Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: January 2006

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bizzaro World

Think Progress points out that Matt Lauer and Katie Couric work very hard to make a lie become the truth. It amazes me.

Howard Dean says "Not one dime of money from Jack Abramoff went to a Democrat." Which is factually, and yes Matt Lauer, technically, true. Its simply true. Like truthiness only truer.

They allow republicans to lie without recourse. Yet if a Democrat tells the truth, alarms ring, bells whistle, sirens wail, and spinning strobe lights flash. Bring out the Republican Talking Point Spin Machine Fact Checker Checker. Let us see if the Democrat told the truth!

Dammit he did...

Let's make it so that he did so only "technically."

Though behavior like this should never be considered fine, I could see if they did this in a "fair and balanced" consistent bi-partisan way, it could be, acceptable well, fair and balanced. However, they do not.

Exhibit A - Maverick McCain lies to Lauer. No truth squad fact checking occurs the next day complete with pictures and graphics actually spinning it to the contrary.

Exhibit B
O'Reilly calls us all Hitler, Mums the word from Katie.
Exhibit C Gingrich lies, Couric sighs.
And on, and on, and on, and on it goes... MMM Hmmm Hmmm

Then again, neither Howard Dean or myself are Americans in Katie Courics eyes. Hey Katie, why didn't you stop at colorectal screening activism?

Also of interest, you have Maureen Dowd (whom I have quite a bit of respect for) castrating the Democrats that are actually demonstrating testicular fortitude.

Maureen Dowd's lashing at the wrong Dems, while Lauer and Couric twist the truth to try and call Howard Dean, technically, a liar.

Where do we go from here?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Spy news

Uh. Why didn't some intrepid reporter dig this up?

After you are done trying to figure that one out. Write a letter or something to the news outlets who are constantly scratching their heads about how more and more people get their news from the internets.

It would be a simple letter...

You could start by asking, why do I get my news from the internets?

Because, apparently, only intrepid bloggers can dig simple things like this up:
In June, 2002, Republican Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated the exact barrier to FISA which Gen. Hayden yesterday said is what necessitated the Administration bypassing FISA. Specifically, DeWine's legislation proposed:

to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to modify the standard of proof for issuance of orders regarding non-United States persons from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. . . .

In other words, DeWine's bill, had it become law, would have eliminated the "probable cause" barrier (at least for non-U.S. persons) which the Administration is now pointing to as the reason why it had to circumvent FISA.

Is it time to start airing out the issue on a majority of American's minds yet?

Tip o'dee auld at to Atrios (who sums up dead talking points rather well).


Monday, January 23, 2006

Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers XXXVI

Sharon's got it this week


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Medicare Part D: Not So-Conventional Wisdom

So it shouldn't be news to anyone's eyes 'round here, but we have our 341st failure of Republican leadership, Medicare Part D a.k.a. "How to make Health Care Costs Skyrocket and blame it on the Democrats <- (Warning Possible Lieberman attack point).

Republicans whip some Democrats to vote for a plan to benefit only the Health Care Industry at the cost of usurping our Senrior citizens, the "Greatest Generation," of their vital life sustaining chemicals.

Glibbly, they smile, already co-opting the media into muddying up Democrats with the Abramoff rag, dusting off their shoulders in the process.

Anyway, I digress. So it seems that every story you hear that is negative about Medicare Part D, is followed by commentary by none other than Scotti Doo's Broski. Commentary which always concludes with something to the effect that "Medicare is filling 1 million prescriptions daily." (Cue the Canned Applause) YEAY! *whistle*

So how does 1 million prescriptions fare in today's Medicare? Does it fulfill the demand? Or is it like Oil, where a handful of people seem to have their own version of "supply and demand."

(Hache Tchip to Xpatriated Texan for the research.)

