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PolitiFact.com's Fail on the Kids-Sing-for-Obama Story

Friday, October 02, 2009

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters


It's a couple days old, but this is pretty weak stuff from Politifact and deserves a quick look.

Following the right-wing's freakout regarding second graders who sang Obama's praise during Black History Month, Politifact decided to determine whether the allegations in RNC chief Michael Steele's fundraising letter, in which he denounced the school children's performance, were true.

In his plea for cash, Steele denounced the song as "indoctrination" and an example of "fanaticism" that was sweeping the country. He also claimed the performance represented, "the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin's Russia or Kim Jong Il's North Korea."

Incredibly, Politifact concluded Steele's claims were true. Actually, Politifact punted on most of Steele's outrageous allegations:
You can argue whether or not Steele laid the political rhetoric on a little too thick.

The fact we wanted to check was the question that immediately popped into our head when we saw the video, "Did this really happen at a public school?"
Oh brother. Steele claimed the kids were part of a propaganda exercises straight out of communist Russia, and were the victims of insidious "indoctrination." But Politifact didn't want to bother itself with those fiery allegations. (It's merely "rhetoric.") Instead, it simply wanted to determine if the video took place in a public school....(Remainder.)

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Maddow: Treasonous

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Yankee Secessionists Back in Cahoots with Neo-Confederates

By Rob Waters
Hatewatch at SPLC


Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center exposed an unsavory collaboration between the Second Vermont Republic (SVR), a quirky left-leaning band of New England secessionists, and the white supremacist League of the South, long categorized by the SPLC as a hate group. Their shared goal was to build a national secession movement.

The SPLC report, titled “North Meets South,” also documented links between SVR founder and leader Thomas H. Naylor and other extremist organizations. Naylor has appeared on the hate radio program “The Political Cesspool,” which is run by white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens board member James Edwards. He is also an associate scholar at the Atlanta-based Abbeville Institute, which is run by former League of the South leader Donald Livingston and is devoted to the ignored “achievements of white people in the South.”

Naylor initially denounced the SPLC story, calling it “a vicious attack spearheaded by the well-financed, hate-mongering, witch-hunting, left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center.” He cited no factual errors. But a few weeks later, he had second thoughts. In a letter that appeared to signal an end to the alliance, he called on the League to distance itself from racism and hatred. In the July 4, 2008, letter, he wrote, “So long as the albatross of racism hangs around its neck, the LOS can never be a truly effective partner for SVR.” His own group, he said, “risks being tainted by the scourge of racism simply by associating with the LOS.” He provided a few helpful suggestions for the League: Renounce racism, recruit black members, bring in black speakers, and promote Southern racial unity. And one more thing: “the Confederate flag has got to go!”...(Remainder.)

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Fox News: "149 MIL AMERICANS ARE UNEMPLOYED"

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Politico: Obama Loses if Chicago Wins Olympic Big

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters


No joke. Because Politico is just a GOP bulletin board.

The insights come courtesy Kenneth Vogel [emphasis added]:
Much has been made of the potential international embarrassment and Republican attacks Obama might endure if the IOC rejects his pitch. Any such backlash would very likely have limited shelf life, but a successful outcome in Copenhagen could arm opponents with ammunition for more than six years, particularly if preparations for the Chicago Games were beset by the delays, cost overruns and controversies that have plagued Olympics past.
And just in case you missed the point, there's this:
National Republicans and local Chicago Olympics opponents have already signaled their desire to use Chicago’s bid and Obama’s connections to it to try to taint him. If Chicago wins, they’ll have plenty of opportunity, since the president and his hometown allies maintain strong political, personal and economic links to the effort.
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Judge Orders Release of Cheney Interview with FBI

By Nedra Pickler
Associated Press via Yahoo! News


WASHINGTON – A federal judge ruled Thursday that the FBI must publicly reveal much of its interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney during the investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative.

The FBI interviewed Cheney in June 2004 as it was investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's identity after her husband publicly criticized the Bush administration. Both the Bush and Obama administrations said they wanted to keep the interview confidential because future presidents and vice presidents may not cooperate with criminal investigations if they know what they say could became public.

But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled there was no justification to withhold the entire 67 pages of records documenting the interview since the Plame leak investigation has concluded. He said that limited parts could be withheld to protect national security or personal privacy.

Government attorneys told Sullivan in a hearing this summer that if he ordered the documents released, they would appeal and seek to withhold the documents until the matter is resolved....(Remainder.)

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Rep. Alan Grayson May Just Fuck Your Shit Up

By Rude Pundit
The Rude One


It's too soon to tell, but there's a good chance that Representative Alan Grayson, he of the "Die Quickly" Republican health care plan, will end up fucking your shit up. Too rich to be bought off, Grayson's been fucking with the powerful for a few years now. As an attorney, he represented whistleblowers, going after the hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud committed by contractors and others in Iraq. He told CNN in April 2006, "The development fund of Iraq was looted by war profiteers and war whores." Check out the huge ass article on him in Vanity Fair from 2007 (and check out that goatee). He went after Halliburton and KBR; he fucked with Dick Cheney. You think a man whose name is a homophone with "boner" is gonna trouble him?

