Sarah Palin, The Famewhore

>> Saturday, November 21, 2009

Even by the standard of politicians, this is a woman with an outsized ego. Combine that with her performance skills and an insatiable hunger for the limelight, and you can see why she will not stay in Wasilla now that she’s seen 30 Rock. The question journalists repeatedly asked last week — What are Palin’s plans for 2012? — is a red herring. Palin has no obligation to answer it. She is the pit bull in the china shop of American politics, and she can do what she wants, on her own timeline, all the while raking in the big bucks she couldn’t as a sitting governor. No one, least of all her own political party, can control her.
Frank Rich, New York Times, "The Pit Bull in the China Shop"


Twilight, New Doom

Sarah Hepola wrote an excellent article on the Twilight series this week. Because there are so many women losing their shit over this nonsense.

But there is something particularly profound about women long past their teen years bitten by "Twilight." The relationship can be intense. One acquaintance went so far as to say the book "made her believe in love again."

"This is what I call 'true love-ism,'" Laura Miller told me. "True love-ism is the secular religion of America, one that all of us can believe in. What's appealing about Edward is his certainty. He craves Bella monogamously. The book feeds the delusion that an erotic god could love you, and that he'd also be faithful." Miller sees the books as straight-ahead romance novels. In her 2008 review, she wrote, "Despite their gothic trappings [they] represent a resurrection of the most old-fashioned incarnation of the genre. They summon a world in which love is passionate, yet (relatively) chaste, girls need be nothing more than fetchingly vulnerable, and masterful men can be depended upon to protect and worship them for it."
So fucking true. The second book/movie is all about Bella moping around because Edward left her. And even making attempts to kill herself just to "see" him. This is what women are fawning over? These women have issues even if they don't want to admit it. It's plainly obvious.
"It sounds like a lot of women have aloof, difficult fathers," says analyst Colette Dowling. "What you're drawn to is what you didn't get and a desire to rework and master that. I can imagine it's a powerful fantasy that this beautiful, aloof guy loves you at last. It's the ultimate oedipal solution."

Dowling has never read "Twilight" but agreed to talk with me about the phenomenon anyway. That's because Dowling is not merely an analyst, but she is also the author of the 1981 book "The Cinderella Complex," which explored women's unconscious desire to be taken care of, even at a time when feminism made independence more attainable than ever. More than a quarter-century has passed since that book came out, but Dowling still sees the same underlying anxiety. "For some women there is a tremendously strong resistance to creating your own life and the effort that takes. Their interest in 'Twilight' suggests there must be some need for a kind of protection, that there is some fear they can't really take care of themselves."

Laura Miller offered a similar analysis in an e-mail. "Bella relates to Edward much as a child does to a parent. His superhuman strength and powers, his wealth, his competency at all sorts of challenging activities, his vastly superior knowledge of the world and experience -- that's what adults look like to small children. He will protect her and provide for her, but also encourage her within the limits of that protection. That overwhelming power dynamic is both attractive if you're resisting adulthood and also erotic just as a sexual fantasy. But you're not supposed to want it, so it helps that it comes dressed up in the vampire guise."
Yeah, got it right with their 10-scene, mock script last year.

KRISTEN wakes up in the hospital, and ROBERT wakes up after her.

I thought vampires never slept.
Script. Six weeks. Remember?
Right. Well, thanks for saving my life after endangering it by inviting me into your dangerous world. Let's go to the prom together.
Actually, I think it would be better if we broke up. To keep you safe.
From vampires?
No, from being typecast forever after this series is done. I'm screwed, but it's not too late for you.
No. No, you can't ever leave me. Never. No matter what. We must be together forever and ever and ever.
Holy shit, you're a clingy psychotic bitch. Maybe we have a realistic high school relationship after all.

They stay together and go to the PROM.

I want you to make me a vampire so that I can be with you, even if it means sacrificing my own life as a mortal.
So, the next generation of young women are currently flocking to see a female lead starring in a movie by a female director based on a bestselling book by a female author, and in this movie the main character wants to become completely submissive and self-sacrificing for a male.
I love you. Put a baby in me.
At least the other three books can't possibly be more misogynistic and depressing.

They ARE.



