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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama's Iraq Speech In One Sentence

Who's this guy saying nice things about Bush on our Iraq success bashing Bush over our economic failure?

Related Posts:
Obama's McChrystal Dilemma In One Sentence
Obama's Gulf Speech In One Sentence
Jewish History In One Sentence

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The Left Brought The Wave Down On Itself

Trust me, I'm not counting my chickens before they have come home to roost.  But it is enjoyable to read the distraught comments from those trying to run away from the wave.

The "wave" is the most recent Gallup poll showing a 10 point generic ballot lead in favor of Republicans, a historic high.  I'm not schooled enough to compare that number to real life numbers, but a lot of people on all sides see it as tremendously significant.

I don't think those about to go swimming understand what has happened, as witnessed by these two posts at Hullabaloo:
  • Tristero: "This is exactly what happens when top Democrats, including the president, are obsessed with appeasing Republicans - who can't be appeased - and take liberal support for granted.
  • Digby: "Oh gosh. What to do? I don't know about you, but it seems to me that if you want to get people enthusiastic you might want to pick a big old fight right about now instead of trying desperately to avoid controversy (also known as "kerfuffles".) In case the Democrats don't realize it, Republicans and right leaning Independents aren't going to vote for them no matter what they do. Even if they open up those FEMA camps and start rounding up every Muslim and Mexican looking person they see, it won't work. Neither will rolling over and playing dead.
I think I was pretty clear in the battle over health care that I respected the opinions of the principled left, even if I disagreed with their principles.  I think it would have been healthy (pun intended) to have a national debate over single-payer or Medicare for all or whatever, a debate I am confident we would have won.

Instead, the left was unwilling to join us in stopping Frankenstein-like Obamacare, pushed through by the Harry Reids of the world.  As Jay Cost points out, it was Obamacare beyond all else which crystallized the opposition to the Democratic Party, and which started the wave rolling.

Make no mistake, the left brought this on itself, not by being too liberal or not liberal enough, but by allowing itself to be co-opted by the unprincipled, power-hungry, self-aggrandizing Democratic leadership, from Obama on down.

The wave may be coming, and if it does, it will wash away what needs to be washed away, including the illusion that the modern Democratic Party stands for anything.

Update:  Jane Hamsher writes:
Rather than focus on jobs creation in a country with climbing unemployment rates, Obama spent the better part of a year focused on passing a health care bill that looks like it will play no small part in the Democratic Party’s upcoming electoral woes.

Well, we warned you
I'm not buying that spin.  It is true that Hamsher had some of the most devastating critiques of Obamacare.  But when I wrote my Open Letter in January 2010 to Hamsher asking her to join us in defeating Obamacare, there was no response, either directly or indirectly, in words or in action.  Instead, Hamsher and others were focused on improving (e.g. public option) not defeating the legislation, an ultimately futiile quest which required a level of subservience to the Democratic leadership in the hope they would come through for you.  They didn't.

Related Post:
An Open Letter to Jane Hamsher
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Sharron Angle Was Right To Insist On Katrina Relief Accountability

Nevada journalist and talk show host John Ralston is trolling for Harry Reid.  Ralston published an article in The Las Vegas Sun on Sunday titled Angle in 2005: I would have voted “no” on Katrina relief funds.

The article is based on a tape given to Ralston by "a Democrat," but the tape does not say what Ralston says.  Here is the audio provided by Ralson with his article.

Ralston says readers should "listen to what she said – I have posted the audio at right – and make your own call."

Ralston gives no transcript with good reason.  All Angle was saying was that she agreed with Mike Pence at the time (there is no date on the audio) that before appropriating tens of billions of dollars, there should be a plan on how to spend it. 

Here is my transcription of the tape Ralston provides (emphasis mine):
I think that government needs to live within its means.  I would like to go and join my voice with Mike Pence and others who when the 62 billion came out to be spent on Katria relief, he said wait a minute, I'm voting no and the reason is because I want to know where it's going, what it's going to be spent on and who is going to be spending it, so I'd like to join my voice there.
That's it.  Angle never says she would have denied relief to Katrina victims. 

Pence eventually voted for the package without the accountability due to political pressures.  Who knows, Angle may have done the same had she been in that position, but to try to put some plan in place before writing a check was the right thing to do.

Contrary to Ralston's claim that the issue was emergency relief to hurricane victims, in fact this legislation was not about pulling people off rooftops or rescuing flood victims; the issue was how to help rebuild devastated areas over a longer term.

And in hindsight Angle was correct to insist on a plan before the taxpayers wrote a blank check for tens of billions of dollars.  Five years later the history of Katrina relief is one of multi-billions in waste, including footballs fields full of unused trailers and vast fraud.

Here is how The NY Times reported on Katrina waste and fraud on June 26, 2006, 'Breathtaking' Waste and Fraud in Hurricane Aid (emphasis mine):
Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion....
The tally of ignoble acts linked to Hurricane Katrina, pulled together by The New York Times from government audits, criminal prosecutions and Congressional investigations, could rise because the inquiries are under way. Even in Washington, a city accustomed to government bloat, the numbers are generating amazement.

