Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-30-09

Media still bored by Obama press conferences
Following President Obama's April 29 press conference, media figures on all three major cable news channels and elsewhere asserted that the press conference was "boring." Several commentators had similarly concluded that Obama's March 24 press conference was insufficiently entertaining, echoing Matt Drudge. Read More

Rove pushes "extreme" distortion of Obama health care remark
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove distorted a statement by President Obama to falsely suggest Obama is now considering "a universal health care system like the European countries." Read More

Does Dobbs think Dr. Gupta and others at CNN are "out of their cotton pickin' minds"?
Noting that some people have criticized the use of the terms "swine flu" and "Mexican flu," Lou Dobbs said that the "idiots referring to it now as 'H1N1 virus' " are "out of their cotton pickin' minds." But Dr. Sanjay Gupta, among others at CNN, has used the term "H1N1," which Gupta said is "probably going to become the more appropriate nomenclature" for the virus. Read More

NBC/WSJ poll question advanced false claim about proposed labor law
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll question advanced the false claim that a secret-ballot election is currently required before workers can form a union. In fact, under current law, a secret-ballot election is required only when an employer demands it; an employer can recognize a union if it is supported by a majority of workers. Read More

Time has Beck praising Limbaugh's "honesty" in Time 100 profile
In a Time magazine profile, Glenn Beck writes that Rush Limbaugh's "consistency, insight and honesty have earned him a level of trust with his listeners that politicians can only dream of." But Media Matters has documented many examples of falsehoods, misleading commentary, and smears by Limbaugh. Read More

Media infected with conservatives' "socialized medicine" myth
In recent days, numerous media figures have falsely characterized President Obama's health care proposal as "socialized medicine," a "single-payer" health care system, a "single-payer government-run system," or "nationalized health care" like the British or Canadian models. Read More

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-29-09

Media Matters looks at 100 days of ...
Looking back at the media's coverage of a broad spectrum of issues since Inauguration Day, Media Matters identified numerous patterns of conservative misinformation. Read More

Wilson says Michelle Obama "was portrayed in some quarters as an angry woman" -- but omits Fox
Fox News' Brian Wilson stated that Michelle Obama "was portrayed in some quarters as an angry woman" and "as some type of radical" during the presidential campaign. But Wilson did not acknowledge that Fox News was among those who portrayed her as "angry" and "radical." Read More

FNC's Napolitano peddles paranoia about "swine flu," Obama's health care plan
Andrew Napolitano baselessly suggested President Obama was moving forward on health care now to take advantage of "fears of an epidemic and a pandemic" concerning the H1N1 virus, and falsely suggested that President Obama's health care proposal is similar to the Canadian and British systems -- models Obama has explicitly rejected. Read More

Fox's Henneberg repeats right-wing myth that hate crimes bill could gag ministers
Molly Henneberg uncritically reported the false claim made by religious groups that the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would allow individuals or groups to "be prosecuted for their religious beliefs." Read More

Stamp of approval: Media tout Obama polling falsehood
Several media figures and outlets have falsely claimed that President Obama's approval rating is lower than that of most or all recent presidents, according to Gallup. In fact, Gallup itself recently reported that, by two different measures, Obama's approval rating is the second highest of any president since 1969. Read More

Red State Update: Swine Flu

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Children’s Treasury of Wingnut Responses To Arlen Specter Becoming Gay


The 14 remaining wingnut Republicans are, of course, furious about Muslin-Communist and Pennsylvania shit monster Arlen Specter doing what they always knew he would do, with the becoming a DemonCRAP, because of course his whole plan all along from the day he was hatched, from a turd, was to stick an Arab Dagger in the backs of the Real Americans, right at the moment when there are basically no Real Americans left, which means … ?! … which means PURGE THE GOP OF OTHER NOT-WINGNUTTY-ENOUGH SENATORS, so that they have maybe 30 seats, maybe 25? Hoor — HUH?!

Let’s see, where should we go to get the funny wingnut comments? Oh, right, FREE REPUBLIC:.........

