Prosecute the torture.

May 31, 2012

Factcheck.org fact checks Crossroads GPS

And finds some "dishonest nonsense."

Here's the ad - (I've seen it a few times here in Pennsylvania):


And the part they find dishonestly nonsensical?

This part:
The ad — titled “Obama’s Promise” — lists several pledges that it claims the president has broken. The worst distortion it contains — one we haven’t addressed in this campaign — is an almost entirely groundless assertion that he broke his often-repeated promise not to raise taxes on persons making less than $200,000 a year, or couples making less than $250,000.

The ad shows Obama saying in a 2008 campaign speech, “If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up.” Then, to the sound of shattering glass, the narrator says, “Broken! Obamacare raises 18 different taxes.”
Factcheck:
Only a few of the tax changes in the new health care law will fall on families making under $250,000 a year, or individuals making less than $200,000 for that matter. And they make up only a small part of the $503 billion figure that appears on screen. That 10-year total falls overwhelmingly on individuals who are above those income thresholds — just as Obama promised — or on corporations. Money to be collected from individuals regardless of income would come mostly from taxes (or penalties) that are not yet in effect.

The truth here is that Obama has lowered taxes for all workers through a 2 percentage point reduction in the Social Security payroll tax that started in 2011 and is scheduled to continue through the end of 2012. The cut is equal to $1,000 this year for a worker making $50,000 a year — or as much as $2,202 to any worker earning at least the maximum taxable level of wages or salary ($110,100 for 2012). [empahsis in original.]
And this is factcheck.org we're talking here.

May 30, 2012

Venture Capitalist Mitt Romney Outspends all Contenders to Acquire Republican Presidential Nomination


Venture capitalist, Mitt Romney, outspent all other contenders to secure the nomination as the Republican candidate for president of the USA Corporation. Romney is expected to spend 1 billion dollars in an attempt to buy the general election in November. If successful, his plans are to dismantle the country and sell it for parts.

Former GOP CEO, John McCain, noted of the buyout that, "the free enterprise system can be cruel."

Um...A Question For Mark Madden

I've been wondering this for some time.  And this story brought it front and center this morning:
Jerry Sandusky attended a closed-door meeting with the judge in his child sexual abuse case Tuesday, and four of his accusers made formal requests for anonymity, a day before what could be the final hearing before the start of trial.

The topic of the previously unannounced meeting -- which included Sandusky's lawyer and prosecutors -- wasn't clear, and participants declined to comment afterward.

Judge John Cleland has not ruled on a pending defense request to have charges dismissed. Jury selection from a pool of State College-area residents is expected to begin June 5.

Sandusky, 68, a retired assistant football coach at Penn State, faces 52 criminal counts. Prosecutors say he sexually abused 10 boys over 15 years, allegations he has repeatedly denied.
And so on.

What I've been wondering about this story:
In April, Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden wrote a story revealing Penn State for much of the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's alleged child rape that has been exposed in the past week. While it didn't raise many eyebrows back then, six months later it looks to be incredibly accurate.

On Thursday morning, just hours after legendary head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were fired by the school's board of trustees, Madden was asked on WEEI's The Dennis and Callahan Show what he believes the next piece of news will be.

What he said was twice as shocking as anything that's been released thus far.

"I can give you a rumor and I can give you something I think might happen," Madden told John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. "I hear there's a rumor that there will be a more shocking development from the Second Mile Foundation -- and hold on to your stomachs, boys, this is gross, I will use the only language I can -- that Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors. That was being investigated by two prominent columnists even as I speak."

After the news spread, Madden later explained via Twitter why he went public with the rumors.

"I normally abhor giving RUMORS credence," Madden wrote. "But whole Sandusky scandal started out as a RUMOR. It gets deeper and more disgusting all the time. One of state's top columnists investigating. That adds credence. I am NOT rumor's original source. [Why does] Sandusky deserve benefit of doubt?"
What ever happened to that story, Mark? That RUMOR you helped spread?

I mean, here's the finding of facts from the Grand Jury investigating the serial raping.  Where's the mention of the pimping?

Have you ever corrected yourself in public on this, Mark?  I haven't found it.  Have you ever explained why your pimping story never got any traction?

By the way, this is not about Jerry Sandusky.  What he's alleged to have done is beyond reprehensible.

But this is about you, Mark.  Either your "sources" were playing you, feeding you info that wasn't solid or you were just making it up.  In either case, your "credibility" (whatever's left of it) should have taken a hit on this.

All that being said, why is Mark Madden still on the air?

May 29, 2012

File this under: Nothing good ever came out of Florida

#2 worst thing to happen there lately: Zombie Apocalypse in Miami over holiday weekend.

#1 worst thing: This is happening now across the state.

Not That I'll Matter To The Rock-Brained Crowd

But recently two prominent members of the (for lack of a better term) "old-right" have come out and criticized what's become of the GOP.

First we go to Senator Alan K Simpson.  A former senator from the redder than the usual red red state of Wyoming, his conservative credentials need no verification.  However, in on CNN when asked about how his party voted down the Simpson-Bowles budget proposal, he responded:
Well, I think my party and I have different views on a lot of things. I guess I'm known as a "rhino" (sic) now, which means a Republican in name only because I guess of social views perhaps or common sense would be another one which seems to escape members of our party.

Abortion is a horrible thing, but, for heaven's sakes, a deeply intimate and personal decision and men legislators shouldn't even vote on it. Gay-lesbian issues, we're all human beings. We're all God's children. What is that?

And for heaven's sakes, you have Grover Norquist wandering the Earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he'll defeat you. He can't murder you, he can't burn your house, the only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection.

And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we're in extremity, you shouldn't even be in Congress.
And there's this. When asked for more specificity regarding Representative Paul Ryan and the details of the proposal, Simpson added:
This is madness. If you want to be a purest(sic), go somewhere on a mountain top and praise the east or something, but if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise and you learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won't compromise and I'll show you a guy with rock for brains.
Let's summarize: On choice, it's "a horrible thing" but a personal decision, on LGBT issues, all human beings are equal.  And for that alone (even before we discuss his Norquist heresy), he'd find very few friends in today's GOP.

Then there's Michael Fumento. As his website points out,
Mr. Fumento has been a fellow with Hudson Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, Consumer Alert, and was the 1994 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, all based in Washington, D.C.
So his conservative credentials are solid as well.  And yet, he wrote this for Salon.com. Responding to a "rocks for brains" attack on climate science by the Heartland INstitute, he wrote:
This is nuts! Literally. As in “mass hysteria.” That’s a phenomenon I wrote about for a quarter-century, from the heterosexual AIDS “epidemic” to the swine flu “pandemic” that killed vastly fewer people than seasonal flu, to “runaway Toyotas.” Mass hysteria is when a large segment of society loses touch with reality, or goes bonkers, if you will, on a given issue – like believing that an incredibly mild strain of flu could kill eight times as many Americans as normal seasonal flu. (It killed about a third as many.)