"The blatant fraud, the audacity of the schemes, the scale of the waste — it is just breathtaking," said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Such an outcome was feared soon after Congress passed the initial hurricane relief package, as officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross acknowledged that their systems were overwhelmed and tried to create new ones on the fly.
Sharron Angle was right to insist on government accountability rather than government blank checks, even on an issue as important as Katrina relief.  Had Sharron Angle's position been followed, there would have been Katrina relief, but without the historic fraud and waste. 

John Ralston has Google.  He should learn to use it.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

CNN Distorts 60 Min./Vanity Fair Poll About Sarah Palin

The headline of the day at CNN is TRENDING: Clear majority says Palin not qualified to be president (emphasis mine):
Two days after Sarah Palin fired up a large crowd at Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally in Washington, a newly released survey suggests a clear majority of Americans don't think the former vice presidential nominee has the right credentials to be president.

According to the new survey from Vanity Fair and CBS News' 60 Minutes, only 1 in 4 of all adults thinks Palin is qualified to be commander-in-chief while 60 percent say she is not.
This description of the poll is an outright fabrication.  The actual poll question had nothing to do with credentials, qualifications, or even electability.  Here was the actual question: "Do you think SARAH PALIN would have the ability to be an EFFECTIVE PRESIDENT?"
Similarly distorted versions are all over the internet, in which the authors misread the actual question asked, and use it to opine on Palin's qualifications or election prospects.

Time Magazine's Swampland blog, which partners with CNN, asks the headline question Could Palin Be President? (emphasis mine):
A new poll suggests not. Only one in four Americans consider her qualified to be commander in chief, with 60 percent sure that she is not qualified. Those are awful numbers and I'm one who thinks the prospects of a Palin presidency are, for the moment, quite unlikely.
Again, there is no truth to the characterization that the poll concerned qualifications or election prospects.

(added) Whether someone would be an "effective" president could turn on a number of factors, including the strength of opposition.  On that account, given pervasive Palin Derangement Syndrome in the media, as witnessed by the CNN article linked above, Palin may have trouble being an "effective" president.

These Vanity Fair polls are a joke; there are few choices given to the interviewees, there is no depth of questioning, and they mix pop culture questions (such as Which word is overused the most?) in with political questions.

That said, at least accurately report the question and the context.

Which is what HuffPo did, by also noting other polls on Palin's prospects:
While the 2012 election is a long way off and poll numbers are difficult to interpret, in one recent poll of potential 2012 matchups, conducted Aug. 6-9 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 43% of registered voters said they would support Palin to 49% for Obama.
HuffPo more fair than CNN and Time Magazine.  It has come to this.

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Why Haven't They Turned In The Tennessee Arsonist Yet?

Some vehicles were torched at the building site for a Mosque in Tennessee.

From Glenn Greenwald on down, the incident has been declared to be another act of anti-Muslim bigotry inspired by the Corboda mosque controversy, similar to the (now-debunked) Cabbie Stabbing.

They may be right.  Or they may be wrong.

But since they have declared this to be an act by an opponent of the Tennessee mosque, they presumably know the identity of the arsonist.

Which is more than the police know (as of this moment there are no published reports that the police have a suspect much less an arrest).

So why haven't they turned in the arsonist yet?

Update:  As of approximately 1 p.m. today, the police still are asking for the public's help:
Agents from the FBI and ATF are asking for help from the public in solving the arson at the future site of the the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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Obama Hammers The Bitter Clingers, Again

Obama was interviewed by Brian Williams yesterday.  Once again, Obama exhibited the sort of disdain towards a substantial portion of the population as he did in his bitter clinger comments back in 2008.

You will remember that at a private cocktail party in April 2008 in San Francisco, Obama made the following statement:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Obama thus sought to delegitimize opposition to his policies (at that time, his proposed policies) as nothing more than an emotional reaction driven by hatred, fear, and inherent racism or xenophobia.

In the interview yesterday, Obama was asked about the Restoring Honor rally on Saturday, attended by hundreds of thousands of people and which dominated the news over the weekend. 

After noting that he had not watched the event (so how could he comment on it?), Obama nonetheless chose to characterize the attendees as the same sort of bitter clingers of whom he had spoken in San Francisco more than two years earlier:

“It’s not surprising that someone like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of [the American people]. … That’s been true throughout our history.”
Thus, in his dismissive tone, Obama once again reduced opposition to his policies to nothing more than mob rule, or worse.

Obama doesn't seem to realize that his dismissive comments and attitude are undermining his presidency as much as his policies.  Obama just can't see opposition as anything other than the mob. 

But Obama's mob now constitutes a plurality if not an outright majority of the population.

Insulting a majority of the population is not a good political strategy.  But it is the only strategy Obama knows.  And the results are showing.

Related Posts:
Massachusetts Is The Mob
Clinging Bitterly To Their Doormen

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

We Are In Really Deep Trouble

For the first time in my adult life, I am really worried.

