Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 30, 2010


As commentary this would actually be pretty good, but I'm guessing it was just a typo (see here).

"Obama: Our first female president"

I would write a critique of Kathleen Parker's Washington Post piece, but as a woman, my communication skills would suffer from my passivity and my "rhetorical-testosterone deficit."

Sorry! (Really, really sorry.)

More Tales From Teh Tea Party Crazie

This time it's Rand Paul.

Via the Huffingtonpost, we find this from a blog called Barefoot and Progressive:

From Huffingtonpost:
Is Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul a creationist?

Last week, Paul spoke at a conference for the Christian Home Educators of Kentucky at a Louisville church where he dodged a question about the age of the earth and expressed skepticism about faith-based programs.

The first question during the Q&A was from a man who asked a two-part question, including how old Paul believed the world was.

"I forgot to say I was only taking easy questions," Paul joked, adding: "I'm going to pass on the age of the Earth. I'm just going to have to pass."
Barefoot and Progressive tracks down the Christian Home Educators of Kentucky and finds that one of the group's objectives is to:
Protect children from mental physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by secular humanists in a socialist society or governmental system.
Though they never actually get around (as far as I could see) to describing exactly all that means.

Back to Huffington:
Andrew Willis of Elizabethtown, who teaches his four children at home, said he hoped Paul's answer would jive with his own belief that the earth is about 6,000 years old.

"I'm not at all surprised that he didn't want to answer that question," Willis said shortly after posing it. "I know that is hugely controversial."
How is it controversial? Either you accept the science of radiometric dating or you don't. If you don't then the burden is on you to explain how the data points to an Earth 4 billion years old but the truth is something else.

Fun fact about Rand Paul. He was named after Ayn Rand. Rand Paul is pro-life.

Ayn Rand was not. From the Ayn Rand lexicon:
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?
Now that's a surprise, isn't it?

June 29, 2010

More On Tea Party Crazie

I saw this in the news today:
Since winning the Republican nomination in the Nevada Senate race Sharron Angle has drawn attention and controversy for a host of conservative policy prescriptions that seem well outside the political mainstream. Now, a Democratic source has passed along a radio interview she did back in January 2010 that could end up topping the list.

In an segment that has gone unnoticed since it first aired, the Tea Party-backed candidate told the Bill Manders show -- a favorable platform for Republican candidates -- that she opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest. A pregnancy under those circumstances, she said, was "God's plan."
TPM has a transcript:
Manders: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

Angle: Not in my book.

Manders: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

Angle: You know, I'm a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.
Let's imagine a pair of human beings; John and Joan. John's a pig and so he rapes Joan. One of Joan's eggs just happens to be in the right place and John's sperm are numerous and active and easily find it. You know what happens next. Joan becomes pregnant. But she's 14 and John is her step-father.

According to Sharron Angle, it's God's Plan for Joan to give birth.

But if her pregnancy is part of The Plan, then isn't The Rape? The Incest? The Child Abuse?

Or is He just interceding in John and Joan's bareback dance to make the best of a bad situation? But if He can do that, why didn't He do something about The Rape?

I know I am just an agnostic but can someone explain this to me?

It's Teh Crazie, tea party style.

A perfect pair!

Via Early Returns, we see Lil Ricky Santorum in Iowa going all xenophobic (and a little birther around the edges) on President Obama:
Obama is detached form the American experience. He just doesn’t identify with the average American because of his own background. Indonesia and Hawaii. His view is from the viewpoint of academics and the halls of the Ivy league schools that he went to and it’s not a love of this country and an understanding of the basic values and wants and desires of it’s people. And as a result of that, he doesn’t connect with people at that level.
Hmm, Hawaii as less than truly American. Where have I heard that before?

Oh, yeah.

According to her own father, Sarah Palin had an Hawaii problem:
Palin, though notoriously ill-traveled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. "Hawaii was a little too perfect," Palin writes. "Perpetual sunshine isn't necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls." Perhaps not. But Palin's father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: "They were a minority type thing and it wasn't glamorous, so she came home." In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, "because it was much like Alaska yet still 'Outside.' "
I think Palin has found her running mate!

He's even into wildlife:

Lil Ricky can hold 'em while Sarah plugs 'em full of holes.


Paul Krugman calls it.

(Reminder: Soup line protest in Pittsburgh tomorrow.)

Rick Barber, Take Two

I wanted to add something I found at TPM to the OPJ's post.

Eric Kleefield makes three points about the ad.

First Kleefield quotes Rick's "conversation" with Abraham Lincoln:
"Hey Abe," Barber asks. "If someone is forced to work for months to pay taxes so that a total stranger can get a free meal, medical procedure or a bailout, what's that called? What's it called when one man is forced to work for another?"

The Lincoln impersonator answers, "Slavery," followed by a rapid-fire montage of Southern African-American slavery, Communist labor camps, and Nazi concentration camps.

"We shed a lot of blood to stop that in the past, didn't we?" Barber says. "Now look at us. We are all becoming slaves to our government."
And now Kleefield's first point:
From a historical standpoint, Barber's ad does have a few errors. For one thing, Alabama conservatives did not shed a lot of blood to stop slavery -- they shed a lot of blood to perpetuate it, in opposition to a powerful federal government. Indeed, it's quite interesting to see a Southern right-winger putting words into Lincoln's mouth on this subject. [emphasis in original]
Especially if it's a flip-flop on Federalism/states rights.

Second point:
As commenters have pointed out (and indeed, a history buff like myself is ashamed to admit he didn't think of it first), Lincoln was a lifelong champion of the traditional Whig policies of "internal improvements" -- that is levying taxes, usually through tariffs, to fund infrastructure projects throughout the country, and incorporating the principle of central banking. In addition to prosecuting the Civil War, Lincoln's administration put all of those policies into effect, as his Republican Party's political coalition was built upon the foundation of the northern Whigs.
And a third:
Let's make this whole thing even funnier. Rick Barber, who has declared that the income tax is a tyrannical act that forces Americans to spy on themselves for the government, has invoked the name and image of Abraham Lincoln -- who implemented the first income tax in this country's history, in order to pay for the Civl War.
So not only is Rick Barber a "sick, twisted, little fuck", he's also stupid.

June 28, 2010

Rick Barber: Taxation Equals Slavery & The Holocaust

Alabama Congressional candidate Rick Barber is at it again.

This time he drags in "Abe" (That's "President Lincoln" to you, Rick) to make his point that taxation equals slavery and includes images from The Holocaust.