I was always way ahead of the curve. And my exposés primarily appeared in right-wing publications. Back when they were interested in serious research. I also founded a conservative college newspaper, held positions in the Reagan administration and at several conservative think tanks, and published five books that conservatives applauded. I’ve written for umpteen major conservative publications – National Review, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, among them.

But no longer. That was the old right. The last thing hysteria promoters want is calm, reasoned argument backed by facts. And I’m horrified that these people have co-opted the name “conservative” to scream their messages of hate and anger. [links and italics in original]
All this reminds me of something George Orwell said:
Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
The New GOP - unconscious, rock-headed, nuts.  And that's not me talking, that's Alan Simpson and Michael Fumento.

May 28, 2012

Pittsburgh Area Memorial Day Events


Pittsburgh area Memorial Day events include a parade in Canonsburg and a free community event at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Museum in Oakland.

You can find a good listing of area events here at WTAE.

May 27, 2012

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack's a birther.

This week's Post-Gazette column, in which Jack tries yet again to "prove" liberal media bias with an oh so careful selection of supporting evidence, is difficult to refute. How would one do it? By showing negative Obama coverage in the media?  No matter how much you find, it won't refute Jack's carefully selected evidence.  Like trying to prove Nixon had nothing to do with the Kennedy Assassination.  I mean he was in Dallas that day, right??

He said/he said arguments like this never get anywhere.

So I am leaping over them.  I wanted to point out Jack's birtherism:
Barack Obama was born in Kenya, according to a booklet of clients his literary agency produced in 1991. "This was nothing more than a fact-checking error by me," said Miriam Goderich, who was an editorial assistant then and now is a partner in the firm.

Her "fact checking error" went undetected until Mr. Obama began his campaign for president. In the interim, the biography was revised three times.

The policy at Dystel & Goderich, as at most literary agencies, is that authors provide biographical briefs. How plausible is it that Mr. Obama failed to notice for 17 years that his birthplace was listed incorrectly?

Why would Mr. Obama say he was born in Kenya? A clue is his refusal to release his college transcripts, thinks Roger Simon, author of 11 detective novels. Did Mr. Obama claim to be a foreign student to claim a scholarship or slot only for foreign nationals?
You'll note a couple of things; that Jack never actually tells the truth: - he never says that Obama was actually born in Hawaii and that Obama never actually told Goderich that he was born in Kenya.

How do I know that last part?  It's from Godrich herself:
Miriam Goderich edited the text of the bio; she is now a partner at the Dystel & Goderich agency, which lists Obama as one of its current clients.

"This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me--an agency assistant at the time," Goderich wrote in an emailed statement to Yahoo News. "There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more." [emphasis added.]
Huh.  Omitting some important facts there, Jack.  Including them would have undermined your (false) argument,  doncha think?

Birther.

So, according to Jack, Obama was telling people in the very early 90s that he was born in Kenya.

Except he didn't.  Take a look at this from about a year before Godrich's "fact-checking error."  It's from the New York Times and so it had a much much wider audience than that of the Acton & Dystel (not Dystel & Goderich as Jack Kelly incorrectly asserts) bio:
The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii. [Emphasis added.]
If Obama was looking to score some favor by lying about his birthplace, wouldn't he have done it in the pages of the Times?

And if he knew that the truth was already in The Times, then why would he lie to Godrich?

Difficult questions for a birther to answer.  The easy answer, of course, is that it was a fact-checking error on Miriam Godrich's part that no one bothered to fix for a long time and that this birther conspiracy (like all the others) is false.

Which was is closer to reality?  And which way was does Jack go?

Birther.

May 26, 2012

They Must Know, Right??

From today's op-ed page of the Tribune-Review:
While lesser minions execute their party's Project Vote/ACORN-style vote-fraud playbook, congressional Democrats will spout race-baiting talking points drawn from the same corrupt wellspring and funded by leftist billionaire George Soros.

Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion, suggested at a May 8 training session that House Democratic Caucus members "raise racial disparities" to counter "conservative messages" that are "racially coded," The American Spectator and The Examiner of Washington report. Her background is as disturbing as her message.

The Capital Research Center notes Ms. Wiley's father was George Wiley, late founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization -- ACORN's violent, now-defunct predecessor.

Mr. Soros' Open Society Institute -- where she once served as U.S. programs director -- was one of her Center for Social Inclusion's earliest donors and has given it $75,000.

Her center also has received $850,000 since 2005 from the Soros-linked Tides Foundation/Tides Center, whose grant-making is supervised by the Tides Network -- whose board she chairs.

Republicans must expose Wiley and others pulling Democrats' strings for what they really are -- radicals bent on imposing twisted "social justice" on all as they stoop to new lows to do so.
And you'll note the numerous name-drops: Project Vote/ACORN, George Soros, Center for Social Incusion, National Welfare Rights Organization, Open Society Institute, Tides Foundation/Tides Center, and the Tides Network.  With all those proper nouns, there's hardly any room for, you know, facts.

Be that as it may, let's take a closer look at the story.  The initial reporting, from the Washington Examiner is here.

First we should note that "reporting" might not be an accurate in this setting as Joel Gehrke is on the staff of the Washington Examiner as a "Commentary Staff Writer."  I googled him and perhaps a product of the rightwing Hillsdale College and the right wing National Journalism Center, writing commentary for the right wing Washington Examiner can do both "reporting" and "commentary."

Perhaps.

But let's look again at what the Braintrust wrote - they kinda blunder in hooking the American Spectator in with Gehrke's commentary reporting.  Take a look.  AS is only reporting that Gehrke reported Wiley's presentation.  Not any original reporting on their part.

It's when you take a look at the Capital Research Center that you'll find an old friend, Roger Vadum.

Here's what he wrote a few days ago for the CRC:
Ms. Wiley’s group gets its money from anti-American philanthropists such as Mr. Soros. The Soros-funded Tides Foundation has given $879,800 to the group since 2005. Mr. Soros’ Open Society Institute has donated at least $75,000 to the group since 2002.
That's $954,800.

And in from 2002 to the 2007 alone the Capital Research Center has received from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation:
  • $100,000 in 2002
  • $185,000 in 2003
  • $200,000 in 2004 
  • $235,000 in 2005
  • $250,000 in 2006 
  • $250,000 in 2007 
That's $1.22 million right there.  That's not even counting the $225,000 from the Scaife controlled Carthage Foundation - or the hundreds of thousands of dollars Sarah Scaife Foundation's given since 2007.

Huh.  Funny how Scaife's support of the right wing think tanks his paper quotes never ever gets mentioned even in editorials criticizing other think tanks for their left wing support.

Yet another lesson in how the right wing noise machine works.

May 25, 2012

For Our Friends Up North

From the AP via the CBC:
Amnesty International is criticizing Canada for its refusal to arrest former U.S. president George W. Bush during a visit to British Columbia last year.

The human rights group says there was clear evidence that Bush was responsible for crimes under international law, including torture.

Amnesty had campaigned for Canada to arrest and prosecute him.

