Friday, July 23, 2010

On The Internets 07.23.2010

  • Was Andrew Breitbart's recent hit piece on Shirley Sherrod (the black USDA official falsely accused of racism by a racist using altered video) actually designed to attack black farmers? Talking Points Memo has uncovered some compelling evidence that points to the timing of the release of the video, and suggests it may have been an attempt to derail the settlement of a large class action suit against the USDA by black farmers. "For years, and continuing through the 1990s, the USDA denied loans and grants to scores of farmers simply because they were African-American. Timothy Pigford finally sued the department in 1997; the suit became a class action with 400 additional plaintiffs and 2,000 farmers thought eligible; and the result was what's known as the Pigford settlement, decided in 1999...But thousands of farmers missed the original Pigford deadline, due to shoddy work by their own lawyers and inadequate promotion, among other reasons. In response to a decades-long movement to re-open the Pigford class, Congress passed another $100 million in the 2008 farm bill to help settle new claims; earlier this year, the Obama administration announced an additional grant -- called Pigford II -- of $1.25 billion." Congress has not yet paid the money, and in fact, the vote is due within the next two weeks. Breitbart is a dangerous, deceitful, and manipulative racist, and this coordinated attack by him and Fox News has many levels. This deserves much more scrutiny.
  • A new right wing talking point has emerged regarding the Breitbart/USDA manufactured scandal that attempts to argue that Fox aired the video only after Sherrod was forced to resign. This is patently 100% false. Media Matters has posted a time line of the smear, showing how the edited video went from Breitbart to Drudge to Fox to the rest of the conservative blogosphere all before Sherrod resigned. And, true to form, Newsbusters was right there attacking the "liberal media" for not covering the story.
  • As a general rule, I like and support President Obama a lot. I think he is doing a great job, especially when one considers the state of the country when he was inaugurated. But the way the Administration handled this recent Sherrod incident was a real disappointment to me. The people in the White House should have known better than having a knee-jerk reaction to some stupid story on Fox News from Andrew Breitbart. It may have been Tom Vilsack's decision, but I don't think he would have done something so high profile without some mid-to-high level White House staffer's knowledge. The president himself utilized the standard Republican tactic of blaming the media. "He jumped the gun," Obama said of Vilsack, "partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles." Yeah, but you don't need to scramble, Mr. President. This was, to my count, at least the fourth Fox/Breitbart manufactured, race-based scandal since Obama took office. That is what those guys traffic in. At the beginning of your term, Mr. President, your administration took on Fox News, and argued (correctly) that they are not really a news organization. Naturally, the spineless pussies who make up the rest of the media stuck up for Fox. It is time you try again to push back on Fox. Not you, personally. But get some damn A-list surrogates to do the attack, and then you can stay above it all, where you like to be. Being above it all is nice, but you need someone to be down in the weeds doing what needs to be done. The conservative media is willing to say, literally, anything about you to damage your credibility, agenda, and presidency. Playing nice with these people will not make them like you. Stop reacting to them. Stop falling for it. Start fighting back.
  • Keith Olbermann returned from his vacation to deliver a scathing commentary on the Breitbart/USDA "scandal." He tears apart the usual suspects: Breitbart, Fox, Limbaugh, etc, and then questions why the Administration keeps falling for these tricks, and why no one in the real media (except for him) will ever take Fox to task for its roll in creating numerous race-based, faux scandals it has been trafficking in for the last two years.
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  • Recently declassified documents from the Truman Administration show that, despite objections from the military, Truman went ahead and desegregated the military. Truman did this because it was the right thing. The documents show that extensive surveys were done to gauge the attitudes of soldiers and military leaders about blacks and Jews, and their thoughts on their integration into the military. Jews had always been integrated, but the discussions are interesting, nonetheless. According to the documents, only 7% of soldiers approved of integrating the military. Seven percent!! What this shows is that the military objected to racial integration, yet Truman did it anyway. Eventually, the military and the population came to accept and support the decision. This is exactly how the issue of gay service members should be treated, as well.
  • Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), a tea party darling, suggested in a recent interview that a new Confederacy will have to be formed if elections don't go the way the conservatives want in 2010 and 2012. "I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government." It is dangerous, radical talk like this that explains why less than 20% of Americans say they support the tea party movement and its ideas. Starting a second confederacy in 2012 will be just as treasonous then as it was in 1860, when conservative state governments didn't get the election results they wanted.
  • A woman named Ieshuh Griffin, who is running for an assembly seat on Milwaukee's city council has had her dreams of running on the "NOT the Whiteman's bitch" party dashed. Actually, in Milwaukee, if you are an independent running for office, you are allowed a five word statement of purpose to explain what you are about. So, even though we now know Ms. Griffin is "not the whiteman's bitch," we will still need a little something different for her to be on the ballot, as the Assembly Board has rejected her slogan. (h/t: my friend Bryan)
  • Another current right-wing freak out is the Muslim Community Center being built two blocks away from where the Twin Towers used to be in New York. Sarah Palin and other Muslim bashers are saying it's a stab in the heart to Americans, and is inflammatory to New Yorkers. First of all, what Palin and her ilk are doing is equating Islam with terrorism. Even President Bush was very careful not to do such a thing. This is a community center, not a monument to Osama Bin Laden. It's highly bigoted to think otherwise. Second, Palin has repeatedly attacked New York City as not being part of "real America" (i.e. the parts of America who voted for her and McCain), so how would she know how New Yorkers are supposed to feel. She hates them anyway (point of fact, New Yorkers are overwhelmingly in favor of the center). Lastly, this center is not at Ground Zero, nor is it called the "Ground Zero Mosque." It is a full two city blocks away. Anyone who has been to NYC knows that two city blocks is a good distance away in Manhattan's dense grid. But, you know what else is a mere two city blocks from Ground Zero? Numerous strip clubs. Yet, why is no one on the right outraged by the idea of strippers gyrating nakedly on "sacred ground"? At, Conor Friedersdorf writes, "As an American in good standing, I'd like to be heard--and to make sure that James Madison, a colleague of mine in citizenship, is heard too. The fourth president of the U.S. once wrote, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' It's a line that National Republican Trust neglects to remember." A Muslim community center has nothing to do with 9/11. Those attacks were carried out by radicals who perverted their own religion. Not unlike the KKK who cloaked themselves in Christianity while committing thousands of acts of terror. No one ever denied a Christian community center from being built because they were upset by the KKK. No one lumped in all Christians with the KKK. So, why the double standard? Oh, and lastly, the center will be called Cordoba House.
  • Things are not looking good for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). The long serving House Dem (40 years!), has been charged with numerous ethics violations after an exhaustive 18 month investigation. Rangel is clearly feeling the heat. When asked about the charges by NBC's Luke Russert, he kind of went off (in as much as Mr. Rangel "goes off"):

