Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday Mashup (5/5/11)

(Not sure about posting for tomorrow…)

  • Anyone who has any familiarity with this blog knows how I feel about a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History, but part of me really hopes that this post from Think Progress turns out to be wrong (citing a New York Daily News story).

    I mean, I had hoped there would be something that would transcend the partisan political crap and compel Number 43 to put in an appearance at the ceremony today at the site where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood, timed after the killing of Osama bin Laden (here).

    Actually, I probably would not have said anything about this had it not been for this editorial in the formerly Moonie Times, which bellowed as follows…
    Unconscionable. Politicizing. A slap in the face. Those were the kinds of phrases the left deployed against President George W. Bush to suggest he was exploiting the memory of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These same voices are now giddy with delight at the prospect of President Obama’s “mission accomplished” visit to Ground Zero on Thursday. Such hypocrisy is par for the course.

    Under other circumstances the planned wreath-laying would invite less controversy. Honoring those who fell on 9/11 days after Osama bin Laden’s demise is fitting. Given the care Mr. Obama ordered be given bin Laden’s remains, it would be unseemly if the killer received more respect than his victims. Yet liberal Democrats have poisoned the well over the past decade, lending Mr. Obama’s actions the appearance of opportunistic political theater - particularly given the approach of the 2012 campaign season.
    When it comes to “poison(ing) the well” on the issue of politicizing terror, I would ask that you read this post and view the video from “Countdown” titled “The Nexus of Politics and Terror,” then tell me which political party has “poisoned the well” on this issue and which one hasn’t.

    Also, I came across this story in which many of the students who sat with Dubya in that Florida classroom while he read “The Pet Goat” in the midst of the 9/11 attacks recall the experience, with most seeming to be sympathetic to Number 43 given that they’re now teenagers and have had some time to reflect on the whole chain of events. I don’t begrudge them their opinions, but I still believe it was wrong from Bush to continue reading the story and not simply say to the class, “Would you please excuse me, an urgent matter has come up,” or something, and head to the nearest command and control center, where it was at the time (and I actually think it was a bit gratuitous for one of the students to take a shot at Michael Moore, who I thought offered a perfectly legitimate criticism of Bush’s actions).

    We learned later, of course, that Bush acted in accordance with his “gut,” perhaps more than any other president (and just about always to the exclusion of his head), and perhaps this was just one of those times, maybe even in an effort to comfort the kids. Unhappily for us, his gut turned out to be utterly wrong so many times.

    And while we’re on the subject, I came across this item, which posited the dangerous notion that, since we’ve killed bin Laden, we can just go ahead and do the same thing to Quaddafi in Libya. This is exactly the type of jingoistic, triumphalist crap that gets us into war without end and does nothing but turn people of another skin color into refugees, auger untold damage to our military, and reap more ill-gotten gain for the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch who, according to this, are getting just about everything their way anyway.

  • And with that in mind, I give you this from Cal Thomas (aside from bin Laden, I suppose this is topic #1)…
    The Environmental Protection Agency has prevented Shell from proceeding with its Northern Alaska (oil) drilling project after Shell reportedly invested more than $4 billion in the project. How can companies make costly investments when they are uncertain that policies allowed in one administration will still be allowed in the one that follows?
    I realize this is pretty much garden variety wankery from Thomas, particularly when you consider the following as noted here…
    In December, the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board ordered the EPA to revisit two permits the agency had granted to Shell Oil for oil exploration off the coast of Alaska. The board -- which was responding to an appeal from Alaska native and environmental groups -- determined that the EPA had made two errors in issuing the clean air permits and told the agency's regional office that they needed to be revised. On February 3, Shell announced that the drilling projects would be postponed until after 2011 due to the permit delays and Alaska's short (105 day) offshore drilling season.

    Of course, even if Shell had begun its exploratory drilling in the Arctic yesterday, it wouldn't do anything to bring down the high gas prices because the wells wouldn't start producing significant amounts of oil for several years, assuming the exploration is successful.
    However, I wanted to point out Thomas’ column for two reasons in particular. The first is upon the news that ExxonMobil made about $30 billion in profit here, so of course the Repug-run U.S. House voted to continue tax breaks for them and their energy-biz pals that they don’t need.

    The second reason is to note the findings here of students at Hamilton College on the subject of pundit accuracy; the results are that Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd of the Times were found to be the most accurate (with liberals generally more accurate than conservatives…shocking I know, but good for the students for doing this).

    And who was found to be the least accurate of the bunch? Why, Cal Thomas.

    Tee, hee, hee…

  • Continuing, it looks like Irrational Spew Online is in high dudgeon over the recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court contest between incumbent (and likely winner, and Walker ally) David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg here, criticizing the Kloppenburg campaign for contesting 18 absentee ballots from an organization of cloistered nuns because the ballots weren’t certified (with someone named Christian Schneider harrumphing because 14 of the ballots were for Prosser and 4 for Kloppenburg…I have some questions about the supposedly honest mistake that revealed, as if by magic, 7,500 votes for Prosser before the recount started from an individual in his camp with a history of funny stuff like this at voting time, as noted here).

    Besides, it’s particularly humorous to read Republican criticism of the absentee ballot process when you recall the gyrations of the Norm Coleman campaign on the question of absentee ballots when he was challenged by eventual winner Al Franken in 2008 (here).

  • Finally, the New York Times decided to profile crackpot “historian” David Barton today here, more or less glossing over the rank distortions of this character as follows…
    He is so popular that evangelical pastors travel across states to hear his rapid-fire presentations on how the United States was founded as a Christian nation and is on the road to ruin, thanks to secularists and the Supreme Court, or on the lost political power of the clergy.

    Through two decades of prolific, if disputed, research and some 400 speeches a year on what he calls the forgotten Christian roots of America, Mr. Barton, 57, a former school principal and an ordained minister, has steadily built a reputation as a guiding spirit of the religious right. Keeping an exhaustive schedule, he is also immersed in the nuts and bolts of politics and maintains a network of 700 anti-abortion state legislators.

    Many historians call his research flawed, but Mr. Barton’s influence appears to be greater than ever. Liberal organizations are raising the alarm over what they say are Mr. Barton’s dangerous distortions, including his claim that the nation’s founders never intended a high wall between church and state.
    Yep, for my money, this article doesn’t do a whole lot of analysis of this guy, and it somehow completely forgets to mention his association with Glenn Beck (who has called Barton “the most important man in America today”), in which the two argued against the Supreme Court ruling of Stone v. Graham in 1980 while completely forgetting to note that the Court ruled as it did in respect of the “establishment” clause, which of course does not permit the federal government to make a law “respecting an establishment of religion” (here).

    Oh, and did I mention that Barton is virulently anti-gay, as noted here (and once asked why we don’t “regulate” homosexuality as we do trans fats, as noted here)?

    And Barton has criticized two of our founding fathers, John Adams here and Thomas Jefferson here, with (of course) crackpot renderings of actual events (Barton also once asked “Are American children poor because they only have two TVs instead of three?” here).

    I will give the Times credit for linking, in the story, to this People for the American Way report on Barton and how his loopy theories have gained traction among the GOP faithful.

    And I suppose it wouldn’t trouble me much if Barton continued to gain influence to the point where he emerged as the intellectual “godfather” of the wingnuts, to the point where he could lead them anywhere he wanted.

    I would settle for right over the proverbial cliff.
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