Assuming 1 million Rx per day is the same as 30 million a month. According to conventional wisdom (and Kaiser), there are about 42 million people on Medicare. If :
"Of 42.5 million people who are eligible, only 25 percent were enrolled as of Jan. 1," Jones said Monday. "But 90 percent of the 25 percent were people who were automatically enrolled by the government."

That means of the 42.5 million elligible (which is everyone on Medicare BTW), only 25% are enrolled. That is about 10.6 million people that are currently signed up to get vital-life-sustaining-chemicals.

So how many prescriptions do these 10.6 million folks need on the daily, and is "1 million" enough?

Take Delaware, where Medicare folks need between 3 and 5 prescriptions a month. So that makes 30 million a month a minimum requirement (by taking Delaware's figures), where 50 million is the maximum. Remember, they are filling 30 million a month to all 50 states. OK let's see how many vital-life-sustaining-chemical prescriptions do the 42 million Medicare folks?

42 million patients x 3 Rxs/month = 126 million Rx/month
42 million patients x 5 Rxs/month = 210 million Rx/month

Current supply? 30 million Rx/month.

30 days in a month, which is 24% of 126 million, or 4.2 million Rxs/day (oh how lovely, - 10% of all Medicare users). So, if 10% of all Medicare users were the only ones requiring only one vital-life-sustaining-chemicals a month. Medicare and Scotti Doo's Broski would have quite a hit on their hands.

30 days is 14% of 210 million, or 7 million Rxs/Day.

They are filling 1 million a day.

They at worse should be filling 4.2 million a day. At best, they should be 7 million a day. These figures, like all government figure based numbers, are CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATES.

If the Democratic party stands only to lose:

Baucus (D-MT)
Breaux (D-LA)
Carper (D-DE)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-NE)
Wyden (D-OR)

Then who the hell cares if we get to lose Republicans like:

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Breaux (D-LA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Campbell (R-CO)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Cornyn (R-TX) Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Enzi (R-WY)
Fitzgerald (R-IL)
Frist (R-TN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

The program was worked perfectly fine before Republicans like Mike Ferguson, sabotaged it to pay back campaign contributors or "special interests." Where as now, its totally broken and is meeting the most minimum of conservative estimates of demand for only 25% of the people elligible. One has to wonder if the folks that write the scripts for elections ads are being paid overtime to come up with as many ways of explaining this one to their districts.

Congratulations America! Your Republican Majority just brought the grand total of people who do not have drug coverage to:
32 million excluded from Medicare part D + 42 million who didn't have health insurance before this boondoggle =

72 million

They can even do it as a Master Card commercial:
People who didn't have drug coverage BEFORE the Republicans took over Congress: 42 million

People who don't have drug coverage AFTER George Bush and the Republicans got reelected: 72 million

Co-0pting the government to increase your profit margins: fascism PRICELESS

Thanks Republicans! And Big Pharma.

I hope the largest and most consistent turn-out voting block in the country, which happens to be disproportionately suffering the consequences of this bill, remember all this at the voting booths, this November.

How about some Katrinaesque coverage on this one folks?


Friday, January 20, 2006

The Internets

OK quick one. Basically, the Washington Post started a general blog (besides the others that are already on This one allowed commenting. They hosted their ombudswoman Doborah Howell who said basically that Democrats got Abramoff money. not Indian Tribe money possibly related to Abramoff. No she said and asserted quite a few times, that Dems got Abramoff money. So people started leaving comments. The Editors, after seeing themselves getting lambasted turned off comments (see also Atrios).

Then they update the site and say the following:
We removed hundreds of these posts over the past few days, and it was becoming a significant burden on us to try and keep the comments area free of profanity and name-calling. So we eventually chose to turn off comments until we can come up with a better way to handle situations like this, where we have a significant amount of people who refuse to abide by the rules we set out.

Here is an idear. If in fact people were being profane and immature, do what all other group blogs and comment allowing blogs do... Ban the immature asshats and move on.

