Tag: U.S. Army

The first Olympic broadcast on U.S. television lasted only 28 minutes

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This blog post contains a video that is in the public domain due to said video being an official work of the United States federal government.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: For the purposes of this blog post, “Games of the Olympiad” refer to the Summer Olympics.


Starting Wednesday, August 3 at 9:30 A.M. CDT (10:30 A.M. EDT), NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air a round-robin stage women’s soccer match between Sweden and South Africa in the women’s soccer tournament at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. NBCSN’s broadcast of the first event of this year’s Olympics kicks off a whopping 6,755 hours of combined television and internet livestream coverage (schedule here) across several broadcast and cable/satellite networks that are part of the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal media conglomerate and the NBC Olympics website. Since Rio is only two hours ahead of U.S. Central Daylight Time during the month of August (due to Rio being south of the equator, Rio observes daylight savings time from mid-October to mid-February, not in August), much, but not all, of NBC’s Olympic coverage in 2016 will air live. NBC Olympic television coverage will air in English on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Bravo, Golf Channel, NBC Olympic 4K, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, and NBC Olympic Basketball Channel, and in Spanish on Univision and NBC Universo.

However, NBCUniversal’s extensive coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics pales in comparison to the minimal U.S. television coverage that the 1952 Summer Olympics received. However, what little television coverage that American viewers saw of the Helsinki Olympics of 1952 was, to my knowledge, the very first time the Olympics was broadcast on American television in any form.

The first time the Olympic Games were broadcast on American television was a 28 minute broadcast (not counting any commercials that may have aired on the television broadcast) of a documentary about the Games of the XV Olympiad in Helsinki, Finland in 1952, which officially opened on July 19, 1952 and officially closed on August 3 of the same year. Back then, there was no high-definition coverage, there was no digital television coverage, there was no color television coverage, there was no live coverage of the Games, there was no Spanish-language coverage, there was no coverage of Olympic events during the Games, and there wasn’t even television coverage of the Games during the year in which they were held! Instead, American television viewers saw a documentary, produced by the U.S. Army as part of the television documentary series The Big Picture, circa early 1954 (exact air date is lost to time, although the episode in question was the fifth episode following a Christmas-themed episode dated 1953), approximately one and a half years after the closing ceremony of the Helsinki Olympics! The production was a black-and-white documentary, with English-language narration provided by members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps (USASC), of highlights of the Helsinki Olympics. The highlights focused mainly on members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were competing for Team USA in the Helsinki Olympics.

According to Central Illinois television historian and WCCU-TV weather anchor Doug Quick, The Big Picture was aired across the ABC network, although some broadcast stations that either were affiliated with other networks or were independent broadcast stations aired the program as a syndicated program as well. It’s not clear which stations, or even how many stations, aired episode TV-250 of The Big Picture, which is the episode containing the documentary about the Helsinki Olympics.

You can watch the full documentary of the Games of the XV Olympiad here:

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In defense of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap

CNN is now reporting that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Even though the military has not yet made a formal announcement regarding the Bergdahl case, CNN cited two sources, one of which was Sgt. Bergdahl’s attorney, in its report, which leads me to believe that CNN’s report is likely, but not certainly, accurate.

While the Republicans will inevitably use this opportunity to criticize President Barack Obama for swapping five Taliban members who were in U.S. custody in exchange for bringing Bergdahl back home, I will use this opportunity to defend the prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl back home to stand trial before our country’s military court system.

I think it’s absolutely disgusting that Republicans would rather allow the Haqqani terrorist network, a sworn enemy of the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members, to effectively harbor an alleged criminal in Bergdahl than bring Bergdahl back to the U.S. to stand trial before a military court for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If it takes swapping five Taliban members for Bergdahl in order for Bergdahl to face military criminal charges for deserting the Army, that’s what it takes.

If a U.S. civilian fled to a foreign country to evade prosecution for crimes they allegedly committed in our country’s jurisdiction, the U.S. has, in my opinion, a responsibility to do everything necessary and proper to have the alleged criminal extradited back to the U.S. in order to stand trial here. The same principle applies with the Bergdahl case; the only differences are that Bergdahl is a U.S. Army member accused of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, Bergdahl was held in captivity by a sworn enemy of the U.S., and that Bergdahl will stand trial in a U.S. military court because of a prisoner swap between the Taliban and the United States.

Allen West as Secret Service Director would be an absolute disaster

FOX News blowhard Allen West, a far-right Republican lunatic from Florida who was voted out of Congress two years ago after repeatedly embarrassing himself and his constituents, has at least one person, Dan Emmett, at the Washington Post who wants him to be the next U.S. Secret Service Director should current Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resign:

(Julia) Pierson should be replaced and the next director should come from outside the Secret Service, with the deputy director remaining an agent. In this role, a true leader, not a bureaucrat, is needed. Someone like Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West would be perfect for the role. West has successfully demonstrated that he possesses the leadership skills of a combat officer as well as managerial and diplomatic skills of a congressman, exactly the traits needed in the next director. Highly competent and beholden to no one in the Secret Service, he would be a superb director.

There are a boatload of reasons what that is an absolutely horrid idea.

You see, West would not be interested in protecting the President of the United States, the First Family, and other top federal officials and family members of top federal officials that the Secret Service is legally responsible for protecting, nor would he be interested in cracking down on counterfeiting of U.S. currency and other financial crimes that the Secret Service is supposed to be cracking down on. West, in the extremely unlikely event that President Obama were to appoint him Secret Service Director in the event that current Secret Service director Julia Pierson were to resign, would be more interested in using the office of Secret Service Director as a platform for political grandstanding and spewing far-right lunacy about President Obama, Democrats, progressives, and other political enemies of West.

Allen West would be a far bigger disaster than the current Secret Service leadership.