We are the 99%

October 31, 2012

They Did It Again!

In trying to find campaign fraud, THEY COMMIT CAMPAIGN FRAUD.

This time it's the nutballs at WND.

In an attempt to show how easy it is for a foreign national to donate money to the Obama Campaign, this is what the geniuses at WND did:
One $15 donation was made at BarackObama.com using a confirmed Pakistani IP address and proxy server. In other words, as far as the campaign website was concerned, the donation was openly identified electronically as coming from Pakistan.

Upon clicking the “donate” button, WND staff selected the $15 amount and were taken to a page on the campaign website asking for a first and last name, city, state, zip code, email address and phone number.

The information submitted was: “Osama bin Laden, 911 Jihad Way, Abbottabad, CA 91101.”
So they donated some cash in the name of Osama bin Laden - a foreign national. A dead foreign national at that!

Too bad it looks like that's illegal:
§ 110.4Contributions in the name of another; cash contributions (2 U.S.C. 441f, 441g, 432(c)(2)).
(a) [Reserved]
(b) Contributions in the name of another.
(1) No person shall—
(i) Make a contribution in the name of another;
Do these guys have ANY brains at all?

Happy Halloween! Now help get out the damn vote!

 You know what's at stake! There's lots of ways to help in this last week. If you don't, something very scary could happen! To volunteer, you can go to http://www.barackobama.com and One Pittsburgh will also set you up to help. Here are some great events that you can attend leading up to the election:
 
WHAT: UNITED STEELWORKERS' STEEL BLITZ FOR BARACK
WHEN: Friday, November 2nd, 11:00 AM
WHERE: USW Headquarters, 60 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
 
WHAT: ED GAINEY FOR OBAMA PRE-ELECTION RALLY WITH FRIENDS
WHEN: Friday, November 2nd, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
WHERE: Kingsley Center, 6435 Frankstown Avenue (at the corner of East Liberty Boulevard and Frankstown Avenue)
For questions or directions, contact Leeretta or Lori at 412-945-0024. Facebook event page here.

WHAT: PEDUTO FOR OBAMA GET OUT THE VOTE CANVASS
WHEN: Saturday, November 3rd, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
WHERE: Meet at the home of Natalie Greene, 4425 McCaslin Street, Greenfield
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact: info@billpeduto.com 

WHAT: JOHN MCINTIRE DANGEROUSLY LIVE COMEDY SHOW
WHEN: Saturday, November 3rd, 10:30 PM
WHERE: Cabaret Theater, 655 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Downtown)
RSVP on Facebook (or just show up)
 
WHAT: EUGENE DEPASQUALE FOR PA AUDITOR GENERAL - STEELERS PARTY& RALLY
WHEN: Sunday, November 4th, 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE: James Street Gastropub (former James Street Tavern), 422 Foreland Street, Northside
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact: info@billpeduto.com 

 

Vote for Obama and you're going to HELLLLLLLLLLL!


Aside from all the many churches flouting the law by telling you how to vote, Franklin Graham (Billy's son) wants you to know that a vote for Obama could leave the nation open to the wrath of God.

And, there's this TV ad playing in seven states -- including PA -- that states that a vote for Obama, empowers him "to attack the church and murder babies" (with helpful, gruesome pictures of course)! Local Pittsburgh stations have responded to complaints by saying that they have to air the ads because Randall Terry was a presidential candidate (of course, for the sole purpose of being allowed to air graphic anti-abortion ads). It airs when children are home before school and during the dinner hour.

October 30, 2012

Just kill me now

Bush’s FEMA Director During Katrina Criticizes Obama For Responding To Sandy Too Quickly

Vote Zomney!

And yet even more voter suppression

NSFW

As David noted here, as of October 26th, radio ads falsely claiming that Pennsylvania voters had to show photo ID on election day were still running on KDKA radio (and who knows where else). And then there's this. Yesterday afternoon, while everyone was still bracing for what Sandy might bring to PA and while we were in an official state of emergency, the voter suppression was ongoing -- this time, on the streets of Pittsburgh. I saw this via Facebook from a co-worker (and someone whom I trust):
OMFG!!!!! There are state trucks driving around the city today with 30ft signs that say SHOW ID!!!! This is unbelievable!!!! Anyone know what numbers would be best to contact about this...if you dont know we DO NOT NEED to show ID on the 6th
Unfortunately, he was going in the opposite direction, so no photograph was taken.

Now, I don't know if the giant ads he saw had the fine print like the one below, but even if they did, what message are you really going to get (or literally see) from something on a moving vehicle?

According to Ngani Ndimbie of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, buses displaying signs like the one below -- even if they display the fine print -- are a problem for obvious reasons and add to the misinformation:
Reports from supporters/ voting rights advocates about the new "(small text) If you have it, (big text) Show it" bus ad campaign were the tipping point before we filed the latest complaint w/ Judge Simpson about the state misinforming voters.
On top of that, what an incredible waste of state resources!

If you happen to see one of these moving billboards, please take a photo and send it to the ACLU of Pennsylvania (and me!).

An example of the new, fine print added "show it" campaign:




To My Friends At KDKA

From Thinkprogress:
Nearly a month after a Pennsylvania court suspended the law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls this November, reports of misinformation on the voter ID law are still rolling in.

The latest misleading claim comes from CBS Pittburgh radio station KDKA, which is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26, around 7:30 am immediately after a weather report for the Pittsburgh area.
And the text:
NARRATOR: When you need to vote–

WOMAN: The voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor.

NARRATOR: You need to know –

WOMAN: You’re not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers’ license center.

NARRATOR: It’s your right, it’s your duty, it’s your choice –

WOMAN: And you will need an acceptable ID in order for you to vote.