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

  • Thank you Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) for telling Americans what the real agenda will be if the GOP takes control of the House, "all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another." All we should do, eh? So, it's a return to failed policies of the past and launch bogus investigations of the Administration. Sounds suspiciously similar to the 1990s Republican agenda. Haven't we all moved past this idea of wasting the tax payer's money with frivolous, partisan investigations that uncover nothing? Notice how Bachmann doesn't mention any actual wrongdoing that needs to be investigated...
  • I'm gearing up for tomorrow's Superchunk set at MAHA. Tim over at Lazy-I has an exclusive interview with the band. I suggest you check it out. And check out this classic 'Chunk video for "The First Part."
  • The hit SyFy Network series Eureka has returned for its fourth season. It's a lighthearted science fiction/comedy show that tells the story of a small town Sheriff who has to guard over a town comprised completely of the nation's top scientists. The show was getting into a rut last season, but for this season the writers have found a creative way to mix it up. If you've never seen the show, it may seem confusing now, but give it a try. It airs Fridays at 9pm Eastern.
  • It's hard to think of anything hotter than a beautiful, naked, Spanish woman smoking a cigarette. Egotastic has the visual proof of this. Some model named Gaelle Garcia Diaz plays the part of the naked smoking Spanish chick. (NSFW)

Have a great weekend!


T. Paine said...

Splash, again, your sources are flawed regarding the timeline. You won't accept it but see the following link:

So who gets the job as White House Press Secretary/Chief Propagandist if that collosal idiot Gibbs leaves? You or Olbermann?

Frankly, I'm hoping you will. You would both tow the party line, but I suspect you would at least try to be more fair. :)

There is NOTHING in common between racial desegregation that was rightly done by Truman of the military and allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.

By that same logic the sexes should be desegregated and have co-ed barracks. That would be really good for maintaining good morale and discipline, don't you think?

