Witch’s Will For A December Morning
The Old Year By John Clare The Old Year's gone away To nothingness and night: We cannot find him all the day Nor hear him in the night: He left no footstep, mark or place In either shade or sun: The last year he'd a neighbour's face, In this he's known by none. All nothing everywhere: Mists we on mornings see Have more of substance when they're here And more of form than he. He was a friend by every fire, In every cot and hall-- A guest to every heart's desire, And now he's nought at all. Old papers thrown away, Old garments cast aside, The talk of yesterday, Are things identified; But time once torn away No voices can recall: The eve of New Year's Day
My Pick Of The Litter Today
2011 examples of major media malfeasance
Those of us who follow the news closely often forget that probably 80% of the adult population (seen as 85% some time ago, but likely lower than that thanks to New Media and the Tea Party movement) is relatively disengaged. They are, at best, passive consumers of news who either legitimately don’t have the time to do their own independent research, or don’t care to.
If we had a responsible establishment press dedicated to informing the public in a fair and balanced way, this would not necessarily be a big problem. But we don’t, and it is.
In 2011, passive news consumers were extremely ill served, as the leftist legacy media seemed to almost completely abandon any pretense of objectivity or fairness left over from its disgraceful collective performance in 2010.
Why did this happen? Beyond the normal factors, 2011 saw White House thuggery directed at a press corps already inclined to reflexively parrot its positions reach previously unseen heights.
To name just three examples:
- In March, Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers, sent to cover a fundraiser involving Vice President Joe Biden and Florida Senator Bill Nelson, was confined in a closet “to keep him from mingling with high-powered guests.” Sentinel editors “dropped the story.”
- In April, the White House banished San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci “for using a video camera to capture an event.” The paper was “threatened with more punishment if they reported on it.” Chronicle Editor at Large Phil Bronstein called the White House’s subsequent attempt to deny it all “a pants-on-fire moment.” Press coverage elsewhere was scant.
- In May, the White House Press Office “refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser” because it objected “to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed.” The shutout was virtually ignored.
In a mid-May editorial, Investor’s Business Daily called out the press for failing to stand up for it own, and correctly characterized the White House’s actions as baby steps “toward state control of the media, using the carrot of access against the stick of exile.”
Stories/Articles You Might Find Interesting – or not
Rick Perry’s ignorance is not a virtue
ABC News reports Texas Governor Rick Perry admitted he didn’t know about the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, a case which struck down the state’s anti-sodomy law and similar laws in 13 others. The case was decided while Perry was governor, and he even wrote about it in his book Fed Up!, calling it one of the court cases in which “Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”
But in Iowa yesterday, Perry said, “I wish I could tell you I knew every Supreme Court case. I don’t, I’m not even going to try to go through every Supreme Court case, that would be — I’m not a lawyer.” He added, “We can sit here and you know play I gotcha questions on what about this Supreme Court case or whatever, but let me tell you, you know and I know that the problem in this country is spending in Washington, D.C., it’s not some Supreme Court case.”
Asked by a columnist with the Austin American Statesman for clarification on whether he knew what the case was about, Perry responded, “I’m not taking the bar exam…I don’t know what a lot of legal cases involve.” When told that the Supreme Court case struck down the Texas sodomy law, Perry said, “My position on traditional marriage is clear…. I don’t need a federal law case to explain it to me.”
This episode illustrates why some of us are wary of those (like Perry and Herman Cain) who make a virtue of being outsiders and seemingly take pride in their ignorance, as if it’s proof of their outsider status.
Who Is Obama Kidding?
In his campaign speech earlier this month in Osawatomie, Kan., President Obama dramatically revealed his desperate re-election strategy of class warfare and big government. He has little choice. He certainly can’t run on his record, so he’s going all in on his fundamental ideology.
The speech got rave reviews from the left, encouraged that Obama has rediscovered his inner self. Paul Krugman and E.J. Dionne loved it. So did Robert Reich, the leading advocate for socialism in the Clinton administration during his stint as secretary of labor, although he did scold Obama for including the Tea Party with the Occupiers in a part of the speech about the debate over “the defining issue of our time.” Reich asserted that “the former (Tea Party) hates government; the latter focuses blame on Wall Street and corporate greed.” (And welshing on their student loans.)
Obama’s biggest whopper in that speech was his misrepresentation of his conservative critics. As he put it, “Their philosophy is simple. We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” What fantasy world does he live in? Does he imagine that our government, whether Democrats or Republicans are in power, comes anywhere close or is likely to leave people to “fend for themselves and play by their own rules”?
