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By Ken Shepherd | January 13, 2011 | 3:51 PM EST

Here's a little something I stumbled across today while looking through my Google Calendar settings.

I subscribe to Google's "US Holidays" calendar, which adds to my personal calendar tags for U.S. federal holidays as well as some major non-federal religious or cultural holidays like Easter and Groundhog Day respectively.

By Tim Graham | January 13, 2011 | 3:43 PM EST

On his PBS talk show on Tuesday, Tavis Smiley brought on liberal Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to discuss the Tucson shooting, but he was still reliving the much tinier, nonviolent nightmare of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelling "You lie!" at President Obama during a September 2009 address to Congress to sell ObamaCare. He suggested it was the greatest moment of incivility in the history of the House of Representatives. 

This would seem to be skipping incidents like Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely beating Sen. Charles Sumner with his cane over slavery in 1856. The History Channel says "Brooks became an instant hero in the South, and supporters sent him many replacement canes." (Or there's the Puerto Rican terrorists shooting up the place and wounding five House members in 1956...) But Smiley was adamant:

Clearly, no one was shot, nobody lost his or her life in this process, but it's hard to find a greater moment of incivility in the history of the House than when your colleague on the other side of the aisle, Mr. Wilson, stood up in the president's speech, President Obama's speech, and said, "You lie" for the nation and the world to hear. If ever there were a moment of incivility in our politics, it was that moment.

By Tom Blumer | January 13, 2011 | 3:30 PM EST

Two paragraphs don't seem to belong together in Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press dispatch on the government's Monthly Treasury Statement for December. But there they are.

Here's the first paragraph of interest in Martin's missive ("Federal budget deficit narrows to $80B in December"):

Government spending during this period totaled $902.6 billion, an increase of 3.1 percent over the same period a year ago.

Now watch Crutsinger tell readers why spending should be down, perhaps without even realizing it (bold is mine):

By Clay Waters | January 13, 2011 | 3:07 PM EST

The New York Times’s lead political blogger Michael Shear was predictably effusive toward Obama’s "soft and restrained" Wednesday night address to the nation, while showing resentment toward Palin’s "accusatory" Wednesday morning video defense of herself: “Obama and Palin, a Tale of Two Speeches.”

The very premise of Shear’s Thursday morning posting was fatally flawed: Comparing the speech of a sitting president to a former vice presidential candidate attacked for inciting the shooting, yet expecting each to offer the same message in the same tone.

Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable -- and remarkably different -- political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape.

The day opened at 5 a.m. with Sarah Palin, whose seven-and-a-half minute video statement captured with precision the bubbling anger and resentment that is an undercurrent of the national conversation about our public discourse.

It ended with President Obama, whose plea for civility, love and compassion -- for us to all be not just better citizens but better people -- exposed for the first time the emotions of a leader who has spent two years staying cool and controlled for a nation beset by difficult times.

By Noel Sheppard | January 13, 2011 | 2:31 PM EST

Tom Brokaw on Thursday said that as a result of Arizona's loose gun laws, he'd be nervous going into a bar or restaurant in that state on a Saturday night.

Such was uttered during a discussion about gun control on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Blumer | January 13, 2011 | 2:15 PM EST

(See the Update within the post.)

It's not too difficult to determine where the sympathy of the Associated Press's Christopher Wills resides in the aftermath of the Democrat-controlled legislature's passage in Illinois of steep, "temporary" four-year income and corporate tax increases.

Wills cited neighboring states as "gleefully plot(ting)" to take business away from Illinois, claimed that the Illinois move "resolve(d)" its budget crisis (that remains to be seen), and asserted that "economic experts scoffed" at the idea that significant out-of-state business migration might occur. Oh, and he found one business threatening to leave not Illinois, but Wisconsin, because the Badger State's governor wouldn't accept deficit-generating light-rail money from Uncle Sam.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from Wills's report ("Neighboring states gleeful over Ill. tax increase"; bolds are mine):

By Kyle Drennen | January 13, 2011 | 1:26 PM EST

At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric lamented: "The President tries to comfort a nation in mourning, but even on a rare day of unity, politics and controversy intervene." A clip was then played of Sarah Palin's Facebook video reaction to the Tucson shooting and media finger-pointing: "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel."

Later, correspondent Chip Reid reported that in his speech at the memorial service for the victims, "one thing we're told he [President Obama] will not do is get into the political battle that's developed over this tragedy." Reid then added: "a battle that became even more heated today when Sarah Palin joined the fray."

By Noel Sheppard | January 13, 2011 | 1:06 PM EST

Chris Matthews on Wednesday said that as a result of her use of terms like "blood libel" and "bull's eyes," Sarah Palin "shouldn't be President of the United States."

Such happened after Matthews spent much of the first half of his "Hardball" program excoriating the former Alaska governor for her videotaped response to the tragic shootings in Tucson Saturday (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Alex Fitzsimmons | January 13, 2011 | 1:03 PM EST

On MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." today, anchor Chris Jansing and liberal columnist Karen Hunter took turns ripping apart Sarah Palin's call for civility in an Internet video posted yesterday morning in the wake of the Tucson shooting.

The morning after President Barack Obama delivered a well-received speech at a memorial service for the victims of a rampage that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) critically injured, Jansing recited a quote from Joan Walsh, editor of the left-wing Salon.com, to criticize Palin.

