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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A little less than two years from today, all non-cable subscribers will need to purchase new televisions:

(At least in the United States; other countries have different schedules.)

From Wikipedia on Digital Television:
Analogue switch-off

Many countries around the world currently operate a simulcast service where a broadcast is made available to viewers in both analog and digital at the same time. As digital becomes more popular it is likely that the existing analog services will be removed. In some cases this has already happened where a broadcaster has offered incentives to viewers to encourage them to switch to digital or simply switched their service regardless of whether they want to switch. In other cases government policies have been introduced to encourage the switch-over process — especially with regard to terrestrial broadcasts.

Switch-off in progress

In the United States, the switch-off of all analog terrestrial TV broadcasts has been mandated for no later than February 17, 2009. Legislation setting this deadline was signed into law in early 2006.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Are you ready for it?

For more, and there's a lot more, a good place to start is Wikipedia's High Definition Television in the United States.



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Monday, February 26, 2007

Dinesh D'Sousa is the biggest liar out there:

Yes, that's a strong claim. But check out what Unqualified Offerings has noted about his recent Town Hall essay. It's beyond belief. Here are two excerpts from D'Sousa, who is writing about Abu Ghraib:
Abu Ghraib did not reflect the shared values of America, it reflected the sexual immodesty of liberal America. Lynndie England and Charles Graner were two wretched individuals from Red America who were trying to act out the fantasies of Blue America.

To his credit, President Bush made no attempt to defend Abu Ghraib, firmly asserting that it didn’t represent America. What he should have said is that it didn’t represent the values of conservative America. In reality Abu Ghraib did reflect the values of a debauched liberalism run amok.
Full Town Hall column + comments here.

UO's Mona writes:
Dinesh D’Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is given platforms at National Review’s The Corner and Town Hall, and is frequently invited to opine on TeeVee. Why?
A very good question.



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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar show:

Hard to argue with this comment over at AMERICAblog:
Is it me, or is this the most boring Oscar and badly directed/produced show in recent memory? Geez, no wonder why I never watch this shit. Even Ellen is a total bore, IMHO.

Lee Gordon | 02.25.07
Man, it sure dragged. There seemed to be more coverage of scriptwriters and sound editors than before. Even the "recently departed" section lacked emotion.

Sure, Jennifer Hudson's win was a high point. And it was nice to see Alan Arkin get an award. But overall it was frustrating to watch. Normally they start out with a Best Supporting award, but this time it was handed out at the 52 minute mark.

Watching William Monahan get Best Adapted Screenplay was painful. I guess he really did take a fistfull of Valium, which he alluded to.

Will Smith introduced "A Montage by Michael Mann" which was supposed to be about America as seen in the movies, or something like that. Send it to the NSA for analysis, 'cause it seemed totally random. Why was Rutger Hauer's closing scene from "Blade Runner" where he talks about his experiences in Off World Colonies included?

Something seemed off with the whole production. If pressed for a word, it could be described as "soulless". Perhaps we are seeing, in the attention to the "process" awards: art direction, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, animated feature film, and animated short film, the dominance of computers as they increasingly play a role in film production (most notable with the "visual effects" category).

Or maybe it was just a crummy show, poorly written and produced.

For a dry liveblogging review, check out the Guardian Unlimited. Or how about this wrap-up review at OregonLive.com, entitled "Well, that was excruciating". Actually, the whole OregonLive.com oscar post thread contains sharp and funny observations.



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Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Judicial Activism" defined (in their own words):

Excellent. You've probably heard about Conservapedia and it's various entries (e.g. unicorn), but at Lawyers, Guns and Money, they focus on the entry for Judicial Activism. Here it is:
There are two major types of judicial activism practiced in the United States' court system:

1. Liberal judges striking down laws that uphold core conservative American values
2. Liberal judges refusing to strike down laws that subvert core conservative American values
In orther words, "judicial activism" refers to court decisions that conservatives don't like.

No principles of law are involved. No issues of the power relations between the three branches of government. No originalism. No textualism. No traditionalism. It's whatever rulings conservatives are unhappy with (which includes a whole lot of centrist rulings as well).

Media, take note.

Also, about item (2), where judges refuse to strike down laws, which could be totally legitimate from any constitutional perspective, just because they "subvert" conservative values. Got that? Values.

Various states have passed initiatives, voted on by the entire electorate, to do things like preserve forests, decriminalize drugs. And legislatures have passed domestic partnership laws. Entirely legitimate. And yet judges that do not strike down such laws are deemed activist.

It's high time to retire this meaningless slur.

CORRECTION: Apparently that entry was done as a joke by a recent non-conservative contributer (as noted in comments).



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Almost:

It's almost reached the point where whatever Dick Cheney says doesn't annoy. Almost.

He's still resolute. In an interview with ABC aired this week, he pointed to the successes in Iraq (Saddam out, elections, a constitution). The reporter, Jonathan Karl, seemed intimidated and failed to press him on the key point:
The goal wasn't to have elections. The goal was stability in the region and a diminution of forces hostile to the U.S.   Has that been accomplished?


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Typical New York Post poll:

You've head about the lastest. Now here's a peek at the next poll they're working on:
  • Now, generally speaking, would you say that things in the country are going in the right direction under the wise leadership of president Bush, or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track, as caterwauling liberals assert?

  • Do you approve or disapprove of the fine job that George W. Bush is doing as President, especially now that he has to deal with "San Francisco-values" Speaker Pelosi?

  • And, do you approve or disapprove of the miserable job that the Democrat Congress is doing?

  • Which one of the following statements regarding the US involvement in Iraq do you MOST agree with...

    • The US should immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq with its tail between its legs.

    • The Iraq War is the front line in the battle against the re-emergence of the caliphate and our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until we've pumped all of the oil out of the country.

  • And, which one of the following would do most to hurt America’s reputation as a world power...

    • To pull our troops out of Iraq immediately like yellow-bellied cowards.

    • To pull our troops out of Iraq immediately like gutless cowards.

    • To pull our troops out of Iraq immediately like sissies.

