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Archive for June 12th, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: Sloop John B

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Sloop John B
The Beach BoysSloop John B.

The Beach BoysSloop John B.

What’s on your mind?


Russia Stops Missile Sale to Iran

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Russia Stops Missile Sale to Iran
The powers that be in Tehran felt the sting of recently imposed U.N. sanctions Friday when Russia decided to halt the planned sale of air defense missiles to Iran as part of the international response to its controversial nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused President Barack Obama of “bullying” other nations into going along with the U.S. agenda.  —KA The Washington Post: The sanctions ban the sale of eight categories of conventional weapons, including “missiles and missile systems,” but a loophole in the language of the resolution suggested that defensive ground-to-air missile systems such as the S-300 were not covered by the ban. On Thursday, the day after the U.N. Security Council vote, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman indicated that the $800 million sale was still on and would not be affected by the sanctions. But on Friday, the Kremlin contradicted that suggestion. “S-300s fall under these sanctions,” a Kremlin official was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. “Therefore, these type of weapons cannot be supplied to Iran.” The statement was amplified by news reports out of France, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met Friday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that Putin had told Sarkozy that Russia would “freeze the delivery of the S-300 missiles.” Read more  

Iranian protesters

The powers that be in Tehran felt the sting of recently imposed U.N. sanctions Friday when Russia decided to halt the planned sale of air defense missiles to Iran as part of the international response to its controversial nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused President Barack Obama of “bullying” other nations into going along with the U.S. agenda.? —KA

The Washington Post:

The sanctions ban the sale of eight categories of conventional weapons, including “missiles and missile systems,” but a loophole in the language of the resolution suggested that defensive ground-to-air missile systems such as the S-300 were not covered by the ban. On Thursday, the day after the U.N. Security Council vote, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman indicated that the $800 million sale was still on and would not be affected by the sanctions.

But on Friday, the Kremlin contradicted that suggestion. “S-300s fall under these sanctions,” a Kremlin official was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. “Therefore, these type of weapons cannot be supplied to Iran.” The statement was amplified by news reports out of France, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met Friday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that Putin had told Sarkozy that Russia would “freeze the delivery of the S-300 missiles.”

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GOP’s ‘Young Guns’ Actually Not So Young: Average Age Just Under 50

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

GOP’s ‘Young Guns’ Actually Not So Young: Average Age Just Under 50
Not everything comes as advertised in the GOP. Take the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program, for example. Advertised as a program “dedicated to…

Gulf Oil Spill: BP’s Failures Amplified By Numerous Gaffes
HOUSTON — BP is already fighting an oil gusher it can’t contain and watching its mighty market value wither away. Its own bumbling public-relations efforts…

Michele Bachmann Taunts Obama: ‘I Took Karate When I Was 17 Years Old, I Am Dangerous’
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that she could take out President Obama if she were ever caught in the mind-boggling and improbable scenario of engaging…


Media Matters: Fox Business: Low on ratings, high on Fox-patented GOP boosterism and falsehoods

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Media Matters: Fox Business: Low on ratings, high on Fox-patented GOP boosterism and falsehoods

When News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch introduced the Fox Business Network in 2007, he made no attempt to hide the fact that the financial channel would reflect his own conservative philosophy. The financial media, in his view, should be in the business of “celebrat[ing]” free-market capitalism.

As Murdoch saw it, the existing media were too quick to ”leap on every scandal” and “are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.” In contrast to purportedly anti-business CNBC, Fox Business would be ”more business friendly” and “celebrate the freedom and sense of optimism that free markets have given Americans.” America, according to Australian-born Murdoch, has the best “corruption-free companies in the world. Our companies are beacons of success that the rest of the world looks to, not that you’d know that through much of the business coverage we see every day.”

As he did with Fox News, executive Roger Ailes has imported Murdoch’s conservative philosophy to FBN, where the network’s coverage and most visible personalities are unabashedly conservative and dismissive of progressives. The head of FBN’s news division is senior vice president, host, and tea-party booster Neil Cavuto, who donated to President Bush, bashed the “awful” Democratic health care bill, and sports a record of misinforming viewers about economic issues.

Morning anchor Stuart Varney is a British expat whose shtick involves complaining that “socialist” Democrats are pushing America in the direction of his former country. Varney is described by Fox Business as a “business journalist” and news “anchor.” Yet he admits that he’s “very partisan,” “very clearly partisan” and can’t resist bashing Democrats while propping up Republicans. Varney also — stop the presses — misinforms viewers about economic issues,

David Asman, another “journalist,” hosts the prime-time show America’s Nightly Scoreboard. Asman, lover of Milton Friedman, makes it a habit to assail Social Security, Democrats, and “hypocrite” environmentalists who dare get in the way of activities like more oil drilling. Asman is one of the channel’s biggest proponents of the tea parties, once telling viewers they “need to go” to a tea party merchandise site. Asman also — hold the phone — misinforms viewers about economic issues.

