Sunday, July 18, 2010

New (right wing) rule: YCOMTUAD

Do you remember when the right believed (wrongly) that arguing against the airing of a "docudrama" featuring admittedly invented scenes was "trampl(ing) the First Amendment"?

Now they're peeing their pants about a film featuring similar "smears" against Margaret Thatcher.

I probably won't see Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher "biopic" myself, but it would be nice if those on the right could be a tiny bit consistent about the need for truth in film. I guess the rule is you can only make things up about Democrats.

Started a new job

So please excuse the lack of posts.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I disagree with Carl Nyberg

I’ve said it many times: There’s no reason to doubt that Mark Kirk performed his duties admirably as Naval Reserve officer. However, he didn’t choose to simply highlight his service as an officer during his political campaigns. He chose to lie again and again about his service, including lies about those lies and lies about how his service gave him access to special knowledge that proved Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Those lies can't take away the honors and medals Kirk has earned, but neither can anything in his service record change the fact that Mark Kirk lied many, many times about that service and continues to obfuscate about it to this day.

In my opinion, he did great things for the Navy, but then he took that record of achievement and pissed on it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I smell Caldecott...

Perhaps they'll call this book, The Little Governor Who Couldn't (Complete Her First Term as Governor).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reading assignment

I won't even excerpt this long, fascinating Joe Hagan piece on John McCain from New York. Go read it.

Just because

Kirk still shucking and jiving about reg violations

A couple people have written me about how weird Mark Kirk is now being in regard to his military record. From now on, he says, he won't release any more of his record nor will he even really talk about his service and the fitness reports he's already released.

I'm not surprised. Kirk has studiously avoided admitting he violated regulations against politicking on active duty, instead choosing to admit only that he was counseled for those violations. It's like admitting you were arrested for a crime while not admitting to the crime itself.

As I've said before, if Kirk would release his Annual Retirement Points Record, it would prove that he violated regulations, so he's chosen to just pretend he's answered everyone's questions and refuse to release more documents. Odd that he would make that decision just as I pointed out to people--including Chicago-based reporters--that he's holding back a document which could set the record straight.

It's a weasel move.

The Navy's core values are honor, courage and commitment. It's sad to see a Naval officer who seems to only understand commitment and, even then, it seems he's only committed to his own political advancement.

Republicans admit the deficit doesn't matter

Dear unemployed Americans,

While 55,000 of you a day are losing your unemployment benefits because the GOP says they don't want to increase the deficit, those same GOPers are fighting to keep the Bush tax cuts for the rich in place arguing that deficits don't matter when it comes to the rich.

You're being screwed by Republicans on behalf of the rich, who were the "undisputed winners" of Bush's tax cuts. Check out the chart above to see just how much Republicans who are pushing to extend those cuts really care about the deficit.

And as you sit there, wondering how you're going to make it without your unemployment payments--which were probably a fraction of what you were making at your old job, but helped--remember this: The Bush tax cuts were supposed to create jobs.

How's that working out for you, America?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just because

Love this:
You felt the coming wave,
told me we'd all be brave,
you said you wouldn't flinch.

But in the years that passed
since I saw you last,
you haven't moved an inch.

Freedom's just another word for flapping in the political breeze like a shred of plastic bag on barbed wire fence

Bill Kristol, who argued for endless spending on military programs, whose magazine championed "big government conservatism" and considers himself a "card-carrying member" of the right's neoconservative wing--which, according to its founder (Kristol's dad) believes the "the growth of the state in the past century...(is) natural, indeed inevitable"--now writes that spending and the growth of the government has led to a "genuine crisis" for the country.

You can't argue with the guy. It's like punching water.

If not for his father's influence, Bill Kristol would be the fourth best car salesman at an ailing lot in southern Virginia, hanging on to his job by kissing the owner's ass every time it got within ten feet of him. He's a hack who, time and time again has proven himself a hypocrite with no respect for the truth.

Why anyone takes this guy seriously is beyond me.

