Prosecute the torture.

May 29, 2010

On The Trib Watch

First off, the circle jerk.

In an editorial today about "ObamaCare" Richard Mellon Scaife's brain trust writes:
In fact, ObamaCare tax credits that offset health insurance costs for firms with 25 or fewer workers making an average of $25,000 annually are counterproductive for employment and wage growth -- a major economic shortcoming, particularly when far too many Americans are jobless.

One author of a new National Center for Policy Analysis study on the credits even told The Hill newspaper that they create a "perverse incentive not to have businesses grow by not encouraging them to hire new workers."
Missing, of course, from the editorial is any mention of the millions of dollars given to the National Center for Policy Analysis by foundations controlled by Trib owner, Richard Mellon Scaife.

The Mediamatters.org reports that over the last two and a half decades or so, a little more than $2.25 million has been funneled from the Carthage and Sarah Scaife foundations.

Scaife funds the think tank and then his paper reports on that think tank's "findings" without mentioning his support. Tell me again that there's no "vast right wing conspiracy."

On another point, Craig Smith interviews Oliver North. And here is how North is described:
A combat-decorated Marine, author and syndicated columnist, North says his most important accomplishment is being "the husband of one, the father of four and the grandfather of 11."

Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, North helped plan the rescue of 804 medical students on Grenada and played a major role in the capture of the hijackers of the cruise ship Achille Lauro.
Miss anything? Maybe something like this from Lawrence Walsh's IranContra Report:
On April 6, 1989, North took the stand in his own defense. For six days, North admitted to having assisted the contras during the Boland prohibition on U.S. aid, to having shredded and removed from the White House official documents, to having converted traveler's checks for his personal use, to having participated in the creation of false chronologies of the U.S. arms sales, to having lied to Congress and to having accepted a home security-system from Secord and then fabricating letters regarding payment for the system. But, North testified, ``I don't believe I ever did anything that was criminal.''
Yea, I can see why they'd want to try to erase that part.

May 28, 2010

Peduto's Letter to Ethics Board RE Adam Ravenstahl Appointment to ALCOSAN

Pittsburgh City Councilor Bill Peduto has sent the following letter to Sister Patrice Hughes of Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board regarding the appointment of Adam Ravenstahl to ALCOSAN's board.
Dear Sister Hughes:

I am requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board rule on the decision of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to nominate his brother State Representative-elect Adam Ravenstahl to the Board of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority. The City Code has rules for appointing, hiring and promoting direct family members of elected officials and employees. As the code states, the only time a direct family member can be appointed is through a waiver from the Ethics Hearing Board.
§ 197.05 EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT OF RELATIVES.
(a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.
(b) A member of the direct family of a public official or public employee shall not be appointed, hired or advanced to a position which is under the direct jurisdiction or control of the public official or public employee.
(c) The provisions of this section may be waived by the Board upon the Board's finding that considering factors as the person's experience qualifications and the responsibility of the position, the public interest would not be harmed as a result of the waiver.
These rules are similar to those followed by state and federal officials. They were adopted and approved in 1990 when the City created the Ethics Code. Questions regarding jurisdiction apply to both elected officials and city employees. For employees, the rules of jurisdiction were to oppose attempts of supervisors hiring their own direct family members. For elected officials, it is obvious that our jurisdiction goes beyond any one department or authority.

As elected officials, the Mayor and City Council have jurisdiction over the nomination and appointment of all Board, Authority and Commission members. The Mayor has the sole responsibility of nominating candidates to these positions and Council has the sole responsibility of approving the Mayor's nominees. City Code, § 197.05 clearly states “a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.” In this case, the nomination of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority nominee is the sole jurisdiction of the Mayor.

I am formally requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board investigate this nomination to determine the legitimacy of any elected City official appointing, hiring, advancing or advocating the appointing, hiring or advancing of direct family members.
According to Peduto, Councilman Doug Shields has sent a similar letter to the State Ethics Commission.

Statement from Joe Sestak on the White House Counsel's Report

Via email from the Sestak campaign:
Statement from Joe Sestak on White House Counsel's Report

MEDIA, PA - U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak released the following statement today:

"Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I'd say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

"There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families."


Looks like Sestak and the White House are on the same page on this (at long last).

House Votes to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Via Talking Points Memo:
In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation.
Here's the photo showing gay rights being expanded which accompanied the TPM article:


For some reason, it brought to mind the following photo which showed women's reproductive rights being shrunk:


Notice any difference?

When You're Right, You're Right

While it is usually with a certain amount of glee that I skewer the Tribune-Review editorial board there are days, rare as they are, when I just can't.

Because sometimes, they're just right.

Such is the case, again today, and so I think it safe to assume the braintrust and I agree on at least one thing - that Luke Ravenstahl is a laughable excuse of a chief executive. Here's the Trib:
Lance: To Luke Ravenstahl. The Pittsburgh mayor has named his newly elected state representative brother Adam to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority board. The nepotism, a violation of the city ethics code, is defended by Hizzhoner, who says Bro represents the legislative district most affected by Alcosan. And the city solicitor disputes the ethics charge, saying the authority is not under the direct jurisdiction of the mayor's office. Done laughing yet?
Sadly, no.

May 27, 2010

Teh Crazie - DADT Edition

The spark that set off teh crazies was reported (among many other places, of course) by the NY Times:
President Obama, the Pentagon and leading lawmakers reached agreement Monday on legislative language and a time frame for repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, clearing the way for Congress to take up the measure as soon as this week.
This of course has whip teh crazies into berserker mode.

But let's first see if there's any popular support for repealing DADT. Surprise, surprise, surprise, there is:
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.
Here's the poll data if you wanna check the numbers.

Teh Crazies' response?

Gays are vicious because Hitler was gay and he used gays as his most vicious "enforcers. And gays will use the new rules to rape as many defenseless straights in the military as they can.

Point one - the vicious, from the American Family Association. According to talkingpointsmemo, Bryan Fisher (of the AFA) set us all straight on those nasty gays:
So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn't the Germans, didn't the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.
Hitler was gay? Wait wait, I figured out the logic. Hitler was also a vegetarian and since we all know that some vegetarians are gay, ergo and ipso facto Hitler was gay! And because Hitler was a vicious monster, gays must also be vicious monsters!

I guess curing the vegetarian of his/her meat-phobia is the only solution. Only the cheeseburger can save our helpless straight brothers and sisters from teh gays in the military!

Point two - the raping, from the equally odious Family Research Council. Again, from tpm:
Here's how the Family Research Council envisions things going if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed: first, more straight soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will be fellated in their sleep against their will. Then, commanders afraid of being labeled homophobes will refuse to do anything about it. Eventually, the straight service members will quit out of fear.

