Tobacco lobbyists spent years fighting regulation by claiming to be defending individual freedom, not the profits of tobacco companies. Detroit’s lobbyists did much the same to push back against seat belt and pollution laws. Wall Street has spent months opposing the financial regulation bill in the name of families and small businesses.
The latest example comes from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the rest of the soda industry, which is trying to defeat a soda tax now before the District of Columbia Council. The industry has succeeded recently in beating back similar taxes in New York and Philadelphia, and in keeping one out of the federal health overhaul bill. But the Washington Council seems to be seriously considering a penny-per-ounce tax on nondiet sodas, energy drinks and artificial juices. Council members are set to vote on the issue next week.
You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don't tread on him!Scott, always quick to sniff out political themes in unlikely places (he found references to imperialism and the Vietnam War in the science-fiction thriller "Aliens") continues his odd defense of all things French:
So is "Robin Hood" one big medieval tea party? Kind of, though that description makes the movie sound both more fun and more provocative than it actually is. The film's politics, in any case, are more implicit than overt, so that the filmmakers can plausibly deny any particular topical agenda. Which is fair enough: the fight of ragged warriors against sniveling and sadistic tyrants appeals across tastes and ideologies. In our own minds, at least at the movies, we are all embattled underdogs standing up for our rights against a bunch of overprivileged jerks who won't leave us alone.
It certainly will "fuel intense debate" if the Times has anything to say about it.
But the shoe leather analysis was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which is never identified ideologically but merely called "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Founded in 1966 by left-wing lawyer William Kuntsler, it has represented defendants at Guantanamo Bay, and its president Michael Ratner said in a December 2005 press release: "Every American should be in political rebellion against the criminals now running this country." That would be the Bush administration. Could such a group just possibly have an interest in alleging racial discrimination among the NYPD?
From Baker's story:
Discussing purity crusader Anthony Comstock, Collins wrote:
One of his targets was Margaret Sanger, a nurse who wrote a sex education column, "What Every Girl Should Know," for a left-wing New York newspaper, The Call. When Comstock banned her column on venereal disease, the paper ran an empty space with the title: "What Every Girl Should Know: Nothing, by Order of the U.S. Post Office."
Sanger was the first person to publish an evaluation of all the available forms of birth control. As a reward, she got a criminal obscenity charge. She fled to Europe to avoid going to jail, and her husband was imprisoned for passing out one of her pamphlets. In the end, he got 30 days, and Anthony Comstock got a chill during the trial that led to a fatal case of pneumonia.
Do Republican presidents really pick "strong conservatives" for Supreme Court nominations, while Democrats are reduced to picking moderates who end up disappointing true liberals? Clinton's 1993 liberal nominee, former ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg, would seem to rebut that view, as would George H.W. Bush's 1990 selection of David Souter, who moved to the left upon appointment to the dismay of conservatives.Still, it's the theme of Tuesday's front-page New York Times "news analysis" by Peter Baker of Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, "Liberal, in Moderation -- Democrats in Struggle to Counter the Right." Kagan serves as solicitor general and was dean of Harvard Law School. Strongly pro-choice and pro-gay rights, her condemnation of the military's policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" led her to ban military recruiters from the campus. Yet the Times forwarded liberal complaints that Kagan may not be sufficiently activist to hold up the liberal wing of the Supreme Court.
When the Phoenix Suns wore the name Los Suns on their jerseys Wednesday night, it was construed by many of their fans as a political statement against the new Arizona law regarding illegal immigrants.
....Vecsey's stand is no surprise, coming from a newspaper that can't just let athletes play but tries to enlist them into pushing liberal social agendas. The Times ran an editorial on November 18, 2002, suggesting that Tiger Woods boycott The Masters golf tournament out of solidarity with women who aren't allowed to become members of Augusta National Golf Club, host of the tournament.
As a political gesture, it fell far below the black gloves worn by two American sprinters in the 1968 Olympics. However, there definitely was a measure of criticism of the law from high up on the team -- including from the Suns' owner, Robert Sarver; the general manager, Steve Kerr; and players like Grant Hill, Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash.
It was refreshing to hear reaction to current events from sports figures. It is easy to take pot shots at athletes and team officials for living in a bubble, isolated by money and fame. When athletes care about something, conservative or liberal, it is a sign they are alive.
Today's New York Times makes its editorial priorities clear: It values free speech for violent video games, but not on the issues of the day.
