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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Of Family And Opportunities Not Wasted

I'll preface this post with the following:

Every time I see people within the Modern American Right speak about the need to find a "missing person" ( usually a white female as evidenced by multiple reports from Fox"News" over recent years ) there's a palatable undertone that is eventually coupled with a variety of "issues of the moment" - immigration, minority gangs, religion, media. The later two take center stage in this particular incident.

Malkin goes after NPR and Muslim comedian Maz Jabrini in an attempt to show that the public radio station and Muslims are "attacking her and her family":

If the obscure and has-been comedians who appear on National Public Radio want to mock conservatives and spread left-wing propaganda, they should do it on their own damned dime.

The government-sponsored radio conglomerate broadcasts a weekend show called “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” It leans heavily on laugh tracks to prop up the lame punchlines of the likes of liberal humorist Paula Poundstone and describes its purpose thusly: “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is NPR’s weekly hour-long quiz program. Each week on the radio you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up.”

The “best and brightest” include a Muslim comedian named Maz Jabrani, whom NPR has been promoting as “the face of Middle Eastern humor in America today.”

Judging from his latest bit performed on this weekend’s show, the face of Middle Eastern humor looks a lot like the face of your typical CAIR mouthpiece. Tea Party-bashers Ron Schiller and Vivian Schiller may be gone and the House may have defunded the public radio enterprise, but the conservatives=racist smear narrative is alive and well at NPR.

There are just a few problems with Malkin's claims ( and I'm not just talking about her insistence that it's a "canned laugh track" used in the program - like the one Fox"News" used on their own short lived and teeth gnashingly poor Half Hour News Hour ) about the program. The primary of which is twofold: that this was a direct assault on her family and her missing cousin and the allusion that NPR is primarily funded by taxpayer dollars.

And while Malkin is want to use issues of race, culture, religious background - and just about anything "non-right-wing" about a person to elevate her own ideological failings - what she is missing is that this particular skit on NPR is predicated on the notion that some people are going to fall for a particular story simply based on it's sensational nature. How ironic.

All one has to do is take a listen to the audio provided by NPR ( which Malkin even linked, mind you ) to realize that the story was false, as even the hosts revealed. Jabrini was using the continued notion of "birtherism" - something still rampant within the Modern American Right - in satirical fashion simply because so many people actually believe it.

Does the fact that a member of a person's family is going through a potentially tragic moment in their life mean that the person, like Malkin, in question is now officially immune to criticism? No. But to justify that based on how members of the Modern American Right act wouldn't exactly be fair either.

People like Michelle Malkin don't listen to NPR unless they are provided with a "tip" that there was allegedly something said that could be construed as "inflammatory" towards the Right in America that just might make for a good soundbite or talking point on their particular blog or on a Fox"News" program. That's the reality of how this story - and virtually all stories Malkin and her ilk are formulating regarding NPR - is gaining traction.

And while just about everyone within the Modern American Right will go to bat for Malkin anytime she misinforms, distorts, and fabricates herself, there's even a popular Right Wing blog that can't even get the clear and readily apparent facts straight on Malkin's missing family member.

But this is to be expected, when they are just as much "concerned" with distorting and misinforming about NPR as they are about finding this young woman.

Do I hope that this young woman is found? Of course. But I don't think we should sit idly by while Malkin uses this incident as a stick to beat her ideological opponents with. That, despite what she claims about NPR, is something that is truly disgusting.

EXIT QUESTION: Could NPR or their guests have known about Malkin's cousin prior to the recording of this program? I'm sure that they could have - provided that you work up your material predicated on the fact that you specifically look for information on your subject based solely on a potentially tragic incident involving a "non-immediate" family member.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Questions. Questions That Need Answers.....

I haven't been blogging of late, as I'm working on a screenplay about how the world would look should the Modern American Right actually get their way with everything they claim to desire.

Picture Blade Runner meets Casablanca meets Beyond The Valley of the Dolls.....

I've already got a title:


That should get some attention with some of the Libertarian sychopants in America.

But to the questions:

- Why does the Right hate education?

- Why does the Right hate the ability for people to organize?

- Why does the Right have contempt for minorities?

- Why does the Right have contempt for women?

- Why does the Right have the ability to control the "media message" while claiming there is a "media bias"?

- Why is the Right against "Net Neutrality" and "The Fairness Doctrine" when these are two things they should - based on their continued machinations - be supporters of?

.......and there are more.

What are yours?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Without Words

Attacks against Obama's use of a prompter - cheap.

Seeing one of the Princesses of the Modern American Right unable to recite what are allegedly her "core values" without one - priceless.

