Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to U.S. Senators about current health reform legislation. The USCCB has supported the goal of universal health coverage for decades, but the letter made clear that they do not yet support the Senate Finance Committee's bill because of concerns about affordability, coverage for immigrants, and financing for abortion. I'd like to focus on that last point, because I think it's here that the bishops may be moving the goalposts on what they can and cannot accept.
Sullivan lamented that the bishops are not accepting the word of the Obama administration as the gospel truth when it comes to abortion:
A year ago Time magazine's David Van Biema wrote up a short, favorable take on the so-called Green Bible, an edition based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) that placed "green references" in "a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." But wait, there's more, The Green Bible also includes "supplementary writings" several of which "cite the Genesis verse in which God gives humanity 'dominion' over the earth" and "Others [which] assert that eco-neglect violates Jesus' call to care for the least among us: it is the poor who inhabit the floodplains."
Even though The Green Bible is risible both from a commercial standpoint as a marketing ploy and theologically as a bastardization of the real heart of Christian doctrine, neither charge was entertained as a valid criticism by the Time staffer. Van Biema even hinted that evangelicals, 54 percent of whom "agreed that 'stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost'" might embrace the translation despite strong reservations from conservative theologians.
It's not too often where both a prominent conservative and a prominent liberal would deviate from their ideological consensus on a particular issue.
However, the news of the day - Chicago being beaten out by Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is one such instance. MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who identifies himself as a conservative, said he was glad President Barack Obama gave it shot in an Oct. 2 post on the Huffington Post.
Ironically, the editor of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, who is identified as a progressive, said on NBC's Oct. 2 "The Jay Leno Show" that Obama shouldn't have gone to Copenhagen - but not for the reason a lot of critics are suggesting.
One sign your news magazine might be out of touch with average Americans is when you take a look at abstinence-only sex ed guidelines and declare that, in the Obama administration's hands, it's "not the end of the world."
Time's Amy Sullivan, however, aims to reassure skittish liberals weary of the Bush administration's socially conservative tack on sex ed funding:
Breaking: The New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division has thrown out Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against his former employer, CBS Corp. "We find the complaint must be dismissed in its entirety," reads the decision. The Appellate court found that the motion court "erred in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty."
"How do you say 'FAIL' in Polish," Michelle Malkin quipped in a blog post this morning dealing with Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who in a September 27 blog post decried the arrest of Roman Polanski in Zurich the day before.
Applebaum, you may recall, failed to note in that blog post that her husband, Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is pleading for Polanski's release. Well, Malkin noted today that Applebaum is defending her lack of full disclosure, despite having been called out on the blogosphere for the glaring omission:
Political analyst Charlie Cook sells himself as "independent, nonpartisan" pundit, but then how does it look when he’s donating his time and talent to a fundraising auction for Netroots Nation, the hard-left blogger convention? He’s offering "Coffee with Charlie Cook and a 1-Year Subscription to the Cook Report."
That’s not the biggest surprise: the Daily Kosmonaut crowd can also bid on the "Survivor Gabon Buff Autographed by Jeff Probst." At least that gift wasn't donated by the celebrity. The Netroots Nation convention began with the name Yearly Kos in 2006 and 2007.
UPDATE: Charlie Cook responded by e-mail with this message:
So with a waiting period, it doesn't seem like much of an opportunity to respond immediately to the item about me this morning, but maybe you will post this anyway.
Did I participate in a panel at Netroots Nation and when asked, did I say yes on donating "a lunch with Charlie Cook? Yes.
The New York Times announced today that it would appoint an editor to monitor 'opinion media'. In an attempt to respond to criticism that it has been too slow to pick up on stories first reported by conservative blogs and talk show hosts, the Times acknowledged poor coverage, but denied a political agenda.
The self-proclaimed 'paper of record' was extremely slow in picking up on two recent stories. The first, the 'trutherism' of former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, was initially reported by Pajamas Media, and later by Glenn Beck on his Fox News talk show. The Times did not cover the story until after Jones had resigned.