“The leader of the free world can’t figure out how to get the umbrella on the other side.” (@RoseDanna)

(Photo and quote via Tammy Bruce)

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Neuroscientist Paralyzed By Love
Caption This
Arkansas Primary Result in 28 Characters 

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Don't Reveal The Secret

They don't understand what is happening.  Don't tell them:
For a year and a half, we've seen rallies and town-hall shouting and attack ads and Fox News special reports. But I still haven't the foggiest idea what these folks actually want, other than to see like-minded Republicans winning elections. To be sure, I admire their passion, and I applaud their willingness to get involved in public affairs. If more Americans chose to take a more active role in the political process, the country would be better off and our democracy would be more vibrant.

But that doesn't actually tell us what these throngs of Americans are fighting for, exactly. I'm not oblivious to their cries; I'm at a loss to appreciate those cries on anything more than a superficial level.
That's right.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Update:  Someone thinks she has it all figured out:
The point is that (a) the teabaggers don’t actually have a cause, just a lot of resentments; and (2) [sic] their slogans and symbols are displays of tribal dominance only. Most teabaggers have no idea what the slogans and symbols mean.
As does someone else:
I don't really think of most of them are [sic] bad people, especially the elderly ones who have been frightened and manipulated into fighting against their own best interests. Yet, they are part of the problem and if we're to save civil society, sadly, these are the people we must battle.
Remember, shhhhh.

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"The Next Timothy McVeigh" Was At Restoring Honor Rally

According to Dave Neiwert, Eliminationist theorist in chief, when he looked at the crowd at the Restoring Honor rally, he was sure the next Timothy McVeigh was out there:

Well, Glenn Beck's eyes certainly weren't dry. He started weeping while telling the crowd that somewhere out there was "the next George Washington".

Dunno about you, but when I saw pan shots of the crowd -- which was one of the whitest crowds in D.C. in recent memory -- I mostly thought I saw "the next Timothy McVeigh."
I just saw people peacefully exercising their constitutional rights of assembly and free speech in the best tradition of our country:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Timothy McVeigh stood for the exact opposite of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment and the message of the Restoring Honor rally. 

But what do I know?  I'm not an Eliminationist theorist.

Related Posts:
Now They're Really Pissed
Another Failed Eliminationist Narrative
Juan Cole: "Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie"

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When Do We Get A Vacation?

Obama still is on vacation.  Goodly for him.

When do we get a vacation from the Democrats' relentless expansion of the federal government into every facet of our lives?

The massive pieces of legislation passed in the past 18 months were just the opening shots.  Now come the regulations and the Executive Orders, which will take place regardless of what happens in November.

I don't know about you, but this August has been anything but relaxing.

He's resting up, and we're on the verge of exhaustion.

Sounds like a plan.

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Land of 10,000 Bumper Stickers

I thought Oregon was going to be hard to beat, but Minnesota has taken up the challenge:

Related Posts:
Bumper Stickers - The Series

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Think Progress Forced To Fold At Restoring Honor Rally)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

Think Progress tried really, really hard to cover the Restoring Honor rally with photographers and videographers.  I don't think it is a stretch to think that Think Progress was hoping beyond hope that it would find a sign or something else that would permit it to portray the rally as racist.

Apparently, Think Progress drew some really bad cards, because the focus of its video and photo coverage is a rather pathetic attempt to claim that the rally really was a "political rally":
Political Rally Or Not? We Report, You Decide

For months, Glenn Beck has breathlessly insisted that today’s “Restoring Honor” rally was a completely non-political event. ThinkProgress attended the event and documented what we saw. Decide for yourself if Beck’s rally was non-political:

But not to mind, Think Progress also had photos of t-shirts like this one (unfortunately, TP gave no link as to where to order one):

Come on Think Progress.  Is that the best you got?

With all your money, you could do better!  How about a little bluff?  Raise the ante and at least pretend you have good cards.  A headline like this would have been a good bluff:
"Racists Hide Racism At Racist Rally"
All is fair in love and the card game.  At least take some of your race cards from a different rally, and play them here.

It never stopped you before.

Update:  Link for T-Shirts, h/t Brian at Red Dog Report.

Related Posts:
Saturday Night Card Game
Let's Play "If a Tea Party Supporter Had Said That"
Still Waiting For Apologies

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Subliminal Deception

The image on The Washington Post [see note below] website of the Restoring Honor rally today in Washington, D.C., reminded me of the advertising concept of subliminal seduction, where images are inserted into an advertisement in such a way as to send a message to the viewer without the viewer knowing it.

WaPo's article about the rally carried a time stamp of 1:38 p.m., but the photo of a near empty crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial clearly was taken long before the tens or hundreds of thousands of rally participants arrived. 

The caption says "Glenn Beck Rally Draws Thousands," but the photo is not of the rally.

Subliminal deception.

[Note:  WaPo has updated the linked article, and as of 9:03 p.m. has a different photo and more photos showing the crowd.  The screenshot above was taken at 1:38 p.m., and the same lead photo and image was on the website at least until after 2 p.m.  Considering that the rally started at 10:00 a.m., at which time the area was packed, there was no excuse for WaPo using that photo for several hours.]

