Tag Archives: Fox News

Conservative “Humor”

27 Apr

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Monica Crowley is a Fox News “analyst”, whatever that means.

Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke testified to Congress some weeks ago about the importance and cost of contraceptive coverage for women in insurance plans. Not just for contraceptive uses, but also for medical uses involving, e.g., ovarian cysts. Because Fluke stood up for herself, for women, for her beliefs, she has been the target of a blistering, hateful series of attacks from such conservative philosophers as Rush Limbaugh

Yesterday, news broke that Fluke had become engaged to be married.  If you Google the exact term Crowley used in her Tweet, the Daily Beast article using that headline reveals that Fluke is engaged to her longtime boyfriend

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195569989875531776″%5D

Ah,  but she was insinuating something.  As I pointed out above, the articles announcing Fluke’s engagement noted to whom she was to be married.  On top of that, it’s an old stereotype that feminist women who, for instance, don’t share the Nordic looks of most females on Fox News must all be lesbians. “Feminazis”, I think Limbaugh calls them.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195565385901293568″%5D

Wait – first Crowley pleads seriousness – she claims it was a “straightforward question” to which she had received “no answer yet”. But now it was humor? What, exactly was the joke? 

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195589182385700864″%5D

Yes, shock horror – who would think that a Fox News “analyst” who made a homophobic quip against a heterosexual woman who was just engaged to be married would have a problem with lesbianism? 

To her credit, Fluke responded thusly

“I’m not going to let this kind of thing get to me personally,” Fluke said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “What really bothers me about it [is] the blatant homophobia in the comment, and the idea that that is an acceptable thing to say publicly.”

“I don’t want an apology from anyone personally,” Fluke said. “I think it is possible she owes an apology to the LGBTQ community, because I am not offended to be asked whether or not I’m with a woman. It’s not offensive to me to be gay, but it was clearly meant as an insult.”

Conservatism has been reduced to this. It isn’t about proposing policy solutions to economic, social, and international problems – it’s just about hatred and prejudice. You see it in the Trayvon Martin case. You see it in the way in which conservatives argue about Obama’s policies. You see it in the way they treat anyone who dares to move the country’s policies and consciousness into the 21st century. 

Mitt Romney is likely to lose in November, and when he does, the clamor from the right wing of the Republican Party is going to be deafening. They’re going to double down on the notion that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, and next time they’ll probably convince themselves to nominate someone like Santorum – or worse.

Then that person will be defeated worse than Romney. Because general election voters aren’t going to buy in to whatever a Santorum type is selling. Calling Sandra Fluke a whore may play great with the reactionary types who self-identify as tea partiers, but it doesn’t go over well with middle-of-the-road casual voters. 

It’ll be at least a few more election cycles before Republicans start to look at less insane candidates for office. It took Democrats Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis before they settled on Clinton, and then we had to go through Kerry before we settled on someone new and inspiring. 

In the meantime, let’s make fun of the strong woman with a short haircut, and call her a “lesbian”. 

I don’t get the joke. 

The Morning Grumpy 1/20/2012

20 Jan

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. A new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness reveals that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (aka IslamoFascoKenyanStimulusBill) was a crucial tool in keeping Americans off the street. Roughly $1.5 billion of Recovery Act funds were spent on “rental assistance and programs steering recently evicted people toward new housing.”

The Homelessness Research Institute, put the number of Americans living on the streets or in shelters at just over 636,000 in 2011. That’s down about 6,000 from the group’s 2009 estimate. The figure is based on reports and street counts from state and local agencies that receive federal housing funds.

Roman said the stimulus money, coupled with pre-recession federal programs aimed at veterans and the chronically ill, have kept that figure down even as the U.S. economy saw its worst downturn since the 1930s.

The Center for American Progress notes:

In fact, the Homelessness Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) program alone, which was directly funded by the Recovery Act, helped 94 percent of the program’s participants who were homeless or a step away from homelessness find permanent housing. The Recovery Act also kept 6 million Americans out of poverty and created at least 3.3 million jobs.