At the time of Bush's visit last October, the group maintained the former president authorized the use of torture against detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, Amnesty says Canada has an obligation to take action against alleged violators, including Bush.
This is what Amnesty International said in its report:
In October, the government failed to arrest former US President George W. Bush when he travelled to British Columbia, despite clear evidence that he was responsible for crimes under international law, including torture.
All the facts are outlined here.  Some highlights:
1. Acts of torture (and, it may be noted, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and enforced disappearance) were committed against detainees held in a secret detention and interrogation program operated by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) between 2002 and 2009.

2. The CIA established this secret program under the authorization of then-President George W.Bush.

3. Since leaving office, former President George W. Bush has said that he authorized the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA program. The former President specifically admitted to authorizing the “water-boarding” of identified individuals, whose subjection to this torture technique has been confirmed.
And so on.

By the way, here's what Amnesty International had to say about the US regarding the torture:
There was no accountability for human rights violations committed under the administration of President George W. Bush as part of the CIA’s programme of secret detention and rendition (transfer of individuals from the custody of one state to another by means that bypass judicial and administrative due process).
And:
In an opinion issued in October, a federal judge refused to hold the CIA in contempt of court for destroying videotapes of interrogations of detainees held in the secret detention programme. The tapes – which included recordings of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including “waterboarding” – had been destroyed in 2005, more than a year after the court had ordered the government to produce or identify materials relating to the treatment of detainees.
Back to Canada.

The Toronto Star tries to put things in context:
Canada’s record of alleged human rights violations pales in comparison to the litany of torture, mass executions, and violent suppression of protests cited against countries like Syria and Uganda.

But Amnesty Canada spokesman John Tackaberry says the organization makes no attempt to rate the magnitude or seriousness of human rights abuses among the 155 nations listed in the 2012 report.

Rather, it includes any country in which there’s a “constellation” of violations that cause concern.
And Kelly McPartland of the National Post offers up a slice of Canadian snark:
The latest report, issued Wednesday, makes clear that the world has let Amnesty down. Again. The world — yes, the whole thing, all seven billion of us — is a constant disappointment to the people at Amnesty International, who just can’t figure out why we can’t measure up to a few simple rules.

The United Nations is denounced as essentially useless because it hasn’t managed to halt the bloodshed in Syria. Canada is condemned because we didn’t arrest George W. Bush when we had the chance. It has no time for the United States, because it keeps using drones to kill terrorists, without asking permission. The raid that finally ended the life of Osama bin Laden was illegal. Israel is, as always, a favourite target, accused of continuing its brutal treatment of Palestinians, and imposing a “blockade” of Gaza and its 1.6 million residents. Mexico makes the list for failing to protect human rights in its war against drugs. Even Switzerland gets a cuffing for its treatment of asylum-seekers, especially a pair of Nigerians who were treated badly when they landed in the country.
Since everyone's bad, no one's bad should be pointed out.  None of which changes the fact that the torture was ordered, the torture occurred, the torture was covered up and the torture has yet to be prosecuted or punished.

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow (but where they won't prosecute the torture).

But that's OK, I guess.  Because neither do we.

May 24, 2012

Daryl Metcalfe - Not Just Crazie, ARIZONA Crazie

From The Trib:
A Republican lawmaker plans to introduce legislation today that would prohibit Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortion services from receiving any public funding.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, will sponsor the Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act, a bill that would mirror legislation passed in nine other states.
Here's how Metcalfe described the legislation:
According to my proposed legislation public entities would receive the highest priority for receiving such funds, followed by non-public hospitals and federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and, last, nonpublic health providers that have their primary purpose the provision of primary health care. Additionally, the legislation will prohibit the Department of Health from entering into any contract with or providing grants to any entity that performs non-federally qualified abortions. Under the legislation, the Attorney General will be granted jurisdiction to enforce the proposal's provisions.
The important sentence is the one that begins "Additionally..."

And here's the legislation.  The part that would impact planned parenthood is this - Section 3(1):
The department may not enter into a contract with or make a grant to any entity that performs non-federally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where non-federally qualified abortions are performed.
"Federally qualified abortions" are those allowed by the Hyde Amendment (ie those pregnancies caused by rape or incest or those pregnancies that would endanger the life of the mother).

Now let's take a look at the "mirrored" legislation recently signed into law in Arizona.  The important part is this:
This state or any political subdivision of this state may not enter into a contract with or make a grant to any person that performs nonfederally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where nonfederally qualified abortions are performed for the provision of family planning services.
So when the Huffington Post writes:
Metcalfe's bill, the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act, would put health care providers that offer abortion services at the bottom of the priority list for state funding. The anti-abortion activist group Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund co-wrote the bill, which closely resembles the one Arizona lawmakers used to defund Planned Parenthood earlier this year.
They're really not kidding.

Daryl Metcalfe, Arizona-style crazie.

UPDATE:  The Trib's editorial board AGREES WITH ME:
Lance: To Daryl Metcalfe. The Cranberry Republican should have his head examined for introducing a bill that would redirect taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood. Mr. Metcalfe says the move would cut off taxpayer money that now "support(s) abortionists." Never mind that 95 percent of Planned Parenthood's services don't involve abortions. How many women will suffer because of Metcalfe's misguided legislation?
Indeed.

May 23, 2012

The Frame (The Frame's The Thing)

Here's how Scaife's braintrust frames, for example, this story:
The Diocese of Pittsburgh on Monday joined more than 40 Catholic groups across the country in suing the Obama administration for requiring them to offer birth control services to employees as part of a federal health care mandate.
And here's the frame from today's op-ed page:
Can the federal government compel a religious group to pay for a service, directly or indirectly, in contravention of that group's principles?
It's a rhetorical question - they're hoping you don't bother to check and just simply agree with their next sentence:
Of course not.
But what if the frame was this?
Can an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate?
Of course not.

But let's go back to the braintrust's frame.  In the same Scalia-penned decision, there's this passage regarding the non-payment of taxes due to religious concerns.  The idea was rejected by the way:
Our most recent decision involving a neutral, generally applicable regulatory law that compelled activity forbidden by an individual's religion was United States v. Lee, 455 U.S., at 258 -261. There, an Amish employer, on behalf of himself and his employees, sought exemption from collection and payment of Social Security taxes on the ground that the Amish faith prohibited participation in governmental support programs. We rejected the claim that an exemption was constitutionally required. There would be no way, we observed, to distinguish the Amish believer's objection to Social Security taxes from the religious objections that others might have to the collection or use of other taxes. "If, for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief." Id., at 260. Cf. Hernandez v. Commissioner, 490 U.S. 680 (1989) (rejecting free exercise challenge to payment of income taxes alleged to make religious activities more difficult). [Emphasis added.]
So the guv'ment can compel individuals to "pay for something" (ie a taxes for a war) even though that individual feels it violates their principles.

Huh.

May 22, 2012

Councilman Peduto To Be Named Common Cause PA's "Champion of Good Government 2012"

Join Common Cause Pennsylvania to honor Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto, Champion of Good Government.

A Common Cause Benefit Honoring Bill Peduto
What: Reception and Award Ceremony
When: Thursday, May 24th, 5:30pm
Where: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
6300 Fifth Ave., Pittsbrugh, PA 15217
Cost: $50 General Admission, $250 Seat at the Honoree's Table

Tickets can be purchased through Thursday (the day of the event) here.


All proceeds support the government reform work of Common Cause Pennsylvania.

HE Has A Plan!

Via Huffington Post:

And here's the story from the Gaston Gazette:
"I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers: build a great, big, large fence -- 150 or 100 miles long -- put all the lesbians in there. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. And you know what, in a few years, they'll die."

These are the words of a Maiden pastor whose May 13 sermon was posted to YouTube.

Charles L. Worley, the pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church, made the comment as part of a sermon that slammedPresident Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage.

“God have mercy,” Worley said in the video. “It makes me puking sick to think about. I don’t even know whether or not to say this in the pulpit -- can you imagine kissing some man?”
And:
According to the deacon of the church, Worley commented on his sermon on Sunday. He did not apologize for the comments, but rationalized them with verses from the Old Testament.
My guess is that it the verse the good pastor is referring to is Leviticus 20:13:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
I wonder, however, when Pastor Worley will be calling for death camps for adulterers. This is Leviticus 20:10:
And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Same language, right?  Same chapter, right?  Perhaps even the same page of the Bible.  Why no calls for the extermination of adulterers?

The scarier part of this story is the news that members of the congregation can be heard yelling "amen!" during Worley's faith based insanity.

Hitchens was right, when he said that, "you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend."

Here endeth the lesson.

May 21, 2012

ALEC In The News...

From J.D. Prose at the Beaver Caahn-tee Times:
We first told you about the innocuous-sounding American Legislative Exchange Council back in August when Keystone Progress exposed it as a front for right-wingers to get like-minded politicians to champion their dangerous cookie-cutter legislation.
Here's J.D.'s piece from August, 2011, on ALEC.

We first told you about ALEC a few months earlier, in June of 2011 - just sayin'.

Anyway, back to Prose from this week:
Most recently, though, ALEC popped up in media reports as the brains (for lack of a better term) behind the effort by several Right-Wing state legislatures to pass intrusive, insulting and medically unnecessary ultrasound requirements for women seeking LEGAL abortions.

Miraculously, some Pennsylvania legislators — Republicans and wayward Democrats — are coming to their senses (it is possible!) and distancing themselves from ALEC’s nonsense.

Keystone Progress said last week that 14 legislators, including GOP state Rep. Mark Mustio (of the ethnic baiting D. Raja ads), Democratic state Rep. Nick Kotik of Robinson, Pippy and even Turzai have publicly cut ties with ALEC.
Keystone Progress issued a press release on the 15 regarding what they're calling the "largest" exodus in the nation:
Fourteen Fifteen Pennsylvania legislators with ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have publicly stated that they are no longer affiliated with the controversial corporate front group.  They join dozens of legislators across the country who are fleeing ALEC in response to public pressure from constituents.

ALEC is behind the efforts to pass bills that strip away union rights, scale back child labor laws, attack the regulation power of environmental agencies, suppress voter rights with strict identification requirements, eliminate the social safety net, and privatize public services. ALEC is not just another public policy organization, it is a corporate front group supporting some of the most radical and dangerous legislation in the nation.

The fourteen legislators come from both major parties, with eight Democrats and six Republicans separating from ALEC. All legislators listed as being affiliated with ALEC have documented ties, either publicly stating their prior affiliation or from public documents (Right to Know Law documents, DOS campaign finance reports, or PA Ethics filings).
Actually, by the time the Times published Prose, there's been one more - State Senator Stewart Greenleaf.

That makes 16.

JD points out, however, that there's still one name clinging to the shortening list:
Huh. Seems there’s one name missing. Let’s just go down the ... Heyyyyy, our main man Nutcalfe! He’s still on a list of 51 state legislators (available at keystoneprogress.org) sticking with ALEC’s 19th century agenda.
"Nutcalfe" is Prose's name for State Senator Daryl Metcalfe.

As if you couldn't figure that aht for yourself.

May 20, 2012

Jack Kelly Sunday

Good Morning, my friends. And that includes you, too, Jack.

This week in the Post-Gazette, our good friend Jack Kelly does his own character assassination of Barack Obama.  It's a particularly difficult argument to counter as it's almost all based on subjective reactions by conservative or otherwise debunked sources.  But let's plow through anyway.

Jack begins:
Barack Obama is the smartest man with the highest IQ ever to be elected to the presidency, historian Michael Beschloss told radio talk show host Don Imus in November of 2008.

"So what is his IQ?" Mr. Imus asked. Mr. Beschloss didn't know. He was just assuming.
So assuming you know something when you don't is bad, right Jack?

Let's keep going. Jack continues:
There is little evidence to support it. Mr. Obama went to Harvard, but so did George W. Bush, who some liberals consider dumber than dirt. The president won't release his transcripts, so we can't judge by his grades. Mr. Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, but when he was selected, popularity mattered more than scholarship.
Jack, how do you know that? That last part, I mean. That when Obama was selected president of the Harvard Law Review it was a popularity contest.

Turns out, Jack, that your assumption here was wrong.  Who says so?

Bradford Berenson, Obama classmate at Harvard Law and White House Council for George W. Bush:
You don't become president of the Harvard Law Review, no matter how political, or how liberal the place is, by virtue of affirmative action, or by virtue of not being at the very top of your class in terms of legal ability. Barack was at the very top of his class in terms of legal ability. He had a first-class legal mind and, in my view, was selected to be president of the Review entirely on his merits.
Did you even bother to check, Jack? Did anyone at the P-G bother?

I am guessing not.

Let's move on.  Here's the big assumption on Jack's part:
Columnist Joe Klein said Mr. Obama's first autobiography "may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician." But Mr. Obama got help writing "Dreams from My Father" from "his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers," celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen claimed in his 2009 biography of Barack and Michelle.

"The book's language, oddly specific references, literary devices and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers' own writing," Mr. Andersen wrote.

Biographer David Maraniss published this month his interview with Genevieve Cook, who dated Mr. Obama in New York, but bears little resemblance to the "New York girlfriend" described in "Dreams." That's because she is a composite, Mr. Obama said.

Yet Mr. Obama's description closely resembles radical Diana Oughton, who was Mr. Ayers girlfriend and who blew herself to smithereens in 1970 while building a bomb intended to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, according to the blogger "Bookworm."
Ah, we're back to the "Weather Underground Terrorist Ayers wrote Dreams of My Father" story.  Doesn't anyone at the P-G keep track of Jack's conspiracy theories?

We saw this in 2009.  It was wrong then and it's wrong now.

No matter, let's start at Bookworm and work our way backwards.  Bookworm isn't actually presenting much new material, it's little more than a link to this article at The American Thinker.

Written, in 2010, by the now-debunked Jack Cashill.  But let's take a closer look at the Ayer-girlfriend connection.  This is what Cashill says:
More intriguing still, Obama seems to borrow the one girlfriend in the oddly sexless Dreams from Ayers' experience. "There was a woman in New York that I loved," he tells his half-sister years after the fact. "She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes."

