We are the 99%

March 31, 2012

Santorum: First it was "blah" people, now he's called Obama a "government nig"

While Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum may be against them, if there ever was a candidate who needed a teleprompter, it's him!

You'll recall earlier this year when Lil Ricky had a problem with "blah" people:


Now he's called President Obama an "anti-war, government nig":


Lil Ricky, Dr. Freud is calling. Your slip is showing!

March 30, 2012

Announcement

I have some personal business to attend to and so my blogging will be reduced for a while.

I am sure that comes as a great relief to Jack Kelly, Richard Mellon Scaife and all my fans at the Tribune-Review, World Net Daily and the rest of the right wing noise machine.

In the mean time don't let them (however you define "them") bullshit you.  They're hoping you won't check their work - that's how they get away with it.

Check their work.

Make sure that what they say is true is actually, you know, true.

And if it's not, decontaminate the BS with smarts, snark and style.

Carry on.

If I win that $500,000,000 lottery today...

...I'm gonna get me one of those car elevators complete with its own lobbyist!

March 28, 2012

Hmm...They've Been Busy.

Remember our friends the Freedom From Religion Foundation?

They're the folks who're looking to get the New Kensington-Arnold school district to remove the (obviously unconstitutional) Ten Commandments Monument from school property.

(And if there's anyone who agrees with the FFRF and who actually lives IN New Kensington who is reading this, the FFRF wants to hear from you.)

But this isn't about that.  This is about the Pennsylvania House declaration of 2012 as "The Year of the Bible".

I didn't like it, thought it was unconstitutional (by both state and federal constitutions) and so, apparently, does the FFRF.


March 26, 2012

Photos and video from Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally in Pittsburgh

Here are photos and video from the Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally which was held today in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University (click on each photo to enlarge).


Photo by Kesha Silver


Photo by David Chang


Photo by Joy Sabl


Photo by Joy Sabl


Photo by Joy Sabl


Photo by Joy Sabl


Photo by Joy Sabl


Photo by Joy Sabl

Speakers included Brittany Claud, Ricky Burgess (Councilor Burgess' son) and Kimberly Ellis (Dr. Goddess) seen here:

Krugman Writes About ALEC

NYTimes Columnist writes about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council:
What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
Did you know that there are ALEC legislators here in Pennsylvania?

March 25, 2012

The Braintrust Never Fails...

From today's Tribune-Review:
It's outrageous to see some in the lamestream media characterize a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stopped a tyrannical EPA from running roughshod over property owners as being a great victory for corporations hellbent on destroying the environment.

But that's what happens when major media outlets gather their "intelligence" -- if not take their marching orders -- from the likes of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
This is funny coming from a paper owned by the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Foundation but that's another blog post.  Let's get to the real issue:

March 24, 2012

More On New Kensington's Monument

There's been more local news media coverage of the unconstitutional New Kensington Ten Commandments monument.

Nothing yet (as far as I can see) from the P-G, but the Trib's got a reporter, Michael Aubele, on the story.

Today he writes:
While separation of church and state proponents decry the existence of a Ten Commandments monument outside Valley High School, district officials are saying they won't kowtow to demands that it be removed.

That's at least not immediately. The officials said Solicitor Tony Vigilante -- who couldn't be reached for comment on Friday -- will review the issue.

"I personally believe the complaint is ludicrous," board President Bob Pallone said. "We as a district do not intend to take down the monument. We feel confident this is not a violation of church and state."
Except it is a violation.  But more of that in a second.

March 23, 2012

Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally - Monday in Pittsburgh

UPDATE: Photos and video from the rally here.


Trayvon Martin

Via Facebook (RSVP there):
Remembering Our Lost

Please join the Black Graduate Student Organization at Carnegie Mellon University as we rally for justice and remembrance of Trayvon Martin. THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND ALL UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN PITTSBURGH.