Later, the Times neglected to report on the undercover sting operation that exposed ACORN for offering assistance in a bogus child prostitution ring. The Times reported on Congress's votes to de-fund ACORN, but neglected to mention the sting operation that inspired the votes.
As the Obama-loving media continue to abdicate their journalistic responsibilities in order to blindly support the President's agenda, the conservative blogosphere has for the third time in as many weeks uncovered dirty little secrets that have precipitated immediate action from the White House or entities close to it.
In response to revelations published Monday by Big Hollywood, the Obama administration on Tuesday issued new guidelines for conference calls held by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This comes in the same month that investigative efforts by the rightosphere led to the resignation of Obama green jobs czar Van Jones as well as the federal defunding of the controversial organization ACORN.
According to ABC's Jake Tapper, just hours after the release of Patrick Courrielche's stunning exposé about the Administration using the NEA to help drive the President's agenda via the art community, new guidelines have been mandated by the White House to prevent it from happening again:
"It's the most explosive moment for the soda industry since the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment," CBS's Katie Couric quipped of a proposed federal soda tax in her September 18 Notebook video on CBSNews.com (embedded at right).
While careful not to explicitly endorse a proposed one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, Couric hinted that taxing sodas could help curb obesity, because, after all, "some lawmakers say taxes on cigarettes have reduced smoking and raised revenues."
Pledging to help soda-drinking Americans lose weight while simultaneously thinning their wallets -- and fattening Uncle Sam's coffers -- certainly appeals to the self-appointed food police and tax-hiking liberals, but it's likely to cause average Americans to gripe about having to pay taxes for the harmless guilty pleasure of cracking open an ice-cold soda pop.
Yet Couric sees only a downside to that dastardly profitable soft drink industry, not average Americans tired of government intrusion into their personal choices:
It takes a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, or selective amnesia, or just bald hypocrisy for the left-wing blogosphere to speculate on the cause of “right-wing hatemongering.” But there it was on Sept. 21 – an article asserting that the “anti-Obama hyperventilating” was the result of … Christianity.
Appearing on Alternet.org, Frank Schaeffer’s “Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?” suggested that resistance to the Obama program comes from “the ugliest side of religion.”
“The fact is,” wrote Schaeffer, “that if you're going to blame one group above all others for the willful ignorance and continuing ugliness of the response to President Obama the best candidate would be the evangelical/fundamentalist community.”
Schaeffer wrote that former president Jimmy Carter was correct when he recently asserted that racism was behind the passionate anti-Obama reaction. But Carter fell short in not explicitly linking that racism to his own religion – Evangelical Christianity. “The angry part of the South Carter spoke of is racist because it's dominated by a certain type of ‘Christian’ culture,” Schaeffer wrote.
Not to be outdone in the pious-sounding eco-rhetoric, the San Francisco Chronicle's Thin Green Line blog today warns tech geeks and video game aficionados against the original sin of technological advance:
Technology, at times, offers a magic key into the environmental garden of Eden, where humans can use energy and feel good about it. But, at times, it can be the serpent tempting us to eat the apple that will mean our eviction.
Blogger Cameron Scott goes on to explain that the wages of tech are carbon, tons and tons of carbon:
They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. But the 44th President of the United States doesn't seem to be worried about that.
President Barack Obama, still with no fear of being overexposed, made the rounds on five Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 20 to make another attempt at winning the hearts and minds over on his vague health care proposal.
According to Obama, alleging he wasn't doing any "media-bashing," mentioned the three major cable news networks by name, and said they were the ones enabling the "rude" behavior that some of their on-air voices have decried by giving it so much attention.
After systematically ignoring the outrageous and offensive signs used by leftist protesters at anti-war demonstrations journalists and bloggers are now devoting an immense amount of attention to a small minority of Tea Party protesters carrying signs far outside of the mainstream.
Liberal bloggers were also incensed with what they claimed were the hateful (and racist) intentions of the protesters. Matt Yglesias at Think Progress noted the miniscule presence of Confederate Flags and pondered why demonstrators were "waving flags of treason and slavery". Other bloggers at TP complained of the "hate at the protest."
