Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vast Right Wing Idiocy

Maybe someone should ask people like my Senator (Mitch McConnell) why they completely ignore these suggestions. Perhaps it is because their political ascendency would be altered by behaving ethically and prudently.

My favorites are:

Avoid Ill-Defined and Offensive Terminology: We are communicating with, not confronting, our audiences. Don't insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' which are considered offensive by many Muslims.

Never use the terms 'jihadist' or 'mujahideen' in conversation to describe the terrorists. A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means "striving in the path of God" and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions.

Avoid negation, such as "We are not at war with Islam." Sadly, studies show that people tend to forget the negative part of a statement, so that when you say, for instance, "I do not hate them," the words that get remembered are hate and them.
Often it seems to me that the right wing hawks have seen this document and decided to use that language against their opponents regardless of its effect on national (or worldwide for that matter) security.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Once again from Media Matters:

There has been a fairly big stink lately about Obama opting out of public financing in this election. His reasoning seems pretty right on to me: 1. He can raise far more money from small donors the way he has been than he could get under the public finance rules. 2. The big money interests that stand against him are free to spend unlimited amounts to oppose him. These big money interests will not be attacking McCain therefore giving him a huge advantage even though his campaign itself will be raising less money.

A bigger problem with the big stink being made in "the media" is that McCain did the same flip-flop though in his case he backed out after he had legally accepted public financing. And true to Republican style, this may be a crime that could put Mr. McCain in prison. Oddly enough this is not being reported by the press for the most part, especially considering the amount of blithering that is coming from the pundit class about Obama openly backing away from public financing in a legal manner.

And the right wing press has gone so far as to state that no 527's have attacked Obama while there have been at least four ads released already. It would appear that the media covering McCain is so enamored of him they feel disinclined to point out the hypocrisy (and possible criminality) of his own tinkering with campaign finance. This from the man that co-wrote the current legislation! It must be nice enough to be able to write loopholes into the law for yourself, but even better if you can just ignore the law that your wrote. Ah, to be a Republican and be free of all ethical and moral values.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Magic Future Box

Seriously. Are we going to elect someone that doesn't understand what is a household appliance to most of us. It's like electing someone that doesn't understand how to get warm water at the sink. Or someone who is amazed at the barcode scanned in the super market... oh wait, we already did that with George Bush the first. How about someone who is surprised at the idea of $4.00/gal gasoline? Can we save ourselves from ourselves?

Have You Ever Been Kissed By a Girl Like This?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Infinity and Beyond!

My uncle died last year and his funeral service was held in a Baptist church. The preacher went on for a miserable hour and a half about how good people like him would be raptured to heaven and how bad people like me were going to burn in a lake of fire. At one point he said that atheists look up at the night sky and see "thousands" of stars. I think that sums up how small and pitiful his view of the universe is. I would imagine in his tiny, cult saturated mind the universe rotates around the earth and the earth is flat (because the Bible says it is). When he said "thousands" as if he had some kind of insight into the thinking of a non-believer (with a bit of a smirk on his face) I could only think of photographs like this one which spans an area of the night sky that could be covered by the tip of a pencil held out at arm's length. For him there's some kind of cloudy place with angels and people playing harps behind that pencil lead, for me there is something as close to infinity as our universe can give us. I would feel sorry for him if he wasn't a little nazi closeted fag piece of shit.

click on picture to be overwhelmed

from APOD

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Google Street View = Fucking Creepy

[updated with photos 6/16/2008 9:47pm]

So I decided to check out the Google Street View thing today and of course I checked out my own address. Much to my astonishment in the series of shots made as the Google vehicle drove up the street you can clearly see me going up the front steps from the street! I think that's creepy and that's all there is to it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Piece of Shit from Way Back [sexual harrassment]

In my continuing series on what a fucked up bag of shit Bill O'Reilly is, here's a little video I found about the lawsuit he settled over his grotesque behavior.

Right Wing Attack Machine

I'm beginning to think we need some control over what gets aired as "news" in this country. Actually I've felt that way for a very long time, but what are we to do with the way the right wing courts have interpreted the First Amendment? People like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, et. al. are allowed to present hate, lies, and innuendo as fact while basically making shit up to support their comments with no oversight or ethics whatsoever. Have you ever heard a correction from these people even though their lies and bullshit are well documented? An actual news organization is required by the basic rules to admit and correct mistakes.

"But it's just entertainment," the slimy bastards responsible shout. "It's opinion," blather the talking heads and soulless producers of these stinking piles of shit. If this is the case perhaps there should be regular disclaimers required for these kind of shows that pretend to be reporting news and facts while lying and deceiving and perverting our Democracy.

This leads me to post this piece from the group Media Matters. It carefully sums up the subtle (and less than subtle) ways that the right wing propaganda machine shapes the views of their sheepish and stupid followers. This particular piece is only about how they attack Obama. To write about all their deception and organized propaganda would take a book that would need to be updated every few hours, thus their excellent site:

The Weekly Update from Media Matters for America

E. D. Hill has company

When Fox News anchor E. D. Hill suggested that Barack and Michelle Obama may have engaged in a "terrorist fist jab" at a recent campaign event, condemnation (and mockery) of Hill's comments was swift, and forced her to offer an on-air quasi-apology.

While Hill's apology was unusual (though not unprecedented -- just a few weeks ago, a Fox analyst apologized for joking about assassinating Obama), her original comments were sadly typical of the media's treatment of Obama. Since he began running for president, news reports have relentlessly suggested that Obama is different; that he isn't like you; that he isn't on your side.

Sometimes, like Hill's "terrorist fist jab" comment, those suggestions have been obvious, and clearly offensive. Other times, they have been comparatively subtle and seemingly pointless -- Chris Matthews' deep concern with Barack Obama's decision to order orange juice in a diner and what it says about his ability to connect with "regular people," for example. But they have two things in common: They portray Obama as weird -- un-American, even -- and they do so based on little more than the fevered imaginations of some journalists and the vicious lies of right-wing partisans.

Rush Limbaugh says Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden are "on the same page." Other conservative commentators have suggested an affinity between Obama and Hamas -- despite Obama's denunciations of the organization, and its description of Obama's policy positions as "hostile to us." Conservative columnist Mark Steyn has described Michelle Obama as "Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing."

Michael Savage claims to "doubt" that Obama "would take our side" after a terrorist attack, adding that Obama would "march thousands of us into the hands of the enemy in order to gain what they would think would be a long-term peace. I think that they would gladly take the guns of the American military and turn them first on the American patriot, rather than turning the guns of the American patriot on the enemy within." Savage also asks, "Why are there no queries being provoked about Saddam Hussein -- I mean, Barack Hussein Obama?" Tucker Carlson has compared Obama's campaign to the Khmer Rouge, the brutal Cambodian regime that led to the deaths of nearly a quarter of that nation's people.

Washington Post reporter Jonathan Weisman responded to a question referencing the possibility of "Osama blowing up the Sears Tower" by writing, "How about Obama blowing up the Sears Tower! I never liked that building anyway." Weisman did add, "Just kidding, folks." Another reader later followed up: "Um, did you really just joke about Obama blowing up the Sears Tower, or were you thinking Osama, but wrote Obama? Either way, not funny."

Weisman wasn't the first reporter to use the "just kidding" defense after inappropriately and baselessly linking Obama to a controversial figure. CNN commentator Jeff Greenfield (now with CBS) compared Obama's tendency to wear shirts with open collars to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's preferred style of dress. When criticized by, among others, Columbia Journalism Review, Greenfield claimed he had been kidding, that he meant the commentary as a "patently absurd parody of muddled political thinking" and lashed out at his critics.

But humor (if you can call it that) doesn't excuse making comments like this -- indeed, it makes it more likely that the public will remember and internalize the comparisons, and that the caricatures will take hold.

Media figures also often portray Obama as un-American or unpatriotic. Dick Morris says that "the question that plagues Obama is ... Is he pro-American?" and that the presidential election hinges on whether "we believe" Obama is "sort of a sleeper agent who really doesn't believe in our system." Investor's Business Daily asks, "Would Obama put African tribal or family interests ahead of U.S. interests?" On Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy says Obama has "patriotism problems." MSNBC's Chris Matthews thinks "it's a hard thing for someone like Barack Obama" to express a "gut sense of Americanism" and describes Obama as "almost Third World in his sort of presentation." Jonah Goldberg falsely claims Obama "dodg[es] the word and concept of patriotism." And countless news reports -- not just in the right-wing media -- have obsessed over the fact that Obama often does not wear a flag pin (Fox News' Sean Hannity particularly loves this line of attack -- despite the fact that Hannity himself often appears on television without such a pin) or have passed along ridiculous claims about Obama and the Pledge of Allegiance, as CBS News and The Washington Post (among others) have done.

