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By Kyle Drennen | April 14, 2011 | 3:37 PM EDT

On his 3PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Wednesday, host Martin Bashir enthusiastically reacted to President Obama's budget speech: "'We will invest in the future of America,' that's what President Obama just said in a much-anticipated speech on the budget....He offered a series of broad proposals and said it's time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their way and share in taxes."

Moments later, White House correspondent Mike Viqueira joined Bashir and proclaimed: "..the President's speech was part soaring, speaking to the aspirations and character of a nation, if you will." Bashir observed: "Mike, I don't want to sound as if I'm misrepresenting the President, but it appeared to me that he was suggesting that we can't be self-centered as far as fiscal policy is concerned. We can't simply slash programs everywhere without somehow expecting the wealthiest in society to contribute. Is that your impression?"

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 3:03 PM EDT

Last week I noted how the media had been silent on a package sent to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) that contained an anti-Semitic rant and a bloody pig's foot.

The Associated Press broke the story on Monday, April 4.

In a new development, Politico's Jennifer Epstein reported this afternoon that a Muslim woman from Georgia has claimed responsibility and Capitol police are investigating the claim:

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof joined the “tax me, please,” brigade in his Thursday column that is sure to win him new fans the day before tax day: “Raise America’s Taxes.”

President Obama in his speech on Wednesday confronted a topic that is harder to address seriously in public than sex or flatulence: America needs higher taxes.

That ugly truth looms over today’s budget battles, but politicians have mostly preferred to run from reality. Mr. Obama’s speech was excellent not only for its content but also because he didn’t insult our intelligence.

There is no single reason for today’s budget mess, but it’s worth remembering that the last time our budget was in the black was in the Clinton administration. That’s a broad hint that one sensible way to overcome our difficulties would be to revert to tax rates more or less as they were under President Clinton. That single step would solve three-quarters of the deficit for the next five years or so.

So would cutting spending levels to the Clinton era, for that matter.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:01 PM EDT

L.A.- based Adam Nagourney covered California’s budget impasse for Thursday’s edition, “Standoff in Sacramento as Brown and G.O.P. Lock Horns Over Taxes.” New Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put tax hikes in front of the voters through California’s initiative and referendum process.

While the paper’s previous California budget writer Jennifer Steinhauer showed her displeasure with direct democracy after voters rejected tax hikes under headlines like “Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent,” and “In California, Democracy Doesn’t Pay the Bills,” Nagourney by contrast made encouraging noises about a public vote in the hope Brown’s proposed tax hikes would pass. From Thursday's article:

By Lachlan Markay | April 14, 2011 | 1:48 PM EDT

Beginning on April 17, NBC-Universal and all of its television news and entertainment shows will launch into seven days of environmentally-themed programming titled "Earth Week." If this Earth Week is anything like those past, it will once again raise the issue, highligted on numerous occasions at this website, of the symbiotic relationship between Earth Week's political implications and the financial interests of General Electric, which owns a large stake in the media company.

The conflict of interest apparent in Earth Week also points to a double standard: while the political activities of Fox News's parent company News Corporation were touted by numerous commentators - both partisan and "objective" - as evidence that Fox itself has a political bent, few to this day seem concerned that NBC is advancing a liberal environmental agenda that could potentially enrich GE, which spends millions (more than $230 million on lobbying alone since 1991, more than any other private company by far) advancing the same agenda through political channels.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 1:21 PM EDT

Thursday’s New York Times led with Obama’s partisan budget speech, “Taking On G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan – Calls for Spending Cuts and Tax Increases but Spares Medicare and Medicaid,” and once again did a double-standard dance around the politically inflammatory issue of changes in Medicare spending when proposed by a Democratic president.

While previous attempts at reform of Medicare by Republicans were eviscerated in the Times as “big Medicare cuts” or (just this week) a “shrinking” of the program, the paper greeted Obama’s own vague proposals with benign, soothing words like “overhaul” or claims that Obama was merely looking for Medicare “savings.” Thursday’s headline insisted Medicare and Medicaid would be “spared” and the text by reporters Mark Landler and Michael Shear described Obama as only proposing “changes to social welfare programs” and to “strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid.”