Over the last several weeks, no one has been the target of the left-wing media and blogosphere more than Fox News host Glenn Beck, even more so than his radio host counterpart Rush Limbaugh.
Although conservatives have decried the daily ad hominem attacks, some voices on the left are starting to realize that's not an effective strategy for championing their cause, especially when it comes to the hot-button issue of the day, health care.
And that is really starting to bother Air America host Lionel - that is the daily repetitive nature of attacking Glenn Beck and/or Rush Limbaugh by giving a litany of complaints about what they said, as he laid out in a nearly three-minute tirade on his September 14 Air America radio show.
Usually it is easy ignore the commentary from that great bastion of cultural insight, known as the gossip Web site Gawker. But every now and then, even Gawker steps over the line.
In a Sept. 11 post by Alex Pareene that was allegedly meant to reflect on the passing of eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pareene launched into a hate-and-expletive-filled anti-President George W. Bush, anti-conservative and anti-Glenn Beck attack in his post. His first assault was on the prior administration.
"Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little [expletive] no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration," Pareene said. "In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear."
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas on the Midday Open Thread, Thursday: "As bad as Rep. Joe Wilson's behavior was last night, look on the bright side -- at least he wasn't carrying a sign that said 'Obama = Hitler'. Or a loaded rifle."
Also Markos on Thursday, lauding Joe Wilson’s Democrat opponent: "Overall, Rob Miller is close to hitting $400,000 from almost 11,000 patriots sick and tired of Republicans like Rep. Joe Wilson trying to debase our democracy." (More here.)
Markos Moulitsas, opponent of debasing democracy, on the Midday Open Thread, Wednesday edition, on conservatives causing the resignation of radical leftist Van Jones: "It would be nice if the White House learned, as Baratunde notes, that they can't negotiate with terrorists."
TVNewser is reporting that "20/20" co-anchor John Stossel is leaving ABC News to join the Fox Business Network:
TVNewser has learned Stossel will host a weekly, one-hour program for the 2-year-old business channel. He's expected to signed a multi-year deal with Fox which will include regular appearances on Fox News Channel during daytime and primetime. He'll also host four, hour-long specials on Fox News, much like the business/consumer specials he'd hosted for years on ABC.
Stossel, a libertarian, has been appearing on Fox News for years as a guest on shows including "The O'Reilly Factor," "Hannity & Colmes" and "The Big Story."
After plugging his latest column in a September 10 post on the magazine's Swampland blog, Time's Joe Klein (shown in file photo at right) pegged Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as "vile" before defending taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants:
On this whole question of whether illegal immigrants will be included in the plan, which caused the vile Congressman from South Carolina to shout "You lie" when the President said they wouldn't be covered. Why shouldn't they be? After all, when an illegal immigrant cuts his hand while chopping cabbage and goes to the emergency room, the rest of us pay for it. Isn't the point to expand the risk pool as much as possible, to lure the insurance companies into concessions and lower prices?
I know it 's not going to happen. Congress will never vote to subsidize the health care of those who arrived here illegally. But, given the fact that we're already subsidizing them through the back door, it does make sense, doesn't it?
Today as President Barack Obama was preparing to deliver a speech to America's students, some school voucher-supporting Democrats in the District of Columbia were gearing up to protest the president's decision to scuttle the city's federal voucher program by blocking the doors to the federal Department of Education building in Washington.
Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post's D.C. Wire blog covered the planned protest in a post this morning and fellow Postie Nick Anderson reported on the protest -- joined by D.C. councilman Marion Barry (D) and led by former D.C. councilman Kevin Chavous (D) -- after the fact shortly after noon.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has told his viewers that he disagrees with Obama's decision and supports renewing the congressionally-funded D.C. voucher program. It should be interesting to see if Matthews covers the protest today on his "Hardball" program.
I wouldn't hold my breath for any coverage elsewhere on MSNBC or on the broadcast networks tonight, however.