Mitt “Mr. 1%” Romney and Newt “Teach the blacks how to work” Gingrich would have let those people rot on the streets. The churches will help them, right?

2. I designed a new campaign poster for the Newt Gingrich 2012 Presidential Campaign after watching the interview with his second wife on ABC News last night.

Allegations made by Marianne Gingrich that Newt wanted an “open marriage,” so that he could carry on an affair with the woman who would become his present wife, were repeated throughout the day on various networks and had been the explosive opening to a nationally televised debate earlier in the evening.

(Newt) Gingrich said that “every personal friend I have who knew us  in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested, because they would like to attack any Republican.”

Ah, yes. The tired old “liberal media” canard. A surefire way for any Republican under fire to inoculate himself from thorough enterprise journalism…blame those dirty liberals in the media. But does the charge hold up? Studies show it does not.

Conservatives are extremely well represented in every facet of the media. The correlative point is that even the genuine liberal media are not so liberal. And they are no match—either in size, ferocity or commitment—for the massive conservative media structure that, more than ever, determines the shape and scope of our political agenda.

In a careful 1999 study published in the academic journal Communications Research, four scholars examined the use of the “liberal media” argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media’s actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view. The obvious conclusion: News consumers were responding to “increasing news coverage of liberal bias media claims, which have been increasingly emanating from Republican Party candidates and officials.”

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The Morning Grumpy – November 23rd

23 Nov

I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news, and analysis. Each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1. The internet moves pretty fast. On Monday night, Fox News blonde-of-record, Megyn Kelly sat in on the Bill O’Reilly Condescension Hour to discuss the pepper spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis this past weekend. Here’s what she had to say:

As legend has it, Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships and as the Internet legend now goes, Megyn Kelly dismissively saying that pepper spray “Is a food product, essentially” has launched a thousand memes. Here’s a few of our favorites:

2. On the flip side, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone discusses the UC Davis incident, which should serve as a rally point in the continued evolution and growth of the Occupy movement.

What happened at UC Davis was the inevitable result of our failure to make sure our government stayed in the business of defending our principles. When we stopped insisting on that relationship with our government, they became something separate from us.

And we are stuck now with this fundamental conflict, whereby most of us are insisting that the law should apply equally to everyone, while the people running this country for years now have been operating according to the completely opposite principle that different people have different rights, and who deserves what protections is a completely subjective matter, determined by those in power, on a case-by-case basis.

3. David Frum seems to have unwittingly moved into the roomy business class section of American politics known as the “sensible middle” where you’ll also find such luminaries as Andrew Sullivan and Jon Huntsman. Ten years ago, they were  right wing republicans. Now? Even though their politics have barely changed, their party has moved so far to the fringe that they are now seen as “centrists”.  Like Sullivan, Frum is troubled by this ideological shift and believes that the Conservative movement has lost touch with reality.

Extremism and conflict make for bad politics but great TV. Over the past two decades, conservatism has evolved from a political philosophy into a market segment. An industry has grown up to serve that segment—and its stars have become the true thought leaders of the conservative world. The business model of the conservative media is built on two elements: provoking the audience into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources (so that they never change the channel). As a commercial proposition, this model has worked brilliantly in the Obama era. As journalism, not so much. As a tool of political mobilization, it backfires, by inciting followers to the point at which they force leaders into confrontations where everybody loses, like the summertime showdown over the debt ceiling.

But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.

Until the republican pendulum swings back from the fringe, our politics will be paralyzed. I’d postulate that one of the worst things that could happen would be for Romney or Huntsman to win the republican presidential nomination in 2012. Either candidate would most likely lose in the general election as they will struggle to motivate their red meat starved base. The result? A demand by the base to become more dogmatic in future elections (see 2008, after Obama won), resulting in even greater conservative obstinacy until 2016.

The base demands a right wing talk radio/Fox News candidate in 2012. If they get what they want and lose, the Republicans may be forced to consider a return to moderation or at least reason and sensibility. As Mondale’s failure in 1984 ultimately begat Clinton’s third way politics in the 1990’s, so will a Bachmann/Cain/Gingrich/Perry general election failure in 2012 bring us a Jon Huntsman in 2016.

