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Archive for July 3rd, 2009

The Battle Over the Burqa

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:43 am by HL

The Battle Over the Burqa

Since President Barack Obama in his recent Cairo speech made a tut-tutting remark about countries that restricted wearing religious garb in school, the controversy over the Muslim burqa has resumed in Europe.

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Obama’s AP Interview: Michael Jackson, Gitmo, Affirmative Action And More

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Obama’s AP Interview: Michael Jackson, Gitmo, Affirmative Action And More
Highlights of President Barack Obama’s interview Thursday with The Associated Press: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION…

ABC News Reporter Tweets That Iranian Detainees Are Being Waterboarded
[h/t; The Daily Dish] From ABC News’ Lara Setrakian, comes this tweet: Tehrani source close to those detained says some have been beaten heavily and…

Cenk Uygur: The Sanders Rule: All Bills Get Up and Down Votes
What is the point of getting to 60 senators in the Democratic caucus if you can’t keep the caucus together on all of the votes?…

DNC Fundraiser Bringing Obama Back To Chicago
President Barack Obama is expected to visit Chicago on July 23 — his third trip here since his Jan. 20 inauguration — when he is…


O’Reilly fill-in Williams provides platform for global warming misinformation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:41 am by HL

O’Reilly fill-in Williams provides platform for global warming misinformation

During a July 1 O’Reilly Factor discussion about whether “the liberal media” are helping President Obama “advance his energy agenda by spreading global warming propaganda,” guest host Juan Williams advanced falsehoods about global warming. Williams did not challenge Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg when he falsely claimed that if journalists “did some real reporting, they would find out that in the past 10 years, the world temperatures haven’t gone up.” But climate scientists reject the idea that the fact that, in most datasets, annual global average temperatures have not surpassed their 1998 level is any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist. Scientists have identified a long-term warming trend spanning several decades that is independent from the normal climate variability — which includes relatively short-term changes in climate due to events like El Niño and La Niña — to which they attribute the recent relatively cooler temperatures. Williams also did not challenge Goldberg’s assertion that “this is déjà vu all over again. This is the 1970s, when journalists warned us of another climate, you know, catastrophe that was coming. That time it was global cooling. And they warned us of the coming ice age. They were wrong about that.” But it is false to suggest, as Goldberg does, that in the 1970s there was a widespread scientific belief that the Earth was cooling that is tantamount to the current scientific consensus on global warming.

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a February 11 Guardian op-ed, Vicky Pope, the head of climate change advice at the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre, wrote that claims about the pace of global warming based only on developments in the past 10 years or in the 1990s are not valid, “since natural variations always occur on this timescale.” She continued, “1998 was a record-breaking warm year as long-term man-made warming combined with a naturally occurring strong El Niño. In contrast, 2008 was slightly cooler than previous years partly because of a La Niña. Despite this, it was still the 10th warmest on record.” According to the Met Office, “Over the last ten years, global temperatures have warmed more slowly than the long-term trend. But this does not mean that global warming has slowed down or even stopped. It is entirely consistent with our understanding of natural fluctuations of the climate within a trend of continued long-term warming.” This long-term trend can be seen in this graph of annual global average temperatures from the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre:

globaltemp

Moreover, Goldberg’s evocation of 1970s media reports about global cooling falsely suggests that the scientific basis for those reports is equivalent to the current scientific consensus on global warming. A September 2008 article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (a peer-reviewed publication) investigated the “pervasive myth” that “there was a consensus among climate scientists of the 1970s that either global cooling or a full-fledged ice age was imminent.” The article found:

A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. The myth’s basis lies in a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today. In fact, emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then.

The Bulletin also noted several other “examples of modern writers perpetuating the myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus.”

In addition, Williams criticized CBS correspondent Scott Pelley’s reported statement that, in Williams’ words, “when he was doing a piece about global warming, he would not, in fact, interview anybody who had any doubts as to the veracity of the global warming charge. He said that would be like doing a piece about the Holocaust and talking to Holocaust deniers.” In fact, the 2006 CBS article in which Pelley’s comments were reported also reported that Pelley “says he tried hard to find a respected scientist who contradicted the prevailing opinion in the scientific community, but there was no one out there who fit that description.” From the March 23, 2006, CBS article:

Pelley’s most recent report, like his first, did not pause to acknowledge global warming skeptics, instead treating the existence of global warming as an established fact. I again asked him why. “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel,” he asks, “am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?” He says his team tried hard to find a respected scientist who contradicted the prevailing opinion in the scientific community, but there was no one out there who fit that description. “This isn’t about politics or pseudo-science or conspiracy theory blogs,” he says. “This is about sound science.”

But doesn’t the fact that there are a lot of Americans who are skeptical of global warming — not well respected scientists, perhaps, but ordinary people watching the segment — warrant at least some recognition of the other side? “There becomes a point in journalism where striving for balance becomes irresponsible,” says Pelley.