On a conference call with reporters today, FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg delivered the results of what he said was the first-ever study of "homosexual assault" in the military. Joined by several former military officers opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, he warned Congress that the DADT repeal language currently under discussion with the agreement of the White House will turn the U.S. military into a terrifying free-rape zone where no heterosexual is safe.
Here's the study. And from the first page we see:
Members of the military are regularly placed in positions of forced intimacy with their fellow servicemembers—showering and sleeping in close proximity and spending time with one another twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The military continues to provide separate bathroom, shower, and sleeping facilities for men and women in order to protect their privacy during these intimate activities. However, allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military would likely result, for the first time, in heterosexuals being forced to cohabit with those who may view them as a potential sexual object.
So just how much projection is there going on here anyway?

The breathless warning about intimate sleeping and showering quarters where the predatory gays wait to pounce on their helpless victims...

May 26, 2010

Sestak Job Offer

I heard Jim Quinn and Rose Tennant froth at the mouth and fall over backwards over this yesterday morning.

My friends on the Trib Braintrust have been on this story for a few months. This is from March:
A special prosecutor must investigate whether the Obama administration offered U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak a high-ranking federal job in exchange for dropping his Democrat primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

Rep. Sestak made that claim during a February radio interview. He didn't bite. A White House spokesman says whatever conversations there were "are not problematic."

But U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight committee, says this "has all the makings of a cover-up" of bribery, election interference by government officials and political use of federal jobs. If he doesn't get White House answers by April 5, he'll call for a special prosecutor.

The alleged violations carry jail terms of up to one year. And with White House wagons circling to protect Sen. Party-Switcher, a special prosecutor is warranted.
I heard Jim say something like, "Same as Watergate - the coverup is worse than the crime."

Crime?

Too bad, (and my apologies to any Gertrude Stein/Alice B Toklas fans reading this) but there is no there there and there hasn't been for a long time.

The AP from February:
Ethics attorneys in Washington said such offers are common.

Melanie Sloan, director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, described it as “politics as usual.”
And Marc Abinder at The Atlantic said the same in March:
Now, trading an administration job -- a thing of value -- for a political favor might well constitute bribery. It is also very common. A Nexus search turns up numerous examples. In 1981, President Reagan offered S.I. Hayakawa, then California's senior senator, a job if he declined to run for reelection. We know this because Reagan's chief political adviser admitted as much on the record.
Reagan did it? I wonder if Jim Quinn or the Trib Braintrust knows this.

Talkingpointsmemo has something more recent:
Even those who used to prosecute public corruption cases agree. "Talk about criminalizing the political process!" said Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor with the Justice Department's Public Integrity unit. "It would be horrible precedent if what really truly is political horsetrading were viewed in the criminal context of: is this a corrupt bribe?"

And Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who as the head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington isn't known for going on easy public corruption, concurred. "There is no bribery case here," she said. "No statute has ever been used to prosecute anybody for bribery in circumstances like this."

Sloan added that Issa's move was more about politics. "It's not at all about whether there was actual criminal wrongdoing," she said. "It's about how to go after Sestak."
Yes, that's exactly what it is.

May 25, 2010

The Ravenstahls: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother


Pittsburgh's Lil Mayor Luke "The Son Also Rises" Ravenstahl has nominated Lil PA Rep. Adam "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" Ravenstahl to a seat on the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority board.

According to Rich Lord at the P-G:
A seat on the Alcosan board is widely considered a political plum because members have contact with engineering and construction firms that tend to be campaign contributors.
Ravenstahl (Luke, not Adam) had to first toss Dan Keller off the board. Keller recently ran against Ravenstahl (Adam, not Luke).

Additionally, via Tim McNulty at the P-G's Early Returns, we learn that nominating your baby bro to such an appointment is a violation of the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Handbook (special Ravenstal edition here) though apparently a board -- majority appointed by the very same mayor/big bro -- can waive the rule.

Pittsburgh City Council, of course, also has a say in approving board members and I'm certain that we can expect a rigorous review of Ravenstahl's (Adam's, not Luke's) qualifications.

[Oops! Just peed myself laughing.]


2007 Luke Ravenstahl campaign brochure
. . . And blueprint for the future

Another Two-Fer At The Trib

From today's Editorial Page at Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Extended federal unemployment benefits, set to run out June 2, aren't putting people to work. Left unchecked, they "help" those who are gaming the system.
Of course they'd say that. But what's the data to support it? Where does it come from?

No surprise here, either:
Notes David Littmann, senior economist for the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy, those federal checks -- for up to 99 weeks -- don't reduce unemployment but the incentive to find work.

It's no wonder Pennsylvania struggles to maintain its unemployment compensation fund when it's second only to California in what it pays out, according to the Commonwealth Foundation.[emphasis in original]
We all know where this is headed, right?
  • The Mackinac Center is a Michigan-based conservative think tank that received $100,000 from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation in 1999-2000.
  • The Commonwealth Foundation is a Pennsylvania-based conservative think tank that's received about $2 million from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Allegheny, Carthage and Sarah Scaife foundations over the last 2 decades.
And yet no mention of any of that money in an editorial critical of extending unemployment benefits.

The circle jerk/tribbing continues.

Interesting.

I want to go further on this.

The Mackinac Center is a member of something called the State Policy Network. The SPN describes itself as:
State Policy Network is the capacity building service organization for America's free market, state-focused think tank community. We advance a free society by providing leadership development, management training and networking opportunities for think tank professionals and by promoting strategic partnerships among market-oriented organizations.
So it's an organization of conservative state-based think tanks, fair enough.

Guess who else is a member?
  • Commonwealth Foundation (approx $2 million Scaife money over the years)
Associate MembersJust to name a few. The Heritage Foundation's a member, as is Judicial Watch and Freedomworks and so on. All recipients of vast amounts of Scaife money. How many of these Scaife-funded foundations does his editorial board use as "informational" sources?

Tell me again how there's no vast right-wing conspiracy.

May 24, 2010

The Trib Spins The Climate - Again

I find it interesting, to say the least, that Richard Mellon Scaife's brain trust over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (aka his editorial board) should ignore the National Research Council's reports on Climate Change in favor of a paper read at a Heartland Institute conference.

Here's what they write:
A geologist is debunking not only climatology's "science"-cloaked, blame-mankind, global-warming dogma but also the very notion of an inevitably warmer Earth.

Dr. Don Easterbrook, professor emeritus at Western Washington University, contends global warming is natural, but over, and global cooling has begun -- and is bad news. He presented a paper supporting his theory on May 16 at the fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago.
The ICCC is hosted by the Heartland Institute.

The institute refuses to say who its current donors are but according to mediamatters, in the early 90s, it received more than $300,000 in Scaife Foundation money.

The braintrust continues:
He says the geologic record shows climate changes far more drastic than today's occurred long before man-made carbon dioxide. He attributes recent variations to Pacific Ocean surface temperature cycles -- related to solar changes and glaciers' movements -- that alternately warm and cool the globe every 25 to 30 years.
However, Dr Easterbrook is not without his own detractors. Ocean Expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab had this to say about Easterbrook's research:
The short answer is that global warming is here, sea level rise is accelerating and the PDO is not going save us by putting all of that on hold for 10 or 20 years. Its true that the PDO has brought cooler than normal temperatures to a big chunk of the Pacific off and on for most of the last 10 years. But the PDO is not just a big see-saw that rocks back and forth, cooling and then warming the whole planet every 20 years. Sometimes it flips back after just 5 years and sometimes it stays pretty much the same for 25 or so. Furthermore, the so-called "cold phase" of the PDO is not exclusively cold. It also involves warmer than normal waters in the western and northern parts of the Pacific. So the effect of the PDO on global temperatures is not nearly as clear as it is for its smaller and better known cousins, El Nino and La Nina.