What a sick, twisted, little fuck.

Here's the ad:


41 years ago today

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

Forty-one years ago today a series of spontaneous riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The rioters were protesting yet another police raid of the Stonewall -- a gay bar.

The riots mark the beginning of the gay rights movement -- the moment when an oppressed minority struck back against government abuse.

Lord help us if this day is remembered in the future as Gun Rights Day....

Guess I'll be gettin' me that howitzer I've always wanted.

Supreme Court gun ruling.


June 27, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's not surprising that Jack Kelly would use this week's column to, uh, "explain" the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

That his "explanation" is muddled and confusing is hardly surprising either, though perhaps his inclusion of The Peter Principle (creatively quoted, of course) straightens things out enough for us to see the forest for the trees.

Let's start there. Bottom line on Jack's use of the Peter Principle: He calls Stanley McChrystal an incompetent commander in Afghanistan.

Jack writes (just ignore the empty snark about the golf course):
Barack Obama has not been a wartime leader in the mold of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt. Perhaps the only way Gen. McChrystal could have gotten Mr. Obama interested in Afghanistan is if he'd built a world-class golf course there.

But Gen. McChrystal hasn't been a Grant or MacArthur, either. Laurence J. Peter famously said that people in the corporate world tend to be promoted to a level beyond their competence. The Peter Principle applies in the military, too. A superb special operator, Gen. McChrystal seemed out of his depth on the larger stage.
The "Peter Principle" states that "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; the cream rises until it sours." People who show competence are promoted whether or not they are qualified to perform competently at the next level. Eventually they go beyond their limits, become incompetent, and stop getting promoted.
Just look beyond the weasel-words of "seemed out of his depth." By invoking the Peter Principle, Jack's calling a four-star general incompetent. Surprising, huh?

From there things get muddled. The column itself is called "The Problem is Obama" and in it we find this sentence:
Gen. McChrystal's soldiers also are frustrated by bizarrely restrictive rules of engagement which make it harder for them to kill the enemy and easier for the enemy to kill them.
So you'd think that those rules of engagement are Obama's, right?

Wrong - and it's something that Jack acknowledges (though only somewhat) a few paragraphs later:
Gen. McChrystal is more responsible than is the president for the restrictive rules of engagement, and he turned a blind eye to the massive corruption of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. [emphasis added]
So Jack here is diverting some of the responsibility for the "bizarrely restrictive rules of engagement" to the President. But if you look at the Rolling Stone article that triggered McChrystal's resignation that triggered Jack's column, you'll see:
Despite the tragedies and miscues, McChrystal has issued some of the strictest directives to avoid civilian casualties that the U.S. military has ever encountered in a war zone. It's "insurgent math," as he calls it – for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. He has ordered convoys to curtail their reckless driving, put restrictions on the use of air power and severely limited night raids. He regularly apologizes to Hamid Karzai when civilians are killed, and berates commanders responsible for civilian deaths. "For a while," says one U.S. official, "the most dangerous place to be in Afghanistan was in front of McChrystal after a 'civ cas' incident." The ISAF command has even discussed ways to make not killing into something you can win an award for: There's talk of creating a new medal for "courageous restraint," a buzzword that's unlikely to gain much traction in the gung-ho culture of the U.S. military.

But however strategic they may be, McChrystal's new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire, soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. "Bottom line?" says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers' lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing." [emphasis added]
Oh, so they're McChrystal's. So Jack's just a tad wrong when he tries to pin some of it on Obama, isn't he?

ust like he's just a tad wrong when he writes this about McChrystal's lack of judgment:
The judgment was so appallingly poor some suspect it was deliberate. Among them is the author of the Rolling Stone article.

"I think they were frustrated with how the policy was going, and I think there was an intent on their part to get a message out about that frustration," Mr. Hastings told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
This is a simple rookie error and so it's one that's disappointing to see in the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (C'mon guys! You were checking Jack so well there for a while). The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is called ABC. And so is the American Broadcasting Company.

It was the latter that quoted Hastings. See it here at
"I think they were frustrated with how the policy was going, and I think it was an attempt on their part to get the message out on that frustration," Hastings told ABC News' Diane Sawyer today.
So unless there's another news person named Diane Sawyer out there somewhere (one who works in Australia), Jack got this simple, easy to check news fact wrong.

Will we be seeing a(nother) Jack Kelly Correction anytime soon?

But let's get back to the Rolling Stone profile. Jack talks about the frustration McChrystal's staff feels about the war:
Losing a war causes frustration.
Ok, so Jack doesn't think things are going well over there. Hastings puts it this way:
From the start, McChrystal was determined to place his personal stamp on Afghanistan, to use it as a laboratory for a controversial military strategy known as counterinsurgency. COIN, as the theory is known, is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states. COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. The theory essentially rebrands the military, expanding its authority (and its funding) to encompass the diplomatic and political sides of warfare: Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps. In 2006, after Gen. David Petraeus beta-tested the theory during his "surge" in Iraq, it quickly gained a hardcore following of think-tankers, journalists, military officers and civilian officials. Nicknamed "COINdinistas" for their cultish zeal, this influential cadre believed the doctrine would be the perfect solution for Afghanistan. All they needed was a general with enough charisma and political savvy to implement it.

As McChrystal leaned on Obama to ramp up the war, he did it with the same fearlessness he used to track down terrorists in Iraq: Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out. After arriving in Afghanistan last June, the general conducted his own policy review, ordered up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The now-infamous report was leaked to the press, and its conclusion was dire: If we didn't send another 40,000 troops – swelling the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by nearly half – we were in danger of "mission failure." The White House was furious. McChrystal, they felt, was trying to bully Obama, opening him up to charges of being weak on national security unless he did what the general wanted. It was Obama versus the Pentagon, and the Pentagon was determined to kick the president's ass.

Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan. "I found that time painful," McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. "I was selling an unsellable position." For the general, it was a crash course in Beltway politics – a battle that pitted him against experienced Washington insiders like Vice President Biden, who argued that a prolonged counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan would plunge America into a military quagmire without weakening international terrorist networks. "The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people," says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense.

In the end, however, McChrystal got almost exactly what he wanted.
Any comments, Jack?

So should Obama have fired McChrystal? Jack says yes (it was poor judgment, though not insubordination) and is McChrystal's plan to fight the war in Afghanistan going well? No. His team is frustrated because, he says, they're losing. This part:
Gen. McChrystal and his aides are frustrated because the deadline for beginning to withdraw troops that Mr. Obama set for next July deprives them of realistic hope of victory.
Is all Jack. It doesn't show up in the Rolling Stone profile at all.