Update:  Here's what the crowd-shot looked like during the rally (Via):

Update 8-29-2010:  Thanks to Ed Driscoll for this photoshop (those of us who read the original are dating ourselves).  Subliminal Seduction was all the rage in the 1970s:

Related Post:
Think Progress Forced To Fold At Restoring Honor Rally

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More Misleading Anti- Sharron Angle Spin at WaPo

There he goes again

Greg Sargent -- in a post at The Washington Post picked up and spread wide in the blogosphere and by Harry Reid's campaign -- claims that Sharron Angle twice refuses to disavow claim that there are "domestic enemies" in Congress.

The background is that Sargent found (was given?) an audio tape of an Angle radio interview from October 2009 as follows:
MANDERS: We have domestic enemies. We have home-born homegrown enemies in our system. And I for one think we have some of those enemies in the walls of the Senate and the Congress.

ANGLE: Yes. I think you're right, Bill.
In his first post, Sargent noted that '[i]n fairness to Angle, the incendiary remark was made by Manders."

In Sargent's current post, about how Angle's "refuses" to "disavow" the prior comments, Sargent posts the transcript of a more recent Angle interview in which Angle twice explained what she meant in the October 2009 interview:
ANGLE: Well, we were talking about what's going on in Congress, of course, and the policies that have come out of Congress, and those policies as we've all seen over the last 18 months have definitely hurt our country.
*     *     *
ANGLE: There is no doubt that the policies that have been coming out in the last 18 months have injured us, and injured us most specifically here in Nevada.
So, reading the transcript in Sargent's column, it is clear that Angle explained that she was referring to harmful policies.  There is nothing in Angle's comments or clarification which suggests what Sargent (and the Reid campaign) wants to suggest about Angle, that she is advocating violence against members of Congress.

And you would know that if you read the text of the transcript in Sargent's column, rather than the headline and campaign spin.

Why does Sargent "refuse" to "disavow" his inaccurate spin?

Related Posts:
The War Against Sharron Angle Comes To WaPo
Greg Sargent Targets Sharron Angle, Hits WaPo
A New Day, A New Accusation Against Sharron Angle

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Mike Stopa for Congress (MA-03)

Mike Stopa is running in the September 14 Republican primary for Congress in the MA-03 District, currently (and hopefully not for long) occupied by Jim McGovern.

Check out Stopa's YouTube channel, which has some great videos on how to kill Obamacare, as well as this one (which includes some scenes familiar to my readers):

Maggie's Notebook has a good write-up on Stopa, with plenty of links to his articles and positions.

By all means visit his website, and contribute.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Real Breaking News - NV Voters Still Don't Like Harry Reid

The latest Mason-Dixon Poll released by the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows Reid up 1 point, 45-44.

The headlines are screaming that 68% of voters would have preferred another GOP candidate, but that seems like a meaningless number since the choice is between Reid and Angle, and on that choice voters are largely split.  If anything, that number may reflect that voters wanted a stronger GOP candidate to get rid of Reid, hardly a measure in which Reid should take comfort.

Here are the key numbers:  Reid still is only polling at 45%, an abysmal number this late in the game for a multi-term incumbent.  Despite two months of pummelling Angle, Reid still has higher negative numbers:
Reflecting hardened views of Reid, his unfavorability ratings remain high and nearly unchanged from past surveys: 52 percent have a negative opinion of him, while 39 percent have a favorable view, and 9 percent are neutral. Two weeks ago, the numbers were 51-40-9.

Voter opinion of Angle is still shifting. She is seen unfavorably by 43 percent and favorably by 32 percent compared with 45-37 two weeks ago. Another 24 percent have a neutral opinion compared with 17 percent two weeks ago, suggesting a quarter of Nevadans still have an open mind.
Reid is in trouble, and his team knows it.  Expect even more over-the-top attacks on Angle, but it will not help.  Reid is a fully known quantity, and people know they don't like him.  That will not change. 

Reid's only hope is to so disgust the electorate that they stay home or cast a protest vote for none of the above.

Update:  H/t to a commenter, the NRA will not be endorsing Reid, with Reid's support of Elena Kagan as one of the motivation factors:
The vote on Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Court, along with the previous year's confirmation vote on Sonia Sotomayor, are critical for the future of the Second Amendment. After careful consideration, the NRA-PVF announced today that it will not be endorsing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for re-election in the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Nevada.
And further h/t to another commenter for pointing out the absurd coverage at Outside The Beltway, including this gem:  Harry Reid Unveils First Negative Ad.  First negative ad?  Maybe it's a joke I just didn't get.  Reid's campaign website has a catalog of the negative ads he's run, link here if you dare.