Needless to say, it's a pretty wild statement to claim that the PDO data shows conclusively that global cooling will occur for the next 10 years. I'd say we have a better chance of seeing unemployment drop to 5% next month than we do of seeing 10 years of cooling.
So this is what the Trib's going with and not the legion of scientists in the National Research Council.

As I said, interesting.

May 23, 2010

Nope, no racism here

Not a whiff.


(h/t to Sherry @ After the Bridge)

Maybe Colin McNickle Should READ Some News

Before he writes an Op-Ed like this one.

He does work at a business that for some reason calls itself a newspaper, right? Presumably they'd have some sort of electronic device (perhaps similar to the one you're looking at right now) that would enable him to do some sort of research into his bullet points.

Like this one:
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, during last week's state visit to Washington, publicly chastised as "discriminatory" Arizona's crackdown.

Not only did President Barack Bumfuzzled fail to immediately cite Mexican law that makes illegals felons and eligible for jail time in one of Calderon's dungeons, Mr. No Gonads failed to also click his fingers and command the Secret Service to grab el presidente by the collar and escort him to the White House gates.

Then Barack the Bower hosted Calderon at a state dinner.
The reason, Editor No-brains, that the president "failed to immediately cite Mexican law" on this subject is that that law was rescinded some time ago.

That's right, my friends. According to the Associated Press (and that would be one place for Colin Know-nothing to check before making an ignorant ass of himself), the Mexican Congress decriminalized illegal immigration in 2008.

And if that's not enough for you, Mexican President Calderon said as much to Wolf Blitzer:


Think Progress has a transcription and some more details:
In 2008, the Mexican Congress voted unanimously with 393 votes to decriminalize undocumented immigration to Mexico. Before then, the Washington Times description of Mexican immigration law would’ve been accurate. Following the 2008 reform, however, undocumented immigration is a minor offense punishable by fines equivalent to about $475 to $2,400. The approved reform identified Mexico’s old immigration laws as “inadmissible” and a violation of human rights.
So Colin, what you wrote about people in Mexico being thrown in dungeons for being an illegal immigrant is just plain wrong - you see that now, right? And this, Colin, is why you need to always fact-check what you write before you publish it. You'll look less like an idiot that way.

Word to the wise, my friend.

May 22, 2010

Local Scribe Gets Some National Attention

And it's NOT about Pittgirl!

Got this from Chris Potter's slag heap:
Go get 'em, Samantha Bennett!

Courtesy of Media Matters, we learn that Bennett -- who contributes a regular column to the Post-Gazette -- is taking on Pat Buchanan over this column.

In that now-notorious piece, Buchanan expressed concern that if the Senate confirms Elena Kagan's appointment to the Supreme Court, the court will be packed with Jews and Papists:

If Kagan is confirmed, the Court will consist of three Jews and six Catholics (who represent not quite a fourth of the country), but not a single Protestant, though Protestants remain half the nation and our founding faith.

Finally -- somebody willing to speak out about the shameful exclusion of Protestants from public life. It's the last acceptable prejudice, I tell you!
From the Mediamatters piece, we see Sam going into greater detail:
"On the right, there is a certain pressure to out-outrage everyone else," Bennett said. "More moderate conservative opinion doesn't seem to be much of a draw."
And:
She said his column was indicative of the way some conservatives have tilted in order to get attention: "Who is the most popular and who is the draw? It is the people on the fringe."

"The pundits who cater to that get crazy sort of attention," Bennett added. "It has been the theater of outrage. This has been our public discourse. It is who is shouting the loudest."
Back to Potter:
Buchanan, Bennett suggests, is trying to cling to the spotlight in "the theater of outrage. This has been our public discourse. It is who is shouting the loudest." Strupp adds such right-wing blather may be "hurting columnists as a whole," since as Bennett says, "[I]t can put more pressure on the rest of us to be more out there."

Actually, I wish that were more true. If you look at the Post-Gazette roster of columnists, for example, nobody comes anywhere CLOSE to being as bonkers as Jack Kelly, the Burghosphere's bete noir.

That's too bad, in my book. But these days, an ultra-left perspective is about as hard to find on a newspaper editorial page as it is on the Supreme Court.

In fact, THAT may be the last acceptable prejudice.
Mega Congrats to Sam. Now that she's referenced favorably at Mediamatters, she should be getting a check from George Soros any day now.

UPDATE: Sam gave me an exclusive quote (eat that, Chris Potter!!):
If you think the makeup of the SCOTUS should reflect that of the American public (and that's certainly not in the Constitution), there are imbalances far more glaring: Assuming Kagan is confirmed, there are no Protestants on the Court, and women are still not represented proportionally to their presence in the population.
Exclusive.

May 21, 2010

More On Rand Paul from Tony Norman and TPM

From Today's P-G:
While insisting that discrimination in any form was abhorrent to him, Mr. Paul told [Rachel] Maddow that under the Constitution, the racist owners of private businesses should have the latitude to refuse service to anyone they want. Such brutal logic is based on the arcane theory that Title II of the Civil Rights Act violates individual liberties by denying a bigot his right to free speech and association.
And then:
Thursday, the Paul campaign issued the following statement declaring that its candidate considered the 1964 Civil Rights Act settled law and that he would not support its repeal:

"I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws."
Talkingpointsmemo has a run down of Rand Paul distancing himself from himself:
  • Paul on Maddow, circa 9 p.m. Wednesday: I don't agree with the Civil Rights Act, but I don't believe in racism.
  • Paul statement, noon Thursday: I wouldn't support repealing the law.
  • Paul campaign statement, 2 p.m. Thursday: I support the law and the government's power to enforce it.
  • Paul on CNN, 5 p.m. Thursday: "I would have voted yes" for the law. "There was a need for federal intervention."
That was fast - but what's this about a Libertarian admitting the need for federal intervention?

May 20, 2010

The Church Of Climate Change Hoax

That's it. I am done.

The National Research Council released three reports yesterday about so-called "climage change" and these three reports prove only one thing.

That the international anti-Guv'ment anti-bidness socialist conspiracy is so powerful it can;
  1. intimidate all these scientists into towing the line or
  2. brainwash all these scientists into presenting their THEORY (and it is just a theory) as a "fact" or
  3. openly lie, knowing that it's lapdogs in Democrat Party will do as they're told and go along with the hoax.
Just look at how wide ranging the conspiracy is. Take a look at the press release for the reports. We know it's an out and out lie when it begins with this:
STRONG EVIDENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE UNDERSCORES NEED FOR ACTIONS TO REDUCE EMISSIONS AND BEGIN ADAPTING TO IMPACTS
The only way this is even close to be true is if Climategate is ignored. And we all know Climategate completely shattered the illusion of a "clean" scientific method regarding so-called climate change with its manufactured facts and unreliable statistics.