I may send a donation myself

Yay! Sarah Palin's PAC is doing well!
A new financial report filed Sunday evening showed Sarah Palin’s political action committee has taken its fundraising to a higher level – and suggests that she has begun building a more sophisticated political operation in place of a bare-bones organization powered mostly by her rock star status and scrappy on-line presence.


In short, for the first time since the 2008 campaign when she was the vice-presidential running mate to GOP presidential candidate John McCain, Palin is supported by a political operation befitting someone considering a presidential run.
I couldn't be happier.

Right wing blogger thinks you're stupid

Prof. William A. Jacobson tries to pretty up the extreme anti-abortion views of Nevada Senate candidate and Tea Partier Sharron Angle.
On mulitple [sic] occasions, Angle has stated her personal belief that abortion is not justified because life starts at conception. Since Angle's view is that innocent life should not be taken, the circumstances of the conception make no difference. As a result, Angle's personal belief is that she would counsel even rape victims who become pregnant to consider carrying the child to term.

Angle's personal belief is shared by tens of millions of Americans, and is the position of Catholic Church among others.

Predictably, Harry Reid's supporters have tried to spin Angle alternatively as pro-rape or as someone who wants to force her view on rape victims.
First, no one is saying that Angle is "pro-rape," but Angle herself has clearly argued that abortion should not be legal under any circumstances. If she wins the Nevada Senate seat and works to try to create legislation which puts those beliefs into practice, that clearly equates to forcing her view on rape victims.

Jacobson suggests Angle has only delineated her "personal" views about abortion and that those views wouldn't necessarily translate to legislative intentions. But here's what Angle says about abortion on her own website.
Protection of Life

Sharron Angle believes all human life is precious, regardless of location, age, infirmity, or degree of dependence.

Sharron has been endorsed by Phyllis Schlafly, Life and Liberty PAC, and Concerned Women for America.
So are we meant to believe that Angle thinks she can "protect" "human life" by merely believing abortion is wrong? That seems unlikely, since she touts the support of Life and Liberty PAC, an anti-abortion which calls itself one of the "many organizations working for the day when no abortions are ever performed again in America" and was founded by a former Alan Keyes chief of staff Mary Lewis, who felt other pro-life groups weren't aggressive enough. And whom does the Life and Liberty PAC say it supports?
The right to life from conception to natural death is the foundation of all other rights, and Life & Liberty PAC works to support only candidates who are unequivocally committed in word and deed to the protection of all innocent life.
But support is one thing. Here are the words that came out of Sharron Angle's own mouth:
Manders: I, too, am pro life but I'm also pro choice, do you understand what I mean when I say that.

Angle: I'm pro responsible choice. There is choice to abstain choice to do contraception. There are all kind of good choices.

Manders: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

Angle: Not in my book.

Manders: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something -

Angle: You know, I'm a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things. (Audio)
That's very simple language to follow. Angle is stating that she does not support a woman's "choice" to have an abortion and that there is no reason for an abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

It is one thing for right wing pundits to admit they've been dealt a wild card by the Club For Growth nutters who supported Angle's win and her views are turning off even some traditionally Republican voters. After all, poll after poll shows that less than 20 percent of voters share Angle's belief that Abortion should be illegal in all cases. It's entirely another matter for a law professor to treat his readers as if they can't understand simple speech and pretend Sharron Angle doesn't believe she should force rape victims to carry pregnancies to term.

Krauthammer still doesn't get the Google

Charles Krauthammer continues to write things that are simply not based on fact.
Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as "my" -- "my secretary of homeland security," "my national security team," "my ambassador." The more normal -- and respectful -- usage is to say "the," as in "the secretary of state." These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution -- not just the man who appointed them.

It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself.
Q: Mr. President, today you met with your Secretary of State. Do you want him to stick around to lead your efforts to revive the Middle East peace talks?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm proud of my Secretary of State, he's done a heck of a good job.

-George W. Bush, Nov. 10, 2004
At every turn, Don has always been a wise and strong and steady influence. I thank him for taking this assignment. I'm proud to call him my secretary of commerce. I'm honored to call him my friend...