And yet the title of the column is "The Problem is Obama."


June 25, 2010

Protest the Senate: Join a soup line for the homeless and unemployed

Via Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change:

Where: 5907 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh PA
WHEN: Wednesday, June 30th, 11:00 a.m. until the soup runs out(press conference at 11:30)

The Senate just kicked millions of American workers off unemployment insurance. Thanks to the US Senate many Americans families will get to party like its 1932 all over again.

Join us in protest as we relive the good old days of the great depression with our Soup line and get some FREE SOUP for lunch.

Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change is sponsoring the event to protest the US Senate’s failure and to launch of the Campaign for Resources for the Unemployed, Jobs, Retraining for Displaced Workers, or at least enough to keep us in our homes and keep us from starving!

RSVP on Facebook or call 412-567-7275 for more information. Or just show up, Soup lines are open to everyone.
More on US Senate here.

Lookee Here! Ann Coulter's In The Trib!

Remember this?

Well Ann Coulter graces the pages of Richard Mellon Scaife's rag once again. And in doing so participates in yet another right wing smear.

Here's Ann:
When, as dean of the Harvard Law School, Kagan disagreed with the Bill Clinton policy of "Don't ask, don't tell" for gays in the military, she open-mindedly banned military recruiters from the law school, denouncing Clinton's policy as "discriminatory," "deeply wrong," "unwise and unjust."
Not true, of course. But before I get to that I do want to point out a subtle sleight of hand. She opens her piece with this:
In The New York Times' profile on the family of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, her aunt was quoted as saying: "There was thinking, always thinking" at the family's dinner table. "Nothing was sacrosanct."

Really? Nothing was sacrosanct?
So what should we believe when we read this a few paragraphs down?
As Kagan herself described it, on the Upper West Side of New York where she grew up, "Nobody ever admitted to voting Republican." So, I guess you could say being a Democrat was "sacrosanct."
You might think that that quotation is from the Times profile, right?


This is from the Times profile:
(Ms. Kagan and her brothers declined to be interviewed for this article and have not spoken publicly since her nomination.)
So where does that quotation come from?

1980 - From an AP story this past June.
In the summer of 1980, Elena Kagan worked for Liz Holtzman, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in New York. That fall, after Holtzman was defeated and President Ronald Reagan was elected, Elena wrote in The Daily Princetonian, "Where I grew up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, nobody ever admitted to voting Republican." She added that the "real Democrats" she had known were "motivated by the ideal of an affirmative and compassionate government. Perhaps because of this background, I absorbed such liberal principles early."
That's going a long way for a smear, isn't it?

But back to Harvard. The New York Times reported:
For nearly a quarter-century, Harvard Law School refused to help the nation’s military recruit its students, because the armed services discriminated against openly gay soldiers. But in 2002, the school relented to pressure from the Bush administration and agreed to allow recruiters on campus.

When Elena Kagan became dean of the law school the next year, she faced a moral dilemma over whether to continue that policy.

She said she abhorred the military’s refusal to allow openly gay men and lesbians to serve. And she was distressed that Harvard had been forced to make an exception to its policy of not providing assistance to employers that discriminated in hiring.

But barring the recruiters would come with a price, costing the university hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money.
Because of the military’s policy against openly gay soldiers, the law school in 1979 barred military recruiters from using its Office of Career Services, the central clearinghouse through which employers from all over the world seek to recruit top-notch law students.

But in the mid-1990s, Congress approved several versions of the Solomon Amendment — named for Representative Gerald B. H. Solomon, a conservative Republican from upstate New York — denying federal funds to schools that barred military recruiters.

The amendment forced many law schools to carve out a military exception to their recruitment policies, which said they would not help employers that discriminated in their hiring practices.

Harvard reached its own accommodation in 1996. While the school did not allow military recruiters to use its main placement office, it did allow them on campus through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association, a student group. The recruiters met with students in the same classrooms, just under different sponsorship.

Christopher Cox, then a Republican congressman from California who supported the move, said at the time that it was a scandal that Harvard and other schools banished military recruiters “while cashing Uncle Sam’s checks for billions of taxpayer dollars.”

The change meant that Harvard faced a loss of $328 million in federal funds, or about 15 percent of its operating budget, almost none of which went to the law school. At that point, in 2002, the law school, under Dean Robert Clark, relented and permitted the military recruiters in its placement office.
Ms. Kagan did join more than half the faculty in January 2004 in signing an amicus brief when a coalition of law schools challenged Solomon in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia.

In November 2004, the appeals court ruled, 2 to 1, that Solomon was unconstitutional, saying it required law schools “to express a message that is incompatible with their educational objectives.”

The day after the ruling, Ms. Kagan — and several other law school deans — barred military recruiters from their campuses. In Harvard’s case, the recruiters were barred only from the main career office, while Ms. Kagan continued to allow them access to students through the student veterans’ group.

But the ban lasted only for the spring semester in 2005. The Pentagon told the university over the summer that it would withhold “all possible funds” if the law school continued to bar recruiters from the main placement office. So, after consulting with other university officials, Ms. Kagan said, she lifted the ban.
But wait, didn't Ann say that Kagan banned the military from the law school?


And is that true?


I guess since Ann is a "perfected Jew" and Elana Kagan, (being Jewish) is thus an imperfect Christian, it's OK for Ann to bear false witness about her.

And good for the Trib to be a part of the show.

June 24, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Chris! Say It Ain't So!

From The Slag Heap:
Yesterday's Tribune-Review had a story illuminating city council's recent hostility toward the Citizens Police Review Board. And by a strange coincidence, I had a column out the same day covering some of the same ground. Once again, in other words, I march in lockstep with the minions of Richard Mellon Scaife. [emphasis added.]
No, I'm just kidding. But read the rest of the piece. Once again, Chris Potter shows us all how it's done.

The wanker.

Lamar loses appeal for electronic billboards

In Lamar Advantage GP Company, Appellant, v. Zoning Hearing Board of Adjustment of the City of Pittsburgh, and City of Pittsburgh, Lamar lost their appeal.