Then there's this drivel:
The compelling case that climate change is occurring and is caused in large part by human activities is based on a strong, credible body of evidence, says Advancing the Science of Climate Change, one of the new reports. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never "closed," the report emphasizes that multiple lines of evidence support scientific understanding of climate change. The core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.
Credible evidence like that thoroughly debunked Hockey Stick, right? And what's this about the scientific process never being "closed"? The climate changers have been saying that it IS closed! Are they lying now or were they lying then? In either case they're socialist liars. And what about that last sentence? The questions have "stood firm in the face of serious debate"? Really? Then why won't Ozone Al debate Steven Milloy huh? Tell me that! You can't because they've stopped all debate. They're afraid of the truth. That's teh conspiracy.

This is the conspiracy. I'm the only one with guts enough to tell you. With a Democrat Congress and a Democrat White House there's a lot of MONEY to be made in the so-called "green" industries (did you know that Ozone Al is a billionaire from his investments in that crap? Now all he does is fly around the world in his private corporate jet spewing G-d only knows how much pollution in the air scaring YOU into sending more money into his "green" businesses so he can make more money. True story.). The Pentagon and the liberal elite academic scientists want to have their share of that money so they lie and tell us that the earth is warming up (it isn't - there was a mini warming period a thousand years ago and the sun goes through warming and cooling cycles - did you know that Mars is warming up too! Wow that global warming thing is soo powerful it can even warm other planets!).

I'm telling you. It's all a hoax. A socialist hoax intent on imposing a One World Guv'ment. Go listen to Quinn and Rose. They'll set your sorry lib-'rul ass straight.

May 19, 2010

Sorry! Comments are disappearing.

No, we haven't deleted any comments today. They're disappearing all on their own* (including at least one of mine).

We have a rather, um, liberal commenting policy. In over five years, I can count the number of comments deleted on one or two hands. This of course does not include commercial spam which we delete anytime we see it.

Sorry for the inconvenience! Hopefully Blogger will be back to normal soon.

* Note: We aren't completely ruling out some involvement by AG Tom Corbett. (That's a joke, Mr. Corbett. Please don't subpoena us!)

Thanks, Lynn!

One of the many reasons why I listen to Lynn Cullen @ Pittsburgh City Paper:

Today she read the names -- first names only -- of the winners in the news from yesterday's election in PA.

They were all male.

Pennsylvania is like some huge black hole wherein the light from women cannot escape when it comes to running for public office.

[sigh]

Something You May Have Missed

Yet another Social Conservative done in by his own inability to keep it in his pants.

What is it about these guys?

Anyway, this is what the Washington Post is reporting:
Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican known for his support of traditional family values, announced Tuesday that he will leave office, ending a tense week in which a key staffer confronted him with rumors about his alleged extramarital affair with a part-time aide.

Souder, who won Indiana's May 4 Republican primary, acknowledged to his chief of staff on May 12 that he was in a romantic relationship with Tracy Meadows Jackson, who has worked in various capacities in his district office. The allegations surfaced during the primary campaign when anonymous tipsters called Souder's aides and his opponent, according to sources familiar with the events.
More on Souder:
A self-described conservative and a Christian, Souder had focused on three areas since entering Congress: in his words, "how to keep the economy strong; how do we improve our education system; and how do we change the cultural and moral direction of this country."

Souder, 59, a pudgy man with an unruly shelf of gray hair, got high marks in his district for his evangelical beliefs. He received an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association and a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
So I am guessing that's a no on condom use while breaking the 7th Commandment.

On The Issues has some more interesting stuff on Souder.

But it gets better. Remember Tracy Meadows Jackson? This would be her interviewing the Congressman on the virtues of (you guessed it) abstinence:


What is it with these guys?

And, it hits me...

The realization that I'll have to do something that I've never done before: Vote for Dan Onorato.

Going back to bed.

May 18, 2010

Nancy Pelosi has last laugh

Nancy Pelosi has last laugh:

Critz beats Burns (and his magic buttons).

It's On! Sestak Vs. Toomey



Vs.

AP calls it for Joe Sestak!!!!

According to MSNBC:

AP CALLS IT FOR JOE SESTAK!


(Oh, yeah -- called it for Onorato a while back.)

Specter: "...you must be smoking dutch cleanser"

Witness Specter's "complete the danged fence"/things-your-great-grandpa-would-say moment:



Rand!

I agree with Rand Paul -- people should not rely on the government!

They should stand on their own two feet -- even if they don't have any!

People should rely on themselves! (Well, that and maybe their daddy's name.)

UPDATE: ...and he wins.

BASTA!

I wish I had kept track of all the Onorato robo calls I've received.

Earliest Returns

Blanche Lincoln loses by one vote...
...her own (missed one).

Hey, it could happen!

Bizarro World Slate Card!

In the Bizarro World of "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate hacks and DINOs! Us love real Democrats!

Here is us Bizarro World ACDC slate card:




US Senate
Joe Sestak!

PA Governor
Joe Hoeffel!

4th Congressional District
Jason Altmire Franco Dok Harris! (Write-in)

40th State Senatorial District
Dan DeMarco! (Write-in)

20th State House District
Adam Ravenstahl Tim Tuinstra!

36th State House District
Harry Readshaw Write in us own names!
.

May 17, 2010

Brother, can you spare a campaign slogan?

It's not too late to help out Snarlin' Arlen:

#SpecterCampaign Slogans


Samples:
tlw3: Are you better off than you were four score and seven years ago?

PaulaInTulsaOK: I Have A Coupon for Another Term!

PRTandWiseline: What Do You Want Me to Stand For Today?

White House Preparing for Specter Loss

Via The Hill:
CBS's Bob Schieffer says the White House is preparing for an Arlen Specter loss in Pennsylvania tomorrow.

"I have been told on background and so forth that the White House is preparing for a Specter loss here, and the White House doesn't want to be associated with that," Schieffer told a local CBS affiliate. (Video on the top right).

lol-ad

Well, he does wave around his gun and there's lots of shots of a horse's ass a random closeup of a horse's face, but at least no one is tortured:


More On Specter's Anti-Sestak Ads

From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:
So it's come to this: In a bid for conservative and rural Pennsylvania Dems, Arlen Specter is now using targeted ads to attack Joe Sestak for getting an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.

In a targeted way, Specter also seems to be touting his vote against the assault weapons ban -- a vote he took as a Republican. One wonders how this ad would play among urban Dems in Philadelphia -- if they ever were to hear about it.

Specter's assault on Sestak can be viewed in a Web ad on the site of the Washington Observer-Reporter, a paper in western Pennsylvania that presumably isn't widely read in Philly...[emphasis added.]
Talkingpointsmemo has this:
The ads are running on the websites of local papers in rural Pennsylvania, away from the eyes of the key Democratic voters in the cities that might not find the ads a persuasive message for Specter.
And:
What's more, Sestak's campaign is distributing a copy of another web ad they say Republicans used in 2008 against President Obama that also focused on the "F" rating from the NRA. The Sestak campaign calls the two web ads "strikingly similar."
So one wonders whether Senator Specter be telling Pennsylvania's Non-Philly and Non-Pittsburgh democrats that:
  • Congressman Sestak is bad because the NRA gave him an F
  • President Obama is bad because the NRA gave him an F
I mean, one should be consistent and all.

May 16, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday (Quick Note)

Jack, Jack, Jack... You have to do better than this, buddy!

In this week's column in the Post-Gazette Jack Kelly writes:
The same day Utah Republicans rejected Mr. Bennett, Utah Democrats forced their only member of Congress, Rep. Scott Matheson, into a primary. Liberals were upset with Mr. Matheson because he voted against Obamacare and carbon taxes.
Do I need to point out that the only Democratic member of the House from Utah is named Jim Matheson? His father was Scott Matheson, Sr. and his brother is Scott Matheson Jr.

Fact Check, Jack. Fact Check. You're making my job of making you look foolish a whole lot easier when you make simple avoidable mistakes like this one.

Isn't this two weeks in a row?

UPDATE: The P-G has corrected Jack's error. It now says Jim Matheson. But this is what it used to look like:

May 15, 2010

Sestak Rally Today


You can also phonebank for Joe from now until election day:
Time: May 4, 2010 at 9am to May 18, 2010 at 9pm
Location: Sestak for Senate Pittsburgh Field Office
Street: 4326 Butler Street
City/Town: Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Map
Phone:
412 533 1200
Event Type: phonebank

More On Craig Smith And The Trib's Conflict 'o Interest

It's not every week that's for sure but Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer, Craig Smith, can often times be found on the pages of the Trib's editorial page interviewing conservatives tied to institutions supported by the Trib's owner, Richard Mellon Scaife.

There is never a mention of the money trail in any of these interviews.

This week he revisits the Heritage Foundation (beneficiaries of about $24 million of Scaife Foundation money over the years) and it's Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy, former Attorney General Edwin Meese.

They're talking about Elena Kagan - but we'll get to that misinformation later. I wanna look at how entwined Meese is with Scaife money. I've already mentioned The Heritage Foundation.

According to the media transparency project over at mediamatters.com, Ed Meese was director of the Capital Research Center from 1998 to 2007.

Guess what?
  • The Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation gave a little over $2 million to the Capital Research Center while Ed Meese was its director.
  • The Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Carthage Foundation gave $225,000 to the Capital Research Center while Ed Meese was its director.
That's about $2.25 million by my count so far.

Again, according to mediamatters, Ed Meese was the Vice-Chairman or Treasurer (depending on the year) of the Landmark Legal Foundation from 1997 to 2007.

Guess what?
  • The Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Carthage Foundation gave $3.75 million to the Landmark Legal Foundation during those years.
  • The Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation gave $3.525 million to the Landmark Legal Foundation during those years.
That's a little more than $7.25 million by my count.

Then there's the $240,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation while Meese was director of the Mercatus Foundation ($80,000 each in 2006, 2007 and 2008).

So not counting the Heritage Foundation, there's more than $10 million in Scaife controlled money that's gone to institutions with heavy ties to former Attorney General Ed Meese.

And yet not a peep from Craig Smith about any of it in this interview.

Who says there's no vast right-wing conspiracy?

But let's look at that interview. There's a brief apophasistic moment in this Q&A:
Q: Questions have been raised about her sexual orientation. Do you think that will be an issue? Or should it be an issue?

A: I doubt it, I doubt it. I don't see why it should be.
So they get to raise the scary "L-word" by denying that it should be an issue. Sneaky, huh?

But then there's this:
Q: You've found some of the things she's written troubling. What bothers you?

A: Well, there are things that she has written about the court. She hasn't written much, to tell you the truth.

But ... she's had some statements about the First Amendment. I think she's written an article on the ability to censor speech that is what she calls ... hateful speech or improper speech.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the rightwing smear. Look at the framing of the charge: Meese "thinks" she's written an article on "the ability to censor speech." Who's ability? Does it actually say what he says it says? The point is, you can rest assured they want you to think it's another liberal guv'ment bureaucrat censoring conservative speech. That she's looking for ways to censor conservative speech.

Here's the article she wrote, by the way. All 106 pages of it. I wonder if Meese has even read it. I only say that because on page 17 she writes:
Consider the following snapshot of impermissible motives for speech restrictions. First, the government may not restrict expressive activities because it disagrees with or disapproves of the ideas espoused by the speaker; it may not act on the basis of a view of what is a true (or false) belief or a right (or wrong) opinion. Or, to say this in a slightly different way, the government cannot count as a harm, which it has a legitimate interest in preventing, that ideas it considers faulty or abhorrent enter the public dialogue and challenge the official understanding of acceptability or correctness. Second, though relatedly, the government may not restrict speech because the ideas espoused threaten officials' own self-interest-more particularly, their tenure in office. The government, to use the same construction as above, cannot count as a harm, which it has a legitimate interest in preventing, that speech may promote the removal of incumbent officeholders through the political process. Third, and as a corollary to these proscriptions, the government may not privilege either ideas it favors or ideas advancing its self-interest-for example, by exempting certain ideas from a general prohibition. Justice Scalia summarized these tenets in R.A.V.: "The government may not regulate [speech] based on hostility-or favoritism-towards the underlying message expressed."' [emphases added]
She quotes Scalia?? Does Ed Meese know that? Does Craig Smith? Does Richard Mellon Scaife?

May 14, 2010

TV Ad Depicts Cartoon Nancy Pelosi Being Tortured

Scenes from Right Change's
"The Attack of the 50-Foot Pelosi" TV Ad:





Have we become so inured to all the violent imagery and talk being directed towards Democrats that we can accept seeing a cartoon depiction of the Speaker of the House being hit multiple times with laser-like beams and writhing in pain in a TV ad and simply shrug it off?

The commercial is by a group called Right Change (Pittsburgh City Paper's Chris Potter has background on them here) and it's part of an $83,000 ad buy in the Pittsburgh and Johnstown media markets.

Titled "The Attack of the 50-Foot Pelosi," it's pro Republican Tim Burns in the special election race for the late US Rep. John Murtha's seat. According to Right Change, "The ad uses new technology for political ads with humor and cutting-edge animation."

I'm so glad that "new technology" was used to depict torturing (possibly to death) an elected official. I'm guessing that "humor" is to be found because it's an animated piece that has a (straw man) monster.

Of course there's nothing really new in describing a strong woman as a "monster." It's actually pretty old hat even by South Park standards (Barbra Streisand was made into a mechanical Godzilla-like monster on the show over a decade ago).