4. Paul Krugman believes the optimal marginal tax rate for top earners is 70%

In the first part of the paper, (the authors) analyze the optimal tax rate on top earners. And they argue that this should be the rate that maximizes the revenue collected from these top earners — full stop. Why? Because if you’re trying to maximize any sort of aggregate welfare measure, it’s clear that a marginal dollar of income makes very little difference to the welfare of the wealthy, as compared with the difference it makes to the welfare of the poor and middle class. So to a first approximation policy should soak the rich for the maximum amount — not out of envy or a desire to punish, but simply to raise as much money as possible for other purposes.

Using parameters based on the literature, the research suggests that the optimal tax rate on the highest earners is in the vicinity of 70%.

I read Krugman’s analysis, the abstract of the original research and dug into some of the data models, but let’s be honest, much of it is too complex for someone who is not learned in economics. It’s interesting and should be a valuable addition to our national discussion on progressive tax policy and government spending. However, I wonder how many Americans hear “top marginal tax rate of 70%” and think a person’s entire income is taxed at 70%. Probably a lot. Then, I get sad.

5. How do we defend the Earth from asteroids? I’m glad you asked! This delightfully nerdy and humorous presentation from TEDx Boulder gives you the details. As an engineer and geek, I found this fascinating.

Quote Of The Day: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” — John F. Kennedy

Song Of The Day: “Where Were You?” – The Mekons

The Morning Grumpy – November 22nd

22 Nov

I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news, and analysis. Each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1. It is tremendously sad that up to 700 people will now be out of work at Pillar Processing and Steven J. Baum PC.

In an abrupt turn of events, Steven J. Baum is shutting down his foreclosure law firm and laying off at least 90 full- and part-time employees in Amherst and Long Island just days after losing the bulk of his business when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stopped giving the firm new work.

The closing could also affect 600 employees at Amherst-based Pillar Processing, a neighboring firm that handles much of the paperwork from the Baum office.

The announcement caps a remarkable fall for the state’s dominant foreclosure law firm, which until recently handled 40 percent of all foreclosures statewide.

The firm last month agreed to pay a $2 million fine and change its practices to settle a federal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, and is also under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

But what may have hastened the firm’s demise were photos that recently emerged into the national spotlight from the firm’s Halloween party last year, at which Baum employees dressed up as foreclosure victims and attorneys, mocking and ridiculing them.

If any of the former employees find themselves in financial difficulty and perhaps in foreclosure proceedings, I hope they deal with a firm that extends them the ethical treatment, respect, and empathy the Baum firm failed to extend in recent years. We’re America, we need to be better than Steven J. Baum and his ilk.

2. The richest 0.1% of Americans reap nearly 50% of all capital gains.

The preferable treatment that investment income receives in the tax code is one of the factors driving the income inequality and galvanizing the Occupy Wall Street movement. Because the capital gains tax is capped at 15%, “anyone making more than $34,500 a year in wages and salary is taxed at a higher rate than a billionaire is taxed on untold millions in capital gains.

If you’re  a member of the Forbes 400, capital gains make up nearly 60% of your income.  All the while wages have remained flat for what used to be the middle class…

3. People who regularly get their news and information from Fox News are less informed than people who generally avoid news altogether. Yes, we now have proof, watching Fox News actually makes you dumber.

“Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News,” said Dan Cassino, a Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor who took part in the analysis of the PublicMind data. “Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions (about current events and news) than those who don’t watch any news at all.”

Yes, I know the poll is incredibly flawed and I posted it primarily to appeal to the condescending liberal elitist part of my audience. It isn’t a credible poll based on the limited number of questions asked and that it focused on people in New Jersey. While the poll is not especially credulous, some people are more prone towards in-group loyalty and confirmation bias. Jonathan Haidt’s work suggests that this tends to happen to people who identify more as conservative. So, draw your own conclusions.

