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Friday Talking Points [159] -- Firing Up The Base

[ Posted Friday, March 18th, 2011 – 17:22 PDT ]

Normally, I begin these articles with a few words on the most amusing idiocies of the week, served up by both the political world and the media universe. This week, however, we have two very serious subjects to tackle (although I will slip a little media-bashing in at the end, I promise) -- our next war, and the nuclear crisis in Japan.

It looks like we're about to enter our next war, which could begin literally at any moment (the bombs have not yet begun to fall, as I write this). We're already militarily involved with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, so Libya will actually be the fifth country America's military will be engaged with. Whether this will turn out to be a good idea or not is an open question, but within the next day or so we'll be patrolling the "no-fly" zone, with United Nations approval. The media, of course, will go along for the ride. There's nothing like some video of cruise missiles launching and fighters taking off from an aircraft carrier to boost ratings, right?

If I sound a bit pessimistic, well, I apologize. I've previously come out against the idea of the no-fly zone, for two main reasons: it is open-ended, and it might not achieve the main objective. I'm now a little more optimistic on the latter, since the U.N. resolution goes farther than just declaring a no-fly zone, it actually seems to authorize attacking the Libyan ground forces from the air. This means it may be more effective at providing a safe haven for the rebels than simply barring Libyan aircraft from the skies.

The open-ended nature of the no-fly zone still worries me, though. Not because it would be particularly difficult to smash Ghaddafi's air force to smithereens, but because it is going to tie up American military assets at a time when they are already stretched pretty thin, and at a time when they might be needed elsewhere quickly. But I've really said most of all that before, so I'll just note my misgivings and move on to the other big story of the day.

One week ago, Japan was hit with a multi-layered tragedy of almost unimaginable proportions. The country was shaken by the largest earthquake they've ever had -- a stunning 9.0 on the Richter scale -- and then hit by the first tsunami to be accurately and extensively recorded on camera. The images and video of the wall of water were truly sobering. Sure, we've all seen Hollywood movie versions of natural disasters many times before, but this was reality -- real people were dying down there, by the thousands. As I said, sobering.

The quake and the tsunami dominated the news for the first few days, but soon the focus shifted to the ongoing nuclear power plant crisis. This is where the vapid and shallow nature of the mainstream media came shining through in all its ugly glory. American "journalists" have the science I.Q. of your average meatloaf, apparently. And even though they've had four or five days to brush up on some facts, they are still on television every night, failing miserably to communicate what exactly is going on, what exactly the dangers are, and what exactly is being done about them. The only ones who seem to be able to speak intelligently about the situation are on (no surprise) public television -- which is ironic, considering the Republican attempt to de-fund public broadcasting.

Here's a quick test for whether you are being fed speculation and fluff, or whether you are being told real information: Are there numbers involved? If so, then thank a scientist (and the editor or producer who allows such science on the air, I guess).

In other words, I'm getting a little tired of yelling at my television screen: "WHERE are the freakin' NUMBERS?!?"

Because I am addressing the blow-dried "journalist" segment of the population here, I will use small words. You see, there is this thing called "science." What science does, it measures stuff. It puts numbers on things, usually using a scale so that comparisons can be made. Nuclear power is, actually, part of this "science" stuff. Radiation is, actually, measurable. Your viewers would benefit if you started communicating these measurements on the air.

Sigh.

The Japanese media, from what I can tell, are indeed providing this information to their public. Japanese journalists are, apparently, smarter than your average American journalist, and can handle the concept of measuring things, and numbers.

In America, the only number the "journalists" have grasped is the single-digit scale of how bad the accident is. Initially the accident was called a "4" on a scale that goes up to "7." Now, they're calling it a "5," but the anchors are much more interested in determining whether it is "worse than Three Mile Island, or even Chernobyl" than they are in actually quantifying the danger in Japan.

There are a number of different measurements which could be used. The old (pre-metric system) measurement of the dosage of nuclear radiation for humans was the "rem." This has been updated to the metric "Sievert." Japanese media report the radiation danger using "millisieverts" (1/1,000th of a Sievert) and "microsieverts" (1/1,000,000th of a Sievert) per hour. These numbers can easily be compared to normal background radiation (which we all get a dose of every day), and the tried-and-true "chest X-ray" example ("the equivalent of two chest X-rays"). It takes about ten seconds to explain the concept -- ten seconds the American media has so far not spent.

The raw radioactivity could be measured another way, in "curies" (or millicuries, etc.). Either way, using numbers gives people a way to compare the situation, day-to-day, and can be used to calm worries about how much radiation has been picked up by the winds and is now hitting the West Coast of America.

To date, the only numbers I have seen from the American media have come from PBS' NewsHour. Every single other media outlet I have seen has been content to use such non-specific terms as "there are high levels of radiation near the plant" or "low levels of radiation have been measured in Tokyo."

Which is why I'm going to end this introduction with a plea, to the American mainstream media: Please, please, for the love of intelligent conversation about real data, please report the numbers. Pretty please?

