Look! Up in the Sky! Is That a Pale Horse?

Because I swear to fuck it’s Armageddon. I mean, we’ve got Helene Cooper blathering senselessly in the New York Times, comparing Obama to Bush, trying to claim Obama’s knocking down straw men, and offering this as her proof:

“There are those who say these plans are too ambitious, that we should be trying to do less, not more,” Mr. Obama told a town-hall-style meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif., on March 18. “Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.”

Mr. Obama did not specify who, exactly, was saying America should ignore its challenges.

I mean, really? This is an example of the commanding political intellect and keen powers of observation at work at the NYT? Every right wing knock on Obama for the first hundred days always insinuated “he’s doing too much.” I find 37,000 examples in one quick search. (Publius has a fine collection, too.)

But that’s not what’s got us in pale horse territory. This does:

And it’s not like this was some selective observation of the left. Here’s Rammesh Ponurru at The Corner:

I suspect that I will not have many opportunities to defend President Obama from New York Times reporters, so I will seize this one. The related notions that Obama has too much on his plate, that he is overloading the political system, and that he is spending too little time on the economy and too much on health and the environment are staples of centrist and center-right commentary about the president, and have been for months.

Um….


When someone at the fucking Corner is defending Obama, you know a hole’s just been ripped in the space-time continuum. I hope Helene’s happy. Her lazy, ignorant, flat-out wrong reporting might very well have just brought on the Apocalypse.

Olbermann to Hannity: “You Are Now Unnecessary”

Keith Olbermann has pronounced Sean Hannity a superfluous piece of shit:

Last night on Countdown, Olbermann announced that he was rescinding the offer to Hannity, and instead giving $10,000 to charity following radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller’s waterboarding attempt. Olbermann promised to donate to the charity Veterans of Valor, founded by Sgt. Klay South, who administered the waterboarding to Muller. Olbermann revealed that Mancow’s publicist had contacted Olbermann’s show yesterday to see whether Olbermann would make a similar offer to Mancow as he did for Hannity:

OLBERMANN: Mancow Muller had the guts to put his mouth where his mouth was, and the guts to admit he was dead wrong. As you saw, he not only said it is torture, but that he had nearly drowned as a boy, and it is drowning, and that he would have admitted to anything to make it stop.

So the offer to the coward Hannity — a thousand dollars a second he lasted on the waterboard — is withdrawn.

And to Mr. Muller, whose station’s publicity person contacted us yesterday saying she’d heard I’d offered ten thousand dollars to anybody who would do what he did –

You got it. Ten thousand dollars to the military-families charity of the man who did the waterboarding, Veterans Of Valor. […]

As to Hannity, you are now unnecessary.

Not that he was necessary to begin with, o’ course.

And so ends this chapter of the Waterboard Hannity chronicles. Skeptic Kitteh was right:


Bookie Kitteh’s now taking bets on how long it is before Hannity feels brave enough to spout off about waterboarding again.

Frank PWNS Beck

Poor Glenn Beck. He’s had an awful week. First, the ladies on the View spanked his ass, which led to a bad case of the View Flu (which he tried to pass off, and I’m not kidding, as “the 24-hour swine flu”). Now he’s having another health crisis, because his little roving producer Griff Jenkins ended up with his ass in a sling:

The Glenn Beck show tried to sandbag Barney Frank with one of their roving reporters or producers or whatever they are, but they messed with the wrong guy. ACORN is Beck’s villain of the hour and Biff Jenkins asked Frank if he’d hold hearings on ACORN because the right hates them. He got an answer he didn’t expect.

Frank: As you know, the Bush administration, every year of the eight years of the Bush administration gave them well over a million dollars for housing counseling, and nobody has shown me any sign that any of that federal money was misspent. You know, I think people are being somewhat unfair to President Bush and his secretaries of HUD who consistently funded ACORN for, as I said, for a total of about 14 million dollars during the Bush years. If someone has evidence that the money that President Bush made available was misspent — that’s what I have jurisdiction over, I don’t have jurisdiction over election activities by another ACORN organization — but if anyone has any evidence, and no one has sent it to me yet, that the Bush administration ignored the misspending of that $14 million, I’ll look into it.

Biff: Yes, sir, but would you hold hearings or an investigation …?

Frank: I think you’re being very unfair to President Bush.

OK, his name is not Biff, it’s Griff. Frank used this against Michelle Bachmann and when you hit them with facts like this, they really have no response other than to ignore what Barney Frank said and continue with their smears.

Have I told you lately how much I love Barney Frank?