Obama Quits While Ahead

Prez Resigns After Hundred Days: ‘All Downhill From Here'

In a move that stunned both political allies and foes alike, President Barack Obama resigned today after serving 100 days in office, telling the White House press corps, "It's all downhill from here."

The reporters seemed stunned by the President's decision in light of the fawning media coverage he received during his first 100 days, but the hyperbolic nature of that reportage, ironically, may have been the prime motivator behind Mr. Obama's shocking move.

"Let's face it, I'm not going to get better coverage than I have to date," he said. "The only guy with a higher approval rating is that dude who landed the plane on the Hudson - or maybe that other dude who escaped from those pirates."

Mr. Obama may have a point, as current polls show that the only Americans with higher approval ratings are members of his immediate family.

According to the latest University of Minnesota/Opinion Research Institute survey, Mr. Obama's 67% approval rating is topped by First Lady Michelle Obama at 84%, with daughters Sasha and Malia and dog Bo tied at 98%.

Even the President's little-known half-brother George Obama, who resides in Nairobi, Kenya, garnered a 73% thumbs-up in the poll.

As the press corps reeled from the news of Mr. Obama's resignation, one White House source suggested that the First Lady may have been behind the decision: "Around Day 95 or so, Michelle was running out of wardrobe changes."

At the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts said that he stood ready to swear in the nation's new chief executive, whom he called "President Biden R. Joseph."

Mr. Biden is scheduled to deliver his Inaugural address on Friday at noon and wrap it up sometime late Sunday.

Earth's "Earth Day" Message: "Get the hell off me!"

Science & Technology - While President Obama used Earth Day to push a "Green Jobs" agenda, the Earth itself sent a mass e-mail urging humanity to develop the technology to move elsewhere.

"You guys are worst than head-lice," the message said in part. "The dinosaurs kept a lot less noise and look what happened to them. Take a hint and get the hell off me while you still can!"

President Obama refused to comment on the menacing e-mail, and instead urged the economy to move towards renewable energy sources and green technologies.

The Economy, speaking from an undisclosed location, suggested Obama "mind his own business," before sarcastically asking in jest, "So, you want me to whip up a couple of starships while I'm at it? Geez..." Muttering under its breath, the Economy also reminded Obama why we're in this fix in the first place. "25 years of declining academic performance and you expect these clowns to actually get innovative? You might want to talk to Education about all that before you even get me involved."

Meanwhile, speaking from a former Maytag facility in Iowa now making towers for wind turbines, the President led by example and used wind power to blow smoke up the collective asses of all in attendance. Painting the pursuit of green technologies as the recipe for job creation and economic growth, the President apparently failed to note that it took 1/10 as many people to make towers as washing machines. "At this rate, you'll all be unemployed by the time we're totally energy independent," snickered an unemployed economist in the audience.

While the creation of "green jobs" may look good on paper, those currently in such positions are not as enthusiastic about the creation of additional ones. "You trying to put me out of business?" a rickshaw driver in Hong Kong asked rhetorically. "Damn Yankee capitalists!" Even more confusing is exactly how much benefit the proposed "cap-and-trade" bill for reducing carbon emissions will provide. "That sounds like an accounting solution to an engineering problem," said the Earth. "It's like a dandruff shampoo that just redistributes the dander instead of reducing it!"

Advocating more nuclear plants, greener technologies and less dependence on oil and gas as a solution to our economic woes is akin to advising starving people to eat more. The first thing they ask after totally agreeing with you is, "Where's the meat?" People can't live on hope alone...but it does put them to sleep for a little while.

The Earth was even more cynical with regard to humanity's ability to adapt to a changing environment."Even after 25 years of research into global warming, you still deny the obvious. So, I figure I'll just switch it up and drop an Ice Age on your asses...just to freeze that damned smug look on your faces."

Miss California Says She's Moving To Wyoming

LOS ANGELES - Miss California says that she is so mad that Perez Hilton ambushed her during The Miss USA telecast with his 'gay question' that she has decided to move to Wyoming where there are no gay people.