Thursday's editorial, "Video Games and Free Speech," was launched by news the Supreme Court would review a California law that makes it illegal to sell violent video games to minors:
But video games are a form of free expression. Many have elaborate plots and characters, often drawn from fiction or history. The California law is a content-based restriction, something that is presumed invalid under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has made it clear that minors have First Amendment rights....California lawmakers may have been right when they decided that video games in which players kill and maim are not the most socially beneficial form of expression. The Constitution, however, does not require speech to be ideal for it to be protected.Too bad the Times doesn't hold the First Amendment in such high regard when it comes to truly important speech: political speech on issues of the day, the most vital kind there is in a democracy.
A January 22 editorial termed the Supreme Court's victory for expanding free speech, in the form of loosening restrictions on companies spending money on political campaigns, "The Court's Blow to Democracy." The text was no less hysterical:
By his own reckoning, Mr. Obama has always been hard to peg ideologically. His Republican opponents charge that he is masking a left-wing agenda in centrist-sounding words.
His supporters, including those who work for him, say he is a pragmatist whose instincts are genuinely centrist, both as a matter of politics and style.The Times also constantly sells its readers on the idea that the big-spending, socially liberal Obama is some kind of moderate "pragmatist."
Calmes continued the questionable labeling:
On the same day Newsweek magazine anointed Gov. Rick Perry on its cover as a conservative icon, his Democratic opponent, Bill White, was slogging through small-scale campaign stops here in a Republican stronghold, needling the governor, saying he paid more attention to his career than to bread-and-butter issues like schools.
The match-up between Mr. Perry and Mr. White this fall promises not only to test the depth of the conservative backlash against President Obama, but also to shed light on just how Republican the state has become and whether the slim signs of a Democratic resurgence in the 2008 election were chimerical.
Conventional wisdom holds that this is a bad year to run as a Democrat in a state like Texas. Since the mid-1990s, Republican candidates have started off with a 10-point advantage just for being Republican. What's more, most political scientists and strategists say the pendulum is swinging back against the Democrats after Mr. Obama's victory in 2008.
The backlash among staunch conservatives, who are angry about the bailout of banks and deficit spending to create jobs, has given rightwing politicians like Mr. Perry a wind at their backs. Indeed, Mr. Perry has actively courted disaffected voters angry with Washington, appearing with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and building Mr. Perry's national profile.
It would be hard to top former NYT Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse's hysterical conflation in her Tuesday print-edition column of Arizona's stricter enforcement of immigration laws with a Nazi police state, but Egan gets in his share of insults, some of them courtesy of comedian Jon Stewart, the "Mark Twain of our day."
But for all its diversity of land and people, Arizona is also a lunatic magnet. As I drove, I listened to the radio blather of a state in mob-rule frenzy of cranky old men. Once in Phoenix, I saw on television that sign in a car's rear window, the new image of Arizona to the rest of the world: "I'm Mexican. Pull me over."
Sam Tanenhaus, editor of “The New York Times Book Review” and “Week in Review,” and the author of the book, “The Death of Conservatism,” went on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC talk show Monday night to discuss her being featured in a fundraising letter from the right-wing John Birch Society. But the friendly chat soon veered off into a comparison of the nationalist John Birch Society to the Tea Party movement, with Tanenhaus confidently proclaiming “there are no serious ideas left on the right.”
Tanenhaus is pretty assured, for a man who published a book called “The Death of Conservatism” months before a conservative resurgence. At least he didn't refer to Tea Party protesters as “tea baggers,” as he did in an exchange on Slate last October. (Watch a clip of Tanenhaus chatting with Maddow at Times Watch).
SAM TANENHAUS: But there were many on the right who actually supported [John Birch Society president Robert] Welch on the principle we're seeing in action today -- no enemies on the right. If they can be useful, you keep them in the tent. Then, by the mid-'60s, as you said before, they'd gotten so far off the grid that Buckley, a guy who kind of trafficked in intellectual circles, particularly in New York, and had a lot of smart liberal friends, like Murray Kempton and John Kenneth Galbraith, got a little embarrassed by them. At the same time, though, as you said, they were forceful. They were useful. In the Goldwater campaign in ‘64, they were the foot soldiers. In some sense, they're the precursor to the tea partiers we're seeing now, so the right is always nervous about evicting people like that.
Greenhouse, who caused controversy while still a Times reporter when she made her hard-left views on abortion and Guantanamo Bay public at a Harvard commencement address in the summer of 2006, really let it out on Tuesday, with visions of police states and a seemingly inevitable comparison to Nazism.
I'm glad I've already seen the Grand Canyon.
Because I'm not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into.