NARRATOR: Decision 2012. KDKA. [Emphasis added.]
Please please PLEASE tell me this isn't true.  Please tell me this is was a simple mistake.  Please tell me that you've already announced and apologized on the air for misleading your audience.

October 29, 2012

Sweet Jesus, Why Does He Have To Come From PA?

Via Crooks and Liars, I found this drivel:
God is systematically destroying America. Just look at what has happened this year.
And then:
Just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina. Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!

Hurricane Sandy is hitting 21 years to the day of the Perfect Storm of October 20, 1991. I write about this in my book as America Has Done to Israel. This was the day that President George Bush Sr. initiated the Madrid Peace Process to divide the land of Israel, including Jerusalem. America has been under God’s judgment since this event. Both of these hurricanes were cause by freakish weather patterns that came together to create
AND THEN:
Twenty-one years breaks down to 7 x 3, which is a significant number with God. Three is perfection as the Godhead is three in one while seven is perfection.

It appears that God gave America 21 years to repent of interfering with His prophetic plan for Israel; however, it has gotten worse under all the presidents and especially Obama. Obama is 100 percent behind the Muslim Brotherhood which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem. Both candidates are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda. America is under political judgment and the church does not know it!
From his "About Us" page we read:
John McTernan, founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries, has spent thousands of hours with Jews and Muslims debating and corresponding in defense of the Gospel. During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.

During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.

Since 1975, he has been involved with the Pro-Life movement and is currently a Pro-Life leader in central Pennsylvania. And, in the early 1980's, he co-founded International Cops for Christ where he serves as an ordained chaplain and evangelist.
Oh Lord, there are nutcases more or less evenly distributed across the country, for that is evidently thy divine plan. But did the first nutjob to link Hurricane Sandy to teh gays HAVE to come from my home state?

FEMA, Sandy and Mitt

Now that there's a huge, massive and otherwise incredibly large storm bearing down on the East Coast, it might be a good idea to see what our old friends in the GOP have to say about funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

First, their gonfaloniere, Mitt Romney.  In a GOP debate earlier this year, in responding to a question by CNN's John King, Romney said:
KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Perhaps it was just political pander, but he was saying that until the debt is paid off, it's "simply immoral" to fund FEMA.  Send that money to the States or (better yet!) the private sector.  Privatize FEMA to clean up the mess!

Then there was this from last year:
GOP leaders say they want new money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster fund to be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, an unprecedented approach to disaster aid that is creating a political stalemate as FEMA is about to run out of money.
They wanted no new money for FEMA unless there are other cuts in the budget.

That's what they think of FEMA - and that's what we should keep in mind as Sandy bears down on the eastern seaboard.

October 28, 2012

Jack Kelly Sunday

After reading (and rereading) this sunday's column by P-G Columnist Jack Kelly, one has to wonder about his general cognitive abilities.

He's wrong about so many things - especially from his initial sentence:
The Navy needs more ships, Mitt Romney said in Monday's debate. It has fewer now than in 1916.
Factcheck.org has some actual numbers (numbers curiously missing from Jack's column):
There were 342 total active ships as of April 6, 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I (the number stood at 245 in December 1916). And there were 282 active duty ships as of April 2012, according to a Congressional Research Service report in August. That’s down slightly from the Naval History and Heritage Command’s count of 285 as of September 2011. However, 282 ships is the same number in service during George W. Bush’s last year in office, and a slight increase over the number in 2007 — 278 — when the size of the fleet was at its lowest since the early 20th century.
Remember, Romney said 1916.  So we start at 245 - which is less than either the 282 or 285 from April, 2012 or September 2011, respectively.

Less than.

And did you catch the point about 2007?  Let's see now.  Who was president then?

While getting these easy facts wrong, Jack points out:
The facts matter little to liberals.
Huh. You don't say.

Jack then fixates on the president's "Bayonets and Horses" line:
President Barack Obama pounced. "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them ... "
Where Jack dutifully omits the last part (you can find it here):
We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships; it’s what are our capabilities.
So the numbers of the ships matter much less than the capabilities of those ship (or bayonets or horses).  Let's use the example that Jack avoided: submarines.

According to this webpage from The Navy, when the United States entered the First World War, we had 42  submarines in commission.  What are the numbers now?
By my count that's 62 submarines.  By Jack's logic (and Romney's, for that matter) that means that simply by using the numbers of ships, the fleet of 42 diesel-powered ships, all about 200 feet long or less, each travelling about 13 knots or so, equal about 2/3 of the firepower of the modern submarine fleet.

But yea, let's talk about how the Marines use a KA-BAR fighting knife or how the Taliban was taken down by special forces guys on horseback.  THAT certainly validated Romney's "facts" about the Navy!

One special note to my friends at the Post-Gazette who's thankless job of editing Jack's columns each week must give them humongous agita: You REALLY need to check Jack's sources and the soundness of those sources.  Here's Jack:
In yet another fund-raising appeal on Tuesday, Mr. Obama said he and Michelle would be fine if he loses. If the president's friends are indeed buying him a $35 million mansion in Hawaii, as Chicago blogger Kevin Dujan (Hillbuzz) claims, that's certainly true.
If you didn't already know this by now (and there's no reason you should if your head's been stuck in actual news as opposed to the cesspool of the right wing media) Kevin Dujan's the source of the latest Jerome Corsi Obama Conspiracy theory:
That the president is a secret gay.
It's all there on the pages of World Net Daily (aka birther central).

Shouldn't that have raised a few flags at the P-G?  That Jack Kelly's using a wingnut source?

Yea, I know.  I giggled at that one myself a little bit.

The OPJ on KDKA!

This weekend Maria, the OPJ, was on Johnna Pro's show on KDKA.

Have a listen.

She was, as always, impressive.

October 27, 2012

Not All Of Them, But Most...?