Countless news reports have directly suggested Obama is secretly a Muslim, while others uncritically report the allegation without bothering to make clear that it is false. As is often the case, Michael Savage takes things a bit further, falsely claiming that "we have an unknown stealth candidate who went to a madrassas in Indonesia and, in fact, was a Muslim," and stating, "We have a right to know if he's a so-called friendly Muslim or one who aspires to more radical teaching."

Gratuitously invoking Obama's middle name -- Hussein -- is a favorite tactic used by conservative media figures such as Ann Coulter to associate Obama with Saddam Hussein. (Coulter claims that she does it not out of malice but "because I think it's funny.") For some, Obama's actual name isn't enough: Right-wing radio host Bill Cunningham referred to Obama as "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama." (Just a few weeks later, Cunningham was chosen to warm up the crowd at one of Sen. John McCain's campaign rallies.)

MSNBC's Matthews has explained the problem with these gratuitous references to Obama's name:

[E]ven that little seemingly neutral information gets into some older people's heads, and they go, "We got a problem here."


[O]lder people -- and I can tell stories in the millions about politicians playing to older voters. They play on the past. They play on fear. They play on confusion. They play on suggestion. You know how it's done with older voters.

But Matthews himself was the first person -- media figure or political operative -- to invoke Obama's middle name in a political context in any news report available in Nexis. Way back in November of 2006, Matthews noted: "You know, it's interesting that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. That will be interesting down the road, won't it?" And now Matthews says that the mention of Obama's middle name plays on "fear" and "confusion" and "suggestion" with "older voters." So why did he introduce the name into the national conversation?

Matthews frequently claims that Obama is not a "regular" person -- and that his supporters aren't "regular people," either, as I explained last week:

Matthews' election-night portrayal of Obama as out of touch with "most Americans" was striking in its intensity, but it was not a new theme. MSNBC personnel, particularly Matthews, have been trying out this anti-Obama theme for months. Matthews has attacked Obama for shooting pool ("[I]t's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days.") and obsessed over what he claims is Obama's inability to connect with "regular people" in "a dinette." And Matthews and David Shuster mocked Obama for the grievous sin of ordering orange juice in a diner.

Matthews has said of Obama, "[T]his gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder." On another occasion, Matthews suggested that Obama's lack of bowling prowess "tells you something about the Democratic Party." Matthews has contrasted "regular people" with "people who come from the African-American community." He has suggested Obama should pick a Jewish running mate because he "need[s] some ethnic balance." Matthews has said Obama "seems a little foreign" and that he and Jeremiah Wright are "different faces of the same guy."

Matthews' portrayal of Obama as unlike "regular people" is catching on. The New York Times' David Brooks recently said Obama wouldn't seem to "fit in naturally" at an Applebee's salad bar. (Turns out that, by Brooks' logic, it is Brooks himself who is out of touch with "regular people"; Applebee's doesn't have a salad bar.) And on MSNBC on Tuesday, columnist Margaret Carlson said of Obama: "Don't you want to say to him, 'Eat the taco. A funnel cake won't kill you.' " Carlson then asserted that Obama needs to get "a little bit more down with the people."

Other examples of the media portraying Obama as strange or dangerous abound. Coulter suggests Obama is "a Manchurian candidate." Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan compares Obama's speeches to Hitler's. teases an article with the line "Why Obama is Like a Serial Killer." Tucker Carlson says Obama "sounds like a pothead to me" and "seems like kind of a wuss," while MSNBC colleague Joe Scarborough suggests Obama is not a "real man."

And the media don't stop at portraying Obama as abnormal; his supporters have received similar treatment. Brooks, Time's Joe Klein, ABC's Jake Tapper, and other media figures have called Obama supporters "creepy" and "cult-like" and compared them to followers of Charles Manson.

Obviously there is a difference between calling Barack Obama a terrorist or suggesting he might not "take our side" in the event of a terrorist attack and saying his lack of bowling prowess prevents him from understanding and connecting with "regular people." But both storylines portray Obama as out of the mainstream; they each prime audiences to be more receptive to the other (and the more extreme comments coming from the likes of Michael Savage and Fox News have the pernicious effect of making Chris Matthews' absurd claims about Obama and "regular people" seem reasonable by comparison) -- and neither has any basis in reality. After all, polls show Obama beating McCain, so he must not be doing too badly among "regular people."

Yesterday, Barack Obama's campaign unveiled a website dedicated to rebutting false rumors. On MSNBC Live, Andrea Mitchell and Time's Jay Carney discussed the need for the new site:

MITCHELL: [Obama] was being asked by reporters about things that are completely unprovable, and the way this stuff circulates, it's so viral that a reporter asks him a question, it gets picked up, and then that ratifies the rumor, which we're not even going to be talking about because, you know, there's no proof about a lot of this stuff. So --

CARNEY: You know, the one, Andrea -- there's one in particular that they talk about where Michelle is alleged in a rumor to have referred to white Americans as whitey in a speech at, of course, the Trinity church, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church. There's no evidence at all that this is true. This rumor started circulating among conservative bloggers and then was picked up and just repeated as a rumor by Rush Limbaugh, of course, the widely listened-to conservative talk radio host. Now over -- driving over to the studio just half an hour ago I heard Rush Limbaugh's show, and he's talking about this non-stop, talking about how it's not -- you know, he's not to blame, he was just reporting a rumor. But of course, he spent half --

MITCHELL: But reporting a rumor, Jay --

CARNEY: But he spent half an hour at least when I was listening to him re-circulating the very rumor without shooting it down, so that's the effect of these things.

MITCHELL: Well, let's put it to rest right now. This didn't happen. It hasn't happened, it's not gonna happen. But the Obama campaign has felt concerned enough clearly about all of this --

CARNEY: Exactly.

MITCHELL: -- and our own NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows this resistance to him by, you know, white men, with McCain having a 20-point lead in -- among white men and still problems with suburban women, which is kind of more understandable coming out of a primary election between him and Hillary Clinton. This is something he's going to have to fix.

CARNEY: Right. It's out there and they just have to -- the goal of circulating these rumors from Obama opponents is basically to create an atmosphere of doubt about the candidate -- about his patriotism, about his background, his religion.

Journalists like Andrea Mitchell and Jay Carney understand that the repetition of baseless rumors "ratifies the rumors," as Mitchell put it. And they understand the intent behind the rumors -- creating "an atmosphere of doubt about the candidate," as Carney said.

But journalists need to do more than understand the intent and effect of false rumors pushed by the right. They need to understand how their own reporting and commentary have similar effects, regardless of their intent. They need to understand that they have a responsibility that goes beyond being careful not to spread (intentionally or otherwise) these bogus right-wing themes; they also have a responsibility to aggressively report the truth. There is a broad smear campaign being waged against Barack Obama, and it is long past time for the media to expose and debunk those smears, not play into them.

I highly recommend checking out Media Matters' site. You can easily search out clips of the pundits and articles about the media that are full of facts and full quotes instead of the lies and highly edited mangling Fox News and pals dish out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bill Moyers for President

Ok, maybe that's a bit extreme. But he by god (or is that bi-god?) should run the FCC for a few years. I love that Fox News had their little toady from Bill (the worthless bag of shit) O'Reilly's show ambush Moyers afterwards. These fuckers have such big blinders on that they didn't realize there would be a crowd of reporters around with cameras. So first, the keynote address:

Now the Fox ambush (two versions):

And finally a little history of O'Reilly's idea of journalism:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Are People Developing A Sense of Smell?

MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" beat Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" in the key Adults 25-54 demographic for the first time ever last week.

"Countdown" averaged 477,000 viewers (A25-54) vs. O'Reilly's 472,000 (excluding Tuesday's primary coverage). This marks the first time that MSNBC has beaten Fox News in O'Reilly's 8pm time slot since June 2001.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008


"I saw a very good question in the Telegraph today that said, 'America has to decide what kind of super power it wants to be' and I thought, 'It's got to be x-ray vision.'"

from BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy's News Quiz

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dead Child

Best new Metal album of the year:

Dead Child

Best new Metal album of the year:

I must admit I'm a bit biased as the lead singer works for me.