Last week, right wing radio host Michael Savage claimed that autism is “a fraud” where “99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.” This morning on the House floor, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) responded to Savage’s comments. Watch it:
In a new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Corp poll, just 27 percent of the country approves of President Bush’s job performance, which is his lowest approval rating yet in that poll:
TPM’s Eric Kleefeld points out that the Fox poll also contained “some rather loaded questions,” such as starting a question by stating that “some people believe Barack Obama, despite his professed Christianity, is secretly a Muslim.”
Earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signaled support for a 16-month U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. In response, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) rejected Maliki’s call, disparaging the comments as the political rhetoric of “Iraqi leaders.”
Interviewed yesterday by PBS’s Charlie Rose, however, Brookings Institution analyst and Iraq war cheerleader Ken Pollack suggested that Maliki, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and McCain all have a similar vision of the future U.S. troop presence. McCain’s timeline for withdrawal is “pretty close” to Obama’s and Maliki’s, Pollack claimed:
Well, I actually think his timeline, Obama’s timeline, even McCain’s timeline are actually pretty close. Now that’s what you’ve seen over the last 18 months, that we’re now really debating months, maybe years, but really just months. Mr. McCain is basically saying he’ll start some kind of a drawdown in 2011, 2012. Mr. Obama is saying it’d be more like 2009, 2010. And what Maliki seems to be saying is 2010, 2011 — somewhere in the middle.
It is wholly inaccurate to claim McCain’s “timeline” is “pretty close” to the others. Obama has proposed a 16-month timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. Similarly, Iraqi government spokesperson Ali Al-Dabbagh said the government wants U.S. troops out by 2010.
In contrast, McCain rejects timelines for withdrawal and regularly lambastes the idea. He has vaguely claimed that the U.S. will leave Iraq “with victory.” In May, McCain said the war could be over by 2013, but in January, he said notoriously multiple times that U.S. troops could stay in Iraq for “maybe a hundred” years.
On today’s Brian and the Judge radio show, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade twice confused Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Osama bin Laden — within five seconds. Even after catching himself, Kilmeade immediately makes the mistake again:
KILMEADE: Michael, first off, is Bin Laden — excuse me, uh, is Osama — uh, is Barack Obama right when he says the central location of the war on terror is in Afghanistan?
Last night, on Glenn Beck’s CNN Headline News program, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) falsely claimed that wildlife in Alaska are not affected by oil operations in Alaska. Animals “couldn’t care less whether…the pipeline was there, or the oil company was there,” he said. Glenn Beck similarly argued that wildlife can’t tell if the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline is a “tree or a pipeline,” and said that the northern reaches of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — where Boehner hopes to drill — are a “barren wasteland.” Watch it:
Beck and Boehner are wrong. Far from “not caring” about the presence of oil operations at the 800-square mile Prudhoe Bay facility, native species are dramatically affected. Scientific surveys have shown that the Central Arctic caribou herd has been “crowded out” due to drilling:
[The survey] showed that the caribou reduced their use of the more heavily developed Prudhoe Bay oil fields by 78 percent, and their east-west movements declined by 90 percent — a sign oil activity can impact a herd’s movements.
‘As surface development continues, the caribou are effectively crowded out of these areas,’ said Cameron, the University of Alaska professor, who has studied the effects of roads and pipelines on the Central Arctic herd. ‘They’ve decided it’s not the place to be.’
In addition, the northern reaches of the Refuge — where Boehner proposes drilling — are not a “barren wasteland,” as conservatives like Beck and the Heritage Foundation would have you believe. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge’s northern edge is home to “a greater degree of ecological diversity than any other similar sized area of Alaska’s north slope.”
What’s more, despite Boehner’s claim to have first hand knowledge of the Refuge’s terrain and wildlife as a result of his recent trip to Alaska, he never set foot inside the reserve, and his view from the air was obscured by fog.
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The American Future Fund, a shady right-wing front group incorporated as a 501 c(4), is running a radio ad in Colorado criticizing Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) for “blocking American energy.” The ad, promoting an offshore drilling bill sponsored by 87 House Republicans, is replete with falsehoods:
Here are a few things to think about next time you pull up to the pump. The U.S. actually has more oil resources than Saudi Arabia. But Congress has put up to 85% of these resources off limits. Cuba is drilling for oil off the Florida coast but Congress continues to stop U.S. companies from doing the same thing.