Sarah Palin, The Cupcake

Of course Sarah Palin whined about making the cover of Newsweek this week.

“The choice of photo for the cover of this week’s Newsweek is unfortunate,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page. “When it comes to Sarah Palin, this ‘news’ magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant. The Runner’s World magazine one-page profile for which this photo was taken was all about health and fitness — a subject to which I am devoted and which is critically important to this nation.”

“The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw attention – even if out of context,” she adds.
I've seen a few media outlets almost concur with Palin's statement that it's "sexist." Except in reality, we know it's not. I don't recall John "The Hair" Edwards posing for such a picture in 2005 after he lost his VP bid in '04. But Sarah Palin did while she was still a sitting governor.

Glamor shots like the ones Palin posed for Runner's World are more fitting for celebrities, not politicians who aim for the nation's highest office. Only Mudflats called it like it is, regarding Newseek's cover.
Color of skin? Is she worried that someone is going to judge her because she’s white?

First of all, why does this picture even exist in the first place? Let me remind everyone, that this completely “out of context” picture was taken while she was a sitting governor holding her Blackberries. She’s inside, with full hair and makeup posing with a flag and her “blue star” banner on the window. So, how exactly is this in the context of running or health and fitness, and not in the context of the governor posing like a weird patriotic pinup girl?

I think it’s the perfect image for the cover. Why? Because the title of the article is “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah?” And behold, the problem. She has no boundaries, and no concept of how she is perceived by others, or why no governor should pose in short shorts, leaning on a flag in front of a blue star banner with a bumpit and makeup for a photo that makes her look like a cupcake.

When they find that picture of Barack Obama in a bathing suit leaning on a flag draped over a bar stool, they can feel free to publish it wherever they want. Because anyone who is mindless and unaware enough to pose for something like that should not be surprised that people think it’s a PROBLEM, and call it one on the cover of a magazine.

Am I a little grumpy? You betcha. I’ve just spent more than six hours reading Going Rogue, and I’m more than a little over-saturated. I’m up to here (hand at eyeball level) with the manipulation and the sugar coating and the distortion, and the “everything bad that happens to me is someone else’s fault.”

So let me pass on a word of advice to all budding politicians out there. If you don’t want to look like a mindless patriotic cupcake, then don’t pose for pictures posing like a mindless patriotic cupcake. Just a suggestion.

And while we’re talking about sexism, and reading Palin’s incessant yammering in Going Rogue, I recall something I read on page 80.

The quote in question happened when someone compared Palin to a Spice Girl. A reporter came up to her and said she couldn’t believe that someone called her that. Here’s what Palin said:
I shook my head in a “can you believe what we women have to put up with?” way and milked it for all it was worth. “I know, I know,” I said. “But you just have to rise above all that and plow through! Look, we have to work twice as hard to prove we’re half as capable as men think they are.” Then I gave her a wink and whispered the old familiar punchline, “Thankfully it’s not that difficult.”
So, if that were reversed and some guy said that about women, how would Palin feel? Is what’s good for the gander, good for the goose? Apparently not.

And she’ll just keep “milking it for all it’s worth,” on Facebook – a strategy that is “oh so expected by now.”
Yes, that "Spice Girl," aka "Bible Spice," is going to keep milking her sucker followers for as long as she can. Because, as I noted last year, many of Palin's sucker followers believe it's her looks that make her great.
I have said it before, and it bears repeating: Sarah Palin IS everything the radical left wing feminists are NOT. She is a gorgeous, feminine, God-fearing wife and mother who values life and stands for what is good and right. She represents the vast majority of women in America who hold these same values.
Yeah, she's "gorgeous," just not very smart. So let's indulge ourselves in looking upon her "gorgeous"-ness by viewing her entire Runner's World pictorial.

Ah, yes, the obligatory parent pimp photo. Gotta remind her sucker followers that she didn't abort Triggy Bear! And the menfolk can admire how tightly her spandex clings to her thighs.

Can you imagine if she was elected Vice President and this was her official portrait? I wouldn't put it past her. There is something slyly coy about her pose...

Or how about this one instead since it proves she has "balance!"

Al Gore never stretched and posed like this! Neither did Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Ann Richards.

