“My father always said you can disagree without being disagreeable, and that’s the message we’re trying to teach these kids [...] We’re all part of the same LU community.”
Brian Diaz, President of Liberty’s College Democrats, notes that the Liberty College Republicans continue to operate on campus. Just last month, Liberty College Republicans’ Melinda Zosh told The Liberty Champion that it is important to have a College Republicans and a College Democrats on any university campus.
Via John Chait, it seems that conservative talk radio host Eric “Mancow” Muller decided it would be a fun stunt to have himself waterboarded in order to prove that it’s not really torture. Didn’t work so well:
“It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke,”Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.”
“I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” Mancow said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face…I got voted to do this but I really thought ‘I’m going to laugh this off.’”
I’m not sure I understand why Mancow wasn’t willing to take Christopher Hitchens’ word for it when he undertook an identical experiment for the same reason and concluded “if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.” But as Chait says “I think the torture debate would be mighty different if more of the conservatives who scoff at waterboarding would try the same thing.”
In an interview with CNN set to air on Sunday, former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said that he disagreed with Vice President Cheney’s claim that President Obama is making the country less secure. “Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney,” said Ridge. He added that although he disagreed with much of what President Obama said in his speech on national security yesterday, he also took issue with Cheney’s response. “It’s just the whole notion of a Republican vice president giving a speech after the incumbent Democratic president,” he said. “It’s gotta go beyond the politics of either party.” Watch it:
The top quote is key: “The only people who give any credence to Republican Senators’ rhetoric is Democratic Senators,” Begala quotes George Mitchell as saying. In other words, the public agrees with progressive health care priorities and in this health care debate, Americans start out on our side. Begala:
That fact is this: the overwhelming majority of American support health care reform. In fact, Dr. Luntz himself notes that voters trust Democrats over Republicans by a whopping 20 percent on health care . If health care reform were unpopular, Republicans would not resort to misleading rhetoric to mask their opposition. The striking thing about Luntz’s memo is how the rhetoric he advocates apes our message.
So the problem is not in convincing the American people that we need reform; they’ve heard that message before and they overwhelmingly agree with it. The real goal, this time, is to do a better job in mobilizing that public support into action for change. As Chris Jennings often argues, “when it comes to health reform, fear beats hope. In the past, this has meant that nothing gets done.”
Progressives need to answer conservative attacks by defending progressive proposals on their merits — as Begala does– rather than resorting to the comfortable/familiar rhetoric of “affordable health care for all” or “shared responsibility.” Such buzz language has doomed past reform efforts. As Haynes Johnson and David Broder argue in their analysis of President Clinton’s failed health care reform effort, by relying on hollow buzz words, rather than policy specifics, the Clintons allowed the opposition to ascribe meaning to reform rhetoric. Let’s hope we doesn’t make that same mistake again.
This morning, the hosts of Fox and Friends brought up FBI Director Robert Mueller’s recent comments warning that if Guantanamo detainees are allowed into U.S. prisons, they may turn to “radicalizing” other inmates. Fox News contributor Joel Mowbray said that it would be dangerous putting detainees into U.S. prisons because guards “know how to handle rapists and murderers and drug dealers,” but “they do not know how to handle terrorists.” Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller took issue with Mowbray’s conclusions, saying, “We know how to do this.” To back up her point, she pulled out her street cred and cited her time serving in prison:
Joel, I’m sorry, but I was actually in a jail with — one floor away — from Zacarias Moussaoui. … We know how to do this. Believe me, we can do it. The issue is, is it politically acceptable to the American people? That we’re not sure about.
Miller, of course, was central to the Valerie Plame leak scandal and a key player in pushing false intelligence that led the public into the Iraq war. In 2005, Miller went to jail for refusing to testify in the Valerie Plame scandal and reveal her conversations with Scooter Libby. (HT: Raw Story)
I can’t imagine why any serious journalist would cite the work of The Breakthrough Institute (TBI) — except to debunk it. As we’ll see once again, they constantly misstate and misrepresent what others say, and generally put out very bad analysis designed to push their anti-climate-action, anti-environmental agenda.
So why do journalists cite them? Simple — the media love contrarians. So if you convince the media you are, say, part of the progressive environmental movement, you can get all the media attention you want by then trashing your supposed allies.
I would ignore TBI if the media did, but because they don’t, I can’t.
In just the last few months, TBI, and its founders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus have gone on a disinformation rampage with the help of the media:
They attacked President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate plan as political suicide and doomed to fail, 18 months after endorsing the plan “” heck, they said it was their plan all along (see Salon debunking here).