The woman of Obama's memory evokes images of Diana Oughton. As her FBI files attest, Oughton had brown hair and green eyes. The two women shared similar family backgrounds as well. In fact, they seemed to have grown up on the very same estate.

"The house was very old, her grandfather's house," Obama writes of his girlfriend's country home. "He had inherited it from his grandfather." According to a Time Magazine article written soon after her death, Oughton "brought Bill Ayers and other radicals" to the family homestead in Dwight, Illinois. The main house on the Oughton estate, a 20-room Victorian mansion, was built by Oughton's father's grandfather.

The carriage house, in which Oughton lived as a child, now serves as a public library. It may have already seemed like one when Ayers visited, an impression that finds its way into Obama's memory of a library "filled with old books and pictures of the famous people [the grandfather] had known-presidents, diplomats, industrialists."

"It was autumn, beautiful, with woods all around us," Obama writes of his visit to his girlfriend's country home, "and we paddled a canoe across this round, icy lake full of small gold leaves that collected along the shore." As can be seen from aerial photos even today, the Oughton estate also has a small lake and is surrounded by woods.
Look very carefully at what Cashill's saying. He's saying that the girlfriend in the Obama book isn't actually a girlfriend of Obama's.  She's actually Diana Oughton - an old girlfriend of Bill Ayers.

This is the research Jack Kelly is using.  In fact, Jack's actually misquoting his source.  Cashill doubts her existence.  Jack just uses Cashill's "research" to "prove" that Ayers ghost wrote Dreams.

But we know that the girfriend is actually real (if only a composite).  From David Maranis at Vanity Fair we learn about Genevieve:
Much later, after the publication of his book Dreams from My Father, and after Barack Obama became famous, a curiosity arose about the mystery woman of his New York years. “There was a woman in New York that I loved,” he wrote. “She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That’s how it was.”

Obama did not name this old girlfriend even with a pseudonym—she was just “a woman” or “my friend.” That she remained publicly unidentified throughout his rise to national prominence became part of the intrigue of his New York period’s “dark years” narrative. His physical description was imprecise but close. Genevieve is five-seven, lithe and graceful, with auburn-tinged brown hair and flecks of brown, not green, in her hazel eyes. Her voice was confident and soothing. Like many characters in the memoir, he introduced her to advance a theme, another thread of thought in his musings about race.
She was the woman with the family and the old house on the lake.  She actually existed.

Cashill is wrong.  And if Cashill is wrong, then Jack is wrong.

Again.

Doesn't anyone care about this stuff at the P-G?

May 19, 2012

Lied Of The Day

A few days ago, it was Donna Summer.

Now, it's Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Here - listen to him sing some Schubert.  It'll be good for you.


Translation of the Goethe:
Who's riding so late through night, so wild?
It is the father who's holding his child;
He's tucked the boy secure in his arm,
He holds him tight and keeps him warm.

My son, why hide you your face in fear?"
See you not, father, the Erl King near?
The Erl King in his crown and train?"
My son, 'tis but a foggy strain."

Sweet lovely child, come, go with me!
What wonderful games I'll play with thee;
Flowers, most colorful, yours to behold.
My mother for you has garments of gold."

My father, my father, and can you not hear
What Erl King is promising into my ear?"
Be calm, stay calm, o child of mine;
The wind through dried leaves is rustling so fine."

Wouldst thou, fine lad, go forth with me?
My daughters should royally wait upon thee;
My daughters conduct each night their song fest
To swing and to dance and to sing thee to rest."

My Father, my father, and can you not see
Erl King's daughters, there by the tree?"
My son, my son, I see it clear;
The ancient willows so grey do appear."

I love thee, I'm aroused by thy beautiful form;
And be thou not willing, I'll take thee by storm."
My father, my father, he's clutching my arm!
Erl King has done me a painful harm!"

The father shudders and onward presses;
The gasping child in his arms he caresses;
He reaches the courtyard, and barely inside,
He holds in his arms the child who has died.
If a Schubert setting of Goethe doesn't do it for you, listen to a Schumann setting of some Heinrich Heine. By the way, that's Vladimir Horowitz on piano.


Im wunderschönen Monat Mai...

May 18, 2012

The Other Shoe Drops: Justice Joan Orie Melvin to be charged

Joan & Jane

Oh those wacky Orie Sisters! Where's the Angel Lady when you need her?

Via KDKA:
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin could be indicted today on corruption charges related to the alleged use of her court staff for campaign work. 
Sources tell KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Justice Melvin will face nine charges, four of them felonies, all brought by a grand jury that’s been investigating the case.
Her sister, State Sen. Jane Orie, was convicted of 14 corruption charges back in March.
[snip]
Another sister, Janine, is also awaiting trial on charges.

May 17, 2012

Song of the Day



RIP Donna Summer

And, since we're quoting Brian Eno today, From Wikipedia on the above song:
According to David Bowie, then in the middle of recording of his Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno, its impact on the genre's direction was recognized early on:
“One day in Berlin ... Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future.' ... he puts on 'I Feel Love', by Donna Summer ... He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.' Which was more or less right."

On Peaceful Protests

Earlier today as I was reading my P-G, I spied a letter about the police presence during this protest.

Once I got through it to the end, I noticed that it was written by an old friend of 2PJ, David Conrad.

Reading it, I was curious about a few things.  Was he there as part of the protest?  Or was he there as a guest of the party?  Or was he out for a walk and a just happened upon the whole party/protest gestalt?

Turns out, he was part of the protest.  Speaking to him by phone this evening, he reiterated how impressed he was by how the police handled themselves.  In the letter, he writes:
They were calm. They spoke to the protesters. They gave people reasonable access. They didn't privilege the well-heeled attendees beyond their rights. They did not act as if the forces of radical Bolshevism were about to occupy Pittsburgh. No pepper spray was let fly on 24th Street. No one got shoved onto the pavement to protect the flow of traffic.

The police were a model of professionalism and local decency. They did their jobs and gave folks the benefit of the doubt. Don't be stupid and we won't hassle you. They did not "over-enforce" the letter of the law.
Good to know.

Conrad, needless to say, is no fan of the Corbett's.  He said he was disappointed in this governor and he couldn't understand why an arts organization would give such an award to someone who's "done nothing for the arts."  To Conrad, the governor's done nothing at all to help the working and middle class people of this state.

"A nightmare as governor," he said.

Why are the arts important?  I asked.  He said arts education is important because it teaches that there are things that have great value that also can't be treated as commodities.  Things whose value can't be set on the open market.  The arts are of fundamental importance in people's lives - not something to be bought and sold.  The Adam Smith argument, when it comes to the arts, is not a good one.

I was also curious to know if he thought the protest accomplished anything - and to that he referenced the Velvet Underground.  Here's the quote, attributed to Brian Eno:
The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.
That's influence, that's value - without much profit.

So even if nothing changed that evening, perhaps a few of the 200+ protesters (and maybe a few of the police officers watching them) will form a band.

