sidebar 2006.05.10
"leader of the free world" Is this really an accurate statement anymore? There are certainly other democracies in the world, and it is possible that some of them provide greater individual freedoms.
--ericball Thu May 11 14:28:03 2006
We might not be the free-est, but I'd say we're among the free, and do tend towards a leadership position, for good or not so good.
--Kirk Thu May 11 15:26:08 2006
I would say we are the most free people, and that the only bravery it takes to stand before our government's leader and lambast his policies, administration and wife, is just the amount of bravery it takes to overcome stage fright. The worst that could've happened is that President and Mrs. Bush got up and left. Bravery? Pshaw.
--LAN3 Thu May 11 15:51:51 2006
sounds like there's a bush apologist in the room...
--Anon Thu May 11 15:56:00 2006
Well, there's a nonzero chance it could've damaged his career, either by strings being pulled behind the scenes or just from people in the industry not being comfortable with his kind of "edginess". But it does say something positive about our nation an its freedom of expression that few suspect he has more to fear than that.

So even if not "bravery", it's at least chutzpah in prodigious quantities, and I applaud it.
--Kirk Thu May 11 16:53:14 2006
stephen calls it "balls."
--FoSO Thu May 11 17:13:33 2006
Actually, wasn't it Jon Stewart who described it as "ballsalicious"?
--Kirk Thu May 11 17:17:41 2006
mmm, ballsalicious! ;)
--FoSO Thu May 11 19:11:18 2006
It doesn't take balls. Maybe chutzpah, but since Colbert's whole bit is to be satirical (if not always funny) towards the Bush Administration, it's safe to say that the people who keep him on TV were getting what they've been paying for all along, to say nothing of the people who hired him for the gig.

You're right about our nation's freedom of expression, Kirk, but the people who think Colbert's speech is the most brave are the people who inexplicably think dissent is being massively crushed today in the US, and that this event was somehow exceptional, aside from the alleged "speaking truth to power" aspects. Are they not saying dissent is being crushed as they stand before massive stadium audiences while plugging their best-selling books that continue to be stocked and sold by legitimate businesses right here in the US? The people who think Colbert was at risk somehow are the people who think that the freedom of expression is gone, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous, the term is "Bush Supporter," thankyew. On your behalf, I'm glad to report that, just as Colbert wasn't ballsy, anonymity on the internet isn't considered cowardice anymore.
--LAN3 Thu May 11 23:52:04 2006
The freedom of expression I'm worried about are the people closer to the administration who were aggresively and proacttively ignored when they tried to give a fair and reasonable assesment of what Iraq would cost and what challenges it would represent. If their estimates didn't match the truthiness the administration was going for, they were often removed from their position.

Dissent isn't being crushed, but the "war against terror" is being wielded way more tangentally than it should be.

And for what it's worth, I think chutzpah = balls.
--Kirk Fri May 12 01:49:34 2006
wow, I didn't expect my sidebar to become a springboard for such a politically charged discussion... i hope i haven't offended. and i don't like the fairly extreme polarization that i'm witnessing between "democrats" and "republicans." terms in quotes because i think they are fairly fluid and i wouldn't want either applied to me.

personally, i am appalled by the tangential (thank you, kirk) waging of war and abuse of power that i'm seeing. i can't condone the sheer waste of life and resources, on iraq or on wiretapping. every time i see the president speak (which is every day that he does as the news channel is on ALL THE TIME at work), i wonder how much, if any, truth i'm getting. 

while i would like to support him, most everything this adminstration has done, to date, has conflicted with my most basic values: do no harm, be kind to each other, help others to live well.
--FoSO Fri May 12 12:27:50 2006
I guess, FoSO, we see things differently, because I believe that your last value, help others to live well, is exactly what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as here at home.
--LAN3 Fri May 12 13:32:44 2006
I know some claim that good news from Iraq is under-reported, but I don't believe we've helped people live more well there. We mighta had good intentions, but I don't think we're helping them live more well. Forced democracy on a splintered region isn't necesarily better than dictatorship.
--Kirk Fri May 12 14:44:14 2006
well, i do think it's better than saddam. that's a certainty in my mind. he was a torturer and killer. but our subsequent attempts to restore (much less maintain) some order in the country underscore how poorly we all understand the iraqi paradigm and the challenges of rebuilding. 

also, it smacks of trying to finish business a former, related administration couldn't get done.
--FoSO Fri May 12 15:20:08 2006