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And These People Want To Run Your Health Care / Update - And Your Kids' Education

Via Daniel Foster, writing at National Review Online, How Vindictive Is This Administration?:
I’m not usually the conspiratorial type, but watch Gov. Chris Christie explain how the Obama administration disqualified the state of New Jersey from hundreds of millions in education funds because some clerk in Trenton turned in the wrong excel spreadsheet:

What possibly could go wrong?

Update:  Apparently everything. Thanks to a commenter and someone who e-mailed me, it appears that the NJ Education Dept. was not fully forthright:
The U.S. Education Department on Thursday released a videotape that appeared to contradict Mr. Christie's claim that federal officials refused to allow New Jersey to fix a mistake on its application. In a statement, Mr. Christie faulted Mr. Schundler for providing false information about the presentation.

"I was extremely disappointed to learn that the videotape of the Race to the Top presentation was not consistent with the information provided to me by the New Jersey Department of Education and which I then conveyed to the people of New Jersey," Mr. Christie said in a statement. "As a result, I ordered an end to Bret Schundler's service as New Jersey's Education Commissioner and as a member of my administration.
So I have updated the post title.

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Now They're Really Pissed

The Eliminationist theorists in the left-wing blogosphere thought they finally had their man. 

Having struck out with the Anti-Muslim Cabbie Stabber in the quest to prove that there is a rising tide of right-wing violence instigated by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and wingnuts, the Eliminationist theorists were cheered by reports yesterday that a man entered a Mosque in New York City, shouted anti-Muslim epithets, and proceeded to urinate on the rugs. 

Finally, they had their proof, and they were not going to let the opportunity go to waste:
  • Little Green Footballs:  "I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the non-stop anti-Muslim hate speech pouring out of Fox News, right wing websites, talk radio and shrieking harpy Pamela Geller."
  • HuffPo: "In another brazen anti-Muslim incident, a man wandered into a mosque in Queens Wednesday night, shouting racial slurs and urinating on prayer rugs." [strike through apparently added afterwards]
  • Oliver Willis: "It’s like some political movement in the country is whipping up irrational hatred and bigotry towards a group of people who are different."
  • Loonwatch:  "The backlash against Muslims continues. I am sure Islamophobes will give this guy a break and say he was drunk, but do you think they would have given Mel Gibson the same break for his drunken anti-Semitic tirade?"
  • New York Magazine:  "Last night a drunk man barged into a Queens mosque and urinated on prayer rugs while shouting anti-Muslim slurs. Another isolated incident? Or the continuation of a scary new trend?"

Oh, they had their Eliminationist alright.  But there was a catch.  The Mosque Urinator was an eliminationist with a small "e".

You see, the Mosque Urinator was just a really drunk guy who had to pee really, really badly, and stumbled into a building where he eliminated.  Turns out he didn't even know he was in a Mosque, and didn't make any anti-Muslim comments.

The post at TPM Editors Blog shows the history of the story:
Using A Different Weapon

Last night in Queens Omar Rivera walked into the al-Imam Mosque on 24 Steinway Street with a bottle of beer and penis in hand and proceeded to urinate on the congregation's prayer rugs while uttering various anti-Muslim slurs curses.

The "clearly very intoxicated" Rivera was taken into custody by the NYPD.

Late Update: The New York Post originally reported Rivera using 'anti-Muslim slurs'. But they've now revised their story. The NYPD would not confirm to TPM whether Rivera's curses were tied to Islam. And subsequent reporting by the Washington Post suggests Rivera was so drunk he probably didn't know he was in a Mosque. So probably just your standard random urination in place of worship issue.

Later Update: NYPD now confirming to TPM that they are not treating this as a bias case.
What a relief.

But not to the Eliminationist theorists.  They're just pissed.

Related Posts:
Another Failed Eliminationist Narrative
They Go There - Cabbie Stabber "Liked" Tea Party Candidate On Facebook
Juan Cole: "Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie"

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

They Go There - Cabbie Stabber "Liked" Tea Party Candidate On Facebook

Since it appears that Anti-Muslim Cabbie Stabber Michael Enright had no connection to anti-Cordoba mosque groups, you knew the disappointed ones would search long and hard for a Tea Party connection.

They prayed they would find something.  Anything.  And they did.

Wait for it ...

On his Facebook page Enright "liked" a Tea Party supported politician, Greg Ball, who is running for State Senate in New York.  Enright thus joined 2,024 other people who "liked" Ball.

This "connection" was noted at The L Magazine, but Charles Johnson trumpted the catch (with a link back to The L), highlighting it in his post titled Alleged Cabbie-Stabber Hated Muslims, Linked to Tea Party Politician:

"UPDATE at 8/26/10 9:40:47 am
"The predictable narrative that Enright is a “leftist” is collapsing like a wet paper bag. L Magazine reports that Enright’s Facebook page featured a link (now removed, after his arrest) to Tea Party politician Greg Ball."
As of now, that's it.  A click on Facebook. 

I hope people are scrubbing Enright from their Facebook pages, because they, too, could be "linked" to him in the next headline. 
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They Lied Us Into The War On Happy Birthday

You can't make this stuff up.

I posted earlier about a school which banned the singing of Happy Birthday out of fear of, well, it's a little hard to articulate the irrational.