  • And, do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding the Iraq War.

    • Even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind our courageous President in Iraq because we are at war for our very existence.

    • Those feckless Democrats are going way too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw the troops from Iraq.

    • I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there, because I'm a patriotic American.

    • The Iraq War is a key part of the global war on terrorism and the various "darkies" that are found near the equator.

    • A stable Iraq is the best way to protect America from the nuclear threat of Iran that will destroy Israel and prevent the Rapture from happening.

    • Victory in Iraq, that is creating a young but stable democracy and reducing the threat of terrorism at home, is no longer possible for the US because of traitors like John Murtha.

    • Losing the war in Iraq would mean that the United States is no longer a superpower, but just another power which spends more money on the military than the rest of the world combined.

    • I don’t really care about what happens in Iraq after the US leaves, I just want the troops brought home because I'm a dirty f**king hippie.


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If you have a lot of time:

Read this excerpt from The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism, by Richard Wolin.

Not only does it discuss the reactionary right's opposition to reason, but it also takes on the Post Modernists, who are similarly anti-Enlightenment. Here's one excerpt:
The Seduction of Unreason is an exercise in intellectual genealogy. It seeks to shed light on the uncanny affinities between the Counter-Enlightenment and postmodernism. As such, it may also be read as an archaeology of postmodern theory. During the 1970s and 1980s a panoply of texts by Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, and Lyotard were translated into English, provoking a far-reaching shift in American intellectual life. Many of these texts were inspired by Nietzsche's anticivilizational animus: the conviction that our highest ideals of beauty, morality, and truth were intrinsically nihilistic. Such views found favor among a generation of academics disillusioned by the political failures of the 1960s. Understandably, in despondent times Nietzsche's iconoclastic recommendation that one should "philosophize with a hammer"--that if something is falling, one should give it a final push--found a ready echo. Yet, too often, those who rushed to mount the Nietzschean bandwagon downplayed or ignored the illiberal implications of his positions. Moreover, in retrospect, it seems clear that this same generation, many of whose representatives were comfortably ensconced in university careers, had merely exchanged radical politics for textual politics: unmasking "binary oppositions" replaced an ethos of active political engagement. In the last analysis it seems that the seductions of "theory" helped redirect formerly robust political energies along the lines of acceptable academic career tracks. As commentators have often pointed out, during the 1980s, while Republicans were commandeering the nation's political apparatus, partisans of "theory" were storming the ramparts of the Modern Language Association and the local English Department.
This blogger has always considered Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, and Lyotard to be fraudulent sons-of-bitches (see Alan Sokal's Fashionable Nonsense for an evisceration of said "thinkers"). So it's nice to see them being exposed for the anti-liberal people they really are.

But there's more. How about this on fascism:
In a much-cited essay Isaiah Berlin contended that one could trace the origins of fascism to Counter-Enlightenment ideologues like Joseph de Maistre and Johann Georg Hamann. Indeed, a certain plausibility marks Berlin's claim. For one of fascism's avowed goals was to put an end to the Enlightenment-derived nineteenth-century worldview: the predominance of science, reason, democracy, socialism, individualism, and the like. As Goebbels pithily observed a few months after Hitler's rise to power, "The year 1789 is hereby erased from history."
What U.S. political party is anti-science, anti-reason, and against social insurance?

And what does that make it?

UPDATE: Can't resist showing this cartoon that appeared in the Wilson Quarterly many years ago.





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George Bush supports the troops!

That's right. He really does. Why? Because:
  • He sends them out to fight.
  • He cheers them on as they fight.
  • He wears their uniforms.
  • The fight hasn't been a disaster (yet).
That's all it takes, folks.

But, you might say, what about:
  • Making sure the troops have proper armor.
  • Insuring that they are not abused through tour extension and repeated deployment.
  • Proper funding for veterans' health care.
  • Having a decent hospital (unlike Walter Reed) for rehab.
If you care about the items listed (directly above), you are being far too rational. That's not how people think. Supporting the troops means, for the most part, supporting what troops are there for - fighting and killing.

As long as you do that with sufficient propaganda ("defending America against the terrorist threat") you're pretty much home free.

So, dear reader, don't waste your energy arguing that Bush and the Republicans don't support the troops. Because, at the crudest (reptilian brain) level, they do.



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Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama:

They deserve each other.



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Hillary Clinton = Joe Lieberman lite:

Clinton in South Carolina: (h/t AMERICAblog)
"To underscore a point, some people may be running who tell you we don’t face a real threat from terrorism," she said. "I’m not one of them. We have serious enemies who want to do us serious harm."
Readers know where this blog stands on that issue (1, 2, 3).

What's interesting about that quote is that besides the standard-issue "terrorism is a threat" claim, there is an explicit recognition of those analysts that see al Qaeda for what it is: a bunch of wild-eyed fanatics that only have truck bombs and a willingness to commit suicide in their arsenal.

Several years ago, virtually nobody held that view, but with time, and increasing evidence of what al Qaeda can and cannot do, the consensus is beginning to change. Hillary doesn't agree with that. Does that make you confident about her judgement in such matters?

UPDATE: Kevin Drum comments on the terrorist threat:
... it's hardly an insurmountable problem: there are a finite number of truly likely targets; the technology exists to make them substantially safer in case of a successful terrorist attack; and the cost would probably be in the range of a few billion dollars. Not chickenfeed, but a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the Iraq war.
That is the correct approach. Not to defeat through military means a handful of terrorists scattered throughout the globe. But to plug vulnerabilities in our infrastructure. If that's what Hillary means, fine. But if she, as she sounds when talking about "enemies", is in favor of the whole panoply of "terrorist fighting" tools Bush has used (decreased liberty at home, more military abroad), we've got a problem.



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Faith is unreasonable:

Don't have a lot of time for a big post, but wanted to touch on the recent faith debate that's been going on (see Digby and Atrios).

