Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fortenberry and the Big Easy

by Kyle Michaelis
Yesterday's Lincoln Journal-Star had a pretty sizeable puff piece by Don Walton about U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry visiting a high school and local bakery (The Kolac Korner...which I highly recommend) in tiny Prague, Nebraska. Of course, the article makes mention of Nebraska voters' dissatisfaction with President Bush's conducting of the war in Iraq, but Walton gives Fortenberry free-reign to spout off the Republican party-line on this and Bush's failed energy policy without challenge.

The article reads:
Over morning coffee at Kolac Korner and during the usual round of beers at night, the topic in this rural community is Iraq.

“They’re blaming the president; they’re upset about the loss of American life,” cafe owner Mark Nemec tells Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

“They’re asking: ‘Why are we there?’”....

Concern about Iraq has been the leading topic on the minds of Fortenberry’s constituents as he has made the rounds during the August congressional recess.

It was the first question raised by a parent after the first-term Republican congressman wrapped up an informal discussion with 12 Prague High School seniors during their morning English class on Monday.

It was the first thing on Nemec’s mind when the 1st District congressman stepped into the corner cafe in this town of 300 people northwest of Wahoo for a pork sandwich.

Second was rising gas prices, which already have triggered price hikes by Nemec’s food suppliers.

“Gas prices are a fairly recent topic,” Fortenberry said as he drove back to Lincoln after lunch. “I think those are the two big issues right now.”

Fortenberry’s position on Iraq is resolute. “This is a war. It is dangerous and risky. In spite of terrible setbacks, terrible losses of American lives, I believe this is a work in progress that is progressing.”

Already, he suggested, Iraq is batting 4 for 4, having established an interim government, held national elections, created a transitional national assembly and prepared a constitution that will be submitted to a referendum vote in October....

Rising gas prices are largely a product of the economic laws of supply and demand, Fortenberry said.

The energy bill approved by Congress last month addresses the need to develop domestic energy sources, he said, including renewable fuels.

Wow, it's like a press release brought to life. Iraq and gas prices "are two big issues right now" - well, thank you, Captain Obvious.

Got to give these Republican Congressmen props for message control....even if it is with the assistance of local media who seemingly refuse to ask any tough questions.

Of course, I don't know who Fortenberry thinks he's kidding with this Iraq "batting 4 for 4" nonsense. If Iraq were a baseball game maybe one player has a stat like that, but every other player is 0 for infinity...and, by the way, every fan in the stadium has either been killed by the military, killed by a suicide bomber, or trampled to death in a mass panic that either of the previous two might occur.

Then, there's the same ol', same ol' excuse blaming supply and demand for our every energy woe. Fortenberry even has the audacity to act as if the Republican Energy Bill does one one-hundredth of what should be done to push renewable fuels and the development of alternative fuel technology. It was one massive corporate hand-out that noone in Congress can say with a straight face does a single thing to ween this country from its dependence on foreign oil. Shameful and pathetic.

But, the thing that's most obviously missing from this article, which could not possibly be more relevant, is Fortenberry's comments on Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Remember, Fortenberry has been a Louisianan most of his life - he's by far the most prominent Louisianan Nebraska's ever produced - and the Journal-Star doesn't even think to get his comment....EVEN WHEN HE'S TALKING ABOUT THE PRICE OF GASOLINE THAT THIS CATASTROPHE IS FORCING TO UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS???? Even when Bush and the Republican Congress are guilty of diverting funds and destroying habitats that would have helped protect New Orleans from the worst of this damage????

Talk about forgetting where you come from. Talk about a newspaper not doing its job. Then again, we wouldn't want to remind voters that our beloved first-term Congressman isn't a native son, not when there's another election just 14 months away.


Anonymous Mr. Wilson said...

"...Walton gives Fortenberry free-reign to spout off the Republican party-line..."

That is truly bizarre. Walton is no fan of Republicans. Usually. I can't imagine Walton likes Fortenberry. Maybe Walton forgot to take his meds...?

"Then, there's the same ol', same ol' excuse blaming supply and demand for our every energy woe."

Damn that supply and demand! Damn them all to hell!

You're cute when you're ignorant.

"But, the thing that's most obviously missing from this article, which could not possibly be more relevant, is Fortenberry's comments on Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. [Bizarre rant follows.]"

Did you consider the possibility that the events mentioned in the article happened, say, last week? Well, no, of course not. If you had, you wouldn't have been able to have your little hyperventilation session.

That being said, it is an unusual article. But only if you read it expecting a funny thing called "journalism." Had you looked at the top of the page you would have noticed the words "Lincoln Journal Star," a phrase that means "haven of j-school drop-outs." If you read the articles therein with that in mind, you're much less likely to have an aneurism.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it when people have more to them than snide comments and sarcasm. I don't agree with you all the time, Kyle, but at least you've got a leg up on Mr. Wilson.

Anonymous Mr. Wilson said...

Anonymous --

Snide comments and sarcasm are the only things keeping my head from exploding while I watch the massive government clusterfuck down south. I'm not quite to Lewis Black 30-seconds-from-total-meltdown stage, but I'm getting closer.

Anonymous Beau Vail said...

it was pretty awesome.


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