Along with my secretary of energy, Spence Abraham, Don will help me in pursuing a strategy of increased domestic production and energy independence.

-George W. Bush, Feb. 5, 2001



Thursday, July 08, 2010

My heart weeps

New York Times breaking some real who-gives-a-shit news today: A spoiled 24-year-old turns down a $40,000 job during the worst financial crisis since the Depression, claims he has "flexibility" because he has no debt, lets his parents pay his rent.

Politifact backs up Nitpicker

If you've been reading my numerous posts about Mark Kirk, you know that I've done everything I could to carefully back up my claims about his falsehoods, so this affirmation from Politifact is unnecessary, but welcome.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

There are secrets and then there are secrets

I'm glad this dumb kid got caught and arrested. People in positions of trust simply can't take it upon themselves to release classified information.

On the other hand, the classification system in the United States is broken. Information which would give enemies an upper hand should be kept private, but some of the things Manning released--an Army document calling Wikileaks a security threat, for example--seem to have been classified solely for the purpose of saving the Army embarrassment. The video he released could be seen the same way (though I disagree with the editorial comments Wikileaks embedded before releasing it). After all, the Pentagon has released numerous videos of air-to-ground combat, so they can't argue such video should be classified because it gives away tactics or aircraft armament. It's likely they have kept this secret--and keep many other such videos secret--solely to keep the US from looking bad, which I believe is an inappropriate use of classification in a democracy.

The classification system needs to be reviewed.

Friday, July 02, 2010

What the...?

Does Michael Steele ever think before he speaks?

I have a feeling Republicans may have a new chairman soon.

Update: It begins.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Right wingers confuse assessment with bias

So conservatives have a bug up their asses about the video below, in which reporters are caught on a hot mic bashing Sarah Palin's speech at California State University Stanislaus. You should watch it.

If you don't have time, there's a transcript of the reporters' remarks here, but here's a taste of what they said.
What’s your problem?

Oh my god I feel like I just stepped off of a roller coaster! Go round and round and up and down and shit flying out of everywhere and standing. Remember when you had to write a report as a college student and you just tried to jam in as many quotes as possible? You know, from as many random things you could get, you know, that’s what I got.

I got she didn’t ever finish a statement.



Did she make a statement? Cause I didn’t catch that either.

[snip] Now I know the dumbness doesn't come from just soundbites.
Right wing blogs decided this simply proved what they'd been saying all along. Sister Toldjah:
...people STILL wonder why conservatives are so distrustful of the mainstream media?
Hot Air:
If these were opinion journalists, these comments would be no problem. If they’re news reporters expected to render an objective, fact-based report on the event, I’d say that they have a bright future at MSNBC.
But far above the clucking of most of the righties was this comment by Jay Nordlinger.
This afternoon, I wrote a long, rather huffy post on liberal media bias. It was prompted by 1) those reporters who were caught on tape trashing Sarah Palin, and 2) the David Weigel affair. I have deep-sixed the post, however — spiked it. I can huff about media bias again, as I have in the past. (And I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll — not budge the house an inch.)

Let me instead say this: I think many of my conservative colleagues are far too gingerly when it comes to liberal media bias. Far too timid, delicate, and forgiving. For a long time, complaining about media bias has been seen as uncouth. It’s something we all need to learn to live with, like death, taxes, and mosquitoes. Don’t be uncool by bitching about it, man.
Um...What. The. Fuck? First of all, right wingers have been bitching about the media non-stop since at least the late 60s and a considerable number of them make their livings off of that single complaint, so Nordlinger's suggestion that conservatives are holding back is, well, stupid.

Second, contra Nordlinger and the gang in his Liberal Media Mystery Machine, nothing these reporters said suggested they hold biases against conservatives. Not a single one of them bashes Republicans or conservatives, they simply complain they've got their work cut out for them in trying to condense Palin's scattered and pointless speech into news reports. That's not bias. That's just dealing with the facts.