Brewer Has Another Lengthy Pause During Speech:

We all know that Obama can speak quite articulately and at length without a prompter on a variety of issues - though the Modern American Right are want to either ignore those moments or attempt to spin them is some desperate fashion - but this is just another instance of where Right Wing icons simply fail without the tools they decry.

Maybe if she had written some notes on her hand then she would have been saved; maybe even gotten some support from Caribou Barbie.

Animal Instinct

From Al Jazeera, we not only get video of the tsunami approaching Japan, but something else.

Listen to the audio at the start of this clip.

Wish I could find the start of this phone conversation, but it's clear that this woman is describing what happened literally moments before the quake hit - the resounding call of birds.

Anyone that says animals are not attuned to the happenings in nature, that they have no connection to the world around them, simply doesn't understand nature.

For Love Of Country

Sure, I'm late to the party on this one, but the systemic impact from this could prove to be a great new talking point for the Modern American Right:

There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them. I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God.

Somebody once said that when we’re young, we seek justice, but as we get older, we seek mercy. There’s something to that, I think. I feel that I’m now 67 I’m a grandfather. I have two wonderful grandchildren. I have two wonderful daughters and two great sons-in-law. Callista and I have a great marriage. I think that I’ve learned an immense amount.

And I do feel, in that sense, that God has given me, has blessed me with an opportunity as a person. Forget about all this political stuff. As a person, I’ve had the opportunity to have a wonderful life, to find myself now, truly enjoying the depths of my life in ways that I never dreamed it was possible to have a life that was that nice.

Because that's all it takes, doesn't it - asking forgiveness from some invisible man in the sky and wrapping it in the America Flag will make even the most scandalous of transgression go away; even from someone as high profile within the Modern American Right as Newt.

It's the new excuse du jour - I love my country so much that I ( insert what would normally be an unpardonable sin in accordance to alleged "standards" of the Modern American Right ) but I sure do love me some Jeebus!

So what happens when the Republican Debates ramp up and Newt has this thrown back in his face? Will that even happen? We've been accustomed to Right Wingers not heavily pressing their own. And if it's Palin that is questioned, then the entirety of the Modern American Right gets all twisted into knots that they don't know how to act. I'd look for the "rules" to change dramatically come May when Republicans gather at the Shrine of St. Ronnie - without Sister Sarah.

Maybe she's going to skip the other debates too because "she loves America and Baby Jesus so much" too?

EXIT QUESTION: I normally leave the "what ifs" to my ideological opponents, but wouldn't it have been great had Clinton used this as his excuse. It certainly would have made for great TV back then but likely would have made Newt's excuse even more preposterous than it already is.

Rush's Race To Use Race - Again

I'll forgo to obvious hypocrisy in Rush complaining about anyone on the political Left calling for "Civil War".

Take a listen to this......

Sure, it's a truncated quote from the show - and I would have loved to have heard the rest of his analogy - but this is part and parcel of whom Rush Limbaugh is: a socio-political virus that feels more than comfortable not only maligning anyone that isn't white but also appropriating the struggles of blacks to gain their Civil Rights in a sad attempt to make him and his ideological kindred equal to those men and women in the 60s South that faced more than just "fire hoses".

Randian Logic

The question that Rand Paul seems to be asking is "why can't my house be a Libertarian Home"?

Talk about smug grandstanding.

But let's get right to the heart of this thing - no one is being forced to by a particular refrigerator, washer and dryer, or light-bulb. That, in point of fact, is preposterous beyond measure. And what makes Paul's continued blatherings all the more ridiculous is that he knows this.

Simply go to any store like Lowes, Home Depot, or even Wal-Mart and you'll see a wide range of products that Paul listed in his meandering and laughable false tirade. There is choice for the consumer, but apparently not enough choice for Paul. Which begs the question - what precisely is he looking for?

And in regards to his claim that it's Ms. Hogan's department is responsible for jobs being shipped overseas, I think that Paul should take a look at the companies making those products rather than castigating someone that has no power to remove American jobs - that's a choice of the company.

What's even more mind-numbing about Rand Paul's belief in relation to his choice of toilet or microwave, or any other appliance is this insistence that people will be "fined" or "jailed" if their receipts for purchases don't pass muster with Ms. Hogan. Where is he getting such a claim?

But back to what Paul is really looking for - a Libertarian Home. Let's follow Paul's "logic" to it's ultimate ends.

Without even the most minimal of "regulations" on specific products, appliances like washers and dryers could pose electrical hazards; dish washers could potentially flood your kitchen; refrigerator compressors could fail and then Rand's milk would spoil. He wants a product that meets his own "standards" with complete disregard for product safety and reliability.