I'm surprised these photos aren't being used to sell calendars yet. Perhaps that will happen next year since she'll have no book to hock to her sucker followers. Really, two pictures where she is bending over? Yeah, she knows she's yanking some guys chains by posing like this.

The least offensive photo in the entire series. If this had been the only picture, then Newsweek would have had to look much harder for a cover photo. No coy posing or bending over here. And the non-spandex running shorts seem more dignified for a sitting governor to be photographed in.

Mrs. Patriotic Cupcake

Really, what we should be asking Sarah Palin to do is start making good on her innuendo. If she's going to coyly pose in tight fitting clothes, she might as well go all the way and strip. Playboy is waiting for your call, Sarah.


Reconsider the war on pot

Via Sloshpot Blog


On "objectivity"

>> Friday, November 20, 2009

The Economist's "Democracy in America": Do you think the media should strive for objectivity in its reporting?

Dan Froomkin: No. Journalists should strive for accuracy, and fairness. Objectivity is impossible, and is too often confused with balance. And the problem with balance is that we are not living in a balanced time. For instance, is it patently obvious that at this point in our history, the leading luminaries on one side of the American political spectrum are considerably less tethered to reality than those on the other side. Madly trying to split the difference, as so many of my mainstream-media colleagues feel impelled to do, does a disservice to the concept of the truth.
As NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen noted a few years ago,
The trouble arises (and this is the whole reason we have the bias debate) because American journalists some time ago took refuge in objectivity, and began to base their authority on a claim to have removed bias from the news. This claim was not just hot air. It corresponded to things journalism did.

Things like what?

Well, to give you the compressed version… First journalism removed the political party from influence in the newsroom. Then it removed, as much as possible, the publisher and his pro-business mentality. Then it removed the political opinions of its own people. Then it removed the community— local bias, if you will. Then it removed the public because it had polls instead, and they were more objective.

At each step in these strategic removals, the justification was objectivity: producing more unbiased news. And in this way the press wound up basing its authority—the professional journalist’s bid for public trust—on the claim to have mastered the removal of bias. When actually, they just kicked everyone else out.

Well, you can be better at it than anyone else—total bias removal—and still be pretty bad. Why? Because journalism is saturated with judgment. Good journalism is.


In any case, if we do want unbiased journalism we should not. We should want journalists who show good judgment.


And They're Both Wearing BumpIts

via Rumproast


The Daily Dumbass: Talking about Iraq or Iran?

>> Thursday, November 19, 2009

So. Fucking. Dumb.


A Serious Man

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This movie must make more sense if you're Jewish. I don't know for sure, but I suspect it. I mean, the movie is coherent, but the subtext isn't always obvious. At least not to me.

Because there was a girl sitting next to me who kept cracking up at almost everything. Was she Jewish? I have no idea. But I know that I laughed when the majority of the audience laughed at something, and this chick on my left was laughing almost every 3 minutes.

When she kept laughing at scene after scene, where most people weren't laughing, just taking it in, it reminded me of being in London and seeing a play. My American friends and I were sitting through an entire 30-minute monologue wondering what the hell it was about. Meanwhile, the Brits were laughing their kits off every 30 seconds.

But back to Larry, the hero/victim of the movie. There were a few times where I wanted to wring his neck and say, "Hello, McFly! Where's your fucking spine?" Paying for your wife's lover's funeral? What are you, a doormat?


California's Fighting 12th!

Hey, I have a friend who lives in this district.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District - California's 12th - Jackie Speier
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Now I know who her representative is.


Sarah Palin is a bigot

Big surprise.

And it's not the only time she's gone off about this.

I asked about Palin's upcoming visit to Ft. Hood. "We had planned on that before the tragedy struck," she said. She commented on the trail of evidence linking the alleged Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, to militant Islam. "There were such clear, obvious, massive warning signs that were missed," she said. "This terrorist, even having business cards" that identified him as an "SoA" or soldier of Allah. Palin blamed a culture of political correctness and other decisions that "prevented -- I'm going to say it -- profiling" of someone with Hasan's extremist ideology. "I say, profile away," Palin said. Such political correctness, she continued, "could be our downfall." If the upcoming investigations into the attack reveal bad decision-making on the part of senior officials, Palin continued, those officials ought to be fired.
Business cards? Shit, this woman is so dumb it's ridiculous. Palin would clearly be happier if we lived in a segregated society where Christians have one set of rights and non-Christians & Muslims have a different set.