Honestly, one has to wonder if Nordlinger and the others even listened to Palin's speech before suggesting these reporters' complaints were based on political leanings instead of the daunting task that lay ahead of them. Here, for example, is a short excerpt.
If this cultural relativism is confined merely to just a few individuals, the exceptions to the norm, well that’s one thing but we have seen before what happens when whole sections of society fall into that trap. Take note of this, uh, consider that would the brutality of communism have lasted as long as it did if there hadn’t been a large group of people here in the west who were willing to essentially accommodate it for fear of daring to even condemn it. For a long time, folks, it was kinda consider, considered sophisticated to take a position somewhere between freedom and communism.

And it took a supposedly unsophisticated graduate from lowly Eureka College to bring Communism to its knees. And he did it by simply calling an evil empire what it was, evil. There’s an important lesson here for us today. A free republic can only survive if its citizens are willing and able to defend it ideologically and to stand up for its founding principles.

And there’s an old conservative joke it, it says that an elite liberal is someone who is so broad minded that they can’t even take their own side in an argument. I think that could apply to some of the college professors I’ve met and so, uh. But you know. But that’s really no joke when we have seen, hmm, even recently, American diplomats apologizing to a communist dictatorship because of one of our sister states here in the good ol’ United States of America, Arizona just trying to enforce an American federal law? To apologize for that? Or, if we get an administration, if we get an administration that unilaterally tries to end a war on terror, not by winning it but by instead no longer referring it, to it, as a war on terror as if the evil terrorists will stop attacking us once we proclaim that we just won’t call it terrorists or terrorism anymore.
That should give you a good idea of what Sarah Palin's speech was: a pastiche of right wing shibboleths, faux populism and poorly delivered "jokes" baked in a hmmm-and-goodness-gracious crust. And, by word count, that's just over 15 percent of Palin's speech, so those poor damn reporters had much, much more of that rambling crap to wade through.

In complaining about the job they had to do, these reporters seem to me to be assessing the speech, not exhibiting political bias. Of course, the Nordlingers of the right have spent their entire professional lives lowering the bar of "liberal media bias."

One wonders, in fact, just how low it is.

Does Jay Nordlinger think David Frum, George Will, Peggy Noonan, Ross Douthat and David Brooks exhibit biases against conservatism because they have each pointed out at one time or another that Palin either seemed unprepared as a national politician or had given a terrible speech? Well, we know exactly how Nordlinger feels about at least one of those people, because he recently defended David Frum from right wing writers who do believe disagreement is equivalent to apostasy, writing that Frum is an "MVP of American conservatism" despite Sarah Palin's place as "one of his primary targets."

In other words, much more consistent criticism against Palin than these reporters jabs doesn't seem to equate to bias in Nordlinger's eyes.

You have to also wonder what Nordlinger thought about the reactions of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman to President Obama's speech on the oil spill in the gulf. Look at the "highlights" below as culled by one of Nordlinger's conservative fellow travelers:
Olbermann: "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days."

Matthews compared Obama to Carter.

Olbermann: "Nothing specific at all was said."

Matthews: "No direction."

Howard Fineman: "He wasn't specific enough."

Olbermann: "I don't think he aimed low, I don't think he aimed at all. It's startling."

Howard Fineman: Obama should be acting like a "commander-in-chief."

Matthews: Ludicrous that he keeps saying [Secretary of Energy] Chu has a Nobel prize. "I'll barf if he does it one more time."

Matthews: "A lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue ribbon talk."

Matthews: "I don't sense executive command."
If Nordlinger believes he can label those reporters who bashed Palin's speech liberals simply because they listened to it and were dismayed, then does he believe Olbermann has proven his conservatism with these comments?

The truth is, I don't have the slightest clue about these reporters' political motivations, but neither does Nordlinger. He doesn't even know who they are. He hasn't combed through reports of the speech to actually find evidence of bias in the way the speech was presented to the public. All he knows is that some people didn't like something one of his heroes said and, to him, that makes them biased.

Basing one's beliefs on a pre-conceived view of a profession instead of the evidence at hand? That's not just foolish. It's bias.