I don't have a problem with a Mosque two blocks away from ground zero. I might have some objections if it were built on ground zero unless the folks responsible for it loudly and unequivocally denounced the terrorist scum and all of those that supported 9/11. If they did not, then it would have the appearance of sticking a thumb in the eye of America and those victims.

Rangel is an idiot and will hopefully get a long prison sentence next to Trafficant. He is precisely what is wrong with congress. I am sure glad Pelosi drained that swamp and has the most ethical congress in history now.

As for Bachmann, yeah, that is probably over the line just like it was for the Democrats to threaten to start investigations for war crimes and torture by CIA agents etc. during the Bush Administration.

Dave Splash said...

I looked at your link, but I trust Media Matters with the time line and not Media Matters has over a decade of experience covering this type of thing and has an exemplary record.

Is Gibbs leaving? I hadn't heard that. He seems like a decent guy, but in my opinion, not a great press secretary. As for Olbermann, if you actually watched the show, he has been critical of the Obama Administration on a number of issues. The left is not guilty of the enforced group think that occurs on the right.

The desegregation of the military in the 40s is exactly like the situation with gays now. No difference. No one chooses to be gay any more than they choose to be black. The military can oppose it all it wants, but the excuses they use are identical to the ones they used to opposed racial integration. As some things change, others stay the same.

Democrats did not "threaten" to investigate the Bush Administration in 2006 if they got Congress. In fact, the media (doing their best to support the Republicans, as usual), demanded that Nancy Pelosi explicitly take impeachment "off the table." Considering both Pres. Bush and VP Cheney committed numerous impeachable offenses, this was a ridiculous promise to make.

Funny how no one in the media is asking any Republicans to take bogus, frivolous, partisan investigations off the table. But that is the unbalanced world in which we live...

T. Paine said...

Media Matters is exemplary with its record? Not to offend you but that doesn't surprise me that you would think so, considering you think the mainstream media has a conservative bias.

No, Gibbs is not leaving to my knowledge, but we do both agree that he is NOT a good press secretary.

For the record, I do watch Olbmermann on a regular basis and have found him to be biased, arrogant, condescending, often-times factually inaccurate, and frankly not a very good editorialist. I suspect if you and I were both to stop watching him, his audience numbers would decrease by at least 2% accordingly.

Dave, I am not arguing the "gays in the military issue" from the point of being homo-phobic. I really don't care what someone's sexual inclinations are. Indeed I have friends and even family that are gay and whom I still love regardless. I certainly don't approve of homosexuality, but it is not for me to judge them on this.

As for being openly gay and being in the military, this opens up all sorts of issues due to the fact that you tend to live in very tight quarters with little to no privacy.

Can you imagine the issues that would exist if you were to put 19 or 20 year old men and women in the same barracks and told them they had to use the same public showers, toilets, and sleeping quarters? I think you can see how this could create a huge breakdown in discipline and good morale.

I would submit to you that the same is true if you put openly gay service members into the military. If someone is attracted to or even aroused by someone in the public showers, can you imagine the problems that could occur if that attraction was not reciprocated, or even if it were?

It would seem this argument is irrelevant for now thanks to our Commander in Chief's ignoring of the vast majority of officers and enlisted on the issue.

At least the Commandant of the Marine Corp said he would provide separate barracks for those that were openly gay. I suspect good unit cohesion will take on a whole new meaning accordingly.

I won't even bother with your Bush/Cheney and their impeachable offenses comment. None occured to my knowledge, and yet you will give the Daily Kos talking points to the contrary, sir.

Dave Splash said...

As with most conservative myths, the myth of the "liberal media" is obviously false, and very easy to disprove. The right hates Media Matters because it quotes idiots like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity correctly...and they hate being held to any standard of accuracy or decency. MM is so effective, and gets under the rigthties' skin so much because its founder David Brock used to be one of you. He knows all the tricks of the right wing media, all the manipulation and deceit.

Calling Olbermann "biased" and all the rest is pretty silly coming from someone who watches -- and somehow actually believes - Glenn Beck. Fox has ratings, MSNBC has facts. I'll take facts over what the mindless sheep get any day of the year.

The issues you raise about gays in the military are the same ones everyone else makes. Yet, now, nearly 70% approve of ending DADT. Discrimination is wrong, no matter how you slice it. Maybe some accommodations will have to be made. The military can handle it.

