Termination of privacy and termination of insurance choice?

Last month an Oklahoma County Court Judge ruled to dissolve a restraining order that has been filed against the state on the grounds that House Bill 1595 – a bill to prohibit abortions based on sex-selection, and to enforce a reporting procedure to track abortion statistics – is unconstitutional on the assertion that it violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s “Single Subject Rule.” If the restraining order had been overturned by the judge before debate on the constitutionality of the bill argued in court, the bill would have become law on Nov. 1 – before Dec. 4 proceedings even began.  With the Stupak Amendment, severely limiting a woman’s choice of insurance provider, now tacked on to the Affordable Health Care for America Act … there will be a double-whammy to pro-choice Americans and pro-choice Oklahomans if either – or both – pass.

Already the issue in Oklahoma has been receiving national attention because of what many pro-choice advocates, doctors, and those with privacy concerns consider an unnecessary and potentially dangerous collection of publicly accessible data about patients.

What may have been a little-known bill to Oklahoma residents now could affect doctor-patient confidentiality, narrowly increase the chances a patient could be identified, and – according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Oklahoma Branch Vice Chair – could increase the likelihood of dangerous “back-alley” abortions.
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Those Anonymous Leaks

angle by Lee Stranahan

Steve Clemons from The Washington Note has a piece in the Daily Beast today called The Assassination of Greg Craig.

The article concerns the circumstances surrounding the recent ouster of White House counsel Greg Craig. The story makes it clear that the Craig exit was “the Obama team’s first assassination by leak.”  As Steve writes,

Such intrigue and innuendo stand in sharp contrast to the internal vow of key stakeholders in Barack Obama’s campaign, as reported in David Plouffe’s insider account Audacity to Win—whom he says vowed not to allow “@#%holes” and leaks and the blame game to disrupt any aspect of their campaign. When problems arose or mistakes were made, the president and his team were forthright and dealt with each other directly and confessed their sins, when they committed them, to the public.

Steve’s article doesn’t mention health care reform, where debate has been shaped for months by anonymous leaks. Many Obama apologists spend a good deal of time attacking the these leaks as rumor but I’ve had the sense for a while that the White House was actually the source of many of them.

I wrote Steve Clemons and asked him, “There have been a ton of anonymous leaks on health care reform – have any of them had tacit White House approval?”

Here’s Steve’s response.

The health care leaks that have come from administration sources seem to have the approval of those at the helm of the political operation — particularly when it has come to the question of whether the public option should be in or out of a final package.  But there have been leaks on other subjects as well.  The reason that there seems to be tacit approval of some of these leaks is the disinterest the White House has shown in tracking leakers and plugging them up.  Also, the leaks came at key moments in the debate designed to fight back against those who were distorting Obama’s health care plan intentions.

So, yes — leaking things out to the press seems to be a key part of the White House tool kit in shaping public opinion and wrestling with political opponents.

Oh, Mika

Mika, Mika, Mika.

You couldn’t just leave last week’s Huffington Post column be, could you?

The first post, while semi-controversial I suppose, was actually thoughtful, and probably mostly well received … and, then you really did it.  You had to push it, and in so doing managed to insult feminists – yourself included.  I hate to break it to you, but you are pretty much a feminist.  I only say ‘pretty much’ because you do your DAMNEDEST to try and convince yourself that you are not.

You may very well be correct, that women steadfastly pursuing perfection in their career path should not forget to have kids … really, that’s just biology.  And, not every woman can afford to freeze her eggs … so, in that case you are correct – we shouldn’t forget.  If we want them, that is.  I thought you were pretty clear in conveying that message, and I don’t think there were as many women disagreeing with you as you think.  It may have been that they were disagreeing with you for a few more reasons than you may be willing to admit.

Reason #1 – You are an intelligent woman who – to the absolute frustration of feminists everywhere – continue to allow yourself to be Joe’s doormat.  Scarborough is also an intelligent person, but you do not agree with him A LOT … and, rather than speak your mind, you hide your face in embarrassment and don’t call him out on ONE IOTA OF ANYTHING EVER. That’s irritating, Mika.  We feel badly when you let him do this, and lose respect for you each time you do.

Reason #2 – See what great advice this is Mika? “… you have to be fearless and force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone.” How wonderful, and true.  Great advice from a successful woman, I’d say.  Or how about this wonderful thing? “Don’t make your journey through life harder by placing rules on yourself like, ‘I can’t get married till I get promoted to your dream job.'” See, that’s pretty okay advice, and very soundly feminist … why should women place rules on themselves?  Answer – they shouldn’t.  They can have it all, and they oftentimes do.  This is why it’s so uncomfortable for us to watch you squirm and whisper your opinion rather than shout it!

