It’s probably not that surprising that some on the far Left were complaining that the Fox News Channel was going to host a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada later this year. They were probably completely unaware that Fox News co-hosted (with the liberal Congressional Black Caucus Institute) two Democratic debates during the last presidential campaign.
What is surprising is that former Democratic Senator John Edwards, who smilingly participated in both of the Fox debates in 2003 (picture at left), decided that he could not participate in a debate hosted by Fox. “I said, ‘Why are we doing Fox?’ I said, ‘No, tell them no,’” Edwards told the Washington Post’s Dan Balz.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. However, I sincerely beg all readers to properly stow potables, combustibles, and sharp objects before proceeding further.
An expedition to the North Pole to bring attention to global warming was cancelled due to the extraordinarily cold weather. I kid you not. As reported by the Associated Press Monday (emphasis mine throughout):
The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.
"Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey," said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.
I’m verklempt, and having difficulty typing through the tears of laughter. But, unlike our intrepid explorers, I must go on for the benefit of mankind:
Here are the facts: The federal deficit is "down sharply"...
WASHINGTON - The deficit for the first five months of the budget year is down sharply from a year ago as the growth in government tax collections continues to outpace growth in spending.
...and "down sharply" means more than 25 percent over last year.
The Treasury Department reported that the deficit from October through February totaled $162.2 billion, down 25.5 percent from the same period last year.
The federal deficit was up 0.6 percent to $120 billion in February...
That improvement came even though the deficit in February hit $120 billion, up 0.6 percent from last February's deficit of $119.2 billion.
...but that's normal for this time of year as the numbers get skewed up because the government is sending out more money in the form of tax refunds to earlier tax filers.
One factor that contributes to higher deficits in February are the refund payments the Internal Revenue Service is mailing out during the month to people who have filed early tax returns. The February 2006 imbalance was the largest monthly deficit for that year.
Now, as a lifelong resident of the Free State, I can attest that Maryland is a fairly liberal state and it spends at the state and county levels in a fairly liberal manner. Today's Washington Post characterized Democratic Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's first budget proposal as detrimental to the county's public schools.
"Leggett to Offer Cautious Budget: 6% Increase Would Shrink School Request," read the headline to Miranda S. Spivack's Metro section front pager.
What makes the Leggett budget so cautious compared to the last one sought by his predecessor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan?
Perhaps because Duncan's last budget, Spivack noted, increased county spending by 9 percent. Of course both 6 and 9 percent growth rates for county spending well outpace the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product.
[Updated 5:20pm EDT] For the second time in a week, a media organization has seriously reported on the "evil spirits" that President Bush’s trip to Latin America will bring. During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush’s visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests. According to Cuomo:
Chris Cuomo: " President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's president. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."
Liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) entered friendly territory as he appeared on the March 12th edition of The View to promote his new book Positively American. Rosie once again called for impeaching the president and pressed Senator Schumer to agree. Rosie’s nutty charge of "treason" was too much even for fringe liberal Joy Behar.
O’Donnell: "Do you think that anyone will call for the impeachment of George Bush in Congress?"
Schumer: "Probably not. Because usually impeachment is when you've committed a crime."
The ultra-left echo chamber blog Firedoglake is continuing to excel in its pursuit of the worst in political hysteria. This time, the notorious blog articulates its wish for Karl Rove's demise by describing the hyper-violent murder of the early twentieth century Russian mystic Rasputin. The post is titled 'Rovesputin', and features an image of Rove superimposed on a painting of the unfortunate advisor to Czar Nicholas.
FDL was founded by Jane Hamsher, who made her big name by posting a picture of Joe Liebermann in blackface on The Huffington Post,and then being forced to apologize for it. She is also known for being the producer of the ultra-violent film Natural Born Killers. According to Wikipedia, "Hamsher had an uncredited cameo in the film as a female demon." Hamsher has recruited a fine group of contributors to FDL, and the result is a continuing escalation of conspiracy-theory rhetoric.
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had a really hard time buying their colleague Andrea Mitchell's line of thinking that Senator Chuck Hagel might go places by appealing to anti-war Republicans. On this morning's Today, Mitchell proclaimed of a potential presidential run by the Nebraska senator: "Hagel would give Republicans an anti-war alternative..." But just minutes later Lauer and Scarborough scoffed at that idea as even they couldn't choke down that odd bit of Andrea's analysis:
Matt Lauer: "Alright Chuck Hagel, he's a guy who's come out strongly against the war, that upset a lot of loyal Republicans and yet conservative on just about every major social issue. So what's his biggest challenge right now? Is it name recognition?"