Profiling doesn't work anyway as a NYC police commissioner noted a few years ago.
"We have a policy against racial profiling," Raymond Kelly, New York City's police commissioner, told me. "I put it in here in March of the first year I was here. It's the wrong thing to do, and it's also ineffective. If you look at the London bombings, you have three British citizens of Pakistani descent. You have Germaine Lindsay, who is Jamaican. You have the next crew, on July 21st, who are East African. You have a Chechen woman in Moscow in early 2004 who blows herself up in the subway station. So whom do you profile? Look at New York City. Forty per cent of New Yorkers are born outside the country. Look at the diversity here. Who am I supposed to profile?"

Kelly was pointing out what might be called profiling's "category problem." Generalizations involve matching a category of people to a behavior or trait—overweight middle-aged men to heart-attack risk, young men to bad driving. But, for that process to work, you have to be able both to define and to identify the category you are generalizing about. "You think that terrorists aren't aware of how easy it is to be characterized by ethnicity?" Kelly went on. "Look at the 9/11 hijackers. They came here. They shaved. They went to topless bars. They wanted to blend in. They wanted to look like they were part of the American dream. These are not dumb people. Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes. I think profiling is just nuts."

Update (11/20/09): An excellent segment by Rachel Maddow on Thursday.


Vocabulary problem

>> Monday, November 16, 2009

Palin on vegatarianism:

If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat? I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals—right next to the mashed potatoes.
People who eat only meat are carnivores. People who eat meat and vegetables & fruits are omnivores. I learned this in grade school. Sarah Palin, apparently, never learned the distinction.

Digby notes:
I think that's actually very clever of Palin. It's the modern equivalent of a successful Reagan line from the 60s that hippies "look like Tarzan, walk like Jane and smell like Cheetah." It's a way of tweaking the liberals and people of all political stripes love that stuff. It's tried and true conservative politics and she has a knack for delivering those kinds of lines, just as it was for St. Ronnie.

Her ignorance of everything else is what will likely keep her from becoming more than a political celebrity, but I can see why she's so popular among the wingnuts. Just like Reagan, she knows how to give voice to their hatred with a joke and a smile on her face. It's a unique gift.
It's not a unique gift. The "right next to the mashed potatoes" joke has been on billboards and bumper-stickers for years.
Even those socialist Canadians have made this joke!


Just leaving it there

Tonight, after this segment on The Rachel Maddow Show aired, my father and I got into a short conversation/argument.

A summation of our conversation/argument:
My Dad: Some Republican is going to have to figure out how to knock her off the stage so they can take the lead. Someone like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty will have to usurp her.

Me: Well, rumor has it that a right-wing blog is already scared that Mitt Romney is working to get "babygate" uncovered. That'll sink her as a national figure.

My Dad:
Blogs don't account for anything! Nothing is going to happen until an organization like Reuters publishes something.

The mainstream media (MSM) is milquetoast and doesn't do much real journalism. Many are a bunch of sycophants.
Yes, those blogs don't account for anything. It doesn't matter that Glenn Greenwald, a "blogger," was quoted by Senator Chris Dodd on the Senate floor during the FISA debate. He's just a blogger. Doesn't account for anything. It doesn't matter that Marcy Wheeler, aka Emptywheel, a "blogger," was the one who discovered that KSM was waterboarded 183 times. Yup, just another "blogger." She doesn't really matter. There's no difference between random blogs like mine and others that have a journalistic focus such as Digby's Hullabaloo and Calculated Risk, which has been cited by Paul Krugman in his NYT columns. Andrew Sullivan, a journalist and a "blogger," has consistently blogged about Palin's inconsistencies and the possibility that Trig is not Sarah Palin's biological child. But he is a "blogger" and "doesn't account for anything!"

What utter bullshit.