The Trib Slops AGAIN

In today's Thursday Wrap, we read:
From Canadian Free Press writer Fred Dardick: "A Harvard University study of (President) Obama's global warming legislation estimates it will cause the price of gas to increase to $7 a gallon. Because of higher energy costs, whatever is left of our manufacturing sector will be transferred to China where energy is cheaper and they aren't so concerned about carbon emissions." Yet another example of "progress" from your garden-variety "progressives."
I don't know what to say. The researching abilities of these guys leaves much to be desired. Let's start out with Fred Dardick. Who is he? His page at the Canada Free Press reads:
Fred Dardick is the owner and operator of a medical staffing company based in Chicago. Prior to the business world, he worked as a biological researcher at various highly regarded universities in the United States.
My guess is that had he graduated from any of these "highly regarded universities" they would have said so. All we know is that he's a Chicago based businessman who writes for a conservative Canadian website (what, it's not a newspaper??). And at the risk of doing a "guilt by association" thing, I should point out that the standards of "reporting" at the Canada Free Press are so high, they publish the rantings one J B Williams. He's a birther.

A great "news" source, eh?

Anyway back to Dardick. In a piece that asserts that money being "thrown" at green business means more jobs in China (really? - we'll let that one pass) he writes what the Trib quotes:
A Harvard University study of Obama’s global warming legislation estimates it will cause the price of gas to increase to $7-a-gallon.

Because of higher energy costs, whatever is left of our manufacturing sector will be transferred to China where energy is cheaper and they aren’t so concerned about carbon emissions.
But notice something? Two separate paragraphs. Two separate ideas. And yet the Trib strings them together - doesn't it look like the part about jobs in China comes from the Harvard study?

It doesn't.

Here's the brief on that study. It does mention the $7/gallon gas (though projected to 2020). Can someone show me where it says "China"?

It also says:
The macroeconomic impacts of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are small, even with our relatively aggressive policy scenarios. GDP is projected to grow at 2.1-3.7% per year through 2030 under all of our scenarios, with losses in annual GDP, relative to business-as-usual, less than 1% for all scenarios.
Which kinda puts the kibosh on the Trib's economic apocalypse, don't it?

It also also says:
An economy-wide CO2 price combined with transportation sector-specific policies can reduce total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels — a significant reduction from business-as-usual projections. However, options now being discussed in Congress cannot by themselves achieve the significant reductions in the transportation sector needed to meet the Obama administration's targets for total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The most effective policy for reducing CO2 emissions and oil imports from transportation is to spur the development and sale of more efficient vehicles with strict efficiency standards while increasing the cost of driving with strong fuel taxes. Without addressing both, CO2 emissions from the U.S. transportation sector will continue to grow.
So it's not a summary of any sort of legislative agenda, is it? It's a set of recommendations.

And it also also also says:
Statements and views expressed in this memo are solely those of the authors and do not imply endorsement by Harvard University, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, or the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
So it's not even a Harvard Study, is it?

I did all this in about 30 minutes. How bad is the research over there at the Trib that they can't even manage that?

June 23, 2010

General McChrystal: Resignation accepted; relieved of command (Updated 1x)

According to a special bulletin on ABC just now General Stanley Allen McChrystal's resignation has been accepted and he has been relieved of his command.

The pierogi has left the building.

UPDATE: Gen. David Petraeus will now take over command of Afghanistan.

J'accuse on neglecting to recuse!

Judge Martin Leach-Cross "Drill, Baby, Drill" Feldman

Did you know that Judge Martin Feldman who overturned Barack Obama's offshore drilling moratorium owns tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in drilling companies?

Now you do.

Who knew?

General Stanley Allen McChrystal and
Pittsburgh Pirate Pierogi (Andrew Kurtz)

Who knew that the Pittsburgh Pirates and the White House have the same HR people?

Both McChrystal and Kurtz publicly criticized their respective bosses. Kurtz was fired then quickly rehired, McChrystal offered may offer his resignation, but as of right now still has his job.

Still, I'd recommend that you not try this move at home.

NOTE: I'm compelled to mention that while looking for links/photos for this post, I stumbled across this piece in The Atlantic which found a similar parallel. Apparently, Chris Good and I think along the same wavelength (and may God have mercy upon his soul).

Slow News Day, I Guess. Or Maybe I Just Need A Break...

I got nothin'.

If you're looking for something to do whilst pondering Ed Feulner's latest in Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review, you can reread my post regarding the tightly twined financials connecting Feulner and Scaife.

They're in each other's back pockets - a point never mentioned on the pages of the Trib.

June 21, 2010

Gasland, PA (Updated 1x)

If the phrase "Marcellus Shale" is still not quite on your radar and only vaguely registers to you as some environmental shit that you probably should know more about -- not to worry -- we're all about to get schooled.

First, for the totally uninitiated, via Wikipedia:
Marcellus Shale, is a unit of marine sedimentary rock found in eastern North America. Named for a distinctive outcrop near the village of Marcellus, New York, it extends throughout much of the Appalachian Basin, blah, blah, blah...
OK. Scratch that.

Marcellus Shale is a rock formation that, if you're reading this in Western PA, is under the ground you stand on and contains trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that folks are dying to drill in your very neighborhood. The gas is a mile underground, so to get to it, they have to drill horizontally (directional drill) and to do that, they have to fracture the rock (hydraulic fracturing, AKA: fracking) by pumping in a mix of water and "an undisclosed mixture of chemicals."

You can probably see where this is going. If you can't, there's a documentary on HBO tonight at 9:00 PM called "Gasland" (available On Demand now). Here's the trailer:

Hopefully, you watched it all the way though and saw one of the last scenes where the guy turned on his water tap, held a BIC lighter to it, and ignited a huge friggin' fireball in his sink.

See, that's the problem. When you frack you can fuck the groundwater.

But, that's not the only problem.

Maybe you heard about the fireball in West Virginia and the gas well blowout in Clearfield County, PA earlier this month. Despite having a 75-foot column of pressurized gas and wastewater streaming for 16 hours only 90 miles from Pittsburgh, there seems to be no footage of the Clearfield accident.

Just as with the BP accident, the Clearfield well's blowout preventer failed. And, just as with BP, the media was kept away. (You can read Keystone Progress' Michael Morrill's harrowing account of trying to capture the scene on his flipcam here.)

Now imagine these accidents happening in the city of Pittsburgh.

People have already signed leases to allow drilling in Lawrenceville and Lincoln Place. (Chris Potter of the City Paper explains how if pooling comes to pass, you may not even be able to stop drilling right under your own home.)