The New York Times sometimes takes its politically correct blandishments to humorous extremes, as in Randal Archibold's lead story Saturday, “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law On Immigration.” Check the curious way Archibold referred to a protest against Arizona's new anti-immigration law, then try to imagine how the paper would react if such things had happened at a Tea Party rally:
As hundreds of demonstrators massed, mostly peacefully, at the capitol plaza, the governor, speaking at a state building a few miles away, said the law “represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.”Achibold didn't go into why he felt obliged to include the modifier “mostly.” For that, one had to check out a local report filed Friday night that included details the Times left out:
Three people were arrested during the immigration rally at the state capitol Friday afternoon.Evidently, “mostly peacefully” means “somewhat violently” at the New York Times.
Two were arrested after they were seen throwing water bottles at police, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the state police agency.
This local news clip is even more dramatic, showing a police officer being nailed with a water bottle, one of many hurled in the semi-chaotic "march" that the headline terms a "small riot."
Keller took advantage of the book review acreage to take an arbitary shot at present-day media mogul (and soon to be a direct-competitor as the Wall Street Journal expands its Manhattan coverage) Rupert Murdoch, at the end of his review of historian Alan Brinkley's biography of Luce.
Keller found Brinkley's book helpful in fleshing out the oft-caricatured Luce, "restoring missing dimensions to figures who have been flattened into caricature." He also approved of revelations showing Luce was not as conservative as his reputation would imply:
Two New York Times stories on this free speech issue by Arts reporter Dave Itzkoff were buried on the inside pages of the paper's Arts section, under whitewashed headlines alleging that the "South Park" creators were being "warned" by Muslims, not having their lives threatened.
The issue first came up in Thursday's "Arts, Briefly" column under the lame headline "Muslim Group Warns 'South Park.'" (A more accurate headline would have been "Muslim Group Sends Veiled Death Threat to 'South Park.'")
One finding: The New York Times is a liberal newspaper. Or at least its readership is the most liberal of any of the news outlets studied that held themselves out as an “objective” news source.
Included on Table 3 (page 34 of the report) were the purportedly objective print outlets like U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.
Only 33% of the Times readers were conservative, meaning of all the “objective” publications it came in dead last for conservative appeal. Newsweek was closest, at 56%, while both of the other newspapers, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, swamped the Times: 68% of the readership of both papers are conservative.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich's super-sized entry on Sunday, “Welcome to Confederate History Month,” is the latest in the string. The text box is loaded with sarcasm: “The Civil War, like the war against Obama, wasn't about race.”
It's an unusually dumb entry for Rich, but typical in content -- beginning with an utterly irrelevant pop culture reference that's neither fitting nor clever, followed by 1,400 words all but accusing Republicans of racism (Rich prefers odious comparisons to direct accusations he'd have to back up).
At least he seems to be reading his criticism, and reacting hotly. Rich is evidently discussing this column by David Paul Kuhn of Real Clear Politics, which directly refuted Rich's previous column on this same tired subject, in which Kuhn lambasted Rich: “All he has are anecdotes of angry white activists. So he stereotypes. It's like a white person who watches a black criminal on the local news and draws racist generalizations.”
Sometimes it reads like a parody, with references to Joe McCarthy as a conservative hero. It starts with that chin-leading headline, rehashing the Times's favorite word to describe the Tea Party movement (hint: it's not the word "fine"). An accompanying photo showed a single "Tea Party activist" at a rally near Albany, N.Y. Where were the others?
Zernike boiled down the results from the paper's recent polling of the Tea Party movement, keeping only what could be spun as racial or extreme views on the part of participants.
Zernike started out mildly, implying puzzlement at why the protesters were out there at all, since they have it so good, "wealthier than the general public" and presumably aren't affected by the "government spending and enormous deficits" they are fighting against.
It makes sense that people would take to the streets to protest government spending and enormous deficits during the Great Recession, when they are feeling economic pain most acutely.
But the Tea Party supporters now taking to the streets aren't the ones feeling the pain.
In the results of the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, they are better educated and wealthier than the general public. They are just as likely to be employed, and more likely to describe their economic situation as very or fairly good.
On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse, who has in the past proven quite willing to pass along unsubstantiated Democratic accusations of racial epithets hurled by Tea Party protesters, on Friday passed the mike to former President Bill Clinton, who slimed the movement as potentially inspiring similar terrorist acts in "Recalling '95 Bombing, Clinton Sees Parallels."
The text box read: "Finding similarities in past and current antigovernment tones." For good measure, the Times included a photo of a mourner at the site commemorating victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Just last month, a Times photo caption linked peaceful Tea Party protesters to the 1960s domestic terrorists Weather Underground. Now the Times is going even further.
With the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing approaching, former President Bill Clinton on Thursday drew parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating attack and the political tumult of today, saying government critics must be mindful that angry words can stir violent actions.