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 1:15 PM EDT

In 1966, Time magazine's April 8 cover story famously asked "Is God Dead?"

Forty-five years later the magazine is still hard at work attempting to discredit traditional Christian faith, with former Newsweek writer Jon Meacham exploring the question  "Is Hell Dead?"

Meacham doesn't answer the question definitively but used the raging controversy over Michigan pastor Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins" to argue that evangelical Christianity may be moving away from its tradition teachings on eternal conscious torment of the wicked in Hell towards a universalist view of salvation:

By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 12:53 PM EDT

Sleeping air traffic controllers in 2011 are the fault of Ronald Reagan firing striking workers in 1981, according to liberal comedienne Joy Behar. The View co-host on Thursday managed to blame the late President while talking about a recent series of napping air traffic controllers.

The left-wing comic bizarrely compared, "[Reagan] busted the union, the air controllers' union. And they probably would have been strict about having two people there, because the main thing about the unions is they want more people to work."

Fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg joined in, complaining, "It sort of started with the- Ronald Reagan saying, you know, you guys asking for too much money. He fired everybody. He cleaned them all out."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]


By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 12:29 PM EDT

New York Times critic Mike Hale’s review of an HBO documentary on the evils of guns, “Gun Fight,” is colored with his liberal perspective. Hale is never hesitant to work in his liberal political opinions into his reviews. He clearly favors left-wing public affairs series like Frontline, and has embraced European-style nationalized health care as clearly superior to the U.S. version (until Obama-care, anyway).

Barbara Kopple’s engrossing, frustrating documentary “Gun Fight” -- it’s not liable to inspire happy thoughts in people on either side of the gun-control debate -- begins with eerie cellphone video footage taken during the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007, and the aftermath of that rampage provides the film’s emotional ballast.

Ms. Kopple, who in the past has demonstrated her sympathies for labor unions (“Harlan County U.S.A.” and “American Dream,” both Oscar winners) and the Dixie Chicks (“Shut Up and Sing”), gives plenty of time in “Gun Fight” to people who believe that the limits on an American’s right to own and carry a gun should be few or none. ....

By Matthew Philbin | April 14, 2011 | 12:16 PM EDT

On April 8, MRC’s Culture and Media Institute started a debate  when it called attention to an e-mail ad from J Crew that featured a mother painting her young son’s toenails pink. The story gained national attention on radio, TV and the web. And now it’s made “The Daily Show.”

Video Below the fold.

By Noel Sheppard | April 14, 2011 | 11:18 AM EDT

The New York Times was very excited about President Obama's deficit reduction speech.

The Gray Lady's editorial Thursday began, "The man America elected president has re-emerged":

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 10:42 AM EDT

President Obama is "Mr. Prudent," a grown-up heralding "deficit sanity" in a Washington gone mad with "delusional" Republican plans for draconian budget cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy.

That's the predictable leftist talking point-laden take that Time magazine's Joe Klein had after listening to President Obama's hectoring lecture yesterday at George Washington University (emphasis mine):

By Noel Sheppard | April 14, 2011 | 9:36 AM EDT

Nobel Laureate Al Gore's favorite money making myth suddenly has some competition for the wackiest reason the planet has warmed in recent years.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis reported Tuesday, a University of California, Berkeley, scientist believes that the indoor growing of marijuana is responsible - at least partially, of course:

By NB Staff | April 14, 2011 | 9:09 AM EDT

The House is slated to vote today on the budget deal struck by the president, Rep. John Boehner, and Sen. Harry Reid, but the Associated Press released an analysys Wednesday that shows that the nearly $8 billion in budget cuts the deal brokered will be almost entirely offset by increases in defense spending.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending…

By Tim Graham | April 14, 2011 | 8:50 AM EDT

Sixteen-year-old Irene Rojas-Carroll, an activist who calls herself a "pansexual," is the star of a San Francisco Chronicle story on a controversial California bill to mandate that schools pay tribute to homosexual pioneers in their history lessons. Jill Tucker reported:

A controversial bill moving through the state Legislature would change that, requiring social science instructional materials to include the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as Pacific Islanders and those with disabilities.