A few days ago former New Hampshire Governor ( And Romney Campaign guy) John Sununu said this about Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama:
PIERS MORGAN, CNN: Final question. Colin Powell has decided to opt for President Obama again despite apparently still being a Republican. Is it time he left the party, do you think?

JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Well, I'm not sure how important that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell's boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along. And frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.

MORGAN: What reason would that be?

SUNUNU: Well, I think that when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being President of the United States -- I applaud Colin for standing with him.
Classy.

To be fair (and we are nothing if we are not fair here at 2PJ), he's since walked back his racial comment a bit:
"Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should," Sununu said.
If you look carefully, however, you'll see that Sununu's racial answer was not to Morgan's question about whether Powell should leave the GOP.  Typical political tactic - distract and assume no one will check the details and that they'll take your word on it.  That's still a teensy lie, of course.

In response Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson said this:
My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people -- not all of them, but most of them -- who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable.
Well, Sununu did start his now retracted racial statement with "when you take a look at Colin Powell..."

Perhaps that was just a metaphor.  Perhaps he meant it literally.  Either way John Sununu is a sorry excuse for a grownup.

And he's working for Mitt Romney.


October 26, 2012

I'll be on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA with Johnna Pro tomorrow

I'll be on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA with Johnna Pro tomorrow, Saturday, October 27 in the 6:00 PM hour.
You can also live stream it on their website, by clicking on the "Listen Live" button on top of the right sidebar.
We will, of course, be talking about the upcoming election, but also about issues like this and this:
(Via Daily Kos)
 Should be interesting!

See Bruce Springsteen for Free in Pittsburgh on Saturday!

Courtesy of President Barack Obama:

 
 

And, then there's this from a desperate Valerie Caras, PA GOP Spokesperson:
“Pennsylvanians will attend Bruce Springsteen’s concert, listen to his great music and then head to the polls and vote for Mitt Romney,” said Caras. “Mitt Romney is going to do very well in Pittsburgh and all of southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Keep telling yourself that, Ms. Caras.

October 25, 2012

Two DIFFERENT Views On Rape

One from a prominent Democrat:
During an appearance on the “Tonight Show” Wednesday, President Obama condemned Indiana Republican Senate nominee Richard Mourdock’s recent comments claiming pregnancies from rape are part of God’s plan.

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Obama said. “Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me — don’t make any sense to me. The second thing this underscores, though, is this is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions.”
And one from a prominent Republican:
“Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” WJHL reporter Josh Smith wondered.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” [Representative Paul] Ryan explained.
For a pro-life candidate, one who feels that life begins at conception, that means...

The Trib Misleads. Again.

Take a look at this:
The Federal Salary Council ciphers that federal employees earn 34 percent less than their private-sector counterparts and that the “pay gap” jumped 8 percentage points since last year. But two Junes ago, the private American Enterprise Institute concluded federal employees earn 14 percent more than their private counterparts. See what happens when you let government types study reality?
See that?  It's a clear cut indictment of yet another flawed guv'ment study.  The study's invalidated, of course, by an American Enterprise Institute report that purports to look at the same thing.

Of course the $7.8 million dollars (unadjusted for inflation) in financial support that Trib owner Richard Mellon Scaife has given to AEI has nothing to do with any of this.

But there's a deeper question: Is there an actual reason (besides the one Scaife's paid for) the percentages are different?

Turns out there is.  In this GAO study from this past June there's an explanation, though you can see a hint of it in the title:
Results of Studies on Federal Pay Varied Due to Differing Methodologies
Huh.  You don't say.  And what are these differing methodologies?

First here's the list of the different studies (I've highlighted the studies that concern us here):
  • Comparing Federal and Private Sector Compensation, Andrew Biggs and Jason Richwine, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, June 2011. (Co-author Richwine is from The Heritage Foundation.)
  • Federal Pay Continues Rapid Ascent, Chris Edwards, The Cato Institute, August 2009.
  • Report on Locality-Based Comparability Payments for the General Schedule, Annual Report of the President’s Pay Agent 2010, The President’s Pay Agent, March 2011.
  • Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors, The Project On Government Oversight, September 2011.
  • Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service, James Sherk, The Heritage Foundation, July 2010.
Hey, did you know that the co-author of the AEI study is a Heritage Foundation guy?  I didn't.  I guess we can add the $24 million Scaife's funnelled to Heritage (again, unadjusted for inflation) as another reason why his braintrust would be supporting the AEI analysis over the Fed's.

But back to the GAO study.  Here's what they say initially about the differing methodologies:
All of the selected studies except for the President’s Pay Agent compared federal to private sector pay and total compensation. The President’s Pay Agent compared federal to nonfederal pay (not benefits) and defined nonfederal as private sector, state government, and local government.
Do I need to tell you that the "President's Pay Agent" is the Federal Study Council?

So do you think that maybe just maybe that might explain the difference so easily dismissed by Scaife's braintrust?

See what happens when you let an ideologically based editorial board of a newspaper owned by a billionaire who's been funding right wing think tanks for decades study the difference between a guv'ment study and one funded by that same billionaire??

October 24, 2012

Mourdock is (half) right

Romney-endorsed Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock probably got it half right when he said the following in a debate last night:
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

I mean, he got it half right when it comes to his understanding of his god. I am assuming he's a Christian who believes that his god is omniscient and omnipotent. I assume he reads the Christian Bible wherein his god commands rapists to marry their victims and which on any number of occasions tells men when it's OK to "plunder" woman, take captives as their wives (you know, if they're pretty enough and after killing the men folk) or gives advice about selling your daughter into slavery.

It's the whole 'the Lord is against killing babies' bit that Mourdock gets laughably wrong. I mean, where to even start with that one? (Egypt would probably be a good start.) The Christian Bible would make a great script for a slasher film -- except even slasher films don't usually kill babies (mostly just women).

In the interest of not having to type out quote after quote, here's an instructive video on what the Christian Bible has to say about killing babies and children:


What?

Did you find that offensive?

Well, hell (no pun intended), I find it offensive that men like Mourdock are constantly trying to make laws on abortion when they are such hypocrites about so much else that's in their very own bibles.

Has Mourdock ever worked on Sunday?

Has he ever played football?

Does he wear clothing woven from two types of cloth?

I can see that he has sideburns...

Where are his laws against all that?

And if he doesn't get to it writing these laws (pronto!), when are we all gathering to stone him in a public square?

Just shut the fuck up already.

More and more voter suppression

Pennsylvania:
From Capitol Ideas we see that Spanish-language billboards and radio ads in Philadelphia, PA are still telling voters that they need photo ID to vote in Pennsylvania -- after the temporary injunction.

Ohio:
We learn from Daily Kos that an Ohio county is sending voters both the wrong election date and the wrong directions to the polls.

I was robocalled by The Catholic Association

Yesterday morning I received a recorded call by "Sue." "Sue" said she wasn't trying to tell me who to vote for, BUT instead of trying to get folks jobs, President Obama was spending his time trying to take away the religious freedoms of Catholics. Uh-huh. I'm not even sure the call mentioned birth control.

The recording said the call was paid for by The Catholic Association. I'm assuming that I got the call because I'm a super voter, registered Democrat in Western PA with a Catholic-sounding name(?). (What exactly would that computer algorithm look like anyway? First name "Maria"/"Angela"/"Carmela"/"Theresa" and last name ends in a vowel?)

I will repeat what I said back in February:
Let's get it straight. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover contraception without co-pays. It does not, however, require religions, churches, parishes, dioceses, archdioceses, etc. to cover contraception -- they are exempt (if you're a secretary working for a church you're shit out of luck). What we're talking about are public institutions like universities and hospitals -- non-profit businesses (much in the same way that UPMC, for example, is a "non-profit") -- who take government money and who take money from the public being required to follow the law to not discriminate against women when covering their health care costs.

That's it.

If the Catholic Church does not want to follow the law, they can stop taking federal funds or they can get out of the business of running businesses.

That's it.

That's their choice.

(Jesus' choice -- from all available evidence -- would seem to be to sell everything and give it to the poor. Just saying...)
But, now I'll add this from a Republican-appointed judge's ruling in federal court late last month who upheld the Obama Administration’s birth control coverage rules:
The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [an employer's health] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. . . . [Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. [It] does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own. . . .

[T]he health care plan will offend plaintiffs’ religious beliefs only if an [] employee (or covered family member) makes an independent decision to use the plan to cover counseling related to or the purchase of contraceptives. Already, [plaintiffs] pay salaries to their employees—money the employees may use to purchase contraceptives or to contribute to a religious organization. By comparison, the contribution to a health care plan has no more than a de minimus impact on the plaintiff’s religious beliefs than paying salaries and other benefits to employees.
Or as Think Progress explains it:
A key insight in this opinion is that salaries and health insurance can be used to buy birth control, so if religious employers really object to enabling their employees to buy birth control, they would have to not pay them money in addition to denying them comprehensive health insurance. An employer cannot assert a religious objection to how their employees choose to use their own benefits or their own money, because religious freedom is not a license to “force one’s religious practices upon others.”
Cause that would hardly be "small government" now would it?

October 23, 2012

PodCamp 2012 Announcement

KDKA's Jon Delano and I will be having a discussion at PodCamp this year.

It should be very interesting!

Yes, But Is It TRUE?

I realize the conservative paper in town has to do something to try to put the best spin on last night's awful Romney debate performance, but this piece by Mike Wereschagin and Salena Zito shows the problem with the "he said/he said" school of "objective" journalism.

In not doing any real fact checking, Mike and Salena let Romney off the hook.  Perhaps that was the point.

The wrote:
“I think (Iran’s leaders) saw weakness where they had expected to find American strength,” Romney said. He revived his charge that Obama embarked on “an apology tour” around the world.

“Nothing Gov. Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing,” Obama said.
Yes, but is it true?  They don't say.

Did the President go on an "apology tour" or not?  Nothing is gained by going "he said/he said" - those who think he did will disagree with Obama and those who think he didn't will disagree with Romney.

In reality, there was no apology tour.

From CNN:
Romney's claim is false. The president has mentioned past U.S. mistakes and flaws during speeches about the larger issues of building bridges to other countries. But he has never apologized or gone on an "apology tour."
Washington Post:
The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context.

Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush's approach to fighting terrorism.

In other cases, Obama's quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state. Republicans may certainly disagree with Obama's handling of foreign policy or particular policies he has pursued, but they should not invent a storyline that does not appear to exist.
But let's move on to something else they wrote:
The candidates sparred over defense spending, with Romney accusing Obama of presiding over a shrinking Navy and aging Air Force.

“Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time” since its founding, Romney said.

“We also have fewer horses and bayonets,” Obama shot back. The modern military includes aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, he said. “The question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.”
Yes, but is it true?  They don't say.

Politifact has already debunked this one:
This is a great example of a politician using more or less accurate statistics to make a meaningless claim. Judging by the numbers alone, Romney was close to accurate. In recent years, the number of Navy and Air Force assets has sunk to levels not seen in decades, although the number of ships has risen slightly under Obama.

However, a wide range of experts told us it’s wrong to assume that a decline in the number of ships or aircraft automatically means a weaker military. Quite the contrary: The United States is the world’s unquestioned military leader today, not just because of the number of ships and aircraft in its arsenal but also because each is stocked with top-of-the-line technology and highly trained personnel.
But guess what I found for the sources of Romney's meaninglessness?  Politifact, again:
The Navy numbers

The Romney campaign didn’t get back to us, but we found their likely sourcing when we contacted the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

In January 2010, Heritage published a report titled, "The State of the U.S. Military." Citing data from the Naval History and Heritage Command, a part of the Defense Department, the report said that "the U.S. Navy’s fleet today contains the smallest number of ships since 1916. The total number of active ships in the Navy declined from 592 to 283 between 1989 and 2009." [Emphasis added.]
While it's not clear in the text, Politifact also cites that same Heritage Foundation report (you can read it here) in explaining Romney's Air Force claim.

And they add some context:
But what do those numbers mean? Not much, a variety of experts told us.

Counting the number of ships or aircraft is not a good measurement of defense strength because their capabilities have increased dramatically in recent decades. Romney’s comparison "doesn’t pass ‘the giggle test,’ " said William W. Stueck, a historian at the University of Georgia.
The context of the numbers makes Romney's claim ridiculous.

I think I see why Wereschagin and Zito would be reluctant to debunk these two myths.  They work at the Tribune-Review where their boss is Richard Mellon Scaife.  At one of their boss's other pet projects (the Trib being one, the Heritage Foundation another) these myths (the "apology tour" and "the shrunken military") have been around for years.

No one wants to be an EOD at the Trib, I suppose.

October 22, 2012

Horses and Bayonets

Highlights of Mitt Romney from tonight's debate

Video Highlight:


Still photo:

ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey, looks like I'll be doing Lynn Cullen Live again tomorrow morning at 10.

I wonder what we'll talk about.

Scaife/Trib Total Media PA Paper Gives False Voter ID "News"

If not the world, at least the White House.
(Photo via Pittsburgh City Paper)

Looks like we have a bigger concern than those confusing Voter ID Law ads running in Pennsylvania -- there's at least one newspaper printing a story with outright false information in it. According to Think Progress, last Thursday, The Mount Pleasant Journal ran a story with the headline "Photo ID required for November election."

Of course, the new voter suppression ID law has been suspended for the November 6th election. The Mount Pleasant Journal is a weekly newspaper run by right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife's Trib Total Media. They printed the story more than two weeks after the court ruling blocked the law.

The story in The Mount Pleasant Journal has no byline.



October 21, 2012

Bet You Didn't Expect This

Bob Casey local endorsements:

The Post-Gazette:
Bob Casey has a record of working with both parties in his first term as senator. He's a centrist Democrat with conservative views on abortion, guns and stem cell research.

Tom Smith, the millionaire Republican who wants to replace him, would ramp up political polarization on Capitol Hill with his Tea Party agenda.

It would be a grave mistake to turn up the heat in Washington when what the country needs is light. For that reason, the Post-Gazette endorses Bob Casey for a second term.
The Tribune-Review:
We don’t agree with some of the policies advocated by the first-term Democrat. But we have come to appreciate him on a personal level and to admire the congenial manner in which he interacts with not only his constituents but also Pat Toomey, his junior Republican colleague in the Senate. It’s that kind of personal comity that serves Pennsylvania and the nation best.

Mr. Casey is being challenged by Republican Tom Smith. He was a Democrat committeeman as recently as 2010. Despite our policy differences with Casey, we prefer the Democrat we know to the Republican of convenience.

Re-elect Bob Casey Jr.
Both Pittsburgh papers (one a center/left leaner and the other a right wing rag) endorse Bob Casey for re-election.

Tea Party Tom can't be happy about that.

Jack Kelly Sunday

In this week's column, P-G columnist Jack Kelly calls President Obama a liar, quotes breitbart.com as reliable information and said that CNN's Candy Crowley "intervened to rescue" Obama from another debate loss and "handed" him "the win."

And no, I am not kidding.  But if you read this blog and Jack's column, you'd already know that.

The bulk of the column is Jack's rightwing defense/ahistorical rewrite of the Administration's treatment of the Benghazi attacks.

Here's Jack:
State Department officials knew right away that this was a terrorist attack because they were watching it in "near real time" on a live feed from security cameras, they told journalists Oct. 9. So, Mr. Romney asked the president, why for more than a week afterwards did he and other senior administration officials claim that it appeared to be a "spontaneous" protest in response to a YouTube video?

"The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened," Mr. Obama responded. "That this was an act of terror, and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."

Mr. Romney was incredulous. He knew Mr. Obama was still blaming the video when he spoke to the United Nations nearly two weeks later. "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror," he said.

Referring to the Rose Garden statement, Ms. Crowley interjected, "He did in fact, sir ... call it an act of terror ..."
The hand off and the win, in Jack's eyes.  And a few paragraphs later:
What she did was tackle Mr. Romney as he was about to score a touchdown. The president, in my view, was lying. He did not specifically call the attack on the consulate in Benghazi an act of terror during that Rose Garden press conference, as Ms. Crowley later acknowledged. What he said was, "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation ..."
As the President said, let's go to the transcripts.  From Whitehouse.gov.  In remarks regarding the attacks in Benghazi, he framed things this way:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
See that?  He grouped all those attacks together.  And then he said:
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done. [Emphasis added.]
He even mentions the four who died in Benghazi in the very next sentence.

If there was any doubt, he reiterated the very next day in Las Vegas. In a speech where he begins by announcing the deaths in Benghazi, he said:
As for the ones we lost last night: I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice.  And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm: No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America. [Emphasis added.]
And yet Jack Kelly said the president didn't call the attacks in Benghazi an act of terror.

Jack's the one who's lying.  Either that or he didn't bother doing the necessary research for the column.  Which is it?  Incompetence or dishonesty?  We've asked this before...

But then there's this:
He did not specifically call the attack on the consulate in Benghazi an act of terror during that Rose Garden press conference, as Ms. Crowley later acknowledged. [Emphasis added.]
The grammar is a bit confused here.  What, exactly, did Crowley acknowledge?  Looks to me like he was saying that Crowley backtracked her initial fact check.  Did she?

Breitbart certainly thinks so.

