You don't often get to see the inner workings of a political hit, but we had a hunch that when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) lowered the boom on an art gallery director at a public university in his district it might leave a paper trail. So we filed a public[...]
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Note: this video clip above contains the 30 seconds or so PBS decided not to air. The full program as aired can be seen at this PBS link for The Mark Twain Prize.
Via Paul Fahri at the Washington Post:
Tina Fey got a little political airbrushing from PBS Sunday night during its annual broadcast of the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Fey, this year's recipient of the prize, caused a few ripples during her acceptance speech at the ceremony on Tuesday when she mock-praised "conservative women" like Sarah Palin, whom Fey has so memorably impersonated on "Saturday Night Live."
"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course --those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape 'kit 'n' stuff," Fey said. "But for everybody else, it's a win-win. Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster."
So was this blatant censorship? Absolutely not, says PBS.
"It was not a political decision," responded Peter Kaminsky, one of the broadcast's executive producers. "We had zero problems with anything she said."
But with the 90-minute show running about 19 minutes long after the taping Tuesday night, a few things had to give, Kaminsky said. "We took a lot out," he said. "We snipped from everyone."
This isn't the first time editors have stepped on a Twain recipient's bit. When George Carlin was posthumously awarded the prize in 2008, the show's producers spared the ears of the Kennedy Center audience by bleeping out the naughty parts from a video of Carlin doing his famous "Seven Dirty Words" routine. Thus, a monologue about words you couldn't say on television became one you couldn't say in the Kennedy Center, either.
Irony is dead.
When I heard about Ted Koppel's editorial in the Washington Post, entitled "Olbermann, O'Reilly and the Death of Real News", and later that Olbermann would respond ? I though "food fight."
The kind of complaining I expected from Koppel is, after all, the faux-adult high ground, the "reasonable" man's meme-du-jour. Jon Stewart put on his "above it all" cloak during the interview with Rachel Maddow and wore it like a flag. And as you many have heard, our own president is doubling-down on the bipartisanship. (Way to keep those check-filled cards and letters coming.) And so I expected counter-complaining. Sigh.
It's true that there is a lot of screaming; it's true that the right-wing guys almost always start it; and it's also true that the rest of us are truly tired of it. Thus the mask of the "reasonable" man, a perfect public face for a public figure. Thus Koppel and his editorial.
But there are two things I didn't count on. One was the sneering tone of Koppel's writing ? the man has a serious bone to pick. There's meanness and dig in almost every paragraph. The second was that Olbermann would respond on non-personal grounds ? that Koppel was in fact precisely wrong ? and that Olbermann would say exactly why.
First, Koppel being precisely wrong (I'll skip the sneer):
a long-gone era of television journalism, when the networks considered the collection and dissemination of substantive and unbiased news to be a public trust.And Olbermann telling him exactly why:
Most of the highlights of [Cronkite's] career had been those moments when he fearlessly threw off the shackles by saying what was true, not merely what was factual.And Olbermann is right about Koppel as well. Keith says it differently; I'll speak for myself. Koppel is a closeted rightie, angry with the left for having a winning argument and using it (go back to the sneering), while at the same time revealing his own agenda ? as every one of the faux-journalists did ? in the run-up to the Iraq war.
[And yet] the deserved and heart-felt sadness at the lost of the journalist and the man turned into a metaphor to the loss of a style of utterly uninvolved neutral "objective" reporting.
How much more blood and how many more billions will America pour into a senseless enterprise as it enters its tenth year with the threadbare fašade of strategic coherence crumbling?
As the President goes to Lisbon this week to "confront" Hamid Karzai right after he enraged Gen. Petraeus by publicly demanding the US scale back its operations, reality calls for more than the usual coddling that has characterized such meetings.
A year ago, in sending more troops, the President said, "If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow."
Despite all the diplo-speak, can he possibly still believe that? In a time when our own country is in turmoil, doesn't it make sense to start calling Karzai's bluff?
Oddly enough, Obama's electoral shellacking provides him with bipartisan cover. The GOP wing led by war-loving John McCain is under siege from new Senators like Rand Paul, who shares his father's opposition to foreign military operations and the expense of waging them.
Two years ago, there was an exit proposal to increase funding and training for Afghans as US troops withdraw while trying to buy away less extreme elements of the Taliban and preserving the option of air strikes to keep them bought.
"Our strategy in Afghanistan," a former president of the Council on Foreign Relations contended, "should emphasize what we do best (containing and deterring, and forging coalitions) and downgrade what we do worst (nation-building in open-ended wars). It should cut our growing costs and secure our interests by employing our power more creatively and practically. It must also permit us...to focus more American resources and influence on the far more dire situation in Pakistan."
Months ago, Bob Woodward's book, "Obama's Wars," depicted a deeply divided White House over what to do in Afghanistan, with US intelligence describing Karzai as a manic-depressive whose mood swings are not always controlled by medication. Isn't it time to get him on a higher dose and get our troops out of harm's way while he tries to stabilize himself and his country?
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This is the same state that just passed a voter initiative banning Sharia Law.
In other words, this Oklahoma school just instituted Sharia Law against gays.
