The Defense Department has set up a new unit to fight “inaccurate” news stories, using “new media” channels to push its message. CNN reports that the unit would likely be run by political appointees.
to the EPA’s principal library for researching the effects and properties of chemicals. “EPA’s hasty, buzz saw slashing at its library network is now interfering with its mission of harnessing the best available science to protect human health and the environment,” said Jeff Ruch, director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The Bush administration has already shuttered EPA’s Washington headquarters’ library and regional posts in Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City.
I’m behind the curve on Amy Sullivan on David Kuo, but I thought this was interesting:
“I think the good news here is that people working in the White House think that Pat Robertson is nuts,” he said. “They should. Pat Robertson is nuts.” It seemed a little off-message–after all, this was a politically embarrassing book for the Bushies, and here O’Donnell was praising them. True, Robertson does regularly spout off truly nutty and dangerous statements (his call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez; his prayer for the death of liberal Supreme Court justices; his belief that UPC symbols are the Mark of the Beast as foretold in Revelation). But what rankled O’Donnell the most was Robertson’s “insane” belief that Jews are going to burn in hell. ”
While most of them would put it more delicately than Robertson, it is an article of faith for millions and millions of evangelicals that the only way into heaven is through belief in Jesus Christ. (The good reverend has also said he believes Methodists will burn in hell, but that’s not really the point.) By condemning and mocking that doctrine, O’Donnell managed an impressive feat. He took Robertson, a figure widely disliked and discredited throughout the evangelical community, and found a way to criticize him that would also insult and alienate evangelicals. Congratulations, Lawrence O’Donnell–you’re the new poster-boy for secular liberal intolerance.
Now Amy’s right. It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief — adhered to by millions of Americans — that failure to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior will result in eternal damnation is daft. On the other hand, the evangelical view of this matter is, in fact, completely absurd. And not just absurd in a virgin birth, water-into-wine, I-believe-an-angel-watches-over-me kind of way. On this view, a person who led an entirely exemplary life in terms of his impact on the world (would an example help? Gandhi, maybe?) but who didn’t accept Jesus as his personal savior would be subjected to a life of eternal torment after his death and we’re supposed to understand that as a right and just outcome. That, I think, is seriously messed up.
But I shouldn’t say so!
UPDATE: Since this post got Atrios’d, let me say that I don’t especially think Amy merits a Two Minute Hate here and I agree with her point in the article that what Sam Rosenfeld called “theocracy hype” (for example) is both analytically wrong and tactically misguided. But I think there’s a real dilemma here — some things that are impolitic to say are also true.
John Harris is doing a Slate exchange with Mark Halperin and says “I’m protective of you (and of myself), especially since most of the people who attack you and The Note do so with radically misguided assumptions about your actual opinions and professional values.” To me, this is revealing. The presumption here is that the correct way to assess The Note is with regard to Halperin’s “actual opinions.” But, of course, there’s no real way for readers of The Note to assess Halperin’s “actual opinions.” The only thing they have to go on is the writing that appears in The Note. As Derrida says, there’s nothing outside the text.
This is relevant because one of the key things that makes The Note — irregardless of Halperin’s “actual opinions” about politics — a rightwing publications is its insistence that the media is a liberal institution. And, again, The Note’s basis for endless reiteration of this rightwing talking point is that the “actual opinions” of the bulk of the people producing political journalism are liberal. As best I can tell living and working in this town, this is, in fact, fairly accurate. It’s also completely irrelevant. Journalists’ “actual opinions” about things don’t matter at all. What matters is what they write, what they say, what they broadcast. One of the great strengths of the blog-based media criticism, I think, is precisely that the people writing the blogs tend to know virtually nothing about the world of professional political journalism — the only thing they have to go on is the work, not the “actual opinions” or even “professional values” of the people doing the work.
What matters is what you do and what the impact of what you do is. The impact of what The Note does is to help the Republican Party win elections. I don’t really know why The Note is so deeply invested in doing that, but that’s what they’re doing and, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
At a rally in Georgia today, President Bush bragged about having “acted” on his conservative “philosophy” by cutting taxes for the wealthy. “In other words, we just didn’t talk about philosophy,” Bush said. “There’s too many philosophers in Washington.“
Today on Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto, Vice President Dick Cheney said it was his belief that insurgents were increasing their violence to try to influence the midterm elections. Watch it:
President Bush has admitted this that there isn’t “any intelligence” that suggests terrorists are trying to influence U.S. elections. Also, Maj. Douglas Powell, a military spokesman in Baghdad, told United Press International that there was no intelligence for the claim.
While there is no reported intelligence for Iraqi insurgents trying to sway the current election, the CIA did conclude that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda tried to manipulate the 2004 elections with the release of a videotape message. But the intelligence indicated that terrorists were trying to help Bush win re-election — not aid his opponents. Media Matters, citing Ron Suskind’s One Percent Doctrine, notes that CIA analysts concluded that bin Laden’s message in the days before the Nov. 2004 contest “was clearly designed to assist the President’s reelection.”
Transcript: Read more
In an interview today with Fox News, Vice President Cheney said his wife’s combative recent CNN appearance was “great” and “very accurate,” adding, “We refer to it around the house as the slapdown.” Watch it:
Note to Dick Cheney: It wasn’t accurate.
Transcript: Read more
Let’s just hope [Rove]‘s not implying that Bush will follow FDR’s lead and turn his attention to taking the country to war.
That’s Peter Beinart, shrill Bush-hater and anti-war “doughface” for the record. It seems to me that if Democrats do take congress and create a hostile legislative environment, this really might increase the odds that Bush turns his attention to taking the country to war. Lame-duck status and congressional opposition have traditionally spurred presidents to take refuge in the greater autonomy offered by foreign policy adventures. The public might not stand for it, but Bush doesn’t have a designated successor sitting in the naval observatory whose political fortunes he needs to defend.
Julie MacDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, has consistently “rejected staff scientists’ recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.” A civil engineer with no training in biology, she has overruled and disparaged the findings of her staff, instead relying on the recommendations of political and industry groups. Some highlights:
– MacDonald presented industry positions as equivalent to scientific studies. In 2004, a panel of Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologists recommended giving the greater sage grouse protection under the Endangered Species Act. But in her review of the panel’s report, she denigrated many scientific studies as mere “opinion,” and stated, “We should treat [them] as we would treat an industry publication,” she wrote.
– MacDonald pressed staff biologists to more seriously consider industry positions. During a dicussion of the great sage grouse population, MacDonald wrote, “This paragraph completely ignores the comments received by the Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association and the Idaho Cattle Association.” As the Washington Post notes, the organizations “opposed the listing on the grounds that it would limit their use of land where the birds live.”
– Under MacDonald, the Department of the Interior (DOI) reversed a staff ruling based on comments from the Air Force. In 2000, FWS published recognized Tabernaemontana rotensis as a species and proposed to list it as an endangered species. The T. rotensis tree has been reduced to approximately 30 plants found primarily on lands managed by the Air Force. In 2004, the decision to list was reversed, “prompted in part by a comment from the Air Force.”
Under the Bush administration, just 56 species have been listed under the Endangered Species Act, for a rate of about 10 a year. Under Clinton, officials listed 512 species, or 64 a year, and under George H.W. Bush, the department listed 234, or 59 a year.
at two local television stations in Maine. Michael Palmer, the general manager, told employees in an e-mail that they were not allowed to cover climate change stories because he placed them “in the same category as ‘the killer African bee scare‘ from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone’s computer was going to self-destruct.”