But that's not the real story, according to Peter Daou, who uses the following diagram to explain how the extreme right wing moves the national discussion on almost any topic to the right:

What does this have to do with the Happy Birthday story?  According to Daou, the real story is that the extreme right wing is using the Happy Birthday story to, well, it's a little hard to articulate the irrational:
So when we see seemingly inane local controversies brewing, we should keep in mind that these can quickly become national conflagrations if the right determines it’s a way to manipulate the public discourse.
In that regard, the “war on Christmas” has been raging for years and now it seems the war on Happy Birthday has begun....
Yes, the right is manipulating the national discourse by pointing to the absurdity of an elementary school banning the singing of Happy Birthday.

I see. 

Can "they lied us into the War on Happy Birthday" be far behind?

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Insert "Jumps The Shark" Wording Here

One elementary school instituted a Taliban-like ban on singing "Happy Birthday" for fear of upsetting students who were not participating in the celebration (or something like that):
A ban on singing “Happy Birthday” lasted all of four days at Chesterfield Elementary School in Missouri after angry parents bombarded the school with complaints.

“Singing is not permitted due to the sensitivity of all student beliefs,” wrote Principal Jodi Davidson in a letter to parents dated August 13.

On August 23 Davidson sent another letter reversing the policy noting that students “are permitted and encouraged to sing the happy birthday song in the classroom.”

However, students will not be permitted to sing the traditional song in the cafeteria and all birthday treats must be individually inspected by the school nurse.
Update:  They Lied Us Into The War On Happy Birthday

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Another Failed Eliminationist Narrative

Bill SparkmanAmy BishopThe Fort Hood ShooterThe IRS Plane CrasherThe Pentagon Shooter.

People who had nothing to do with each other in the real world.  In the blogosphere, each of these people was linked by a macabre desire by the left-wing blogosphere to find a crime which fit a narrative of right wing violence inspired by talk radio, Fox News, "wingnut" bloggers, and Tea Partiers.

It's the narrative pushed by Dave Neiwart of Crooks and Liars about an "eliminationist" radical right.  You could say that Neiwart fancies himself the new Richard Hofstadter, and "eliminationist" is the new "paranoid style" in American politics.

In each case, the facts did not fit the narrative.  But the narrative was pushed anyway.

Add the Anti-Muslim Cabbie Stabber to the list.  That person is Michael Enright.

The narrative which exploded immediately in the left-wing blogosphere was that right-wing incitement related to the Corboda Mosque and Islamic Center incited Engright to stab a Muslim cab driver, after questioning the driver as to his faith.  Here is a taste of the initial reaction from leading blogs:
  • Think Progress:  "The first casualty of the “Ground Zero mosque.”"
  • Michael Tomasky:  "Anyone surprised that a Muslim cab driver was stabbed in New York? If you are surprised, you've been sleepwalking the last two weeks."
  • Juan Cole:  "Newt Gingrich and Rick Lazio may as well have kept Enwright in their basements in chains and whipped him into a frenzy as to spew their hatred on the airwaves."
  • Gawker:  ""Ground Zero mosque" mania reaches exciting new heights."
  • Crooks and Liars:  "GOP, What Have Your Wrought?"
  • New York Magazine: "But with the tension so high right now on the issue of tolerance of Muslims, the correlation between the two is troubling enough."
  • Little Green Footballs: "With the bigotry and hatred continuously pouring out of Fox News, right wing websites, and talk radio, it was only a matter of time."
  • Bob Cesca: "Claiming to be a Muslim that close to Ground Zero is a stab in the heart to whatever."
  • TPM Livewire:  "Okay so: Anyone else sadly not surprised at a Muslim hate crime in New York City these days?"
As the facts have come out, that Enright is far from a right-wing zealot and actually works for an "Interfaith" group which supports the Cordoba Mosque, the left-wing blogosphere is backtracking. Enright was extremely drunk at the time of the incident (no excuse, but a fact), and a crime appears to have been committed.  That is all (and enough), and fortunately there do not appear to be serious injuries.

The Anti-Muslim Cabbie Stabber joins the others in the rogues gallery of criminals who disappointed the left-wing blogosphere by failing to fit the eliminationist narrative.

Update:  Finally, a narrative that fits:

And, The NY Times does not go full eliminationist narrative, but nonetheless suggests a connection which the facts of its own article dispel:  "The violence that erupted during the cab ride came amid a heated and persisting national debate over whether to situate a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks north of ground zero."

And Jim Treacher notes:

Here’s how it works: When 19 Muslim terrorists fly planes into buildings and murder thousands of people, it’s not a reflection on all Muslims. Or any Muslims besides those 19, for that matter. But when a drunk A-hole in the same neighborhood yells “As-salaam alaikum! Consider this a checkpoint!” and stabs a Muslim cabbie, it’s a reflection on all opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque.
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Jules Crittenden Exits Right

Jules Crittenden (his real name, really) has signed off his blog.

We will miss him, even though he is related somehow to David Frum.