John Stossel, host of his own weekly “libertarian” show, has argued that the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act should be repealed to restore the right to discriminate and that the “free market” would have likely resolved the issue of racial discrimination by businesses — a claim that civil rights expert Andrew Grant-Thomas called “ahistorical” and “unempirical.” Stossel recently keynoted a fundraising luncheon for a “research” organization with heavy ties to the energy industry. When Stossel joined Fox, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said he’d be “very natural fit” because “he’s conservative.” Stossel also has a history of — call grandma — misinforming viewers.

Fox, which defends itself by claiming that its “fair and balanced” reporters just report the news, employs FBN “reporter” Tracy Byrnes, who said Democrats voting yes on health care “make me sick,” and “senior correspondent” Charles Gasparino, who said he wouldn’t vote for the Democrats’ health care bill (“Who would?”).

FBN also recently announced promotions for Eric Bolling and Andrew Napolitano. Bolling, previously of the canceled afternoon show Happy Hour, will get a weekday prime-time show, his apparent reward for shilling for Republican candidates, and — start the Drudge siren — misinforming viewers about economic issues.

Napolitano, meanwhile, will bring his previously online-only show Freedom Watch to FBN on a weekly basis. Napolitano is an unabashed libertarian, meaning that while he disagrees with some of his Fox colleagues on certain social and national security issues, he’ll fit right in on economic matters. In its online iterations, Freedom Watch frequently gave a platform to fringe guests like 9-11 conspiracy leaders Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura; Thomas E. Woods Jr., who has been a member of the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called a “racist” hate group; and “libertarian anarchist” Lew Rockwell, who excoriates Abraham Lincoln and openly pushes for secession. Napolitano has used his Fox perch to push inane conspiracy theories and — insert any remaining idiom here — misinform viewers.

How many people not getting paychecks from Media Matters will actually watch those shows, though, remains a question. While Fox News has undoubtedly achieved ratings success, Fox Business, in its third year, continues to post “feeble” ratings. While CNBC is available in more than 90 million households, FBN is available in just 50 million. Vanity Fair‘s Matt Pressman wrote last November that “it’s fairly safe to assume” that “most of its shows fall short of attracting 35,000 viewers,” or roughly one-tenth of CNBC’s audience and a hundredth of SpongeBob SquarePants‘.

The most high-profile show on FBN — a dubious honor — isn’t even a business-oriented show. Last October, FBN began simulcasting Don Imus, best known for helping pioneer shock jock radio decades ago and smearing female basketball players. Imus, as he has self-deprecatingly acknowledged, has no expertise in business news, which is why FBN incorporates several business updates on his show.

Fox hopes to grow its fledgling business channel by cross-promoting it on Fox News, which also struggled with early ratings. Fox News has begun using hosts like apparent financial wizards Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck to tout FBN as “no-spin talk you can trust” and the network that “wants you to succeed.” Varney, Bolling, Byrnes, and others regularly appear on FNC, where they’re touted as financial experts — facts to the contrary — while Cavuto incessantly uses his afternoon FNC show to implore viewers to “demand” FBN from their cable providers.

In a new ad for the network, Fox states that Fox Business and Fox News offer “two networks, twice the power.” Indeed, from its inception to its recent hiring decisions, Fox Business has made it clear that like its sister channel, “fair and balanced” is merely a wink and a nod to viewers looking for a reaffirmation of conservative myths and blatant GOP boosterism.

“Don’t tease the panther”: Glenn Beck continues his public embarrassment tour

If a week goes by without Media Matters documenting something embarrassing or pathetic from Glenn Beck, it’s probably because he’s on vacation.

Case in point, the self-described “rodeo clown,” last seen making fun of an 11-year-old girl, refused to apologize for promoting the work of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic, racist Elizabeth Dilling. As Beck tells it, he sat down with the book The Red Network one night and found it so inspiring that he had to share it the very next day. Yet The Red Network contains passages rife with racism (“colored men” are dancing with white women!), anti-Semitism (let’s be fair to Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish activities), and religious bigotry (Hinduism and Islam are “debasing and degrading”; Judaism and Hinduism spread “propaganda”).

On the topic of books, Beck will soon release his brand new “thriller” The Overton Window, which he promises will “drive the left insane.” Beck’s right: Media Matters obtained a copy of the book before its Tuesday release, and as Media Matters‘ Simon Maloy and Ben Dimiero note, the “awful” novel contains “plot holes, ridiculous narrative devices, and long-winded limited-government sermonizing passed off as dialogue.” Beck’s Overton Window includes the phrase soon to engulf college campuses and future Gossip Girl episodes: “Don’t tease the panther.”