The prospects of drilling in Pittsburgh will come up before City Council this week (as it has last week in the PA Legislature) with Patrick Dowd proposing regulations and Doug Shields coming out for a total ban. (Expect the lines to be drawn on the usual sides.)

So, you can no longer avoid the Marcellus Shale debate if you live in da Burgh.

Contact your councilors here.


Additional Reading (via PA bloggers):
Life in the Gas Lane: Living with Drilling, Part I
Life in the Gas Lane: Living with Drilling, Part II-a
Life in the Gas Lane: Living with Drilling, Part II-b
Life in the Gas Lane: Living with Drilling, Part II-c
Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long! We have a visitor from a natural gas drilling company:

And, they're shilling in our comments section.

I Guess I Should Report In

Saturday Night's show went well.

The crowd was "cold" during John's set - and that's always a challenge for a comedian - but he was funny and by the time Gab was on stage everyone was into it.

But I don't think that's what you're interested in me writing about, is it?

You wanna hear about me and Cyril, don't you?

Well here is (if my memory serves me correctly) the bottom line: While not backtracking on why he was upset (and there was no reason to) at DA Stephen Zappala and his investigator FBI Agent Bradley Orsini, Cyril said that he shouldn't have used the word "goombah" in his description of their relationship.

He was sitting not 3 feet to my left when he said that and once I heard it, I seriously contemplated leaping to my feet and shouting "Well, my work here is done!"

The longer version: Before the show began John told me he might touch on the "goombah" thing at the end of the panel discussion, to fill out some time, if needed. I was a little nervous at that point so I was relieved that any discussion about the dueling Op-Ed pieces would be tacked on if the audience was fading. Whew.

The show began and John did his set. Then he interviewed Cyril, which was very very funny. Then Gab went on and she was very funny. I don't think I'm very funny so I'll just say I went on. We talked about the oil spill and my disappointment with the Obama administration (not about the oil but about his lack of movement in prosecuting the torture of the previous administration). I mentioned some rightwing conspiracies regarding the spill (it's all Bill Clinton's fault - so says Dick Morris).

John and Keith talked for a bit on stage. Keith's main point seemed to be "let's fix the gusher before assigning the blame."

Then the panel discussion began. We all shook hands and sat down, Keith to my right and Cyril to my left. John was on Keith's right.

And John opened with the goombah stuff.

Oh, shit.

I said I felt like this was a scene from Godfather III where Al Pacino says "Come, make the peace with Joey Zaza." To which Keith chided me for quoting the worst Godfather movie. He's right, of course, but I didn't feel like going to the mattresses over it, so I let it pass.

And that's when Cyril said he shouldn't have used the word.

Well my work on this issue is done.

Thank you and good night.

June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

For Father's Day 2010, I offer some pictures of the, um, first father with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, at Friday's Washington Nationals game courtesy of my sister Betty:

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and all the Dads out there!

My Gawd!

How did this get onto the pages of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review?

It's an essay by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway, authors of "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" and it describes how conservative think-tanks seek to undermine science. It begins with:
If some of the attacks on the credibility of climate science feel familiar, there's a reason. With their unattributed claims downplaying the severity of the problem and their vague allegations of scientific impropriety, the assaults are the latest in a long tradition of organized efforts by industry and free-market enthusiasts to undermine the credibility of science they don't like.
Yea, I know - on the pages of Richard Mellon Scaife's "news" paper.

So let's fast forward a little:
The strategy was expanded beyond the cigarette industry in part because of the efforts of physicist Frederick Seitz, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences who went on to direct R.J. Reynolds' biomedical research program. In 1984, he joined forces with astrophysicist Robert Jastrow and nuclear physicist William Nierenberg to establish the George C. Marshall Institute.
That would be the same George C. Marshall Institute that:
  • received $230,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2009.
  • received $255,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2008.
  • received $155,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2007.
  • received $200,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2006.
  • received $200,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2005.
  • received $155,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2004.
By my count that's $1.165 million.

Mediamatters goes further (and let's be honest, they have more time to plow through this stuff). They're reporting that since 1985, the Scaife controlled Carthage Foundation has given $707,500 to the George C. Marshall institute and the equally Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation has given $2,785,000 to the institute between 1986 and 2007.

That's about $3.5 million to fund free market/conservative science skepticism.

Then there's this from the essay:
The network of institutions attempting to undermine science (with funding from industry) is vast. The top tier of the network is a set of political think tanks dedicated to promoting free markets and advocating for limited government.

They include the Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, The Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. In turn, they are linked to myriad smaller groups. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, organized the Cooler Heads Coalition, which describes itself as "focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific and risk analysis."
I'll just take the numbers from Media Matters, just to expedite things.By my count that's a skosh over $36 million for institutes or foundations dedicated (among other things) to pushing free market/conservative "skepticism" of science.

The piece ends with this:
As science found more and more evidence of the environmental and health effects of industrial activity, which suggested the need for regulation, market fundamentalists increasingly turned against that science. In the name of "freedom," the American public has been deliberately misinformed about important issues of human health and environmental protection.

But it remains difficult to imagine how lies can set us free.
Again this is on Richard Mellon Scaife's editorial page?? Have we shifted into an alternative reality while I was asleep? A backwards universe where Sarah Palin has an engaging intellect? Where Simon Cowell is a nice guy? Where Spock has a beard?

I'm so confused.

June 19, 2010

Tonight, tonight!

Be there! :-)

Tentative agreement reached between Giant Eagle & UFCW

An update to this story:


Via press release:
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 has reached a tentative agreement with Giant Eagle tonight nearly 6 weeks after bargaining began.

The details of the agreement are not being released to the public until members have an opportunity to hear about them but the bargaining committee is unanimously recommending the agreement to membership.

Following Up On C Street

I noticed this in the news yesterday.

You remember the C Street residence, right? I wrote about it back in July, 2009. The C Street residence was owned (and I guess it still is) by a shadowy religious group called "The Family."

Scandal plagued republicans like Mark Sanford and John Ensign lived there and there were questions regarding the cheap rent The Family reportedly charged.

Among its inhabitants at the time was our very own Congressman, Mike Doyle, though he denied any religious affiliation to the group:
The only religious organization I'm a member of is the Roman Catholic Church, of which I've been a member all my life. The only religious teachings I follow are those of the Roman Catholic Church.

My living arrangements comply with all House rules and are perfectly legal and ethical. I rent a room - not an apartment - and the rent I pay falls within the range of what anyone could rent a room for on Capitol Hill.