Trilogy says the Facebook margin of victory only explained about 13% of voting results. For gubernatorial races, that correlation is even lower, with the strength of a candidate's Facebook presence only explaining about 0.8% of the vote margin. And for House races, there was actually a slight negative correlation, meaning a stronger Facebook popularity was associated with a smaller margin of victory.
Of course, a strong social network presence is like a strong blog presence -- it serves to energize and recruit base supporters, but it won't garner the votes necessary to win an election.
Conservatives turned out heavily for the 2010 elections but, among registered voters as a whole, the percentage of conservatives only increased by 3% between 2006 and 2010 [...]
The 3% increase in conservatives among registered voters occurred entirely among Republicans and already Republican-leaning independents - not because of increasing conservatism among either Democrats or genuinely non-partisan independents.
This part is key:
There are now more Republican-leaning independents among independents in general than there were in 2006, but the main reason is that the number of actual Republicans has significantly declined.
OK, so why has the weight of Republican-leaning independents among independents increased? This is a tricky question, but possibly the most important single factor is that there has been an actual decrease in the number of straight Republican identifiers among registered voters (down 2 points) which has produced a concomitant increase in the number of Republican-leaning independents over the 2006-2010 time period. It's also interesting to note that that this switch can account for most of the 3 point overall increase in independents over the time period.
Those are all teabaggers too embarrassed to say they were Republicans after their 2008 drubbing. So they've rebranded as "independents", but they're still Republicans.
It's the maverick way -- spend a year studying whether soldiers deserve full civil rights, and a half an hour deciding who will be your presidential running mate.
However, I do look forward to that documentary in 20 years, in which John McCain plays the role of George Wallace.
GOHMERT: Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but if we don’t stop the runaway spending — even if it means showing how serious we are — okay, government is going to have to shut down until you runaway-spending people get it under control. And if you can’t get it under control, then we just stop government until you realize, you know, yes we can.
Yes we can!
In September, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) declared, “It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table,” and tell the Iranians that we will prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability “with military force if we absolutely must.” Lieberman restated this view in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning.
Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took it upon himself to make U.S.-Iran policy, insisting that “containment is off the table,” and saying that the U.S. should go to war with Iran “not to just neutralize their nuclear program,” but to “neuter that regime.”
Speaking in New Orleans last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added his voice to the pressure effort, saying, “If the international community, led by the U.S., wants to stop Iran without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action.”
Speaking today, however, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates knocked back such calls for more aggressive rhetoric, saying that military action is not a long-term answer:
“A military solution, as far as I’m concerned … it will bring together a divided nation. It will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons. And they will just go deeper and more covert,” Gates said.
“The only long-term solution in avoiding an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is for the Iranians to decide it’s not in their interest. Everything else is a short-term solution.”
In a recent article, the Brookings Institution’s Ken Pollack concluded that, in addition to generating a number of other highly negative consequences, “attacking Iran is more likely to guarantee an Iranian nuclear arsenal than to preclude it.” Numerous other defense analysts and officials have reached similar conclusions.
In addition to representing the strong consensus of the national security community, Gates’ aversion to hawkish rhetoric also reflects the view of Iranian human rights activists like Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji, who have said that military threats from the U.S. are harmful to their efforts to challenge the regime internally.
Mark Matson in Quick Hits is right:TARP Two (Mark Matson)"It's absolutely insane that in these[...]
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The last thing the TSA needs is a pile of crappy technology that isn't even effective, that people refuse to use, right?The "groping" technique was developed as a way to punish people into using the scanners -- because there are $148 million more on[...]
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Representative Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-09) is a member of the Progressive caucus and holds a seat on the catfood commission. Today, she released her proposal to reduce the deficit. It is good, sensible policy, focusing on:
As strong and sensible as Schakowsky’s plan is, it faces twin political problems of being popular, and not cutting benefits to the working and middle class.
How can you ever expect to be “serious” about the deficit unless you are cutting public services in order to pay for tax cuts on the wealthy? As long as you are making popular proposals like raising the Social Security cap, targeting government spending to create jobs, increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations, passing cap and trade, and enacting a robust public option, you are just not “serious.” The entire point of this exercise is to cut popular programs that actually help Americans so that a bunch of rich elites in the media, DC, and Wall Street can pat themselves on the back for making the difficult decisions of supporting stuff that makes them even richer.
As Schakowsky’s plan shows, it actually isn’t that hard in terms of policy to make steep deficit reductions without cutting benefits or services. The real problem is political, in that doing so would require the rich elites who own our political system to call off their class warfare against everyone else.
Most of the legislative fights we face over the next two years take that same form: defending programs for the middle and working class from a wealthy, establishment elite who consider government handouts to the rich sacrosanct. Take the first step to join in this fight by signing the pledge to never support cutting or privatizing Social Security. The American public can defeat this elite, but it has to stick together to do so.
CREW is calling for Charlie Rangel's resignation now that the Ethics Committee has found him guilty on 11 of the 13 charges against him for violating House ethics rules. But the guy was just reelected overwhelmingly two weeks ago today, and no new facts[...]
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