Having purchased all the major appliances that a home requires over the past 5 years, I can safely say that I didn't feel pressured to by a particular brand or style - and I wasn't fined and I didn't go to jail. Actually, only two of my appliances are "Energy Star" rated.

But do I have this all wrong? Am I missing Rand's point? Does he even have one or is this more "I'm about to Go Galt and build my own stove" talk that's designed to do nothing more than sound good his fellow members of the Modern American Right?

Exit Observation: What does he mean his "toilet doesn't work"? Does the Paul home smell of poo? His speech certainly did.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

NPR, O'Keefe, and Complicit Actions

A brief word on what scam artist and criminal James O'Keefe has accomplished - again.

While the Modern American Right crow like Peter Pan on Crystal Meth - complete with a whine-fest from a disgruntled former employee - one thing should be pointed out:

NPR's Board Of Directors are just as much to blame for what is happening right now.

Actually, the remainder of American media fails in this regard as well.

Are they so weak that they can't stand up to the edits and distortions of O'Keefe and his pimp Andrew Breitbart? Apparently not, as this is not the first time they have enjoyed a certain amount of "success".

Let's not kid ourselves - the Southern Strategy is very much alive in America; and the Tea Baggers are more than willing to swallow it whole and parrot it without fear of reprisal - whether it be in "dog-whistle" fashion or in blatant racism. And from what I have seen here in Western Kentucky, it's becoming more and more apparent and unchallenged.

And speaking about that was, from my perspective, the catalyst that gave CEO Vivian and Ron Schiller the boot. But why?

The reason is that the bulk of America media seem to be more than willing to kowtow to Right Wing attacks, seem to be all to eager to not push the stories that they should.

Of course, this isn't to say that they should adopt the same tactics that their Far Right compatriots do, but that they should report and expose what is there, and do it honestly and openly. In that regard, I would say that there should be more "Maddows" on television every night.

But as far as NPR is concerned, I'm guessing that they pushed out Vivian as more of a procedural move, and Ron was on his way out anyway. But the fact remains that NPR has come off as the weaker one in this story. But they shouldn't have - or is this more of an example of how their reporting has morphed. Dave Neiwert takes on this aspect of the story far better than I could.

There's actually a 2-hour unedited video of the Schiller encounter that I am going to watch and blog about that O'Keefe thinks will absolve him of any wrong-doing - as "context" is something that the Modern American Right are struggling with - but I'm guessing that this has more to do with the fact that their original intent of showing how NPR will accept money from The Muslim Brotherhood failed, and that Schiller voiced his "individual opinion" regarding the Tea Baggers........but more on that later.

Make no mistake, this is not "nu-journalism" as much as it is deception dressed up as reality. But then again, NPR fell for it just like the bulk of the media fell for the ACORN distortions. But there is a downfall to this - it doesn't address the real failures of government funding - which is the alleged point of all this O'Keefe/Breitbart hysteria.

At the end of the day, NPR dropped the ball and made themselves look as foolish as O'Keefe and Breitbart intended them to.

When are people going to realize that scams like this are so transparent?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Free Market Ignorance

And I thought people like Fox"News" and the crazies they get some of their best material from were supposed to understand how "choice and competition" work.

Stupid doesn't burn much more than that.

Waiting For An Honest Review

I'm not foolish enough to believe that the modern documentary - save anything done by Ken Burns - isn't purely an ideological point of view. However, any good documentarian has to be able to engage the audience with a balance of factual analysis and an emotional element that will keep them engaged.

Far too many documentaries are predicated on "fear" ( see anything done by Alex Jones ) while some utilize "humor" to the point where you have to ask if the director is actually taking the subject matter seriously enough ( see everything Micheal Moore has done since his days with the television show TV Nation ). And while both have elements of truth to them, a good documentarian will make us dig deeper, to seek out what lies in between the visual lines.

With that as the preamble, I just have to state that I think all these machinations from the modern American Right in regards to Waiting For Superman and how it wasn't nominated for an Academy Award are grounded in nothing more than a poor understanding of what is really wrong with public schools in America and how Documentaries are nominated for the ultimate "golden statue".

The entire thesis of Guggenheim’s film is predicated on the notion that if only every American could send their kids to "charter schools" then everything would be just grand.

But seeing as how the bulk of "charter schools" not only espouse but teach from a very specific and very rigid religious and socio-political point of view, one would think that this would run completely contrary to the modern American Right's claims of being against indoctrination. But one would be wrong.