Reason #3 Today’s near retraction of all of the encouraging words you give to women who wish to have it all … Mika, it’s very disappointing.  First: “… since diapers, bras and babies have been seen as symbols of oppression from the Old World run by the likes of Don Draper … “ Oh, Mika.  That’s not what feminism is all about … this makes me sad.  I recently worked on a story myself that was about a seminar especially designed for women.  The first thing the women – strangely – felt the need to do was disqualify it as ‘feminist.’  “We aren’t about man-hating or male-bashing,” they said.   As if this sums up the feminist experience any more than your assertion that it’s all about babies and bras.  Well, these ladies were about the same age as you, so maybe I can only assume that you aren’t old enough to have been faced with a woman’s experience of having only recently been given the right to vote, nor young enough to have little girls dressed up as nymphettes or Lolita’s thrust in your face in advertising through your teen years … maybe, but that might be ageist of me to assume.

Oh Mika, you couldn’t stop there.  No, you continued:  “For those who still want to take off their bras and burn them, so be it. But I’d rather find one to wear that is pretty. And when it comes off, its not because it’s being thrown into the fireplace.” Of course, Mika, because no feminist would be caught dead wearing pretty shoes or a bustier?  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Mika, don’t let Joe or the rest of the team rub off on you – Joe may think that all feminists are butch, but you know that’s not true.

On behalf of all feminists, we wish the following Mika would come back:

 

Dem Strategist’s White House Trash Talk Removed From LA Times Article

On Friday, a very thinly-sourced LA Times article that attempted to re-ignicaddellte the now-dormant feud between the White House and Fox News contained a rather inflammatory quote from former Carter administration pollster Patrick Caddell. The newest version of the article does not. When you see the quote, the omission gains a layer of irony atop its bravado.

Peter Nicholas’ article relies on on anonymous source paraphrasing an unnamed White House official, an uncertain timeline, and things Caddell says he has heard about other unnamed strategists, to suggest that the White House tried to intimidate Democratic strategists into boycotting guest appearances on Fox News. Despite a lack of key details, the story is the LA Times’ #1 most-viewed article.

When I first saw the piece, ironically, the only thing that stood out as newsworthy was this quote from Caddell:

Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House. “They know better than to tell me anything like that,” he said.

Now, that passage simply reads, “Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House.”

I tried to reach out to the LA Times, and to Caddell through Fox News, but neither have responded to explain the omission. To the naked eye, it looks like somebody thought better of trash-talking the White House. In accusing the White House of chilling dissent, it looks like Caddell got a little overheated.

TBogg is the Boyfriend Keith Olbermann Deserves?

tbogg

I hate to break it to you, TBogg, but KO is spoken for.

The Firedoglaker is at it again, attacking yours truly in a fit of blind partisan snrage (that’s “snark” and rage”), and once again getting his facts wrong.

The provocation this time was the fact that I pointed out Keith Olbermann’s fingerbang salute to Carrie Prejean. I actually took it pretty easy on KO, of whom I am a big fan. Unfortunately, some liberals require blind idolatry, even when it runs counter to actual liberalism.

I went on to critique the left’s treatment of Prejean, another big no-no in TBogg-land.

First, though, he references the last story he got wrong about me:

When we last saw  Conservative Pet Liberal Tommy Christopher he was getting blog-killed by Big Bunny because he had the blogdacity*  to go “shame shame” over Guy Cimbalo’s hatefuck article/post thingy. As it turned out, pretty much anyone who was familiar with Cimbalao’s article shared Tommy’s opinion, but the timing of AOL’s de-Tommyfying was enough to throw the wingnuts into a frenzy.

Well, they’re always in a frenzy, but it was kismet that day because the Mexicans, Muslims, and Negroes  were  behaving themselves. At least for for a few hours.

Now we see that Tommy has washed up on the shores of the  Mediaite (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) blog which is kinda of like the crackbaby lovechild of Politico and Tiger Beat (”Who’s Hot Who’s Not!” “Win a Dream Date with Dreamylicious Jake Tapper!” etc.).

The “wingnuts” in a frenzy? Right, like The Huffington Post, or Howard Kurtz? He also displays the same class that led him to make fun of special needs children last time, tossing his barbs at crack babies here. Real nice.

He also forgot to check his facts again. I got fired from Politics Daily, asshole. I still work for AOL now, still write about politics for them. AOL offered me a new job the next day.

He also posits that I only defend young, hot, conservative women. You know, like Kevin Jennings or Van Jones. Boing!

True, I was also fortunate enough to land a great gig with Mediaite that permits me to get out of my jammies and into the real world once in a while.