Oh, and someone needs to remind you folks of one other important issue: the word "fallout" has a very specific meaning, when talking about radiation in the atmosphere. Very specific. It is not a generic word, when speaking of nuclear explosions. Please stop using it generically, because your casual use of the term is freaking me out. Dig into the archives -- back into about the 1950s -- and read up on what the definition of "fallout" actually is in these situations. Please.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Democrats, as I noted earlier in the week, are actually playing a bit of political offense these days, although it remains to be seen if any of it will bear legislative fruit any time soon.

Before we get to that, though, there were two people who deserve an Honorable Mention this week. The first was President Obama, for two very personal appearances. The first was a surprise visit to pay his respects to the last World War I veteran, who died recently and was lying in honor at Arlington National Cemetery. For some unfathomable reason, Congress did not allow Corporal Frank Buckles the honor of lying under the Capitol Rotunda, but this slight was ameliorated somewhat by the president personally paying his respects to the last survivor of a brutal war. Later in the week, Obama personally visited the Japanese embassy to sign a condolence book for the victims of the multiple disasters. Both of these were purely symbolic gestures, but symbolism has a place in both military honor and diplomacy. Obama, by not sending an underling, showed great respect to Buckles and to Japan.

Also deserving of an Honorable Mention was Representative Bruce Braley, who chairs the Populist Caucus in the House, for voting against adjourning Congress for yet another week-long vacation. From his press release:

"We can't go home; we've got work to do. We have a responsibility to pass a real budget and create jobs. After three months in power, we have yet to see a single job-creating bill come to the House floor under the Republican majority -- instead, they've offered a spending bill that kills 700,000 jobs. This is no time to go home and put off our work for another week."

Couldn't agree more myself.

But the real winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award is Representative Jan Schakowsky, who sponsored a bill to levy a surtax on millionaires this week. This idea has the support of over eighty percent of the public, and it's about damn time some bold Democrat stepped up and created a bill to tax the uber-wealthy. Chances for passage are uncertain (to say the least), in a Republican-led House. But that doesn't mean the effort shouldn't be attempted.

For proposing what "The American Public" truly wants from Washington, and for boldly laying out how we could cut the deficit by almost $100 billion each and every year in one swift stroke, Representative Schakowsky has earned the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. More power to her, and more power to her bill!

[Congratulate Representative Jan Schakowsky on her House contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Not all bills being proposed by Democrats are good ones this week, however. Senators Jon Tester and Ben Nelson are coming down solidly on the side of the banks, rather than the consumer. They're fighting to keep debit card "swipe fees" as high as humanly possible, rather than allowing the law which limits them to 12 cents or less to take effect.

With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans? Sigh.

But Tester and Nelson only qualified for a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week, because once again there was an obscure story with odious overtones which muscled every other disappointing Democrat aside this week. The Detroit Free Press tells the story of two Michigan Democrats (county-level party officials, no less) who are being charged with felonies for their dirty tricks:

The indictment alleges that the pair attempted to place two county commission candidates, Aaron W. Tyler and Ruth Ann Spearman, and a state senate candidate, Johnathan M. Young, on the ballot without the candidates' knowledge. The two men forged the signatures on the affidavit of identity and falsely swore under oath to qualify them to run, the indictment says.

The two men charged -- former Oakland County party chairman Michael McGuinness and former county operations director Jason Bauer -- put fake "Tea Party" candidates on the ballot to split the Republican vote in an election. This is not only despicable, it is also illegal. And deeply disappointing.

For their "dirty tricks" campaign, this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award goes out to both Michael McGuinness and Jason Bauer. For shame, guys, for shame.

[I could not find current contact information for either of these Democrats. If anyone has their contact info, please post it in the comments.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 159 (3/18/11)

A story has been floating around inside the Beltway for a few weeks now, most recently in the Huffington Post, who ran it with the headline "Obama Team Looks For New Ways To Fire Up President's Base." The re-election team is, apparently, just waking up to the fact that Obama has a wee bit of a problem with his base voters.

But there are two opposing ways to read Obama's problem with his base -- that the problem is overstated, and that the problem is understated. How you read it really depends on your own feelings about President Obama. While what the White House famously called "the professional Left" is disillusioned and disappointed with the president, in extremely strong terms at times, the actual fact is that most Democratic voters think he's doing OK. Polling shows that Obama's approval rating among Democrats has declined slightly over the past two years, but it is still extremely high.

Meaning that Obama's problem with his base isn't as bad as it may seem. On the other hand, his problem with the most politically active Democrats is probably worse than it may seem. Feelings run deep on Obama's betrayal of some key campaign promises, and many on the Left have all but given up on Obama following through (and not endlessly compromising) on some of his stated principles.