Beck also began touting his 8-28 rally — the same day as Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington — as one that will “reclaim the civil rights movement” and “be remembered as the moment America turned the corner.” Beck, who informed readers may know is not a civil rights hero, has compared himself to civil rights heroes Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and African-Americans who had “dogs and fire hoses” released on them. Beck’s even gone so far as to claim that he’s advancing “the plan that [God] would have me articulate, I think” against “darkness.”

In an interview with The New York Times last year, multimillionaire rodeo clown Beck said that if people take what he says “as gospel, you’re an idiot” — food for thought for the Beck followers buying 8-28 rally plane tickets or Overton Window books.

Fox News hates Boxer, loves former colleague Fiorina

Fox doesn’t like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

According to those on the channel’s payroll, Boxer is an embarrassing, condescending, big-spending, anti-military liberal “dope” who “stands for everything that is wrong with Washington.”

While that hyperpartisan venting sounds like something from Fox News’ “opinion” side, “reporter” William La Jeunesse has been one of Boxer’s most frequent smearers. Not only did La Jeunesse state, in his own words, that Boxer “stands for everything that is wrong with Washington,” he also forwarded the ridiculously false attack by opponent Carly Fiorina (R) that Boxer “is more interested in protecting climate change and the weather than actually the public.”

Fiorina is a former member of the Fox News family, having been hired in October 2007 as a Fox Business Network contributor. Fiorina’s financial disclosure statement states that she received nearly $58,000 for her employment with the “Fox Broadcasting Company.”

Unsurprisingly, Fiorina has received glowing coverage and interviews on the network and netted endorsements from Fox Newsers Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Dick Morris. But she stumbled this week when an open mic caught her appearing to disparage Fox News host Sean Hannity. Perhaps realizing Fox’s role in the GOP apparatus, Fiorina directly apologized to Hannity.

In the midst of embarrassments like Glenn Beck, the Fox Business Network, and its Fiorina coverage, Fox News is pushing to get Helen Thomas’ front-row seat in the White House briefing room. Media Matters’ Jeremy Holden wrote that the White House Correspondents Association should resist any efforts to give Fox the seat, given its history. Appearing on Imus, Wallace said that Fox getting the seat would be “poetic justice” since Thomas is considered liberal. After prodding from Imus, Wallace quickly backtracked by claiming he meant Fox News is “fair and balanced,” then added that maybe he should “stop digging.”

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Eric Hananoki, a research fellow at Media Matters for America.


First Tapes Heard In Blago Trial

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

First Tapes Heard In Blago Trial
The first tapes made from wiretaps on the phones of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his associates were played yesterday in Blago’s corruption trial in Chicago federal court.



Rod BlagojevichChicagoUnited StatesIllinoisRob Blagojevich

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Sharron ‘Double R for Ridiculously Right-wing’ Angle’s Political Makeover

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Sharron ‘Double R for Ridiculously Right-wing’ Angle’s Political Makeover


Alvin Greene: Victorious Mystery Candidate With an Obscene Past

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Alvin Greene: Victorious Mystery Candidate With an Obscene Past
He beat the establishment candidate in the Democratic primary race for South Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat, but nobody’s ever heard of him. Who is Alvin Greene?

He beat the establishment candidate in the Democratic primary race for South Carolina's U.S. Senate seat, but nobody's ever heard of him. Who is Alvin Greene?

Do We Really Have a 5th Taste? What Is the Umami Fad All About?
Is the umami fad nothing more than a massive counterattack against a few decades of anti-MSG bad press?

Is the umami fad nothing more than a massive counterattack against a few decades of anti-MSG bad press?

Health Claims: Should the First Amendment Protect Bad Science?

Cross-posted from Food Politics.I keep complaining about the health claims on Enfagrow toddler formula, a sugary product aimed at children from ages one to three: These claims, for the uninitiated, are a special kind called structure-function.  Congress authorized such claims when it passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in […]

The Inside Story of How Obama Let the World’s Most Dangerous Oil Company Spiral out of Control
Though George W. Bush paved the way for the catastrophe, it was Obama who gave BP the green light to drill.

Though George W. Bush paved the way for the catastrophe, it was Obama who gave BP the green light to drill.

10 Things That Terrify Right-Wingers
These are some of the things that keep American conservatives awake at night.

These are some of the things that keep American conservatives awake at night.