Here's the problem for this blogger:
Faith in America (essentially Judeo-Christian) is a random collection of notions.
What do I mean when I say "random"?
  • There is no adherence to a hierarchy. You would expect that the words of God to be supreme, followed (for Christians) by those of Jesus, and below that, words of the prophets (and apostles). But that's not how people of faith operate. They will take remarks from preachers (as found in the Bible) or cite events, to justify a particular policy - even if it contradicts the 'higher' authority of God (or Jesus).

  • There is a lack of consistency. The Torah (first 5 books) is clearly about a power religion - for a favored few. A power religion has a strong vengeance component and advocates collective punishment. This is all clearly enunciated (and acted upon).

    I have no problem with a power religion (in terms of internal consistency). But later in the Bible, there is a shift away from the tenets of a power religion (see Jonah). But where is the explicit executive statement that rescinds the earlier policy of a power religion? It can't be found.

  • To the point immediately above. Some Christians say that all the old laws were replaced by Jesus with two: Love God and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" Mk 12:31

    Speaking of the second commandment, what kind of ridiculous statement is that? It says you should not follow a clear standard of behavior that applies to everyone, but to use your own standard of how you'd like to be treated. So, a libertarian who doesn't want help from others can be totally consistent with Jesus' teaching as he walks past and ignores the starving homeless person. That's what the logic of the second commandment allows. You might point to other teachings say you should be generous, but that's the point. There is no rigor here.
Those are just a few examples of why it's bizarre when discussing religion in America. Where are the axioms? What can be clearly deduced from them? Religion, since it claims to deal with big issues, should have a secure foundation and clear rules of inference - like those found in law and mathematics. But it doesn't. So how can you possibly get anywhere in an argument? It's all so arbitrary. Random, you might say.

ADDENDUM: I know, and meet with regularly, several Christians that are generous and liberal in spirit. They are wonderful people. And they find support for their actions in scripture, but not all scripture (esp. Leviticus). How did they select those passages they say inspire them? It's a personal choice, not a deterministic result of a rules-based system.



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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We need another holiday, this one celebrating George W. Bush:

Seriously. And it should be on February 30.



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Michael Crichton echoes right-wing talking points on global warming: (or is it the other way around?)

After a couple of delays, Michael Crichton's one hour interview with Charlie Rose was aired on Monday. After discussing his latest book (Next) the subject turned to global warming, something Crichton isn't too worried about.

Crichton's position is that by the end of the 21st century we should see a rise of only 0.8° celsius. And he's dismissive of any predictions about where climate is headed. He sees global warming concerns more of a hysteria than science.

What was interesting was that during the interview Crichton uttered a number of expressions that were the stock-in-trade of Big Time Global Warming Skeptics.
  • On the UN IPCC report (at the 24:15 on the website video):
    I haven't read it. I don't read the summary for policy making. I read what the scientist say, not what the politicians say. [...] A lot of people who talk about this, don't actually know much about it.

    (30:10) These people are bureaucrats ...
    ROSE (incredulous): Seientists had nothing to do with that report?
    I don't think so.
    Crichton's charge that the IPCC report was a bureaucrat's product is a repeat of Bush's remarks in 2002 of the EPA report on global warming:
    "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," Mr. Bush said dismissively when asked about the EPA report, adding that he still opposes the Kyoto treaty.
  • On the increased burning of fossil fuels in the 20th century (26:00):
    We've been de-carbonizing since the days of Abraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth.
  • On the climate data (28:30):
    Let me put it to you this way. If global warming was a company, you couldn't buy it. Because they won't let you do due diligence. They won't let you look at the figures.
    ROSE: They being?
    The scientists ...
  • On the "emotionalism" driving the GW concerns (32:00):
    When you have people adopting essentially philosophical positions, emotional positions, which the environment tremendously invites - how I feel as I walk through the woods, and how I feel as I see clear cutting ...
  • On predicting anything about climate (37:50):
    I believe the future is unknowable.
  • On having people disagree with him (47:15):
    It's actually something Einstein was asked. [...] At a certain point the Nazis had made this book (because it was "Jewish science") and 200 scientists had said Einstein was wrong about relativity. And Einstein was asked, "What do you think? 200 people think you were wrong", and Einstein said "all it takes is one person to prove me wrong".
  • On the scientific consensus (48:00):
    Consensus science is not science. All this consensus stuff is about politics.
    This line "consensus science is not science" is something Limbaugh has said repeatedly (link - but now behind a login wall)

While Crichton can sound reasonable for the most part, what jumped out during the interview were the remarks about of the work of "bureaucrats" and "consensus science". To anybody familiar with right-wing radio, those are frequently used concepts when dismissing global warming concerns. And to hear Crichton using them during the Rose interview seemed small minded.



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Monday, February 19, 2007

People who read Reason Magazine ... (or at least their website)

Today, in celebration of President's Day, one poster at reason.com invited readers to answer a number of questions through the comments section. Here is question number two:
2. Who was the worst American president? (House rule: You can't say Bush, and you can't say Clinton. Exercise those history muscles, people.)
And here are the answers to that question: (a few obvious troll/joker replies excluded)
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • FDR, Lincoln, Nixon
  • Andrew Jackson. The genocidiest president we ever had, nearly eliminated the judiciary as a meaningful check on government power by ignoring the Cherokee decision.
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • FDR, LBJ, Carter
  • Worst Prez - FDR...the New Deal gift that keeps on giving...what's the fed govt. up to?...30% of GDP?
  • FDR
  • For total effect, Carter
  • Worst: FDR. Allegedly manipulated US entry into World War 2, snuck in a Pink Revolution during the Great Depression, implemented and continued economic policies that prolonged and deepened the Great Depression, expanded size and perceived rightfol role of government, and gets fawned over for it.
  • FDR no question. Lengthened and deepened the depression. Instituted the New Deal, effectively turning the Federal Government an organized crime syndicate, and setting himself up as 'Godfather'.
  • Worst: Teddy Roosevelt. Everything a libertarian could hate.
  • FDR is definetly the worst president in history.
  • Tie LBJ and Carter.
  • FDR
  • FDR and Lincoln.
  • I'm tempted to say Lincoln, but I don't think he was really the worst. The Civil War was inevitable by the time he came on the scene. Instead, I nominate Wilson.
  • Both Roosevelts - who were determined to be imperial.
  • I agree with most historians here: James Buchanan.
  • Buchanan
  • Tie between FDR and James Buchanan.
  • Buchanan. Pierce was awful too
  • The Roosevelti seem to have a clear lead for worst, again in no particular order.
  • tossup between FDR and Lincoln
  • I'll have to go w/ the trio of 1850's prezes (Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan).
  • FDR is probably worst of all because of his total disregard for the foundation of what makes America, America: the Constitution.
  • It's a tossup between Grant, FDR and LBJ. I'll go with LBJ.
  • Tied for worst is Richard M. Nixon. Thread rules don't allow me to say to say whom he is tied with.
Now we should all be aware that the comment section in a blog is the wild west of the Internet, so caution should be exercised when examining it. But it seems safe to say that libertarians hate Franklin Roosevelt (15 of the 27 replies listed above have FDR as the worst - sometimes tied with others). Which is odd, because FDR did much to help transform the United States into a country fully capable of dealing with the needs of a modern economy. An economy that:
  • Was no longer family-based.
  • That was moving further and further away from agriculture.
  • That would benefit from a portable form of retirement insurance (Social Security)
  • That would benefit from regulation of the securities business (to reduce fraud and increase transparency).
  • That would benefit from regulation of critical utilities which at the time were local monopolies (or worse) in order to provide a measure of stability for citizens and businesses.
  • That would benefit from legislation such as the creation of the National Labor Relations Act which enabled workers to exercise their own economic power.
Sure, there were stumbles along the way, and FDR's record is not pristine. But can anybody seriously argue that the U.S. economy was well-positioned to meet the economic challenges of 20th century with the policies of Cooledge and Hoover? The emerging modern economy demanded a dynamic and flexible approach, which includes all those despised-by-libertarians programs like unemployment insurance, subsidies for education (student and college), and "safety-net" programs that acknowledge the fact that economic growth involves "creative destruction". And that it's good policy to help people through the "destruction" part, so that they might be able to be productive when the new order is established.



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Who is Arthur Silber?

A very good blogger, as it turns out.

Worthy of a bookmark.



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Get yer' Ralph Nader bashing here!

Over the last month or so there has been grumbling about Ralph Nader from a diverse group of liberal bloggers. Most recently at TAPPED in reaction to the movie "An Unreasonable Man".

One argument by Nader supporters (frequently found in comments to Nader-themed posts) is this:
Don't blame Ralph. Everyone is entitled to run for office and your ire should be directed at those who cast votes for Nader, if anyone.
Which says, in effect, that we're all adults, the major parties shouldn't have a monopoly, that in every election a lot of minor candidates run, people deserve what they get in a democracy, etc.

All true. But those voters who did pull the lever for Nader were, unfortunately, not acting with a clear understanding of the situation. Why?
Because Ralph Nader, trading on his reputation for integrity, lied to the electorate when he said there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans.
You can argue about how much difference. (This blogger thinks it was, and remains, enormous.) But many, many of those who voted for Nader believed what he told them was true. And they acted accordingly. And now we've had Bush and all the consequences that followed.

That's the charge: Nader lied, people ___________ (fill in the blank).



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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Martin Amis quote:

A few weeks ago author Martin Amis was on the Charlie Rose show. He's hard to catagorize politically (at least for this blogger who knows nothing about him except for the Rose appearance). Most recently, Amis has expressed a very dim view of Islamic fundamentalism. In any event, during the interview he made a statement about ideology which, while he was applying it to religious fundamentalists, would be apt for secular ideologies. Here is what he said:
Ideology is always violent. Because it always involves illusion. You can't defend it with work of mind alone. So, [with] an ideology - including religions, very much - you tighten your fist. Because you can't shout in an even louder voice that God exists, and that God is great. The first recourse is violence.


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Lieberman walks:

Over at Kos, they link to this CNN item (from 2000):
Lieberman is a strong adherent to his Orthodox Jewish faith. He does not work on the Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday. If an important Senate vote fell on the Sabbath, Lieberman would walk three miles to cast his vote.
Kos poster DHinMI then says: (excerpt)
But isn't it revealing that Joe Lieberman wouldn't campaign to win the presidency on the Sabbath, but a few minutes ago--remember, it is the Sabbath--Lieberman voted against cloture in the Senate and thus against permitting a vote on a resolution repudiating the President's plan for a military surge in Baghdad, a strategy which is supported by almost nobody except a few neocon and Republican dead-enders?
Here's the deal: Lieberman's vote was completely unnecessary!

From (where else?) Wikipedia: (emp add)
  • In 1917 a rule allowing for the cloture of debate (ending a filibuster) was adopted ...
  • From 1917 to 1949, the requirement for cloture was two-thirds of those voting.
  • ... this rule was revised in 1949 to allow cloture on any measure or motion by two-thirds of the entire Senate membership
  • ... in 1959 the threshold was restored to two-thirds of those voting.
  • ... in 1975 revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the Senators sworn (usually 60 senators) could limit debate.
It was Reid's job to find 60 votes, no matter how many Senators were in the chamber at the time. Lieberman could have stayed home, like those ten other Senators. (Of note, Democrat Tim Johnson is still in the hospital, which means he "absorbs" one Republican cloture vote, making it a bit harder to stop a filibuster.)

[The issue of cloture numbers is touched on in various comments in the Kos thread here.]



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A serious question for conservatives:

Today's New York Post editorial bemoaning the vote in the House of Representatives on Friday that opposed Bush's esclation in Iraq is strong stuff. Entitled Dems' Disgrace, it contains these lines:
[The non binding measure] is an initial step by newly empowered congressional Democrats to completely undermine the war by limiting funds - to deny the troops the beans and bullets they need to win, and to broadcast to America's enemies in the Middle East and around the world that the United States has lost the will to protect itself, and its friends.

... this vote puts the lie to the Democrats assertion that they "support the troops while opposing the mission."