I'm confident the people I represent will judge me on my behavior and my performance as a Member of Congress - not anyone else's.
And, as of early April of this year, he no longer lives there.

TPM has a follow up:
The Office of Congressional Ethics has sent letters to several residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house informing them that there is no "probable cause" to believe legislators are getting improper gifts in the form of below-market rent, Roll Call reports.
Doyle was among those contacted. From Rollcall (via TPM - as Rollcall requires a subscription):
Aides to Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) said Friday that each lawmaker received a letter from the OCE informing him that it closed the investigation.
Just wanted to go on record with this. Doyle no longer lives at the C Street residence and the Office of Congressional Ethics said there's no probable cause to think the residents there were getting improper gifts when he did.

The OCE by the way is different from the House Ethics Committee. From the OCE website:
The OCE was created by House Resolution 895 of the 110th Congress in March 2008.

Governed by an eight-person Board of Directors, Members of the OCE Board are private citizens and cannot serve as members of Congress or work for the federal government
From the House Resolution creating the OCE:
The Office shall be governed by a board consisting of six individuals of whom three shall be nominated by the Speaker subject to the concurrence of the minority leader and three shall be nominated by the minority leader subject to the concurrence of the Speaker. The Speaker shall nominate at least one alternate board member subject to the concurrence of the minority leader and the minority leader shall nominate at least one alternate board member subject to the concurrence of the Speaker.
These are the folks who, as I understand it, make up the first layer of ethics investigations in the House. If they feel there's cause for an official investigation, they pass along the recommendation to the House Ethics Committee.

For the record.

June 18, 2010

Friday Morning Massacre?

Some of you may remember the "Thursday Morning Massacre." Should we be calling this the Friday Morning Massacre?

Via the Post-Gazette:
Mayor Ravenstahl is replacing five of seven Citizen Police Review Board members.

Mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven confirmed that the mayor is naming new members to the board, which is seeking documents from the Pittsburgh Police Bureau regarding the 2009 G-20 Summit. The group is in court this afternoon, seeking a contempt of court ruling against Chief Nate Harper.

Ms. Doven said that the sudden action had nothing to do with the board's actions regarding the G-20.

Uh-huh. Right.

She went on to add that "all the members' terms had expired."

But of course, Lil Mayor Luke has a pattern of letting members' terms expire so he can later remove them at will when they dare to go against his every wish.

And while Chris Potter has some doubts that Lil Mayor Luke can achieve his total destruction revamping of the Citizen Police Review Board, I have full faith that there are enough rubber stamps Pittsburgh City Councilors out there to make all Lukey's dreams come true!

Tony! Toni! Toné!

The four minute version of BP CEO Tony Hayward's testimony:


UPDATE: GOOD NEWS! Via press release:
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 has reached a tentative agreement with Giant Eagle tonight nearly 6 weeks after bargaining began.

The details of the agreement are not being released to the public until members have an opportunity to hear about them but the bargaining committee is unanimously recommending the agreement to membership.

What is this woman protesting?

Giant Eagle workers and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members staged a silent protest outside of the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh Wednesday evening.

The workers claim that they have been harassed since negotiations started in May for a new contract.

On Tuesday, the UFCW filed charges against Giant Eagle with the National Labor Relations Board for unfair labor practices. According to a press release:
The group is charging the company with squelching worker’s right to free speech and threatening employees if they wear member stickers or talk about their contract.

“We should not lose our constitutional protections the minute we clock in” said Derek Watson, an employee of Giant Eagle and union member. “They are trying to take away our rights like they own us and that is not only unfair, it’s not legal.” He and other workers have had a number of threats levied against them by store managers in recent weeks.
They also say that they've been interrogated regarding their support of the union.

The protest on Wednesday consisted of about 50 workers and supporters. They taped over their mouths to symbolize Giant Eagle's attempts to silence them in the workplace and marched from the corner of Forbes & Murray to the store and then lined up in front of it for about 20 minutes before they turned and marched back.

(More photos after the fold)

Tomorrow Night!

Ahem. Please note that my paisan, Cyril Wecht, will be there, though the topic of discussion will be the oil in the gulf.

Did you know it's not BP's fault? That's right, my friends. Bill Clinton, Barry Soetoro and their environmentalist whacko friends - they're to blame for all this. I am sure ACORN had a hand in it, too. And Bill Ayers. And the lib'rul media...

We'll talk on Saturday.


On the off off off chance that the drunken fools who just sped off read my blog, can you please provide me with your addresses so I can have someone come over and urinate beside and vomit in front of your houses?


June 17, 2010

Amazing What They Leave Out

Oy! Again with The Trib!

On today's editorial page we read:
Heads must roll at the U.S. Government Printing Office, where stunning idiocy regarding passport-production security has needlessly heightened America's vulnerability to terrorist attack.

ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity say the printing office, despite warnings from its own inspector general and security chief, has dragged its feet on fixing the problems for years. The most glaring involves computer chip assemblies that carry ID data and are embedded in passport covers.
Now, what do you think we'll find when we look at the sources?

First there's ABC News:
The U.S. government agency that prints passports has for years failed to resolve persistent concerns about the security risks involved in outsourcing production to foreign factories, a joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity has found.

"On a number of levels this is extremely troubling," said Clark Kent Ervin, a former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. "Something like that ought to be produced only in the United States, under only the most rigorous security standards." A report on the outsourcing of U.S. passports to high-risk countries can be seen on World News with Diane Sawyer tonight.

Despite repeated assurances they would move production to the U.S., a key government contractor has continued to assemble an electronic component of the nation's new, more sophisticated passport in Thailand.
And the Center for Public Integrity:
Last month, a gunman opened fire on an insurance building in the ancient Thai city of Ayutthaya, piercing the glass windows of the People’s Alliance for Democracy headquarters with 11 millimeter caliber bullets.

A few weeks earlier, bombs made from powerful plastic explosives were detonated near transmission towers in the same city in an unsuccessful effort by terrorists to darken the manufacturing district.

The violent episodes hardly registered in the United States. Few Americans have heard of Ayutthaya, after all, or know of a reason to pay attention to it.

But there is a reason, one directly connected to America’s security. The key electronic components for millions of American e-Passports, the crown jewel of a new U.S. border security system, have been put together inside a little-known factory in Ayutthaya for the past four years.
We can conclude, of course, that the Trib's editorial board is criticizing the Obama administration (and they should be criticized on this) on this but what the braintrust leaves out of the mix is telling.