Factual lapses aside, he also goes on to miss the entire point of my post. By attacking Prejean’s tits and masturbatory habits, the left has amplified her importance well beyond what it should be, and made themselves look ugly in the process. Keith Olbermann’s (thankfully non-glistening) fingers may be worth a chuckle to some, but at what price? What average American is going to watch that and say “My, that Keith Olbermann is a clever fellow. Let me probe his views on marriage?”

TBogg says “As to his point that she has been amplified, her book sales (#846) at Amazon tell another story.” I say the problem was never that she was selling books.

Finally, before TBogg tries to accuse someone of being a “Conservative pet liberal,” maybe he should think about elevating his own editorial standards to at least equal Hannity’s. At least he admits he’s “mistaken” when somebody busts him.

Busted by Daily Show, Hannity Apologizes for ‘Inadvertant’ Use of 9/12 Crowd Footage – 1st draft

This is a first draft of an article I posted at Mediaite. Here’s the final version.

As we reported yesterday, the eagle eyes of The Daily Show noticed that Sean Hannity substituted news footage from the 9/12 rally for last week’s much-lower-attended Super Bowl of Freedom. The effect was to make the latter event seem like a much bigger deal than it was.

Last night, Hannity apologized. Let’s see if his explanation washes, and try to figure out which is the legitimate news organization.

Here’s what Hannity had to say:

(video 1)

“And finally tonight, although it pains me to say this, Jon Stewart? Comedy Central? He was right. Now on his program last night, he mentioned that we had played some incorrect video on this program last week while talking about the Republican healthcare rally on Capitol Hill. He was correct, we screwed up, we aired some video of a rally in September, along with a video from the actual event. It was an inadvertant mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, so Mr. Stewart. you were right, we apologize. But by the way, I wanna thank you, and all your writers, for watching. (Laughter)”

Hannity says they “played some incorrect video,” but that’s not really accurate. The video they played was a pre-edited clip package. This wasn’t a case where the technical director hit a wrong button, this was edited together in advance. Someone had to seek out that older footage to add it in with the footage from that day. Who would do such a thing? Here’s the original segment. Pay close attention to the opening seconds:

(video 2)

Griff Jenkins, hmmm, where have we heard that name before? Wasn’t it also his crew that was “reprimanded” for whipping up a 9/12 crowd for the cameras?

While the White House took some lumps over their treatment of Fox News, incidents like this certainly seem to underscore their overall point. One of the linchpins of Fox News’ defense is the idea that there’s a wall between their news and opinion programming. Problems with their news programming notwithstanding, this defense is leaky at best.

The “opinion show” defense is only really operative when it comes to opinions. When it comes to news content on opinion shows, they retain some duty to present facts accurately and fairly. When I asked Fox to clarify those standards in the past, they refused.

Aside from that, the bleed-through of Fox’s opinion programming to their news desk extends beyond driving their news editors to cover certain stories. Fox’s news personnel are frequent guests on these opinion programs, blurring the line and attaching their credibility to the likes of Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.

But in this case, there was no-one from the newsroom to act as ombudsman for Hannity. His show’s producers edited Fox News footage together in a false way, and they played the package twice. It is legitimate, then, to ask whether the news desk is convinced by Hannity’s explanation. It is their credibility at stake.

The recent dustup over the Treasury Department’s attempt at excluding Fox News’s Major Garrett from a round-robin interview revealed apparent walls-within-walls within Fox’s news operation, too. Their original report, which stated that the Obama administration was behind an attempt to freeze Fox out of the interviews with Feinberg, contained no documentation or direct quotes from any of the principles. Why didn’t they interview Major Garrett for that spot? When Garrett finally did tell his story, only after Fox News had capitalized on the story, it turned out that Fox’s original report was incomplete and misleading.

This was underscored by the fact that Fox News’ Senior Vice President for News Michael Clemente had just spent the weekend filling in the gaps in that original report.

It would appear, then, that apart from their opinion arm, there are actually 3 distinct chambers of the Fox news operation: The news desk, the reporters, and the executives. It seems they would like us to judge the credibility of each separately.

We asked Fox News if their news operation satisfied with Hannity’s explanation of the misuse of their footage by an opinion show, if we could get an explanation from the video editor and/or the technical director explaining how this accident occurred, and if we could get Fox News Channel’s editorial standards with regard to presentation of news content during opinion programs. We await their response.

One Nation, Under God…and Whatnot…

In case you missed it, this is the best thing I’ve seen in awhile. GOP douche Todd Akin tries to lecture liberals about the Pledge of Allegiance, and gets what he richly deserves. Why does he hate America?

I wish these church-and-state-loving assholes would stop, just once, and consider that separation of church and state might just sbe there to protect the church from the state, and not the other way around.