I'm guessing that it was deemed perfectly acceptable to depict Nancy Pelosi WRITHING AND SCREAMING IN PAIN because she is a "monster" from San Francisco.

Ha ha!

But I don't accept that.

What's next?

A cartoon Pelosi being shot with cartoon bullets spilling cartoon blood?

Would that be alright?

Is it somehow more acceptable to try to kill the Speaker of the House with magical Tim Burns buttons than with guns?

Can you imagine the uproar that would be had over an ad that had similarly depicted Sarah Palin (or even George Bush or Dick Cheney)?

Now here's where I fully admit that I have not personally seen this ad on the air and that I only heard about it because my sister, Gina, saw it aired multiple times on KDKA TV and she was floored by it and kept telling me to check it out.

I called KDKA today hoping to ask someone there what standards they had for the ads they run. (Obviously they have some standards. They wouldn't run ads that, say, contain nudity or profanity. )

Someone at the station had to view the ad and approve it. (I once knew a woman who worked for NBC whose sole job was to make sure that their ads didn't conflict with their network programming content -- no diet product ads after a story on famine, for example.)

I was eventually directed to a woman who I assume is in their advertising department who said that I could not quote her and who hung up on me. Nice! (Yes, I gave my full name and identified myself as a blogger.) She seemed to think that my beef should be solely with the ad agency and the account and not the station.

Well, I've been blogging for nearly six years now and in all that time and in all my Photoshops I have managed to somehow never depict an elected official -- or anyone else for that matter -- being lasered and screaming in pain, and yet a television station has no problems broadcasting this on the public airwaves.

If you have a problem with this -- if you haven't been numbed to the outrageousness of it -- maybe you might want to consider calling KDKA and telling them that it is not acceptable to torture any politician -- even a cartoon one -- in a television commercial.

Their switchboard number is: 412-575-2200 (It rings for a very long time).

UPDATED: Heard it (was out of the room) on WTAE TV (local ABC affiliate) this morning: Main desk at 412-242-4300, Email here

Caught part of it on WPXI TV (local NBC affiliate) last night: Phone: 412-237-1100
Finally, here's the full ad in all its gory:



UPDATE: I just saw it on air on KDKA (5/14/10, 4:44 PM).

UPDATE 2: Heard it (was out of the room) on WTAE TV (local ABC affiliate) this morning: Main desk at 412-242-4300, Email here

Caught part of it on WPXI TV (local NBC affiliate) last night: Phone: 412-237-1100

Saw it three times on KDKA TV on yesterday's afternoon news.

UPDATE 3: LINKS TO THIS POST:
Shakesville
"Oh My Aching Sides" (by Melissa McEwan)
A Spork in the Drawer "Not-So-Random Question" (by Spork Incident)
Crooks and Liars "Mike's Blog Roundup" (by Bluegal)
Politics Daily "Pelosi Takes the Heat: 'If I Were Not Effective They Wouldn't Care About Me'" (by Melinda Henneberger)
.

More On Altmire's Constitutional Mistake

Remember when Jason Altmire made nice with Joe Lieberman on citizenship?

The P-G Editorial Board has this to say about it this morning:
In criminal proceedings, citizens of the United States are guaranteed their rights by the Constitution. Any chipping away of this bedrock principle should invite alarm -- and never mind any high-minded excuse offered by the government, even if it involves national security.
And ends with:
In arguing for the change, Sen. Lieberman said, "We're fighting an enemy who doesn't wear the uniform of a conventional army or follow the law of war." True enough, but a murky situation is not helped by disrespecting the rights of citizenship.

Rep. Altmire said, "Individuals who actively support terrorist organizations dedicated to harming our nation do not deserve to enjoy the privileges of American citizenship." And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, head of the department that would judge Americans according to the overly broad words of this bill, said: "United States citizenship is a privilege -- it is not a right."

Memo to both: A driver's license is a privilege. Citizenship, whether attained by birth or naturalization, is sanctioned by the Constitution, the guarantor of the rights of citizens. That document does not have an asterisk on the people's rights saying, "Not applicable to alleged enemy combatants." This constitutionally dubious legislation promotes fear, not security.
The fact that, according to Talkingpointsmemo, no one is supporting this bill (not even the conservatives) shows how mistaken it was.
It's probably a safe bet that if House Republican Leader John Boehner backs away from a conservative, terrorism-related bill called "TEA," the legislation both goes too far, and isn't going anywhere.
And how much of a mistake it was for Altmire to support it.

The Scorecard: Sestak Vs. Specter

Joe Sestak has a new ad up comparing his record on the issues vs. how Republican Democrat Whatever Arlen Specter has voted.

As much as Dan Onorato's ads -- which dub him "The Democrat" in a race against three other Democrats in the gubernatorial primary -- bug me, Sestak actually is "The Democrat" when it comes to his party-as-a-convenience opponent in the US Senate Democratic primary race.

Here's the ad:


Here's a more lengthy, detailed scorecard from Sestak's website.

And, for all those women I know who have voted for Specter over the years because, for a Republican, he was decent on choice, NARAL and NOW have both endorsed Joe because he's better.

May 13, 2010

Power of 32 - This Weekend

It's always nice to chat with Selena Schmidt. Whip smart and funny, she's always (ALWAYS) got good things to say, good things to think about.

My chat with Selena the other day revolved around something called the "Power of 32." It's a political (though in a completely non-partisan sense) initiative covering the 31 counties surrounding Allegheny County (hence the "32") and this weekend, they're going to have a training camp of sorts downtown.

Here's the place:
Regional Enterprise Tower
425 Sixth Ave. – downtown
Friday – 23rd Floor
Saturday – 31st Floor

9 to 5 on Friday
9 to 3:30 on Saturday
So what is it all about?

From the initiative's website:
The Power of 32, launched in May 2009, is a two-year process to provide an opportunity for every resident of the 32-county, 4-state region to participate in creating a shared vision for the region's best future. The 32 counties included in the visioning project- fifteen in southwestern Pennsylvania, ten in northern West Virginia, five in eastern Ohio, and two in western Maryland - represent the economic region centered on metropolitan Pittsburgh.
For Selena, this means that the 32 counties when banded together can leverage the ideas and resources necessary to create a thriving region by 2025. It's an area, she says, that's bigger than Switzerland.

The first step, she says, is to find out what issues the people in those 32 counties think are important. That's the point of the training camp - to train people to go out into those communities to find out what's going on. Only when that's established, can solutions be found.

Here's the initiative's contact page. And if you see Selena, tell her I said hey.

Hoeffel in the House



Joe Hoeffel GOTV Rally in Pittsburgh Today

Date: Thursday, May 13, 2010
Time: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Schenley Park Skating Rink, Banquet Hall, 1 Overlook Drive, Pittsburgh PA

You can't make this stuff up

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan putting free tampons in the Harvard Law ladies' rooms proves she's a communist who must be stopped. [I believe it also proves she's a lesbian because, you know, they care about those kinds of things.]

(h/t to Spork)

It's a Two-fer!

On today's Tribune-Review editorial page.