While I'm traipsing about in the Notable Quotables archive, let's bring some context to the media's enjoyment of Mayan priests purging the "bad spirits" of Bush on his Latin America trip. If the president meets with public opposition on his trips, that can be newsworthy. But plucking out colorful anti-Bush anecdotes can demonstrate that the "news" is sometimes what the reporter is eager to find, and not the whole picture. Ten years ago, the networks were not always eager to find anti-Clinton angles on Latin America trips. Instead, in this case they used a Clinton trip to make the case that America was too obsessed with Whitewater:
Digging around in the archives this morning reminded me that while the liberal activism of the global-warming cover of Sports Illustrated is shocking, it's not really new. In 1995, we noticed this contrast in Notable Quotables (scroll to the end):
"Whatever one thinks of Winslow's positions, it's encouraging to see a Stateside athlete -- particularly one who rose from the squalor of East St. Louis, Ill., to earn a law degree -- engaging himself in the world of which sports is only a small part." -- Sports Illustrated's 'Scorecard' feature on Kellen Winslow's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech supporting affirmative action and racial quotas, August 7, 1995 issue.
On this morning's Today show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell opened her report of the President's tour of Latin America with protest coverage, showing footage of a sign of Bush with a Hitler mustache, a man chanting "Gringo go home," and even noted local priests' desire to "purify" a Mayan site, Bush planned to visit, of "bad spirits." Over video of protestors O'Donnell emphasized: "The President is followed by Iraq and how bitterly unpopular the war is here. Protests in each country he visits."
The following is the full report as it aired on the March 12th Today show:
Ann Curry: "In the news this morning President Bush is in Guatemala today on his five nation Latin American tour. His visit has been greeted with protest against his war policy and now the President is making a case for sending another 8200 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with the President. Kelly, good morning."
Given the recent gloomy reporting about the industry, you may not know that housing prices nationwide actually went up a bit more in the fourth quarter (1.12%) than they did in the third (1.07%). Though there are certainly problematic metro areas, it would appear that the sky was not falling on home prices.
In fact, based on the press's coverage of the housing industry during the past year or so, you might think that OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart was blowing smoke in the News Release on Page 1 that introduces the report:
“These data show that, on the whole, prices are still rising, albeit at a much slower pace,” said Lockhart. “This suggests that house price appreciation is, for now, more in line with historical norms.”
He's kidding, right? Wrong (from page 4 of the report):
The media’s contention of a scientific consensus surrounding the belief that man is responsible for global warming is whittling away faster than the New England Patriots’ lead against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2007 AFC Championship Game.
The most recent act of skepticism – or should I say heresy given the zealotry exhibited by the global warming alarmists – came in the form of an op-ed written by Philip Stott, an Emeritus Professor from the University of London who is almost guaranteed to receive hateful and possibly threatening e-mail messages for his unwelcome contribution to this so-called debate.
Stott began his article with a marvelous historical and religious reference that should – but, likely won’t – act as a wakeup call for those on the left and in the media now claiming that this matter has become a moral issue (emphasis mine throughout):
Here are Three Things to Remember about The Government's Monthly Employment Reports:
First, the initial report for the current month by the Bureaus of Labor Statistics (BLS) has usually contained significant upward revisions to previous months, as shown here:
For the past seven months, the number reported for jobs added in the current month has been, on average, less than 2/3 of the total reported increase in jobs, because of significant revisions to prior months.
Second, as you would expect because of the first point, the current month's initially reported total has usually been revised upward quite a bit in subsequent months:
Fred Thompson, who is exploring the possibilty of a presidential candidacy, went on Fox News Sunday yesterday, strongly criticized Roe v. Wade and said the answer to it was "good judges." But on this morning's "Today," Andrea Mitchell flatly stated that Thompson doesn't want to overturn Roe. So where does Thompson stand on Roe, and how can we explain Today's depiction of his views?
For answers, let's go to the videotape. The first portion of the clip is from this morning's "Today," the second portion from Thompson's Fox News Sunday appearance yesterday.