Perez Hilton who is an avowed 'gay guy' said that Miss California is over reacting and that he will personally pay her tuition for her to attend The Paris Hilton Academy of Overacting.

Miss California reportedly told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Perez Hilton is just a sissy person who loves to wear makeup, women's sandals, and a toe ring.

She also threw in that he is a closet Republican.

Perez said that he doesn't mind Miss California saying that he wears makeup, women's sandals, and a toe ring, but he is highly insulted that she would call him a closet Republican.

He then revealed that one of the other contestants had told him in strictest confidence that Miss California's boobs were actually 'store bought.'

And he was also informed that she has the words 'Palin in 2012' tattooed on her bikini line.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: A call to the Wyoming Department of Human Resources was made and the chief clerk, a lady named Beulah Pettyjohn said that state records indicate that Miss California is misinformed because there are actually two gay people living in Wyoming.

One is a 32-year-old girl's high school volleyball coach named Claudette Drybread who lives in Buffalo Belly, Wyoming, and the other one is a member of the Laramie Police Department, Officer Drexton P. "Bippity Bip" Chickalooni).

Prostitutes All Over The World Object To New SuckAmatic

US Headlines - The pubic outcry of prostitutes is all the way from Las Vegas to Bangkok as the new thirty-minute infomercial, "Introducing Bronco's New SuckAmatic, hits the late night television.

"We can't compete with the men or their old ladies purchasing these things!", stated Molly Muppet from Reno. "They just pay the one time and that stupid machine can be used by the wife anytime she doesn't feel like doing it herself and we're all getting screwed..or rather, not."

Meanwhile the makers of the Bronco company say they are doing nothing wrong and that they are not only getting rich fast, but helping marriages and families to stay together.

"That's good for our entire country", stated Bronco spokesman, Howard Huge. "No more 'staying to work late at the office or sudden emergency at headquarters', these guys are hurrying home to embrace their wives and their Broncos."

Bronco says all its products are made here in the U.S. so it is putting thousands of people to work in Denver.

"This way, every time a sports announcer say 'The Denver Broncos' husbands everywhere can look over at the wife and wiggle their eyebrows...and she can wiggle back whatever she thinks her best feature."

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-28-09

Fox Nation gets an "F" for Obama rating falsehood
The Fox Nation featured a headline that falsely claimed: "One Group Gives Obama's 100 Days a C+." In fact, the article to which the headline linked discussed a poll of "new media experts" who graded the website, not President Obama's first 100 days in office. Read More

CNN's Bash didn't note economists' argument that spending is necessary in recession
In a article, Dana Bash reported that Republicans "trying to return to their small government roots" are "opposing Obama's economic prescriptions." But Bash did not mention that several economists say increased government spending -- as opposed to a return to "small government roots" -- is the necessary "economic prescription[]" during a recession. Read More

Post reports GOP criticism of HHS vacancy, but not GOP's role
The Washington Post allowed Bush HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt to criticize the Obama administration for not having an HHS secretary in place, but did not note Senate Republicans' role in delaying nominee Kathleen Sebelius' confirmation vote. Read More

VandeHei uncritically repeats Gregg's reconciliation criticism
The Politico's Jim VandeHei stated that Sen. Judd Gregg is "angry" because "Democrats were able to get this thing called reconciliation inserted into" the proposed 2010 budget, but did not note that Republicans, including Gregg, repeatedly supported using reconciliation to pass several Bush initiatives. Read More

Baier ignored study's finding that media coverage of Obama's policies skewed negative
Fox News' Bret Baier cited a conclusion from a media study that President Obama received more positive coverage through his first 50 days than President Bush or President Clinton but not the study's conclusion that Obama's "positive media image hasn't precluded heavy criticism of his policies." Read More

The Hill reported Ryan and Gregg's reconciliation criticism, omitted their prior support
The Hill quoted objections by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Judd Gregg, both Republicans, to the Democrats' use of the reconciliation process to pass health care reform legislation, but failed to note that Republicans -- including both Ryan and Gregg -- repeatedly supported the Bush administration's use of reconciliation. Read More

Fox's Cameron provides bad medicine in health care report
Carl Cameron falsely suggested that President Obama has proposed a health care system similar to those of England and Canada -- models Obama has explicitly rejected -- and uncritically aired a misleading portion of a Conservatives for Patients' Rights ad. Read More

Fox's Angle repeated false and misleading claims on harsh interrogations
Jim Angle again falsely compared the harsh techniques used in the interrogations of CIA detainees to those used in U.S. military training. In fact, officials familiar with both dispute the comparison. Read More

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Ali Soufan, an FBI agent, got Abu Zubaydah to talk without torture.