First, there's this:
The Heritage Foundation calculates that the average electricity bill for a family of four would double, triple or even nearly quadruple under Al Gore's call for America to generate all electricity from renewable resources by 2018. Of course, it makes you wonder how much of a stake Mr. Gore has in renewable resource electricity generation, doesn't it?
Hmm. So how much of a stake does Richard Mellon Scaife, who owns the Tribune-Review and who controls three Scaife foundations who routinely give money to the Heritage Foundation?

About $24 million.

Then there's this:
The Commonwealth Foundation has unloaded on special interest groups that suckle at the taxpayer teat for denouncing "special interest" groups. In particular, the Harrisburg think tank cites groups that are "the emissaries" of Fast Eddie Rendell in attempting to tax, tax, tax the burgeoning Marcellus Shale industry above and beyond the taxes paid by other energy companies. It's the kind of turf-protecting politics that hangs a giant "STAY AWAY" sign on Pennsylvania.
And how much support has the Scaife controlled foundations unloaded on the Commonwealth Foundation over the years?

About $2 million.

Since it's a two-fer, does this circle jerk require both hands?

May 12, 2010

Sestak Rally in Pittsburgh

Yes, Mr. Potter, it's really happening.


Via the Sestak Campaign:
Joining his supporters this Saturday, May 15 at 1PM, Joe will thank them for their dedication to unseating longtime Republican Arlen Specter, and ask them to carry on their instrumental grassroots movement through Primary Day.

EVENT DETAILS

WHAT: Pittsburgh for Sestak Rally
WHO: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak
WHEN: Saturday, May 15 at 1 PM
WHERE: Leslie Park, 46th Street & Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Specter Thanks "Allegheny County Republicans" at Dem Event

The PA Democratic primary for US Senate in a nutshell:

Via KDKA:
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― One week before next Tuesday's primary election, Republican-turned Democrat U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter appeared before Allegheny County Democrats in Pittsburgh.

And, in a slip of the tongue, Specter thanked "Allegheny County Republicans" for supporting him.

Later, talking to reporters, Specter was asked about the gaffe.

"I think it's not unusual for anybody to misspeak from time to time," he quipped. "I'm not a television commentator. I'm not as smooth as you guys."
According to the video at the link, he thanked Republicans twice.

Hey! Here's an idea: If you're a Democrat, vote for a Democrat!

Teh Crazie - Alabama Style

From Talkingpointsmemo:
In Alabama, a state PAC recently went on the air with an ad attacking one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates for supporting the teaching of evolution in schools and for saying that parts of the Bible aren't true.

The candidate, Bradley Byrne, responded with a lengthy press release vehemently defending his belief in creationism and the infallible truth of the Bible.
The PAC, True Republican PAC, runs a website called "The Real Bradley Byrne" and it's a hoot. Here's the ad that criticizes him for saying, among other things, that "The Bible is only partially true" and that "Evolution...best describes the origins of life." Take a look:


And of course, to Bradley Burn, these aren't just "lies", they're "despicable lies." His campaign issued a press release explaining his positions on faith and the Bible. These are meant to reassure Alabama Republicans that he's an OK guy.
  • I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that every single word of it is true. From the earliest parts of this campaign, a paraphrased and incomplete parsing of my words have been knowingly used to insinuate that I believe something different than that. My faith is at the center of my life and my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord guides my every action.
  • As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God. As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state.
Who said teh crazie was confined to Sarah Palin?

May 11, 2010

Specter Obama/Bush Mashup

TPM has a mashup of Specter's Republican 2004 Bush ad and his Democratic 2010 Obama ad.


(Don't call it a comeback! Call it a remix.)

Burns' Lie Fest

I keep seeing this ad on my teevee and it (excuse the pun) burns me up every time.

How many lies can you spot?


Moreover, the entire theme of the ad is one huge lie as PA2010 pointed out the impossibility of repealing HCR last week.

Also, meant to mention that President Clinton will be stumping for Critz in Johnstown on Sunday. Details here.

Specter Ads: Déjà vu all over again

Talking Points Memo remarks on two remarably similar Arlen Specter ads:
Indoor rally? Check. Blue curtain backdrop? Check? U.S. and Pennsylvania flags in the background? Check. A President bounding on to the stage? Check.
See for yourself:

Bush 2004


Obama 2010

(h/t to Early Returns)


The Tribune-Reviews Response To Elena Kagan

From today's Trib Editorial Page:
The problems with Ms. Kagan, nominated by President Barack Obama on Monday to succeed the retiring John Paul Stevens, are, first, her limited real-world legal experience and, second, the fact that she doesn't even meet her own "threshold" test for being considered for the court.

Writing at National Review Online, legal scholar Ed Whelan notes that Kagan has been "a legal academic" for most of her career. The one-time Harvard Law School dean never had argued a case before becoming solicitor general last year. And Kagan really only practiced law for about two years, Mr. Whelan says.
Ok, then. Let's get the simple stuff out of the way before we move onto the subtle.

Who's Ed Whelan?

From the NRO website, we learn:
M. Edward Whelan III is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He directs EPPC’s program on The Constitution, the Courts, and the Culture. His areas of expertise include constitutional law and the judicial confirmation process.
He's also got a ton of experience in conservative judicial circles (clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, worked in Dubya's Office of Legal Council from just before 9/11 to when he joined EPPC and so on.) but it's the EPPC that I want to look at right now.

Guess who, according to the transparency project over at mediamatters.org, has gotten more than $3 million from Foundations controlled by Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife?

That's right, my friends. The Ethics and Public Policy Center.

$700,000 between 2005 and 2008 alone.

Doncha think that should have garnered a mention in the editorial?

The subtle is, perhaps, too subtle for Scaife's braintrust to handle. But I will try.

The braintrust starts out with this:
It's not that Elena Kagan never has been a judge that gives us cause to pause in considering her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. After all, William Rehnquist never sat on the bench before his nomination to the high court and he served with distinction as an associate justice and chief justice.
Remember that. But then moves on in the next paragraph to criticize her for not living up to "her own 'threshold' test".

So what's this "threshold" test? Luckily, Whelan gives us the answer. It's from a Law Review book review that Kagan wrote in 1995 where she's quoted:
It is an embarrassment that the President and Senate do not always insist, as a threshold requirement, that a nominee’s previous accomplishments evidence an ability not merely to handle but to master the “craft” aspects of being a judge.
But from the first paragraph of the editorial, the braintrust has already rejected that criticism (ie Renquist never "sat on the bench" before being nominated and they liked him, they really really liked him!) so what gives? They can't logically criticize Kagan for something they've already excused Rehnquist for.

Ergo the subtle. Happy Tuesday.

Really, you shouldn't have.

"Complete the danged fence"?!

Really, Sen. McCain. You should not have approved this message:


P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C.

May 10, 2010

Everyone Notices Sestak Pulling Ahead of Specter

While everyone is noticing that Joe Sestak is polling ahead of Arlen Specter (Talking Points Memo, Open Left, Plum Line, Pgh City Paper) and that Specter has a Kagan problem (AP, The Fix, Think Progress, P-G's Early Returns), Wonkette wins for funniest graphic:

Jack Kelly CORRECTION

Ah...

