listen in but you don't dictate the topics and you don't control the conversation.

Martha and Shirley informed over 60 '1st time' e-mailers wanted me to know that my commentary on Jon Stewart in the snapshot yesterday and this morning was wrong.

'Jon is not too old.'  And he has not aged out of Comedy Central's demographic, they maintain.

He will host, 12 insisted, The Daily Show for many years to come.  Ten years was the most common assertion.

I guess I was wrong. 

I guess my friends -- people actually in charge of what airs and what doesn't -- told me wrong. 

Thank you, kind strangers, for correcting me but . . .

. . . What's that?

Jon Stewart's stepping down from The Daily Show?.


Announced this afternoon. 

I don't know what they told you
Don't even care what about
All I know is I'm clean as a whistle, baby
I didn't let the cat out
So don't look at me sideways
Don't even look me straight on
And don't look at my hands in my pockets
I ain't done anything wrong
-- "Never Said Nothing," written by Liz Phair, first appears on her Exile In Guyville.

Some of us are in the room and others just have faces pressed against the glass.

Comedy Central's not the only one with an announcement.

NBC News had one as well.

Brian Steinberg (Variety) reports:

Hoping to tamp down a controversy growing around one of its best-known on-air personalities, NBC News on Tuesday suspended Brian Williams, the most-watched evening-news anchor in the U.S., from his duties as chief anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” for six months without pay in the wake of a scandal over misleading statements he made about his time covering the Iraq War in 2003.
The furor over Williams’ embellishments have engulfed NBC News since early last week, when his account of facing enemy fire while riding in a helicopter in 2003 was challenged by Iraq veterans. Williams’ last broadcast took place on Friday. Lester Holt will continue as substitute anchor.

Deborah Turness, President of NBC News, issued a memo to NBC News staff which NBC News has posted online:

We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately.  We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.
Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.
While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.
In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.
As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.
Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together. We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years.  Millions of Americans have turned to him every day, and he has been an  important and well-respected part of our organization.
As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree.  But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.
This has been a difficult time. But NBC News is bigger than this moment. You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience. Because of you, your loyalty, your dedication, NBC News is an organization we can – and should – all be proud of. We will get through this together.
Steve Burke asked me to share the following message.
“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News.  His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate.  Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him.  Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”


Good for her.  That was a very hard call.  Most people didn't think it would be made.  She made the hard call and the needed call if news is going to be more important to NBC News than celebrity. 

Williams has six month suspension while the investigation continues.

He can return.

Of course, if he thinks the jokes are bad now, wait until the comics have a week's time to fill in the lead up to a return.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"