From the July 1 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

WILLIAMS: In the “Impact” segment tonight: Is the liberal media helping Barack Obama advance his energy agenda by spreading global warming propaganda? Joining us now from North Carolina, my friend Bernie Goldberg, the author of the best-selling book A Slobbering Love Affair. Bernie, thanks so much for coming in.

GOLDBERG: My pleasure, Juan.

WILLIAMS: Now, Bernie, I don’t know if you saw this, but Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes recently wrote that when he was doing a piece about global warming, he would not, in fact, interview anybody who had any doubts as to the veracity of the global warming charge. He said that would be like doing a piece about the Holocaust and talking to Holocaust deniers. Can you believe this?

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Yeah, I can, because I read the interview and I saw the piece he did. It was a completely one-sided piece about global warming. And when he was questioned about it, he said precisely what you just reported — that if I interview somebody who believes in the Holocaust, do I have to find in the name of balance a Holocaust denier?

This amounts to journalistic malpractice. That — it’s as simple as that. Journalists need to do a little reporting and not merely be cheerleaders for Al Gore and Barack Obama’s version of manmade global warming. And if they did some reporting, they would learn that the number of skeptics of manmade global warming is rising. It’s growing, the number of skeptics. And these include some very prestigious scientists.

But you don’t see a lot of that on Page 1 of the newspaper. And if they did some real reporting, they would find out that in the past 10 years, the world temperatures haven’t gone up but may have even come down a little bit. But you don’t hear that on the evening news.

Juan, we’re going — this is déjà vu all over again. This is the 1970s, when journalists warned us of another climate, you know, catastrophe that was coming. That time it was global cooling. And they warned us of the coming ice age. They were wrong about that. They never looked back. They never apologized. And if and when they’re wrong about this, they’ll just move on to the next crisis.

WILLIAMS: Now, Bernie — Bernie, let me just protect you. You’re not saying they’re wrong. You’re just saying there are two sides to the story. Because the U.N. scientists, the G-8 scientists, they’ve all said that air temperatures are rising, ocean temperatures are rising. You see ice caps melting. You’re not saying you know. You’re just saying, let’s give everybody a fair say.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, thank you for — thank you for clarifying that. I am, needless to say, I am not a scientist. I am willing to accept that there are two sides to this story, and both sides have legitimate scientists arguing their point. But you wouldn’t know that from the mainstream media.

WILLIAMS: All right, so Bernie —

GOLDBERG: Not by and large, anyway.

WILLIAMS: Bernie, let me ask you about the politics of this, because to me, the numbers are very interesting. If I am talking to Republicans — Republicans, Bernie — 60 — I think it’s something like 48 percent say yes to global warming. There is global warming.

If I’m talking to independents, 67 percent say, “Yes, there is global warming.” But if I’m talking to Democrats, Bernie Goldberg, then I’m up to 87 percent say yes to global warming.

Why do you get 48 percent of Republicans saying, “Yeah, it might be global warming,” but 87 percent of Democrats? Why the politics around this?

GOLDBERG: That’s a very good question. I think it has something to do with the media again. Republicans are less likely to believe or accept hook, line, and sinker what the media tells them. And liberal Democrats are more likely to believe it because a lot of the media is made up of liberal Democrats.

So, I think — I think the filter that we get this global warming that it comes through is the media. And a lot of us on the right, we don’t trust the media as much as liberal Democrats do.

And again, Juan, the media gets a lot of these things wrong. They got global cooling wrong. Why should we necessarily believe that they got this story right? And what bothers me the most about this is that they have absolutely fallen into line with Al Gore’s version of global warming — that it’s manmade, case closed, I don’t want to hear about it. Scott Pelley’s example is the best one you can come up with.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, so you’re an “Earth is flat” kind of person if you disagree with Al Gore. All right, let me move on —

GOLDBERG: Yeah, exactly, exactly.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Presented By:

Ex-CIA Officer Charged With Sexual Assault
The CIA’s former station chief in Algeria has been indicted on sexual assault charges, the Washington Post reports. Andrew Warren, who was the CIA’s top officer in the North African country, was charged with drugging and assaulting a Muslim woman…


Sanford and Satan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Sanford and Satan
“The standard Sanford has set for other politicians over the years has been fairly high. A member of the House of Representatives during the heyday of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, he was often a harsh critic of the president for his marital misconduct. “This is ‘very damaging stuff,’ Sanford declared at one point, when details of Clinton’s […]


Born to Be in Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Born to Be in Congress
The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works

The Washington Post reviews The Waxman Report by Rep. Henry Waxman and Joshua Green.

“Henry Waxman is to Congress what Ted Williams was to baseball — a natural. As you read this nicely proportioned, fast- paced book, you realize that Waxman was born to be a member of the House, ideally the chairman of an important committee. He’s just five-feet-five, he’s woefully short of hair, he’s neither charming nor funny, but none of that has mattered. Waxman has been one of the most effective members of Congress for 35 years. “

Strickland Now Vulnerable
A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio shows Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) approval rate continuing to fall.