MARCH 26, 2012 12:30-1:30 PM ON THE LAWN (by the fence) of CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY. [map]

We seek justice, not only for his family and friends, but in honor of all racially profiled, stereotyped, and unjustly convicted citizens of this country, whose voices have long been suppressed and whose lives are often subject to overt discrimination and criminalization in a biased justice system.

[snip]

WE INVITE:

All students, community leaders and activists, and residents to come and discuss the role of ethnic/racial profiling, stereotypes, and judicial bias in perpetuating violence and against minority groups in the United States. ALL ARE WELCOME.

CHIME IN ON TWITTER: #TrayvonatCMU
I'm assuming that no one who reads this blog at this point is unfamiliar with the racially-motivated murder of Trayvon Martin and the police inaction and misactions in this case (David blogged on an aspect of it here). Think Progress has a good rundown of it here and the Huffington Post has a news page devoted to it here.

Sometimes there are issues and stories that I want to write about, but feel too overwhelmed to do so. This is one of those stories where I've collected dozens of links, but haven't managed to publish word one. I'm glad that I can post something positive -- a rally that I hope anyone who can will attend. I will be there. Also, if you haven't already, please sign the petition at change.org calling for justice -- there are currently over 1.5 million signatures. (I do believe that social networking is playing a positive role in bringing stories like this to the attention of the media and the masses and, more importantly, producing actual results.)



ALEC and The Castle Doctrine

Media Matters has an interesting post up regarding the recent killing of Trayvon Martin:
Legal experts have noted that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law may prevent George Zimmerman from ever being successfully prosecuted for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has claimed that he acted in self-defense, and court precedent indicates that the State has the heavy burden of disproving this in order to win a conviction.

Florida's statute on the use of force in self-defense is virtually identical to Section 1 of ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation as posted on the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). According to CMD, the model bill was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task in August 2005 -- just a few short months after it passed the Florida legislature -- and approved by its board of directors the following month.

Since the 2005 passage of Florida's law, similar statutes have been passed in 16 other states. [links and emphasis in original] 
You can probably guess where this is headed.  Here's a hint: Which of those "16 other states" do you think I care about right now?

A Follow-Up

I wanted to do a brief follow-up on yesterday's blog post.

In case you don't remember, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the New Kensington-Arnold School District about a Ten Commandments monument currently standing on school grounds.

Our friends at the Tribune-Review have picked up the story:
A Wisconsin-based atheist group wants officials to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the front of a New Kensington high school, claiming the display amounts to an "egregious" violation of the separation between church and state.

Freedom From Religion Foundation sent New Kensington-Arnold School District officials a letter this week asking them to remove the stone monument, which the New Kensington Eagles gave to the district more than a decade ago. It sits near the entrance to Valley High School's gymnasium.
And then two competing comments. The first in favor of the letter:
"From my view, this is an unsurprising letter given the law," said Vic Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union. "The Supreme Court decided on this more than 30 years ago."
And the second a bit more neutral:
"The court would have to consider whether or not the display represents the intent on the part of a public body -- the school district -- to promote religion," said Bruce Antkowiak, law professor at St. Vincent College.

Antkowiak noted a challenge to a Ten Commandments display at the state house in Austin, Texas, that ended with the Supreme Court ruling the display's significance was historical and not intended to advance a religious cause so it could remain.

"If this would go to litigation -- if they can't work something out -- I'm sure that's what the school board is going to be arguing -- that this is a matter of almost a historical anomaly and wasn't erected for the purpose of promoting any religious group or value," he said.
The only problem with using Can Orden V Perry (the case Antowiak cited above) is that Justice Breyer in his concurring opinion stated:
This case, moreover, is distinguishable from instances where the Court has found Ten Commandments displays impermissible. The display is not on the grounds of a public school, where, given the impressionability of the young, government must exercise particular care in separating church and state.
The monument still needs to be taken down.

March 22, 2012

Yea, This Needs To Be Moved.

(H/t to our friends at Steel City Skeptics):


(Full sized image can be seen here.)

This monument stands at the main entrance of a local public high school.  It needs to be moved.