While Obama may be able to turn out the voters in 2012, his real problem is that the most committed and politically active Democrats -- the ones he has the deepest problem with -- are also the ones who form the rank and file of a political campaign. The people who knock on doors, make phone calls, and do all the other donkeywork (pun intended) of a political campaign are the very ones who may have given up on Obama.

Meaning Obama's going to have to get some other people excited about the prospects of re-electing him president, or he's going to have to get some people to change their minds about him.

Today, instead of our usual talking points (where we offer up suggestions for how Democrats should frame these issues), we're going to have a special talking points list just for President Obama. If his re-election team really is worried about his base, then they should take a moment and listen to the specific problems the base has with Obama.

I'm going to attempt to give voice to a few of the problems Obama faces within the Democratic Party, here. The first six items in today's list give voice to some Democratic groups, as if they were sitting down with Obama for a heart-to-heart. These aren't the only issues out there, I should mention, just the first six that came to mind. And then, just to be fair, the last item will be Obama's response to one Democratic faction in particular. I felt Obama, in this fictional conversation, should at least have a chance to push back a little.

Without further delay, here is a list tailor-made for the White House to work on, if Obama is truly interested in firing up his base once again.

 

1
   Stop insulting us

We'll begin on a generic level, with a complaint that really should be addressed. This is one of those things that Obama could do in about ten seconds -- without requiring Congress or anyone else to do anything.

"Mister President, allow me to speak for the Left. I have no authority to do so, since 'the Left' is not exactly an organization which clasps hierarchy to its breast. To be quite honest, the Left is closer to the Will Rogers maxim ('I'm a member of no organized political party. I am a Democrat.') than it likes to admit, at least publicly. But, putting all of that aside, I have to say, if you're looking to excite your base over the prospects of your re-election, the best thing you've so far done is to send Rahm Emanuel back to Chicago. Let the Windy City bask in the heat of 'Rahmbo' for awhile, and free yourself from his insidious influence. Is it complete coincidence that ever since Rahm exited the West Wing, the steady stream of insults hurled at the Left have all but ceased? I think not. Speaking for the Left, we're used to being disappointed. We're used to being disillusioned, even. We're used to our hopes and dreams being dashed on the hard, cold rocks of what is politically possible in Washington, D.C. But what is inexcusable and completely uncalled for is the gratuitous and reflexive insults which have issued forth from your White House Chief of Staff for the first two years of your term, under Rahm's leadership. From being labeled 'fucking retards' to all the other demeaning language from the White House, we have had to put up with this abuse ever since you got elected. And now you wish us to rally behind you? Seriously? Well, I can tell you, the first thing you've got to do to repair the breach with the Left (who marched countless miles to get you elected) is to swear that the era of insulting us is over forever. That's all you have to do -- just swear to us that if you earn another four years, that not once in that time will you compare the Left to the mentally-challenged, or hurl any other playground-level insult. If you can't manage even that, then why should anyone vote for you?"

 

2
   Tax the millionaires

Did I mention that 81 percent of the public agree with this idea?

"Mister President, allow me to address what you should do to position yourself in the best possible stance you could take, when considering the 2012 political landscape. I can sum it up in three quick words: tax the millionaires. You have already set up this fight for 2012, with the deal you cut with Republicans last December, so you're already cognizant of the implications, I assume. As recent polling shows, the idea of imposing a surtax on millionaires is the most popular idea among the public to reduce the deficit -- to the tune of over eighty percent! Getting behind this issue and pushing it hard in the upcoming campaign would go a long way towards regaining some of that 'populist' flavor that your first campaign had, don't you think?"

 

3
   Put on your comfortable shoes

Obama's missing an opportunity right now to fire up one large and important segment of his base. He really needs to address this, and soon.

"Mister President, we're waiting for you to put on your 'comfortable shoes' and stand shoulder to shoulder with some Union members. A real battle is being fought in the very Midwestern states you're going to need to push you across the finish line next year. Unions are under attack. And Union members are not only a large part of the traditional Democratic base, they are also probably the most organized segment of that base. If you want to inspire thousands of people to volunteer for your campaign next year, the easiest thing you could do would be to offer up some very vocal support of the Unions, right about now. We were disappointed that the Employee Free Choice Act wasn't passed when Democrats controlled Congress, but now we are under siege by Republicans at the state level. You can win us back -- but you've got to start speaking out for Labor and the core principles of the Democratic Party, loudly and often."

 

4
   Why so silent on women's issues?

A lot of women's votes got Barack Obama elected the last time around. The time has come for Obama to earn those votes again. Because Republicans are trying to dismantle women's rights in any way they can.

"Mister President, women's rights in this country are being targeted by Republicans at the state level and at the federal level. And yet we have not heard your voice on the subject, yet. When are you going to start fighting for Planned Parenthood funding, and against all of the insidious ways Republicans are chipping away at abortion rights? There is certainly no lack of these attacks on a woman's right to choose right now. We appreciated the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay law, but that was quite a while ago. Take a look around at what Republicans are proposing right now, and you'll soon see how fierce this attack is. Women's' rights are a key plank in the Democratic Party's platform. With two daughters, this should be a natural issue for you to champion. In the last election, you said you'd be in our corner. So why haven't you spoken out on the issue yet? Why should we work to give you a second term if you are not there when we need you to be?"