Somedays it all seems worthwhile.

Yesterday I posted this. In which I find an error in Jack Kelly's most recent column. He stated that the Times Square Bomber was a registered Democrat in Connecticut.

Problem? There's just no evidence that that's true - and even the right wing blog that started the story back has since pedaled on it. Jack, however, went ahead and used it anyway.

I summed it all up with this:
Note to my good friends at the P-G: THIS REQUIRES A CORRECTION/RETRACTION.

ON MONDAY.
Well, today (and that would be Monday) the P-G posted this:
Correction: This column originally described Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad as "a registered Democrat in Connecticut." Voter registration officials in Bridgeport and Shelton, the two communities in which Mr. Shahzad lived, say he was not registered to vote there.
Of course it would be a logical fallacy to automatically assume that my blog posting had anything to do with the P-G spanking Jack Kelly with a correction.

On the other hand, I'll be sporting a smug "I made them issue another correction on another Jack Kelly column" grin for the next few days.

If you can, you should be watching this

Councilor Natalia Rudiak is on my teevee right now really going at Public Safety and Emergency Management Director Michael Huss for not responding to her seven invitations to speak to her without cameras present.

:-D

Lena Horne (1917-2010)

From the Times (via the P-G):
Lena Horne, who was the first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer, died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital in New York. She was 92 and lived in Manhattan.
There was other stuff in the news this morning but this seemed the most important.

May 9, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's Sunday and so the P-G's Jack Kelly spins. And is caught in a HUGE mistake.

I am not sure where he's going with this week's column, however. I think it's something about how the media's PC and are unwilling to call a terrorist a terrorist or something like that.

Let's start with the big time mistake. It's been a while since Jack's made a doozy this big and maybe the crack team of Jack fact-checkers over there at the Blvd of the Allies just blinked and missed it. Truth is, they should have checked and they should have called Jack on it. Let's start:
MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer is bummed the man who put a car bomb in Times Square isn't a right winger.

"There was part of me that was hoping that this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country because there are a lot of people who want to use this terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or who come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way," she said on a radio show Tuesday.

Apparently, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also was bummed to learn the bomber was Faisal Shahzad, 30, a naturalized citizen of Pakistani extraction who is a registered Democrat in Connecticut.
It's in that last sentence. Media Matters has a postmortem on this particular lie. They say it's from the rightwing blog "Rightpundits" and they report that RightPundits has already backtracked on it. But let's start, as they say, at the beginning. At this post at freerepublic.com (time stamped at May 4 12:51 GMT or 8:51 AM Pittsburgh time), we read:
An Islamic terrorist named Faisal Shahzad is the Time Square bomber according to media reports. He is Muslim of Pakistani heritage with dual citizenship in the United States, a registered Democrat in the state of Connecticut who may be an Obama donor.
With a link back to Rightpundits.

If you go to Rightpundits now (Sunday morning at 9:55am) you'll see:
An Islamic terrorist named Faisal Shahzad is the Time Square bomber according to media reports. He is Muslim of Pakistani heritage with dual citizenship in the United States, recently naturalized as a U.S. citizen under the Obama administration’s lenient open door policy. We have been unable to confirm earlier reports of his voter registration status as a Democrat. [emphasis added.]
As the time stamp on the Mediamatters reporting is May 5 at 11:25 AM, we know that sometime in that twenty-one hour time period 4 days ago, Rightpundits backtracked on the story.

And yet Jack is presenting this as a fact this morning. Unless he is in the habit of writing his Sunday column 4 days in advance, Jack Kelly should have known that an important source of this story could not confirm it within a day of its first appearance and that lack of confirmation is still "live."

This may not be as bad as Jack's Van Jones column that got pulled/yanked/erased from the P-G website (but only at the P-G - not the Toledo Blade - and only after this blog deconstructed it) but it's still wrong as wrong can be.

Note to my good friends at the P-G: THIS REQUIRES A CORRECTION/RETRACTION.

ON MONDAY.


But let's look closer at what Theresa Brewer said. When we do we'll see how Jack very subtly misquotes her. First off if you were to listen to what she had to say, you'd hear that she wasn't "bummed" about about the identity of the Time Square (near) bomber. The word she used was "frustrated." Why? What would frustrate her? If the bomber turned out to be Muslim then that might mean more of a backlash against Muslim-Americans. She was not bummed because he was Muslim. Very subtle spin there. But a spin, nonetheless.

Then we get to Mayor Bloomberg.

Jack writes:
On Monday, Mr. Bloomberg told Katie Couric of CBS he thought the bomber was "homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda who doesn't like the health care bill or something."
Here's how CBS reports it:
Law enforcement officials don't know who left the Nissan Pathfinder behind, but at this point the Mayor believes the suspect acted alone.

"If I had to guess, twenty five cents, this would be exactly that," Bloomberg said. "Homegrown maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything."
As a rhetorical device he was offering an opposite counter-example to foreign terrorism (which would be domestic terrorism.) But in the end he said it "could be anything."

But Jack says the Mayor thought the bomber was a "homegrown." Which is, as it clearly doesn't represent reality, not true.

But the fun doesn't stop. Jack again:
When he learned the truth, Mayor Bloomberg did not apologize for his smear of people who don't like Obamacare. Instead, he smeared the people of New York City.

"We are not going to tolerate any backlash against Middle Easterners or Muslims in New York City," he said.
And, of course, the Mayor's "smear" turns out to be nothing of the sort. This is what the Mayor said:
We will not be intimidated by those who hate the freedoms that make the city and this country so great. The fact that so many people are out and about in Times Square today or just came from really shows that, and I want to make clear that we will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.

All of us live in this city, and among any group, there's always a few bad apples, but the people that live in the city are proud of the fact that this is the city that gives everybody from every place in the world an opportunity no matter what religion they practice, no matter where they or their parents came from. It's the city where you can practice your religion and say what you want to say and be in charge of your own destiny and we're going to keep it that way.

People from every corner of the world come and live here in the same buildings and the same neighborhoods and that's what makes this the greatest city on earth. We will continue to doing everything we possibly can to protect New Yorkers from terrorist attacks. We have, as you know, built the most comprehensive and sophisticated counter terrorism operation of any local police force in the world.
See the smear? Yea, neither did I. Jack did, though.

And this is just the first few paragraphs. I'd like to continue, but it's Mother's Day and the lovely wife and I have some lovely plans.

Ok - just one more. Jack writes:
[Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano has virtually banned the use of the word "terror" in her department. But calling an act of terror a "man-caused disaster" doesn't make it go away. It's hard to stop a terrorist if you deny his existence.
Which is , of course, why, when you go to the Homeland Security website, you'll see this page, titled "Responsibilities" and at the top of the list there's:
Guarding Against Terrorism
Yea, she's denying that terrorism exists.

Right.