Romney Camps' Etch A Sketch Flip-Flop


Via ABC News:
When his campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom was asked this morning on CNN how the GOP frontrunner would make the pivot to the general election, Fehrnstrom compared Romney's primary campaign to an Etch A Sketch, a gaffe that spread like wildfire to Romney's rival's stump speeches.

"Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch," Fehrnstrom told CNN's John Fugelsang. "You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again."

March 21, 2012

Watching The Trib Omit

I'll say it again - oh the stuff they leave out!

Take a look at this Editorial from today's Tribune-Review (by the way, it's titled "Ed the terrorist?":
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is so self-serving that he accepted apparently illegal payments for speeches supporting an Iranian-dissident organization that the State Department has listed as a terrorist group since 1997.

The Treasury Department has subpoenaed records related to payments that Mr. Rendell admits taking in exchange for advocating removal of the People's Mujahedeen of Iraq, aka Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), from State's terror-group list.

He denies wrongdoing and says he and his agent are cooperating. Yet a Treasury spokesman told The Washington Times that "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with or providing services to this group."
As always, when you peek into the details you'll see what Scaife's braintrust has decided you don't need to know.  From there you can decide for yourself their credibility.

March 20, 2012

Now THIS Is A Surprise

Take a look at this from the Tribune-Review. It's from today's Tuesday Takes:
The voice of Luke: We see nothing wrong with KDKA radio giving Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and his spokeswoman, Joanna Doven, three hours of free air time Friday last. That is, if the station gives all of Mr. Ravenstahl's challengers in next year's mayoral election equal time. If not, it should send the mayor a bill for a three-hour campaign commercial.
This is not about the Mayor as I am not a supporter.  Beyond that, it's simply surprising to read such a subtle defense of the Fairness Doctrine coming from the pages of the city's conservative paper.

What is the Fairness Doctrine, you ask?  The Huffingtonpost describes it as:
Imposed in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine mandated that the scarcity of media resources made it necessary that FCC license holders allow competing points of view to have equal time and access.
Hmmm...demanding that KDKA give equal time to the mayor's political challengers.  Sounds like the fairness doctrine to me.

That is surprising, isn't it?

Sally Kalson's Modest Proposal


An idea whose time has come. Guys, this one's for you:
"I solemnly swear to abstain from sexual intercourse with any and all human females, paid or unpaid, regardless of age, ethnicity, national origin and marital status, including my own wife, who hasn't let me near her anyway since this whole birth control thing began.

"I further swear to hold my sperm sacred for its zygote-creating potential and to account for every single one my body produces, verified by monthly tests and exams.

"My employer has the right to question me and see the test results, in order to avoid providing medical coverage for behavior he finds morally objectionable."
Read Kalson's entire article here.

March 19, 2012

Tracking Teh Crazie

In the past couple of days, these things have happened in this order:
  • President Obama signed an executive order on Friday
  • Some of the wingnuts went crazy because of it on Saturday
  • Some other wingnuts said, "Eh...not so much." on Sunday
First here's the Executive Order.  Then teh crazie.

March 16, 2012

Patrick Murphy calls for Corbett to apologize to PA women

Via Murphy for PA:
“It’s bad enough that Governor Corbett wants to force women to get an unnecessary and invasive procedure as a means of getting a government permission slip to undergo legal medical care. It’s worse yet that he wants to shame them by shoving an ultrasound screen in their face. But it’s unthinkable that he would so casually dismiss this by advising women to just close their eyes. Governor Corbett’s comments are disturbingly offensive, insensitive, and out of touch. He should apologize immediately.” Murphy said. “As I have said before, this legislation is an outrageous assault on women’s rights in Pennsylvania and an unprecedented intrusion into decisions that should be made exclusively between a woman and her doctor. The proposal is demeaning, mean spirited and wrong. There is no legal justification for forcing a woman to undergo an invasive ultrasound, and after careful analysis, I believe that no reasonable arguments can be made to support the Constitutionality of this bill. As Attorney General, I could not defend it against a Constitutional challenge.”
Murphy is running for Corbett's old PA Attorney General seat.