 

5
   Main Street versus Wall Street

This one is quite likely the best thing Obama could be fighting the good fight on. It would certainly excite the Democratic base, that's for sure.

"Mister President, why are you not giving Elizabeth Warren more support? The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the best ideas to make it into law during your term, and you hired exactly the right person to set it up. But the agency is already under attack by Republicans in Congress who never wanted to see it set up in the first place. They're trying everything they can think of to strip the C.F.P.B. of its power and its budget. This is one of the best issues you've got going forward, because the lines are so clearly drawn. On the one side is Elizabeth Warren, fighting hard for Main Street and the consumers of America. On the other side is Wall Street, trying to kill this agency before it even gets going. You could not design a better populist issue if you tried. It's clear-cut, and it is great politics for you -- because there are far more American consumers than there are bankers on Wall Street. You should be trumpeting the work that Elizabeth Warren is doing every single chance you get -- and, by doing so, define the Republicans as the 'party of Wall Street.' This should really be a no-brainer, Sir."

 

6
   End the wars

This one kind of covers two subjects. Or, more accurately, one subject and one Democratic group. They may not be as interrelated as I make it seem, but then I'm running out of talking points, so that's just the way it got written.

"Mister President, you may have lost the brigades of youth who volunteered for your last campaign. These young adults were starry-eyed at your prospects, and a large number of them who worked very hard for you feel extremely betrayed, on a wide number of issues -- such your handling of America's wars and our national security, for example. You may not get these young people back, I'm sorry to say. But most young adults go through a 'disillusionment' phase politically. It's actually pretty natural and ordinary. Luckily for you, America's youth will have grown four years during your next election, and a whole raft of new college students will take their place, demographically. Your challenge is to excite those people who were in middle school and high school during your last campaign, because they are the ones who will now be old enough to cast their first votes. It's going to be more of a challenge to get this new wave of young Americans excited about electing you than it was last time around, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. For starters, you can stick to the timetable and pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of this year, and start winding up the mess in Afghanistan this summer. That would certainly help your prospects with America's youth."

 

7
   One group who should be enthusiastic

As I write this, I'm picturing President Obama sitting and taking it all in. But, in my mental image, when I got to one group of Democratic Party regulars, my fictional Obama leapt out of his chair and had something to say. Because he's right -- one group of Democrats have gotten an enormous amount of their agenda made into reality during Obama's term. At times, they have been very vocal about the pace of such change, but they've gotten more accomplished than pretty much any other Democratic group, so I had to let my fictional Obama rant on.

"Gay rights people? You're still upset with me? Come on! I mean, really! All these other Democratic groups have a legitimate beef with me, take a look if you don't believe me.... But seriously, I promised to be a 'fierce advocate' for your rights, and it's about the best follow-through I've done on any of my campaign promises to a Democratic group. Sure, you guys and gals weren't exactly ready to trust me when I came into office, because I expressed my own personal reservations about gay marriage, but ever since then, you guys have made out like bandits compared to the rest of the Democratic base. I mean, I know I moved too slowly for a lot of you in the first year or so of my term, but since then I've managed to push through the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' -- over the objections of a lot of Democratic faithful, who didn't want to see me cut a tax deal with the Republicans -- and now my Justice Department has declined to defend a major part of the 'Defense Of Marriage Act' in federal court. I've even admitted in public -- which cost me, politically, for backtracking -- that my views on gay marriage were 'evolving.' So what more, exactly, do you want from me? I mean, if you people aren't fired up and ready to help my campaign, who the heck should I expect to be? I have done more in the past two years to help gay rights than any other president in American history. And by orders of magnitude -- not just by some sort of small increments. So I really would like to see all of you gay rights advocates out there enthusiastically helping me to get re-elected, because you folks have gained more items on your personal agenda than any other faction of the Democratic Party. So, who's with me?... "

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

42 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [159] -- Firing Up The Base”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    American "journalists" have the science I.Q. of your average meatloaf, apparently.

    That's an insult to Meatloaf... :D

    For their "dirty tricks" campaign, this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award goes out to both Michael McGuinness and Jason Bauer. For shame, guys, for shame.

    Ha!! :D

    [I could not find current contact information for either of these Democrats. If anyone has their contact info, please post it in the comments.]


    Michael McGuinness
    Jason Bauer
    C/O Andrew C. Baird Detention Facility
    Wayne County Jail
    570 Clinton St
    Detroit, MI 48226

    :D

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Between you and me, and the four walls, I hope this FTP edition won't find its way to the Huffington Post because I'm quite sure I couldn't possibly bear to read the comments section.