Yesterday's vote was the Democrats' first major move toward defunding the war, handing Iraq over to insurgents and militia - and allowing the sacrifices of some 3,000 American soldiers, Marines and their families to be in vain.

Those sacrifices include that of Long Island's Sgt. James Regan - an Army Ranger and veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan - recently killed by a roadside bomb during his second deployment in Iraq.

He was buried yesterday in his hometown of Manhasset - even as Democrats took the first effective steps toward surrender in Iraq.

They dishonored Sgt. Regan.

They dishonored America.
The material quoted above is a taste of what's in store for Democrats down the road. But one statement in the Post's editorial that was eye-catching was this:
The Democratic Party took America down this road once before, in the '70s, and the consequences for the nation and its allies were appalling.
Question:
What were the appalling consequences for the nation following the move to get out of Vietnam?
Not the Vietnamese. Not the Cambodians. But the United States.


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Friday, February 16, 2007

KABBALIST "SUPERSTRING" PHYSICS:

What the hell are you talking about?

In a post at TPM, we learn of a memo being circulated by a crazy Republican legislator in Georgia. In particular, one item stood out:
[The] memo pointed fellow state legislators to the information at fixedearth.com which rails against the “a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism” and claims that “the earth is not rotating … nor is it going around the sun.” They've even caught on to the "centuries-old conspiracy" on the part of Jewish physicists to destroy Christianity.
And if you go to fixedearth.com, you will find lots of great science.
  • KABBALIST "SUPERSTRING" PHYSICS
  • FALSIFYING THE GEOSYNCHRONOUS SATELLITE CONCEPT
  • Exposing The Copernican Deception: The Cataclysmic Impact On Every Field Of Modern Man’s ‘Knowledge
  • NASA’s Agenda: Promoting Copernicnism & Evolutionism
  • Madonna And The Kabbala: A Copernican Connection
And so on. Who knew Madonna was tight with Copernicus?

Another service brought to you by the Republican right wing.



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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hey, all you Republicans!

There's a lot of chatter about who is going to become the Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Various politicians are mentioned, but each seems to have a weakness. So who should it be?

If you really believed in what you say you believe (expecially the neocons) then you should be advocating as candidate:
Dick Cheney
  • Four years younger than John McCain. (b. 1941, McCain b. 1936)
  • More experienced than Mitt Romney.
  • Meaner SOB than Rudy Giuliani. (and only three years older; Giuliani b. 1944)
  • Just as conservative as Sam Brownback.
So why not Dick?

Or are ya yellow?



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Semi-shorter David Broder:
Voters can learn much from the settings and sites of candidates' campaign debut events. This week Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in Dearborn, Mich.

But I won't tell you where in Dearborn.


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Just askin'

  • Should the U.S. take the military option "off the table" when discussing strained water-sharing arrangements with Mexico?
  • Should the U.S. take the military option "off the table" when discussing the 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement in the Bering Sea that Russia has yet to ratify?
  • Should the U.S. take the military option "off the table" when discussing the boundary disputes with Canada at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock?
  • Should the U.S. take the military option "off the table" when discussing the failure to agree on a maritime boundary with the Bahamas?
  • Should the U.S. take the military option "off the table" when discussing the teterrorial claims of other states in Antarctica?


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Manufactured evidence?

In the immediate aftermath of the briefing by anonymous U.S. military on Iranian EFPs, some commentators in blogs noted that the date in one example was in the format used in the United States. Here is slide 15 (from TPM):
From TPM comments: (emp add)
Remind me again why we shouldn't expect Persian script? OK, and we're looking at stuff from 2004?

And that 5-31-06 (American MM-DD-YY) date format on the RPG round is, as the anonymous commenter on the earlier post said, a bit suspicious.

Posted by: Jim M
Date: February 12, 2007 11:33 AM
(Also, a somewhat similar but confused observation over at Balloon Juice)

And you think to yourself, "Well, maybe, but those are just a comments in a blog. What do they know?"

But guess what? In an interview on the Charlie Rose show on Tuesday, Feb 13 with Javad Zarif, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nation, Zarif said this: [at the 37:50 point if you replay on the website] (emp add)
The evidence that has been produced, in fact fabricated, is preposterous. The dates. If you look at the evidence, the dates that are used in this mortars are written in American date format, putting month first and date second. Whereas nowhere in the world people use month first and date second. Everywhere in the world except for the U.S. And those who fabricated this evidence should listen and learn. Everybody else in the world uses date, month, year. That is the order.

CHARLIE ROSE: That says what to you?

That this evidence is fabricated, as was the evidence that was fabricated before the Iraq war in order to launch an aggression. This evidence is fabricated and it points to a very dangerous policy that is being pursued by this administration.

CHARLIE ROSE: What is that dangerous policy pursued by this administration?

That dangerous policy is to create a crisis, to escape forward. That is, to blame somebody else for the results of their adventurism, which everybody knew would lead to this disaster.
And then there was the following exchange in Bush's press conference this morning: (emp add)
Q: What assurances can you give the American people that the intelligence this time will be accurate?

BUSH: Ed, we know they're there, we know they're provided by the Quds force. We know the Quds force is a part of the Iranian government. I don't think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds force, go do this, but we know it's a vital part of the Iranian government. What matters is, is that we're responding. The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous.
Interesting. When questioned about the accuracy of the intelligence, Bush did not reply by saying that the collection of evidence was by reliable parties, or that the analysis was thorough. Instead, he spoke about manufacturing evidence, denying that it took place.

Both Iran's Zarif and Bush call the evidence or charges it's been manufactured "preposterous". (Makes you wonder if Bush watched the Charlie Rose interview.) In any event, it was curious to see Bush comment on "manufacturing evidence", since that's not been a talking point. Until now.



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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Simple answer to simplistic logic:

AP: (emp add)
Republicans, in the minority for the first time in 12 years, issued emotional warnings of the consequences of undermining the president's policies in Iraq. "We will embolden terrorists in every corner in the world. We will give Iran free access to the Middle East," said Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And who doesn't believe the the terrorists will just follow our troops home?"
Obviously, if the terrorist can't figure out how to get to America without following the troops home, what we should do is first have the the troops go to Australia. Then give them the slip. The terrorists will be stuck in the South Pacific. Problem solved. Bonus: It will give John Howard something to worry about.