If you agree that Corbett should apologize, sign the petition here.

Gov. Corbett to PA Women on Mandatory Ultrasounds: "You just have to close your eyes"

Gov. Tom Corbett's (R-PA) advice to Pennsylvania women on PA HB 1077 which would have required women seeking an abortion to have medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasounds (which has thankfully been tabled for now):

Via Think Progress: QUESTION: Making them watch…does that go too far in your mind?

CORBETT: I’m not making anybody watch, OK. Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.

Hmmm, "just close your eyes." Kind of like the approach he took to the child rape investigation of Jerry Sandusky while he was state Attorney General.

Tony Norman And Chris Potter Agree!

I know both these guys.  I've had beer with both these guys.  Both were invited to my wedding (though only one had the decency to show - coughyerdeadtomenowpottercough).  And so I think I can say that they agree on many things.

But when both write about the same topic at their respective papers in the same week, something big is happening.

It's Voter ID time!

March 15, 2012

Obama Derangement Syndrome - Trib Style

From today's Thursday Wrap:
And speaking of Mr. Obama, the commander in chief told a Denver TV station that he's "proud generally" of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Now there's a stand-up guy. We suppose his supporters, based on the latest polls, are no less proud, generally, of him.
As with everything else on Scaife's editorial page, what the braintrust leaves out tells us much more than what it decides you should read.

March 14, 2012

James O'Keefe's Voter Fraud Fraud

WND (aka Crazie Central) is on the story:
James O’Keefe and Project Veritas are demonstrating once again how easy it is to perpetrate voter fraud in states that do not require voters to show photo identification.

Last week, O’Keefe and his team went to Vermont and had no trouble getting ballots for both living and dead voters.
Really, last week?

That's just one questionable claim by WND and O'Keefe.

NON-Political Announcement

There may be a few (or more than a few) out there who don't know that I am a trumpet player.

Well a few months ago, I was asked to be a part of the brass section of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra (they have a facebook page, too)  It's a great group of people and I have a lot of fun rehearsing and playing in the concerts.

Which brings me to this: THERE'S A CONCERT ON MARCH 31.

Here's the program:
Mandarin's Son Overture by C.Cui
Violin Concerto #5 by H. Vieuxtemps with Elaine Kang
Symphony No.5 by P. Tchaikovsky
A special note to all my blogger friends in the area (and Ginny, I am including you in this, even though we still haven't officially met) drop me an email.  If you write something about the concert beforehand, I'll see what I can do about hooking you up with some tickets.

Blog for Sister Supplies


On the Spot is a local organization which provides menstrual products to girls in local public schools. Many local students do not have access to proper menstrual products for various reasons, including economic hardship and disrupted family situations. Teachers, nurses and administrators at the schools do their best to provide the products, but pay for them out of their own pockets. Even more heartbreaking, young girls stay home from school while menstruating. Think these products are covered under food stamps? They aren't!

This month, On the Spot is teaming up with The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project to help out these girls. They're asking that you donate menstrual products in a tote bag and bring it to one of the many drop-off spots (see here). Here's some suggestions on what to stock in the bag:
  • Box of pads, any size. Variety is good. Special need for pads designed for young girls.
  • Box of tampons, any size. Variety is good.
  • Panty liners, any variety. Unscented is best.
  • New reusable products are welcome, too. If we can give women choices, that’s good.
  • New or gently used tote bags. Backpacks also useful.
  • Sample and trials are fine as long as they are sealed.
  • And, please check here and here for more ways that you can help!

    March 13, 2012

    Conservative Ignorance Down South

    Along with the expected political poll data (which seems to change even quicker than usual in the GOP primary race these days) PPP produced some troubling numbers about our conservative friends down south.

    On Evolution.  Yes, EVOLUTION.  Scientific ignorance is a serious problem down south.