But Crowley says no.

Another mistake/bit of dishonesty on Jack's part, I guess.

October 19, 2012

Lamar Advertises for Lamar, Uses Image from City Website

Pittsburgh City Counselors Natalia Rudiak and Darlene Harris have cosponsored a proposal to create a 10% tax on billboard rentals which they say could raise a couple of million dollars a year towards purchasing new police cars. (Philadelphia and other PA towns have a similar tax.)

Here's Lamar's response:

(Via Facebook)


In the Pittsburgh City Paper, Harris rightly notes that the Rudiak sign is "very misleading," since it implies that Rudiak is proposing to raise taxes on everyone, rather than on a select industry."

Rudiak comments:
Although one thing about the billboard did strike her as odd: Lamar, she says, apparently took the photo of her from the city's website. "But in the original photo, my dress was red."
Here's the image from the City of Pittsburgh website:

Here's a detail from Lamar's ad for Lamar:


How does Lamar get to use an image from the City of Pittsburgh website anyway in an ad that means to profit Lamar? They obviously did not pay for the image -- I'm assuming either the City or Rudiak did.

And, how the hell does this company from Louisiana constantly insert itself into the politics of this city???

Spirit Day

Via GLAAD:
Spirit Day is the annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
Sue at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents has been running guest posts all week from allies for Spirit Day. Go there and read them! (I was honored to be asked to participate in the project too.)

October 18, 2012

Endorsement News

While I refrain from endorsing anyone (the OPJ is, of course, free to endorse or not as she pleases), I did want to point out a recent Post-Gazette endorsement for the 44th District of the Pennsylvania House:
The Post-Gazette endorses Mark Scappe, a promising alternative.
In case you didn't know it, Scappe's running against Mark Mustio - who the P-G had once endorsed.  But that changed.  Why?  Take a look.  This is how the P-G starts its endorsement of Scappe:
Mark Mustio ran a deplorable, ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for the Republican nomination for state Senate in the spring that raised such a troubling question about his fitness for office that the Post-Gazette withdrew its initial endorsement of him.
The P-G pointed out a few months ago that both candidates (Mustio and Raja) did the usual campaign smears. But added:
Mr. Mustio went further when he superimposed an image of the flag of India behind a photo of Mr. Raja in earlier advertisements and fliers. Although born in India, Mr. Raja -- like millions of immigrants before him -- came to this country as a young man, made it his home by becoming a U.S. citizen and founded a successful business here. He also earned master's degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Mustio followed that up by crossing a line this week with an insidious mailing aimed at stirring up prejudices about Mr. Raja's foreign birth. Even though Mr. Raja is known simply as Raja or D. Raja in his business dealings, personal life and politics, Mr. Mustio displayed prominently his opponent's full given name --Dakshinamurthy -- in a campaign flier.

We don't buy Mr. Mustio's explanation that he used the long name because it appears on lawsuits in which Mr. Raja was involved. The subtext is clear. In fact, Mr. Mustio makes it even clearer in his newest, so-called positive television ad in which the narrator intones, "Mark Mustio. He's one of us, not a politician."
Something the P-G called a "breach of decency."

In his defense, Mustio said he regretted using the advisors who came up with what the P-G calls his "race- based strategy."  He hasn't, however, apologized to the target of that strategy, Raja.

Whatever else is going on in this race, on the one side you've got a guy who agreed to an offensive "race-based" strategy that was so indecent that it made the P-G editorial board reverse itself and pull its endorsement and on the other side you've got a guy, Mark Scappe, who didn't.

This is not an endorsement.  But let the the voters in the 44th House District decide for themselves which candidate to support.

More On Connellsville's Unconstitutional Monument

Ah...the Cavalry's coming to town.  Still won't help.  The monument's still unconstitutional.

From today's Trib:
The Connellsville area community continues to rally in support of keeping the Ten Commandments monument on property located at Connellsville Junior High School.

The Values Bus, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council, will be rolling into Uniontown and Connellsville this weekend as part of the Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote 2012 Tour.

On Saturday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., a Citizen’s Forum will be held at Liberty Baptist Church on 183 Oliver Road in Uniontown.

The forum will feature a question and answer session. Genevieve Wood of The Heritage Foundation and Bob Morrison of the Family Research Council, as well as local elected officials, will speak.
Of course not one mention of the millions Trib-owner Richard Mellon Scaife's given to the Heritage Foundation.

I want to go in a slightly different direction on this blog post.  USUALLY I just quote the thirty year old Supreme Court decision and let it go at that.  But this time, let's look at what the monument's supporters are actually saying - what they actually want.

Let's start here:
Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, has been leading community support to keep the monument on school property.

He and local businessman Gary Colatch have organized several prayer meetings and have set up an account to accept funds to fight legal action and to erect a few more Ten Commandments monuments throughout the city. They also have organized the making of Ten Commandments yard signs and T-shirts for sale.

“The Family Research Council already hits on a lot of the subjects that we’re dealing with, and when they heard about our situation, they said they wanted to get involved,” Marietta said. “Their stance on the issue is that the Ten Commandments are the basis of all our laws, and they’ve dealt with some of the same issues before.”
I found this curious. Because when I checked out the Liberty Baptist Church's website, I found this (on a page tagged "What We Believe"):
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power. [Emphases added.]
And yet they're looking to the "civil power" to instruct those public school students the proper way to view God.  The fact that the numbering and the text of the monument more closely matches the Catholic "version" of the Decalogue is evidence, in fact, that indeed one ecclesiastical group is being favored by the state.

Even if it weren't paraphrasing the Roman Catholic Catechism, it would still be favoring religion over non-religion.

And that's still unconstitutional.

Let me end with a full throated defense of real religious liberty:
We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.

At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.
Posting the Ten Commandments at a public high school in order to make sure that all the students there are exposed to a particular religious idea is hardly neutral.