"You know, Mark, times of tragedy are times when we judge our leaders," remarked Jansing. "And Joan Walsh writes on Salon.com, about Sarah Palin, 'Having watched her atrocious, tone-deaf, all-about-me video: Sarah Palin will never be president of the United States.'"

Calling out Jansing's liberal spin, conservative columnist Mark Tapscott deftly quipped, "I would never expect Joan Walsh to have anything positive to say about anything Sarah Palin does or says."

By Lachlan Markay | January 13, 2011 | 12:22 PM EST

Yet another poll released Thursday by USA Today suggests that the American public has not bought into the media's ridiculous spin on Saturday's Tucson massacre.

According to the poll, conducted by Gallup, a majority of Americans think that attempts to link Saturday's shooting to conservative political rhetoric amount to "An attempt to make conservatives look bad." Only about a third of respondents said it was a "legitimate point."

While self-identified Democrats were predictably more likely to say blaming rhetoric from the right is a legitimate argument, a full third of Democrats agreed that it was just a partisan stunt.

By Jack Coleman | January 13, 2011 | 11:59 AM EST

Yet another example of the pathological left-wing meme in response to the Tucson bloodbath -- do as we say, not as we spew.

Here's Bill Press on his radio show this morning, telling all dozen of his listeners what he thought of Sarah Palin's remarks yesterday on the "blood libel" of liberals blaming conservative rhetoric as root cause of the gunman's rampage (audio) --

To me, it reminded me of those hostage videos we've seen where there's a terrorist on each side holding a gun to a person's head and they're forced to read a script, while she read the script, first of all, yesterday saying don't! don't! let's not criticize each other now.

 

By Noel Sheppard | January 13, 2011 | 11:49 AM EST

It is crystal clear that whatever Sarah Palin does, she is going to be mercilessly lambasted by America's so-called journalists.

Roughly 24 hours after attacking the former Alaska governor for having not spoken publicly since Saturday's tragic shootings in Tucson, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann criticized Palin for issuing a videotaped statement the morning of that event's memorial (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Ann Coulter):

By Scott Whitlock | January 13, 2011 | 11:48 AM EST

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday fretted about Sarah Palin and the use of the term "blood libel," deeming it a "loaded term." Reporter Claire Shipman chided that "what was meant to be statesman like, set off another round of controversy."

Shipman even featured clips from angry leftists such as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and ex-Clinton aide Paul Begala. The Democratic operative derided the term, used by Palin as a defense against those who would associate her with Saturday's shooting in Arizona, calling it "narcissism of the extreme." Olbermann mocked, "Sarah Palin, quote, 'could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.'"

While reporting for GMA, Shipman has frequently hammered Republicans while fawning over Democrats. In 2007, she famously described the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as one of the "hot factor" versus "fluid poetry." Additionally, her husband, Jay Carney, is the Assistant Director of Communications to Vice President Joe Biden. He's rumored to be a possible replacement for Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs.
 

By Geoffrey Dickens | January 13, 2011 | 11:40 AM EST

Former NBC Nighty News anchor Tom Brokaw visited the Today show set, on Thursday, to play referee, or more specifically daddy, in the debate surrounding the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords as he pontificated that it was "time for the parents to say time out" on the heated political rhetoric. However he then went on to question how Sarah Palin could dare to respond to all the personal attacks on her, many by some of Brokaw's colleagues on MSNBC, as he opined: "I was surprised that she waded back into it frankly."

On to discuss Barack Obama's performance at a memorial service for victims of the Tuscon shooting, Brokaw told Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira, that even though the service, as Vieira herself noticed, seemed more like a "pep rally" at times, Obama was simply doing his best to "Keep the mood of the crowd ebullient." Brokaw then scolded: "I would think that on the political, what I call the political poles, on both ends, it's probably time for the parents to say time out. You know let's, let's take a break here for a couple of days and reflect on what we've been through and where we need to go."

Later on in the segment Vieira prompted Brokaw to weigh-in on the temerity of Sarah Palin, to dare to defend herself as she asked: "Talking about pointing fingers...your views on Sarah Palin and her accusing the journalists of blood libel for blaming political rhetoric on what happened?" Brokaw responded: "I was surprised that she waded back into it frankly...I was surprised that she got back into it in the way that she did. I think we gotta move beyond that."

By Clay Waters | January 13, 2011 | 10:57 AM EST

Two days in a row, New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney has suggested that Arizona’s heated conservative rhetoric may have created a toxic atmosphere for gunman Jared Loughner to function in.

Yesterday Nagourney commented on a speech by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer the day before addressing the shootings in Tucson, in an article with the leading headline “Governor Strives to Restore Arizona’s Reputation.” As if Arizona bore some blame for anything one of its six million residents may have done.

Her remarks, a downstate reprise of the official State of the State address she gave to lawmakers in Phoenix on Monday, illustrate the challenges Ms. Brewer faces. She is eagerly trying to defend a state whose reputation has been battered in recent years, particularly since the massacre here on Saturday.

But fairly or not, Arizona’s image has been forged in part because of Ms. Brewer herself, who has been identified with the tough law aimed at illegal immigrants, budget cuts that include denying aid to people who need life-saving transplants and laws permitting people to take concealed guns into bars and banning the teaching of ethnic studies in public schools.