In a re-election match up against former Sen. Ted DeWine (R-OH), Strickland barely wins, 41% to 40%. Against former Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), Strickland leads, 43% to 38%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Strickland’s extremely sharp drop-off in so short a time reflects growing public frustration. Voters don’t see the economy improving and have decided that after almost three years in office they should start holding Ted Strickland at least partially responsible. The question now is whether this is the start of a larger move or just a temporary reaction.”


I Saw ‘Food Inc.’ — Now What?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:35 am by HL

I Saw ‘Food Inc.’ — Now What?
Here's how to transition off of a corn-based diet, lessen your carb(on) footprint, support local farmers and humanely raised meats.

Amnesty: Israel Used Children as Human Shields in Gaza
Amnesty accused Israeli forces of using children as human shields and conducting wanton attacks on civilians.

Spending $102 Billion a Year on 800 Worldwide Military Bases Is Bankrupting the Country
We're building new "embassies" that run close to $1 billion and host countries keep jacking the rent for existing bases.

The Results Are In: A Public Health Plan Saves Big Money
The arguments by obstructionists are dead — the math shows health care costs will drop while achieving near universal coverage.

The Results Are In: A Public Health Plan Saves Big Money
The arguments by obstructionists are dead — the math shows health care costs will drop while achieving near universal coverage.


11th Commandment: The Key Difference Between Israelis and Americans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:34 am by HL

11th Commandment: The Key Difference Between Israelis and Americans
Today’s Israeli press quotes Prime Minister Netanyahu as telling 27 EU ambassadors that he was willing to “make concessions to the Palestinians” but did not want to be a “sucker” if the Palestinians pocket his “concession” and give nothing in…


Sponsored Topics: Middle EastBenjamin NetanyahuPalestinian peopleIsraelPrime minister

Israel lobby in action: the ‘LA Times’ once stifled Hezbollah story out of piety for Israel’s foundational myths
The other day Ashraf Khalil wrote about how hard it was for him to publish an account of the mistreatment of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer in the LA Times last year. Khalil’s story reminded a reader of the story that…


Sponsored Topics: IsraelPalestinian peopleHezbollahMohammed OmerMiddle East


McCain Draws A Blank When Asked About Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:33 am by HL

McCain Draws A Blank When Asked About Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Yesterday in an interview with Phoenix’s KTVK 3TV, the local news anchor asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to play a quick word association game. McCain was left tongue-tied and speechless when the reporter asked him to give a one-word response to what he thinks about the controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio: HOST: Health care. […]

Yesterday in an interview with Phoenix’s KTVK 3TV, the local news anchor asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to play a quick word association game. McCain was left tongue-tied and speechless when the reporter asked him to give a one-word response to what he thinks about the controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

HOST: Health care.
MCCAIN: Needs reform.
HOST: That’s two words. [weird laugh] Iraq.
MCCAIN: Success.
HOST: Arizona.
MCCAIN: The best.
HOST: US-Mexico Border.
McCain: Cartels.
HOST: GOP.
MCCAIN: Transition.
HOST: Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
MCCAIN: Umm

Watch it:

Though McCain — who is up for re-election — failed to provide his own constituents with a clear answer last night, he offered CNN’s national news anchor John King a much more extensive reaction when asked about Arpaio back in February:

KING: You have had a roller-coaster relationship with this sheriff [Joe Arpaio]. He says he is just simply enforcing the law. He goes into businesses, he’s rounding up people. John Conyers, others in Congress say racial profiling. Is the sheriff in line or out of line in your view?

MCCAIN: Having been engaged in the presidential campaign, I haven’t paid as close attention. I’ve disagreed with the sheriff fundamentally about the fact that we need to have a comprehensive approach to illegal immigration.

Watch it:

Here’s some one-word responses McCain could offer next time when asked about Arpaio: dangerous, unconstitutional, racist, wasteful, stubborn, self-promoting, media-whore.


DHS Cybersecurity Plan Will Involve NSA, Telecoms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 3rd, 2009 4:32 am by HL

DHS Cybersecurity Plan Will Involve NSA, Telecoms
The Obama administration will proceed with a Bush-era plan to use National Security Agency assistance in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks, with AT&T as the likely test site, according to three current and former government officials.

Obama Supports Â?Robust’ Protection for Catholic Health-Care Workers
President Barack Obama said today that he still favors a “robust” federal policy protecting health-care workers who have moral objections to performing some procedures even though he plans to roll back a Bush administration rule that expanded such protection.

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Book Review: ‘The Waxman Report’ by Henry Waxman
“The Waxman Report” explains, at least, how Congress can work, and it is fun to read. You finish it with gratitude to the voters of Beverly Hills and nearby areas who keep returning this ornery fellow to the House to challenge entrenched special interests.

Sanford Didn’t Improperly Use State Money, South Carolina Officials Say
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford did not improperly use state money to pay for trips to New York and South America to see his Argentine mistress, state law enforcement officials concluded yesterday, as the governor reiterated that he has no plans to step down despite mounting pressure to do so.