Monday, October 29, 2007

Coultergeist or Coulterfraud?

A couple of mildly interesting articles appear today regarding she-who-will-not-be-named.

At the Townhall muck room one Bert Prelutsky, while dismissing the performance of S-w-w-n-b-n on a recent television show, neatly turns a phrase by penning, "In fact, if I’m lucky enough to get on Mr. Deutsch’s show, I think I just might suggest that Christians are unperfected Jews."

Not one to be caught up in an ethnic/religious brouhaha, he.

Meanwhile, over at Huffington Post, one finds a curious little anecdote. It seems S-w-w-n-b-n was seen dining, with some pleasure, at a West Hollywood [Dear Gentle Reader(s), West Hollywood is a new code word for--gasp!--GAY!!!] restaurant.

When approached, "the the painfully thin, emotive, long blond haired thing in a small black dress with nearly exposed bosoms" was reluctant to speak with the writer of the posting.

Here's an amusing quote: "She was a natural with the gay men who surrounded her. She enjoyed the fawning attention by her two not so masculine male escorts, clearly in her milieu.
I was therefore shocked that when we tried to engage her in conversation, she became embarrassed, turned away, nestling her head inside her long, blond hair, much as would an embarrassed school girl caught stealing the answers to an exam."

"Two not so masculine" men in attendance? Oh my.

So, Dear Gentle Reader(s), which is it? Coultergeist (as Keith Olberman is fond of saying) or Coulterfraud?

I think she's laughing all the way to the bank--sort of like Rev. Ike. But is she conning right wingers? Possible.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A bit of balance...?

...over at the muckroom of, there are a couple of interesting titles, if not the articles themselves, which might bear further review.

First is this intriguing title by Dennis Prager: "Internet Anonymity Is as Destructive as Internet Porn." I have long advocated prohibiting commentary by Anonymous. I don't even like using cutesy-poo nicknames or aliases. If a person has a credible thought, that person ought to own up to it and be willing to defend it--with his/her name.

Then there is another article by Phyllis Schlafly which discusses a pending international issue: "Law of the Sea Treaty Would Swamp U.S. Legal System." Schlafly is a touch xenophobic in her argument, but it merits some thought. It touches on a portion of the "ideological struggle" we're in. To wit: Are we "one world" or not? What is our position in this "one world" if we are in it.

Just because the right has been wrong about Mr. Bush's war policies, doesn't mean they're incorrect about everything.

(Oh, Dear Gentle Reader(s), how hard it was to type that!)

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hillary and "the war"

Over at Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish, you'll find several negative references to Senator Clinton; especially often will there be strong comments against her position on the Iraqi situation(s).

I've never heard the Senator say anything with which I totally disagree. I might find a word or a nuance a touch disturbing, but sometimes even Sullivan drives me up the wall, yet I continue to be a fan. So let it be with Mrs. Clinton.

One thing which really bothers me is the constant reference to "the war." What, Dear Gentle Reader(s) do you think this reference means? It would seem to me that there are two "wars," if you will: the Bush misadventure in Iraq, and the aptly-defined-by-Bush "ideological struggle of the 21st century."

Now, I haven't heard Mrs. Clinton say very much (if anything) about this ideological struggle (and that, to me, is the true danger to the American way of life), but what I have heard her say about the Iraqi situation is pretty much along the lines of what Secretary of State Powell said, "If you break it, you own it." We (Oh, how that hurts, and how I'd love to be able to say, HE!!) broke it.

We cannot leave immediately in any case, although Sullivan and Co. make persuasive argument that we should leave post haste.

What would Sullivan have the good Senator do?

I begin to think there's nothing she could say and responsibly mean which would satisfy him.

Further, I think Sullivan should constantly remind his readers that there is a second front on this war, an ideological front, which does not get very much "ink;" and he should always use the Iraqi adjective when discussing, specifically, the Iraqi part of this struggle.

Trust your "gut," Andrew; but verify! And clarify!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Body Count Down! Half Full? Half Empty?

Interesting people over at the Townhall muck room.

Today's winner is one Rich Tucker with this head: "A Depressing Lack of Bad News" and this lead: "Bad news, folks. We’re winning in Iraq."

The thrust of the article is that the mainstream media (MSM) looks too often for bad news out of Iraq, and when there's none, MSMers don't do enough to push the good news--which is that we're "winning." So, good news is really bad news for the MSM.

Hmmm. Deaths are down; bombings are down = we're winning. "Down" doesn't yet mean "finished," does it?

