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Why Ann Coulter Is a Cunt, Part 45,307 (with a Note on Fox "news" Biases)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

You know how you know you've become completely and utterly irrelevant as a writer? When you're still arguing a twenty year-old point. For in her latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "a neo-Norma Desmond's diary of utter madness"), Ann Coulter re-re-re-re-argues the Willie Horton ad from the Bush the Less Stupid vs. Dukakis campaign of 1988. Why? Because Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews said it first. No, seriously, Coulter, who is at this point just a twig-shaped dildo specially designed to fit Sean Hannity's ass, spends half her weekly column on her spin on the "facts" of the Horton case only because Olbermann and Matthews mentioned it in passing while discussing Fox "news" and its anti-Obama bias.

The Rude Pundit won't waste time and space to dispute Coulter's ranting except to say this: At this point, twenty years on, at least be honest about it. Coulter says, "The Bush campaign commercial about Dukakis' furlough program never showed a picture of Horton. In fact, the actors playing 'criminals' passing through a revolving door in the ad were all white" (screeching emphasis is all Ann). The problem is that when people say, "Willie Horton ad," as Olbermann and Matthews did, they're not referring to the Bush campaign's revolving door ad, which doesn't mention Willie Horton. No, they're more than likely referring to the Willie Horton ad, the ad that's about Willie Horton, that features two pictures of Willie Horton. (If she were a real writer or if her syndicate gave a shit about anything but the meager bit of cash she still brings them, it's really the kind of factual error that demands a correction.)

But it's pathetic, really, truly, in a "Look at the rabbits, Lenny" kind of way, how now, with Ted Kennedy dead and the Chappaquiddick arrows gone, Coulter's quiver of reference points is getting emptier and emptier. All she's really got left is passive aggressive Bill Clinton sex remarks. Reading her columns these days, now that she's been out-batshitted by Glenn Beck and out-babed by Sarah Palin, is not unlike listening to a toothless meth addicted woman at a bar tell you how hot she used to be and won't you please let her suck your dick for a dollar....(Remainder.)


Photos That Make Christian Conservative Brains Short Out

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

Yes, the photo, of Barack Obama becoming the first American president to publicly celebrate the Hindu holiday of Diwali, is about a week old, but the reaction to it from the nutzoid right wing is as steamy fresh as a new cow pie in a Vermont meadow on an October morning.

Yesterday, the Rude Pundit received his weekly prayer job orders from the Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team. The Rude Pundit signed up for the Super-Duper Prayer Team under a nom de rude, and every Wednesday, he gets a list o' crap what needs the prayin'. This week, amidst a whole buncha prayers about stopping the homosexuals from making America friendly to, you know, homosexuals, there was this shocking news from the aptly-named Newsweek: "As the ethereal sounds of a Hindu priest's chanting of this Sanskrit prayer from ancient Hindu scripture filled the East Room, President Obama lit the ceremonial White House diya --and he used this Sanskrit word for lamp ... Never before had a sitting U.S. President personally celebrated the Diwali holiday..."

Aw, motherfuck. And here we thought he was Muslim. This is gonna require some prayer. And here's what the Super-Duper Prayer Team was told to intone to the right god: "May God open the eyes of our President and the American people to understand the cost of diminishing the God of our Fathers and our nation's Christian heritage, while honoring foreign gods and promoting other religions and rituals. May God protect us from confusion to come if our leaders begin to promote a pantheon of gods."...(Remainder.)


How Kevin Jennings Survived

By Marc Ambinder
The Atlantic

A few weeks ago, Kevin Jennings was in trouble.

After social conservatives at the Family Research Council had opposed his nomination as director of the Education Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools earlier in the year, he came under a firestorm of criticism from conservative bloggers and Fox News pundits for counseling an underage student--a 15 year-old boy, it was reported--on a sexual relationship with an older man.

The student sought Jennings's advice in 1988, and, as a young teacher, and a gay man himself who had recently seen a friend die of AIDS, Jennings gave it: "I hope you knew to use a condom."

When this was discovered (from a speech Jennings gave in 2000), it set off an explosion of calls for his resignation. The Washington Times ran an editorial suggesting he was unfit for the job. He had failed to report statutory rape and, in doing so, condoned it, conservative pundits argued. It looked as if Jennings would follow in the footsteps of former green jobs czar Van Jones and former National Endowment for the Arts Communications Director Yosi Sergant--the latest administration appointee to resign amid controversy. In other words, the latest scalp for the administration's critics.

But Jennings appears to have survived. Here's why.

While the fire hasn't completely died down--53 House Republicans sent a letter calling for his job last week--it has certainly lost steam. Jennings is no longer a topic du jour, mostly due to one simple fact: the boy wasn't actually underage.

The liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America dug up a 2004 letter from Jennings' attorney stating that the boy was actually 16 at the time--the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, where this had taken place--although Jennings had said the boy was 15 in his speech....(Remainder.)


BBC TV Sparks Outrage by Hosting Far-Right Leader Nick Griffin

The BBC invited Nick Griffin, leader of the whites-only British National Party, to its flagship political show Thursday. The move is meeting sharp criticism from a broad range of critics, including former military leaders.

By Ben Quinn
Christian Science Monitor

London - Hundreds of antifascist protesters laid siege to the BBC's London studios today ahead of a highly controversial debut by the leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP) on the broadcaster's flagship political-debate show.

The BBC faces a storm of criticism for inviting Nick Griffin onto "Question Time," which the BNP's opponents warn is the party's biggest coup since the whites-only organization won two seats in this year's elections for the European Parliament. The appearance has galvanized public opinion, engaged military leaders opposed to the BNP's use of its symbols, and raised concerns that views once clearly labeled as extremist are being allowed to move into the mainstream.

Nigel Copsey, an expert on the far right, says tonight's program would be highly symbolic.

"Following [Mr. Griffin's] appearance on 'Question Time,' it will become even more difficult to claim that the BNP has not become part of the political mainstream, even if only as a minority party," he says.

Until now, organized opposition to the BNP has largely come from the Labour Party, trade unions, and activists like those picketing BBC headquarters today.

Peter Hain, a government minister, described the BBC's invitation to Mr. Griffin as its worst decision in recent times. Others said the BBC would be morally responsible for any resulting rise in racist attacks....(Remainder.)


Where is the Catholic Church's Mystery Money for the Anti-Gay Campaign Coming From? The Mormons?

By Joe Sudbay

When the first campaign report came out in July, we learned that the Catholic Church made a contribution of $100,000 to the anti-gay campaign in Maine. But, the church wouldn't reveal the source of the mysterious donation:
But Marc Mutty, a leader of the group seeking to repeal the law who is on leave from his work at the diocese, said parishioners should know the donated funds were not taken from the collection plate.

"The money is dedicated revenues that were provided by a donor for causes such as these and money from the collection basket or any of those types of things would never be used," he said.

Mutty said he only had limited details regarding the origins of the donation.
Today, the Catholic Church revealed it had donated another $152,600 to the anti-gay campaign. The money also has mysterious origins. It's from a "rainy day" fund, the church is now claiming:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has given another $152,600 to the group that's trying to overturn Maine's gay-marriage law.

A spokeswoman said the new contributions were transferred from a "rainy day" fund to the Stand for Marriage Maine political action committee.


Teacher’s Aides Accused of Waterboarding Special-Needs Student

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Political observers like The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan have argued that one of the most dangerous elements of the Bush administration's torture policies was the risk that a "torture mentality" would take hold in American society.

Those who seek evidence for that theory need look no further than Great Falls, Montana, where two teacher's aides have been charged with using water torture on a middle school student.

Julie Ann Parrish and Kristina Marie Kallies face one count each of felony abuse after allegations that they forced a 13-year-old autistic boy's head under water after he fell asleep in class. They also stand accused of "forcing him to sit in his soiled pants for hours and making him eat his own vomit when he got sick," reports KTLA in Los Angeles.

