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Archive for November 20th, 2009

Intelligentsia Against Intelligence

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Intelligentsia Against Intelligence
Any hope that we aren’t turning into a full-on slobbering idiocracy was snuffed out last week by two of the Washington intelligentsia’s most respected voices. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

By David Sirota

Any hope that we aren’t turning into a full-on slobbering idiocracy was snuffed out last week by two of the Washington intelligentsia’s most respected voices.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Joe Peyronnin: A Rogue Review

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Joe Peyronnin: A Rogue Review
What passes for policy with Palin are the standard conservative talking points — lower taxes, lower deficits, less government and a strong defense.

Michael Shaw: Reading the Pictures: When is Piper Next Going to Have a Normal Halloween?
2008 2009 I promised Piper that this time, I would keep my distance so I wouldn’t disrupt the fun she has planned for herself…

Michael Smerconish: KSM: Ready For His Closeup?
Sen. Arlen Specter would like to see Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial be televised, stemming from a prosecutorial belief that trying him in a federal civilian court is the right decision.

Johann Hari: The Real Reason Obama Isn’t Making Much Progress
The institutions that are blocking progress have rallied over the past few months to defend two causes with very little popular support in the United States: rape and slavery. No, really.


Fox News’ year in apologies: fake videos, false info, cutting and pasting from GOP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Fox News’ year in apologies: fake videos, false info, cutting and pasting from GOP

On November 19, co-host Jane Skinner apologized for Happening Now “mistakenly” airing a fake video of Sarah Palin’s book tour “crowds.” This was not the first time Fox News has apologized for airing fake videos and false information.

Fox News’ year in apologies

Fox News presents year-old Palin footage as new Palin book tour crowd. As Think Progress first noted, on the November 18 edition of Happening Now, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett used old footage — which he said was “just coming in to us” — of a McCain-Palin rally from last year to illustrate how Sarah Palin is “continuing to draw huge crowds” during her book tour. The following day, Skinner apologized for “mistakenly” airing the fake crowd video.

Stewart blasts Hannity for using old video footage to inflate Bachmann rally attendance. During the November 10 edition of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Stewart blasted Fox News host Sean Hannity for attempting to inflate the crowd size of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) Fox News-fueled GOP rally against health care reform by using footage of the crowd at the better-attended 9-12 rally. On the November 11 edition of his program, Hannity said he “screwed up” and apologized for airing “incorrect video” of 9-12 protests while discussing the Bachmann rally.

Fox News’ Garrett apologizes for fake HBO-Obama story — which Fox News repeated days later. During the November 4 edition of America’s Newsroom, guest co-host Martha MacCallum started the fake story that President Obama watched an HBO special about himself instead of the November 3 election returns. The fake story was then picked up by Rush Limbaugh, among others, who claimed that “[i]f a documentary could get anal poisoning, this one could.” On the November 4 edition of Studio B with Shepard Smith, White House correspondent Major Garrett apologized for mishearing press secretary Robert Gibbs and passing on the erroneous information. Despite the Fox News correction, on the November 8 edition of Fox News Watch, Fox News’ weekly media analysis program, host Jon Scott repeated the fake story, claiming that Obama was “watching the HBO documentary. … Now, maybe that’s the one thing that could pull him away from — from election returns.”

Kilmeade: Americans don’t have “pure genes” like Swedes because “we keep marrying other species and other ethnics.” As Gawker noted, on the July 8 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said that Americans don’t have “pure genes” like Swedes because “we keep marrying other species and other ethnics.” Kilmeade apologized for his “inappropriate” remarks on July 20.

Democrat Mark Sanford. During the June 24 edition of Fox News’ Live Desk, while covering a press conference of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Fox News ran on-screen text identifying him as a Democrat:

On Live Desk the next day, co-host Trace Gallagher made “a correction for something we put up on the screen during our coverage during the governor’s press conference yesterday. We briefly identified Governor Sanford as a Democrat. He is, of course, a Republican. And we apologize for getting that wrong.”