Here's his final para: "We finally have a viable exit strategy from the war in Iraq. We’re going to win and come home. Too bad we haven’t yet fashioned a strategy for escaping the media’s relentless focus on bad news."

We're "going to win" are we? To "come home?" Very good news. Um, why the shift from the present tense in the first paragraph to the future tense in the final paragraph?

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blakley: Collateral Damage? Get real!

On October 12, 2007, Tony Blankley, on KCRW's "Left, Right, and Center" took issue with the discussion of recent "collateral damage" involving Iraqi civilians and coalition (U.S.) forces.

He pointed out that far more French civilians were killed during World War II than in present day Iraq, and those French civilians were killed with the tacit approval of General DeGaulle.

WikiAnswers has this to say about the Battle of Normandy: The battle of Normandy caused the death of less than 14,000 civilians in the three departments of Basse Normandie, that is to say: 8,000 in the Calvados;
4,000 in the Manche; 2,000 in the Orne

Assuming that General DeGaulle must have been in on the planning for D-Day, which included estimates of losses, military and civilian, Blankley probably had a point, but for one concept, which illuminates the problem which supporters of this involvement in Iraq have as they craft their defenses of the Bush administration's Iraqi policies. That concept is the concept of justifiability.

The way Blankley couched his comment, it sounded as though he were equating the Iraqi invasion by Coalition forces with the efforts of the Allies against the Axis powers of World War II.

Arianna Huffington immediately took issue with Blankley's inference, pointing out that there is not uniform agreement that the invasion of Iraq was justified.

Could Blankley really have meant to equate World War II with the invasion of Iraq in 2003? If so, he has a "lot of 'splainin'" to do. If not, then he unintentinally exposed the fatal flaw in the Bush "vision": Is the United States truly safer with the removal from power of Saddam Hussein in the manner in which he was removed?

Blankley needs to do some soul-searching.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There's Fog and then there's Fog

There's, of course, an on going rush to protect Rush over at the muck room. The latest is by a guy named Brent Bozell III. He has a post entitled : "Rush Limbaugh, Vindicated." Like Rush's own attempts to shape the truth, Brent doesn't quite get the job done.
The picture is one taken during the recent scalping routine which takes place during the early fall out here in the Palm Springs area--it is what's needed to have green grass during the winter season. This picture shows the process about 100 yards from my home. If you look closely, you can make out the scalping machine, but the view of the driver is totally obscured, even though you know he's there. That's what's happened to the truth of Rush and Jesse Macbeth.
If you go to Media Matters's website, you can hear Rush and a listener discuss soldiers who have been dissing the Iraqi involvement.
Rush does mention Macbeth, but some several seconds after he first mentions the "phony." Now he and Brent are trying to say Rush was talking about Macbeth all the while.
Listen yourself, Dear Gentle Reader(s).
Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Alas, poor Truth, we knew it well...(corrected)

...Hmmm. This from the mucking room: Bill Buckley, ol' William F., that is, penned this, in regards to the Limbaugh "phony soldier" flap: "He was criticizing the phony soldier we've mentioned -- a specific individual who had falsified his war record -- but he was hardly including in that category every soldier who has reservations about the war."

Bill, Poopsie, go to Media Matters and listen to the actual, original, transcript. At the point Mr. Limbaugh first used "phony," the soldier's name in question had not been used.

Now, Limbaugh might or might not have meant to include every soldier who opposes the Iraq war in that first "phony," but he certainly did not clearly associate the discredited soldier with the word at that point.

The title for Buckley's little tweaking of the fact is: The flap featuring Rush Limbaugh, Media Matters and illustrates the importance not only of keeping facts straight but also of lining up symmetrical perspectives.

Excellent thinking, Mr. Buckley. Now, do yourself a favor and listen to the original audio, then re-think the "straight" facts. It has been alleged that Limbaugh has excised some critical seconds from the original broadcast. I don't know if that's true. Perhaps, Mr. B, you should investigate.

What is truth?

Trust, but verify.
(Correction: the original post named in the 2nd paragraph. Old age. Sorry)

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Remember Al Franken's Book? "Rush...


Well, ol' Rush is in a pickle these days, hoist upon his own petard...except that so many of his fellow pundits of the political right don't see it that way.

Here's a clip from the printed transcript (an audio clip is also available at this website--as of 10/5/07) of the radio program which contains the first infamous "phony soldier" use:

(The speaker is a "Mike from Olympia, Washington") "No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media." Limbaugh interjected, "The phony soldiers." The caller, who had earlier said, "I am a serving American military, in the Army," agreed, replying, "The phony soldiers."

