Archive for November, 2009

I agree with this:

Then there’s the Associated Press, putting 11 reporters on the task of “fact checking” her book.  I put the words in quotes because the CJR notes that much of this herculean feat is not checking facts, but quibbling with interpretations or sentimental boilerplate about the hearts and minds of Alaskans.  But the deeper question is how come Palin’s book gets a team of fact checkers, when books by other politicians get the standard gloss?

There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with tearing her down.  And really, guys, if you’ll just back off a little, she’ll do the job for you.  Have you seen that resignation speech?  How about we all act like she’s a former governor and vice presidential candidate, rather than Public Enemy #1?

and this:

Sarah Palin may well have been the worst candidate in presidential/vice presidential history. She was grossly unprepared to discuss national issues. She misrepresented her Alaska career in ways which set new world records.That said, all good pseudo-liberals know what to say when asked about Palin’s vile new book. Palin’s a mean girl, we know we must say, using oddly gender-tinged language even as we complain about Newsweek’s sexist new cover. After that, we feign indignation about Palin’s assaults on the “little people” in McCain’s campaign. In particular, we shed big tears over poor Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace. We boo-hoo about their mistreatment.

Let’s get clear: Salon lets people “fact-check” books they haven’t even seen. They trash the author for “bizarre passages” which they completely misconstrue.

As we’ve noted, Palin was a horrible candidate. In our view, she remains a person with very poor judgment about the nation’s problems. But inside the pseudo-liberal world, this week has brought a set of screeching complaints about all manner of pointless trivia—including complaints by “book reviewers” who haven’t seen the book they’re critiquing!

My complaints are:  the media give her more attention than is warranted (compare with other former vice presidential candidates, for example); and despite the fact that she gives the media plenty of valid things to criticize her about (her policy statements), the media hold her to a completely different standard.    Giving her too much attention and making a victim out of her is not going to help the progressive cause.

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Sky Mall is funny.

On the plane this morning, I saw some great ads.  Examples:

  • New!  Underwater Cell Phone System!  Have you ever wanted to make or receive a phone call underwater?*

*actual quote from the ad

  • Portable Backyard Ice Rink
  • Body Back Buddy
  • The Neckpro Traction Device
  • Personal infrared Sauna
  • Head Spa Massager
  • Attic Tent
  • Standard Size Helmutt House

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Current events

Did you know Sarah Palin has a book coming out and Carrie Prejean has a sex tape?  If you didn’t know that, you must not pay attention to mainstream left-leaning media.  For example, Prejean and Palin occupy significant space on Huffington Post everyday.  On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, not much else is discussed.  Take last Thursday’s show for example (transcript).  Here’s how he starts the show:

Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

…The House Democrat pushing an anti-abortion agenda, threatens the majority who aren‘t, threatens Senate Democrats—as Bart Stupak risks the lives of 44,000 Americans who die each year for want of insurance.

George W. Bush finally found something he may have done wrong: the bank bailout.

That president is surprisingly silent on Afghanistan.  This one insists none of the options his military has given him are satisfactory—demands a new set.Sarah Palin on “Oprah Winfrey,” and here come the tease sound bites—the Katie Couric interview, McCain‘s advisers told her it was a good interview and she should do more, she, of course, knew better.

“Worsts”:  Lou Dobbs says he was the victim of a vast conspiracy—by invisible aliens; a Colorado state senator compares the president to a 9/11 hijacker, and the senator hasn‘t even resigned yet.And the self destruction of Carrie Prejean, part eleventy billion.  The solo sex tape, she was 20 when she made it, says the guy she made it for.  And it was one of many tapes.

Take a look at his list of topics that we might talk about tomorrow.  Some are important, such as Afghanistan and health care reform.  Others are just tabloid stories.

If you go through the transcript, what you’ll see is that he did spend some time talking about each of these issues.  When he talked about health care, he made sure to keep reminding viewers that Palin and Prejean talk was coming up.  He was most excited about the possibility of more than one Prejean sex tape:

And, just as Carrie Prejean announced she regrets silencing herself during the latest interview with liberal bias media trying to silence her –  to say nothing of all of those sex tapes, plural.  OK, I made the last part up.