I guess thats all a bit too complicated for the Intelligentsia at WaPo.


Thursday, January 19, 2006


Operation Yellow Elephant's workload just increased


Some Things Considered

This cute NPR interview with David Dreier (the closet gay chariman of the house rules committee) seems to be missing something.

OH... I know, balance. Notice there is no Democrat to counter David Dreier as he successfully paints Democrats as out of "creative new ideas." etc. etc. It's also nice to hear Melissa Block be so nice and polite as she lets Dreier spew forth his talking points. Not to mention her very own successes at repeating things that Dreier's Republican counterparts have said recently. However, interestingly enough, Dreier says that his is the "reform party" and that "reform" has been at the top of their priority list for the decade they have been in power.

Definition of reform:

1 To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.
2 a. To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government.
2 b. To put an end to (a wrong).
3 To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.

If anything, Jack Abramoff, and accepting his money are actions hardly free of defects.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Right to Death

The SCOTUS decision to let people take charge of their own lives is yet one more spike in the derigible called Republican Conservatarianism. Whenever pat Robertson's bitch boy Jay Sekulow gets on the case you have to wonder what is going on and more importantly, what will happen.

First off, the decision. Basically, SCOTUS took the position that the AG cannot claim the controlled substances act against Oregon's I wanna die law which uses controlled substances to induce death upon people who wanna die (a very small number no less). They said states rights trump the power of the AG in this situation. Basically, the SCOTUS took a long standing federalist position. A position held in high regard on the Renquist court. One that Renquist, Scalia, and Thomas all held dear in the recent Reich V. Ashcroft medical marijuana case. Albeit in that case, the application of the commerce clause was laughable.

Now, Jay Sekulow and Pat Robertson's position against assisted suicide seem rather strange to me. The bible is pretty clear on suicides and anyone who commits suicide is basically goin' to hell. Fine and dandy. Now I guess technically, if you sign a paper and let someone else give you the drugs that help you die, its not "biblically" suicide, and as such you get cheating souls into heaven on a technicality. However, taking this logic further, you now have a doctor who has killes someone else, a murderer! Which is also a mortal sin leading to a straight ticket to hell. So you get a net zero effect of souls getting into heaven. Which leaves plenty of room for other righteous souls such as Pat Robertson and his followers.
So I don't see why they are upset about it. If anything it weeds out bad murderous souls from heaven and swaps them for righteous, sickly, suffering souls.

Now judging by the amount of links in the WaPo story I linked to above, this has caused quite the ruccus. I wonder if it will be enough for Republican Conservatarians to start saying that if you want to die, you don't have that right. You don't have the right over your own life. How can libertarians let the government intrude into our lives in such a way?

Who knows what they'll do. However, one thing is certain. Any speculation about John Roberts not being for unchecked government powers trumping state laws has gone out the window with this case.


Monday, January 16, 2006

God Strikes Down Hundreds Chanting His Name

I meant to blog on this before, but Blanton's and Ashton's has a great rundown on the yearly hajj related deaths.

Now, almost all the stampede deaths occur at pretty much the same moment every year. The part where devout muslims start throwing rocks at a big black rock which is supposed to signify Satan. The action is obviously one that would put any rock thrower among the highest of devoutees in the world.

So why does God hate the people who hate Satan?


The I Word

A Majority of Americans support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping, a Minority of News outlets are reporting it as "news."



How lies become truths

As a Republican PR person, you pick up the phone. Call a friend at The Washington Post (it helps if they are someone who is charged primarily with the task of keeping the paper honest). Your WaPo ombudsman friend prints the lie in the Washington Post. You are now free to put that reference in an email to all supporters asking for more money to combat evil Democrats.

In order to find the real truth, you have to become a paranoid conspiracy theorist and read a blog.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Connections to Terrorists

December 19th, Press Conference of the President:
"So, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, I authorized the interception of international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations."