The “things to think about” are simply incorrect. In fact, Saudi Arabia has ten times as much oil as the United States, most offshore oil is available for drilling, and there is no drilling taking place in Cuban waters:
The U.S. Has 2 Percent Of The World’s Oil, Saudi Arabia Has 20 Percent. The best estimates of the world’s proved oil reserves are that the United States has 22 to 30 billion barrels of oil, out of 1.2 to 1.3 trillion barrels worldwide — 1.6 to 2.5 percent of total reserves. Saudi Arabia has by far the greatest supply of oil, with 20 to 22 percent of total reserves. [Energy Information Administration, 2007]
75 Percent of U.S. Offshore Reserves Are Available For Drilling. “Most of the country’s estimated offshore reserves – about 75 percent – lie in areas that have been drilled for years or are being opened for exploration. Roughly 48 percent of the nation’s estimated reserves, or 41 billion barrels, lie beneath the western and central Gulf of Mexico, where oil companies armed with new drilling technology are pushing into ever deeper water. Another 27 percent of the estimated reserves, or 23.6 billion barrels, are believed to lie off the north coast of Alaska, where the federal government sold oil exploration leases this spring, despite fears that the work would hurt the polar bear population.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/22/2008]
No Drilling Is Taking Place In Cuban Waters. “Cuba’s state oil company, Cupet, has issued exploration contracts to companies from India, Canada, Spain, Malaysia and Norway, according to diplomats. But many oil companies from those countries have expressed reservations about how to turn potential crude oil into product. Cuba doesn’t have the refinery capacity, and the Cuban embargo prohibits the oil from coming to U.S. refineries.” According to Jorge Piñón, a senior energy fellow at the University of Miami specializing in Latin America, “[N]o one is currently drilling in any of those concessions.” [McClatchy, 6/11/2008]
In exploiting high gas prices to promote a Big Oil agenda, the right wing is telling falsehoods, over and over again.
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Richard Kahlenberg responds on the school integration issue with several points, including most notably that (a) many poor students aren’t in big city schools, and (b) school district boundaries are created by state legislatures not by God.
On point (a), I’d need to see more information. Point (a) is well-taken. I’d need to see a more detailed analysis, though, to really understand how much good playing around with district lines can do. It’s one thing to fold Raleigh’s school district into a larger Wake County district, and another thing entirely to try that with a large city like New York or Chicago. But obviously to observe that there are limits to where integration policies are going to be feasible isn’t to say that they shouldn’t be implemented where they are feasible. But I don’t want to see the DC government sit on its hands and wait for congress to work out some scheme to work out a way for our kids to go to school in Virginia or Maryland in lieu of trying to figure out what we can do to improve DCPS performance.
To step back from this a little, though, it’s worth noting a substantial housing and urban policy issue here. Many large cities combine substantial concentrations of poverty with neighborhoods where housing is so expensive that families can’t afford to live there. Here’s a nice family-sized rowhouse near where I live but you need $700,000 to buy it amidst a nationwise real estate bust. If we built more housing units in our non-basketcase cities, more middle class families might live in them which would greatly facilitate economic integration in schools.
A new poll put out by U.S. News and World Report asked respondents, “You just rented a vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard where the political and media elite go. Who is the last person you want as a summer neighbor?” A majority (53 percent) said right wing talker Rush Limbaugh. Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly came in second at 20 percent while MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (14 percent) and Chris Matthews (13 percent) rounded out the bottom half.
I was interviewed briefly as part of Shedrine Tadros’s excellent piece for Al-Jazeera English on how blogs and the web are impacting the 2008 campaign:
And, yes, this does mean I’m a terrorist.
Right Wing Charges ‘Media Bias’ On Obama Trip Coverage Despite McCain’s Decision To Limit Press Overseas
Last week, the New York Times reported that the three major network news anchors — Brian Williams, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric — would be accompanying Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) on his current trip overseas. Immediately, the conservative Media Research Center screamed “liberal bias,” calling it “slavish adoration” of Obama, adding that it is “outrageous” that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) didn’t get the same treatment.
Naturally, the right wing media latched on and have continued their outrage. Some examples:
– Glenn Beck: And there’s no media bias with the three anchors that are following [Obama] …John McCain has gone to foreign countries three times in the last four months. I don’t remember any of them being there. [CNN, 7/21/08]
– Mort Kondracke: Look, you would think that that the media would at least try to demonstrate a little balance by having sent at least one anchor off with McCain when he made one of his foreign trips. [Fox News, 7/23/08]
– Sean Hannity: Karl, I want to get your thoughts on the media bias, and that is that, you know, John McCain’s been there eight times. And we don’t have the big three network anchors, the stars going with him. [Fox News, 7/23/08]
Watch the compilation:
But Newsweek’s Holly Bailey recently noted that McCain “chose not to take reporters” on his trip abroad because he “was on official Senate travel” and aides worried about stories “questioning whether he was improperly using his Senate office to benefit his presidential campaign.”
Bailey added, “In contrast, the Obama campaign is inviting reporters on its tour, handling all the logistics — including transportation.” Reporters would have faced “a logistical nightmare…keep[ing] up with McCain as they flew commercially from stop to stop. (McCain traveled by a military aircraft).”
So as it turns out, McCain decided, not the media, to have limited press on his trip. But as Bailey notes, this decision may have actually benefited McCain: “McCain made a big time gaffe confusing Sunnis and Shiites… [and] it didn’t create nearly the stir it would have had Brian Williams, Katie Couric or Charlie Gibson been reported their evening newscast from the scene.”