Know who made that full throated defense of government neutrality regarding faith?  Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America.

October 17, 2012

Two Million Hits! 6000 Blog Posts!

I got an email from the OPJ this morning.  It went something like this:
Congrats!

We reached 2 million hits and 6,000 blog posts.

How the hell did that ever happen? LOL
Here's the short (and long) answer to Maria's question: I have no frickin idea.

Specifically it looks like we're getting tons of hits from this page and that happened because Romney's "Binders full of women" line's gone viral.

THANKS MITT!  Were it not for your condescending debate flub, we'd still be floundering just under 2 million!

Congratulations, Maria, we've now made it to 106.3010299957 hits!

Some of the best moments from last night's presidential debate

The Joke:


The Fact Check:


The Close:

"Binders full of women" comment not just creepy -- it's another lie!

Mitt Romney's remarks that he made a concerted effort to find qualified women for his cabinet as governor and how he went to women's groups for help and that's how he ended up with "binders full of women" is another big, fat lie. From The Phoenix:
What actually happened was that in 2002 -- prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration -- a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I've checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I've just presented it is correct -- and that Romney's claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.
Also, as yet, he has refused to say he's for equal pay for women. At this point, one would need to assume that he doesn't say it because he's not for it. (But, he is of course in favor of flex time because it allows the ladies to go home early to make dinner.)

October 16, 2012

"Binders Full Of Women"

The inevitable tumblr on Mitt's creepy "binders full of women" remark:



More here.

Who knew the public craved facts?

Don't call it a comeback! (OK, call it a comeback)

Obama tonight:

Some Light Reading...

From the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Democratic Staff:
Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, released for each congressional district an analysis of the impact of the Ryan budget on critical programs that seniors depend on, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other federal programs.
Some highlights from the Pittsburgh Analysis:
The Affordable Care Act, which Congress enacted in 2010, reduces drug costs for seniors and the disabled on Medicare by closing the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the “donut hole.” This year, beneficiaries who use between $2,930 and $6,658 worth of prescription drugs will receive a 50% discount on those brand-name drugs; by 2020, the donut hole is completely eliminated. Nationwide, 5.5 million seniors have saved $4.5 billion as a result of these provisions.

The Ryan budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act, reopening the donut hole and increasing costs for the 11,400 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who are already benefitting from its drug discounts. This would have cost these seniors an average of $600 last year and over $700 this year. Over the next decade, this change would cost these seniors more than $9,200 each and increase the total drug costs for seniors in the district by more than $105 million.
And:
The Ryan budget cuts federal nutrition assistance and changes program rules to reduce protections for seniors. The Ryan plan cuts food stamp funding by $133.5 billion over the next ten years and changes the program from a guarantee for individuals who meet certain income eligibility requirements to a block grant to states. As a result, states would be forced either to slash eligibility (ending food assistance for eight million low-income residents nationwide) or to cut benefits (reducing food assistance by an average of 24%, more than $1,100, per year) or some combination of both. In the district, more than 12,700 households with seniors participate in the food stamp program and would be threatened by these cuts.
Go read the analysis.  If you live outside of Pittsburgh, go read the analysis for your district.

Easier as a Latino?

Missed the show? Watch it here!

Missed David on Lynn Cullen Live today? Watch it here:

You didn't clean that!


Via AmericaBlog:
It seems Paul Ryan stopped by an already-empty and cleaned soup kitchen for a whopping 15 minutes, during which he and his family donned aprons and pretended to clean already-clean dishes while the media dutifully snapped photos, the Washington Post reports.

The soup kitchen president, an independent who relies of private donations for the non-partisan charity, was none too pleased with the Romney/Ryan campaign. Not only did the campaign not have permission to drop by for a photo opp, but the photo opp was a fake. The Ryan clan only pretend ed to clean dishes.

From Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district

 
(h/t to The MaddowBlog)

Finally!

You can finally see the full detail's on Mitt Romney's tax plan are here.

And, No...

In yet another piece of misquoting and then twisting science into something completely unrelated to reality, The Daily Mail (and a great deal of the right side of the web) has pronounced that Global Warming Is Over and that it "ended" 16 years ago.

(I am still waiting to see this show up in the Trib, btw).

Too bad that The Daily Mail misquoted and twisted the science it's purporting to report on.

Who says?

The people they quoted, The Met Office - the UK's National Weather Service.

First the twist from The Daily Mail:
The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.
I think I know why the Trib isn't covering this.  Implicit in this (false) argument that Global Warming ended is the premise that it started at some point - and that's something The Trib just can't fathom.

But the Met has responded:
To address some of the points in the article published today:

Firstly, the Met Office has not issued a report on this issue. We can only assume the article is referring to the completion of work to update the HadCRUT4 global temperature dataset compiled by ourselves and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
And that's the least of the Daily Mail's worries.  It chose a rather limited chronological spread of the data (16 years).  In its email response to the Daily Mail, the Met Office wrote:
The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.

As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system. If you use a longer period from HadCRUT4 the trend looks very different. For example, 1979 to 2011 shows 0.16°C/decade (or 0.15°C/decade in the NCDC dataset, 0.16°C/decade in GISS). Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous – so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade.

Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ÂșC. However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled. The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual. [Emphasis added.]
Something the Daily Mail didn't tell you they learned from The Met Office.

And yet the right side of the web is all aflitter that Global Warming's done.

For more, go to Mediamatters.

And Global Warming is still undeniable.

October 15, 2012

Announcement!

Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 16), I'll be on


The webcast begins at 10:00am and the podcast will be available afterwards at the City Paper website.

October 14, 2012

Don't Tweet Alone! Presidential Debate Watch Party!