By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK

The arguments at the CIA safe house were loud and intense in the spring of 2002. Inside, a high-value terror suspect, Abu Zubaydah, was handcuffed to a gurney. He had been wounded during his capture in Pakistan and still had bullet fragments in his stomach, leg and groin. Agency operatives were aiming to crack him with rough and unorthodox interrogation tactics—including stripping him nude, turning down the temperature and bombarding him with loud music. But one impassioned young FBI agent wanted nothing to do with it. He tried to stop them.

The agent, Ali Soufan, was known as one of the bureau's top experts on Al Qaeda. He also had a reputation as a shrewd interrogator who could work fluently in both English and Arabic. Soufan yelled at one CIA contractor and told him that what he was doing was wrong, ineffective and an affront to American values. At one point, Soufan discovered a dark wooden "confinement box" that the contractor had built for Abu Zubaydah. It looked, Soufan recalls, "like a coffin." The mercurial agent erupted in anger, got on a secure phone line and called Pasquale D'Amuro, then the FBI assistant director for counterterrorism. "I swear to God," he shouted, "I'm going to arrest these guys!"

D'Amuro and other officials were alarmed at what they heard from Soufan. They fretted about the political consequences of abusive interrogations and the Washington blowback they thought was inevitable, say two high-ranking FBI sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. According to a later Justice Department inspector general's report, D'Amuro warned FBI Director Bob Mueller that such activities would eventually be investigated. "Someday, people are going to be sitting in front of green felt tables having to testify about all of this," D'Amuro said, according to one of the sources.

Mueller ordered Soufan and a second FBI agent home. He then directed that bureau personnel no longer participate in CIA interrogations. In the corridors of the White House, Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies, heated debates ensued. Three months later, on Aug. 1, 2002, Justice lawyers issued a chilling memo blessing everything the CIA contractors had proposed—including waterboarding, or simulated drowning, a ghoulish technique that was administered to Abu Zubaydah 83 times.

This was a decisive moment in the campaign against Al Qaeda—the point at which, in the eyes of many critics, the Bush administration took a fateful step away from the rule of law. The administration, believing it faced an extraordinary threat that justified extreme measures, shifted toward what former vice president Dick Cheney once grimly called "the dark side." But the debates that began in that spring of 2002 never really ended.

Last week Soufan, 37, now a security consultant who spends most of his time in the Middle East, decided to tell the story of his involvement in the Abu Zubaydah interrogations publicly for the first time. In an op-ed in The New York Times and in a series of exclusive interviews with NEWSWEEK, Soufan described how he, together with FBI colleague Steve Gaudin, began the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. They nursed his wounds, gained his confidence and got the terror suspect talking. They extracted crucial intelligence—including the identity of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the architect of 9/11 and the dirty-bomb plot of Jose Padilla—before CIA contractors even began their aggressive tactics....................

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 363

April 27, 2009 - Ultimate Meltdown Edition

Some say that the GOP has lost its way. If by "lost its way" they mean "fallen down a two-hundred-foot flooded mineshaft where it is using the remainder of its failing strength to desperately tread water in pitch darkness as it awaits its inevitable death by drowning," then I would have to agree.

Let's be honest. The Republican Party has flipped out. They've gone completely bonkers. What you are about to read is perhaps the craziest collection of conservative idiots I've ever had the misfortune to write about.........

George W Bush think tank plan provokes controversy as he begins to raise cash

The Telegraph

George W.Bush is less than 100 days into his retirement, but his plans for a personal think tank on a Texas university campus are already mired in controversy.