On "Today," laying out Thompson's positions on key issues, Andrea Mitchell stated Thompson is "anti-abortion but opposes overturning Roe v. Wade." Where did she get that from? A good clue comes from the fact that just previously she had just played a clip of Thompson's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday. While the clip had nothing to do with abortion [Thompson merely described his rationale for a possible run], it does demonstrate that Mitchell had watched Thompson's appearance and was likely relying on it as the latest, best evidence of his views.
So what did the former Tennessee senator tell Chris Wallace about his views on Roe? Again, have a look at the video.
Chris Wallace: "Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?"
Thompson: "I think Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don't think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country that's contrary to what it's been for the last 200 years. We have a process in this country to do that. Judges shouldn't be doing that. That's what happened in the that case. I think it was wrong."
Liberal media outlets aren't usually sympathetic to the story of people growing upset at the changing shape of their neighborhoods, often at the arrival of new Hispanic or Asian immigrants. But AP reporter Lisa Leff reports sensitively from San Francisco that the distraught natives who dislike the invaders are gay men are upset at the arrival of -- gasp -- people with baby strollers:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even on a weekday in winter, the Castro district vibrates with energy, most of it male. Men holding hands, walking dogs and lounging at cafes have long been the main attraction in a neighborhood known as a gay mecca the world over.
The AP is protesting a decision made by U.S. Military officials in Afghanistan claiming an oppression of a free press and saying there was "not a reasonable justification" for erasing an AP photographer's pictures taken of the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Barikaw, Afghanistan. The decision protested by the AP was made March 4th by officers on the scene of a bombing that killed 8 Afghans, wounding 34. But, is the AP correct that this was somehow an outrage against a free press?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. military asserted that an American soldier was justified in erasing journalists' footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan last week, saying publication could have compromised a military investigation and led to false public conclusions.
In the March 11 Washington Post, staff writers Elissa Silverman and Allison Klein took a look at the men and women behind a legal challenge to the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. But in doing so, it seems they buried the lede.
Information on one plaintiff came near the end of Silverman and Klein's 25-paragraph story:
Dick Heller, 65, said he became involved in the firearms debate in 1997 after he read a news story about a burglary in the District in which the homeowner shot the intruder -- and the homeowner was charged with a crime.
"That's what made us really livid," said Heller, who lives with his wife in Capitol Hill. "After that, I knew we had to be proactive."
That's the heart and soul of the case right there. The ban criminalizes law-abiding citizens who have a natural right to protect themselves, yet find that right severely undercut by District law which takes away a significant means of self defense: private ownership of a firearm.
But how crucial is Heller to the case? Without him, the case might well have been thrown out already:
Married gossips from New York’s Daily News, George Rush and Joanna Malloy, describe the celebs who gathered at a gala thrown by global warming activist group Natural Resources Defense Gala to honor Vanity Fair editor, and author of an anti-Bush literary and financial flop, Graydon Carter, and they note that “Mother Earth” cheekily showed the enviro-crowd who was boss by giving them “meat locker weather.” The NRDC’s roster of celebrity speakers, including Anderson Cooper and Robert Kennedy Jr, playfully turned up the heat on the VF chief:
The new media revolution brought about by the Internet Age leaves a constant vacuum to be filled for the traditional entertainment cycle on broadcast TV. You'll notice a lot of broadcast Web sites doing what they can to fill that void with extra footage, behind-the-scenes stuff, bloopers, "webisodes," and the like.
But let's face it, when the new episodes are exhausted on the networks, we're not likely to stick around for reruns. There's too many other things to do, and we've probably already rewatched the best clips of those shows on YouTube. There goes millions in advertising revenue for the nets.
Trying to find a way around that, NBC is taking that to the airwaves with "newpeats" of "The Office." (h/t TVTattle.com)
A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn't work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.
Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy.
Kagan's main point goes to credibility, but it's really a business question too. It applies a bit more to papers and media outlets other than the Post, which has shown occasional sanity (starting at the link's third paragraph) while others have totally lost their bearings. If the Surge succeeds (and it's barely started, so who knows?), aren't readers, listeners, and viewers going to wonder who's been feeding them a load of rubbish about "the hopeless situation" for 3-plus years? Would you not expect even more of them to cancel their subscriptions and turn away in even higher numbers from Formerly Mainstream Media outlets?