From ABC:
GPO's inspector general has warned that the agency lacks even the most basic security plan for ensuring that blank e-Passports -- and their highly sought technologies aren't stolen by terrorists, foreign spies, counterfeiters and other bad actors as they wind through an unwieldy manufacturing process that spans the globe and includes 60 different suppliers.

This disturbs Rep. John D. Dingell, D.-Mich., who wrote letters to the agency two years ago raising questions about passport production.

"Regrettably, since then, our fears have been realized because the inspector general and other people in charge of security at the government printing office have pointed out that the security is not there," Dingell told ABC News. "There is no real assurance that the e-passports are safe or secure or are not in danger of being counterfeited or corrupted or used for some nefarious purposes by terrorists or others."
Two years ago? Wasn't Mr You're either with us or you're with the terrrists in charge then?

Then there's this from the CPI:
The U.S. Government Printing Office, the agency charged with producing the new e-Passports, has been warned repeatedly since 2006 by its own security officer that the Thai manufacturing site posed a “potential long term risk to the USG (U.S. government’s) interests,” according to inspection reports obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

The sweeping concerns ranged from poor police protection and political instability in Thailand to difficulty in obtaining security background checks for factory workers, according to documents and interviews.

GPO officials told the Center and ABC News they have been shifting the Thai assembly work into the United States for more than a year and hope to have all of it stateside by summer’s end.
For more than a year.

If it's now June 2010, then "more than a year" would seem to point to sometime before June 2009. Sometime in the Spring of 2009, perhaps?

Looks like, if you look closely enough, this security risk inherited from the Bush Administration has been in the process of being fixed since the close to the beginning of the Obama Administration. If they haven't been moving fast enough on it, then the Obama Administration deserves some blame of course.

But let's not mince words here. This is another Bush mess the Obama Administration has to clean up.

Funny how that didn't make it through the Trib's news filter.

June 16, 2010

BP Chairman: "We care about the small people"

It's not just the tea-baggers who are beyond parody. Witness BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg after today's meeting with President Obama:
"We care about the small people," Svanberg said. "Big oil company people think we don't care, we do care about the small people."
How big of him.

The Braintrust Can't Read

While the editorial board over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review uses words I don't think they know how to read them.

Case in point. From today's Mid-week briefing:
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says the problem with the economy isn't consumers living beyond their means but that their "means didn't keep up with what the growing economy was capable of producing at or near full-employment." Translation: Pay no attention to the growing national and personal debt. Spend! Spend! Spend! Mr. Reich, you're nuts.
And this is Reich's original. And this is how it begins:
Today’s most important economic news: U.S. household debt fell for the seventh straight quarter in the first three months of 2010 as Americans continued to respond to the recession’s fallout.

But like all economic news, its significance depends on where you’re standing — whether you’re a typical American or someone at the top.

The common wisdom is that excessive debt-financed spending was one of the causes of the recent recession, so the news that household debt is dropping is being celebrated by business cheerleaders as reason to believe we’re on the mend.
Yea, pay no attention to national and personal debt. It's all in there. Right.

And then Reich goes on to debunk that "common wisdom."

Personal debt rose, he says, because the only way for a "typical American" to keep up with the demands of the economy, at a time when median income was dropping, was to borrow. That "keeping up with the demands of the economy part" is what translates into "Spend! Spend! Spend!" by the way. Note, however, that it's part of the problem.

The bad news is about consumers paring back their debt and reducing personal spending - 70% of the economy is consumer spending, he says.

So now we get to the braintrust's source:
It’s also a bad omen for the future. The cheerleaders are saying that for too long American consumers lived beyond their means, so the retrenchment in consumer spending is good for the long-term health of the economy. Wrong again. The problem wasn’t that consumers lived beyond their means. It was that their means didn’t keep up with what the growing economy was capable of producing at or near full-employment. A larger and larger share of total income went to people at the top.
So anyone want to explain to me how the braintrust got from this to their assessment of Reich?

Other than they're completely wingnut crazie.

June 15, 2010

" And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day."

Um, President Obama. I think folks are looking for you to be that hand and we're still not seeing it after this speech.

Just saying...

Whiskey Rebellion

Set aside for a moment the call for President Obama's impeachment which starts the ad and the call to insurrection which ends it and focus for a minute on the middle wherein Alabama Congressional candidate Rick Barber seems to have never to have heard of the Whiskey Rebellion:

You'd think as he had George Washington right there, our first president could have updated him on it.

I wonder if a tea-bagger candidate here in the home of that rebellion could have gotten away with such an ad?

UPDATE: See The Bread Line Blog. Great minds think alike. :-D

June 15

Edvard Grieg was born on this day in 1843. And Harry Nilsson was born on this day in 1941.

But this is Pittsburgh. And in Pittsburgh, today's Erroll Garner's birthday.


June 14, 2010

Like Shooting Fish In A Barrel

Some days two wingnut narratives overlap over there at Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review. Today, my friends, is just such a day.

Here's the editorial:
The longer NASA resists releasing its climate researchers' e-mails, the stronger suspicions become about what those e-mails say and why it's stonewalling.

Nearly three years after filing his first Freedom of Information Act request, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is suing NASA to obtain documents promised but never delivered.

Mr. Horner expects the e-mails, mainly from scientists working with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to further discredit the blame-mankind-for-global-warming crowd -- much like the Climategate e-mails leaked from Britain's Climatic Research Unit that showed data manipulation to conform to climate-change orthodoxy. He says NASA might be stalling to keep embarrassing information out of upcoming Senate debate on climate-change legislation.

NASA says Horner's inquiry is just one of many it's fielding and the volume of information he's seeking poses "just a herculean task." But it's had years to complete that task, begging the question of just what it's hiding -- and why.

Clearly, NASA is siding with the sort of suspect "science" that rightly has undermined climate alarmists' credibility -- and against the taxpaying public's right to know about work it paid for.
First things first, as my dad always used to say. While we're discussing "credibility" shouldn't we point out how much Scaife cash is used to support the Competitive Enterprise Institute? Recently there's been:
  • $300,000 from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2008.
  • $300,000 from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2007.
  • $350,000 from the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Sarah Scaife Foundation in 2006.
Additionally, Mediamatters reports that about $2.25 million flowed from Richard Mellon Scaife controlled foundations to the CEI over the last few decades.

n a piece about how an organization is (supposedly) withholding information it's almost too delicious to see what the Trib withholds - you know, if we're talking about "credibility" and everything.