Tanned, relaxed and now embarked on the lucrative lecture circuit, Mr Bush is busy raising money - or "replenishing the ol' coffers", as he put it shortly before leaving office - while waiting for building of his presidential library complex at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas to begin.

The George W.Bush Foundation, which is responsible for setting up the library as well as his policy institute, is looking for an executive director who has the support of the Bush family and also the necessary academic credentials.

Mr Bush left office with the lowest poll ratings of any president for 60 years, but remains popular in Dallas. When he first arrived at the Highland Park neighbourhood which has become his new home - and adjoins SMU - he was greeted with signs reading, "Welcome Home, George and Laura," and bearing an image of the flag of Texas.

Last week he invited former aides to a brainstorming dinner and a day-long discussion about his think tank - known by some backers as the Freedom Institute - which he hopes will burnish his legacy.

It was the first such gathering since he left the White House, and those present included Condoleezza Rice, his former Secretary of State, and Karen Hughes, his longest-standing media adviser. Conspicuous by his absence was the former vice president, Dick Cheney. Mr Cheney has fallen out with his old boss over Mr Bush's refusal to pardon his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of perjury over the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.....

Samuel F. B. Morse

  • Born: 27 April 1791
  • Birthplace: Charlestown, Massachusetts
  • Died: 2 April 1872
  • Best Known As: The telegraphic pioneer who invented Morse Code

Name at birth: Samuel Finley Breese Morse

Samuel Morse's first career was as an artist, painting portraits in Boston and New York. In 1832 he became one of several people interested in finding ways of communicating by sending electrical impulses across a wire -- a concept which became known as the telegraph. Morse developed a dot-and-dash alphabet and devised a practical plan for using telegraphy to communicated across great distances. Morse demonstrated a working model in 1837, and by 1843 had secured government funding to run a line from Baltimore, Maryland to Washington, D.C. On May 24, 1844 he transmitted the first telegraph message: "What hath God wrought!" Although he spent years in litigation over telegraph patents, he was eventually rewarded for his efforts and was a wealthy man in his later years.

Morse was also an early photographer and created some of America's first daguerreotypes... The emergency call SOS -- dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot -- is a famous Morse code combination.

Swine Flu, How it started

Black Sabbath Paranoid

METALLICA - Enter sandman live

Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (live)

Manowar - Warriors Of The World Unite

Velvet Revolver - Slither

Monster Magnet - Space Lord

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cheney Starts Pro-Torture Facebook Page

Andy Borowitz

In his most aggressive public relations move since leaving office, former Vice President Dick Cheney today established a Facebook page for fans of torture.

In recent weeks, Mr. Cheney has been speaking out in praise of such controversial interrogation tactics as waterboarding, but in establishing his Facebook page the vice president seems to be attempting something far more amibitious: creating a social network for torture fans everywhere.

"This is a place where fans of waterboarding can meet, chat, and yes, hook up," Mr. Cheney told Fox News host Sean Hannity last night.

The former vice president extolled his torture fan page as a dating site, telling Mr. Hannity, "This way when you go out on a date with somebody you know going in how he or she feels about waterboarding. I think that's important in building a long-term and hopefully loving relationship. It's certainly something Lynne and I share."

But based on the tepid early response to Mr. Cheney's torture fan page - only he and his wife Lynne have signed up to date - the vice-president may face obstacles in creating a social network of waterboarding fans.

"I can't think of a creepier place to hook up with someone than a site that Dick Cheney is involved in," said Tracy Klugian, 27, of Madison, Wisconsin. "I'd feel like someone was always watching me."

At the White House, Vice President Joe Biden was harshly critical of his predecessor's remarks on torture, telling reporters, "Dick Cheney had eight years to run his mouth without thinking. That's my job now."

In 2002, Military Agency Warned Against 'Torture'

Washington Post

The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information."

"The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week.

It remains unclear whether the attachment reached high-ranking officials in the Bush administration. But the document offers the clearest evidence that has come to light so far that technical advisers on the harsh interrogation methods voiced early concerns about the effectiveness of applying severe physical or psychological pressure.......