    Syndicator for Rush Limbaugh Suspends All National Ads For Two Weeks

    After reporting that the total number of companies to drop their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh Show was up to 140 earlier yesterday, Think Progress announced that Rush's syndicator was suspending all national advertising for two weeks:
    Radio-Info.com reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates in exchange for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads are called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates.
    Looks like when Rushbo slandered Sandra Fluke -- and by extension, the vast majority of women in this country -- he bit off a little more than he could chew.
    Not Safe for Work:

    Hillary Clinton on Extremists: "They all want to control women"


    (Longer remarks here)
    Transcript: "Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim -- they all want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and our own bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home, we have to stand up for women's rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us because America needs to set an example for the entire world."
    Via USA Today:
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waded into the debate over women's rights, warning a global audience that "extremists" are out to control women.

    Clinton's remarks to the Women in the World Summit come as Democrats and Republicans fight over issues such as access to birth control.
    Thank you, Hillary!

    March 12, 2012

    Why Arguments By Analogy Are Tricky

    In her column today, P-G columnist Ruth Ann Dailey argues by analogy - badly.

    She's talking again about contraception and religious liberty.  And in the process sets up a strawman argument.

    Let's take a look.  She sets up the strawman.  First the frame:
    Let's say you're a pacifist, and you belong to a pacifist religious organization. Maybe it's the Mennonite Central Committee, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi or any of numerous Quaker groups.
    And then the conflict:
    Let's say your organization needs a new staffer and you hire me because I'm a perfect fit for the job and an all-around wonderful human being.

    Imagine that at some point during my tenure with your organization, a right-wing president and Congress so advance the cause of a citizen militia, as it existed in the Founders' day, that a law is passed mandating employers to provide employees with free guns if the employees wish to have them.

    And I do!

    Unbeknownst to you, I feel strongly about the Second Amendment. I believe it's necessary to my personal safety and well-being to bear arms, but the weapons and ammunition I need to exercise this right can get quite expensive. It would be very helpful to my budget to get them for free.
    There's two references in there of employees getting the weapons for free.  She keeps going:
    There is much public controversy over this new legislation, of course, and you, my pacifist employer, are among its most outspoken opponents.

    "I have the right to own a weapon," I remind you, "and it's so fundamental a right that it should be part of the terms of my employment."

    "But a central tenet of our organization is that using weapons is wrong," you say. "Buying you a weapon violates our doctrine and therefore our constitutional right to the free exercise of religion."

    "But I have a constitutional right to bear arms."

    "Yes, you do, but we should have no obligation to buy them for you."
    There it is again. The employer buying birth control for the employee - not that the insurance company has to cover contraception in its health benefits.

    Guns are property.  Health care isn't.  Her analogy fails right there.

    Besides that, Dailey's argument falls flat because she's assuming that her strawman pacifist organization can deny such coverage.

    But if it's the law, it can't.  Religious conscience is no get out of jail free card.  Who says?

    Antonin Scalia and the US Supreme Court:
    We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs [494 U.S. 872, 879] excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate.
    And:
    We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. "Laws," we said, "are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself." Id., at 166-167.

    Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a "valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes)."
    Better luck next time, Ruth Ann.

    March 11, 2012

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    It's Sunday and thus Jack Kelly's got another column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    This week, he's distorting the Administration's energy policy.  Of course, he's not even that original when he does it.  Take a look at his P-K4:
    Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Steven Chu, now the energy secretary, said in a 2008 interview with the Wall Street Journal.

    A gallon of regular costs more than $8 there. The Oil Price Information Service thinks the average price here will rise to $4.25 a gallon by the end of April. That would exceed the record of $4.11, set in July 2008.

    A gallon of regular cost just $1.85 the day before President Barack Obama was inaugurated. If the price were to double again during a second Obama term, Mr. Chu's goal could be achieved.
    Politico has already dealt with Chu's 2008 remark and it's political use by republicans:
    President Barack Obama’s Energy secretary unwittingly created a durable GOP talking point in September 2008 when he talked to The Wall Street Journal about the benefits of having gasoline prices rise over 15 years to encourage energy efficiency.