So you know you're going to watch the second presidential debate...and you know you're going to get annoyed. Can Mitt Romney change a deeply held belief...in the course of a single sentence? It's a town hall format with questions by undecided voters. Undecided?!? Who the hell can be undecided at this point? (And, do their minders have to tie their shoelaces for them?)

Don't risk this happening to your TV:

Don't tweet alone!

Via Facebook:
Second Presidential Debate Watch Party
Please join City Councilman Bill Peduto and Democratic Nominee for State Representative, Ed Gainey, for a debate watch party for the second of three presidential debates. We will be taking over AVA Lounge in East Liberty for the night, so come join us and bring some friends.
Tuesday, October 16th
8:30 PM to 11:00 PM
AVA Lounge
126 S. Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Cash Bar
RSVP HERE!

Jack Kelly Sunday

Post-Gazette conservative columnist Jack Kelly and his columns are well known to the readers of this blog.  He's long known as one who skimps on delivering all the facts or (OR!) just making stuff up as he goes along - all while somehow avoiding the rigorous fact-checking necessary for a political column at such a prestigious newspaper.

This Sunday's column is no exception.  Here's how he starts:
It's illegal to solicit contributions from foreigners, but citizens of China, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Egypt have received emails seeking donations to President Barack Obama's campaign, according to the Government Accountability Institute, a private think tank.

Shanghai-based Obama.com is the largest of "thousands" of foreign websites which link to President Obama's official site. It's owned by Robert Roche, a businessman with ties to the Chinese government and a frequent guest at the White House. Contributions from Americans living in China are legal. But, according to Markosweb, 68 percent of Obama.com's traffic is from foreigners. The website is mostly in Chinese characters.

The Obama campaign doesn't require online donors to provide a CVV (the three digit number on the back of your credit card), as the Romney campaign and nearly all businesses and charities do. The fraud protection measure was omitted because the Obama campaign doesn't want to discourage small donors, a spokesman said.
Here's the GAI report, in case you wanted to check his work.

Let's get Jack's easiest mistake out of the way.  He's relying on the GAI report for information on Obama.com and he asserts quite unmistakably that it's "owned by Robert Roche."  However on page 66 of that same report it says just as unmistakably:
It remains unclear whether or not Roche himself continues to own Obama.com.
As of September, 2008 Obama.com was registered to Roche. About 2 years later (as in about 2 years ago) that registration was changed.

I found this error in about 30 minutes.  Isn't this something Jack's fact-checkers at the P-G should just as easily have caught?

However, let's get to the substance of Jack's argument, here.  Reading between the lines he's saying that not only is the Obama Campaign soliciting donations from foreign nationals but that it's accepting those donations.  That's what he wants you to come away with after reading his column on "Obama Campaign Scandals."

But does the report he's relying on actually say that?  Not according to David Weigel of Slate.com:
Last week the Internet learned of a coming expose of possible foreign money coming into the Obama campaign and other campaigns. The report, from Peter Schweizer's Government Accountability Institute, is up, and... not conclusive. How could it be? Schweizer's researchers spent six months trying to figure out what protections existed to keep illegal foreign donations out of American campaigns. But they ran up against the same fog as Michael Isikoff in a similar, shorter look at weird money to Obama from "Good Will" and "Doodad Pro." You can't easily determine whether a foreign national has given a donation. This report includes a series of blog posts from foreigners talking about the ease of giving, but not saying that they've actually given.
And what does Jack use as his final piece of evidence showing that the Obama campaign is circumventing campaign finance laws? In writing about how the Obama campaign doesn't require the CVV (the three digits on the back of the credit card) for identification he adds this:
The CVV also guards against what happened to Mary Biskup of Manchester, Missouri. When FEC records indicated she'd given $174,800 to Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign, The Washington Post called her, because it is illegal to give more than $2,300. She hadn't ever contributed to Mr. Obama, Ms. Biskup said. "Her credit card was never billed for the donations, meaning someone appropriated her name and made the contributions with another card," the Post noted.
But, as is Jack's habit, he leaves out the biggest part of this 4 year old story:
Now comes the story of Mary T. Biskup, of Manchester, Missouri. Biskup got a call recently from the Obama campaign, which was trying to figure out why she donated $174,800 to the campaign -- well over the contribution limit of $2,300.

The answer she gave them was simple. "That's an error."

Biskup, a retired insurance manager who occasionally submits recipes to the local paper, says someone used a credit card to donate the money in her name. No charges ever showed up on her credit card statement.
Wait, the OBAMA CAMPAIGN called her?  What happened then?  This:
Obama's campaign spotted the irregular donations, more than 70 of which all arrived on the same day, and aides to the senator said they refunded the money. The campaign began investigating immediately.

"As we reviewed our contributions and the more than 100,000 pages of our report, we noticed repeat donations from one contributor and proactively contacted the donor to verify whether the contributions were appropriate," said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman. "We refunded all of the contributions and contacted authorities when we determined Ms. Biskup had not made them. While no organization is protected from internet fraud - John McCain was forced to refund more than $1.2 million in contributions and has accepted contributions from non-existent donors like 'Jesus II' -- our review system caught and rectified this issue." [Emphasis added.]
None of which Jack Kelly deemed necessary to tell you.

But it changes his entire argument, doesn't it?

He then drudges up this well-debunked lie:
The president plans to gut Medicare Advantage to help pay for Obamacare, which goes fully into effect in January. Medicare recipients this year must choose their plan for next year, so when "open enrollment" begins Oct. 15, the 11.7 million seniors enrolled in it should be told what's going to happen to Medicare Advantage.
And this is what the LATimes said about his this:
The president’s healthcare law does reduce future spending on Medicare, but those savings are obtained by reducing federal payments to insurance companies, hospitals and other providers, and do not affect benefits for people in the Medicare program.
And yet Jack was writing as if they did.

Facts matter, especially now.  Can't someone at the P-G get some into Jack Kelly's columns?