As Nation's Mood Lifts, Can Obama Capitalize?

The most striking finding from the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll released today is the change in the public mood. Since Barack Obama was elected president in November, the pervasive gloom of 2008 has given way to a sense of hopefulness and considerably more optimism about the state of the country.

How much of this change is directly attributable to Obama's leadership rather than the nascent signs of improvement will become fodder for the cable shows as the president's 100th day arrives this week. What's important is that he now enjoys the power of public confidence. He will need all the backing he can muster as he moves into what is likely to be an even more difficult phase of his presidency.

Half the country now thinks things are moving in the right direction. That compares with 8 percent in October, during the election's final weeks. The shift in public sentiment sets Obama apart from many of his predecessors. It took Bill Clinton five years and a successful reelection campaign before Post-ABC News polls recorded a majority believing the country was on the right track. Other recent presidents have seen the mood turn sour before it improved.

No one should mistake the current mood for euphoria, given the state of the economy. But the poll shows an across-the-board boost in spirits. Among Democrats, 71 percent say the country is going in the right direction -- the first time since 1999 that figure has hit the 70 percent mark. Among independents, 44 percent are positive -- the highest since the fall of Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Republicans are far more pessimistic, with 27 percent saying the country is going in the right direction -- but that's still double what it was in February.......

Ex-Klan chief (Duke) freed after arrest in Prague

Yahoo News

David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Louisiana-founded Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, arrived in Prague on Friday at the invitation of a local far-right group, Narodni Odpor (National Resistance).

The 59-year-old US citizen had been due to give three lectures in Prague and Brno in the east of the country and present the Czech translation of his 1998 book "My Awakening."

He was arrested Friday afternoon in the Black Eagle restaurant in Prague's old town and questioned for several hours on suspicion of promoting movements seeking the suppression of human rights, police said.

His book contains passages denying the Holocaust, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison in the Czech republic, police spokesman Jan Mikulovsky said......

Friday, April 24, 2009

Freed Pirate Hostage Accuses Limbaugh Of 'Hate Speech'

SEEKONK, Mass. -- Shane Murphy, the second-in-command aboard the American merchant ship seized by pirates, lashed out at Rush Limbaugh for the talk show host's racial characterization in discussing the rescue of the ship's captain by the Navy.

Murphy, who returned to his Seekonk, Mass., home Friday, called Limbaugh a purveyor of "hate speech."

In commenting on the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips by the Navy Seals who shot and killed the three Somali pirates who were holding him captive, Limbaugh generated controversy when he called the pirates "black teenagers."

"There you have it, three teenagers shot on the high seas at the order of President Obama," said Limbaugh according to a transcript of an April 14 broadcast on his Web site.

"Just imagine the hue and cry had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black teenagers on the high seas," Limbaugh said.

Murphy said Limbaugh's remarks were unacceptable.

"It feels great to be home," Murphy said. "With the exception of Rush Limbaugh who is trying to make this into a race issue. It's disgusting."

"The president did the right thing. It's a war. It's about good versus evil. And what you (Limbaugh) said is evil, that is hate speech. I won't tolerate it," Murphy said.

Murphy said he and his family have had a difficult time since his release and return to the United States. The intense public attention on the rescue of the crew of the Maersk Alabama has made adjustment to a normal family life difficult, he said.

"We have not been left alone. We have not been allowed to go out and even do routine things," Murphy said.

Murphy, who took command of the ship after Phillips was taken hostage, said he and his family are trying to get through it all.