The "they" would be "people who favor U.S. withdrawal." The phony soldiers would be soldiers who had served in Iraq but didn't agree with the war policies of the administration.

Limbaugh's supporters, such as his brother, David, writing in, insist Rush never stated or remotely implied that any soldiers other than those who had been caught in such fabrications are phony. He did not say, would not say and never has said that soldiers who oppose the war are phony soldiers -- because he doesn't believe it.

Does Mr. Limbaugh make a distinction between any soldiers in his unscripted comment?

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), go to the source. Listen to the audio clip. Read the printed transcript. Decide for yourself.

By the way, the complete title of Mr. Franken's book is Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, with one chapter subtitled "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat liar".

Mr. Limbaugh has lost weight.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

$5,000? Really??? Um...NO!

It doesn't take much for certain spinmeisters to spin webs of virtual lies and certain confusion, does it?

Take the recent comment by Senator Clinton, to wit: "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home."

Somehow that comment has become fodder for the punditry such as housed over at Larry Elder, for instance, has penned a diatribe against Mrs. Clinton's plan with this headline: Senator Hillary Wants to Give You $5,000!

Moi? Are you sure?

Mr. Elder goes on to discuss the specifics of the plan, "Sen. Clinton specifically talks about using the "baby bond" account for college." That's it. One specific. The remainder of the screed is dedicated to quoting such stalwarts as Thomas Sowell showing how such a plan would do nothing to allay college tuition.

Of course, the question which Mr. Elder does not address is the question about exactly where Mrs. Clinton is supposed to have formulated a plan of execution for this "want" he claims she has.

The Clinton camp has specifically stated that this supposed "plan," in spite of questionable inferences by persons taking a comment out of context, "is not a policy proposal."

To Mr. Elder: Sir, verify your source and stick to the facts, please. An idea is not a want.

To readers: Trust, but verify. The former might be very difficult; the latter less so.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Anita and Clarence Show...(Updated) back for an early autumn re-run. Most people won't notice, and, of the ones who notice, very few will care. Some tales just don't justify a re-telling; "Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill?" Yawn.

For the record, though, it might be interesting to carve into digital electronic stone two comments available to us today, October 2, 2007, for an example of the divergence of opinion which existed then and has some carry-over for us.

Here's a paragraph available on, 10/2/07, written by Rebecca Hagelin of The Heritage Foundation: Written for the common man, My Grandfather's Son is anything but common. It should be required reading for every law student, every historian, every single person that truly seeks to be color blind, impart justice, or explore solutions to the inane policies and problems that threaten to strangle equal opportunity. Justice Thomas reveals how the ugliness of bigotry and racism still rob men and women of their dignity and the opportunity to thrive by the virtue of merit. Justice Clarence Thomas' "rags to riches" story is unique in that it can enrich the soul and heart of anyone willing to take the journey with him.

Here's a quote from a column written by Anita Hill, available from The New York Times, 10/2/07: "...I will not stand by silently and allow him, in his anger, to reinvent me.
In the portion of his book that addresses my role in the Senate hearings into his nomination, Justice Thomas offers a litany of unsubstantiated representations and outright smears that Republican senators made about me when I testified before the Judiciary Committee — that I was a “combative left-winger” who was “touchy” and prone to overreacting to “slights.” A number of independent authors have shown those attacks to be baseless. What’s more, their reports draw on the experiences of others who were familiar with Mr. Thomas’s behavior, and who came forward after the hearings. It’s no longer my word against his.

Hagelin has an effusive praise for Mr. Thomas: The book is filled with magnificent prose in which one of the most powerful men in America repeatedly dares to bare his soul - dares to make himself vulnerable to the cold, hard world of cynics in which we live.

Hill sees danger for personal rights in Thomas' activity on the Court: Our legal system will suffer if a sitting justice’s vitriolic pursuit of personal vindication discourages others from standing up for their rights.

And there, Dear Gentle Reader(s), you have it. Some 16 years after the contentious hearings which mesmerized a handful of American citizens, the contention re-awakens.

Since Justice Thomas is firmly ensconced in the right-wing of this Supreme Court, and, without some dire happening, likely to stay on this Court for several more years, it seems hardly worth any bother. Except that the Court has recently sided against individuals more often than not since Chief Justice Roberts ascended to his seat.

So, here it is.


Trust, but verify.

Update: For another view, this time from a man whose mother also studied at Yale, go to Trey Ellis' piece here.

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