Most importantly and appropriately, we have the Department of Defense to provide military protection. Then there’s the FBI and the CIA to protect us from enemies domestic and foreign. Our water and air are protected by the Environmental Protection Agency. Interstate business is regulated by the Department of Commerce, which, unless the Supreme Court trumps Obamacare, will also mandate that we buy health insurance. Social Security protects our retirement. Medicare and Medicaid underwrite our health care. The IRS collects federal taxes from 53 percent of the population to subsidize the other 47 percent. Food stamps feed the poor; housing subsidies provide their shelter. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the disabled. The Voting Rights Act protects minorities. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights protects everyone. The Department of Education ensures that no child will be left behind. The National Labor Relations Board, under Obama, favors labor unions at the expense of businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission protects our investments; the FDIC, our bank accounts; the Food and Drug Administration, our food and drugs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission
Something To Think About
Where is the New Year’s Baby’s mother? And why doesn’t she stick around like Father Time does?
An Election Year Dawns Without Keith Olberman
Keith Olbermann, who came to Current TV this year to remake the channeland compete against his old home, MSNBC, is sitting out the biggest political nights of the season.
Despite being the biggest star on the fledging channel, Mr. Olbermann is not scheduled to anchor Current’s coverage of the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary in January. Instead, Current’s other prime time anchors, Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, will be joined by the channel’s chairman, the former vice president Al Gore, according to the channel’s TV schedule.
Mr. Olbermann also was noticeably absent from two special reports that Current produced after Republican debates in mid-December. Those, too, were anchored by Mr. Uygur.
These absences suggest that there may be new tension between Mr. Olbermann and the managers at Current, who are trying to create a progressive-oriented cable news channel.
In the television industry, Mr. Olbermann is well known for fights with his bosses; stories abound about his refusal to speak to managers and executives. At Current, this behavior has continued, according to four people with knowledge of the situation, one of whom described Mr. Olbermann as “disgruntled.”
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because speaking publicly could jeopardize their jobs. Current’s president, David Bohrman, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday, on what is traditionally a holiday week. A spokeswoman for Current said that Mr. Bohrman was traveling and was unavailable for comment.
On Thursday afternoon Mr. Olbermann suggested that Current’s published plans might not be accurate. When a reporter asked him via email why he was not participating in the Iowa caucus coverage, he answered, “That’s not my understanding. We’ve already prepared a ‘Best Of Countdown’ for Monday, and are planning a live Countdown on Tuesday.”
That’s the plan that Mr. Olbermann told his viewers about on Dec. 22, his last live program of the year. “We’ll be bringing you Best of ‘Countdown’ each night from tomorrow through Monday, Jan. 2, and then back — live, live, live — on Tuesday, Jan. 3,” he said. He added, “Congratulations on getting through another year of this crap. Good night and good luck.”
But Current is actually planning to pre-empt “Countdown” on Jan. 2 for a two-hour caucus preview hosted by Mr. Uygur, according to its TV schedule.
Oh what a shame. One hyperbolic POS wingbag is being replaced by another hyperbolic POS windbag.
Casting A Paul Over The GOP
Sometimes, when I’m talking to Ron Paul supporters, I feel like I must have been out of the room when they started ladling out the Kool-Aid.
This isn’t a campaign, it’s a cult. You don’t have to wear a tinfoil hat to be for Ron Paul, but it helps. Maybe he should change his name to L. Ron Paul.
Four years ago, most Ron Paul supporters had this goofy, stoned quality about them, like Hempfest attendees. They’d tell you how, like, George Washington used hemp in the Continental Army, dude, and if it was like totally good enough for the Founding Fathers it’s gotta be like righteous, man.
Let’s face it, legalizing weed, not eliminating the Federal Reserve, was always Ron Paul’s biggest draw. If any house had a Ron Paul sign in the front yard, the cops had probable cause to get a search warrant for the hydroponic growing operation in the basement.
This year, though, the Paul supporters are angry. They’ve become Ronbots. They don’t talk about persuading people, they “convert” them. A lot of them are convinced that “they” want another war, this time with Iran. When you ask them who “they” are, the Ronbots tell you, “the neo-cons,” which is a synonym for Jews.
Obviously, not all Ron Paul supporters are insane. And before somebody mentions it for me, I should note he’s getting more contributions from the military than any other candidate.
Company that received DOE loan recalling 239 vehicles
An electric vehicle manufacturer that received a $529 million loan from the Energy Department is recalling 239 vehicles.
The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday that the company, Fisker Automotive, will recall its Karma vehicles made between July 1, 2011, and Nov. 3, 2011, because of a faulty electric battery component that could cause a fire.
Within the high-voltage battery, certain hose clamps may have been positioned incorrectly during assembly. If positioned incorrectly, the batter compartment cover could interfere with the hose clamps, potentially causing a coolant leak from the cooling hose,” NHTSA said in its recall notice Thursday.
“If coolant enters the battery compartment, an electrical short could occur possibly resulting in a fire.”
The Energy Department issued a $529 million loan to Fisker in April 2010 for the development of its plug-in electric vehicles.
The administration has come under fire for issuing the loan after ABC News reported in October that Fisker is making its vehicles in Finland because it could not find a contractor in America to manufacture them.
A Beatable Bishop?