Carrie Prejean, back on autopilot, appearing in front of another camera, and self-circumscribing her First Amendment rights.

HA HA HA HA.  Get it?  Autopilot?  Camera?  HA HA HA.

And then he had long segments on Palin and Prejean.

Let’s recall that Carrie Prejean was in some beauty pageant and became a target of criticism because of her answer to a question about same sex marriage by judge Perez Hilton (yes, Perez Hilton, which should tell you how seriously to take the competition):

Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.

I don’t have the same opinion as she does, but what she said didn’t offend me in any way.

She’s 22 years old and is not some influential figure on the national scene.  There is no reason to discuss her, ever.  Yet, every night Olbermann mocks her and excites his viewer with bikini pictures and sex tape talk.  Huffington Post can’t get enough of her either.

I understand that making fun of the intelligence of attractive women, while showing them in a bikini or in short-shorts, might increase ratings and web site hits.  Nevertheless, I am disturbed that the most influential left-leaning news web sites and shows give these topics so much attention.

Not to mention that we are engaging in a cultural war when we attack a young, Christian woman on a personal level, just because we don’t agree with her opinion on same sex marriage.   While we sneer at people with less education and/or stronger religious views than us, we fail to make a case for a progressive agenda. As Bob Somerby put it:

We love the idea that we’re the smart ones—although it’s clear that we aren’t. We love the idea that we’re the moral ones—that the other tribe spills with racists. And in part because we love this war, we have been wholly unable, in the past fifty years, to build a case for health care reform. We’re the smart ones, we love to insist—and yet, our latest plan for health reform is melting down into a joke.

(We didn’t see the abortion fight coming! How strange, since we’re so smart!)

We live with a cosmically awful health system—a system characterized by needless deaths and comical levels of looting. But despite our brilliance and our moral grandeur, we can’t figure out how to make voters understand the need for large-scale reform. For fifty years, The Interests have spread their false messaging all around. (European health care is a disaster! They have to wait in lines!) Despite our own acknowledged brilliance, they have beaten us blue in the process.

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Twitter is fun

Here are some recent tweets twitter posts that I liked (I just can’t bring myself to say tweet…we need a better word for twitter posts):
  • the rubber duckie song opened my eyes to bath time fun. before that i would bathe with an angry goose
  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (How about avoiding the comparison altogether.)
  • I honestly can’t remember the politically correct word for “Asian.” Is it “Little People?”
  • Some say the world will end in fire; others say it will end in ice. But the truly pessimistic believe it will go on forever.
  • people blame the financial crisis on financial institutions, just because they both have the same word in them and 1 was caused by the other
  • At what point does the sentiment change so radically between “Have a good day” and “Have a nice life?”
  • There could be a version of Occam’s Razor: always pick the nastiest explanation.
  • I feel pretty lucky. Thousands of people die every day and it’s never me.

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Cable news shows

Thursday evening I turned on Hardball, and I heard Chris Matthews ask the following questions to Richard Haass (President on Council for Foreign Relations):

MATTHEWS:  Whose side are they [Pakistan] on, us or the terrorists?

MATTHEWS:  If tomorrow the Golden Gate Bridge was blown up, the Sears Tower was blown up, the Empire State building was blown up, the Capitol building in the United States was blown up, at the loss of tens of thousands of people dead, would they cheer in the classrooms in Pakistan?

Sigh.  I decided to change the channel.  Crazy Glenn Beck was on.  He was playing connect four, revealing a chalkboard that was hidden behind a curtain*, and saying things that I didn’t understand.

Those are the choices.  A loud mouth who asks absurd, hateful questions, or an emotional, theatrical loud mouth who is somewhat entertaining when he’s saying things like: “is government better at setting prices than people’s salaries?” and “they [the founding fathers] would be proud of the tea party movement” (actual quotes from Thursday’s show).

* on the chalkboard we learned that people in the Obama administration are for things like social justice.  Outrageous!  No wonder he is telling people to take up arms against the government.

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