As for the homophobic (yes it is very homophobic) concern that what if "problems that could occur if that attraction was not reciprocated"...well, defense lawyers have used the so-called "gay panic defense" as a way to get an acquittal for persons accused of killing a gay person. It is a vile defense. What do women in the military do if met with an unwelcome advance...say no and move on. What does anyone do? Are you actually saying the mighty US military men, can't handle saying no. Will they crawl into a little ball and cry? Come on! If you're afraid of one gay guy, am I supposed to believe you are tough enough to fight Al Qeada or North Korea?!

What does it matter what the majority of the military think on the issue anyway? If you read the documents I linked to, it showed that only 7% approved of integration of the military. The percentage who, now, approve of gays serving openly is much, much higher. Sometimes you have to do what is right over what is popular. Rights aren't up for a vote, they are rights. Discrimination is wrong, no matter how many aging Admirals disagree.

Lastly, it's hilarious that you ludicrously see every single thing President Obama does as an impeachable offense (you know things like reforming health care and Wall St), yet somehow the hundreds of impeachable offenses committed by the Bush/Cheney/Rice regime is just fine. Bush is hands down the worst president of all time, and probably the second least honest (2nd only to Nixon).

You might not get the actual facts since you only read rightpundits, and watch Fox. Truth is out there, just not where you're looking.

Snave said...

Chuck Klosterman made a good point about the NFL and FOX News, and how their successes are similar. Both really don't have to sell their product. People either like the product or they don't, and for those avid fans who do, the product sells itself. FOX News stays on message and it provides talking points for its viewers, and it doesn't really challenge them... so looking at it in that light, I would consider what FOX is putting out there more like entertainment than news, but with an agenda.

It is kind of like the abhorrent "comic" strip Mallard Fillmore... ever seen that? Over 90% of that strip is portraying the left in a totally negative light, often insinuating it is malevolent, and all done under the guise of "humor" (and nobody should talk about about Mallard it is the right wing's answer to Doonsebury... Doonesbury has been toothless for years, with the exception of a few recent occasional items about Bush and Palin. Mallard is incessant, it never lets up, and it spreads false stereotypes). I only laugh at Mallard Fillmore when it lampoons kids selling stuff door to door to raise money for school stuff, and when it makes fun of soccer. But the strip makes too much fun of teachers, cats and baseball (along with Obama) for my tastes.

Wow, I can't wait... soon we will probably start seeing primetime sitcoms which have a conservative thread running through them (like Glenn Beck's book "The Overton Window") and which poke fun at the left. I think it was ABC that tried that a while back with a pilot for an animated series about a left-wing health-nut kind of family. Glad that one never took off.

Re. Beck's book, I wish I could have beaten him to writing it. This is from the product description:

"There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country."

This is what I have arguing the right has been doing for the last 30 years, moving the center of the political spectrum further to the right, so what seemed like complete extremism 30 years ago is now considered within the mainstream. Thanks to phenomena such as Rush Limbaugh and FOX News, the nation has been softened or groomed in such a manner. And now here he is putting out a best-seller...

I will admit I have not read it, nor do I plan to (not because I'm not interested in it, but because I want Beck to have none of my money), but I can just about guarantee that in his book it will be the left that has done the spectrum-shifting. So because he has a large audience, he will probably reinforce the idea of the left being at fault for everything, decreasing our moral standards, etc., and it will be under the guise of "entertainment".

But maybe on FOX News, this is what he is doing with his program anyway. (And it's called "programming" for a reason! LOL)

T. Paine said...

Snave, you make some excellent points, as always; however, I would argue that the window has definitely been shifted to the left in the political spectrum.

First off, Bush and McCain were both moderate (at best) Republicans. Heck, Bush expanded government and was responsible for the largest new entitlement program with the prescription drug benefit in a generation. This would have been unthinkable for the GOP or right to have done 30 years ago.

Now we have actual passage of national healthcare, the usurpation and nationalization of private businesses, the impending passage of cap & tax legislation... Again, all of this would have been unthinkable, let alone possible a generation ago. The window has absolutely shifted leftward, sir.

Dave Splash said...

Actually, not to rain on the parade with facts, but we don't have national healthcare. We had health insurance reform. We still have private insurance as the only real way to get medical care. No industries have been nationalized, and the cap & trade bill has already been declared dead. All due to the watering down of every Obama initiative to the level of what was acceptable to the Republicans 15 years or so ago.

And if the "window" has moved to the left, then one could argue that is because the American people have moved to the left. After all, the voters decide who is in Congress and the White House. Wouldn't that kind of defeat the current right wing argument that Obama is "ignoring the will of the people"?