Torture Apologists on Parade: Flying Cow Edition

Unlike Sean Hannity, Mancow isn’t afraid to put his water where his mouth is. Alas, as he discovered, empirical evidence trumps ideology:

On his radio show this morning, “conservative libertarian” talker Eric “Mancow” Muller set out to prove that waterboarding isn’t torture by having himself waterboarded. But instead, after enduring “6 or 7 seconds” of the interrogation technique, Mancow admitted that it was “absolutely torture”:

Turns out the stunt wasn’t so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.

“It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke,”Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.

I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” Mancow said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face…I got voted to do this but I really thought ‘I’m going to laugh this off.’”

He stated that the sensation brought on by waterboarding was exactly the same as drowning. He should know – he drowned as a child. No wonder the cow went flying the second the water hit him.

Jury’s out on whether he goes back to trying to wish the truth away, but still, I respect him. He actually tested his beliefs. He admitted he was dead fucking wrong. And he didn’t use weasel words. He may not be able to make it thirty seconds under the waterboard, but he’s already kicked the collective asses of Hannity et al. Good on him.

Now we’ll see how long it takes before the Cons and their media darlings start scoffing at the whole thing. If you watch the video, it doesn’t look that bad – guy gets some water on the face, freaks out, turns pasty white and starts babbling “It’s torture! It’s torture!” The lack of screaming, blood and breaking bones deceive. That’s why people without the imagination to realize just what suffocating under a stream of water does to your mind and body need to undergo this themselves.

I’d like to request Lou Dobbs volunteer next:

Lou Dobbs calls out Chuck Schumer for his waffling on whether Americans would accept torture being used in the phony ticking time bomb scenario. He then asks his audience to participate in an on line poll and asks whether they would “personally employ torture to save American lives and prevent an attack on this country?” And surprise, surprise…the overwhelming answer is…YES! Looks like all that fear mongering is paying off well for you. What’s next Lou? You going to ask them if they’d like to shoot Mexicans to put an end to illegal immigration?

I’m tempted to head out to the streets with a board, a bucket of water, and a towel, and see just how many of my torture-loving fellow Americans are willing to enjoy some torture themselves. Even in Seattle, I’m likely to find a few fuckwits who are still under the illusion that 24 is a documentary and they’re so tough they could outlast Mancow.

Fuck. Let’s turn it into a reality show. And let’s take our buckets to Congress, where I’m sure we’ll find plenty of volunteers in the minority party, along with a select few in the majority.

What’s that? They all ran away? Gee, I’m shocked. After all, it’s just a little splash of water. Don’t they want to keep America safe?

(Tip o’ the shotglass to the folks I filched the images from. Please forgive my lack of Photoshop-fu – I did the best I could.)

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Sometimes, little events have unexpected consequences. MoDo plagiarizes TPM blogger extraordinaire Josh Marshall, which leads to a lame-ass excuse from her, which leads Digby down memory lane (who was it who accused Joe Biden of plagiarism, eh?). Glenn Greenwald asks, “Who’s the parasite now, bitches?” and TPM blogger Boyd Reed muses, “Hmm, wonder if I’ve ever been plagarized by the MSM? Well, well, whaddya know!”

So, I started using teh Google on some of my older blog titles. About five minutes later, I found a case of out-and-out, wholesale plagiarism of one of my own pieces.

I wrote the blog entry “Michele Bachmann – Unstable AND Unable” here on TPM on February 20, 2009.

A writer on Salem-News.com, Dorsett Bennett, wrote this article on February 27. To conserve space, I won’t quote it here.

The first half of Bennett’s article is, well, my blog. With only a few cosmetic changes, he essentially lifted my piece and made it part of his own. Of course, I am not cited anywhere in the article, nor is TPM.

My, how things change when a newspaper’s caught in flagrante plagiarizo:


Shorter, sweeter, and salted liberally with paens to the TPM source they ripped off. However, dear old Bennett apparently does not know the power of teh Google cache. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you before:


The frantic credits have been growing all day. They started simply, with just a little mention right at the end, as caught by commenter Winslow:


Cute how he tried to sneak that in without noting it’s an update, innit? Alas, teh Google knows all, and knows he wasn’t giving Boyd one iota of credit before he got his ass caught:


Apparently, plagiarism is this paper’s area of expertise, and Bennett is their grand-master. Shameless flatterers, they are. Something tells me that after this, they shall be obsessive about giving credit where it’s due. And cursing Maureen Dowd for ruining their fun all the while.

Funny how one thing leads to another, innit? And I’m sure the story won’t end here. One small comments section in TPM, together with Greenwald’s piece, demonstrate that filching from bloggers without attribution is a favorite trick of the very same news outlets who bitch about bloggers quoting their work. Perhaps it’s because we, y’know, actually credit them.

