Category Archives: nontroversies

The new stupid attack: dogs

The issue with Mitt Romney and strapping his dog to the roof of his car was, at best, minor, and one that was only vaguely relevant in that it was surprisingly callous. But again, I’d like to stress the “minor” part. Don’t worry though, the right’s found a way to fire back!

Then Wednesday, a conservative blogger pointed out a passage in Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” that mentions having been given dog meat when he was a child in Indonesia. That prompted a delighted outpouring on Twitter by amused Obama opponents, peppered with dog recipes. John McCain tweeted a photo of his son’s dog, with the line “I’m sorry Mr. President, he’s not on the menu.”

A Romney spokesman revisited that nice picture of Obama and Bo, saying it was, in hindsight, “chilling.” An Obama spokesman tweeted back decrying the attack on a small child. On Thursday it all reached the White House briefing room, with chief spokesman Jay Carney saying that making a big deal of the dog-meat episode “sounds like somebody who’s trying to get out of the doghouse on something.”

It’s been firing around since then, from McRage to Palin to your average Joe the Plumber.

What this says, more than anything, is how aggravatingly desperate the right has become to attack Barry-O. They’re at a point where they’re combing back through his biography (a book that isn’t exactly secret) to pull out random anecdotes from when he was a child in the hopes that maybe this one will stick. They’ve failed on every other front to get any kind of a steady negative image of Obama to last beyond a week, so now they’re down to “he’s a dog eater!”

Let me save everyone some time: it’s gonna fall apart, like a well cooked Spot roast.

Poor Andrew Breitbart…

…he died in vain.

So remember how Andy B claimed he had footage that would ruin Obama? Well, it got released, and as soon at BuzzFeed published it, Breitbart’s team said it was edited and slanted (ironic in itself). In response, PBS pulled up the whole thing, with commentary, and proved that it still doesn’t remotely claim what Breitbart said it did.

But there’s nothing new about the clip or Obama’s role in the controversy at Harvard Law School. In 2008, as a part of our quadrennial election special The Choice 2008,  FRONTLINE ran the same footage of the speech as a part of an exploration of Obama’s time at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1991. It’s been online at our site and on YouTube since then. You can see that part of the film below.

FRONTLINE producers obtained the footage from the same source as BuzzFeed did this week: the archives of WGBH, Boston’s PBS station. The footage was shot in 1990 by a team of local news producers for the WGBH Ten O’Clock News. FRONTLINE is produced at WGBH and our producers were alerted to the footage in the station archives in 2008.

So the footage isn’t new, it’s not exclusive, and it doesn’t really offer us anything we didn’t already know. Andrew Breitbart now holds an amazing distinction for the worst posthumous failure in hack journalism history.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, either. Any time someone claims to have something but they’re holding onto it to be released at a “special time”, they’re stalling. What they have isn’t particularly monumental, but the buzz of claiming to have something, buoyed by just a little bit of leaked teaser material, suddenly makes the story.

In which Hanlon defends Rick Santorum

Earlier this week I glossed over a story in which Rick Santorum said, and I quote, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.” I had a number of reasons for not tackling that, the main one being I thought it was a case of Santorum trying to make a point but saying it like an idiot. In this case, that he disagreed with the idea that lives are improved by welfare, whatever.

However, Frothy came up with the most bizarre defense I’ve ever heard when accused of making a racist statement: that he didn’t say it at all.

“I looked at that, and I didn’t say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out.  And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t,” Santorum said.

Now here’s where things become awkward, and a lot of you aren’t gonna like me for this: he’s right.

I mean it. Go back, watch the video on the Raw Story link. Watch his body language, pay close attention to how his sentence flows, listen to the inflection. More importantly, notice how he isn’t talking about race at any point in there. The addition of “black” to that paragraph is incredibly out of place, and the fact that he’s stumbling elsewhere in the sentence only bolsters the point. The lack of a hard “k” at the end of what is supposedly “black” only bolsters the point.

I’m all for bringing the idiot down, but this isn’t one of those cases.

So about that "no more Bill of Rights" bill…

In case you’re wondering, the reason it took me so damn long to get into S 1867 is that before I’m willing to join the alarmist sabre-rattling, I insisted on actually reading the gaw damn bill. So I fired up the Library of Congress and tried sifting through the 687 pages of the thing to see what all the fuss is about. To put it mildly, this is a dense, difficult read, and finding anything pertinent was difficult.

To start things off, again, the bill is nearly 700 pages, and we all know how the Senate is about reading things fully. Secondly, the vast majority of this is an appropriations bill, talking about budgetary matters and the allocation of funds. So when people start yammering about how these and those Democrats voted for it, and how it passed 97-3, there’s a good chance that they were simply not aware of this earth-shattering matter. Follow the Razor, folks.

Now then, the pertinent part of the bill, insofar as I can tell, is Title X Subtitle D, “Detainee Matters”, and its seven sections. In there, it discusses the rules about detaining terrorist suspects on American soil. I read through that section a few times, looking up everything in the bill relating to detainees, and in there I found the following bits:

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

(e) Authorities- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

Among others. Unless there’s something in this bill I have yet to find, I don’t know why this has suddenly been turned into the bill that decimated the Bill of Rights. The slight ambiguity of “requirement” as opposed to “authority” may be the difference here, but the reason for that is that the bill now states that foreign combatants must be held as per this bill’s wording, and that this does not apply to American citizens or lawful aliens. There is nothing in here, anywhere, that expands the power of the military to declare American citizens “enemy combatants” and throw them into the gulags.

Is the bill worded optimally? Maybe not, but thus far, in none of the articles about this thing where they sound the sirens do they point out specific sections and refer to the text of the bill. Rather, the echo chamber has caused everyone to go berzerk based on a few contortions of language.

Besides, Bradley Manning was held without trial for how long, now? Not only didn’t this bill change anything, but it’s not like we were doing so well without it.

This is why Christians in the United States drive me bonkers

Obama doesn’t mention God in his Thanksgiving day speech, and they squeal and whine, making it today’s nontroversy.

Keep in mind, he didn’t say anything to denigrate Christianity or make any anti-Jesus allusions, and in fact the speech was chock full of gratitude to our military and selfless volunteers, but simply because he did not thank God, Christians are pissed off. In their minds, political figures should always show deference to them and their faith. To fail to do so is a horrible offense.

When actual oppressed minorities talk about being oppressed, they refer to Rick Santorum likening gay marriage to bestiality. When Christians talk about being oppressed, they refer to not being given special treatment.