Today RAW Story:
The National Security Agency has been spying on a Baltimore anti-war group, according to documents released during litigation, going so far as to document the inflating of protesters' balloons, and intended to deploy units trained to detect weapons of mass destruction, RAW STORY has learned.

According to the documents, the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, a Quaker-linked peace group, has been monitored by the NSA working with the Baltimore Intelligence Unit of the Baltimore City Police Department.

Show me your papers...


Alito hearts Bork

I realized I have been mostly silent re Scalito. But I really think its all useless. He was caught lying lots about his 8 year membership to the racist, sexist Concerned Alumni of Princeton club for white men. He was also non-forward and rather unasnwerative (if that is a word). The Dems weren't comming across seriously and the media painted them as badgers.

Plus I thought it rather odd that being lied to didn't affect that commitee at all. Why wasn't there a motion to call him out on perjuring himself to the committee? Where was the lack of smart philosophical questions? Where was the outrage at the non-asnwers? Most of this hearing was no different than the Roberts hearing. Lotsa grandstanding and not enough substantive philosophical questioning. It was indeed a pageant. One that made a mockery of the rubber stamp judiciary commitee. In any case, here is a clip from 1988 NJN news, which highlights at least one reason why we should at the very least question Sam Alito.

In that clip he professes great admiration for Robert Bork. For those of you who don't know Bork, he was a man who did not believe in privacy (ie. abortion rights, and presumeably, presidentially sanctioned warrantless wiretaps) and said so loudly and proudly in front of the Judiciary committee during his hearings. Perhaps the difference then was the Democratic majority on that committee, perhaps that emboldened them do defeating the extreme views of Bork. However, today we have a different brand of Democrat. They just talk tough, and as Daou states quite excellently, they know not how to use the tools available to them.

In any case, I doubt a filibuster is upon us. It is an election year, and Democrats though they have nothing to loose, shall not play such risky moves. However, it is just such theatrics that would perhaps demonstrate to the country that the Democrats care too much about civil rights, to allow a racist, sexist, bigoted bastard on the highest court in the land.

Here's to wishful thinking.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Ohio Paper Publishes Freeper Post


In the letters to the editor section of The Times Reporter (Dover-New Philadelphia, Ohio), a list of "Democrats who have taken money from Jack Abramoff, according to Federal Elections Commission records."

At the end of the article, it says this:
EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete listing of Abramoff'’s contributions is available at

So I did just that, I went to the website, clicked on individual contributions, searched for Abramoff, Jack and did a CTRL+F to search for Baucus (the first democrat on Lee Bovine's list).

NOTHING. Seems like the editor's didn't follow their own note.

Then I worked on my first hunch and said, hmmf. "fair and balanced"

So I googled "list of democrats abramoff"

Lookie here the freepi have the same list. With the same people, with the same, total.

I wonder how The Times Reporter feels about just publishing the words of freepi MNJohnnie whom choses the following words in his profile:
I work as a Computer Routing Specialist for Supervalu. A former Army Infantryman, I am a political junkie and passionate George W. Bush Supporter. I have reached the end of my tolerance for the absolutely criminal behavior of the Hysterical Left in this country. What the Left seems unwilling to grasp is this simple fact. No amount of money, peace vigals or encouter groups are going to keep them safe from people who are convinced their god wants all Americans dead. There are no ground for "peaceful coexistence" with the Islamic Terrorists. We have three choices, kill them, convert to Islam or die. Since I have no desire for the last two, the first is my choice.

"Fair and balanced" indeed.

UPDATE: In fairness, the Freepi point to this CRP site as their source. It highlights all Abramoff and Associated Indian Tribe money. If you are bored and have time to click on every single Democrat link you will find no mention of Abramoff as the sender of the money. However, click on Tom Delay and a few other Republicans and you will find Abramoff's name. The error commited by this any I am sure many other news sources repeating the claim that "Democrats recieved Abramoff contributions," is that they didn't recieve Abramoff contributions. They recieved contributions from Indian Tribes which may or may not have been coerced by Abramoff.