    There, just had to say that.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    The media coverage of the nuclear crisis in Japan has, indeed, been nothing short of dismal. In fact, dismal - with respect to this issue, at least - has been given whole new meaning at CNN where the singular preoccupation of Anderson Cooper et al. has been a wholly cynical view of how the Japanese government and IAEA and everyone else involved, including the brave workers at the nuclear plant itself, have been handling this disaster ... all under the guise of "keeping them honest".

    I guess I shouldn't be too surprised about this since cynicism runs rampant across all political issues these days including, it seems, through the early stages of the campaign to re-elect POTUS.

    Personally, I have had about all the cyncisism I can deal with for the time being.

  4. [4] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Chris-
    I have a cousin in California who keeps posting radiation warnings to Facebook. I'm sure she's bought several bottles of potassium iodide at exorbitant prices because somewhere she's read that this might protect her.

    What's interesting to me is the lack of trust - deservedly so - in the media. When almost everything printed is designed to grab attention, rather than provide useful information to the public, people don't know who to turn to for reliable reports.

    One of the few decent reports I heard was on NPR this morning. They talked about safety designs and new reactor designs w/ passive cooling systems (ones that could run for days w/o electricity) and how if we could bring these online, we could retire older plants.

    Unfortunately, we'll probably be sticking w/ the older plants because, amidst all the hysteria, the new designs will be put on hold.

    In a slight change of subject, I do think it's a shame that one of the few genuine news outlets (NPR) is being attacked by Republicans as "liberal". My question is, if its so liberal, how come conservatives don't just play some clips to prove their point? Have any of them ever listened to NPR?

    Towards protecting the few meager crumbs the government sends towards public broadcasting, I'd suggest the line: Wall Street vs. Sesame Street

    -David

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    My question is, if its so liberal, how come conservatives don't just play some clips to prove their point? Have any of them ever listened to NPR?

    Seriously??

    You don't recall seeing all of the examples of NPR liberal??

    Hell one of their own on air segments was on exactly how everyone at NPR is a liberal...

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's like saying there is no evidence that Fox News is conservative... :D

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    You don't recall seeing all of the examples of NPR liberal?

    Can you cite any?

    If conservatives had any actual evidence of "bias", it would be everywhere. I don't think they do.

    Seriously ...
    -David

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can you cite any?

    Firing Juan Williams for expressing an opinion...

    NPR Executive Schiller expressing his opinions on Tea Party.

    Nina Totenberg's On Air comments about Jesse Helms and Juan Williams..

    You and I both know that if you were to somehow poll the political orientation of everybody in the NPR news organization and at all of the member stations, you would find an overwhelmingly progressive, liberal crowd, not uniformly, but overwhelmingly.
    -Bob Garfield, This American Life, NPR

    Shall I go on?? :D

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Firing Juan Williams for expressing an opinion...

    That should read:

    Firing Juan Williams for expressing an opinion on Fox News...

    My bust.. :D

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Kevin wrote:

    A great piece on the Libyan problem and politician's military ignorance.

    http://www.stonekettle.com/

    This fellow makes some great points.

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Let's not forget that a high level NPR executive stated that NPR would "probably be better off without federal funding.."

    So, why cap on the GOP for pushing exactly what NPR wants??? :D

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    #8

    "Mr. President, I know you're an educated man, and that even with all your responsibilities you sometimes take the time to read. So please, do the 7 million teachers in this country the kindness of actually reading a substantial amount of education research.

    "Read about the proven effectiveness of improved Pre-K and community services. Read about the proven effectiveness of smaller class sizes. Read about the proven benefits of community support services, school nurses, nutrition and libraries.

    "Read about the benefits of choosing educational leaders, superintendents (and for that matter secretaries of education) who were themselves decorated teachers, not corporate CEO's, politicians or relative newcomers to the field of education.

    "Read about the unreliability and hidden costs of high-stakes standardized testing. Read about the fraud, abuse and low success rates that most frequently characterize the privatization and deregulation of schools. Only 17% of charters do better than their neighboring public schools, while 37% do worse. Yet this is the trend you seem to be fighting to increase.

    "Read what thousands of teachers have to say about NCLB, Race To The Top and your own comments regarding Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. The trouble with having a base that consists largely of professionals, is that professionals read. Professionals learn what you are doing, and professionals have the capacity to compare your words and actions now with your words and actions two years ago. We remember your criticism of NCLB policies that "alienated teachers and principals instead of inspiring them." Talk to fifty random teachers in our country, and ask them which they feel more right now, alienated or inspired.

    "Then apologize to the nation's 7 million teachers and promise to change course, away from the further enshrinement of high stakes standardized testing, and toward strategies that have actually proven over years of research to be effective."

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    In short, a president worth supporting does not respond to a "Sputnik moment" by building Challenger.
    [/rant]

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Obama is going to war...

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/libya-international-military-coalition-launch-assault-gadhafi-forces/story?id=13174246

    I have to admit.. I am surprised..

    I never thought Obama would actually commit forces...

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [1] -

    Hey, I like Meatloaf! "Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money" is hilarious, not to mention "Paradise By The Dashboard Light"!

    Heh.

    And yeah, I probably would have seen it anyway, but you did bring the Michigan Dems to my attention, so credit where credit is due...

    Liz and akadjian -

    What I wonder with the Japanese plant is why there was no "backup of the backup of the backup" system for when the power dies. All they would need, to my mind, is a few extra pipe fittings, so the core's water could be easily pumped by an external source (like a fire truck). Maybe this is a "20/20 hindsight" sort of observation, but it really wouldn't have been that hard to add to the design, would it?

    Kevin -

    That is a pretty good article. Especially the points about the testimony. Politics and war are a dangerous mix...

    nypoet22 -

    Excellent TP#8. Just had to say that.

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hey, I like Meatloaf! "Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money" is hilarious, not to mention "Paradise By The Dashboard Light"!

    Yer preaching to the choir on THAT point! :D I grew up with Meatloaf. PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHTS, TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD, LIFE IS A LEMON (AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK), FOR CRYING OUT LOUD are all classics..

    Add to that his recent stuff, I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE, BUT I WON'T DO THAT and ROCK AND ROLL DREAMS COME THRU (the video featured a very young Angelina Jolie in one of her first videos)

    Have you seen him recently?? WOW... What a difference.. :D

    And yeah, I probably would have seen it anyway, but you did bring the Michigan Dems to my attention, so credit where credit is due...

    And I also gave you their Contact Info.. :D hehehehehehehe

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    In short, a president worth supporting does not respond to a "Sputnik moment" by building Challenger.
    [/rant]

    OUCH....

    NYpoet... You shouldn't bottle it all up in side..

    Tell us how you REALLY feel..... :D

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Can you cite any?

    Michale, you still haven't shown any on-air examples of NPR pushing a liberal opinion.

    Is it because there aren't any?

    All your examples show is that there are "liberals" at NPR.

    NPR presents different sides of issues. Sometimes I think they go out of their way to try an bring conservatives on the show.

    Fox will have liberals on but they work very hard to make sure that the conservatives win. Its rigged. You know who's going to win right from the start. Think Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes. Colmes role was never to win.

    Seriously, you should listen to a little NPR.

    There's no liberal bias. Give it a chance before making up your mind!

    -David

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, you still haven't shown any on-air examples of NPR pushing a liberal opinion.

    Yes, I did..

    Nina Totenberg...

    Can you show me any examples of FNC pushing a conservative opinion?? :D

    Fox will have liberals on but they work very hard to make sure that the conservatives win. Its rigged.

    And you can prove this??

    I actually have listened to NPR.. Not recently, but I have..

    Enough to confirm that NPR is the mirror image of FNC except without the wild and undisputed popularity... :D

    Michale...

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    You have to ask yourself, David.

    If NPR is not a liberal news organization, why was Juan Williams fired and Nina Totenberg still has a job?

    Why did a high executive of NPR say all the things he was recorded as saying??

    Or is it your position that a news organization can be completely made up, "overwhelmingly" made up of liberals, but yet NOT have a liberal bent??

    Michale......

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the Libya subject...

    It IS going to be interesting to see how the enemies of the US spin this latest campaign...

    The US is at war with 3 Muslim countries...

    No matter how you slice it, that looks bad...

    Michale....

  22. [22] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Or is it your position that a news organization can be completely made up, "overwhelmingly" made up of liberals, but yet NOT have a liberal bent?

    That's certainly what the evidence seems to suggest. Unless you can show me some examples of NPR pushing liberal positions.

    Remember, Michale. Liberals encourage lots of viewpoints. Its part of what makes us liberal. We're the original fair and balanced :).

    Conservatives (and I'm not including you here because a) I consider you an independent and b) you don't fit the bill) but rather many Rush Limbaugh-type conservatives I know seem to be more close-minded.

    -David

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's certainly what the evidence seems to suggest. Unless you can show me some examples of NPR pushing liberal positions.

    So then, consequently, you must believe that that a news organization can be "overwhelmingly" made up of conservatives, but not have a conservative bent. :D

    Remember, Michale. Liberals encourage lots of viewpoints. Its part of what makes us liberal. We're the original fair and balanced :).

    And yet there are "liberals" like Cesca, Osborne, Paula, etc etc etc who are as violent and as nasty in defense of THEIR ideology as the Hysterical Right is of the conservative ideology...

    Don't get me wrong. If we had been having this discussion, say 20-30 years ago, I would have agreed with you unequivocally..

    But I see no open-mindedness in today's "liberals".. I see no encouragement of "lots of viewpoints" with liberals like Marsh, Osborne, Cesca, Paula, etc etc. Their idea of "lots of viewpoints" is trying to determine whether Bush is a moron or an idiot.. They are very low brow..

    And, sad as it is to say, those people I mentioned ARE, quintessentially, today's liberals..

