Friday, October 17, 2003

Neil Cavuto is a schmuck:

Neil Cavuto speaks out:
Take a look at the tax tables, you ingrates. Read the charts, you trough-feeding, social-program pushing pimps. The very boondoggles you hold dear are funded by the so-called ingrates you sneer.

So get over the name game and get to the real blame: yourselves -- the ones who want to make government bigger.

Wealthy people aren't the problem. Most weren't born with it. They created it. While you were busy railing, they were busy building. And now they're the ones paying.
People create their own wealth? For people with incomes up to, say, $300,000, a person's talent, skill, and effort is properly compensated. But above that it's more a matter of luck (like when you got stock options and the vagaries of the market) or self-dealing (when executives determine their own pay and benefits).


Ann Coulter deconstructed:

We try to avoid reading anything by Ann Coulter. Mostly because we find her style hard to "get a grip on" since it bounces around from true statement to falsehood to snide remark to falsehood to rhetorical question to ...

And even the (largely) true statements are presented in a condescending manner.

But Coulter has penned an essay about Limbaugh's drug use that has been cited by Joe Conason in Salon (and linked to from Drudge), so we sat down and read the damn thing.

As usual, it was no fun, but we decided to at least see if we could analyze the structure of the essay. We expected, and were not surprised, to find the usual mix of material. If one is predisposed to think the worst about liberals (and accept Coulter's negative assertion after negative assertion), then one probably doesn't experience any cognitive dissonance. But for the rest of us, it's tedious to have to keep a ledger of: assertions-that-are-false; mostly-true-statements; rhetorical flourishes; and so on. For example, here is the breakdown (by word count) of the elements in Coulter's essay:

Half of the essay is false.

And here is a table with more detail. (Please note that classification into TRUE or FALSE is a bit crude, but it has to be due to the nature of Coulter's writing style. Also, we tried to be as generous as possible in declaring statements TRUE.)

liberals are attacking Limbaugh TRUE So liberals have finally found a drug addict they don't like.

liberals could find no excuses for Rush Limbaugh.

liberals found excuses for the Lackawanna Six FALSE And unlike the Lackawanna Six – those high-spirited young lads innocently seeking adventure in an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan – 19
liberals accuse conservatives of hypocrisy TRUE The reason any conservative's failing is always major news is that it allows liberals to engage in their very favorite taunt: Hypocrisy! 22
liberals have no morals FALSE Hypocrisy is the only sin that really inflames them. Inasmuch as liberals have no morals, they can sit back and criticize other people for failing to meet the standards that liberals simply renounce. It's an intriguing strategy.

But the only perfect man hasn't walked the Earth for 2,000 years. In liberals' worldview, any conservative who is not Jesus Christ is ipso facto a "hypocrite" for not publicly embracing dissolute behavior the way liberals do.

liberals avoid the charge of hypocrisy FALSE By openly admitting to being philanderers, draft dodgers, liars, weasels and cowards, liberals avoid ever being hypocrites.

(Evidently, Clinton wasn't a hypocrite because no one was supposed to take seriously the notion that he respected women or believed in God.)

liberals are hypocrites FALSE And yet, the wily hypocrite does not support flaws! 9
Clinton was a hypocrite TRUE At least Rush wasn't walking into church carrying a 10-pound Bible before rushing back to the Oval Office for sodomy with Monica Lewinsky. He wasn't enforcing absurd sexual harassment guidelines while dropping his pants in front of a half-dozen subordinates. 40
mainstream media ignored Limbaugh until this drug story FALSE After years of the mainstream media assuring us that Rush was a has-been, a nobody, yesterday's news – the Rush painkiller story was front-page news last week.

The airwaves and print media were on red alert with Rush's admission that, after an unsuccessful spinal operation a few years ago, he became addicted to powerful prescription painkillers.