"If the teachers thought Garrett was being lazy or falling asleep at his desk, they forcibly took my son to the kitchen sink in the room and forced his head under the water while he was screaming for his mother," Tifonie Schilling, mother of the alleged victim, told ABC News. "And if he had an accident in his pants he was made to sit in it all day. They would taunt him and say, 'You stink like a baby.'"

"They were waterboarding my son," Schilling said....(Remainder.)


The Chinese Disconnect

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Senior monetary officials usually talk in code. So when Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, spoke recently about Asia, international imbalances and the financial crisis, he didn’t specifically criticize China’s outrageous currency policy.

But he didn’t have to: everyone got the subtext. China’s bad behavior is posing a growing threat to the rest of the world economy. The only question now is what the world — and, in particular, the United States — will do about it.

Some background: The value of China’s currency, unlike, say, the value of the British pound, isn’t determined by supply and demand. Instead, Chinese authorities enforced that target by buying or selling their currency in the foreign exchange market — a policy made possible by restrictions on the ability of private investors to move their money either into or out of the country.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with such a policy, especially in a still poor country whose financial system might all too easily be destabilized by volatile flows of hot money. In fact, the system served China well during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. The crucial question, however, is whether the target value of the yuan is reasonable....(Remainder.)


'Goldilocks Rule' Should Not Apply to Health Care Reform


Retired General Calls Cheney ‘Incompetent War Fighter’

By Kathleen Miller
The Raw Story

A retired General who served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army and helped train Iraq's military between 2003 and 2004 called former Vice President Dick Cheney an "incompetent war fighter."

National Security Network Senior Adviser and Retired General Paul Eaton made the comments after Cheney criticized Obama in a Wednesday night speech for "dithering" about whether to substantially increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Obama has been under pressure from his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, to add as many as 40,000 to 60,000 U.S. troops on the ground.

"The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters," Eaton said in a statement released Thursday. "They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it.  2.  Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11."

Cheney's criticisms of Obama came during his Wednesday night acceptance speech for the Center for Security Policy's "Keeper of the Flame" award....(Remainder.)


Conservative Democrats Signal They Won't Block Public Option

By John Byrne
The Raw Story

UPDATE: A Huffington Post report Friday indicates that Democrats believe they are one or two votes shy of having a filibuster-proof majority to pass a public health insurance option.

More here. The names of those who aren't on board for a filibuster is unknown, but at least one senator's office -- that of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), wouldn't say how the senator will vote.

Support for including some version of a public option in the Senate's version of a healthcare overhaul appears to be solider than initially believed.

In a series of comments that have received little attention, conservative Democratic senators -- even those who've publicly said they oppose a public option -- say they are unlikely to join a Republican filibuster to block it. Under Senate rules, Democrats would need to convince 60 members to support the ability to vote on healthcare legislation with the public option (cloture), and then just 51 to pass it.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) told a reporter earlier this week that she wouldn't join Republicans in voting against cloture....(Remainder.)


Judge Won't Dismiss War Crimes Suit Against Blackwater

By Raw Story

A federal judge's ruling Wednesday won't shutter a war crimes suit against the security contracting firm formerly known as Blackwater, despite the fact that lawyers must refile their claims against the company.

64 Iraqis -- including the estates of 19 who died -- have sued the company, now called Xe, for indiscriminate beatings and killings.

Judge TS Ellis III dismissed several of the suits on Wednesday, citing a new ruling by the Supreme Court which raises the bar for allegations of war crimes.

"Ellis's ruling was not necessarily a response to faulty pleadings by the Iraqis' lawyers, but rather appears to be the result of a Supreme Court decision that came down after the Blackwater cases were originally filed," The Nation's Jeremy Scahill, who has covered the case closely, wrote Thursday. "In a 5-4 ruling in May 2009 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the court reversed decades of case law and imposed much more stringent standards for plaintiffs' to document facts before going to trial, According to Ellis's ruling, which cites Iqbal, the Iraqis must now file complaints that meet these new standards."

"We were very pleased with the ruling," says Susan Burke, the Iraqis' lead attorney, was quoted as saying. A Blackwater spokesman said, ""We are confident that [the plaintiffs] will not be able to meet the high standard specified in Judge Ellis' opinion."...(Remainder.)


Boyles Paints Obama ‘War With FOX’ as Salvo in Potential Media Takeover

By Joseph Boven
the Colorado Independent

On KHOW’s Peter Boyles Show Thursday, the talk radio host compared President Obama’s “War with FOX News” to Hugo Chavez’s takeover of Venezuelan media outlets. “This is the Authority of the United States going after a… news outlet,” Boyles said. “Right now in Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is having a field day.”

Discussing the Obama administration’s decision to mandate salary reductions for executives at banks that received TARP bailout funds, Boyles described the move as socialist, which brought him to the administration’s recent decision to hold FOX News at a distance. He feared a potential wave of censorship issuing from Washington.

“I don’t care about FOX news, but what I do care about is the authority of the United States actually going after, along with his minions, a news outlet. It ultimately means that this show, or other shows, or what you get to read, or what you get to see. Do not kid yourself.”

This past week, the Obama administration criticized FOX for being biased against the President.

Anita Dunn, the White House Communications director, said Fox News was essentially a “wing of the Republican Party.”

Obama told NBC News: “I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet than that’s another. But it’s not something I’m losing a lot of sleep over.”

Administration officials have said that they will still submit to interviews with FOX News in the future and that FOX correspondents will continue to be included in the White House press corps. Obama senior adviser David Axelrod explained that the White House would not refuse to engage with FOX....(Remainder.)


White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Fires Back at Cheney Over Troop Levels in Afghanistan

By Robert Farley

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back at former Vice President Dick Cheney the day after Cheney said President Obama "seems afraid to make a decision" about a general's public plea for 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

"The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," Cheney said in a speech at the Center for Security Policy on Oct. 21.

In his daily press briefing the next day, Gibbs said Cheney's comments were "curious" given that "the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan."

And, Gibbs said, the comments were "even more curious given the fact that (a request for) an increase in troops sat on desks in this White House, including the vice president's, for more than eight months, a resource request filled by President Obama in March."

Gibbs is referring here to a request for additional troops made by the previous top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, during President George W. Bush's final year in office.

McKiernan made his requests public in a press conference in September 2008 in Afghanistan, saying he needed at least three more combat brigades, in addition to the one Bush had promised in January. He said more soldiers and resources were needed to stabilize insurgencies in Afghanistan.

"The danger is that we'll be here longer and we'll expend more resources and experience more human suffering than if we had more resources placed against this campaign sooner," McKiernan told reporters....(Remainder.)


Wingnuts Freaking Over Hate Crimes Act

By Joe

Under the predictable headline Pedophile Protection Act Passes, Christianist news site WorldNetDaily is continuing to lie about the hate crimes act.
Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, told WND the move is alarming because "this would be the very first governmental and societal disapproval of a sincerely held religious belief, held by a majority of Americans, namely that homosexual behavior is immoral. "It's the first time the federal government is writing into law a disapproval of that belief," he said. While he said he doesn't believe there will be "immediate" prosecutions of pastors and churches for teaching the biblical injunction that homosexual behavior is sin, "I think the effect on speech and religious speech is nonetheless real." He said he does expect that pastors soon will begin being called to testify in "hate crime" cases in court "as to what that pastor preaches, what the church teaches, what the Bible teaches." "When this happens, there will be a shock wave through pastorates in America," he said. Ultimately, he warned that the homosexual advocates who have pushed the "hate crimes" plan consider this law just the first step "toward silencing Christians."
Commenters on Free Republic see more fuel for the coming second Civil War.
"This is an attempt to silence Christianity. They have no idea what a hornets nest they’ve opened up. I can’t wait until the first pink tutu wearing gay opens fire on a Pastor’s sermon. It WILL go to court and the 1st amendment WILL be used in defense. Going to come down one of 2 ways 1) the 1st amendment will be upheld and this ‘law’ will be declared unconstitutional or 2) the 1st amendment will become toilet paper and then CWII opens up as something a mite hotter than rhetoric in forums and chatrooms."


Rachel Maddow Goes After Former VP Dick Cheney


NOM Gave Maine Anti-Gay Campaign $1.1 Million in Three Large Chunks

By Joe Sudbay

I already reported that the Catholic Church pitched in another $152,600 to the anti-gay campaign in Maine this month. Now, comes the big news: The National Organization for Marriage dumped in another $1.1 million since October 1st. From No on 1's press release:
[No on 1 Campaign Manager Jesse] Connolly noted that the Question 1 [The bad guys] campaign filing was fueled almost entirely by three huge donations by the New Jersey based National Organization for Marriage (NOM). In fact, $1.1M of the $1.4M raised in this period came from NOM. And while the Question 1 campaign reported 310 contributors, the NO on 1 campaign had over 4722 contributors this period.

"These two filings starkly illustrate the difference between the two campaigns," said Connolly. "The NO on 1 campaign has been fueled largely by individuals, people in Maine and across the country who believe deeply in equality. By contrast, the Question 1 campaign would scarcely exist without the deep pockets of the New Jersey-based NOM which continues to hide its donor base from voters and the public. We simply don't believe NOM can buy the votes this late in the game."
Here's the real question: Where did it get its money? NOM sent out a "red alert" on Maine a couple weeks ago. Did the "red alert" hit Salt Lake City?...(Remainder.)


Alan Grayson: Enough with Mister Milquetoast Liberal Nice Guys, We Need More Like Him

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

There really wasn't a lot of substance to Alan Grayson's appearance on Hardball yesterday, but it is always pretty delightful to watch Grayson in action anyway. He just says what he thinks and lets the chips fall where they may.

The end got a little over the top, in fact:
Matthews: Dick Cheney—and that‘s how you pronounce his name—was out last night in black tie, along with his—well, his felon former chief of staff, who I think took the bullet for him in that whole matter, perjury and obstruction of justice.
And he wasn‘t out robbing gas stations. His behavior was right there in the office under Cheney‘s leadership. Anyway, the prosecutor in that case said there was a cloud over Cheney‘s head. The—the prosecutor obviously brought the justice to that guy Scooter Libby. He got convicted of a number of counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.

The president even held his nose and would not pardon these guys, wouldn‘t pardon Scooter Libby. Here‘s this guy, with all his inglorious background, out trashing the president of the United States for dithering.

Your response?

GRAYSON: Well, my response is—and, by the way, I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he‘s talking.

But—but my response is this. He's just angry because the president doesn't shoot old men in the face. Oh, by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?

MATTHEWS: Oh, God. We have got to keep a level here.


Republican Malpractice Myths

By Jon Perr
Crooks and Liars

In recent days, Republican leaders have scored a series of political victories in their eternal quest for tort reform. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) told Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that an onerous package of malpractice curbs he championed could save the government an estimated $54 billion over 10 years. That came on the heels of President Obama's latest offer to support limited tort reform as an olive branch to recalcitrant Republicans balking at his health care proposals, including funding for a $25 million pilot program.

But largely overlooked in the heated discussions of damage award caps, special health courts, expert panels and national compensation schedules is the inescapable truth that the medical malpractice system has only a negligible impact on overall American health care costs. Republican horror stories of a torrent of baseless malpractice suits producing "jackpot justice" that fuels rising premiums for physicians and patients alike while driving doctors from practice simply don't comport with reality. The overstated, overblown, over the top and often outright false GOP claims suggest that the Republicans' real target is not the flawed American malpractice system, but instead the nation's trial lawyers whose campaign contributions help bankroll the Democratic Party.
Here, then, is a look at Republican Malpractice Myths:
  1. An Explosion of Malpractice Litigation
  2. A System Plagued by Frivolous Lawsuits
  3. Rising Damage Awards Key to Higher Malpractice Premiums
  4. Rising Malpractice Insurance Rates Driving Doctors from Practice
  5. Medical Malpractice Reform Would Save U.S. $200 Billion Annually
  6. Defensive Medicine Costs $200 Billion a Year
For the details and data behind each, continue reading.

Back in August, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin offered her diagnosis of the medical tort system on her Facebook page:
I went my whole life without needing a lawyer on speed-dial, but all that changes when you become a target for opportunists and people with no scruples. Our nation's health care providers have been the targets of similar opportunists for years, and they too have found themselves subjected to false, frivolous, and baseless claims. To quote a former president, "I feel your pain."
Sadly, the data are clear. If anything, the United States has too few, and not too many, malpractice actions....(Remainder.)


Lawrence O'Donnell & Bush Apologist, Joe Scarborough, Get Into Argument Over Darth Cheney's Afghanistan Comments

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Morning Joe Oct. 22, 2009- Joe Scarborough and Lawrence O'Donnell get into it over Cheney's remarks that President Obama is "dithering" in Afghanistan and on the WMD argument for invading Iraq.

Joe Scarborough defends Cheney's remarks and is still carrying water for the Bush administration on the WMD lies. Lawrence O'Donnell calls him out for it and Scarborough resorts to personal attacks and calls O'Donnell "crazy" and says that he has "a back pile of appliances" that he's "trying to sell in the five boroughs". It got pretty heated before the segment finally ended with Scarborough getting one last dig in on O'Donnell at the very end telling him to "go sell" his "appliances".

Scarborough was out in California where it was about 4:30 in the morning. Anyone else think he stayed up too late the night before this airing?...(Remainder.)


Dana "Where's Cuba?" Perino Thinks it's Un-American for Obama to Criticize Fox, but Okay for Her to Criticize NBC

By Media Matters

Former White House press secretary and current Fox News contributor Dana Perino has recently contrasted the Obama administration's criticism of Fox News with the Bush administration's treatment of MSNBC, saying, "I could have taken that tack, but I thought it was not the right thing to do and I think it's mostly because it's really unproductive, it feels un-American, and it's not inspiring." However, Perino did criticize NBC, MSNBC's parent network, during her time as press secretary, asserting that NBC had "intentionally" mischaracterized remarks made by President Bush....(Remainder.)


President Obama Weekly Address: Working with Small Business to Drive Recovery


Maddow and Olbermann on the Right-Wing Freakout Over Visit to White House

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Rachel Maddow weighed in on the ongoing dust-up between the White House and Fox News and the collective freak-out by Fox and the right wing over herself and Keith Olberman, among others, being invited to a meeting at the White House. She wrapped it up with this statement:
Maddow: You can be upset all you want that the president meets with people who you disagree with. But consider being fair and balanced in your criticism, at least admit that this White House has met with both sides while the Bush White House did not. You should especially admit that if you happened to have been a member of the Bush White House during that administration.

Keith joined Rachel later in the segment and talked about how hypocritical and completely disingenuous all of this pearl clutching has been by the right....(Remainder.)


A Round of Applause for a True Civil-Rights Landmark: Final Passage of a Federal Hate-Crimes Bill

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Defense appropriations bill, and actually garnered some 28 "No" notes from Republicans who otherwise would normally be eager to jump on a defense-spending bill.
Their reason? Well, attached to the bill was the nation's first real federal hate-crime law. And that, it seems, was too much for them.

But then, that's par for the course for the modern Republican Party, which ever since the days of Nixon has come to represent the knuckle-dragging bloc of American culture, which resists efforts to expand and protect the civil rights of all Americans tooth and claw every step of the way -- mainly by appealing to people's irrational fears that granting civil rights to others erodes their own rights ... and usually conflating rights with privileges along the way.

With President Obama having promised to sign the bill into law, however, all this sound and fury has finally come to naught. And for that, it's worth standing back and appreciating what a historic moment it actually is.

The passage of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act really is a momentous occasion: It marks the first time in history that Americans have collectively taken an effective stand against the thugs and bullies who have used violence through the course of our history to threaten and oppress whole populations of minorities....(Remainder.)


In Latest Bigoted Smear, Fox Leads Right-Wing Media Assault on Jennings' Involvement with Anti-AIDS Group

By Media Matters

Advancing the newest ludicrous and bigoted attack in a long series of failed efforts by conservatives to smear Education Department official Kevin Jennings and force his firing, Fox News' Sean Hannity and the Washington Times editorial board have insisted that Jennings' past involvement with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) somehow disqualifies him from serving in the Obama administration. But such arguments are absurd, given that ACT UP, an anti-AIDS activist organization, has been credited with both creating awareness of the AIDS epidemic in America and facilitating more effective treatment of the disease.

Conservatives say ACT UP link is grounds for firing Jennings

Hannity uses Jennings' link with ACT UP as evidence Jennings "does not deserve that position." On the October 16 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity expressed his usual outrage toward all things Kevin Jennings: "We now found out from Worldnet Daily this week that he was once a member of the radical group Act Up. Are you saying that Sean Hannity is on a witch hunt when I think this man does not deserve that position?" [Hannity, 10/16/09]

Wash. Times called Jennings "unsuitable" for his job due to his association with ACT UP. In an October 22 editorial, The Washington Times stated: "Mr. Jennings' membership in ACT UP merely reinforces how unsuitable he is for the honor of serving as a presidential appointee."...(Remainder.)


Right-Wing Smear Machine Falls for Fake Obama Quote Labeled as "Satire"

By Media Matters

Right-wing media figures trumpeted a blogger's fake report that in a college thesis -- which the post's author claimed was obtained by Time's Joe Klein -- President Obama attacked the Founders and the Constitution. Lou Dobbs ran with the claim even after Klein had denied the story, Michael Ledeen had apologized for having repeated it, and Rush Limbaugh had acknowledged that it might not be accurate.

"Thesis" report originated in August "satire" blog post

Post: In Columbia thesis, Obama attacked Constitution, Founders. An August 25 post to the blog Jumping In Pools -- posted by Matthew Avitable and purportedly written by "Brian Lancaster" -- reported that in his Columbia University thesis, Obama wrote that the current economic system was "tyranny," that "[t]he so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom" in the Constitution, that "the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned" in the Constitution, and that "[w]hile many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy." From the post:
A political science major, Obama was seen as a top student, according to his classmates. Professors even asked the young student to lecture several times. Obama was required to write a 'senior seminar' paper in order to graduate from Columbia. The subject of this paper, which totaled 44 pages, was American government. Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, "plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government."

In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: "I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh."

In part, the future President blames this on the current economic system: "There are many who will defend the 'free market.' But who will defend the single mother of four working three jobs. When a system is allowed to be free at the expense of its citizens, then it is tyranny."

However, the President also singled out the American Constitution: "... the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."


So Desperate They'll Believe Anything -- the Fake Obama Thesis Debunked

By Simon Maloy
Media Matters

It really gets to be pretty pathetic sometimes, watching the conservatives grasp at every straw they can in order to attack and discredit a president they don't like.

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh today or visited Fox Nation, then you might have heard about President Obama's supposed college thesis in which the college-aged commander in chief allegedly wrote: "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

Now, you might be thinking: "Wait a minute, I thought conservatives didn't like Obama's elusive thesis because it was on nuclear disarmament." Well, this is a different thesis, it would seem, and blogger Michael Ledeen wrote about it two days ago:
I missed this first time around.  Brian Lancaster at Jumping in Pools reported on Obama's college thesis, written when he was at Columbia. The paper was called "Aristocracy Reborn," and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein -- who wrote about it for Time -- was permitted to see).
So Ledeen sources this bombshell to another, more obscure conservative blogger, who wrote -- back on August 25, mind you -- that Time's Joe Klein had seen Obama's damning thesis and was going to report on it for "an upcoming special edition about the President." No indication was given as to how this obscure blogger came to know that one of America's premiere journalists had obtained this information. There was no indication as to how this blogger was able to quote material only Klein had had access to. Oh, and let's not forget that this very same blogger was busted by for fabricating stories about President Obama....(Remainder.)



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