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Archive for November 16th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Eve of Destruction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuireEve of Destruction on the NBC music show Hullabaloo (1965).

Barry McGuireEve of Destruction on the NBC music show Hullabaloo (1965).

What’s on your mind?

Well they know their opponent
Who could have anticipated Republicans on the Super Committee basing their no-compromise position upon past Democratic performance?   Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling…claimed that if the committee recommended even a dollar of new net tax revenue — the kind of revenue Dems are demanding — it would constitute a step in the wrong direction. He said […]

pic by BXGD at flickr.com

Who could have anticipated Republicans on the Super Committee basing their no-compromise position upon past Democratic performance?

?


Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling…claimed that if the committee recommended even a dollar of new net tax revenue — the kind of revenue Dems are demanding — it would constitute a step in the wrong direction. He said a GOP plan put forward by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) — one which Republicans claim would raise revenues by nearly $300 billion over 10 years, but would also make the Bush tax cuts permanent — is as far as Republicans are willing to go on revenues. But that’s an offer Democrats flatly rejected as unserious.

Instead the GOP intends to let it all fail and make sure there are never any cuts to the military…much to Leon Panetta’s ultimate satisfaction (fine messaging as ever Obama Administration). This leaves Democrats in their familiar position of negotiating with themselves.  Now they alone can be seen as failing to obtain any tax increases on the wealthy while further screwing the poor and middle classes.  Despite having the public ostensibly on their side.

Oh, well played Democrats, well played as ever.


Marketing Masculinity in an Age of Male Anxiety

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Marketing Masculinity in an Age of Male Anxiety
What better way to jack up men’s flagging sense of masculine prowess in these times of economic instability, with gender roles shifting by the minute, then by introducing a line of house paints that includes the colors “Bro Code” and “Zombie Apocalypse?” (more)

What better way to jack up men’s flagging sense of masculine prowess in these times of economic instability, with gender roles shifting by the minute, then by introducing a line of house paints that includes the colors “Bro Code” and “Zombie Apocalypse?” (more)

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Shuttering Education Department Tougher Than Rick Perry Thinks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Shuttering Education Department Tougher Than Rick Perry Thinks
Though Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew a blank during last week’s debate when trying to list the federal agencies he’d shut down as president, he…

Bell Rings For Main Event In Wisconsin Recalls
The dust just settled after a series of heated state Senate recall elections over the summer, but those were just the prelude to the main…

Politics, Industry And ‘Hopelessly Irrational’ EPA Stymie Air Pollution Crackdown
The stumbling, two-decade-old war on hazardous air pollutants â?? declared on Nov. 15, 1990, the day President George H. W. Bush signed the Clean Air…


Fox Gives Platform To Serial Fearmonger And Conspiracy Theorist Joseph Farah

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Fox Gives Platform To Serial Fearmonger And Conspiracy Theorist Joseph Farah

Sean Hannity hosted WorldNetDaily (WND) founder Joseph Farah on his Fox News show to discuss whether the allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain are valid “from a journalistic perspective.” Yet Farah has a long history of outrageous statements, smears, and conspiracy theories.

“Nothing To Report”: Hannity Hosts Farah To Call Cain Allegations “Conjecture … Unsubstantiated”

Farah: “From A Journalistic Perspective, There’s Nothing To Report About The Charges Against Herman Cain.” On the November 14 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity discussed the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain with his panel of guests, which included Farah. Farah claimed that “[f]rom a journalistic perspective, there’s nothing to report about the charges about Herman Cain” and later said, “Why is it that we report this conjecture?” From the show:

FARAH: From a journalistic perspective, there’s nothing to report about the charges about Herman Cain. And that’s the thing I think that everybody’s missing.

HANNITY: I said that from day one. I agree with you.

FARAH: Look, there are people out there right now who make far more substantive charges, worse charges about Barack Obama, who claimed to have done all kinds of things with — you wouldn’t report that, Sean, I wouldn’t report that, nobody in the media would report it. Why is it that we report this conjecture, this — these unsubstantiated, uncorroborated charges? I think the real scandal here is a media scandal. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/14/11]

But Farah And WND Have A History Of Spreading Conspiracy Theories And Falsehoods …

Farah Spread Falsehoods About Supreme Court Nominee Kagan. In a June 21, 2010, WND article, headlined, “Anti-military zealot on Supreme Court?” Farah attacked then-Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a “radical anti-military and pro-abortion zealot.” WorldNetDaily’s “Superstore” in June 2010 also charged readers $24.95 to mail a “Stop Kagan” letter to “all 100 U.S. senators by Fed Ex.” [WND, 6/21/10, via Media Matters; Media Matters, 6/17/10]

For the truth about Kagan’s record, SEE HERE.