You've got to look at blogs on their veracity and what they offer. Just because it is a "blog" does not automatically mean that what is written on it is worthless. After all, Sarah Palin is apparently scared of Alaskan bloggers. If blogs didn't account for anything, then she wouldn't be using them as scapegoats.

As Rachel Maddow said in Bloggers on the Bus:
Being able to come up with an analysis of what's going on, toss it around, see if it works, and then pass it on, that's really important. It's the power of explanation. If you can explain what's going on in politics and in the media, you get to define what's happening in politics and in the media. Explaining is defining, and if you do it effectively it can be very powerful. And with the blogs, we've got a place to do that now.
Because one of the most ridiculous notions the MSM engages in is "balance." They don't want to be critical of one politician unless they can be critical of another one "equally." It's large-scale deference. It's one of the reasons why they stay away from the "babygate" story even if their sole purpose was to refute it. But blogs don't have to engage in such deference. For example, this quote by an editor and a blog critiquing it:

Anchorage Daily News Editor Pat Doherty in an email to Sarah Palin:
Governor, as far as the Trig matter is concerned, you have my sympathy. I have no doubt that Trig is your son. The Daily News has never done a story raising the question of whether Trig is your son and we weren't planning to start in December. I did think a story about how such a baseless, internet-fueled, sensational rumor could become so widespread and persistent would be interesting. (I now think of it as one of my no-good-deed-goes-unpunished things.)

If the story had been done, with Lisa Demer's typical thoroughness, I think you would have found it helpful in putting this nonsense to rest. I personally would have liked to be responsible for that. But that's water under the bridge. We have no further interest (unless you really want us to help out with a DNA test; that would be too sensational to pass up).

As you suggest, these are tough times for newspapers. Having a bunch of conspiracy nuts denouncing the Daily News for hiding your secret just adds to the overall happy ambience.
Ah, journalistic integrity. It is never bought and paid for. There are never any possible distortions, right?
A practising corporate attorney from Florida wrote:

“I agree that rumors are not facts. But Mr. Dougherty should also agree that his failure to pursue the answers to questions raised by hard factual evidence is mediocre journalism at best. Some might even suggest that such failure is a passive cover-up ("We don't want the answers, because they may well force us to change our preconceived viewpoint regarding Trig's parentage, which admittedly is not "evidence-based," but which is based solely upon a self-serving, unverified and an uncorroborated assertion by Sarah Palin.")

Does the Alaska Daily News publication really want to serve its customers with truthful and factual reporting, or is that merely lip-service? My prediction is the historical record will prove that is not a rhetorical question.”
As Glenn Greenwald noted last year, real journalism isn't kowtowing to the establishment.
That’s definitely one of the primary corrupting forces in journalism. The media should be an adversarial force to the political establishment, that’s basic journalism. But in the last few decades they have become dependent on the political establishment and assimilated into it, so the media is an arm of the political establishment as opposed to a watchdog over it. That dynamic has corrupted the process more than anything else, because there’s no tension between the media and political power. During recent years, the political establishment has been primarily Republican and the media gets fed mostly by Republican operatives–that’s where reporters get their access and their scoops and the feeling that they are insiders–and that’s where the loyalty of most of the establishment press therefore lies: with Republican power.
Some people believe that as long as the media references both sides, it is thereby "independent." Take this blog post from Andrew Sullivan as an example:
01 Oct 2009 11:04 pm
Did Jon Stewart Hurt America?

Drezner provokes:
We're coming up on the five-year anniversary of Jon Stewart's verbal skewering of Crossfire in particular and the whole genre of left-right cable gabfests in general. Stewart said these kind of shows were "hurting America" because of their general blather and failure to ask politicians good, sharp questions.

Stewart's appearance on Crossfire generated quite the navel-gazing among the commentariat, and played no small role in the eventual disappearance of Crossfire, The Capitol Gang, Hannity & Colmes, and shows of that ilk.

So, five years later, I have a half-assed blog question to ask -- did Jon Stewart hurt America by driving these shows off the air?