    Our time, the time of TRUE open-mindedness, has past, my friend...

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting...

    There is a call for Impeachment of President Obama for his "illegal" Libya actions...

    Ironically enough, the call for Impeachment comes from a Democrat..

    How ironic is THAT, eh? :D

    Seriously, there does seem to be a pretty good case shaping up. Congress didn't authorize any Use Of Force.

    It seems that the United States is taking orders from the United Nations.

    "Oh, how the mighty have fallen."
    -Guinan, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, Deja Q

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    So then, consequently, you must believe that that a news organization can be "overwhelmingly" made up of conservatives, but not have a conservative bent. :D

    What I believe is that you judge the content of the news by the news.

    And, sad as it is to say, those people I mentioned ARE, quintessentially, today's liberals.

    I'm not going to get into the "back and forth" with you, Michale. You can go off on liberals if you want, but we all know what that discussion looks like.

    You can't control what others do, Michale. Only yourself.

    Cheers
    -David

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    What I believe is that you judge the content of the news by the news.

    Fair enough..

    So, why is Fox News Right biased and NPR is not biased at all??

    Looking at their respective (foxnews.com and npr.com) websites, it seems each simply reports the news...

    Now, if you want to talk OPINION shows, then I can see why you could claim that FNC is Right biased. But, if we ARE talking opinion shows, then NPR is clearly Left biased...

    I think the problem the Left has is that they want to point to FNC's opinion line up and use THAT as "evidence" that Fox NEWS is Right Biased..

    But the Left doesn't want that applied to NPR or other Left biased media outlets...

    You can't control what others do, Michale. Only yourself.

    True... I can't control what others do..

    But I CAN call BS on their claim of being a "liberal" when their actions clearly indicate that they are not...

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Allow me to clarify..

    In {22} you appear to indicate that being close-minded is a conservative trait..

    My subsequent response disputes this and gives examples of alleged liberals who are also extremely close-minded..

    So, maybe being close-minded is not a conservative trait but rather a trait of a political ideologue or zealot. A trait that knows no Leftist or Rightist boundaries.....

    Just a thought...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    At least we might get Charlie Sheen back on TWO HALF MEN... :D

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/03/exclusive-cbs-wants-charlie-sheen-back

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    And the hits just keep on coming...

    PAPER: 'Kill team' in Afghanistan posed for photos with murdered civilians...
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368314/German-newspaper-publishes-suppressed-photos-U-S-soldiers-posing-partially-naked-Afghan-corpse.html

    Since the Left blamed Bush for Abu Ghraib, one has to wonder if the Left will blame Obama for this...

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw @michale,

    thanks for the feedback. i do get carried away sometimes :)

    Phone call from God. If it had been collect, that would have been daring!
    ~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Re.: Stop Insulting Us

    You know, you are actually insulting yourself by spending any amount of time lamenting the "abuse" coming from the White House that the so-called "professional left" has had to endure.

    Number one ... you are most definitely NOT a part of the "professional left" for the purposes of a discussion about "Stop Insulting Us".

    And, number two ... the White House officials were only stating the obvious when they properly lambasted the wholly asinine statements coming out of the "professional left"; though, 'professional left' would not have been my preferred terminology ... I would have used something different and far more demeaning toward those making the asinine comments, especially knowing how hypersensitive the left side of the political spectrum can often be.

    By the way, this is up at the Huffington Post - which reminds me ... I haven't checked out the comments yet ... I can hardly wait ...

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    liz,

    as a self-identified left-leaning professional, i'd like you to identify the asinine statements to which you're referring. certainly there must be at least a few professional criticisms of the president that could be termed valid.

    for example, his response to the situation at Central Falls High School in Rhode island was insulting to education professionals spanning across the political spectrum. it was an ignorant move, and his education policy in general has been pretty awful by my estimation. if the administration wants to dismiss those criticisms as somehow invalid or asinine, i'd challenge him to provide evidence to back up that claim.

    i know education is not an issue that matters much to you, but it matters a great deal to me. when a democratic president who garnered overwhelming support from our country's educators enacts policies that go against every tenet of education research, it's no small deal.

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet22,

    I think you just when ahead and proved my point about those on the Left being extremely hypersensitive.

    Let me explain ... I'm not saying that there should be no criticism of Obama or of his administration, on any number of issues. I'm saying that I could do without the misguided and asinine criticism.

    Now, as for the asinine statements - there were many that Gibbs was referring to when he clumsily coined the term, "professional left" but, right now, the only one that comes to mind is the assertion that Obama is the same as Bush. That is actually beyond asinine.

    I literally have no time right now to get into this with you and probably won't until at least tomorrow night but ... I will be back!

    Incidentally, you are flat out wrong to say that education is an issue that doesn't matter much to me. On the contrary, in fact. As I have told you before, US education policy is an issue I know NOTHING about and, as a Canadian, I have no interest in getting into the finer details of that policy.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet22,

    I might just add that when Gibbs and other White House officials spoke of the "professional left", they weren't talking about you or Chris!