The New Republic let them publish a string of factually untrue, egregious statements in an essay titled: “The Green Bubble: Why environmentalist keeps imploding.” The biggest whopper: “It has become an article of faith among many greens that the global poor are happier with less and must be shielded from the horrors of overconsumption and economic development–never mind the realities of infant mortality, treatable disease, short life expectancies, and grinding agrarian poverty.” No one in the environmental movement believes that, but it is a right-wing fantasy of the “greens.” Robert J. Brulle, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science, Drexel University utterly debunks this essay (see below) and writes of this quote, “Who or what environmental group has ever said anything of this nature? This statement is an out-and-out fabrication. One wonders if there are any fact-checkers at The New Republic.“
The key point everyone in the media must understand is that Shellenberger and Nordhaus need for Waxman-Markey to fail. Otherwise all their claims that the environmental movement keeps imploding would be seen by everyone as the sham that it is.
So it is perhaps not surprising that 18 months after I got them to strongly and publicly endorse Obama’s cap-and-trade plan, they have launched a series of attacks on it — attacks based on misrepresentation and misanalysis. What is surprising is that the media keeps treating them as if they were credible sources — or even worse, as credible sources who are part of the environmental movement. They are not. They are non-credible sources whose core arguments and analsyses are indistinguishable from the anti-climate disinformation campaign driven by fossil fuel companies and conservative media, politicians and think tanks.
Good story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how immigrants are helping to revitalize Philadelphia and how some Cleveland leaders are hoping the same can happen to them.
In national policy circles, immigration is often discussed as a “problem” wherein we need to deal with the terrifying phenomenon of people coming to the United States in order to do work in exchange for money. In urban policy, however, the reverse is more often the case. A city wants to be a place where immigrants want to come. It’s a sign of some of the relative failings of policy in Washington, DC—especially of crime control and education policy—that such a huge proportion of the metro area’s Asian immigrant population prefers to live in the suburbs.
When thinking about the immigrant role in the urban retail ecology, you also see the positive-sum aspects of immigration. When Vietnamese immigrants come to an area and open a banh mi shop, for example, that is competition with existing sandwich outlets. But banh mi is an imperfect substitute for other culinary options and vice versa. The immigrants haven’t just added such-and-such number of new labor inputs, they’ve put genuinely new capital into play (in terms of recipes, skills, and at times kinds of equipment) and expanded the choice set. And you see this sort of thing to an extent up and down the ladder of “cultural products”—not just food, but music, movies, television, advertising, video games, architecture * design, etc.—which are enormously important to the American economy.
Eric Martin has an important corollary to what I was saying yesterday about deciding which countries are democracies based on their view of US geopolitical power. As he says, in the Persian Gulf region there’s really no regime you could plausibly try to label a democracy. Consequently, regimes and political movements that are friendly to American regional hegemony (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, SCIRI) are “moderate” whereas those that are hostile to American regional hegemony (Sadrists, Iran, formerly Saddam Hussein) are “radical” or “firebrands” or some such.
Apparently unable to learn from egregiousmistakes from the recentpast, RNC Chairman Michael Steele once again took to the radio airwaves today as a guest host for Bill Bennett. Earlier this week, Steele declared “an end to the era of Republicans looking backward.” This morning, however, Steele revisited the 2008 election to insist that President Obama had never been “vetted” because the press “fell in love with the black man”:
STEELE: The problem that we have with this president is that we don’t know [Obama]. He was not vetted, folks. … He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office. “Oh gee, wouldn’t it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn’t it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to live in an America with a black president.” Okay that’s wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop. But what does he stand for? What does he believe? … So we don’t know. We just don’t know.
Steele lamented the “missed opportunity” in “dissecting” Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s influence on Obama, and “the lessons [Obama] learned at his [Wright's] knee.” Listen to it:
That Steele would suggest Obama won the presidency because of his race is striking considering that Steele himself has had to face — and bat down — similar allegations. In 2006, when Steele ran for lieutenant governor in Maryland, a Baltimore Sun editorial said that he brought “little to the team but the color of his skin.” Steele slammed the implication as “pure ignorance”:
QUESTION: “Mr. Ehrlich’s running mate, state GOP chairman Michael Steele, brings little to the team but the color of his skin.” Baltimore Sun. … What was your reaction when you read that?
STEELE: Ignorant. It was just pure ignorance. It’s something I had to put up with countless times. … But it was, again, showing a high level of ignorance — ignorance and racism. And call it for what it is. The Baltimore Sun is the Baltimore Sun. I don’t deal with the newspaper. I have nothing to say to the editorial board or –- I barely speak to its reporters, because this is a newspaper that, in my view, has some issues it needs to work out with respect to race.
Earlier this month, also while hosting Bill Bennett’s show, Steele agreed with a caller who declared that Obama “is the Magic Negro.” “Yeah,” Steele replied, laughing. “You read that too, huh?”
Citing ThinkProgress’s post, Politico’s Ben Smith writes:
What happens on Fridays: Michael Steele guest hosts Bill Bennett’s radio show; young staffers at Media Matters and the Center for American Progress listen and compete for the most entertaining sound byte.
Ben Smith is wrong. No disrespect towards the fine researchers at Media Matters, but reporting interesting nuggets from Steele’s guest hostings on Bennett has been the exclusive domain of ThinkProgress.