All of this has given me an idea for the next iPhone app: maybe they can create one called iBeenPlagiarized, making it simple for us to search the intertoobz for instances where “original reporting” is MSM code for “I ripped it off from a blogger.”

Torture Apologists on Parade: Freudian Slip Edition

Most of you have probably already seen David Waldman’s masterful performance on CNN. If not, here ye go:

You’ll notice a Center for American Progress representative spouting Con talking points there. Glenn Greenwald gave her a spanking:

This is what she said:

The American people right now are actually not interested in this sideshow and this discussion. The American people are interested in looking forward — nobody is concerned anymore with what the Bush administration was doing and did. We decided it was torture. Conservatives may or may not disagree. None of that matters at this point and time.

I wonder how Williams reconciles her claims about what “the American people” are and are not interested in with this:

That poll was from February, and while some subsequent polls have produced different results, all polls — even the most recent ones with the most anti-investigation findings — find that, at minimum, roughly 40% of Americans believe there must be some form of investigations in Bush crimes. That’s a lot of people to be dismissing away as “nobody.”

Since then, she’s posted a mea culpa. It’s appreciated, but… um… Well, let me preface with a suitable joke, oft told among my circle of friends:

Sometimes, when you mean to say one thing, it comes out a little bit different than you intended. Like the other morning, I was having breakfast with my wife, and what I meant to say was, “Honey, could you please pass the marmalade?” but what I actually said was, “Bitch, you ruined my life!

Erica Williams’s apology reminded me of that joke:

When the conversation veered slightly off topic and turned into a yelling match about torture between two other bloggers, making it difficult for me to jump in, my talking point about “moving forward and taking the American people’s attention off Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda” (which I intended to say only in reference to the Pelosi/CIA who-dunnit) somehow came out as the following –

The American people right now are actually not interested in this sideshow and this discussion. The American people are interested in looking forward — nobody is concerned anymore with what the Bush administration was doing and did. We decided it was torture. Conservatives may or may not disagree. None of that matters at this point and time.

What the heck did I just say? Dear God – A TORTURE APOLOGIST TOOK OVER MY BODY.

That’s not a Freudian slip. That’s a Freudian ballgown.

Talking about torture seems to bring on the insanity in quite a few people. Just look at Faux News and the Con party, who’ve completely lost their heads:

There are more than a few annoying angles to the recent Republican attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, related to the CIA interrogation briefings she received in 2002 and 2003. Most notably, the GOP’s goal is transparent: don’t investigate officials from our team, they’re telling Democrats, or we’ll want an investigation of officials on your team.

With that in mind, Faiz Shakir did a nice job pulling together some Fox News coverage from this week, in which this very dynamic is discussed rather candidly. The goal, the reports indicated, is to create a “Mexican standoff,” in which both sides back off in some kind of mutually-assured-destruction scenario. Looking at accountability for possible war crimes through this lens seems crazy, but here we are anyway.

[snip]

To be sure, there are legitimate questions about the briefings. If Pelosi was told about torture and failed to raise objections, that warrants criticism. If there’s evidence that Pelosi was less than candid about what she was told — there isn’t — that’s a political problem.

But in general, this entire “controversy” is a ridiculous GOP stunt, which the media is falling for. We’ve effectively been told that the only person who should face real scrutiny for the Bush/Cheney torture scandal is the liberal, powerless, then-House Minority Leader who opposes torture.

As A.L. noted the other day, “The level of hypocrisy and incoherence it takes for Republicans to point to Pelosi as being some sort of key figure in this scandal is astounding. And the fact that the press corps would latch on to this rather ridiculous diversion is telling.”

It is indeed.

This is what happens when people try to justify the unjustifiable. Pathetic, innit?

Glenn Beck’s Contribution to Global Warming

I hope scientific studies demonstrate Beck’s a source of global warming pollution. It would be fun to see him shut down as an environmental hazard:

On his Fox News show today, comedian Glenn Beck interviewed Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) to mock the danger of global warming. In what he billed as an “Inconvenient Segment,” Beck argued that a “smoking gun” memo proves that the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding on the threat of global warming pollution is based on politics instead of science.

“It turns out, the truth that’s inconvenient is that it’s not like any of this stuff is based on, you know, science. It’s all politics,” Beck said of the danger of carbon pollution. He concluded:

By the way, just so you know, this show has won so many science awards, sometimes we get talking about high-falutin science things like this, and people are like, “What are you talkin’ about?” So let me break it down. Carbon dioxide is basically this. (Exhales.) Look at how much pollution I just put out.