UPDATE 2: (I have waited a long time to type these words) WELCOME ATRIOTS! Y'all come back now ya hear!

UPBER UPDATE 3: from commenter paul, The Times Reporter posts the correction! And they have removed the original LTE from the internets. I Love the smell of an Atriolanche in the morning... Smells like... Victory. CONGRATULATIONS Blogosphere! Self Correcting Blogosphere - 1 : Freepi - 0.


Top 10...

news stories of 2005


Thursday, January 05, 2006


Apparently Scott Shields wanted to place the blame of the Sago mining accident on the relaxation of mining safety regulations. Under all the media noise about the misinformation doled out about who died and who didn't you may get a whisper about the 208 violations that the Sago mine's wrist was slapped with. Scott rightfully pointed out the fact that the board responsible for oversight had been stacked with Bush cronies.

So just as soon as you can say political vulnerability for King Bush, the wingers attack!

Scott got Malkinized, and Cornered, and eventually he was "Crazy Batshit Moonbat Liberal Socialist Commie Pinko Brownshirt Liberal Bush Blaming Michael Moore Gay Lover." Really, notice the 18 trackbacks on Malkin's post.

This is how the Right wing does it. They misinterpret, misread, erase real issues, then attack like rabid chipmunks until the victim screams uncle and gets put in the same thought bubble as Michael Moore, and Cindy Sheehan. Like Lemmings going over the cliff, following the leader in search of food.



Was gonna write something else, but I just realized, that last post was number 600!!!

WOW thats a lot of writting in just over a year.


Spygate, the Plot Thickens

Told ya you would get some output from me today!

I hope many of you brought up Bush's spying on Americans without using the legal avenues afforded him in the old FISA law. A law, by the way, that was implemented after Nixon thought he had the power to spy on Americans.

So, as I have mentioned before, should the focus of the spying have been solely terrorist folks, the mechanisms are already in place to arrest the shit out of them and shuffle them off to Gitmo so that we can torture the shit out of them and get the same info that a dubious wiretapping would have. At least that is what pro-torture folks have led me to believe, that torture is necessary to get intelligence. And that intelligence gathered via torture is so damned good, it kept the Brooklyn bridge from meeting death by wanton torch wielding welders.

So the real question to come out of spygate (besides the legality of it all of course), is WHO? Who got spied on? Many folks would have reserved agreement with spying on "known terrorists" heck maybe even I would. NOT. However, the real danger is if they went around the court (as many suspect) to get to spying on fun folks, people the FISA court would never grant a warrant for.

Now we have this from AMERICAblog, which points to an Andrea Mitchell bean spilling that Christiane Amanpour was spied on. Of course, a middle eastern person such as herself, reporting constantly on the middle east (and other shit stormed places of the world) would be in touch with folks in the middle east. Given Bush's twisted logic of "If somebody from Al Qaeda [read: any brown person from the general middle eastern area of the world] is calling you, we'd like to know why." Amanpour's phone may very well have received a call from someone somewhere who somehow somewhen called someone with or without knowing that had connections to Al-Qaeda.

So obviously, should this story turn out to be true, Bush has all the right in the world to tap Christiane Amanpour's phone without a warrant. She is most certainly a threat to national security, ship her off to Gitmo. FASTER PLEASE!


Uncle Floyd's Amtrak Show

Floyd Hall is one of the lucky 17 recess appointments the President Bush made yesterday. (via Kos)

Uncle Floyd's $300,000 in soft money contributions to the Bush Campaign have landed him a 5 year job on the AMTRAK reform board.  Many will remember Uncle Floyd from his days as CEO of the KMart that went Bankrupt.

In fairness, Uncle Floyd is Montclair State's favorite uncle, and he generally has done lots of good for the community. The appointment speaks more about the Bush Presidency than it does about Uncle Floyd.