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Instapundit + Fox's "24" = ?

Instapundit on Iran: (emp add, h/t Greenwald)
... I don't understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy, or an invasion, is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists ...
"24" creator Joel Surnow: (emp add)
Every American wishes we had someone out there quietly taking care of business   ...  It’s a deep, dark ugly world out there. Maybe this is what Ollie North was trying to do. It would be nice to have a secret government that can get the answers and take care of business — even kill people


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Monday, February 12, 2007

If not Colin Powell, then who?

The Bush administration needs a respected voice to make the case to the country, and the world, that Iran is a threat deserving of attack. But Colin Powell is gone and a new messenger is needed. Who might that person be?
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-D) of Connecticut holds up
a vial of high explosive taken from the body of an EFP
recovered from a cache in Diwaniyah. In an address
to the United Nations, Lieberman said that this was
proof of Iranian involvement since the substance was
clearly "evil", and cited a chemical analysis made by
a team of journalists at the Weekly Standard to back
up his claim.


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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blogger round-up on Kristol:

What started it was reported by Think Progress: Kristol: Obama Is ‘The Opposite Of Lincoln,’ Would Have Been Pro-Slavery [a more apt blog post title should have ended with "Would Have Been Like Stephen Douglas, Tolerant of Slavery]
Linking progressives to discredited figures of the past is all the rage in right-wing-land. Kristol is merely following in the footsteps of Jonah Goldberg who says Matthew Yglesias is, when you think about it, kind of like Charles Lindberg.

All kidding aside. Here you have Bill Kristol, so ferocious in his support for war that when he encounters someone who takes a contrary position, takes a benign character attribute (a professed desire for unity and compromise) and uses it to say he's like Stephen "compromiser" Douglas and decidedly not like Lincoln. The same charge could have been leveled at Bush when he said he was a "uniter" or any time David Broder gets giddy about bipartisanship. What Kristol said was ugly. And to compound the slur, he directed it towards an African. That's ugly squared.

ALSO: Looks like Churchill is out and Civil War figures are in. From today's Meet the Press:
House minority leader, Republican John Boehner of Ohio: (on staying in Iraq)
I just finished reading last fall a—Lincoln, “Team of Rivals.” And look at the number of times that Lincoln could’ve given up or should’ve given up. But he had a goal, the—hold the union together.
Next up, conservatives tout Generals Grant and Sherman as having the "stomach" for the fight. And therefore, so should you!

(minor clean-up edits added)



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This just in:

The press is no longer an objective entity. It has become partisan, in the vast majority of cases for Republican "centrism".

You may now go about your regular business.



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Saturday, February 10, 2007

For the record ...

In a New York Post op-ed by Richard Miniter dated February 10, 2007, he attacks Nancy Pelosi with lies. This is well after the facts surrounding Pelosi and a need for long-distance military aircraft for transport have been out there:Miniter writes this garbage: (excerpts, emp add)
[On Wednesday, Feb 7] word broke of Pelosi's request for regular use of a U.S. Air Force C-32 - the same plane that flies the vice president and first lady.

She wants to travel in luxury. The Air Force jet is the same size and airframe as the Boeing 757-200, which carries about 300 passengers.

Maybe she just doesn't want to fly like the rest of us, enduring long lines and security hassles.
Maybe Pelosi doesn't want to fly like the rest of us. Maybe Richard Miniter is a liar. Which is it?



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Douglas Feith is flustered:

Check out the audio of the interview of Douglas Feith conducted by NPR's Day to Day. He's not cocky. He's having trouble defending himself from charges of cooking intelligence.

Transcript of NPR interview here.



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Friday, February 09, 2007

Jonah Goldberg tries to fool you:

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Global cooling costs too much (h/t/ BusyBusyBusy), Goldberg tries to make the following argument:
That all of the prosperity generated in the 20th century is due to the buring of fossil fuels, and that the resulting global warming wasn't a problem.
He does it by presenting incomplete statistics and with faulty logic. Here is a breakdown of his key assertions:
Goldberg writes he implies what he doesn't tell you
The Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century    
while it increased its GDP by 1,800%, The growth is huge. 1,800% over 100 years is equal to an annual increase of 3% over the same period.
by one estimate.   where that estimate comes from
     
How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800% is unknowable,    
but let's stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity The 20th century prosperity was wholly dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. It's a false (implied) linkage. That there was increased prosperity due to a number of factors, including burning fossil fuels, doesn't mean that the warming was the result of all of that economic growth.
and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious).    
     
Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West. Burning fossil fuels for energy was a significant factor in the development of medicine and other intellectual pursuits.  
     
Given the option of getting another 1,800% richer All of us can look forward to getting richer. GDP can grow simply due to population growth, in which case nobody gets richer. Per-capita GDP can be stagnant even though the aggregate GDP increases.
in exchange for another 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer, Global warming in the 21st century will be as much, but not greater than the 0.7 °C, that took place during the 20th century. That's not what the scientists predict. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict that global temperatures are likely to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) between 1990 and 2100.
I'd take the heat in a heartbeat.    
     
     
Goldberg deliberately uses numbers in such a fashion so that unpleasant facts are obscured. He likes to talk in terms of degrees Celsius, which don't sound too bad to Americans who think in terms of Farenheit. He low-balls the estimates of global warming. It's actually worse than that. He says we should expect a rise of 0.7 °C when the lowest IPCC estimate is 1.1 °C (and could be as much as 11.5 °F - which would be a disaster). And he claims a 100% causal relationship between "prosperity" (which he broadly defines to include non-economic factors like science and medicine) and global warming.

When you can't make your case honestly, it's a sign you don't have a case to make.