Cheney, Come Clean

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Cheney, Come Clean
Since early 2008, I’ve been writing about Dick Cheney’s secret Energy Policy Task Force. But given the role of all the Task Force players (BP, Halliburton and probably TransOcean) in the Gulf Oil Disaster, I think it’s time for…


HalliburtonDick CheneyTask ForceBPGulf Oil

Young Palestinian: “End The Siege on Israel”
The author of this piece in Ha’aretz today, a 25 year old (I think) Palestinian named Fadi Elsalameen has been my friend since he was in high school. He is founder and editor of the Palestine Note, which has become…



IsraelMiddle EastUnited StatesGazaEast Jerusalem

Why We Are Moving Toward a Recessionary Era, and Why Keynes is Being Exhumed
Double-dip watch: Retail sales in May took their biggest nose-dive in eight months, according to today’s report from the Commerce Department. Remember: Consumers account for 70 percent of the nation’s economic activity. American Corporations are sitting on huge piles of…


EconomicJohn Maynard KeynesRetailUnited States Department of CommerceCommerce Department


The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Feel The Wave Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Feel The Wave Edition

The latest LiberalOasis Radio Show podcast is up, with Traci Olsen and myself wondering — after this week’s primary elections — what happened to the anti-incumbent wave the media kept telling us about, discussing the very eventful America’s Future Now! conference, analyzing the meaning of the close Senate vote saving EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas pollution (my blog post about it is here) and the literary event of the year, “The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner.”

Plus, we talk to Valley Advocate blogger Sarah Buttenwieser about the value of monthly arts nights to the vibrancy of small towns and cities.

You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).


Pat Robertson?s advice to woman whose husband flirts: Make yourself more attractive and ?don?t hassle him.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Pat Robertson?s advice to woman whose husband flirts: Make yourself more attractive and ?don?t hassle him.?
Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson frequently stresses the importance of monogamous heterosexual relationships and is happy to offer his viewers advice on how to maintain them. As Media Matters documents, Robertson fielded a question on yesterday’s edition of the 700 Club from a woman who was concerned that her husband frequently flirts with “other women he […]

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson frequently stresses the importance of monogamous heterosexual relationships and is happy to offer his viewers advice on how to maintain them. As Media Matters documents, Robertson fielded a question on yesterday’s edition of the 700 Club from a woman who was concerned that her husband frequently flirts with “other women he finds attractive.” Naturally, Robertson blamed the wife, advising her to “make yourself as attractive as possible,” and to not “hassle him about it,” lest she “drive him away”:

CO-HOST: Pat, this is from Anne who says, “My husband has always been a flirt and loves to talk with other women he finds attractive. He says he would never cheat on me but his actions are starting to get to me. What should I do?”

ROBERTSON: Anne, first thing is you need to make yourself as attractive as possible and don’t hassle him about it. And why is he doing this? Well, he’s doing it because he wants affirmation that he is still a man, that he is attractive — and he gets an affirmation of himself. That means he’s got an inferiority complex that’s coming out. And he’s not gonna cheat on you. He’s just playing.

But you need to not drive him away or start hassling and hounding on him, but make yourself as beautiful as you can, as fun as you can, and say let’s go out here, let’s go there, let’s go to the other thing.

Roberts has a long history of making outrageously chauvinistic comments. He famously once said, “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women,” but is rather “a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” On the proper role of a wife, Robertson has said, “Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”

More than half the members of the GOP?s ?Young Guns? program are eligible for AARP membership.
The National Republican Congressional Committee often touts its “Young Guns” program, an initiative “dedicated to identifying, recruiting, and mobilizing a new generation of conservative leaders.” But as the Daily Beast points out, this fresh-faced group really isn’t that young: In fact, the current crop of the 22 Young Guns looks very much like the […]

The National Republican Congressional Committee often touts its “Young Guns” program, an initiative “dedicated to identifying, recruiting, and mobilizing a new generation of conservative leaders.” But as the Daily Beast points out, this fresh-faced group really isn’t that young:

In fact, the current crop of the 22 Young Guns looks very much like the old generation of conservative leaders. These upstarts together average an age of 49.6 years old — two months shy of the average age of new members who joined Congress in 2008. And those current reps are no spring chickens themselves. According to one analysis, the 111th Congress is the oldest, on average, of any since 1907.

More than half of the Young Guns, having celebrated the big 5-0, are already eligible for an AARP membership. Only two of the group’s designated candidates– Martha Roby, who is running for Alabama’s 2nd District, and district attorney-cum-reality-television star Sean Duffy, who is running for the open seat in Wisconsin’s 7th District — are under the age of 40.

In the past, the Republican National Committee has had to lure younger GOP donors — aka “Young Eagles” — with trips to topless clubs. (HT: Wonkette)