As far as how and why Guggenheim's film was not nominated, it has all to do with his fellow documentarians and NOT the average Academy Member. Also, there are two rounds of consideration, and "Waiting....." was an early entry into the second round but simply didn't make the final cut. If the Right is really looking for a target, they should talk to someone like Morgan Spurlock, director of "Supersize Me" and one of the newest member of the Academy Documentary Nomination Committee.

But should someone like Spurlock be the real focus of why this Documentary didn't make the final cut, or is Guggenheim's style indicative of a failing to show balance? I would say the later is most certainly the case - and the modern American Right's misappropriation of the material to attack the union members of Wisconsin is a clear example.

No one, and most certainly not me, are claiming that our public schools are perfect - as that would be an unattainable goal. What we have to look at is how we measure that perfection and how we can assure that every school has the same ability to improve infrastructure. And if you think the later doesn't matter then you are fooling yourself. I can virtually guarantee that sending a kid to a school that looks like a condemned housing project and sending one that has modernize equipment are going to produce two very different kids after 8th grade.

But that doesn't leave teachers off the hook - at least not totally. They are there to provide the best available educational process possible, given the material and environment at their disposal. And that is where we finally reach the "collective bargaining" process that the modern American Right are completely against.

Do you really believe that the average public school teacher in America enjoys this lavish lifestyle and a pension that they can live off of exclusively? Not at all, yet that is the false portrait that is being painted. Collective bargaining isn't going to get your the Mercedes and the 5 bedroom home. At best, it gets you a living wage with at least a minimal of guaranteed healthcare coverage.

But to be able to attend that "charter school" in your region, you would already have to be able to afford that Mercedes or that 5 bedroom house for it not to adversely effect your monthly budget.

And this is where we see how class warfare and public education plays a clear role in the arguments from the modern American Right.

You see, it's not such a simple topic to tackle like people are being led to believe it is. And it's not so much of an issue of "waiting for a superhero" to magically make it all better, but an issue of waiting for people to realize that complexities can't be oversimplified.

Pushing The Poll Limits

I've always stated that public opinion polls are nothing more than data manifested from a person's "feelings" on any given issue during any given news cycle. The later is the most prominent factor in this, as the modern cable news outlets are either taping into what is happening in Wisconsin from a pure visceral level or they are blandly reporting on it.

Cable news programs hosted by the likes of O'Donnell, Maddow, Schultz, Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly are all opinion programs - Well, the first three will state without equivocation that they are opinion programs - but the fact still remains that a lot of people base their standpoints on another person's opinion. What I would have like to have seen from the NYT/CBS sample data regarding Unions in America is where they get their news from - particularly the MSNBC/Fox"News" split.

Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air tries to crunch the numbers:

First, the partisan split in the sample gave a ten-point advantage to Democrats. Their sample for this poll had a D/R/I split of 36/26/31, an absurd sample for political polling. In December, Rasmussen’s general-population survey put Republicans ahead, 36.0% to 34.7% for Democrats.

I'm trying to figure out why Morrissey considers this an "absurd" sample, as the modern American Right have been claiming that the "independent" voter in America is against things like public sector unions. By their own metric, the NYT/CBS poll looked at responses from a larger Independent set than Republican; and only 5 percentage points separate the I's from the D's. Moreover, since the modern American Right insists that "independents" vote largely along the same lines at Republicans, this actually puts the Democrats at a 21% disadvantage.

But then again, I'm just going by what people like Morrissey have been claiming.

While Ed does go on to harp about the percentage of Union employees that were polled, there's some data that he is ignoring; chief of which is as follows:

- A majority of those polled claim their political alignment to be more Moderate or Conservative.

- A majority are not supporters of the Tea Bagger movement while approximately an average of 17% claim no affiliation or opinions of the group.

- The split between the lower and upper age ranges are negligible, as is household income and highest educational level earned.

But Morrissey's final statement at least hints that he knows he just splitting hairs with this one:

The gaps in the results are wide enough that these issues by themselves might not have swung them to the opposite. However, at least the magnitude of the results can certainly be questioned in a poll this flawed.

Flawed in the sense that he isn't being given what he expected? I would largely say yes, as Morrissey is want to denounce any poll that isn't conducted by Rassmussen - who only polls "likely voters" and uses a methodology that only contacts people with "land line" service. Talk about flawed.

But the larger point goes back to the fact that a poll is never going to show you precisely how a person is going to act, simply how they feel at that particular moment in time based off the way they process the information they have available to them, which is primarily from Cable news outlets.

And speaking of ridiculous polls being pushed by the modern American Right, check this out. It's touted as the "real Tea Party Straw Poll".

The Playlist Of Doom

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