He started his blog in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and figured his mission would be accomplished in short order, and he would be welcomed as a hero.

Didn't happen.

Instead, he engaged in a multi-year, emotionally expensive attempt at nation-building in the blogosphere.  Only history will tell if his efforts were worth it.  Whatever the historical judgment, Jules meant well, wrote well, and linked well.

Now that U.S. combat operations in Iraq (nominally) have ended, Jules found his exit strategy.

We will miss him.  (Did I say that already?)

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Juan Cole: "Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie"

Those of you following the "Muslim Cabbie-Stabber" incident -- in which a very drunk guy affiliated with a pro-Corboba mosque organization stabbed a cabblie who was Muslim -- will know that the left-wing blogosphere is on another one of its wrong-way rampages of righteous indignation about the right.

The facts, as they are developing, seem to point to a criminal act by a very drunk guy, but as reported by Ben Smith, the police are not linking the incident to the controversy over the Cordoba mosque.

But that has not stopped the usual suspects, like Juan Cole, from going overboard with headlines and "reasoning" like this:
Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie
It wasn’t the 21-year-old Michael Enright who drunkenly slashed his New York city cab driver after asking ‘Are you Muslim?’

It was the Republican National Committee. From August of 2006, the RNC decided to demonize Muslims and Islam as a campaign ploy, to scare apparently easily spooked white Christians. In recent weeks, Newt Gingrich sharpened the blade by comparing Muslims to Nazis. Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio asked if the Sunni Kuwaiti Sufi Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is on a good will mission to the Muslim world on behalf of the US State Department and was deployed in the same way by George W. Bush, is a terrorist in the employ of Shiite Iran.

The slasher was apparently “very drunk,” but what does being drunk do to a person? Makes them suggestible, lets primal emotions come to the fore. Newt Gingrich and Rick Lazio may as well have kept Enwright in their basements in chains and whipped him into a frenzy as to spew their hatred on the airwaves.
More to follow on the left-wing blogosphere befooling itself, once again, à la Bill Sparkman.

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"I Didn't Buy A Clunker, But I'm Paying Anyway"

Cash for Clunkers was an abysmal failure which distorted the used car market, driving up prices and harming, most of all, poor people.

But of course, you already knew that if you read this blog.  And so writes Jason Kuznicki:
And the payback isn’t long in coming — today’s used car prices are soaring owing to reduced supply....
See how that works? You can’t get something for nothing. Cash for Clunkers turns out to have been a highly inefficient wealth-transfer program, that is, one that destroyed a bunch of wealth along the way. It gave wealth to those already relatively wealthy people who did the government’s bidding (that is, those who could afford to part with a used car and buy a new one). And now it’s taking wealth from those relatively poor people who need a used car today — in the form of higher prices.

Along the way, it destroyed hundreds of thousands of cars — that’s the real wealth these poor people don’t have access to anymore, because the scrapped cars aren’t a part of the economy.
In Rhode Island, as I posted before, the unintended consequences hurt everyone, not just the poor, because Rhode Island taxes vehicle ownership based on used car prices as of December 31.  By artificially inflating the used car market last year, Cash for Clunkers increased everyone's state taxes in Rhode Island this year.  If prices are continuing to rise, as the article indicates, next year will bring an even larger tax bill.

How about a T-Shirt which says: "I didn't buy a clunker, but I'm paying anyway"?

They never, ever learn.  Have we?

Update:  Ed Morrissey writes:
In other words, the White House spent $3 billion to make used cars more expensive for working-class families. Nice work.
Related Posts:
Cash For Clunkers Rear Ends Rhode Islanders
Cash for Clunkers Driving Up Prices

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America "May Have" Won 3.3 Million Jobs!

The credibility of the Congressional Budget Office suffered a grievous blow during the health care debate when the CBO was forced by Harry Reid to "score" Obamacare using preposterous and plainly contrived assumptions in order to keep the cost estimates below a trillion dollars.

Now, the CBO is damaging itself some more with wildly speculative estimates as to how many jobs, and how much economic growth, have been created by the Stimulus Plan.  This headline at The Washington Post about the latest CBO report say it all:  CBO says stimulus may have added 3.3 million jobs.

Notice the "may have" language.  That is because the CBO is not calculating actual jobs created.  Rather, it simply uses economic models which purport to predict how many jobs are created, and how much economic growth is generated, for each dollar of government spending.

Hence, the CBO gives extremely wide ranges to its estimates of how the economy was affected by the Stimulus Plan:
  • "Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent"
  • "Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points"
  • "Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million,"
  • "Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)"
These are not real numbers, but you would not know it from the headlines. 