Look, let's be clear: Grayson of Orlando, Florida, is something of a drama queen. Defeating an incumbent Republican in a previously solidly Republican district as part of the Obama wave in 2008, he's an attack dog straight out of old school progressive politics. Here he is in January on President Obama's stimulus plan: "It shelters the homeless, and it heals the sick. It helps us to look forward to a day when we beat our swords into plowshares, our spears into pruning hooks, and when a nation does not lift up a sword against nation anymore." It's a bit over the top, like his Holocaust remark yesterday and his demand that AIG's CEO "name names" of those who received bonuses.

But sometimes those kinds of dramatics can be absolutely energizing, like the second shot of cheap tequila, as when Grayson said, "Rush Limbaugh is a has-been hypocrite loser, who craves attention. His right-wing lunacy sounds like Mikhail Gorbachev, extolling the virtues of communism. Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict. If America ever did 1% of what he wanted us to do, then we'd all need pain killers."

And this dude knows how to apologize to right-wingers. Pushed by Michael Steele to beg forgiveness from Limbaugh like so many Republicans did, Grayson offered, "I’m sorry Limbaugh called for harsh sentences for drug addicts while he was a drug addict. I’m also sorry that he’s bent on seeing America fail. And I’m sorry that Limbaugh is one sorry excuse for a human being."...(Remainder.)

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HardBall: Military vs Cheney

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Rachel Maddow Interviews Rep Alan Grayson About Bashing Republicans

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Joy Behar Interviews Ann Coulter About Why She Hates Obama

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N.H. Republican: Repeal Gay Marriage Law

By Julie Bolcer
Advocate.com


A Republican state lawmaker in New Hampshire said on Wednesday that he plans to sponsor a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Gov. John Lynch signed a marriage equality law passed by the legislature this spring. It is scheduled to take effect on January 1, but conservative representative Daniel Itse (pictured) from Fremont wants voters to consider a constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot, according to The Boston Globe.

“Republican Rep. Dan Itse is affiliated with Citizens Leadership of New Hampshire, which was created a few years ago to highlight threats to constitutional freedoms,” reports the Globe. “He said Wednesday he will sponsor two constitutional amendments when the Legislature reconvenes in January. One would make only marriages between men and women recognized by the state. The other would prohibit the state from abridging a parent's right to control their child's health, education, and welfare.”...(Remainder.)

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Senator’s Aid After Affair Raises Flags Over Ethics

By Eric Lichtblau and Eric Lipton
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Early last year, Senator John Ensign contacted a small circle of political and corporate supporters back home in Nevada — a casino designer, an airline executive, the head of a utility and several political consultants — seeking work for a close friend and top Washington aide, Douglas Hampton.

"He's a competent guy, and he's looking to come back to Nevada. Do you know of anything?" one patron recalled Mr. Ensign asking.

The job pitch left out one salient fact: the senator was having an affair with Mr. Hampton's wife, Cynthia, a campaign aide. The tumult that the liaison was causing both families prompted Mr. Ensign, a two-term Republican, to try to contain the damage and find a landing spot for Mr. Hampton.

In the coming months, the senator arranged for Mr. Hampton to join a political consulting firm and lined up several donors as his lobbying clients, according to interviews, e-mail messages and other records. Mr. Ensign and his staff then repeatedly intervened on the companies' behalf with federal agencies, often after urging from Mr. Hampton.

While the affair made national news in June, the role that Mr. Ensign played in assisting Mr. Hampton and helping his clients has not been previously disclosed. Several experts say those activities may have violated an ethics law that bars senior aides from lobbying the Senate for a year after leaving their posts....(Remainder.)



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Family Research Embraces Deception; Also, Sky is Still Blue

By Jeremy Hoopers
Good As You

Responding to the "controversy" that the far-right has been drumming up about the way he handled a teen student who once revealed a same-sex encounter with a man (of unspecified age), Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools head Kevin Jennings issued this statement:
"Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing. All teachers should have a basic level of preparedness. I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers."

UNDER ATTACK FROM RIGHT, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT'S KEVIN JENNINGS RELEASES STATEMENT ON COUNSELING INCIDENT 21 YEARS AGO [Towle]
Okay, so he admits that he could've done more, without apologizing for his first instincts, which were to be a sympathetic ear and shoulder for a gay teen who confided in him at a time when gay visibility was light years different than it is today. And Mr. Jennings specifically says that now, after decades of training on the subject (to which he dedicated his career), he would have involved medical and/or legal authorities if appropriate. It's a perfectly appropriate statement.

But what does the Family Research Council do with the quote? Well obviously, they posted it as is, since they are good, moral Christians who are only in this "culture war" so that they can seek out truth, fairness, and decency. And they of course wouldn't want to dupe their followers with misinformation. Right?...(Remainder.)

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Anti-Gay-Marriage Fundraising to be Investigated

By Susan Cover
Maine Today


The state ethics commission voted 3-2 today to order an investigation of the fundraising efforts by the National Organization of Marriage, a Washington, D.C.,-based organization that has given money to fight same-sex marriage in Maine.

Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed a complaint with the commission saying the group should be required to disclose the names of donors. In response, Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, said they have not raised money specifically for Maine and therefore are not required to report individual donors.

The investigation is expected to take several weeks and will likely not be completed before the Nov. 3 election. Question 1 on the ballot asks voters if they want to reject a new state law that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry in Maine....(Original.)

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Gay Penguin Book Is Most Banned

By BBC News

Authors, artists and musicians are due to gather at a library in San Francisco to protest against the banning of books in schools and libraries in the US.

The event, part of the 27th annual Banned Books Week, has been organised by the American Library Association.

Since 2001 bans on 3,736 books and other materials have been requested.

In recent years, And Tango Makes Three - based on a true story and centring on gay penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo - has had the most ban requests.

The book's authors are Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

In a statement to the BBC on Friday, Mr Richardson said: "It's regrettable that some parents believe reading a true story about two male penguins hatching an egg will damage their children's moral development.

"They are entitled to express their beliefs, but not to inflict them on others."

Reasons given by organisations and individuals for their requests to get it removed from public shelves, include "anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group".

Other works featuring in the most-challenged books list for 2008 include Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner....(Reminder.)

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Is ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ Done For?

By Eric Ethridge
The New York Times

"The Battle of DADT is over, and the mopping-up operations are ready to begin."

That's Mark Kleiman's assessment of the effort to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Clinton-era law that "requires homosexuals in the services to keep their sexual orientation secret."

What prompted Kleiman's assertion is a new essay — "The Efficacy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — in a military journal. If that sounds like a thin reed, consider these additional facts. The publication, the Joint Forces Quarterly, is considered "the Joint Chiefs' 'flagship'' security studies journal," and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, reviewed the essay before it was published. In addition, the essay won the the Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition for 2009 and its author, Air Force Col. Om Prakash, now in fact works in Robert Gates' office.

The essay [pdf] was first reported yesterday by Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe, who provides these key sentences from Prakash:
After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly. Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.
Prakash also writes that "the law also forces unusual personal compromises wholly inconsistent with a core military value - integrity."...(Remainder.)

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I'm Smelling More Than a Little Homophobia Surrounding Mike Allen & the Politico

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


I'm not one to attack mainstream media journalists for sport. And I've defended Politico's Mike Allen to my readers, just recently in fact, as a "real" journalist we could trust. But I have to say, I'm troubled that Allen didn't do his due diligence before falsely accusing an Obama administration official of a crime. And I have to wonder if he jumped to his conclusion because the administration official is gay.

Allen went on a right-wing TV show this morning and falsely accused Department of Education official Kevin Jennings of a crime. He said - falsely - that Jennings failed to report "an assault" on a young man, twenty years ago, which would be a crime under Massachusetts law at the time. In fact, Jennings was never informed of an assault on anyone. He spoke to a student, of the legal age of consent, who had sex with a man. Ta ta ta dum.

Yes, you guessed - they were g-a-y. And one was older than the other. Ergo, it must have been one of those gay pedophile predator types who always go after young boys, because those gays are such perverts - right?

I'm not surprised that FOX News and the far right hate groups are going after a gay appointee in the Obama administration. Anti-gay bigotry is ripe at FOX, in the religious right, and in the GOP base that now controls the Republican party. So none of this should surprise us. What does surprise me is when real journalists, real reporters, like Mike Allen, swallow the bait from the ilk of Sean Hannity and the Family Research Council, and report their sludge as fact, when it's an outright lie. It really makes you wonder why the media smells a story here. I doubt they'd be as interested if the two legal adults, and the Obama official, were straight....(Remainder.)

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Stewart to Iran: Build your next nuke plant in ‘Sploogistan’

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Keith Olbermann: GOP Sen Lindsey Graham Slams Glenn Beck

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Letterman: Top Ten Sarah Palin Tips for Book Writin'

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Ignorant Twat, Carlson, Manufactures "Ramifications" of Longer School Day on "Small Business"

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Mentally Unstable Beck Can't Figure Out Which Talking Point He Wants to Lie About

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Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda Attack Obama for Olympic Bid

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The Retarded Baby Jesus Advances Neo-Nazi Beliefs: Inner City School & NEA What's Wrong with Education

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Conservatwats & Repuglitards Go Apoplectic Over Kids Praising Obama

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FOX NEWS LATEST FAIL! White House Official Worked for ACORN

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Rachel Maddow Takes On the Reich-Wing Smears of Gaspard

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Chris Matthews Calls Orrin Hatch to the Carpet: If No Repubs Will Join, Why Should Dems Compromise with Nobody?

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MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Airs Bullshit Link Between ACORN & WH

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Media Matters Pres, Burns, Tells Shuster "No Longer News Organization, but a Political Organization"

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