Farah And WND Funded “Where’s The Birth Certificate?” Billboards, Merchandise, Petition. In 2009, WorldNetDaily frequently posted articles and commentary about Obama’s birth certificate. The site also offered “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” merchandise and funded “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” billboards across the country. WorldNetDaily also collected money for “The Fund For Truth About Obama Birth,” which promises to offer a reward to anyone “who can provide persuasive evidence of involvement or presence at that birth — whether it took place in Hawaii or elsewhere.” [Media Matters, 7/23/09]

Farah: Unlike Jesus, Obama Has No Documentation Of Birth. During a February 5, 2010, speech at the National Tea Party Convention, Farah repeated a Rush Limbaugh joke, saying, “What do God and Barack Obama have in common? … Neither one of them has a birth certificate.” Farah then said that the birth of Jesus is “so well-documented, unlike Barack Obama’s.” [C-SPAN, 2/5/10, via Media Matters]

WND Falsely Claimed Fort Hood Shooter “Advised Obama Transition.” In a November 6, 2009, article, WorldNetDaily claimed that Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan “advised the Obama transition.” After Media Matters debunked the article, Farah again repeated the falsehood and further claimed that a government official had “confirm[ed]” the WND article. [Media Matters, 11/6/09, 11/6/09]

Farah: “Many Of Us Who Crossed The Clintons … Feared For Our Lives As A Result.” In a November 14, 2007, column discussing Kathleen Willey’s 2007 book about the Clintons, Farah wrote, “Many of us who crossed the Clintons — whether it was because of what we wrote or whether it was because we didn’t yield to unwanted sexual attacks — feared for our lives as a result of winding up on their ‘enemies list.’ ” He also claimed that “there were real-world consequences to being on the Clintons’ enemies list,” such as “losing jobs,” “threats and harassment,” “invasion of privacy,” “break-ins and dead pets and flat tires,” and “audits from the Internal Revenue Service.” [WND, 11/14/07, via Media Matters]

Farah Links Bush Guest-Worker Proposal To Plan By “One-Worlders” To Merge US, Mexico, Canada. On the April 4, 2006, edition of American Family Radio’s Today’s Issues, Farah claimed there were 20 million to 30 million “illegals” in the U.S. Farah then claimed that the “one-worlders” of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) have a plan to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada by 2010 and suggested that the guest worker program President George W. Bush was proposing at the time was part of CFR’s alleged plan. [American Family Radio, Today’s Issues, 4/4/06, via Media Matters]

… And A History Of Smears And Outrageous Attacks

Farah Called Obama’s “Creator” Omission “An Attempt At Deicide.” In a September 22, 2010, column, Farah attacked Obama’s paraphrasing of the Declaration of Independence without stating that human rights are “endowed by their Creator.” Farah wrote:

This was not an accident.

It was not a slip of the tongue.

It was not an oversight.

It was not an innocent mistake.

This was an attempt at deicide by Obama.

This was an effort to strip from America’s national heritage a direct connection with God Almighty.

Even worse, this was Obama’s way of stripping from America’s consciousness the notion that liberty’s underpinnings require direct accountability and responsibility to the Creator, not man-made government.

Our rights do not descend from Obama, much as he might like.

Our rights do not descend from government, much as he might like.

Our rights are not endowed by evolution, much as he might like.

They are endowed by our Creator.

That’s a key word that the Obama mentality would like us all to forget. [WND, 9/22/10, via Media Matters]

WND’s Farah: Gays Are Worse Than The Ku Klux Klan. In a September 28, 2010, WorldNetDaily column, Farah attacked pundit Ann Coulter for appearing at the group GOProud’s Homocon event. He compared Coulter’s appearance to a celebrity “choos[ing] to speak to the Ku Klux Klan” and later concluded that “the ungodly, sin-glorifying homosexual agenda represents a far greater and far more imminent danger to the future of the United States than does the Klan’s racist, ungodly and sin-glorifying agenda.” From the column:

[T]he point I was making was driven home by all of the press coverage of the event – that “her presence marked the increasingly mainstream embrace of gay rights.”

That’s the trouble with allowing yourself to be exploited by a group with a dangerously extremist agenda that includes the promotion of same-sex marriage, open homosexual service in the U.S. military and a wink and a nod toward hate-crimes legislation.

If a celebrity chooses to speak to the Ku Klux Klan, there is no question the Klan benefits from such an appearance – no matter how much the speaker might attempt to explain the differences he or she might have with the group’s agenda. Justifying such an appearance by suggesting it’s just another paid speaking gig would hardly mollify the criticism or negate the benefit the Klan received from the event.

Of course, no one in respectable public life would consider speaking to the Klan for those reasons.

However, I would suggest the ungodly, sin-glorifying homosexual agenda represents a far greater and far more imminent danger to the future of the United States than does the Klan’s racist, ungodly and sin-glorifying agenda.

That’s not to say we should never speak to or evangelize sinners – be they Klan members or homosexual activists. In fact, that’s exactly what we should do. What we should never do is to embrace or celebrate or validate their activism in any way. [WND, 9/28/10, via Media Matters]

Farah Described Construction Of Park51 Cultural Center As An Act Of Terrorism. In an August 23, 2010, WorldNetDaily column, Farah wrote of the proposed Park51 Muslim cultural center: “[B]y mak[ing] way for a mosque constructed with foreign Islamic money and leadership linked to Islamic extremism, Americans would be consenting to the completion of the audacious and insidious attack of Sept. 11, 2001 … [Imam Feisal Abdul] Rauf calls it ‘iconic.’ I call it ‘completing the attack.’ ” [WND, 8/24/10, via Media Matters]

Farah: Obama “Publicly Supports Ethnic Cleansing In The Middle East Against Jews.” In his December 1, 2009, column, Farah claimed that Obama “doesn’t believe Jews in Israel have an inherent right to build and repair homes and offices.” He further wrote:

This is the president who publicly supports ethnic cleansing in the Middle East against Jews — not just in Gaza, not just in Judea and Samaria, not just in East Jerusalem, but in solidly Jewish neighborhoods of the capital of the Jewish state never before placed on the table for negotiations with the Jew-haters who demand a “Palestinian state” free of all Jews. [WND, 12/1/09, via Media Matters]

On Obama Adviser And Muslim Scholar Mogahed: “I Call Her Toga Head.” During the October 27, 2009, edition of WOR’s The Steve Malzberg Show, Farah said of Obama adviser and Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, “I call her toga head.” [WOR, The Steve Malzberg Show, 10/27/09, via Media Matters]

In Anti-Gay Attack, Farah Claims Obama Appointees Found At “Perverts.gov,” Government Should Be “Fumigated” When “These Deviants And Degenerates” Are Gone. In his October 6, 2009, WorldNetDaily column, Farah attacked several Obama administration appointees, including Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai Feldblum. After attacking Feldblum, who is gay, Farah wrote:

I wonder what kind of database Obama uses to locate people like this? Is it Monster.com? That would be appropriate. Or is it FreaksUnlimited.com? Maybe Obamanations.com? No, it’s got to be Perverts.gov.

I’m telling you, the entire federal government is going to have to be fumigated some day when these deviants and degenerates are finally sent packing. [WND, 10/6/09, via Media Matters]


Secret Service Searched Occupy D.C. Camp For Person Who Shot At White House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Secret Service Searched Occupy D.C. Camp For Person Who Shot At White House
The Secret Service searched Occupy D.C. on Monday for a man suspected of firing bullets at the White House on Friday, one of which was stopped by the building’s ballistic glass.


Conservative Investors Sue Over Sham Tea Party TV Network
A group of conservative investors in Tennessee is suing a California businessman for allegedly conning them into investing in Tea Party HD, a TV channel aimed at tea partiers, that they say turned out to be a scam….


What is Twirling Around in Herman Cain’s Head?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

What is Twirling Around in Herman Cain’s Head?


Gingrich’s Character

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Gingrich’s Character
John Dickerson: “No candidate spans the rheostat more than Gingrich, who can go from sweet to sour in seconds. As the Gingrich candidacy gains traction in the polls, the key questions are going to be about temperament, discipline, and character. Those are important with any candidate — but with Gingrich they are especially so… But now Gingrich will face the pressures of being a front-runner, which means reliving that period during the 1990s when his disapproval rating was in the high 70s. He will face a lot of questions about his temperament and discipline, most of which he’ll undoubtedly think are stupid. Whether he says so will tell us something about his temperament this time around.”

Republicans Prepare to Accept New Tax Revenues
With exactly one week remaining until the supercommittee on deficit reduction is due to present its recommendations, House Republican leaders have begun preparing their full conference for a deal that includes new tax revenues, according to The Hill.

“The GOP co-chairman of the deficit supercommittee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), briefed the House Republican Conference on the details of multiple offers that GOP members of the panel have made to their Democratic counterparts… Some conservatives have said they are concerned with the GOP’s offer, especially considering the pledge most of them signed to oppose any net tax increase… Hensarling made no direct reference to Grover Norquist, the author of the anti-tax pledge, but he brought up pledges in general, and said that ‘his pledge is to the people of his district.'”

However, Politico notes rank-and-file Republicans are suspicious and “there seems to be a growing civil war on the right over the idea of tax revenues.”

Romney Holds Big Lead in New Hampshire
A new Bloomberg poll in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney way ahead of his GOP presidential rivals with 40%, followed by Ron Paul at 17% and Newt Gingrich at 10%. All the other candidates are below 10%.

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “You just don’t have any volatility in these numbers. He’s liked and widely liked.”

Gingrich Paid Much More by Freddie Mac
Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees with mortgage company Freddie Mac, Bloomberg reports.

The amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate last week.


Neocons: Lying Us Into Another War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Neocons: Lying Us Into Another War
Christmas did not arrive early for the “Bomb Iran” crowd. Over the past several weeks, neoconservative hawks were gleefully predicting that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s new report on Iran’s nuclear program would provide the spark needed to ignite and…

UNESCO Fiasco: Dancing To Netanyahu’s Tune
It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between U.S. national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful…


Exclusive Bombshell: Experts Debunk Polls that Claim Sharp Drop in Number of Americans Who Believe in Global Warming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Exclusive Bombshell: Experts Debunk Polls that Claim Sharp Drop in Number of Americans Who Believe in Global Warming
National survey of American public opinion on global warming via Jon Krosnick, Stanford University Politicians and pundits and the public have all been told by the media and others that public belief in global warming has dropped sharply.  Except that it hasn’t, as polling by Stanford and Ipsos and Reuters make clear. Yes, other polls, […]

National survey of American public opinion on global warming via Jon Krosnick, Stanford University

Politicians and pundits and the public have all been told by the media and others that public belief in global warming has dropped sharply.  Except that it hasn’t, as polling by Stanford and Ipsos and Reuters make clear.

Yes, other polls, notably by Gallup and Pew, do seem to seem to show a sharp drop.  But in exclusive interviews with Climate Progress, two leading experts on climate, public opinion and media coverage — Jon Krosnick and Max Boykoff — explain what’s really going on.

The big apparent drop in some polls is almost certainly due to the combination of the collapse in media coverage of global warming and pollsters asking a deeply flawed question.

How is that possible?  Well, let’s look at a typical media spin on the subject, “Where Did Global Warming Go?” by Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times last month:

Across the nation, too, belief in man-made global warming, and passion about doing something to arrest climate change, is not what it was five years or so ago, when Al Gore’s movie had buzz and Elizabeth Kolbert’s book about climate change, “Field Notes From a Catastrophe,” was a best seller.  The number of Americans who believe the earth is warming dropped to 59 percent last year from 79 percent in 2006, according to polling by the Pew Research Group.

Hmm.  That’s a pretty big drop — except the Pew Research group doesn’t actually ask people whether they believe the earth is warming!

Unfortunately, Pew asks peopleFrom what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not?”  Instead of asking people what they believe or think, Pew asks them what they’ve read or heard.

Both Krosnick and Boykoff make a strong case that this rather fatally taints the whole question, especially since media coverage — which represents much if not most of what the public reads or hears on climate change — collapsed in 2010.  Boykoff has an excellent new book, Who Speaks for the Climate? Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change, which you can buy here.  He discusses this specific subject in a must-read section titled, “Polling and public sentiment.”

I’ve long been a fan of Boykoff’s work and interviewed him last week.   It was his research (among others) that documented the recent media collapse in climate coverage in this stunning chart:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OR COMMENT


US Media Coverage

There is a brief spike in late 2009 around Copenhagen (and Climategate), but media coverage has crashed back to 2005 levels.  You can see the same effect in the TV coverage (see Silence of the Lambs: Media herd’s coverage of climate change “fell off the map” in 2010):

So it’s no big surprise that asking people climate questions based on “what you’ve read and heard” will lead to a sharp drop from levels when people read or heard much more about global warming.

Boykoff told me that he agreed with Krosnick that people’s underlying beliefs about climate change were “generally stable.”  As he put it:

If the media is suffocating an issue, it can fall out of the public mind and policy agenda.

Boykoff is not a fan in the least bit of either poorly worded polls or media coverage of such polls, as he makes clear in his book:

Unless there is a global plebiscite or referendum on whether the climate is changing, such questions are at best distracting and at worst destructive to work that seeks to enhance public understanding and consistent, measured consideration of the range of climate policy alternatives….

In this way, mass media do damage by reducing issues of risk and expert-based scientific understanding to that of mere opinion.

I also had a long discussion with Stanford’s Krosnick.  He has written entire journal articles about the importance of question wording and about the specific influence of introductory clauses on the outcome of polls.

The short version is, as he explained to me, that words matter and people answer the question they are asked.  People’s underlying beliefs are pretty stable, as his polling shows (with the exception of a segment of the conservative population, but that’s another blog post).  If you want the long version, he gave a 25-minute talk at the American Meteorological Society on this specific topic that you can watch here (it can take a while to load).

Krosnick told me that there’s no sign of shrinkage of the “issue public” — the 15% or so of the public that is highly concerned about climate change, that donates and votes based on the issue.

Krosnick has done a great deal of public opinion analysis in this area that shows ongoing, strong support for action on climate change among the public — see Bombshell: Democrats Taking “Green” Positions on Climate Change “Won Much More Often” Than Those Remaining Silent.  He analyzed the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 congressional election and explained in an email:

Our research suggests that it would be wise for the President and for all other elected officials who believe that climate change is a problem and merits government attention to say this publicly and vigorously, because most Americans share these views.  Expressing and pursuing green goals on climate change will gain votes on election day and seem likely to increase the President’s and the Congress’s approval ratings.

Of course, team Obama — and a remarkable number of  progressives and pundits — have bought into the nonsensical and ultimately self-destructive view that climate change is not a winning issue politically (see “Can you solve global warming without talking about global warming?).

It now seems clear that some of the reason for that mistaken view is flawed polling and equally flawed media coverage.  Indeed, we have this absurd circularity where media coverage of global warming drops, flawed polls suggest the public’s belief in global warming has dropped, and that, of course, discourages the media (and politicians) from focusing on the issue.  That would seem to be yet another worrisome climate feedback.

Related Posts and Polls:


Solyndra: Energy Dept. pushed firm to keep layoffs quiet until after midterms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Solyndra: Energy Dept. pushed firm to keep layoffs quiet until after midterms

The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.

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Rick Perry, conservative hero no longer

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential race in mid-August, he was touted as the candidate conservatives had been waiting for — the antidote to the more country club sort of appeal of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

No longer.

Three months into his campaign, a new Washington Post-ABC News survey reveals that his numbers have not only fallen considerably among self-identified conservative Republicans, but also lag behind Romney and the majority of the other candidates for the GOP nomination.

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Senate panel fails to mollify administration on detainee policies

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday modified provisions governing the detention of terrorism suspects that had drawn a veto threat from the White House, but the administration and leading Democrats said the new language in a defense spending bill failed to address their concerns.

The new provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act were crafted in a deal between the Democratic chairman of the committee, Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), and the ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). The senators issued a statement saying the new measure was “an effort to address concerns raised by the administration and others.”

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Obama administration quietly bracing for debt supercommittee failure

White House officials are quietly bracing for “supercommittee” failure, with advisers privately saying they are pessimistic that the 12-member Congressional panel will find a way to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit as required.

In public, however, the official administration stance is that failure is not an option.

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