    I haven't heard one asinine statement out of either one of you and I don't ever expect to. :)

  35. [35] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Now, if you want to talk OPINION shows, then I can see why you could claim that FNC is Right biased. But, if we ARE talking opinion shows, then NPR is clearly Left biased.

    I don't know of any left-biased opinion shows on NPR. What ones are you referring to?

    So, why is Fox News Right biased and NPR is not biased at all?

    I really don't want to get into a Fox vs. NPR, right vs. left debate. I don't believe I said anything about Fox News.

    What I'm arguing for is a higher evidence standard in the media. If you are going to say NPR has a liberal bias, show me some evidence of liberal bias in their programming. Any source that repeats this message w/o any evidence doesn't have much credibility in my opinion.

    A good newspaper or journalist would question this claim and not simply repeat it.

    -David

  36. [36] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I haven't heard one asinine statement out of either one of you and I don't ever expect to. :)

    give us time liz, we'll come through with at least a few whoppers. ;)

    i agree that "professional left" was a poor choice of words, but i don't think it's hyper-sensitive to respond indignantly when an administration paints critics with such a broad brush. part of the job of a politician is to keep one's base feeling supported, even when policy goals can't cater to their every whim. nobody here is saying that every single criticism from the left was 100% justified, but responding the way the administration did is in my opinion bad politics. a better course of action might be to ignore the sillier comments and respond thoughtfully to the substantive ones. if a politician is going to cast blame about, better to throw it at the opposition than at an entire class of disenchanted supporters. right or wrong, i think it's just not a smart move.

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet,

    give us time liz, we'll come through with at least a few whoppers. ;)

    Hehehehe ... oh, I doubt that. And, I mean that sincerely - I'm not trying to be facetious here. :) Seriously!

    Anyway, "professional left" was a poor choice of words (I think it originated from White House officials ripping their hair out over some extremely asinine blogs and reports emanating from the Huffington Post since day one of this administration);

    However, that part of the Left, professional or otherwise, really need to take a course in reading between the lines and understand that Gibbs' use of "professional left" was not only a poor choice of words but it was most decidedly NOT an attempt to paint all administration critics with a broad brush! Hardly; it was an effort to call out the nonsense of those on the left who make it a habit of losing touch with reality and completely disregarding the facts of any given issue.

    Reading between the lines is, evidently a lost art among many of those on the left side of the political spectrum.

    In any event, way too much energy has been spent on reacting to perceived insults and it is high time we get down to the nuts and bolts of the next presidential election, don't you think!?

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    What I'm arguing for is a higher evidence standard in the media. If you are going to say NPR has a liberal bias, show me some evidence of liberal bias in their programming. Any source that repeats this message w/o any evidence doesn't have much credibility in my opinion.

    Fair enough.. I said the same thing to Paula about her accusations of Right Wing bias at Fox News.. We know how THAT turned out. :D

    While there is overwhelming evidence of Left Wing bias amongst NPR employees, there isn't much evidence in the broadcasting, I will grant you.

    To get the evidence you want would require a research commitment that I am not prepared to make.

    Given that, I conditionally concede the point.. :D

    Michale.....

  39. [39] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Fair enough.. I said the same thing to Paula about her accusations of Right Wing bias at Fox News.. We know how THAT turned out. :D

    I think what happened with Paula was that she felt attacked and responded defensively. Was trying to help her understand that you're really just passionate rather than a 'winger.

    And passion is a good thing. Hell, if I were a member of the "professional left" I'd be trying to recruit people like you.

    I think some people misjudge you because you come on strong initially and they don't know you. I know I did at first. But I got over it :).

    -David

    "They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time." Brian Fantana, Anchorman

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think what happened with Paula was that she felt attacked and responded defensively. Was trying to help her understand that you're really just passionate rather than a 'winger.

    She WAS attacked... But only in defense! :D hehehehehehe

    I think some people misjudge you because you come on strong initially and they don't know you. I know I did at first. But I got over it :).

    I know. I come on strong and people think I am an asshole.

    Once they get to know me, they're sure of it.. :D

    "They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time." Brian Fantana, Anchorman

    Everytime I see someone post an apropos TV/Movie quote, it makes me all giddy..

    Because it means my posterity is assured... :D

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    If there was ever an indication that the Media is in the bag for Obama, it's the fact that there has been absolutely NO coverage of the Kill Team pictures...

    What a difference a President makes, eh??? :^/

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, under the UTTERLY RIDICULOUS heading, we have this little gem from the Washington Times.

    Senate to hold hearings on Muslims' rights
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2011/mar/22/senate-hold-hearings-muslims-rights/

    What an utterly silly and inane "response" to the Homeland Security committee's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims.

    Hearings, I might add, that produced absolutely NONE of the dire, fear-mongering predictions made by the Hysterical Left...

    Michale.....

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