If you're expecting a lengthy defense of the Crossfire format right now, well, you're going to be disappointed. My point rather, is to question what replaced these kinds of shows on the cable newsverse. Instead of Hannity & Colmes, you now have.... Hannity. Is this really an improvement?
He's got a point, hasn't he?
No, he doesn't have a point. What Drezner is talking about is false balance or “He said, she said” journalism.
Quick definition: “He said, she said” journalism means…

* There’s a public dispute.
* The dispute makes news.
* No real attempt is made to assess clashing truth claims in the story, even though they are in some sense the reason for the story. (Under the “conflict makes news” test.)
* The means for assessment do exist, so it’s possible to exert a factual check on some of the claims, but for whatever reason the report declines to make use of them.
* The symmetry of two sides making opposite claims puts the reporter in the middle between polarized extremes.
It's an attempt at journalism on the cheap notes Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism professor:
The best description I’ve read of the problem to which devices like he said, she said are a solution comes from former Washington Post reporter Paul Taylor, who covered national politics. Here’s a comment about it that I left at the New York Times Opinionator blog. It was an attempt to explain a phrase I use to describe the kind of distortion that he said, she said can produce: “regression toward a phony mean.”
Journalists associate the middle with truth, when there may be no reason to.

In his 1990 book, See How They Run, former Washington Post reporter Paul Taylor (once seen as heir to David Broder) explained why regression toward a phony mean is so common in journalism. It answers to a need for what he calls “refuge.” Here is what he said:

“Sometimes I worry that my squeamishness about making sharp judgments, pro or con, makes me unfit for the slam-bang world of daily journalism. Other times I conclude that it makes me ideally suited for newspapering– certainly for the rigors and conventions of modern ‘objective’ journalism. For I can dispose of my dilemmas by writing stories straight down the middle. I can search for the halfway point between the best and the worst that might be said about someone (or some policy or idea) and write my story in that fair-minded place. By aiming for the golden mean, I probably land near the best approximation of truth more often than if I were guided by any other set of compasses– partisan, ideological, pyschological, whatever… Yes, I am seeking truth. But I’m also seeking refuge. I’m taking a pass on the toughest calls I face.”

Clearly, there can be something extreme about this squeamishness, too. Clearly, the desire for refuge can get out hand. Writing the news so that it lands somewhere near the “halfway point between the best and the worst that might be said about someone” is not a truthtelling impulse at all, but a refuge-seeking one, and it’s possible that this ritual will distort a given story.
Like the “straight down the middle” impulse that Taylor writes about, he said, she said is not so much a truth-telling strategy as refuge-seeking behavior that fits well into newsroom production demands. “Taking a pass” on the tougher calls (like who’s blowing more smoke) is economical. It’s seen as risk-reduction, as well, because the account declines to explicitly endorse or actively mistrust any claim that is made in the account. Isn’t it safer to report, “Rumsfeld said…,” letting Democrats in Congress howl at him (and report that) than it would be to report, “Rumsfeld said, erroneously…” and try to debunk the claim yourself? The first strategy doesn’t put your own authority at risk, the second does, but for a reason.

We need journalists who understand that reason. And I think many do. But a lot don’t.

He said, she said reporting appears to be risk-reducing, but this is exactly what’s changing on the press. For a given report about, say, former counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke, “the halfway point between the best and the worst that might be said about someone” is no more likely to be accurate than the one-fifth mark, especially when you factor in the reality of the Overton Window and the general pattern we know as “working the refs.” The halfway point is a miserable guideline but it can still sound pretty good when you are trying to advertise to all that you have no skin in the game. This is how I think of he said, she said reporting. Besides being easy to operate, and requiring the fewest imports of knowledge, it’s a way of reporting the news that advertises the producer’s even handedness. The ad counts as much as the info. We report, you decide.
And this is why newsrooms are dying. Why should I buy a newspaper that does not engage in any analysis? That may just repeat the claims of political figures like parrots? "You carried Trig in your womb, even though there's reasonable evidence to the contrary? Well, if you say you did then you must have. After all, it's not like you could produce a birth certificate proving such." As McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief John Walcott noted in a speech last year:
That brings me to may last point: Relying on The Times, or McClatchy or any other news source, for all the truth is dumb, but it's infinitely preferable to the pernicious philosophical notions that there is no such thing as truth, that truth is relative, or that, as some journalists seem to believe, it can be found midway between the two opposing poles of any argument. . . .

Does the truth lie halfway between say, slavery and abolition, or between segregation and civil rights, or between communism and democracy? If you quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Winston Churchill, in other words, must you then give equal time and credence to Hitler and Joseph Goebbels? If you write an article that's critical of John McCain, are you then obligated to devote an identical number of words to criticism of Barack Obama, and vice versa?...

There is not one truth for Fox News and another for The Nation. Fair is not always balanced, and balanced is not always fair.
And neither is CNN with the best political team on television.
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A bundle of joy just in time for Thanksgiving!

OK. Not really:

The rest of what needs to be done rests in the combined hands of the President and Congress. For a pittance compared to the full so-called stimulus bill, cash for clunkers produced noticeable growth. If the government wants to pass a real stimulus bill, actually designed to create large numbers of jobs, it could get a lot of bang for only a few hundred billion dollars.

No one, not the Fed, nor Congress, nor the President, is serious about full employment. If they were they would have done, would be doing, and would be planning on doing different things than they have done.

Employment will probably start picking up again in the spring, but employment as a percentage of America’s population will not recover this economic cycle. My suspicion is that it won’t recover within 20 years.

That is a policy choice, either deliberately, or through stupidity (I suspect both.) Fixing it requires all three of the Fed, President and Congress to decide to do the right things for the population as a whole, rather than for their friends, donors and cronies in the financial industry.

I leave it to others to decide how likely that is to occur.
Ian Welsh


UGH! Another boring Twilight cover

So I got my latest Entertainment Weekly issue yesterday. Was too lazy to walk down to the post office in the falling snow on Saturday. In fact, I wasn't even sure there would be a new issue this week since I thought last week's was a double issue.

Of course, Twilight was on the cover.

And I read the interview with the three stars.


That had to be one of the most boring interviews I have ever read. Nothing new that I haven't read or heard about before in all the other cover stories they've had previously this year. All three come across as BORING; although, Kristen Stewart had a smidgen of personality come through. But still, it was a smidgen.

And every time I read hints about Pattinson being stalked by crazy fans, I just pity the boy. What kind of future does he have to look forward to? He's going to have to shave his head and play a neo-Nazi in some film before he's going to be able to move on from this pile of shit.

Thank the gods I won't have to watch the movie this year.


"We Have A President"

So says Andrew Sullivan:

What we are seeing here, I suspect, is what we see everywhere with Obama: a relentless empiricism in pursuit of a particular objective and a willingness to let the process take its time. The very process itself can reveal - not just to Obama, but to everyone - what exactly the precise options are. Instead of engaging in adolescent tests of whether a president is "tough" or "weak", we actually have an adult prepared to allow the various choices in front of us be fully explored. He is, moreover, not taking the decision process outside the public arena. He is allowing it to unfold within the public arena. Others, moreover, are allowed to take the lead: McChrystal, or Netanyahu, or Pelosi, in the case of Af-Pak, Israel-Palestine and health insurance, respectively. Obama encourages the process but hangs back, broadly - and persistently - pursuing certain objectives without tipping his hand on specifics or timing.

So the troop question is rather like the public option question.

Obama's position - almost a year into his presidency - is yet to be revealed. The president waits, prods, allows the parties to reveal their hands, and keeps his final detailed position to himself. By allowing the debate to continue in public, he also tries to get the public more, rather than less, involved. So we too get to show our hand as the debate continues. And the polls show Americans pretty evenly - and understandably - divided on the excruciating and ultimately prudential question of what to do next.

What strikes me about this is the enormous self-confidence this reveals. Here is a young president, prepared to allow himself to be portrayed as "weak" or "dithering" in the slow and meticulous arrival at public policy. He is trusting the reality to help expose what we need to do. He is allowing the debate - however messy and confusing and emotional - to take its time and reveal the real choices in front of us. This is politically risky, of course. Those who treat politics as a contact-sport, whose insistence is on the "game" of who wins which news cycle, or who can spin each moment in a political storm as a harbinger of whatever, will pounce and shriek and try to bounce the president into a decision. And those who believe that what matters in war is charging ahead regardless at all times will also grandstand against the president's insistence on prudence.
Something similar was noticed last week by Rachel Maddow


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