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Bloggers dictionary:
blow-hard (blo-'härd')
  –noun Slang.
an exceptionally boastful and talkative person.
[Origin: 1850–55, Americanism]
 
  See also: big head, big mouth, bullshitter, egotist, gasbag, know-it-all, neocon, swelled head, windbag
  Reference: Nitpicker


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Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Christian Coalition is caught dead to rights:

Josh Marshall catches the Christian Coalition being explicitly partisan. Usually when they attack Democrats or support Republicans, there is a justification, however tenuous, based on their religious inclinations. But that's totally absent here. The Christian Coalition is attacking Nancy Pelosi by making charges they know to be false. (The relevant details about Pelosi not being able to take a commercial flight have been well publicized.)

From TPM's post: (emp add)
Picking up on the implications for evangelical Christianity, the Christian Coalition condemsn Pelosi ...
Christian Coalition of America condemns the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from San Francisco, for trying to get luxurious travel paid for by the American taxpayers. Is a first class seat on a commercial jet no longer good enough for Speaker Pelosi? Nancy Pelosi is demanding that the Air Force provide her with a large jet on demand - "Pelosi One" - so she can transport her political cronies, favorite Members of Congress, congressional staffers, friends and relatives back and forth to her district in San Francisco every week.
Yes, everybody knows the Christian Coalition supports Republicans, but it's always useful to have a really good example you can 'point to' that will demonstrate their lack of principle. Now you have one.



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The Washington Post is a conservative newspaper:

Ezra makes the case. And catches them with their pants down (screenshot of the Coulter link before it got bumped).



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Bush gave him a medal:

In a New York Times editorial, The Fog of Accountability, we read: (emp add)
The details emerging provide a lesson in how easily cash can evaporate into the fog of an unmonitored war. One $500 million outlay was explained away with a one-word record entry — “security” — in the provisional authority’s books. Ten disbursements ranging from $120 million to $900 million have no documentation at all, as if they were petty cash. Paul Bremer III, the former chief of the administration’s provisional authority, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week that Iraq was strictly a cash economy with primitive banking, and that there had been no alternative but to spur reconstruction with a fast and poorly documented infusion of billions. “There are no perfect solutions in Iraq," said Mr. Bremer, still cocky despite the now increasingly apparent and seemingly limitless failures of his tenure.

According to the inspector general and Congressional investigators, Mr. Bremer’s provisional authority, with the full backing of the White House and the Pentagon, doled out an estimated $12 billion to dodgy ministries — duffle bags full, some of it from the backs of pickups.
Remember what Bush did on 14 December 2004?

Bremer is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
When will this clown show end?



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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The shallow thinking of Joe Klein:

Via Digby, we read this from Joe Klein's blog: (emp add)
McCain, whether you agree with him or not, has been entirely consistent about the war. I disagreed with him about going to war in 2003, agreed with him about the need for more troops until last summer, when it became plain that we had no reliable ally in Iraq, and I disagree with him now. We're well past the point where a minimal, exhausted U.S. military force can bring stability, by itself, to Iraq. I admire McCain's honorable willingness to take this unpopular position into the 2008 election ...
Wait a minute. It's one thing to admire someone who advocates an unpopular position if you think it is the right position. But why admire somebody, like Joe Klein does, for simply being contrarian? Does Joe Klein admire members of the Flat Earth Society?

What a lazy thinker.



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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The darkness of the Super Bowl ads:

Several of the ads aired during the Super Bowl had themes of violence and death. Here is a quick summary:

Company Ad
Bud Light Two guys vie for a bottle of beer. They agree to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets it. In that contest one of the guys throws a rock at the other's head and knocks him out.
Doritos Nerdy guy driving a car is distracted by a pretty girl walking nearby. The car crashes. The girl slips and injures herself as she goes to check on the guy in the car.
Coca Cola Grand Theft Auto style setting and characters where the 'hero' does nice things (pays for a drink - surprising the clerk who expected a robbery, donates to street musician/beggar, foils a purse snatcher).
careerbuilder.com Office workers in the jungle are attacked and flee for their lives, eventually running off of a cliff and fall to their death.
Bud Light New greeting replaces 'fist bump'. It's a hard slap to the face (shown repeatedly with different characters).
King Pharmaceuticals
(beatyourrisk.com)
A man in a heart costume is savagely beaten by four street thugs: "high blood pressure", "diabetes", "overweight", and "high cholesterol.
General Motors A factory robot daydreams that it got fired for dropping a bolt. In the dream, the robot is seen around town moping while various GM cars pass by. The penultimate scene has the robot on a bridge and then making a suicide plunge into the river. (This makes it wake up back in the factory where all is well.)
Panasonic Tough Box A rugged laptop, good for police, firemen, and an infantry soldier in full gear wearing camouflage.
E*Trade A moderately realistic bank robbery. (Except for the bizarre masks, the tone was a serious one with the customers clearly frightened.)
careetbuilder.com A "Survivor" setting where office workers battle each other in gladiator costume (made up of office equipment).
Bud Light A couple driving at night pick up a hitchhiker who has a large axe (and some Bud Light). Later, a second hitcher is seen, this time with a chainsaw.


Now there were other ads featuring confrontation or destruction; these were largely benign and lighthearted (but didn't help once you began to focus on the violence and destruction angle):
  • FedEx - At an office on the moon, a congratulatory slap on the back hurls a collegue into space where the man is destroyed by a meteor.
  • Garmin.com - a man with a personal navigator defeats the map-o-saurus monster.
  • Coca Cola - at a fantasy winter-wonderland 'factory', a bottle of Coke is filled and capped and a snow man is dropped into a shredder creating a spray of ice that cools the finished product.
  • Emerald Nuts - Robert Goulet trashes several office cubicles.
But the focus of this post are the ads in the table (above). What triggered it were the Bud Light ads. A guy throws a rock at somebody's head. Everybody slaps each other hard in the face. What does this mean, if anything?

That level of violence hasn't been displayed in Super Bowl ads before. Is it just a random phenomenon, or is it an indicator, however weak, of a change in the modes of thought in this nation? You could get political and argue that ever since the Iraq war got started, this nation, or at least a significant portion, has moved towards a more confrontational attitude in all things. Or maybe it's less the war, and simply a derivitave of the fierce competition that's been on display in television shows like "Survivor", "Big Brother", "Fear Factor", et al.