Unless you eat fossil fuels, spewing hot air from one’s mouth is not a major source for pollution…except for Glenn Beck.

Indeed.

John Stossel Sez, “Endangered Species – It’s What’s For Dinner!”

John Stossel’s Plan to Save the Animals

John “Deny Young’ns the Vote!” Stossel once again competes for the title of World’s Biggest Dumbshit:

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen a right-wing meme as gobsmackingly stupid as the one John Stossel was promoting last week on Fox, notably on Glenn Beck’s Friday show.

At ABC, the headline read:


John Stossel Says Killing Endangered Species Would Protect Them

Now, if you go read the text, it is a somewhat thought-provoking piece suggesting that the way to save certain endangered species — such as the tiger, which is a victim of poaching for its prized body parts — is to begin farming them. It’s worked with a handful of other species, such as the bison and the rhino.

But the headline — and the meme that Stossel pushed on Fox — was that the way to save endangered species is to farm and consume them.

Which is, perhaps, one of the most monumentally stupid ideas anyone’s ever proposed. The logical outcome of Stossel’s argument is that ultimately we need to begin farming all the planet’s wild animals.

Of course, the vast majority of endangered species are inedible and not particularly desired by humans to begin with, so that leaves them out of the farming equation.

Moreover, human consumption of a number of species — most notably sharks — is primarily responsible for their endangerment in the first place.

I wish I could say John Stossel is an endangered species, but alas, total fucking dumbshits are all too plentiful.

The Stalker Becomes the Stalked

Isn’t it fun to see Bill O’s attack dog getting a hefty dose of his own medicine?

Gawker has some questions for Jesse B. Watters, the Fox News producer that Bill O’Reilly likes to send out to ambush his enemies. So we’re outside his building in Long Island. Right now. (Hi, Jesse!)

[snip]

If you see him, snap a camera phone picture and send it to us. Or better yet, ask him why he stalks and ambushes people that his boss disagrees with, and tell us what he says. Two years ago, during an on-air celebration of Watters’ ambushes, O’Reilly had this to say about his young charge: “Jesse Watters, everybody. He’s becoming a big star all over the world.”

Let’s make that happen.

Heh heh, gorgeous. And if you want a rundown of Watters’s infamous ambushes and all the reasons why turnabout’s glorious fair play, that Gawker article does a stellar job.

Then, if you’re appetite’s whetted for more Bill Bashing, head on over to C & L, where they’re enjoying themselves immensely at his expense.

Bashing Bill

It’s Friday. It’s time to have some fun. And Bill O’Reilly’s just begging for a beating.

I mean, check out what his producer’s been up to lately:

It’s no secret that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly can’t stand MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. In fact, when a caller into his radio show had the gall to mention Olbermann’s name on air in March 2006, O’Reilly threatened to turn his personal information over to “Fox security.”

Yesterday, O’Reilly took his rivalry a step further. He sent his top henchman, producer Jesse Watters, to infiltrate the GE shareholders meeting and press executives on why MSNBC has a “leftward political slant”:

But one of those questions came from Jesse Waters [sic], a producer on “The O’Reilly Factor” whose criticisms were cut short when his microphone was cut off, according to several attendees. Waters apparently did not publicly identify himself as a Fox employee. […]

GE pointed out that Waters had Fox News cameras waiting outside the Orlando meeting.

Attendees who spoke to THR said shareholders asked about 10 politically charged questions concerning MSNBC as well as one about CNBC. […]

Thoroughly unhinged? Behavior unbecoming to a purported news station? I should bloody well think so. Remind me to keep a dart gun loaded with horse tranquilizers handy just in case I can bull-bait the bastard into stalking me.

Hm. Wonder what happens when you mix horse tranqs with capsaicin and hit a douchebag producer in a major vein? But I digress…

Bill O’s a complete prick. We all knew that. We also know he runs his show like his own little totalitarian state and usually only has on guests who are slavering sycophants or easily intimidated. It’s nice to see a dissenter with a backbone of steel slip through sometimes:

Newsday columnist Ellis Henican took on Bill O’Reilly last night to talk about President Obama’s decision to leave the door open for prosecutions of Bush administration officials for creating its now-defunct torture regime.

And frankly, he did as well I’ve ever seen anyone do in the canned, no-win setup that is The O’Reilly Factor. He went toe-to-toe with O’Reilly on the factual points — and in fact started scoring so well that O’Reilly was reduced to blurting out increasingly outrageous pronouncements.

Crooks and Liars has the video and the transcript. It’ll warm your heart.