Gen. Peter Pace mouths off

AP: 9/26

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, caused a stir at a Senate hearing Wednesday when he said he believes homosexual activity is immoral and should not be condoned by the military. Pace, who retires next week, said he was seeking to clarify similar remarks he made in spring, which he said were misreported.

"Are there wonderful Americans who happen to be homosexual serving in the military? Yes," he told the Senate Appropriations Committee during a hearing focused on the Pentagon's 2008 war spending request.

"We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it," he added. "And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law."

This is out of line. I don't care where Peter Pace stands on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and homosexuality in general, he should keep it to himself. The fact that an acting Joint Chiefs chairman would say something more befitting the now-defunct Crossfire than a Senate hearing is mind-numbing. Aren't military leaders supposed to maintain apolitical positions?

I don't care that Pace espoused a conservative stance: he's entitled to his point-of-view. He could have said he wants all the troops out of Iraq tomorrow. It would have been equally inappropriate.

Traditionalists may complain about the lack of discipline in today's military, but who would've guessed that would be manifest in the soapbox preachings of an out-of-line General at a Senate hearing?


The journalist jury?

This week's incident involving O.J. Simpson and a robbery is a bit surreal. When the story first broke, CNN displayed a large red headline saying "O.J. Simpson suspect in armed robbery." It's enough to keep anyone glued to the channel and create considerable buzz about the story.

Any story involving Simpson is too good to be true for the media, since Simpson's murder trial in 1995 redefined the concept of media spectacle.

It's also a bridge the media will never let him burn.

Simpson re-ignited the spectacle by nearly releasing a book called If I Did It, which would have described how he murdered ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman -- if he had done it, of course. The concept is highly suspect, but no one can really be sure if he is guilty. Only a jury can decide that, and the message they left between the criminal trial (not guilty on all counts) and 1997 civil trial (guilty of wrongful death and battery) was mixed.

So this incident involving a Simpson's theft of his own memorabilia in Las Vegas had me wondering: does the media (and the consumer, as well) want to see Simpson guilty of something?

Alan Keyes? This is getting rediculous...

He ran for President in 1996 and 2000 and has recently decided he will do the same in 2008.

That's right, the GOP savior is here. Alan Keyes is running for President of these United States.

The Republican field is already bloated with candidates no one has heard of, even more so than the Democratic one, so I don't think this move was sanctioned (or is being smiled upon) by Republican higher-ups. This seems to be a maverick, inconsequential candidacy announced by a public figure whose effectiveness and popularity has clearly lapsed. Think Ralph Nader, but with a "R" next to his name.

But it's funny as hell. (Also funny as hell: Keyes's website)

Bill Richardson was the last Democrat to announce his candidacy, and he did so on May 21. The voices begging Al Gore to jump into the race have grown hoarse and have finally subsided, but then again, they very well may have given their support to Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. After the withdrawal of Tom Vilsack in February, there are eight Democratic candidates. The field is solidifying, and potential voters are settling in.

There are ten Republicans, but twelve have tried to win the nomination: Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thompson ended their campaigns over the summer.

Yes, it's only three more candidates than the Democrats, but it suggests restlessness, a lack of enthusiasm, and volatility among Republican devotees. Fred Thompson's candidacy, however, could change all that. Chances are, this other September announcement won't matter.


Fred Thompson jumps in, comments on coldness of water

On last night's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", Former Sen. Fred Thompson announced what most of us already knew: "I'm running for President of the United States."

After months of hemming and hawing and waiting for the perfect moment, the GOP's most-hpyed choice for the nomination is now officially in the race.

Yesterday's GOP debate (broadcast by Fox News) brought some gentle chiding from other candidates in the Republican field. "Maybe we're up past his bedtime," Sen. McCain joked.

On last night's Colbert Report, the captions of "The Word" seemed to sum up political sentiment towards Fred Thompson. In describing opening Christmas presents, Colbert likened Thompson to an unopened present still under the tree as February approached, where one could hope and dream about what was inside (caption: Reagan), only until the present was opened and its true contents were revealed (caption: Fred Thompson.).

Is it too late for Thompson? I don't think so. Republicans have expressed dissatisfaction with their choices for President, and at this point in time, most Americans (even likely primary voters) have taken only superficial interest in what figures to be a marathon campaign. National polls are more of a reflection of name recognition and residual opinions than a calculated decision on a candidate of choice (see McCain, John and Hilary, Clinton).

Of course with the game of hopscotch going on with primary dates, the first wave of primaries could take place anytime in December. This of course will benefit firmy established campaigns, so for Thompson wants to win, his campaign will have to be decisive, sharp, and message-oriented -- a 180 from how it is operating right now.