    “Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

    Chu, a Nobel-winning physicist and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was not yet a member of the not-yet-in-existence Obama administration. But Republican politicians and conservative pundits have seized on his words as evidence that the White House is deliberately driving gasoline prices higher — ensuring that Chu’s remarks are the energy policy sound bite that will not die. [emphasis added.]
    Then there's this from the same Politico piece:
    The popularity of Chu’s now-infamous quotation tends to track the rise and fall of gas prices: It enjoyed a huge surge of attention last spring and summer before largely vanishing from view in the fall, leading up to this month’s renaissance, according to the LexisNexis database.

    Never mind that some energy experts say Chu had it exactly right, and that higher fuel prices would encourage consumers to buy more efficient vehicles, discourage suburban sprawl, make renewables more competitive and reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil. Not even Chu’s department is making that argument these days.

    "As he has consistently said, Secretary Chu understands how much high global oil prices can affect families at the gas pump,” DOE spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said Tuesday. She said long-term relief will come from strategies like the administration’s drive for higher fuel-efficiency standards in vehicles, which will slash oil consumption and “save families $1.7 trillion at the pump.”
    As with most anything Jack writes, once you discover the context of the facts/quotations he's using in whatever assertion he's trying to make, the argument he's constructed out of those facts becomes less and less valid.  For example, the "doubling of gas prices" argument.

    What Jack (and a host of other conservatives) leave out is why the price of gas was $1.83 at the time of the Obama Inauguration.

    Anyone remember the Bush recession?  The economy that Obama inherited was trashed and oil and gas prices took a tumble.  How much of a tumble?  Take a look at this chart from the Federal Reserve in St Louis (h/t to Mediamatters):


    Oh, the stuff Jack leaves out!  Which brings us to Jack's next omission:
    Sen. Obama expressed little concern when the price of gas was approaching the current record high.

    "I would have preferred a more gradual adjustment," he told CNBC in a June 2008 interview. "But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment ... then I think we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy."
    I want you to reread those last two paragraphs.  Obama expressed little concern, Jack writes and adds one ellipsis to mark the one place he omitted text.

    Now let's take a look at that interview.  The transcript is from CNBC:
    [JOHN] HARWOOD: So could these high prices help us?

    Sen. OBAMA: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly US automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.[emphasis added]
    I bolded and italicized the text Jack didn't feel you needed to see.  I'd think that omitting the part where Obama says the high prices are a "shock" and "not a good thing" in order to assert that he "expressed little concern" is enough to hoist Jack Kelly to the Breitbart levels of quotational dishonesty.

    I'll ask it yet again, isn't anyone at the P-G peeking over Jack's shoulder when he does things like this?  Such a manipulation kinda, y'know, completely discredits whatever follows.

    I've emailed David Schribman Shribman about Jack's dishonesty but so far have yet to receive any sort of response.

    UPDATE: Apologies for misspelling David Shribman's name (see DRoddy's comment below). I should have been more careful - especially in a Jack Kelly blog post

    March 8, 2012

    Tracking Teh Crazie - WND On That Breitbart-Obama Video

    Read teh crazie here:
    Video footage of President Obama during his college years at Harvard University was intentionally suppressed by news media and academia during the 2008 presidential campaign in order to hide Obama’s connections with radical leftists, according to the editors of Breitbart.com, the website of late conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

    Tapes of Obama at Harvard in 1991 have now been posted online and aired on the Fox News Channel, and they show then–student Obama speaking warmly on behalf of a leftist professor, Derrick Bell.

    “Open up your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell,” Obama says during his speech before hugging him.

    The embrace between the pair had been edited out of a video that was released earlier in the day by Buzzfeed. (Video of the embrace can be seen here.)

    “This is just the beginning. And this video is a smoking gun showing that Barack Obama not only associated with radicals, he was their advocate,” said Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro.

    Referring to Professor Bell, Shapiro explained, “This is a close associate of [controversial Obama Rev.] Jeremiah Wright, a man who was quoted by Jeremiah Wright regularly. This is a man who posited that the civil rights movement was too moderate because it accepted the status quo, and believed that the entire legal and constitutional system had to be transformed in radical fashion. This is a man so extreme that, as we’ve reported, he wrote a story in 1993 in which he posited that white Americans would sell black Americans into slavery to aliens to relieve the national debt, and that Jews would go along with it.”
    Selling black Americans to aliens to relieve the national debt?? What the heck is that all about?  Once you see the details and how WND/Breitbart is manipulating them, you'll see how empty this story is.

    March 7, 2012

    Context Is Everything

    Take, for example, this op-ed from today's Tribune-Review.  Scaife's braintrust defends Rush Limbaugh by, in effect, saying "hey, the libs do it too!

    But by removing the context (or imposing their own) they, in effect, invalidate their own argument.

    For example:
    Even with an apology, a plethora of "progressives" continue to be up in arms over Rush Limbaugh employing the absurd to expose the absurd -- in this case, advocacy for at-whim government suspension of freedom of religion.
    Really? THAT'S why he called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute and said that she should post sex tapes so the tax payers can watch her use the contraceptives "they" paid for?  It was about "at-whim government suspension of freedom of religion"?  That's simply absurd.  Even for Scaife's braintrust.

    March 5, 2012

    Fact-Checking Ruth Ann Dailey

    The P-G's Ruth Ann Dailey has a column out today about Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke and birth control.  It has the expected right wing nonsense and some unexpected Limbaugh bashing.  But for the fact fetishists, we have to begin with this passage.   She asserts that :
    In an age of one-minute network news stories and cable television's distortion-as-debate, the nuance of shared principle but different practice would be lost, and all the big, bad Puritans and Inquisition throwbacks would be melded into one scary, woman-hating monster.

    As Mr. Limbaugh himself had pointed out, that's exactly what the White House wanted. It can't defend its economic record -- the recession and jobless numbers now belong solely to Mr. Obama -- so it needed to shift the campaign focus to social values.
    Take a look at the unfacts slipped in, ever so gently, into that second paragraph.  She's trying to get you to think that all that bad news (recession, high unemployment) is the fault of the current administration.  We'll take them one at a time to see how she's misleading you, her loyal reading public.

    March 4, 2012

    A Brief Note RE: The Trib

    From the beginning of one of today's op-eds:
    How can Pennsylvania add jobs and boost its economy? The Tax Foundation says that's elementary -- lift the crushing tax burden on businesses.

    The nonpartisan research group's study, billed as a "landmark, apples-to-apples comparison" of state and local taxes, says Pennsylvania's overall tax burden is heaviest among the 50 states on mature businesses, retailers, research-and-development centers and corporate headquarters.
    Nonpartisan?  That's not what Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the National Review, said just last November:
    The Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, has estimated how many people paid income taxes each year going back to 1950.
    See?

    By the way, according to mediamatters, two Scaife foundations (Carthage and Sarah Scaife) have given more than a million dollars to the "nonpartisan" Tax Foundation over the years.  Perhaps that should have been mentioned somewhere in the Trib's editorial.

    Oh, those two Scaife foundations have given more to the Tax Foundation than the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and Exxon Mobil combined.

    Nonpartisan?  Really?

    March 3, 2012

    Two local boobs on the wrong side of history


    Just in time for Women's History month, PA's Forced Ultrasound Bill and The Blunt Amendment allowing any employer to deny birth control coverage any insurance coverage requirement on moral whims objections both went down in flames. One would be tempted to decry Republicans again and their relentless War on Women, but we can't ignore the Democratic douchebags are who foot soldiers in this war too.