4. First, they came for the salaries and benefits of teachers, cops, firemen and civil service employees. Up next? Soldiers. How a Pentagon advisory group stacked and staffed with Wall Street executives aims to slash the salaries and benefits of American soldiers.

These ideas may sound like a bold new approach in an urgent moment—but in fact, the push for pension cuts and other corporate “reforms” at the Pentagon originates from an obscure advisory panel that has existed for a decade: the Defense Business Board. Its 21 members know little about military affairs, but they are rich in Wall Street experience, including with some of the biggest companies implicated in the 2008 financial meltdown. They are investment bank CEOs and CFOs, outsourcing experts, and layoff specialists who promote a corporate agenda of “behavior change” and “business solutions” in the military bureaucracy. The board proposes not only to slash and privatize military pensions, but also to have the Pentagon invest in oil futures, boost pay for its executives and political appointees, and make it easier for them to fire rank-and-file employees while scaling back those workers’ collective-bargaining rights.

5. Where does New York’s 1% live? The Center for Working Families, a progressive think tank with ties to the Working Families Party breaks it down by State Senate District and State Assembly District using data from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The report finds that 93% of millionaires live in and around New York City and uses the data to argue that upstate lawmakers should support the continuation and further progressive modification of New York’s “Millionaire’s Tax” as it will have limited effect on their constituencies. Fewer than 0.4% of taxpayers in SD-58 would be affected, 1.4% in SD-59, 0.8% in SD-60, and 2.0% in SD-61.

Who Pays the Millionaires Tax Reporthttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/73355726/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list

 

Quote of the day: “There are some who maintain that trade will regulate itself, and it is not to be benefited by the encouragements or restraints of government. Such persons will imagine that there is no need of a common directing power. This is one of those wild speculative paradoxes, which have grown into credit among us, contrary to the uniform practice and sense of the most enlightened nations.” – Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and First Secretary of the Treasury (The Continentalist, No. 5)

Song Of The Day: Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside, “Against The Law”

Follow me on Twitter to satiate your need to observe juvenile bickering and consume tangential snarky observations on things.

Openly Supporting A Latter-Day Himmler

28 May

Ratko Mladic was a butcher in the tradition of Pol Pot and Himmler. The random rape and murder of women and children. The separation of civilians for random extermination based solely on their ethnicity or religion.  If you haven’t read about the Srebrenica massacre and how closely it follows what happened on a much bigger scale to Jews during the Holocaust, or “enemies of the state” under the Khmer Rouge, you should. It is a particularly dark event dreamed up by exquisitely ruthless and vicious people in support of a Nationalist-Socialist regime.

But Ratko Mladic has his fans in Fox News viewers.

So, there’s that.

As to the name Mladic used while in hiding, Serbia’s Blic suggests this:

Here is how it is believed that Mladic has made a game of letters:

  • 1. Mladic used the false name of Milorad Komadic
  • 2, If the first four letters are crossed out we get Rad Komadic
  • 3. When the shift is made between letters O and M we get Radko Madic
  • what is very similar to Mladic’s real name.

That was probably acceptable to him because in this way he kept a part of his real identity, his ego that he is so well known for.

 

Deep Thoughts

4 Mar

I think that Mike Huckabee’s childhood experiences adversely affect his worldview.

(Seriously, it’s lightly coded hate speech like Huckabee’s that leads to horrific displays of ignorance like this. America is broken, in large part, because political “leaders” and ratings whores are quite content to gain political advantage by exploiting deep ignorance, fear, and hatred. That in itself should disqualify someone from not only public office, but any involvement in the civic discourse. I’m looking at you Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, the Mulleted Queef on WBEN, and Fox News).

The Answer Is 42 Times

8 Feb

And the question is; “How many times can Bill O’Reilly interrupt President Obama during a 14 minute interview?”

During the Super Bowl pre-game show, President Barack Obama sat down for an exclusive, live interview with the King of Right Wing Self-Important Condescension, Bill O’Reilly.  The President must have known going into the interview that he was signing up for his part in the top-rated ongoing Fox News theatrical drama, “OsamaObama Is A Krazy MuslimSoshalista Who Wants To Take Yer Jerbs And Kill Yer Grandma!”  However, I think even he must have been taken aback with the contempt showed to him by O’Reilly during this interview.