Or maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.

This blog isn't into speech restriction. And doesn't endorse crackdowns on video games like Grand Theft Auto. Free speech and customer choice and all that. But still, there are times when you've gotta wonder about the Zeitgeist.

UPDATE: This blog is not alone. The New York Times has an article, Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War (excerpts, emp add):
... the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.

In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair.

There was also a bank robbery (E*Trade Financial), fierce battles among office workers trapped in a jungle (CareerBuilder), menacing hitchhikers (Bud Light again) and a clash between a monster and a superhero reminiscent of a horror movie (Garmin).
I didn't include the spot for Snickers in the initial blog post because it was just so far out crazy that it seemed to defy any analysis.

UPDATE2: There's more at the New York Times. From one of their entertainment blogs (Virginia Heffernan):
Oh man. We just had a kind of Brokeback Auto Shop ad for Snickers. Two guys working on a car start chewing a candy bar together and then come together in a big kiss. “Quick, do something manly!” one yells. They each rip off a chunk of chest hair.

Given a choice between last year’s Burger King ad, with its dancing girls dressed as the parts of a Whopper, and this year’s heart health ad, with its dancing old guys dressed as things signifying atrophying organs, give me the disgusting burger the girl-heap made in ‘06 any day. Watching that man in the heartsuit get bashed around was really enough to make me sob, and give up.

And then that GM car-making robot almost committed suicide by jumping into a river! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!


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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fox News Channel is still at it:

Big news today about the bombing in Baghdad that killed lots of people. Here's how Fox News described it on their website's home page:
"Homocide" bomber, they say. But if you click on the link to get the story, you read (note the AP sourcing):
At Least 121 Dead, 226 Wounded in Homicide Attack on Baghdad Market

Saturday, February 03, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 121 people and wounding scores among the crowd buying food for evening meals, the most devastating strike in the capital in more than two months. ...
The word "homicide" in the title is most likely a Fox touch (though this is not certain).

If Fox continues in this way, redefining how the English language is used, eventually they will literally be speaking to a distinct minority, using terms that other people will find baffling, or at least peculiar. That's a good way to marginalize yourself. So, keep it up Fox!



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Friday, February 02, 2007

Limbaugh. Still a global warming skeptic.

If you can stomach it, Rush Limbaugh has a couple of transcripts for Friday, both challenging the global warming consensus. It's real nut-case stuff.

First, Global Warming is a Religion, which trivializes the methods of science, talks about Rush's faith (and claims that there is a 'faith' component to the work of scientists), cites Michael Crichton on his assertion that environmentalism = religion, and links to a garbage website, the American Thinker.

Second, Poor Polar Bears Are the Latest Scare, an attack on the picture used (!) at the New York Times for their story about the international Science Panel.

The point of this post is not to encourage you to read Limbaugh or the other people he cites. That would be a complete waste of time (do we really need to have, yet again, another debate about empiricism, induction, and inference?). But it is instructive to see that Limbaugh, a good proxy for much of right-wing thought, has not changed his position even in the face of significant consensus on global warming - which even the White House is acknowledging.

So Limbaugh and company will, over time, be seen as bizarre, detached from reality, and closed minded. Essentially stupid. And that's good for the nation and the world.

UPDATE: As Anonymous writes in comments,
"These guys are going to go straight from "it's not happening" to "it's a sign from the book of revelations" without pausing for a breath."
Well, sort of. Actually Limbaugh mixes up Christian faith and charges of environmentalism as a crypto-religion throughout the transcript. Specifically, he claims that those who warn about global warming are engaging in their own non-biblical apocalyptic scenario. Here is some of Rush from the first link (above) :
To the environmentalist wackos, the global warming crowd, the apocalypse, the end days are: "Global warming! We've got ten years! We're doomed!"
And establishing a fallback position, Limbaugh celebrates global warming should it happen (dispite his skepticism). Haven't we all forgotten about the advantages of growing oranges in Scotland?
Where are all the stories about all the good that will happen from global warming, the parts of the world that will be fertile, for agricultural and other things that aren't now, and that once used to be, such as Scotland. You used to be able to grow crops in a lot of Scotland, can't now. Where are these stories?
One bright spot, from Limbaugh is this:
... I will argue with ... those of you out there who get caught up in this as a political issue, I will argue. I will try to change your mind about it within the context and the framework of liberalism versus conservatism.
If global warming turns out to be real, does that mean conservatism is discredited? Can we get that in writing?



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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Richard Cohen echoes Fox News Channel talking point:

In a radio interview on 30 January, Richard Cohen spoke about the administration's attack on Joe Wilson and the resulting Libby trial. Speaking about the court case, Cohen said:
What bothers me most about this whole case is, one, it really does represent the criminalization of politics. I mean, nobody thought they were doing anything criminal here. They were just playing politics.
"the criminalization of politics" - does that sound familiar? It's been used by Tom DeLay and other Republicans to dismiss legal problems they find themselves in, but the notion was very much a slogan used by Fox News and other defenders of the administration when Fitzgerald was looking into the Plame outing. From Think Progress (2005 October 18)
Fox News Pushing "Criminalization of Politics Talking Point

Conservative defenders of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have settled on their No. 1 talking point: the grand jury investigation into the CIA leak scandal represents the "criminalization of politics."

In other words, they say, the outing of a covert CIA agent in a time of war to punish a whistleblower is just everyday "politics" — nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing criminal. In fact, according to conservatives (as articulated by the National Review), the "criminalizing of politics" is actually the most dangerous fire of this ordeal."

To spread this talking point across the nation, the right has received a major assist from Fox News. According to a database search, every single television reference to the CIA leak scandal as the "criminalization of politics" in the last 30 days has been on Fox. Even more stunning: on every occassion, the phrase was introduced into the segment by a Fox News anchor or correspondent, never by a guest.
(In the Think Progress post, there is a link to NRO's The Corner - but the link is now broken and searching NRO has failed to find the relevant post.)



6 comments