Category Archives: blunders

My hypothesis still stands.

Mitt Romney is like the caricature of John Kerry (the out-of-touch elitist waffler) times ten. I know I’m not a fan of harping on gaffes, but this one’s pretty good.

I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.

Addendum: updates slowed down not just due to job, but I snagged a rescue dog and he’s needed some extra TLC. I’m really trying to keep this site up and running full time, but it’s gettin’ tricky. Any of my regulars got free time and feel like writing? 😛

Mitt Romney and “Cookie-gate”

Again, some quick thoughts:

  1. Mitt is like John Kerry squared minus the war heroism. He waffles like crazy and makes amazingly stupid comments like this. It doesn’t matter if someone on the trail hands you a cookie that looks like it was baked on a hot car engine, you eat the damn thing. It’s called being gracious to your supporters.
  2. Although, to play devil’s advocate, I hate convenience store cookies. This isn’t really a case of Mitt being “elitist” as much as him just not thinking. If I invite people over to a cookout and someone brings a box of two buck cookies they got at Sheetz I’m gonna be a bit annoyed.
  3. I know, they were actually from a very nice bakery, but he didn’t know that. Refer to point 1, that Mitt just isn’t thinking.

The end of an era: goodbye Helen Thomas

This one definitely bums me out.

Over the years, there has been but one good voice in the pit of the White House press conference: Helen Thomas. It didn’t matter what administration she was under, what political party was in charge, she’d be there to put their balls in a clamp and squeeze until she either got an answer or showed the world what was wrong.

But now she’s done, and not for a good reason, either.

Her decision comes after her controversial remarks about Israel hit the blogosphere. She later apologized for her comments, saying she “deeply regretted” making them.

Thomas remarked in video posted to RabbiLive.com that Jews in Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”

The comments were made during a White House event on May 27 celebrating Jewish heritage. And they came during a time of international outrage at Israel for its attack on a Turkish ship that left nine dead. Israel has rejected calls for an investigation of the incident.

Two things bother me here:

  1. No one gives two shits when the various right-wing flamethrowers say outrageous things, so what’s up with Helen Thomas? Or is it because she had the temerity to not fellate Israel?
  2. In all likelihood, this will tank her legacy. When people watch a movie, they only tend to remember the ending (or at least it heavily colors their opinion of the rest), so anyone who’s all pissed off at her now will probably remember her more for this than all the good she did.

Actually, I’m a liar. More bothered me than just that, so let me get all hot and bothered here.

Helen Thomas says something vaguely inflammatory, the blogosphere and internet go berzerk, in response to it all the White House completely throws her under the bus, and she retires with heavy apology. Conservative media shitheads* say all kinds of terrible things, they don’t apologize, the politicians continue to hold onto them tightly, and they not only don’t retire but get a career boost from it all. What in the hell.

I hate to say it, but it really seems like the only difference was that it involved Israel.

* When other liberal media shitheads say terrible things, the difference is that Washington does distance itself from them. The rest remains the same. Occasionally they apologize.

Oh and Joe Wilson's an idiot

The guy that stood up and said “YOU LIE!” at the president? Well he may have shot the GOP in the foot hardcore.

It could be an incredibly important moment for the president and the congressional Dem leadership because it does a couple of things: 1) paint a picture of the Republicans as ornery and hard to work with, and 2) remind conservative Democrats that they may not want to line up with folks like Joe Wilson when casting votes. Let’s be honest: Wilson did more to undermine the GOP’s efforts to come across as reasonable opposition as anything any conservative cable host has done in the past few months. Remember how conservatives were able to turn Cindy Sheehan into someone very difficult for the anti-war Democrats in Congress to support during the Bush years? Well, Wilson could end up providing that kind of symbolism. In short, he gave voice — literally — to the president’s attempts to paint some of his opponents as shrill.

Specter wants to censure him, Pelosi almost gave him the gavel, his Democratic 2010 opponent has already raised $100,000, and there’s evidence Wilson might have planned the outburst. Way to go, Joe.

HuffPo caught hocking a hoax on its front page

Hey, even the best of us neglect to check our sources, right? Right.

And this is why the right-wing media fails

Someone pass me a Motrin...I admit, sometimes it’s difficult to really delve deep into the hundreds upon hundreds of news articles out there. You read a headline, check out a lede, skim some of the details, and then move onto the next one. It’s the equivalent of channel surfing, and it’s hard to avoid because there’s always the concern that while you’re spending two hours scrutinizing an article on health care six more flew by without you realizing it.