In 2010, the torrent of anger against statist intrusion swept away scores of Democratic incumbents. So strong was the enthusiasm of the Tea Party, so energized was the Republican electorate, that even deeply entrenched House Democrats were dislodged. Longtime leftist titans James Oberstar of Minnesota, Ike Skelton of Missouri, and John Spratt of South Carolina were but a few who fell. In all, Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, six in the Senate, a majority of governorships, and 680 additional seats in state legislatures.
Despite historic success nationwide, Republicans would come up short against Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), a liberal politician in a not-so-liberal district. His margin of victory was razor-thin, though — a mere 592 votes out of almost 200,000 cast. Bishop’s Houdini-esque escape act underscores the significance of a single voter’s participation.
With the 2012 race on the horizon, Bishop will once again face Randy Altschuler, a successful businessman whose message of fiscal restraint, reform, and job-creation should resonate with voters who’ve been straitjacketed by the economy. The Democratic political machine in Suffolk County, as one should expect, takes a different view, dismissing Altschuler’s appeal to NY-1 voters.
Like national Democrats, Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer argues that the conditions which produced the 2010 “wave” no longer exist. As a consequence, he contends that Randy Altschuler will be far less “competitive.” That the conditions are absent is a point of debate, but Schaffer’s suggestion is altogether unconvincing.
Politico, hardly a shill for the right, recently characterized the rematch as one of the most contestable in the country — a national bellwether. They maintain that an Altschuler victory would signal a shift — namely, that Republicans will have regained the support of key suburbanites lost to President Obama in 2008. In any case, Bishop is extremely vulnerable.
Keen on avoiding last year’s brutal primary battle from which Altschuler would emerge, Suffolk County Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Party activists largely coalesced behind the businessman in August. The early infusion of institutional support denies Bishop the benefit of a bruised opponent. Setting aside party divisions puts Altschuler on surer footing and allows the party to focus on the race ahead.
What’s Going On In The World?
Image of the day from the animal kingdom:
Obama Administration to Outsource the Next Generation of Light Attack Aircraft
Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft is going to court to get some answers from the US Air Force concerning its decision to disqualify Hawker’s AT-6 from competition to produce a new light attack aircraft for the US and allied militaries. The court case comes on the heels of the Government Accounting Office’s decision not to review the Air Force’s disqualification of Hawker Beechcraft. Until the Air Force abruptly announced the disqualification in November, the AT-6 was considered by many to be the frontrunner in the Air Force’s Light Air Support program. The USAF so far has not explained its decision, which leaves just one competitor in the field, Embraer and its Super Tucano. That competitor carries significant and possibly disqualifying baggage in the form of connections to the Iranian government, and a new bribery investigation. Embraer is not only controlled by the Brazilian government, it is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That Act prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials or making other illegal payments to gain or retain business.
That investigation began in November 2011, and appears to still be in the early stages. Embraer is accused of engaging in bribery in three countries, none of which have been identified publicly. If found guilty, the company could be banned from doing any business with the US government at all. The SEC’s investigation of Embraer went public about three weeks before the Air Force disqualified Hawker Beechcraft without explanation.
Additionally, while outsourcing the contract to Embraer would create just 50 jobs in the United States, Hawker Beechcraft says the AT-6 would create about 1,400 jobs at 181 companies across 39 states. It would also keep the manufacturing and parts and supply chains all within the United States. Awarding the contract to Embraer puts most of the platform’s ecosystem outside the US. The AT-6, meanwhile, is built on the proven T-6 platform, which is currently in use by the USAF and other allied air forces. More than 700 T-6 aircraft have been built to date, and Hawker Beechcraft has built more than 14,000 aircraft for the US military overall.
Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, lambasted the Obama administration’s decision in a statement issued December 27:
“It is simply wrong for the Obama Administration to hire a Brazilian company to handle national security when we have a qualified and competent American company that can do the job,” Congressman Huelskamp said. “With millions of Americans out of work, it makes no sense to award the work to a foreign company. Along with my colleagues in the Kansas delegation, I will continue to attempt to right this wrong in order to preserve America’s national and economic security interests.”
The editorial board of the Wichita Eagle, the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, Women Impacting Public Policy, and others have come out questioning the Air Force’s decision.
47% expect GOP to win White House – 39% think Obama will win
Voters right now give the edge to Republicans when asked which political party is likely to win the White House and control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in next November’s elections. Republicans are more confident about their party’s chances than Democrats are, but a lot of voters are undecided.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters think the Republican candidate is most likely to beat President Obama, while 39% expect the incumbent to win reelection. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.
Just when you think the numbers couldn’t get any worse for Congress, the end of session debacle over the payroll tax extension comes along and drives perceptions of Congress even lower.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just five percent (5%) of Likely Voters rate the job Congress is doing as good or excellent. Sixty-eight percent (68%) view Congress’ job performance as poor.
Gallup Year In Review
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gallup.com provides a retrospective of 2011, summarizing some of the top findings of the year.
Quote For Today:
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde