Saturday, March 5, 2011

Must Reads

Walter Dellinger: The DOMA Decision

Jason Linkins: New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger Draw Criticism For Their Coverage Of Wisconsin Protests

Chris Cillizza: Who had the Worst Week in Washington? Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.

Russell Simmons: The Hypocrisy of Peter King

Michael Winship: Wackos of the World, Unite!

JHW22 recommends...
Bruce Lindner: You Might Be A Republican If...

President Obama's Weekly Address - March 5, 2011

Cutting Waste, Investing in the Future

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big. Fat. Oops.

New Jersey Governor and resident walrus Chris Christie is doing his best to plummet his numbers to Scott Walker levels. But New Jersey firefighters and police officers aren't going to sit idly by and watch.

Hillary: Our MSM Sucks, Al Jazeera Rocks

The truth hurts, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wisconsin's State Tree Is What?! - UPDATED

Bill O'Reilly has been getting pretty hot under the collar at all the Wisconsin protesters chanting "Fox lies" while their so-called "reporters" are on the ground at the state capitol in Madison. So what does The O'Reilly Factor do? They lie.

Here's the intrepid BillO and his crack staff using stock footage of some random protest while speaking about the people in the streets in Wisconsin to promote the illusion that the protests are violent. Notice the short sleeve shirts and the palm trees in the background.

Now that's some fair and balanced reporting, huh? And here I thought the Wisconsin state tree was the Sugar Maple. Someone had better correct Wikipedia!

UPDATE (3/3/11, 12:15pm): Mediaite has defended O'Reilly as "not lying" regarding the above video.

The segment in question occurred during The O’Reilly Factor as Bill O’Reilly was discussing the anger in the union protests. At the top of the piece, he rolled footage of a number of the “union thug” videos that have become so popular on Right Wing news sites in the past few weeks. O’Reilly clearly identified the videos as collectively coming from “all over the country.” As many shows do, this B-roll footage was replayed again during the rest of the segment, including during an interview with Mike Tobin, Fox News’ reporter who’s been on the ground in Wisconsin.
Here’s where the problem occurred. Tobin was discussing Wisconsin (since that where he’s been) while the general footage played in the background. Taken out of context, these few seconds would seem deceptive. But, if you’d already seen the full segment, you’d recognize what the footage was (besides, this same clip has aired on other Fox News programs like Glenn Beck and been identified as coming from California). Further, the protest footage from Wisconsin is clearly labeled “Madison” as well as date and time stamped, while the “palm tree footage” is labeled “Union Protests.” Confusing? Not really, though if one were to simply see the 43-second clip on YouTube, one could reasonably raise their eyebrows. A reminder of the importance of context.
Had Fox News Channel, and in particular The O'Reilly Factor, been completely honest, instead of labeling the video "union protests" they would have specified the locality of each video. It's not so hard.

They deliberately misled the viewer by speaking to someone stationed in Madison, Wisconsin while showing video from Sacramento. How do I know it's Sacramento? Because a legit website, Think Progress, updated their site with that information.

By the way, that video of the shoving match was the only reported incident by Sacramento police, so the idea that protests have turned violent has no merit. And reporting about "anger" at protests isn't really news, is it? Anger at protests is a given, otherwise there probably wouldn't be a protest.

Was it a lie? Technically, no. But it was definitely sloppy journalism at a minimum and at worst, tried to paint a biased picture of what's actually happening across the country; far from the "fair and balanced" motto they purport. Therefore, I'll make the reassessment that the O'Reilly segment was purposely misleading.

A War on Working Families

Donate here.

What About the Wanted?


Today "an anti-choice group in Ohio is putting a 9-week old fetus on the witness list" in an attempt to find one more trick to make abortion illegal.

Jeez, my OB/GYN wouldn't even see me before ten weeks -- even while I was miscarrying.
Why are some people willing to ignore the woman in this debate? And why aren't the same people doing more to prevent miscarriages rather than forcing women to prove they miscarried naturally?
And what are the same people doing for babies thrown in dumpsters and shaken or born addicted? I have always said that I respect that some people have a moral problem with abortion. But I don't respect the same people when they aren't doing anything for the wanted babies who are lost or for the babies who weren't aborted but were left with no way to survive. Either DO for those who are born or who a woman desperately wants to have and DO for the women you want to make YOUR choice or don't tell a woman what to do with her body. Prevent poverty, abuse, starvation, neglect, lack of health care, illiteracy, gun violence, mental illness. Do something for the children you fight so hard to get here.
HELP or get out of the damn way.

Morons Have Free Speech Rights

Even the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a grieving father's pain over jeering protests at his Marine son's funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. All but one justice sided with a fundamentalist church that has stirred outrage with raucous demonstrations contending God is punishing the military for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.
It's unfortunate that these low life scum make a mockery of their god and whatever twisted religion they profess by acting out in profane, bigoted protests whenever and wherever the mood strikes, like at military funerals or Holocaust museums. But hey, hate groups have First Amendment rights just like anyone else, and if you want to look like a buffoon and call the President of the United States the Antichrist, that's within your rights as well. But that's what separates us from almost every other country in the world. And sometimes it's not easy.

"America isn't easy."

Our Broken Mainstream Media

Hey, I like Two and a Half Men as much as the next guy. It's mindless, crass entertainment that takes your mind off your troubles for 30 minutes a week... for 22 weeks out of the year. But can we please stop with the 24/7 coverage of Charlie Sheen blowing a brain gasket? I don't think my personal world is going to suffer if I lose 11 collective hours* of television entertainment per year. And that includes commercials.

When did the mind of America atrophy? When did we lose our way and become a civilization subsisting on reality television schadenfreude? And we can't even allow for legitimate news on supposed news shows anymore, as Stephen Colbert points out.

Sarah Palin is a dolt. But in this case, she's right, even if it's for all the wrong reasons. Her stupid, little "lamestream media" dig actually works in certain cases. And this is one of them.

* Yes, if you haven't thought about it, Charlie Sheen was making $44 million per season for a collective body of work totaling 11 hours a year.

Quote of the Day

"When asked to stand guard at the doors that duty was turned over to the Wisconsin State Patrol because our deputies would not stand and be palace guards. I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards."

Dane County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Mahoney on his decision to pull officers guarding the Madison Capitol building.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Grand Oil Party

DCCC: Despite the need to cut spending and reduce the debt, today House Republicans voted against cutting taxpayer spending on subsidies for Big Oil companies making record profits. Last week, House Republicans voted to slash education, research and public safety budgets that would lead to more than 700,000 jobs lost nationwide.
One simple question: why are the leading oil companies, whose profits topped $485 BILLION in a 5-year span, receiving tax subsidies from the government?

Here we sit, with the Tea Party protesting that we're taxed enough already, Wisconsin union members fighting to keep their collective bargaining rights after banksters sucked state pension funds dry, $14 trillion in debt, states laying off workers in the public sector in an attempt to keep their heads above water while dragging down unemployment numbers and the economic recovery in the process, and we're allowing massive oil corporations making record profits to get away with huge tax breaks. Or rather, the fiscally responsible Republicans (and handful of DINOs) are allowing it to continue. How is that remotely acceptable?

I Am a Wisconsinite

A have a friend who's been marching and protesting in Madison, Wisconsin for the last couple of weeks, trying to protect his union rights to collectively bargain. We met more than a few years ago working on a show together for an out of town tryout in Denver, and then again in New York City. He has since moved back to his native Madison to take an industry job and raise a family.

He wrote a stirring post on his Facebook page and gave me permission to repost it here.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin. At the time I did not think that made me very lucky. After I graduated from UW-Madison I moved to NYC and immediately considered myself a New Yorker. Even after moving back to raise a family I would, for a time, tell people I lived in Madison but just moved back from NYC because I felt it sounded cooler. I was wrong. There is nothing cooler than being a Wisconsinite.
My family has always been politically active in Wisconsin politics and labor movements. I feel like my sisters and I spent a good portion of our childhoods at the Labor Temple on Park St. or handing out flyers at Farmer's Market. It didn't dawn on me at the time what it was I was involved in. My parents always worked for the community. They always fought for workers and those that stood to protect them. For me... it was just another rally or picnic. I didn't understand the fight that it took just to maintain what had been taken for granted by many.
My mother spent over 10 years working at the WEAC headquarters in Madison where she also served as a union representative. It was something she was proud of. A little over a year ago she was diagnosed with brain cancer, the treatment of which has left her unable to work or even care for herself. That responsibility has landed mostly on my dad who is retired. Without the benefits that she worked and fought for we would not have been able to afford to treat or care for her now. She was a public worker. She was a union member. I grew up in the same house and can promise you, she did not bring home lavish pay.

This is not about money and numbers. It is about people. This is about the teachers that spend as much time with your kids as you do. It is about the nurses that care for you and yours when ill. It is about law enforcement and fire fighters. It is about the people of Wisconsin that make the state what it is. 
The events of the last few weeks have been inspiring to the world. It has given me new respect for the people I have chosen to live with. It has given me faith in the power of the people. It has given me an opportunity to march with my father on one side and my son on the other. I know it means nothing to him now but some day he may look back at it as his first memory of the power of the people. We must fight on for him. 
I am from Wisconsin. I always have been. Pretty cool huh? 
James Uphoff, Madision, Wisconsin

Pro-Life Clowns

Via GottaLaff:

In support of a bill that proposes banning abortions after the first heartbeat (something that can happen within eighteen days of conception), the anti-abortion group Faith2Action has scheduled a nine-week-old fetus to testify as a legislative witness before Ohio’s House Health Committee.
Look, I can completely understand being an advocate for one side or another, but stupid stunts like this make the pro-life advocates look idiotic. And these are most likely the same people that agree with tort reform because they believe medical malpractice suits are are a "frivolous" waste of taxpayer money. Well how much money is being wasted on this debacle of a hearing?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Jane Russell Dies at 89

LA Times: Jane Russell, the dark-haired siren whose sensational debut in the 1943 film "The Outlaw" inspired producer Howard Hughes to challenge the power and strict morality of Hollywood's production code, died Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.

President Obama Addresses National Governors Association

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Duke Snider Dies at 85

NY Daily News: Hall-of-Famer Duke Snider, the last surviving regular of the 1950's "Boys of Summer" Dodgers, whose prolific home runs and center field defensive prowess earned him royalty status in Brooklyn and immortalization in song in Terry Cashman's famous baseball ballad, died Sunday in the Valley Vista Convalenscent Home in Escondido, Ca. He was 85.
Snider had been in ill health the last couple of year from diabetes.