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O’Reilly was guilty of backhanded remarks, interruptions, snide asides, leading and loaded questions, and unbelievably, asking the President, “Does it bother you that so many people hate you?”  Talk about your passive aggressive insults which pander to the Fox audience.  I’m surprised O’Reilly didn’t ask him “Did you stop beating your wife yet?” or “They sell any mens clothes where you bought that suit?”

There is a difference between being an aggressive interviewer who asks follow-up questions and just being an old fashioned arrogant jerk.  O’Reilly doesn’t seem to understand that difference.  Before his next interview with the President, perhaps O’Reilly could watch a textbook example of solid, aggressive interviewing by an Irish reporter from 2006.

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Unfortunately, he’ll probably just stick to pandering to his dummy audience and asking insulting questions.  Here’s a random sample of that nightly O’Reilly audience.

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Obama’s Weekly Address

6 Nov

President Obama addresses the issue of the expiring Bush Tax Cuts in his weekly address.

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BTW, if you’re wondering what Obama is doing in India this week, he’s sealing up about $10 Billion in trade deals with the Indian government which will support an estimated 54,000 jobs back in the United States.  And, no, the trip didn’t cost $200MM per day…it costs less than that to run the entire war in Afghanistan each day.

In fact, the $200 million-per-day figure would, according to factcheck.org, be higher than the daily cost of the entire Afghanistan war, which the Congressional Research Service puts at about $190 million per day.

Smarten up, dummies.

Maddow on Olbermann and False Equivalence

6 Nov

Rachel Maddow defends her MSNBC counterpart Keith Olbermann and lays waste to the false equivalence that MSNBC is to the Democratic Party as Fox News is to the Republican Party.

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Pretending that MSNBC’s analysts and evening hosts do not have a liberal bias is not my point, they clearly do.  However, Fox has proven in the past 18 months that it is not an actual news organization, but rather the media arm of the Republican Party.

Brit Hume: Ignorant Televangelist

5 Jan

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You know those people who are total and complete assholes 167 hours in the week, and think it’s all ok if they ask for and seek forgiveness in church on Sunday?  This is the very embodiment of that, as far as I’m concerned.  And I don’t for a second think that all Christian people are like this – but I’ve known (past tense) quite a few who are.

A Buddhist blogger replies:

I don’t like to point out others’ faults, but given the record I would think Christians would show a little more humility about offering advice to the sexually wayward. As Jesus once said, let those who have never sinned throw the first stones (John 8:7).

However, Mr. Hume is right, in a sense, that Buddhism doesn’t offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are meaningless in Buddhism. Forgiveness is important, but it is approached differently in Buddhism, and I’ll get to that in a bit.

f one has failed, can Buddhism help one “recover”? I’m not sure “recovering” is a word a Buddhist would use, but let’s go on … the practice of metta, loving kindness, is essential in Buddhism. Metta is extended to all beings, including those who have wronged us — even Brit Hume — and also to ourselves. (See also the Metta Sutta.)

Sharon Salzberg said, “Metta means equality, oneness, wholeness. To truly walk the Middle Way of the Buddha, to avoid the extremes of addiction and self-hatred, we must walk in friendship with ourselves as well as with all beings.”

Destructive behavior is understood to be driven by tanha, thirst, which the Buddha explained (in the Four Noble Truths) was the cause of dukkha, unease or suffering. Buddhism itself can be defined as a path of practice that helps us see through the delusions that give rise to tanha. And people have successfully applied these practices for 25 centuries.

So, in the end, Brit Hume embraces ignorance – he confesses ab initio to know nothing about Buddhism, yet feels free to make wide, sweeping generalizations about it, and in so doing insults Buddhists and Buddhism.

But it’s ok.  Hume can be a colossal asshole until Sunday, then ask and receive forgiveness, and have a clean slate for next week’s assholedness.