May 16, 2012

A Birther Update

Me, on April 26:
Here's the latest from Jerome Corsi, chief birther at Birther Central (aka World Net Daily): Barack Obama Sr was NOT Barack Obama Jr.'s real father.

Frank Marshall Davis was.

That absurdity aside, think of what that means for the whole birther industry when you realize that Frank Marshall Davis was born in Kansas.
Talking Points Memo, today:
“Birthers” are flipping their tinfoil hats over a new film that claims President Barack Obama’s father was not a Kenyan goat herder but rather a communist journalist nearly four decades older than his mother. The problem? It undermines a bedrock of birther lore: that the president is ineligible to be commander-in-chief.

“Dreams From My Real Father,” a 97-minute film narrated by an Obama impersonator, weaves the narrative that Obama’s grandfather wasn’t a furniture salesman but an undercover CIA agent who convinced Barack Obama Sr. to marry his teenage daughter to hide the fact that she was impregnated by a 55-year-old communist named Frank Marshall Davis.
There's a disclaimer on the film, by the way.  TPM writes that it includes:
...re-creations of probable events, using reasoned logic, speculation, and approximated conversations in an attempt to provide a cohesive understanding of Obama’s history.
So you know the research is rock solid.  Just rock solid.

May 15, 2012

Rep. Joe Pitts is so pro life he refuses to recognize Yasser Arafat's death!




Either Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) is so "pro life" he refuses to recognize Yasser Arafat's death, or he's planning a séance. Via PoliticsPA:
Rep. Joe Pitts recently replied to a constituent’s letter with a rather interesting position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon need to come back to the negotiating table. There’s just one problem. Arafat has been dead since 2004 and Sharon in a coma since 2006.

What "Freedom" Means In Arizona

From The Explorer in Arizona:
Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2625 into law Friday. The legislation authorizes religiously-affiliated employers to deny contraceptive services from their employees' health insurance plans.

Despite opponents saying the bill would violate a woman's right to privacy, proponents say it will apply exclusively to those entities whose religious beliefs are central to their operating principles, and for whom providing coverage for contraception could pose a moral conflict or religious objection.
You'll note that the proponents' argument doesn't actually address whether the bill violates a woman's right to privacy.  Patience, my friends.

Here's what the Governor's office itself had to say about the bill:
Governor Jan Brewer today signed into law HB 2625, legislation that authorizes religiously-affiliated employers to exempt contraceptive services from their employees’ health insurance plans. The new law will apply exclusively to those entities whose religious beliefs are central to their operating principles, and for whom providing coverage for contraception could pose a moral conflict or religious objection.

“In its final form, this bill is about nothing more than preserving the religious freedom to which we are all Constitutionally-entitled,” said Governor Brewer. “Mandating that a religious institution provide a service in direct contradiction with its faith would represent an obvious encroachment upon the 1st Amendment.”

Currently, state law allows a narrow scope of nonprofit, faith-based institutions to opt out of contraceptive coverage, provided that the institution primarily employs and serves individuals who share the religious tenets of the institution.
See? It's about freedom!  There's nothing about any "violation of privacy" in there!  It's just protecting the rights of any "religiously affiliated employer" to hold true to their beliefs!

What are these ladies complaining about?  It's so unseemly, isn't it?

Perhaps it's this part of the legislation:
Notwithstanding subsection y of this section, a religiously affiliated employer may require that the corporation provide a contract without coverage for specific items or services required under subsection Y of this section because providing or paying for coverage of the specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs of the religiously affiliated employer offering the plan. If a religiously affiliated employer objects to providing coverage for specific items or services required under subsection Y of this section, a written affidavit shall be filed with the corporation stating the objection. On receipt of the affidavit, the corporation shall issue to the religiously affiliated employer a contract that excludes coverage for specific items or services required under subsection Y of this section. The corporation shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the contract and any renewals of the contract. This subsection shall not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes. A religiously affiliated employer offering the plan may state religious beliefs in its affidavit and may require the subscriber to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the hospital service corporation, medical service corporation or hospital, medical, dental and optometric service corporation along with evidence that the prescription is not for a purpose covered by the objection. A hospital service corporation, medical service corporation or hospital, medical, dental and optometric service corporation may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims.

AA. Subsection Z of this section does not authorize a religiously affiliated employer to obtain an employee's protected health information or to violate the health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 (P.L. 104‑191; 110 Stat. 1936) or any federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act. [emphasis added.]
So the law allows for insurers to cover contraceptives, as long as they're not used for contraceptive purposes.  And it's up to a woman who may be suffering from, say, polycystic ovary syndrome to prove that she's not a slut who's using the pill to keep from getting pregnant.  And even then, she may be charged "an administrative fee" for providing such proof.

All to insulate a religiously affiliated employer from following the law like everyone else.  As Justice Scalia wrote:
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).
But I guess that all changes when it comes to controlling the vaginas.

May 13, 2012

Tracking Teh Crazie at World Net Daily

It's always a good idea to keep track of what teh right wing crazies are thinking.

This time, our good friends at birther central are doing their darnedest to connect, yet again, President Obama to Bill Ayers.

They fail, of course, but in doing so it's a good lesson in what counts as dot-connecting for teh crazies over at WND.

Let's begin. This morning I saw this headline at WND:


It leads to this story - it's a retread, I guess, of some of the "research" they did in 2009.  The Obama/Ayers dots are "connected" in the first two paragraphs:
Although the Washington Post this past week featured an extensive profile of Mitt Romney’s high school days, which alleged the presidential hopeful engaged in bullying, the news media has yet to probe important aspects of Obama’s early education that may evidence later radical ties.

In 2009, WND exposed Obama’s attendance in a church Sunday school that espouses far-left politics and served as a sanctuary for draft dodgers from the Students for a Democratic Society during the time Bill Ayers was a leader in that organization.
And number of paragraphs down the piece we read:
After living from age 7 with his mother and step-father in Indonesia, where he was enrolled as a Muslim under the name “Barry Soetoro” in public schools, Obama was sent back to Hawaii at age 11 in 1971 to reside with his grandmother. His mother moved back to Hawaii in 1972 and stayed there until 1977, when she relocated again to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

In his autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” Obama recounts on page 17 moving to Hawaii and being enrolled in the Unitarian church.
Note the Muslim connection in a story about Obama's Unitarianism - how do they do that with a straight face?

But back to Ayers - they've established that Obama was in Hawaii from 1971 on.  And that he went to Sunday school at a Unitarian Church.  And that that Unitarian Church "espouses far-left politics" and attended sunday school at a church connected to the SDS when Ayers was a leader there.

Ah...that's where things break down.  We've all known Ayers to be a leader of the Weather Underground - but what's the connection to the SDS?  From a PBS documentary:
The Weather Underground emerged when [Bernadine] Dohrn and a group of fellow University of Chicago students split with the campus-run Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, because they disagreed with the SDS’s peaceful protest tactics against the Vietnam War. Dubbing itself the Weathermen, this new organization took its name from a line in Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”—“you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”—and within months had set off bombs at the National Guard headquarters and set in motion plans to bomb targets across the country that it considered emblematic of the worldwide violence sanctioned by the U.S. government.
And when did this break occur?  When did Ayers and Dohrn et al leave split with the SDS?

Um, a couple of years before Obama set foot in that Sunday school:
By 1969 the organization had split into several factions, the most notorious of which was the “Weathermen,” or “Weather Underground,” which employed terrorist tactics in its activities.
This is what passes for dot-connecting among teh crazies on the right.

Get used to it - we got 6 months until the election.

May 12, 2012

Voter Fraud and "Voter Fraud"

Yawn. Scaife's braintrust is at it again. On the Op-Ed page of today's Tribune review the editorial board has published yet another fact-free warning about "voter fraud." But if you look very carefully, very little of it is about actual voter fraud - it's almost all about voter registration.

Which they have to do as there's almost no voter fraud to speak of. I mean look at this:
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
If, after 5 years the Bush's Department of Justice could only find 120 people to charge in five years, then how big a problem could it be?

And then when you look at the Trib's source material, of course, you find the always unmentioned Scaife money.

Let's go take a look:
Leftists will follow their vote-fraud playbook as Barack Obama seeks re-election this year, cautions Accuracy in Media. And the effort will be steeped in the same kind of "community organizing" tactics (think of the former ACORN, think of its Project Vote affiliate) so dear to this president.

In a new Accuracy In Media (aim.org) report...
Ok, time for a pause. According to the Media Matters, foundations controlled by Trib Owner Richard Mellon Scaife granted $4.36 million dollars to AIM between 1985 and 2005.  Whenever you see something like this, you have to ask yourself, "Would the information source being used by The Trib exist in its current form without the Scaife's support?" If the answer is no (and it usually is) then The Trib, by withholding that information from you, is lying by presenting a false picture of reality to you.  So much for accuracy, huh?

May 10, 2012

Clash Of World Views: Obama vs Teh Crazies

President Obama makes an exceedingly reasonable statement:
So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
And the culture warriors go crazie.

We have to start with Senator Man on Dog himself:
The announcement today by President Obama should come as no surprise to the American public. President Obama has consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level. The President recently opposed the North Carolina constitutional amendment and, of course, he refused to defend President Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme court. The charade is now over, no doubt an attempt to galvanize his core hard left supporters in advance of the November election.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. As I stated in my public letter to the President on September 20, 2011, the Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.
Rush Limbaugh:
It's official. Obama has announced he supports gay marriage after talks with his wife and daughters, gay service members, and others. Pink smoke coming from the White House chimney.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
President Obama will be hurt by this decision in the swing states. More than that, he has now made this cultural matter a major issue in the presidential campaign.

The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman.
Same sex couples should be allowed to marry. It's only fair.

And just because the bigotry is faith-based, doesn't mean it isn't bigotry.

Obama Voices Support for Same-Sex Marriage

From ABC News:


And, the written statement:
I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.   
But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.   
What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.   
Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.   
So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.   
I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

May 9, 2012

Yea, Both Sides Are At Fault. Right.

One of the great false media narratives about our course political discourse runs something like this - since both sides are hostile to the other, both sides are equally hostile to each other - journalistic "balance" is achieved by pointing out hostilities on both sides.  Media bias is then avoided since both sides are at fault.

But what if it isn't true?  What if both sides aren't equally at fault?

Thomas Mann and Norman Orenstein recently took issue with this narrative:
Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
That being said, what sort of "Democrat balance" to this story could there be?
A monthly newsletter published by the Greene County Republican Committee in Virginia is raising eyebrows for including a column in its March edition that calls for an "armed revolution" if President Barack Obama is elected to a second term in November.
Here's the text:
We have before us a challenge to remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.

An individual who has come to power within a Nation which yields it’s strength over the entire world.

An elected leader who shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might.

In the coming days and weeks ~ we the people must come to grasp as a common force, our very soul’s, that our future as a sovereign nation is indeed at risk.

If every single individual that you know, would contact 25 other individuals ~ we can make a difference that will be heard across the Commonwealth and in Washington.

The ultimate task for the people is to remain vigilant and aware ~ that the government, their government is out of control, and this moment, this opportunity, must not be forsaken, must not escape us, for we shall not have any coarse but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November ~ This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.
Or this one?
Police are assigning extra security to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) after a Tea Party activist declared at a rally last week, “We have to kill the Claire Bear ladies and gentlemen.” The rally was hosted by the group Tea Party Express, which is endorsing McCaskill challenger Sarah Steelman (R), who was in attendance at the rally.
Back to Mann and Orenstein:
Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics. But these tendencies do not routinely veer outside the normal bounds of robust politics. If anything, under the presidencies of Clinton and Obama, the Democrats have become more of a status-quo party. They are centrist protectors of government, reluctantly willing to revamp programs and trim retirement and health benefits to maintain its central commitments in the face of fiscal pressures.

No doubt, Democrats were not exactly warm and fuzzy toward George W. Bush during his presidency. But recall that they worked hand in glove with the Republican president on the No Child Left Behind Act, provided crucial votes in the Senate for his tax cuts, joined with Republicans for all the steps taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and supplied the key votes for the Bush administration’s financial bailout at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. The difference is striking.
Yea.  The Democratic Party is the party of political compromise (and sometimes annoyingly so) and the Republican Party is the party of obstruction and (as evidence by our friends in Virginia and Missouri) armed revolution if it doesn't get its way.

May 5, 2012

Scaife's Braintrust Just Can't Help It

So stuck with their anti-science narrative, they have to skew everything around it in order to maintain their myth.

The latest example:
Professor, environmentalist and best-selling author James Lovelock once was regarded as the father of climate studies. But now he's an extremist in the eyes of leading climate cluckers for having the audacity to expose their faith as "alarmist."

Oh, the author of "The Revenge of Gaia" and preacher of global-warming Armageddon still believes that climate change is occurring, but not as fast as previously postulated.

"The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium," Mr. Lovelock, 92, tells MSNBC. Temperatures have remained constant "whereas (they) should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that."

So much for man-made influences.

To the Church of Global Warming, that's heresy
As part of the "Church of Global Warming" metaphor, the editorial is titled:
Warming excommunication: Who's the 'extremist'?
So Lovelock committed "heresy" and has thus been been "excommunicated."  Who's doing the excommunicating?

Luckily the braintrust has some names ready:
Among them, Penn State's Michael Mann, inventor of the discredited "hockey stick" global-temperature graph, who in an email to LiveScience insisted that Lovelock's views were never in line with "mainstream" science.

Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., was less kind: "The fact is (Lovelock) knows little or nothing about climate change."

So, now Lovelock is an extremist? For all its "settled science," the climate-change club sure is an intolerant group.
In order to remain faithful to anti-science, the braintrust has to maintain that Mann's "hockey stick" was wrong.

But it's right - the National Research Council says so. Like any zealot, the braintrust just can't except reality when it conflicts with their zealously held beliefs.  And that's sad.  Frightening and sad.

Let's move on to that Livescience quotation from Mann.  It's here.  This is what Mann actually said (remember the editorial is about how Lovelock's been "excommunicated."):
Lovelock's views were not in line with mainstream climate science to begin with, Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University climate scientist, pointed out.

"As I see it, Jim's views were at the alarmist end of the spectrum of scientific opinion, so frankly I see him largely as just coming back into the fold of mainstream thinking," Mann wrote in an email to LiveScience. "That having been said, he has made some statements which appear to reflect a misunderstanding of what the science has to say." [emphasis added.] 
Far from excommunicating Lovelock, Mann's saying that while Lovelock was wrong about lotsa stuff, he's now closer to being right.

Only in the down is up world of Scaife's braintrust could that be excommunication for heresy.

TONIGHT


Tonight, Maria, the OPJ, will beparticipating in a panel discussion dahn-tahn.

From the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust webpage:
THE WAR ON WOMEN!

Does it really exist? Who are the generals? Is there a draft? How does one fight? And with whom? Who will emerge victorious? A comedic discussion about the War on Women with two women and a couple of guys who may as well be.

Comedian John McIntire hosts this irreverent and insightful talk show. Panelists will include:

Post-Gazette Cartoonist Rob Rogers
2PoliticalJunkies Blogger Maria Lupinacci
TwoDayMagazine.com Sex @ Love Columnist Natalie Bencivenga
Advice columnist Catherine "PussyCat' Specter

*Ticket holders from any earlier show downtown gain free admission (based on seating availability; must show ticket stub for free admission).
For the 2 or 3 of you aht there who don't know it, John McIntire can be found here, Cat Specter here, Natalie Bencivenga here, and Rob Rogers, here.

May 4, 2012

Song of the Day




42 years ago today.

The Trib Omits Important Info. Again

From today's op-ed page at the Tribune-Review:
An Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator's resignation over his 2010 enforcement comments heightens concerns about the Obama administration's jobs-killing, politically driven handling of energy and pollution issues.

A YouTube video documented Al Armendariz likening his enforcement approach to a tactic of ancient Roman conquest: "(T)hey'd find the first five guys they saw and they'd crucify them. ... And so you make examples out of people ... . There's a deterrent effect there."

It's one thing to make deterrent examples of polluters. It's another to order the regulatory equivalent of summary executions, something at which the EPA has shown it is quite adept.

And Mr. Armendariz's comments are especially troubling because they targeted hydraulic fracturing -- a proven and quite safe way to extract oil and natural gas and on which the nation's prosperity and security increasingly depend.
Pretty damning - until you see what the Trib left out - what they decided you didn't need to know.

May 3, 2012

One Thing The Pirates Are Getting Right.

A press release from my friend Sue:
The Pittsburgh Pirates will unveil their contribution to the It Gets Better Project during pre-game on Friday, May 4, 2012. The video features Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle and pitchers Joel Hanrahan and Jeff Karstens discussing the impact of bullying on youth and urging their young fans to seek help if they are experiencing bullying. The video will be released on YouTube and appear on the It Gets Better Project’s website at www.itgetsbetter.org.

“Bullying is a serious issue that simply cannot be tolerated. We feel it is important to get the message out that there is no place in our society for bullying anyone for any reason,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “The organization is pleased to utilize our resources to help call attention to this subject and to encourage those that have been a victim of bullying to come forward and seek help.”

The Pirates will be working with the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh (GLCC) and the local chapter of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to build relationships with LGBT youth on an ongoing basis. The video launch includes a private meet and greet between members of the Pirates team and youth involved with the GLCC. Members of the community are invited to join the youth for the premiere of the video and enjoy the game at discounted rates. The Lambda Foundation has teamed up with the Pirates’ Community Relations to make the game accessible for the youth’s families and siblings.
Good for them.  The 11-14 Pirates host the 12-12 Reds from Cincinnati at PNC Park.

Not Teh Crazie, Just Teh Stupid

From today's Thursday Wrap:
Barack Obama's 2012 re-election slogan -- "Forward!" -- has long ties to Marxism and socialism, as in "moving forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism," reminds The Washington Times. As disgusting as that is, use of the slogan likely represents the first time the Obama administration has told the truth.
Here's the Washington Times piece if you wanna wade through teh stupid yourself.

So "Forward" is a commie code word.  Tell that to the Bush Administration, circa November 6, 2003:
In remarks at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush today announced that the United States would pursue a "forward strategy of freedom" to promote democracy throughout the Middle East. [emphasis added.]
Or Richard Nixon, circa 1969:
In an exclusive to Little Green Footballs this intrepid reporter has located what seems to be evidence of the phrase “Forward Together” used for the 46th Inaugural of America’s president in 1969 and being none other then the alleged anti-Communist, Richard M. Nixon. The inaugural slogan, utilized the word “Forward” — “a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism” and Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” which spanned the years 1949 to 1976.
From Nixon's 1969 Inaugural address:
No man can be fully free while his neighbor is not. To go forward at all is to go forward together.

This means black and white together, as one nation, not two. The laws have caught up with our conscience. What remains is to give life to what is in the law: to insure at last that as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man.

As we learn to go forward together at home, let us also seek to go forward together with all mankind. [emphases added]
Go forward together with all mankind?  Since "forward" is a commie code word, this sounds like a plan for WORLD WIDE COMMIE DOMINATION!

Usually, Scaife's braintrust is just silly.  Today, they're just stoopid.

May 1, 2012

May Day in Pittsburgh


May Day 2012: International Workers Day: Rally and March for an American Spring!
What: RALLY and MARCH to show SOLIDARITY with each other and with workers around the world.
When: Today! May 1, 2012, 5;30 PM
Where: Freedom Corner (Centre Ave. & Crawford Street) Pittsburgh PA (map)
Facebook: Event page with more info here.

Another Peek At The Trib/Scaife Money Trail

This is how they do it, my friends.

From today's op-ed page, we read this editorial on the nation's food stamp program.  In it, there's this passage:
Yet the Obama administration, which keeps spoon-feeding the entitlement mentality, wants to spend even more on this and other welfare programs, which last year reached $927 billion, according to The Heritage Foundation. But heaven help the conservative who suggests pulling the emergency brake on this runaway train.

"We're going in the wrong direction in that we're growing the amount of people who are being on government subsistence or government dependency," Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., tells Newsmax. That must change.
Did you see how quietly the Heritage Foundation (where Richard Mellon Scaife's on the board of Trustees) is mentioned?  Or Newsmax (where Scaife owns 40% of the store)?

Or how about this from Colin McNickle?
The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is out with a marvelous 50th-anniversary debunking of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," which long has been the manifesto for environmentalists.
Wanna know how much money McNickle's boss has funnelled to PERC?

About $2.3 million.

See how Heritage, Newsmax, and PERC are used as some sort of authoritative information sources?

Yep.

See how, in the spirit of full disclosure, they mention the millions of dollars if financial support their boss has provided to those sources?

Nope.

That's how the right wing noise machine works.