Anima at The Daily Kos is furious at the idea that the insurance lobbyists (or the "murder-by-spreadsheet industry") will get a "public option" stripped from the health bill. But the metaphors are a bit distasteful:
How unbelievably infuriating it will be if we get a watered-down, junk bill and then have to listen to Rahm tell us how it's a "victory." Yes, let's give the American people a nice, big glass of urine on the rocks and call it the most delicious lemonade they done ever tasted!...
Terry Jeffrey walked away the winner on Hardball this afternoon. Despite being double-teamed by Chris Matthews and Salon's Joan Walsh, the editor-in-chief of our sister publication CNSNews.com had the others admitting that the Obama admin has gone too far with the cult-of-personality way it's pitched the president's speech to schoolchildren.
But that didn't prevent Matthews and Walsh from unsubtly accusing PBO's opponents of racism, archly claiming that the motive for the opposition to the president is his "background."
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller penned a letter to the New York Review of Books, in reply to a Michael Massing article on the Internet and the news business. After defending his paper's Internet presence, Keller found a blog he actually likes, praising left-wing blogger-journalist Josh Marshall, who operates the Talking Points Memo blog.
I've long been an admirer of the best practitioners of Web journalism, including many of the familiar faces Massing introduces to the Review's readers. My respect for Josh Marshall, to cite everyone's favorite example of a serious journalism venture born online, is all the greater because his success remains, so far, a rarity and a struggle.
In today’s L.A. Times director Oliver Stone discusses his upcoming documentary “South of the Border,” about the “warmhearted” Hugo Chavez. [emphasis added]:
Oliver Stone is shown warmly embracing Hugo Chávez, nibbling coca leaves with Evo Morales and gently teasing Cristina Elizabeth Fernández de Kirchner about how many pairs of shoes she owns. …
“I think he’s an extremely dynamic and charismatic figure. He’s open and warmhearted and big, and a fascinating character,” … ”But when I go back to the States I keep hearing these horror stories about ‘dictator,’ ‘bad guy,’ ‘menace to American society.’ I think the project started as something about the American media demonizing Latin leaders.
Guys like Stone are forced to rationalize that the American media is right-leaning in order to avoid their head exploding due to an acute case of FacingTheTruth-itosis. But maybe the doc will be more critical than we’re led to believe in this article. During their warm embrace, it’s possible Stone whispered hard-hitting questions in Hugo’s ear about reports such as this from the not-so-conservative Human Rights Watch.
Over at Daily Kos, bloggers aren't merely mourning Ted Kennedy's death. Some are declaring that this moment is the time for health "reform," and the only obstacle is Republicans who killed New Orleans and laughed about it. The blogger "cskendrick" declared on Wednesday:
The acrimony surrounding health care reform is not the litmus test of our Republic. This test we took not so long ago - and we failed this test utterly.
How did we fail? We let the Republicans kill a major U.S. city. We let them laugh about it and walk away. We all failed New Orleans. We failed its rights, its lives, its health, its rightful place in our compassion. I was resistant to the message not so long ago but it is true - We. All. Failed. NOLA. The Republicans failed it gladly and boldly. The Democrats failed to take them to task for this abomination.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been out of office over a month and there are still those working at major media outlets that just can't get over their obsessions with dissecting everything the former GOP vice-presidential nominee does.
Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ has a great "name that party" catch today. Malor noted that at least three major news outlets all failed to note the high-powered Democratic Party ties of one Hassan Nemazee, a businessman arrested this morning on a charge of bank fraud against Citigroup:
The 10-paragraph entry by Havana-based news producer Portia Siegelbaum amounted to an electronic birthday card for the Communist dictator.
No Castro critics, domestic or foreign, were cited in the story, although Siegelbaum made sure to note how a "U.S.-based religious group, Pastors for Peace" got to hang out on Wednesday with the aging despot.
Yet Siegelbaum failed to note the leftist political bent of Pastors for Peace, describing it merely as "an anti-embargo organization." The Web site for Pastors for Peace, a project of the Interreligious Foundation for -- wait for it -- Community Organization (IFCO), insists that its purpose is: