‘RNC Promoting Anti-Semitic Lit’ Attack is Unfair and Misleading


Before I get started, 2 quick notes about the headline.  I know the blog post to which I’m referring makes 3 such accusations in the headline, but they wouldn’t all fit, so I chose the most inflammatory.  Second, yeah, if you say it fast, it sounds like “Anti-Semitic Clit,” but grow up.

AmericaBlog makes the titular claim in a post about the RNC’s (admittedly stupid) ObamaCard page.  Here’s the upshot:

Just what products does the RNC propose you buy with your new Obama credit card? Anti-semitic, anti-Latino, and overtly pornographic literature – with pictures to boot.

Basically, the RNC site is set up as a faux online business, like Amazon.com, where you can buy goods by doing word searches. Search for the word “car,” for instance, and you get pictures of various cars and how much you can pay for them with your ObamaCard.

The funny thing is, you’d have to be a moonshine-swilling ignoramus to get worked up over this to begin with.  “They got pichers, ta boot?  How’d they get them pichers in thar?  Witchcraft?  Soul-thievery?”

Obviously, the site uses some kind of filtered search engine, like Google Shopping or Amazon.  While probing the search feature for results like this carries the same juvenile charge that reading the word “shit” in the dictionary does, accusing the RNC of anti-semitism in the headline takes it from fun to frakked up.  You could as easily accuse Google of “promoting,” well, pretty much anything on the entire series of tubes.

I get the whole partisan warfare thing, and I get that the right doesn’t always fight fair, either, so please spare me that argument.  All crying “Wolf!” does is make people tune you out when you actually do have something important to say.

Jake Tapper Pits Bill Clinton vs Obama on Same Sex Marriage

This is from Wednesday’s briefing.  Robert Gibbs, and President Obama, can count on the press corps to take every shot they can to get better answers on same sex marriage and DADT.  In this case, Jake Tapper uses Bill Clinton’s recent epiphany on gay marriage (DOMA arigato, Bubba) as an entree’ into the subject, with Gibbs repeating the same disappointing answer.

Why do we ask the same questions over and over?  Because sometimes, you ask one of those questions the right way, and you get a little something different.  If you don’t push, you’ll never get that rock up the hill.

Bicycle Podcast and Transcript of Yesterday’s Rose Garden Speech

alex01thumbOverall, I think I took going in on my own rather well. So now that everyone knows I ended up standing the whole time and looking like a spaz when I opted to raise my hand, we can continue.

The briefing was pretty well uneventful save for the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, making a surprise guest appearance to tell the Press Corps about the public diplomacy and outreach efforts in Ghana and throughout the rest of Africa for President Obama’s visit. Efforts included providing microgrants to small theaters in Sierra Leone to show the speech for free, receiving 250,000 questions for the President via SMS/text message and email, and answering some of those questions in a podcast, which was dubbed into French, Swahili, Portuguese, and Arabic, and then taken to broadcast at radio stations via bicycle. I don’t know, I thought that was kind of cool. Nice to see we’re not solely relying on new technology to get the message out to the developing world.

The Rose Garden event was where the buzz of the day really lay, and ensured that at least 80% of questions during the briefing were on the subject of healthcare. I got some video of the ten-minute speech, but ended up behind people (as usual) so the video is not very good – luckily, I have the transcript. Enjoy! Continue reading

Updated:Duh! Healthcare Bill Doesn’t ‘Outlaw Private Insurance’


Earlier today, Twitter was all a-Itself with news, courtesy of Investor’s Business Daily, that the House healthcare reform bill “outlaws private insurance.”  I knew, without knowing, that they were misreading the thing, but haven’t had the chance to run through it yet.  Luckily, the Heritage Foundation debunks them, while ladling on their own false alarmism.

To sum it up, IBD reads a passage, from page 16 of the bill, that describes a grandfather provision which they interpret as “making private health insurance illegal,” but fail to read a paragraph on page 19 that explains it further.  Non-grandfathered policies would be required to compete in health exchanges, alongside the public option.

The Heritage article still thinks this is going to ruin everything because of “teh regulations!”

In order to qualify as an “Exchange-participating health benefits plan,” all health insurance plans must confirm to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue. These will all drive up the cost of health insurance. Furthermore, all these new regs would not apply just to individual insurance plans, but to all insurance plans.

The irony here is that the health exchange fixes a major flaw in John McCain’s plan from the 2008 campaign.  McCain wanted people to be able to purchased insurance across state lines, but that would have meant trashing or weakening important protections for consumers.  Without them, there would simply be a race to the bottom to provide the cheapest, crummiest insurance to those who can’t afford more.  From my story on the subject:

Saying that all McCain wants to do is “erase artificial boundaries” between states is like saying, “I don’t want criminals to roam the countryside, I just want to unlock their cells so they can compete for the best one.”

In order to allow such “competition,” companies would need to be exempt from state regulations, regulations that protect consumers from being denied coverage, or being canceled if they get sick, or from being sold worthless insurance that doesn’t cover anything once you read the fine print.

The notion that insurance companies can’t compete while consumers are protected is a frightening one.  There may be some that can’t hack it, but maybe they’re the ones who need to go out of business.

Update: I finally found a complete copy of the bill that my crummy connection would let me download, and it turns out that the IBD headline is even dumber than I thought.  On page 15, immediately prior to their “Oh, noes!” paragraph, is a clearly labeled intro that states that the section is simply a definition of “grandfathered coverage,” which is then referenced on page 19:

GRANDFATHERED HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE DEFINED.—Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term ‘‘grandfathered health insurance coverage’’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 (as defined in section 100(c)) if the following conditions are met:

That’s where IBD started reading, and stopped before they got to page 19.

More on this later.

Fox News Fuels Birther Madness

News Hounds (formerly New Shounds, wasn’t as catchy), has catalogged a passel of examples (actually, 1 passel and 2.5 s-FOX-largesmidgens, to be exact) of Fox News amplifying the Birthers of a Nation and their attempts to question Barack Obama’s national parentage:

Perhaps desperate for new ways to undermine Barack Obama’s presidency, Fox News has joined forces with the “birthers,” the fringe who irrationally claim that Obama’s presidency is illegitimate because he was not born in the U.S. As Think Progress has reported, Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is widely available on the internet. FactCheck.org has also extensively researched the subject. Their conclusion: Born in the U.S.A. But Fox News has started reporting on birthers without noting the baselessness of their claims, and in ways that lend legitimacy to their efforts. With video.

I would add, here, that the first, and best, source for all things Birther is Yestodemocracy.com.  They were way ahead of the curve on this story, and have debunked and shown disinfecting light upon every nook of the Birther movement.  (They needed something to do after they defeated PUMA.)

News Hounds points to several Fox segments (video here) in which they report about the Birthers in a relatively uncritical fashion, to put it mildly.

I appreciate the job News Hounds, and YTD, are doing, but I have to say that now that Obama has been elected, I don’t really care how loud and long these idiots shame themselves.  By extension, Fox News can stand next to them all they want.  I encourage it.  This latest episode with the soldier who refused to go to Afghanistan was a Birther public service, flushing out a guy who’s obviously too stupid to command our bravest.