"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," Sigmund Freud is purported to have once said, cautioning that not everything has a deeper, hidden meaning to it. Well, sometimes a blockbuster blood-soaked action flick is just that, a blood-soaked, special effects-laden action flick.
Just try telling that to cynical, left-wing European journalists.
According to Entertainment Weekly, everyone from gay interest groups to foreign journalists have engaged in armchair psychoanalysis of director Zack Snyder's screen adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel "300.":
Today's article is just the latest in a growing, voluminous list of adulatory, flattering coverage of the Democratic candidate by the Times. Just a few examples are here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Images of the Times' articles are available at several of the links.)
Think those advancing anthropogenic global warming theories are serious about their views? Well, an article from Sunday’s Telegraph should scare every person around the world about the zealotry and danger surrounding this issue (emphasis mine throughout):
Scientists who questioned mankind's impact on climate change have received death threats and claim to have been shunned by the scientific community.
They say the debate on global warming has been "hijacked" by a powerful alliance of politicians, scientists and environmentalists who have stifled all questioning about the true environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week unfolds the new polling numbers for the MRC's Culture and Media Institute on the American people's impression of moral decline and the media's role in it:
A new cultural-values survey of 2,000 American adults performed by the polling firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates for the Culture and Media Institute reveals a strong majority, 74 percent, believes moral values in America are weaker than they were 20 years ago. Almost half, 48 percent, agree that values are much weaker than they were 20 years ago.
Former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel was one of Tim Russert’s guests on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” As amazing as it might seem, he made some truly shocking and compelling statements about the Iraq war and the war on terror that virtually no Democrat or media member is willing to accept or report:
First, Koppel made it clear that America’s premature departure from Iraq would turn the entire Persian Gulf region into a battlefield between Sunnis and Shia, “something the United States cannot allow to happen”
Second, he said the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the war on terror that “has been going on for the past 24 years” starting when “the precursors of Hezbollah blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon” in 1983
Finally, he stated that America’s departure from Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of when it occurs, will not represent the end of this battle, but, instead, that it is just “going to be a different war” after that point.
The Newsweek feature BeliefWatch has become a true intersection of left-wing ideology and non-traditional religious beliefs. Except of course when it comes to bashing conservative Christians. Then it sticks right with the media’s low standards.
The March 19 BeliefWatch by Lisa Miller called James Dobson of Focus on the Family the “religious right's standard-bearer and junkyard dog.” Miller bashed “Dobson's Lear-like fury” for daring to criticize allegedly eco-evangelist Rich Cizik, “the Washington-based lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals.”
Dobson complained that Cizik wasn’t representing evangelicals about the religion of the moment – the environment. But Miller saw red instead of green and said Dobson’s real agenda wasn’t religion – it was politics. “In other words, he’s thought to be a Democratic sympathizer, and in an election season, displays of evangelical unity are critical,” she said of “tree hugger” Cizik.
As the Managing Editor of Fox News Channel's Washington, DC bureau, you might have thought Brit Hume would have taken great umbrage at John Edwards' high-profile decision to spurn a debate of Dem presidential contenders that Fox had organized for August in Nevada. The Edwards pull-out ultimately led to a cancellation of the debate by the Nevada state Democratic party. Edwards had come under pressure from liberal netroots and organizations such as Move.on, which had organized a petition drive calling for cancellation of the debate.
But in a fair-and-balanced comment reflecting an appreciation of real politik, Hume has praised Edwards' move as "shrewd" -- at least in the short run. During the panel discussion on this morning's Fox News Sunday, Hume observed:
Without a lot of breaking news out there this morning, why not pass some of today's 23 hours with an exhilirating session of one of our favorite games, WIARHSI, which as regular readers know stands for "What if a Republican Had Said It?"
Check out this paragraph from a Newsday article that reports on a Hillary campaign event in Nashua, New Hampsire:
"The former first lady, referring to New Hampshire's roster of female Democratic officials, quipped, 'I don't know about you, but I like seeing women in charge.'"
For purposes of WIARHSI, let's imagine that a Republican had made the mirror-image comment: "I don't know about you, but I like seeing men in charge." Fair to say that the feminist howls of outrage would soon be echoing from sea to shining sea? But what are the odds that Hillary's blatant appeal to sexist solidarity will cause even the smallest ripple in the MSM?
Note how Newsday tries to cover for Hillary, casting her comment as a mere "quip." Real side-splitter!