Next stop on the "credibility train" is this. Newsmax is another Scaife-owned "news" source. Take a look at these two paragraphs:
Nearly three years after his first Freedom of Information Act request, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said he will file a lawsuit Thursday to force NASA to turn over documents the agency has promised but has never delivered.

Mr. Horner said he expects the documents, primarily e-mails from scientists involved with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), will be yet another blow to the science behind global warming, which has come under fire in recent months after e-mails from a leading British research unit indicated scientists had manipulated some data.
Notice anything? Notice how similar they are (point for point) with the second and third paragraphs from the Trib's editorial?

Can't these guys write anything original? Or since Scaife owns both "news" sources is it OK to plagiarize? You know, if we're talking "credibility" and everything.

Now onto the incredible core of the piece:
...much like the Climategate e-mails leaked from Britain's Climatic Research Unit that showed data manipulation to conform to climate-change orthodoxy.
Actually they didn't show anything of the sort. From the Science and Technology Committee from the House of Parliament:
In addition, insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to “hide the decline”—we consider that there is no case to answer. Within our limited inquiry and the evidence we took, the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact. We have found no reason in this unfortunate episode to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity”. It was not our purpose to examine, nor did we seek evidence on, the science produced by CRU. It will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel to look in detail into all the evidence to determine whether or not the consensus view remains valid.
Um, and that Scientific Appraisal Panel?
We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it.
So the core of the Trib's piece it's just, like so much else on the editorial page, empty spin.

Some days it's just too easy.

June 13, 2010

Sunday Tribbing

It's called "projection" my friends and the Richard Mellon Scaife's braintrust does it well.

From today's Sunday Pops:
The Democratic National Committee's man at ABC News, George Snuffleupagus, er, Stephanopoulos, told viewers of "World News" on Tuesday that "we've got a new poll out tonight that shows the tea party may be losing steam nationwide." But as the Media Research Center's Brent Baker pointed out, Wonder Boy and ABC couldn't find time in the same newscast to report how the very same poll showed a plurality of Americans disapprove how President Barack Obama was handling BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Root, root, root for the home team, eh George?
Let's deconstruct what they're trying to say. Baseball and Sesame Street references aside, they're saying that because George Stephanopoulos is "The Democratic National Committee's man at ABC" he spins what should be unbiased news in favor of his "home team" (aka the DNC).

But look at whose "research" they're using: Brent Bozell's Media Research Center. Here's the piece from Brent Baker, the MRC's Vice President for Research and Publications:
Stephanopoulos and ABC, however, didn’t find time, in multiple stories on the oil leak, to inform viewers how the same ABC News/Washington Post survey, released Tuesday morning, found that by 49 to 44 percent the public disapproves of President Obama's handling of the disaster. In addition, “the number of Americans who think the President ‘understands the problems of people like you,’ at 51 percent, is down from 56 percent in a Washington Post poll in late March; and at 57 percent his rating as a strong leader is down from 65 percent in March.” [emphasis in original]
Do we need to point out who pays for the pencils at the MRC? I guess we do. From November, 2009:
Yes, the same Media Research Center that received $200,000 in 2006, $325,000 in 2007, and $325,000 in 2008 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation - a foundation run by Richard Mellon Scaife who owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the paper that ran that editorial.
Media Matters puts it at about $2.8 million over the years.

So Richard Mellon Scaife's braintrust told us that Scaife's man at MRC, Brent Baker, told viewers of "BiasAlert" that George Stephanopoulos selectively sited a Washington Post/ABC poll. But I'll point out that Baker Boy, the MRC and The Trib couldn't find time in the same piece to report that, according to the same poll they're using:
  • While only 26% of those polled approved of the way Congress was doing its job (Question 5), a plurality (49%) approved of the way their own representative in the House was doing his/her job (Question 6) AND that more people trust the Democratic Party over the Republican party (44% to 32%) "to do a better job coping with main problems our nation faces over the next few years" (Question 7).
  • A plurality of those polled (45% to 40%) believe the Democratic Party has "better ideas about the right size and role of the federal government " (Question 8).
Funny how Richard Mellon Scaife's Media Research Center and his Tribune-Review filtered those parts out, huh?

The circle jerk continues.

June 12, 2010


What Spork said:
Sure, when it comes to war crimes we must look forward, not backward. But when it comes to exposing government malfeasance we must bring down the full weight of Federal law on whistle-blowers and journalists.
Paint me disappointed.

June 11, 2010


Take a look!
I'm sharing the stage with my buon amico, my paisan Cyril Wecht!

Big Ben: Just a small town boy, living in a lonely world.

Thanks, Ben and Sally! I won't stop believing!


Just a reminder

Just a reminder that with all the police interviews being made available for your personal dissection and viewing pleasure in the Roethlisberger sexual assault case -- the Georgia one, not the others -- there's one missing. There's no taped police interview with Ben Roethlisberger. He managed never to be interviewed by the police. Instead, we have the recent rash of media interviews with him (no doubt well rehearsed ahead of time with his lawyers and PR people for maximum redemption value). So I guess it all equals out in the end, no?

June 10, 2010

More fail

This is a resume???

That's what PA State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl called what he sent to Pittsburgh City Council for his gig at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority board (cover letter and larger version can be seen @ The Pittsburgh Comet).

You'd think after all the charges of nepotism and unethical behavior over this appointment he'd at least try.

Though to give Adam his due, it does contain way more personal information than his campaign flyers did. And, he's also probably taking political advice from his roomie and big bro Lil Mayor Luke, who undoubtedly told him if he gave an inch they'd be asking about his socks and underwear next.

Stand strong, Lil Rep. Adam!

(h/t to Bram)


For the love of all that is good and holy, local news, please please please stop airing any more interviews with Big Ben Worthlessberger/footage of his victim speaking to police!

I know that Georgia's laws say that they must make the police interviews available, but that doesn't mean that you have to run them on every newscast or link to them on your front pages (I hear WPXI even interrupted programming for this as "breaking news" yesterday).

And, the interviews with Worthlessberger? If I hear him say one more time how he's come back to God, how he's been spending time at the wholesome family farm or how he has to "find Ben Roethlisberger" I will vomit.

And, it's not like I can avoid this shit by just not watching the local news because you're playing promos 24/7.

As I know that it's in your financial interests to run anything Steelers, can you please do me a favor? Can you tweet me when it's safe to watch local TV again? Until then, I'll be viewing elsewhere.

And speaking of FAIL, here's some major fail from the Trib: