Monday, June 30, 2008

Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain

I was going to write about the deeply depressing ancedotes that the Washington Post has been finding about people who tell lies about Barack Obama.

And I was wondering why isn't there any similar group that tries to smear John McCain in a similar way.

Then I found out there was.

I don't actually agree with such campaigns. I know where anger it is born from, its the same place that people wanted to say John Kerry didn't deserve his Purple Hearts. It's the idea that someone's entire reputation is built on a (believed) foundation of lies, and only YOU know the truth. And if this was John McCain's first run for Senate I would say maybe its something to examine. But the man is 72 years old. Whatever his qualifications for president are, they aren't hinged on what he did for the Navy. Anymore than John Kerry's qualifications for president started and stopped with the idea that he saved Jim Rassmann's life.

I had a professor in U.S. History one time bring in a guest lecturer who for an hour tried to make the case that Newt Gingrich cheated his way to his ph.d. And the lecturer even had a pretty good theory. But in the end I said "So what? He'd not be the first person who didn't deserve his Ph.D." It's not like if you prove he didn't deserve his doctoral degree, you could change history and Gingrich doesn't become Speaker of the House.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging: Al & Lena Cuddling


I realized it's been a while since I posted a joint picture of both Al and Lena together. Unfortunately the Glowing Cat Eye of Evil somewhat ruins the effect of what was a very sweet moment of watching the two of them together.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mike Erickson: Hypocrite For Congress

So imagine you are a Republican candidate for Congress in Oregon, and you decide to run on a strict “morals” platform -- you know the deal, anti-abortion, abstinence-only education, anti-gay marriage. Then an ex-girlfriend turns up and says, you know what, that dude saying he’s against abortion and is god’s gift to babies, well when he and I dated and I got pregnant, he specifically told me he didn’t want to be a parent, so he gave me $300 and drove me to the abortion clinic, but then wouldn’t even go inside to comfort me.

What do you do if the woman can provide medical records and witnesses to back up her account? Do you deny what she said? Claim that you used to be pro-choice but after having an ex-girlfriend go through an abortion you changed your mind?

Or do you baldly lie about the situation, and say things like “I knew her pretty well but not like -- it wasn't my girlfriend -- but it was somebody that I had a relationship with” and “She asked for some money to go have a doctor's appointment -- not knowing what that was -- and whatever happened, happened, I guess. I didn't even know she had an abortion.”

It’s weird watching someone lie as badly as Mike Erickson is attempting to do.

Hat tip to apieceofwork on Feministing’s new community-based blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Richard Cohen: McCain is Better Because He Was Tortured

I guess because I spend a lot of time reading op-eds I always look for the clincher. What is the ultimate point, the real “take-away” from the column the writer wants you to know.

Richard Cohen’s point is that no matter that John McCain has reversed himself on too many issues to count, because he was once tortured it proves he’s got some backbone. (Likewise since Obama hasn’t been tortured, well we just don’t know about the guy...)

But here is the difference between McCain and Obama -- and Obama had better pay attention. McCain is a known commodity. It's not just that he's been around a long time and staked out positions antithetical to those of his Republican base. It's also -- and more important -- that we know his bottom line. As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over. This -- not just his candor and nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express -- is what commends him to so many journalists.
I guess Cohen never read the McCain “the man who once was tortured” also voted to allow the CIA to engage in torture. Then he backed the White House when the White House was pushing the line that waterboarding-wasn’t-torture. He might have said it was “unfortunate” but the fact remains by standing with the White House, he showed where his line in the sand is. Getting elected.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Washington Post Once Again Tries to Divide Women

I really wish I could understand the minds of the editorial page editors of the Washington Post when they picked up this column by Mary C. Curtis of the Charlotte Observer. Ms. Curtis wants to know why aren't feminists defending the sexist treatment of Michelle Obama, and why aren't they over Hillary Clinton.

As a journalist, I have stayed neutral about political candidates. But as an American, I would have been excited about the historic first had Hillary Clinton emerged victorious from the Democratic primary battle. Yet when an African American made a different kind of history, it seems that feminists can't share in the triumph.

They don't have to vote for the husband to defend the wife.

Okay, I get it: Your candidate lost. You're angry.

But frankly, I'm getting a little peeved myself.
You could only write this kind of column if you willfully dismiss all evidence opposing your conclusion.

But really Ms. Curtis is just a prop for the Washington Post to once again try to start a fight between women. After all, why not elevate a writer who doesn't know what she's talking about as a way to lambast "feminists." So what exact was their thinking?

Friday, June 20, 2008

NCMR Photos & Minneapolis

I've been promising for a while to post some photos I took during my trip to Minneapolis for the National Conference for Media Reform. The only conference-specific photo I had is one of the infamous polar bear suit. He was a symbol of the conference, but I'm not quite sure why.

However I did managed to snap some picture of a photographer taking a cover shot for a magazine to be released during the Republican convention. I'm not quite sure what the set up they were going for, but here's how it looked.

The photographer was trying out some poses. Here was on of him taking a photo of another guy taking a photo (while I'm behind him taking a photo.)

Finally I can't resist posting "Big Dog, Little Dog." There is a park next to the convention center and they were having a Bar-B-Que/Blues fest which attracted crowds. I got this one of a chihuahua owner trying to introduce his dog to a sweet-faced Great Dane.

Friday Cat Blogging: Olive Oil And Fur


It's been a while since I've posted a Friday Cat Blogging post, and this week's picture isn't much to look at. The reason is that Al managed to sit on a little dish of olive oil this morning. Here's a closeup of the effected area.
I'm not sure Al even yet knows he's due for a shampoo although I've heard that olive oil is good for making hair really shiney.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Barack Obama's skin is the color of AMERICAN SOIL

Maybe you've heard of a new website that has sprung up to combat the really horrible lies about Barack Obama? But sadly the best way to fight smears isn't to correct them (which involves repeating them) but actually to simply make up a whole bunch of new "facts" to push the smears out of your brain.

Some of you have read Christopher Beam's brilliant Slate piece to that effect. But my friend John Pinsonneault decided it needed to be much more patriotic. He encourages everyone to send this around and continue bumping up the bald eagle quotient. I'm sure Stephen Colbert would agree.

******************************

There are many things RED-BLOODED AMERICANS do not know about BARACK OBAMA. It is every American's SACRED duty to read this message and pass it along to all of their FELLOW PATRIOTS and CHURCH GOERS.

Barack Obama wears a FLAG PIN at all times. Even WHILE SERVING FIVE TOURS OF DUTY IN IRAQ SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Barack Obama says the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE every time he THINKS ABOUT an American flag WHICH IS ALWAYS. He also ends every sentence by saying, "WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL." Click here for video of Obama quietly mouthing the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE while READING THE CONSTITUTION.

A JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILM exists of Michelle Obama saying the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE at a conference on PATRIOTISM.

Every DAY, Barack and Michelle take the daughters OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION HUNTING FOR TERRORISTS.

Barack Obama is a PATRIOTIC AMERICAN. He has one HAND over his TWENTY PURPLE HEARTS at all times. He occasionally switches when one NUCLEAR arm gets tired, which is almost never because he is AS STRONG AS AMERICAN STEEL.

Barack Obama has the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE tattooed on his SIX-PACK ABS. It's upside-down, so he can read it while DOING KEG-STANDS.

There's only one COUNTRY MUSIC artist on Barack Obama's iPod: FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.

Barack Obama is a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN. His favorite book is the BIBLE, which he has PLAYING ON A BOOM BOX NEXT TO HIM AT ALL TIMES. His name means HE WHO LOVES JESUS in the ancient language of THE FREEMASONS. He is PROUD that Jesus was a FOUNDING FATHER.

Barack Obama goes to WALL MART every morning. He goes to WALL MART every afternoon. He goes to WALL MART every evening. He is IN WALL MART RIGHT NOW.

Barack Obama's new AMERICAN BUILT F-15 TOMCAT includes a NASCAR TRACK, a MCDONALDS, and a MEGACHURCH.

Barack Obama's BLOOD is the color of AN AMERICAN FLAG. HE BLEEDS RED, WHITE AND BLUE.

Barack Obama buys AMERICAN STUFF. He owns a FORD FACTORY WHERE HE EMPLOYS OVER 50 MILLION AMERICANS, THE MLB, and ALL OF SILICON VALLEY. He travels mostly by BALD EAGLE.

Barack Obama says that Americans SPREAD GUNS and RELIGION THROUGHOUT THE WORLD because they were INVENTED BY GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friend's Blogs

Occassionally I try to turn the attention of my dozens of readers to friends' blogs and other worthwhile causes.

Today I wanted to point everyone to my friend Dave William's blog Autumn Rain. Dave is the author of the fabulous sci-fi novel Mirrored Heavens, a novel about space-based terrorism. Check it out ya'll.

Monday, June 16, 2008

American Is What We Say It Is, Damn it!

Dan Froomkin's column has just some gems of Bush speak. He's been in Europe the whole week and therefore subjected to journalists questions. And not softball ones either.

Reading Bush always angries up the blood, but this week's column is chokful of Bush's-Theories-of-Americanism.

My (least) favorite snippet. Judge American not by what we do, but what we do.

"My only point to you is, is that yes, I mean, we certainly wish Abu Ghraib hadn't happened, but that should not reflect America. This was the actions of some soldiers. That doesn't show the heart and soul of America. What shows the heart and soul of America is the sacrifice of our troops willing to defend our country and liberate 50 million people, or the generosity of America when it comes to providing money for HIV/AIDS in Africa, or the fact that America feeds more of the hungry in the world than any other country. That's the true America."
America: Our good outweighs those torture pictures, really!

I think if I had the time I could demostrate that every single one of those statments is actually demostrably false in a way. "Liberate 50 million people." From their homes and sense of security maybe. Money for HIV/AIDS, as long as you don't include anything about family planning.

But Bush still won't own up to the fact that Abu Ghraib was actually "gov't" policy. The only part that wasn't was the picture taking.

The Not-For-Women Drugstores

The Washington Post has an article about a new type of pharmacies that refuse to stock any kind of contraception, from condoms, to birth control to emergency contraception. The Post doesn't have any kind of numbers as to how many pharmacies of this type they found, there's clearly one in Chantilly, VA, Gray, LA, and Grand Rapids, Mich, mentioned in the article.

It's all about the wah-wah, poor pharmacists who might have to provide health services to women they disapprove of. (Which have we not been warning people that the disapproval doesn't not stop at abortion...it's your birth control they are after). It's not a religious freedom issue. No one is telling them they have to stock alcohol and skin mags. But to become a pharmacists you undergo more training than to become a sales clerk. You don't get to decide who you want to treat. Individuals (and their religious leaders) do not get to decide what professional standards they should follow. That's why they are licensed.

I'm really concerned about creating this exemption for religious doctors (and medical personnel) who decide they don't want to provide full care for women. Not to mention that the STORES ARE NOT LABELED! The pharmacist the Post interviews clearly say they don't refer anyone to the normal "for everyone" drugstores. So anyone in Chantilly want to track down this place and survey how they handle requests for birth control, verses requests for condoms?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

NCMR Day 2: Greenwald and Fox News

I'll have a fuller update later, but remember how I mentioned that Fox News was around filming for what will likely be a less-than-admirable segment on the conference (on monday, here's a teaser from Bill O'Reilly). Filmmaker Robert Greenwald called them out to the audience!

The panels I attended are swimming in my head. The one I actually want to go back and watch the video of is the FCC panel because I thought it had some of the most concrete information about the upcoming fights in Congress over spectrum. Watch HR 2802 and hope it passes.

The constant praise of "family owned newspapers" like the Seattle Times is grating to me. In 2000 Frank Blethen overode his own editorial board to endorse George W. Bush for president. Why? Because the abolishment of the estate tax is VERY IMPORTANT to the Blethen family. In 2001 I recall a five-day front page series on the Estate Tax which was all about how bad it was for small business owners (like millionaire publishers). The Seattle Times also behaved very differently during the 2001 newspaper strike than did the "corporately owned" Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (I promise to find links to these assertions later...)

For other takes on the day's panels Local MN Blog has a pretty good rundown.

Friday, June 06, 2008

National Conference for Media Reform: Day 1

So I’m writing this from my hotel lobby in Minneapolis where I’m in town for Free Press’s annual conference for Media Reform. This is my first time at the conference (and actually my first non-DC conference) and I’m amazed at the size!

The first panel I attended, Media and Elections: Covering 2008, was in a room large enough to have an entire conference in. One thing that I noticed right off the bat, everyone from participants to panelists are constantly referring to “the media” as if it’s a singular entity that has a brain. As in “the media does this.” During the panel Dave Sirota started to say that we talk about the media in a paternalistic way, which for a moment I thought he was about to talk about the fact that “the media” is not one big clockwork, but closer to saying “the blogosphere” than people might think. I wish Jay Rosen was at the conference so he could explain this in person.

It just concerns me because how can you reform something if you misunderstand the flaws?

At another panel I attended Eric Deggans said “making allegations without backing them up is not good (media) criticism” a point I would love to stress. Complain all you want but gather real facts to back up complaints. I found it interesting that last week Project for Excellence in Journalism released a study of the media that demonstrated that, collectively, they did not treat Hillary Clinton harsher than either McCain or Obama (although coverage between media outlets might differ) but there still persists the sense that “the media” treated Hillary Clinton *worse* than Obama.

Other notes: I saw Fox News filming at the Media Critics panel. Meant to stop and ask them if they were a Fox local or Fox national. Bitch Ph.D apparently figured out they are here to show the conference as full of crazy conspiracy nuts.

Had a wonderful time at the Media Consortium’s mixer (excellent beer and I’m not even a beer drinker). Photos will have to wait until I get home, I left my camera cord at home. (Drat!)