The CBO does not even attempt, in its full report, to compare how the economy would have performed in the absence of the Stimulus Plan:
Although CBO has examined data on output and employment during the period since ARRA’s enactment, those data are not as helpful in determining ARRA’s economic effects as might be supposed because isolating the effects would require knowing what path the economy would have taken in the absence of the law.
The Heritage Foundation, in connection with an earlier CBO Stimulus report, noted the flawed methodology of the CBO:
The CBO's conclusion that the stimulus created jobs is based on an economic model that began with the premise that all stimulus bills create jobs. In other words, the conclusion is already assumed as a premise. Logicians call this the fallacy of begging the question. Mathematicians call it assuming what you are trying to prove....
The problem here is obvious. Once the CBO decided to assume that every dollar of government spending increased GDP by the multipliers above, its conclusion that the stimulus saved jobs was pre-ordained. The economy could have lost 30 million jobs, and the model would have said that the economy would otherwise have lost 31.5 million jobs without the stimulus. An asteroid could have hit the United States, wiping out everyone outside of Washington, D.C., and (as long as Washington still spent the stimulus money) the CBO's economic model would have produced the same stimulus jobs data. There is no adjustment made to reflect what actually happened in the economy after the stimulus was enacted.
The American people "may have" won 3.3 million jobs.  This is what it has come to:

Question:  I wonder if any of these economic models take into consideration the economic harm from the resources allocated to repaying the debt needed to create these temporary "full time job equivalents"?
Related Posts:
CBO Credibility The First Victim Of Obamacare
Baucus: ObamaCare Creates "Near Chaos" Without More Spending
Stimulus Plan Already Creates Jobs - For Get Rich Quick Artists

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Yes We Didn't: "Nothing To Show For It"

Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), appointed in January 2009 to replace Ken Salazar, via the Greeley Gazette (h/t NRO):
Michael Bennet, D-Colo, at a town hall meeting in Greeley last Saturday, Aug 21 said we had nothing to show for the debt incurred by the stimulus package and other expenditures calling the recession the worst since the Great Depression....
Regarding spending during his time in office he said, “We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet” and, “in my view we have nothing to show for it.”
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Mosque Attacked and Burned

Not in New York City.  In Beirut, by other Muslims, following shooting between Shiite Hezbollah and Sunni militias:
Shortly afterward, Shi’ite supporters of Hizbullah and sister organization Amal set fire to a Sunni mosque in the nearby neighborhood of Basta, according to an AP photographer.

Salah, a 40-year-old who did not wish to give his last name, said he had been inside the Bourj Abu Haidar mosque when he heard a commotion outside and people screaming, “Calm down.”

Then, 20 minutes later, he heard gunshots and bullets slamming into the mosque.

“They were shooting at the mosque. I think these people are crazy. They must have gone home to get their friends,” he said.
Worldwide outrage to follow?

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Lamest Comment To Lamest Post

Lamest comment to Lamest Online Insult Ever:
"That Reynolds, Althouse and William Jacobson are employed as faculty at US law schools tells you all you need to know about how debased the law is in this kkkountry."
There was a time when they actually were funny over there.  Now, I think they're just depressed because it hasn't worked out quite as they expected.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tolerance Should Be A Two-Way Street

Except that throughout much of the world, it is not.  Read Christopher Hitchens's post, A Test of Tolerance:
Let us by all means make the "Ground Zero" debate a test of tolerance. But this will be a one-way street unless it is to be a test of Muslim tolerance as well.
Which makes this NPR post, Rancor Over Mosque Could Fuel Islamic Extremists, particularly inane.  If history has proven anything, it is that "fuel" is the one thing for which "Islamic Extremists" do not want.  If not this, something else.

That doesn't mean we should engage in the same intolerance as they do.  But it also doesn't mean we should deny reality.

Related Post:
Frank Rich: You People Will Cause The Already Failed Afghan Surge To Fail

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Yeah, But It's Only Kilometers

China's nine-day traffic jam stretches 100km:
Thousands of vehicles were bogged down Monday in a more than 100-kilometre (62-mile) traffic jam leading to Beijing that has lasted nine days and highlights China's growing road congestion woes.
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Schlock Poll: Jersey Shore Does More Harm Than Good

I can't believe they actually polled this:
It appears a majority of New Jersey residents agree with Gov. Chris Christie: The hit MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" is doing more harm than good to the Garden State.

According to the new poll from Quinnipiac University, 54 percent of New Jersey voters say the show is bad for the state's image. It's a sentiment that reaches across party lines (Republicans agree 57 – 18 percent while Democrats agree 52 – 22 percent) and gender division (men say the show is bad for the state 51 – 25 percent and women agree 57 – 15 percent).
I am most interested in the 46 percent who do not agree or are unsure that the show is bad for the image of New Jersey.  Does that say more about the 46 percent, or more about the image of New Jersey?

Related Post:
It's On - Boycott Chris Christie

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Cell Phone Psychological Warfare

From the Lebanese website Naharnet:
"Israel once again penetrated Lebanon's mobile phone networks on Tuesday, sending text messages to citizens announcing a tangible reward for information about the fate of Israeli airman Ron Arad, NBN television reported."
It is hard to believe that the Israelis actually think the messages will result in information about Ron Arad.

Rather, this seems like a bit of psychological warfare as tensions heat up in the prelude to the possible indictments of various Hezbollah figures in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as well as reported war preparations related to the Iranian nuclear dispute.

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