snide remark n/a (Would anyone care if Howell Raines committed murder?) 8
mainstream media ignored Limbaugh's big radio contract FALSE Rush Limbaugh's misfortune is apparently a bigger story than his nearly $300 million radio contract signed two years ago. That was the biggest radio contract in broadcasting history. Yet there are only 12 documents on LexisNexis that reported it. The New York Times didn't take notice of Rush's $300 million radio contract, but a few weeks later, put Bill Clinton's comparatively measly $10 million book contract on its front page. Meanwhile, in the past week alone, LexisNexis has accumulated more than 50 documents with the words "Rush Limbaugh and hypocrisy." That should make up for the 12 documents on his $300 million radio contract. 104
Limbaugh's anti-drug position is yesterday's news FALSE Rush has hardly been the anti-drug crusader liberals suggest. Indeed, Rush hasn't had much to say about drugs at all since that spinal operation. The Rush Limbaugh quote that has been endlessly recited in the last week to prove Rush's rank "hypocrisy" is this, made eight years ago: "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up." 100
rhetorical question n/a What precisely are liberals proposing that Rush should have said to avoid their indignant squeals of "hypocrisy"? Announce his support for the wide and legal availability of a prescription painkiller that may have caused him to go deaf and nearly ruined his career and wrecked his life? I believe that would have been both evil and hypocritical.

Or is it simply that Rush should not have become addicted to painkillers in the first place? Well, no, I suppose not. You've caught us: Rush has a flaw.

Limbaugh is an extremely capable radio host TRUE When a conservative can be the biggest thing in talk radio, earning $30 million a year and attracting 20 million devoted listeners every week – all while addicted to drugs – I'll admit liberals have reason to believe that conservatives are some sort of super-race, incorruptible by original sin. 47
Limbaugh wasn't a junkie UNPROVEN In fact, Rush's behavior was not all that dissolute. There is a fundamental difference between taking any drug – legal, illegal, prescription, protected by the 21st Amendment or banned by Michael Bloomberg – for kicks and taking a painkiller for pain. 39
some claim there is no difference between recreational drugs and prescription drugs TRUE There is a difference morally and a difference legally. While slamming Rush, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz recently told Wolf Blitzer, "Generally, people who illegally buy prescription drugs are not prosecuted, whereas people who illegally buy cocaine and heroin are prosecuted." 41
rhetorical question n/a What would the point be? Just say no to back surgery? 11
Ted Kennedy was immoral and didn't get prosecuted TRUE I haven't checked with any Harvard Law professors, but I'm pretty sure that, generally, adulterous drunks who drive off bridges and kill girls are prosecuted. 25
Ted Kennedy supports immoral behavior FALSE Ah, but Teddy Kennedy supports adultery and public drunkenness – so at least you can't call him a hypocrite! 18
snide remark n/a That must provide great consolation to Mary Jo Kopechne's parents. 10
Newsweek (Evan Thomas) had a vicious story about Limbaugh FALSE I have a rule about not feeling sorry for people worth $300 million, but I'm feeling sentimental. Evan Thomas wrote a cover story on Rush for Newsweek this week that was so vicious it read like conservative satire. Thomas called Rush a "schlub," "socially ill at ease," an Elmer Gantry, an actor whose "act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people." He compared Rush to the phony TV evangelist Jim Bakker and recommended that Rush start to "make a virtue out of honesty."

As is standard procedure for profiles of conservatives, Newsweek gathered quotes on Rush from liberals, ex-wives and dumped dates. Covering himself, Thomas ruefully remarked that "it's hard to find many people who really know him."

Coulter was ignored by Newsweek TRUE Well, there was me, Evan! But I guess Newsweek didn't have room for the quotes I promptly sent back to the Newsweek researchers. I could have even corrected Newsweek's absurd account of how Rush met his current wife. (It's kind of cute, too: She was a fan who began arguing with him about something he said on air.) 58
liberals have a double standard FALSE (Liberals can lie under oath in legal proceedings and it's a "personal matter." Conservatives must scream their every failing from the rooftops or they are "liars.") 26
snide remark n/a Thomas also made the astute observation that "Rush Limbaugh has always had far more followers than friends." Needless to say, this floored those of us who were shocked to discover that Rush does not have 20 million friends 38
Evan Thomas is insignificant (compared to Limbaugh) TRUE So the guy I really feel sorry for is Evan Thomas. How would little Evan fare in any competitive media? Any followers? Any fans? Any readers at all? And he's not even addicted to painkillers! This week, Rush proved his motto: He really can beat liberals with half his brain tied behind his back. 54

The analysis above does not cover other aspects of Coulter's essay: most notably her dichotomy between "bad" street drugs and "forgivable" prescription drugs.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

A suggestion:

We got this from reader Chris:
Barry E. Krischer
The State Attorney's Office
401 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach Florida 33401

Main Telephone Number: (561) 355-7100
FAX Number: (561) 366-1800
Email Address:

Ask that Rush be prosecuted under the trafficking statutes, as would be any other citizen found in possession of a large amount of Oxycontin (oxycodone).


Gregg Easterbrook likes to confuse you:

Gregg Easterbrook penned an OpEd that ran in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. The thrust of the piece was that Bush isn't so bad on the environment. Let's analyze the essay:

Category     Our comment
General   Michael Leavitt has been nominated for EPA administrator.  
Data that has absolutely nothing to do with Bush 1. Air polution is down 48% since 1970.  
  2. Acid rain is down 41% since 1980.  
  3. Nitrogen oxide emissions are down 33% since 1990.  
  4. Emissions from aging power plants are down 40% since 1980.  
  5. All forms of water pollution have been declining for decades.  
  6. The number of lakes and rivers that are safe for fishing and swimming have doubled since 1970.  
  7. Toxic emissions from industry have declined 50% since the mid-1980s.  
  8. The forested acreage of the United States has been expanding, not contracting, for more than a decade.  
  9. No U.S. animal species has fallen extinct since full implementation of the Endangered Species Act in the late 1970s.  
  10. All environmental trends have been positive for years or decades.  
  11. Twenty years ago, from 1979 to summer 1983, Los Angeles had 467 Stage One alerts, from 1999 through this summer, Los Angeles recorded just one Stage One ozone alert.  
Criticism of Bush 1. Senators Lieberman and Jeffords.  
  2. There are critics of Bush's "new source rule" for aging power plants.  
  3. There are critics of Bush's new forest policy.  
  4. The New York Times.on the "new source rule".  
  5. The Los Angeles Times spins most environmental news negatively.  
Criticism of Bush (by Easterbrook) 1. Bush has failed to address global warming and SUV fuel economy.  
Lukewarm support of Bush 1. Bush's new forest policy leaves most important decisions to local managers from the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though they may abuse their new discretion, it's also possible they will use it wisely. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
  2. Bush's forest policy is hard to project — but regardless, something had to be done to reduce the wildfires plaguing the West. Something? Anything? That's a defense without any reference to wisdom of the policy.
Bush has no choice 1. Bush made it easier to drill for oil and gas on public lands because the public is unwilling to make a commitment to energy conservation. Debatable.
Support of Bush 1. All forms of air pollution except greenhouse gases declined under Bill Clinton and continue to decline under George W. Bush. We believe that pollution has gone up (a bit) in places like Southern California - largely due to the increase in SUVs.
  2. The forested acreage of the United States has been expanding continues to expand under Bush.  
  3. He ordered that diesel fuel be reformulated to reduce its inherent pollution content.  
  4. He ordered that new diesel trucks and buses meet significantly stricter emissions standards.  
  5. He imposed new emissions standards on a range of previously unregulated machines.  
Easterbrook on the critics 1. The Bush environmental record has been relentlessly distorted. No evidence presented in essay.
  2. Democrats are bashing the president for political reasons.  
  3. Environmental lobbies are exaggerating the case against Bush. No evidence presented in essay.
  4. Democrats and environmentalists only serve to discourage the president from proposing higher vehicle mileage standards or meaningful global warming rules. That is highly debatable.

The reader is presented with eleven items that have nothing to do with Bush's environmental policies. It's 20% of the essay [Total words: 1015, Nothing to do with Bush: 214]. Easterbrook is a journalistic disgrace.


No half measures:
I pledge allegiance to the sacred Flag
of the blessed United States of America,
and to the hallowed Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, sacrosanct,
With Rapture and Prayer for all.


Pay the price!

Nicholas D. Kristoff writes in the New York Times about what we should do now that we are in Iraq. He admits that Bush misled the United States into war, but what's done is done. We're in there and might as well do what we can to make the best of the situation. Kristoff's position is that we should "pay for our occupation" and keep our troops there. Excerpt:
... [hold] our noses and [pass] the president's budget request for Iraq and Afghanistan."
Hold our noses. But nowhere does he talk about Bush paying a political price for his (mis)leadership.

Our position is that it's probably best to get out fast and leave the situation in the hands of the U.N., but we recognize that there is an argument for staying in there.

Those (like Kristoff) who say Americans should "pay the price" (financially and in lives lost) should also demand that Bush pay a price as well.

If Congress is going to pony up the $87 billion, they should at least include a provision that requires Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Rice to wear hair-shirts for the rest of his term. Real hair-shirts.

Or barring that, an official declaration by the administration that they were wrong about Iraq's connections to al Qaeda, the state of Iraq's nuclear program, the existence of chemical weapons, the decision to bypass the U.N., the use of bogus intelligence, and so on.

If Americans are going to pay a price, so should Bush.


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

A nice pair:

Spectator wears headphones
- out of touch with what's going on -
makes a foolish decision.
President only gets information from his advisors
- out of touch with what's going on -
makes foolish decisions.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A note about images:

We've received complains that some of the images are not loading. It is a problem with our hosting and - for the moment - is a problem that comes and goes. We are considering moving images elsewhere, but that's a big job and we are hoping to resolve the problem with our hosting service. We apologize for any problems.


New weblog:

There is a weblog called The Gotham City 13 which has some original political cartoons by Jesse. Worth a look.


Monday, October 13, 2003

Newsweek "frames" the Limbaugh story:

The following are excerpts from Newsweek's article by Evan Thomas about Limabugh and his drug use: (emphasis added)

Evan Thomas writes We reply
... for the past several years, [Limbaugh was] living in a private hell of pain and compulsion. It's not yet known if he took the pills for pain or for other reasons (e.g for weight loss or for fun)
IN THE END, he was betrayed by his own housekeeper. Poor Rush, "betrayed" by someone. His own housekeeper. How unfair!
Limbaugh’s exposure as a pain-pill addict began when Wilma Cline, 42, who had worked at Limbaugh’s $30 million Florida estate from 1997 to July 2001, showed up at the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office late last year eager to sic the cops on her former boss. Poor Rush, the lady wanted to "sic the cops" on him.
Her motive remained murky ... Bullshit. 100% top-grade bullshit. She was worried about taking the rap should Limbaugh get caught. That was in the news reports, Evan.
The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly. We all know schlubs are harmless.
Journalists who have spent time with Limbaugh have been struck by the contrast between Rush the Radio Know-It-All and the private, ill-at-ease Limbaugh. Yep, we should all reach out and comfort a multi-millionaire who complains when moms on welfare have "luxuries" like a microvave oven. (We vividly remember that rant from a while back.)
Limbaugh’s own mother remarked on his somewhat passive-aggressive reticence as a child. Little Rush was “very quiet”. Let's bring in the mother to tug on the heartstrings. "Little Rush"?
[His mother said] at Halloween, “he really didn’t care much for trick or treating. He would rather stay at home." And Halloween is coming up in just a few weeks. It's too sad for words.
... Limbaugh’s father never quite approved of his career path, and ... Rush would be depressed and deflated every time he got off the phone with his dad. Poor, poor, Rush.
... despite his on-air bombast, Limbaugh is known for his politeness, even gentleness at times Gentle, polite Limbaugh --- NOT!
Limbaugh’s dependence on painkillers began after an unsuccessful back surgery in the late ’90s. Prove it.
Gary Bauer, president of the conservative organization American Values, drew a distinction between a crack addict and Limbaugh’s brand of addiction. “From a moral standpoint, there’s a difference between people who go out and seek a high and get addicted and the millions of Americans dealing with pain who inadvertently get addicted It sure looks to us like Limbaugh was seeking a high. News reports citing the housekeeper do not make references to Limbaugh being in pain and therefore needing pills.

UPDATE: Yes, we found what we were looking for in our computer archives!

Here is the picture that accompanied a New York Times article about welfare moms in California. (enlarged 200%) -

The thrust of the story was that the state of California was paying such families to move out of the state. This picture was of someone who was living in an apartment in the central valley. Rush Limbaugh seized on the story - and the accompanying picture - to complain that this lady was living the high life. Basing his analysis solely on the picture, Limbaugh was outraged that there was a dishwasher and a microwave oven in the kitchen.

[The New York Times story ran on Monday, 18 June 2001, and Limbaugh made comments on his radio show that same day. From the NYTimes abstract: Tulare County, Calif, which is one of poorest counties in US has been paying average of $1,600 per month to more than 750 welfare families to move almost anywhere in country ...]

We were driving around listening to Limbaugh at the time and were startled at his mean-spiritedness. Complaining about a microwave oven? Look at the picture. It's under the counter. Those things cost about $80. What would satisfy Limbaugh? Welfare recipients living in a tent with no heat?

He's a son of a bitch.     Don't forget it.   And don't let reporters like Evan Thomas mislead you.