However, when Uncle Floyd is placed together with co-appointees such as Halliburton head Robert Crandell, and railroad privatizer Louis Thompson, Amtrak's future is bleak at best.

Having such distinguished Republican free marketeers at the helm can mean REAL trouble for the already embattled Amtrak.

Come to think of it, our new Senator Menendez used to be quite the Defender of Amtrak, heck he even sat on the committee in charge of it. I wonder what he thinks of Bush's sneaky appointment of this fellow New Jerseyan?

Amtrak is a crucial part of the Northeast's economy. It needs real leadership to see it through the troubled times ahead, not Katrina-esque cronyism running it into the ground.


Sorry for the lax posting, I have been Drinkin'

Sorry this space has been dead recently, but the holiday season leaves little time for screwin' around the internets in search of media mischief. Besides, if my blog is the only blog you read, then your missing out; make it a point to read Atrios daily so that you can keep as informed as me. Also, I have been posting quite often on New Jersey issues over at and it has landed me a nomination for a Screaming Carrot (go vote for me). Sorry but they get almost 1,000 hits a day which means more eyeballs reading my blathering crapola.

In any case, Vermont was awesome. Not enough snow to really enjoy some kick ass snowboarding but still got on the slopes for 2 half days of snowy goodness. No broken clavicle's this time. I did get to do what I really wanted, which was sample some more of the local beers. Magic Hat has an awesome wheat Stout (their innovative recipes never cease to amaze) called "Saint Gootz" if you can get it get it. Magic's Single Chair Lager is also pretty damned good. Otter Creek's "Castle Rock Ale" (which I think is their "Alpine ale" renamed for the bar at Sugarbush ski resort) is also pretty damned good. I would say that many of the ales I tasted were simple, well balanced and had a hoppy finish. Nothing fancy, probably dry hopped with Cascade Hops. "Switchback" is once of the latest microbreweries to make it big in Vermont. To me, making it big in Vermont means having a pull at "Nectar's." Nectar's is like the Stone Pony of Burlington, the place where Phish started out. Switchback Ale was cloudy right out of the pull! I was like? Holy Shit, this unfiltered dirty shit is being sold at Nectar's?!? I was pretty crazed when I put it to my lips. It tasted unclean, yet balanced, and again dry hopped with Cascade. Magic Hat being the exception I was totally unimpressed by the beers I tasted. I said, I can and DO make beers just like this if not better at home!

In any case, I am kicking myself in the arse for not buying that twelver trail mix from Long Trail when I saw it. I could have had yet another bunch of beers to try.

Finally, I was dismayed when in Albany (yeah I got around last week), I came upon a four pack of Ommegang's Belgian. The beer was fantastic, don't get me wrong. However, I shattered my future idea of being the only Belgian craft brewer in the Northeast. I guess I will have to share that market with Ommegang. Drinking their "Abbey Ale" was really exciting, it tasted just like the "Trappist Tripple" I had brewed not too long ago. I have one bottle left and I think I will cellar it for a year, why not!

So many microbrews, so little time. I am considering starting a homebrew blog, would any one of you 5 people who come daily maybe spend some time on that?

I wanna blog about the road to opening my pub-brewery in Vermont. Meanwhile I will post my brews and brewing tips and stuff. Right now, I have an excellent oatmeal stout and my first successful attempt at all-grain brewing will be bottled this Sunday. Also this Sunday, I will be brewing a Raspberry Wheat Hefe. The ladies are sure to love that one.

So look forward to more juicy bloggy goodness in 2006. More posting to come.

PS... Blogger has added more functionality to their blog this function kudos!!


Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Nothing like starting 2006 with my first nomination for a blogger award EVER!!!
Bluejersey is hosting the
Screaming Carrot Awards for best NJ blogger.

So please once your Auld Lang signs off, head on over there and vote for me!!