    The Trouble With Harry

    PA State Rep. Harry A. Readshaw (D, PA-36) not only cosponsored the odious Forced Ultrasound (Rape by Any Other Name) Bill, he was completely out of line when replying to a constituents' letter to him about it (blogger Amadi). He began his thoroughly condescending letter to her by addressing her by her first name only. He proceeds to divulge his daughter's private medical condition as a part of his argument and concludes by letting Amadi know that he's looked up her voting record. Amadi also notes that the letter is handwritten -- perhaps to ensure that there is no digital trail (I guess he neglected to find in his inquiries that she is a popular blogger). Please read her account of it here, including a photo of his correspondence). I'm embarrassed to add that he is also my Rep.

    What's the Matter With Bob?

    Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) was one of only three Democratic US Senators to vote against killing the Blunt Amendment. One must suppose that he favored it on the basis of his Catholic faith -- even though it was so broad as to allow employers to willy-nilly ignore any insurance coverage requirement (and as noted by Sen. Barbara Boxer, allow insurance companies free rein to deny coverage on "moral" grounds as well -- like that wouldn't be abused). Here's Obama for America's take on the bill, Bob:


    (Click to enlarge)

    Hey! Wait a minute? Doesn't Bob work for us? I think we should all vote on what health care coverage we want to deny him. Please be as arbitrary and capricious as you like! Also, I agree with Marcy Wheeler that Bobby (as someone who's been on the public dole for many years) needs to disclose to us, his employers, details as to what his history of reproductive choice has been, including details on what kinds of birth control he and his wife have used and who paid for it, as well as whether he's used erectile dysfunction drugs, and who paid for it. It's only fair! After all, employers have a right to have a say in these matters.

    March 2, 2012

    Song of the Day



    Somewhere, Marcia Brady is still crying inconsolably.

    Local Member of Congress Embarrasses Himself

    This time it's Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA).

    From the Maddow Blog:
    And in an unfortunate exchange during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on contraception, a confused Republican congressman, Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, falsely accused HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of lying about the administration's policy, and argued that understanding whether the morning-after pill is an abortification is a "religious" question, not a scientific one.
    Embarrassingly, to Murphy religious opinion trumps science.

    March 1, 2012

    Tracking Teh Crazie

    The Racist Birthers -

    This from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
    An Alaska man who is challenging President Barack Obama’s eligibility for office on the grounds that the president is a “mulatto” based his complaint on an argument common to the neo-Confederate and antigovernment “sovereign citizen” movements, Hatewatch has learned.

    In a complaint filed Tuesday with the Alaska Division of Elections, Gordon Warren Epperly of Juneau argued that Obama isn’t eligible for office because, as a person of mixed-race descent, he is not a “natural-born citizen” of the United States.

    “As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the ‘Mulatto’ race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the (purported) ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘Mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution,” the complaint says. “As the Fourteenth Amendment is only a grant of ‘Civil Rights’ and not a grant of ‘Political Rights,’ Barack Hussein Obama II does not have any ‘Political Rights’ under any provision of the United States Constitution to hold any Public Office of the United States government.”
    The Anti-Semitic Holocaust Deniers -

    This from The Oak Lawn Patch:
    A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary says the “Holocaust never happened.”

    Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family-friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

    “As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.

    "The more survivors, the more lies that are told."
    And the (at best) Racially Ignorant -

    This from The Great Falls Tribune:
    Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Wednesday admitted to sending a racially charged email about President Barack Obama from his courthouse chambers.

    Cebull, of Billings, was nominated by former President George W. Bush and received his commission in 2001 and has served as chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008.

    The subject line of the email, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse email address on Feb. 20 at 3:42 p.m., reads: "A MOM'S MEMORY."

    The forwarded text reads as follow:

    "Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

    "A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?'" the email joke reads. "His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"
    Though to be fair to Judge Cebull, he's already apologized for the joke, though his apology seems to miss the point:
    "The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," Cebull said. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama."
    Um, what? So sending the email is not a racist act even though he's admitted the email itself is racist?

    And we wonder why the political climate is so polarized.