Still, it’s sometimes a good idea, if for no reason other than to make sure you understand why that sound byte is true, and in a recent example from USA Today, it proved just a bit important. See, while the headline and intro seem to indicate that areas that voted for Obama got more stimulus money

Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year’s presidential election.

…a full reading would help point out that these areas were getting a lot more money before the election.

The imbalance didn’t start with the stimulus. From 2005 through 2007, the counties that later voted for Obama collected about 50% more government aid than those that supported McCain, according to spending reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.

So while a quick scan might make it sound like Obama is channeling extra stimulus money to the areas that voted for him, the reality is a lot more logical and less conspiratorial: all these counties that were hit hardest by economic downturns (and thus needed more stim money) voted for the guy who said we need to repair the economy rather than the guy who acted like everything was hunky-dory.

Now, I saw that article yesterday and just kinda chuckled at it, rolled my eyes and went “boy some people are bad at writing”. That was before the right-wing media, apparently collectively reading only the first paragraph, pounced on the article as proof of Obama’s corruption. From blogs to FOX, right-wingers are howling and throwing handfuls of shit at the president over his blatant misuse of federal money.

Sometimes you can almost understand how these things start. You get an article that misquotes someone or misrepresents a study (for example, when the WaPo cited a tax study and then completely distorted it) and someone reads the article, believes the writer, and then runs with it. But this didn’t require any additional research or independent analysis. All these idiots had to do was read the entire damn article. Yet, either due to laziness or a fear that if they read too much it might challenge their beliefs, a host of wingflaps got on TV and their little blogs and spat all over the president.

Obama blows it: the non-prosecution of CIA officers

tortureYou know, there really wasn’t an overly long list of stuff we wanted from President Obama, and quite a few of them we were really willing to give a long wait time for. We recognized the economy would take years to fix, no one figured that Iraq would be empty of US soldiers overnight, and I doubt many supporters expected him to solve the health care dilemma before the first spring robin.

Most of the really pressing issues where what I think of as the “bleeding obvious” stuff. Things like “don’t spy on us illegally”, “don’t torture people”, and “stop doing things in secret”. On those fronts, Obama’s not exactly been the saviour we need. When I’d read that Bush was releasing the torture memos, I was overjoyed. When I read he wasn’t going to allow the prosecution of any of the guys who wrote them, I was dismayed.

Revealing a crime is useless if it doesn’t lead to action. Worse, actually, because then we know that someone got away with (literally, in this case) murder. It’s dangling a carrot in front of us and then locking it in a glass box. Rahm Emmanuel, a guy I normally like, defended Obama with the world’s worst logic:

“It’s not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back and any sense of anger and retribution,” Emanuel said. “We have a lot to do to protect America. What people need to know, this practice and technique, we don’t use anymore. He banned it.”

This isn’t about “anger” (although I am angry). It’s about making sure this doesn’t happen again, and simply shaking a finger in a “now now, cut that out” kind of way won’t do it. It sends the message that massive breaches of US law can be made by government officials only to be simply shrugged off once discovered. No one else gets away with this nonsense. If you forget to pay a speeding ticket there’ll be a warrant out for your arrest within two weeks.

Then in came Hayden with even worse logic.

“What we have described for our enemies in the midst of a war are the outer limits that any American would ever go to in terms of interrogating an al Qaeda terrorist. That’s very valuable information,” Hayden said.

Now, to be fair, there are two ways to interpret this: the stupid way and the way Hayden probably meant it.

The stupid way is the notion that somehow knowing you’re going to be waterboarded means you’ll be able to handle it more easily. As Christopher Hitchens and others have noted, it doesn’t matter if you’re told something’s coming, it’s absolutely horrific when it happens. And since they waterboarded KSM a whopping 183 times in a month, it’s a safe assumption that you don’t exactly get “used to it”.

The way he probably meant it, which is still negated by the above, is that if the suspects know that the waterboarding won’t kill them or that the dogs aren’t ever going to maul their nuts off, the techniques will be less effective (remember, the threat of death is what makes it work). That might work, except we already had a 2005 report that 108 had died in US custody, who knows how many have since then.

Which only highlights the above point. With no danger of prosecution, there’s no guarantee that anyone will stay within the bounds we’ve set, and simply throwing Lyndie England in the can isn’t enough. Maybe she was acting out of line, but what about the higher-ups? It’s absurd to suggest that the order-takers should be punished but not the order-givers.

Ya screwed the pooch on this one, Barry-O, and the international community ain’t happy. We’re all thrilled that you’re doing the right thing on the economy, but if you don’t get on the whole “everything else” issue soon there’s bad times ahead.