Fox News presents deceptively cropped 6-month-old Biden clip as new. On the March 16 edition of Live Desk, MacCallum claimed that “after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend.” Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” However, Biden did not make those remarks during an “interview” that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day, stating: “When we get something wrong, we admit it. We did so yesterday, and for that we apologize.”

Fox News Watch‘s Scott claims “[w]e don’t have any idea” what Biden said to AFL-CIO, but transcript was available. On March 9, Scott claimed on Fox News Watch that Biden’s appearance at an AFL-CIO executive council meeting was “closed to the press,” adding, “We don’t have any idea what he said there.” In fact, the White House released a transcript of Biden’s AFL-CIO speech, and “a pool of print reporters” reportedly covered the speech at the request of the White House. On March 23, Scott said:

SCOTT: Before we go, last News Watch, we took Vice President Biden to task to giving speech to a labor organization that had been closed to the press. I mentioned that we, the media, had no idea what he said. Well, guess what? Turns out the vice president’s office heard the howls of protest and did let a few print reporters hear those remarks. The office even put a transcript on the Web a day later. The veil of secrecy had been lifted, but we at News Watch weren’t aware.

Sorry, Mr. Vice President, we do know what you said.

Fox passes off GOP press release as its own research — typo and all. During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, Scott purported to “take a look back” at how the economic recovery plan “grew, and grew, and grew.” In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods — all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.

The following day, Scott apologized — for running the typo. Scott’s apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: “We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. … You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point.”


Tom Coburn Joins Campaign Against Muslim Group

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Tom Coburn Joins Campaign Against Muslim Group
Tom Coburn (R-OK) has become the first senator to cast his lot with the group of House Republicans pursuing a campaign — based on purported revelations in the book Muslim Mafia — against the Council on American Islamic Relations

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Palin-Beck: Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Palin-Beck: Yeah, That’s the Ticket!


Blame for Economy Slowly Shifting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Blame for Economy Slowly Shifting
A new CNN/Opinion Research survey indicates that 38% of Americans blame Republicans for the country’s current economic problems, 27% blame Democrats and 27% blame both parties.

That’s down 15 points for Republicans and up 6 points for Democrats since May.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “The bad news for the Democrats is that the number of Americans who hold the GOP exclusively responsible for the recession has been steadily falling by about two to three points per month. At that rate, only a handful of voters will blame the economy on the Republicans by the time next year’s midterm elections roll around.”


Economic Crisis Is Getting Bloody — Violent Deaths Are Now Following Evictions, Foreclosures and Job Losses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Economic Crisis Is Getting Bloody — Violent Deaths Are Now Following Evictions, Foreclosures and Job Losses
Despite ever rosier economic predictions and a surging stock market, the body count from the economic crisis is destined only to grow in the weeks and months ahead.

What if People Actually Treated Religion as Just a Metaphor (Like Trekkies and Secular Jews)?
It’s possible to keep the good parts of religion — like the music, rituals and pageantry — and get rid of the sex-hating dogma, the belief in god and other troublesome aspects.

Reagan Didn’t End the Cold War — Leftist Intellectuals Did
Reagan was inspirational, but to claim he defeated Communism is a disservice to the millions of Eastern Europeans who struggled against great odds for their freedom.


Sympathy for the Devil? Oprah and the Palin Blitz.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Sympathy for the Devil? Oprah and the Palin Blitz.
I like Oprah Winfrey. She gets people to buy–if not actually read–books like Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. She oozes the right amount of sympathy for people who have been mauled by chimpanzees…



Oprah WinfreySarah PalinAlaskaUnited StatesAnna Karenina

Realists
I understand the desire of New York Times columnists to appear realist. Writers who advocate for US intervention to induce Israeli-Palestinian peace, in column after column, month after month, can get to look, well, idealist. Writers are assumed to be…


New York TimesIsraelIsraeli–Palestinian conflictWarfare and ConflictMiddle East


Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell refuses to disavow Pat Robertson?s anti-Islam comments.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell refuses to disavow Pat Robertson?s anti-Islam comments.
Last week, while discussing the Fort Hood massacre on his program The 700 Club, notorious right-wing evangelist Pat Robertson told his audience that Islam is “not a religion, it’s a political system. It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination.” Yesterday, a reporter asked Virginia […]

Last week, while discussing the Fort Hood massacre on his program The 700 Club, notorious right-wing evangelist Pat Robertson told his audience that Islam is “not a religion, it’s a political system. It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination.” Yesterday, a reporter asked Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell (R) — who took thousands of dollars from Robertson for his campaign and frequently appeared on The 700 Club — if he thought the evangelist’s comments were “appropriate.” While stressing that he wants “people of all faiths” to part of his administration, McDonnell refused to condemn Robertson specifically, citing the First Amendment:

MCDONNELL: You know, I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign, and I can’t stand to defend or support every comment that every donor might make …. I think people are entitled under the First Amendment to express whatever opinions they may have.

Watch it:

“[McDonnell’s] sending the message that he wants it both ways–he wants the support of a Muslim-basher. And he wants to work with Virginia Muslims. I think those two things are incompatible,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Six-Year-Old Girl ?On Verge Of Never Hearing Again? Due To Insurance Company Denial
One of the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry is its practice of denying claims to pay for necessary care for patients. This practice has become so rampant in the industry that a recent study by the California Nurses Association found that a whopping 21 percent of all insurance claims filed in the […]

cigna_logoOne of the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry is its practice of denying claims to pay for necessary care for patients. This practice has become so rampant in the industry that a recent study by the California Nurses Association found that a whopping 21 percent of all insurance claims filed in the first half of 2009 in the state of California were denied by insurers.

As the story of six-year-old Madison Leuchtmann of Franklin County, MO, demonstrates, even children are victims of this insurance company abuse. Madison was born with bilateral atresia, which means she lacks ear canals in both ears. In order to hear, she wears a special device on a headband that allows her to make out sounds. Despite her disability, Madison is at the top of her kindergarten class and is slowly learning to read.

Yet Madison, due to her growth, will soon require a new hearing implant to be able to recognize sounds. Her hearing and speech therapist warns that “if she doesn’t get her implants by age seven, she’s not going to be able to blend her words. … She won’t be able to hear herself [talk].” Madison’s pediatrician, Dr. Randall Clary, also insists that without the implant, the girl may never be able to hear again.

Unfortunately, the Leuchtmann’s family insurer, Cigna, has issued “one denial after another,” flatly refusing to cover the $20,000 bill for the implant. In a written statement to the local news station Fox 2, Cigna explained, “It is not unusual for commercial benefit plans to exclude hearing assisted devices,” prompting Dr. Clary to angrily respond, “This is obviously medically necessary. You have a child that has no ear canals!” Dr. Clary also told Fox 2 that he sees these sort of denials “on a weekly basis.” Watch Fox 2’s report:

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The United States is the only developed country without a universal, cradle-to-the-grave health care system. In no other developed country would a girl be on “the verge of never hearing again” because a for-profit insurance company decided that its bottom line was more important than keeping a child from going deaf.


Calling election stolen, Hoffman rescinds concession in New York

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Calling election stolen, Hoffman rescinds concession in New York
For the second time this week, Conservative Party congressional candidate Douglas L. Hoffman sought to rescind his concession in the special election in New York’s 23rd district, telling supporters that new information showing the results of the election closer than believed on election night mad…

Peter Orszag: Bills offer clear path to better health care
The bills under discussion will put us on a path to a high-quality, low-cost system.


At House hearing, two sides debate U.S. ban on travel to Cuba
At a tempestuous hearing Thursday, one House member after another criticized a growing campaign to lift the ban on American tourists traveling to Cuba. The move would reward a regime that oppresses its own people, lawmakers declared, pointing to the recent assault on Yoani Sánchez, a Cuban blogge…

U.S. resetting its relationship with Karzai
When a team of senior U.S. officials led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton entered the presidential palace in Kabul on Wednesday for a dinner meeting, they had little indication of what Afghan President Hamid Karzai planned to discuss, or whether questions about corruption and governance…