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-24-09

Kudlow echoes baseless Drudge headline on Obama supporters
Echoing a Drudge Report headline, Larry Kudlow asserted that "Obama supporters [are] saying he's the best president in history." Kudlow cited no examples of Obama supporters who have said this, and the Politico article to which the Drudge headline linked contained no such assertions from Obama supporters. Read More

Wash. Times editorial distorts Rosa Brooks' statement on Al Qaeda
In an editorial discussing newly appointed Defense Department official Rosa Brooks, The Washington Times wrote that Brooks "has called al Qaeda 'little more than an obscure group of extremist thugs.' " In fact, Brooks used that phrase in 2007 to refer to the view of Al Qaeda in 2001 held by "most experts." Read More

CQ, AP ignore Boehner's use of "torture" to describe techniques
Congressional Quarterly and the AP reported that "critics" say interrogation techniques outlined in Justice Department memos amount to torture and quoted Rep. John Boehner's criticism of the memos' release. However, neither outlet noted that Boehner himself characterized the techniques as "torture." Read More

Drudge hypes article claiming Gore "chickened out" from confronting skeptic
Matt Drudge highlighted the claim from global warming skeptic Marc Morano that "House Democrats have refused to allow [a global warming skeptic] to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday." But Newt Gingrich and others who disagree with Gore on climate change legislation the House is considering are also testifying at the hearing. Read More

LA Times reported McConnell's criticism of reconciliation without noting his past support of process
The Los Angeles Times reported Sen. Mitch McConnell's criticism of Democrats' potential use of the reconciliation process to pass health-care reform without noting that he repeatedly voted in favor of using reconciliation to pass the Bush tax cuts. Read More

FBN's Sullivan falsely claimed DHS report "nam[ed] veterans groups as possible extremist groups"
Fox Business' Brian Sullivan falsely asserted that DHS "nam[ed] veterans groups as possible extremist groups" in a recent report on right-wing extremism. In fact, citing an FBI assessment authored during the Bush administration, the report warned of a possible resurgence among extremist groups that "will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans." Read More

Misoverestimating him: Media graded Bush's first 100 days on a curve
Assessing President Bush's first 100 days, media figures and outlets repeatedly set a low bar -- which in some cases they explicitly acknowledged -- and then judged him as having cleared it. Read More

NRO's Hemingway gets history wrong in accusing Begala of botching facts
Mark Hemingway claimed that Paul Begala's statement that "[o]ur country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs" is false. However, the United States participated in a tribunal that sentenced numerous Japanese soldiers to death for war crimes including "torture" after a trial in which forms of waterboarding were presented as evidence of torture. Read More

100 days of myths and falsehoods
As media figures prepare to recognize President Obama's 100th day in office, Media Matters has reviewed coverage since the inauguration and identified numerous myths and falsehoods about the administration and its policies. Read More

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Defense Department to Release Prisoner Abuse Photos

The Department of Defense announced late Thursday that a 'substantial number of photos' depicting abuse of prisoners at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan will be released.

The Department of Defense announced late Thursday that a "substantial number of photos" depicting abuse of prisoners at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan will be released.

The photos are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004.

OH NO!!!!

General who probed Abu Ghraib says Bush officials committed war crimes

WASHINGTONThe Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account. The remarks by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who's now retired, came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes. "The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture," he wrote.

A White House spokeswoman, Kate Starr, had no comment.

Taguba didn't respond to a request for further comment relayed via a spokesman........

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-23-09

Media ignore facts undermining GOP calls for Napolitano resignation
The Politico, Roll Call, and uncritically quoted Republican congressmen suggesting that the DHS report on right-wing extremist groups was "politic[ally]" motivated. None of the articles noted that DHS also issued an assessment of left-wing extremism. Read More

NY Times drew false "contrast" between Blair, other Obama officials
The New York Times purported to draw a "contrast" between Dennis Blair, who has said that harsh interrogation techniques yielded "high value information," and "President Obama and most of his top aides," who have argued the use of the techniques "betrayed American values." In fact, Blair has also said he opposes their use. Read More

O'Reilly revived "wall" falsehood to suggest Holder -- not Bush officials -- should be "prosecuted"
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed "Eric Holder and Janet Reno put the wall up between the FBI and the CIA." In fact, the guidelines to which O'Reilly referred had no impact on communications between the FBI and the CIA, the Department of Defense, or any other agencies. Read More

Political History 101: O'Reilly falsely claimed Nixon never met with Mao
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed Richard Nixon never met Mao Zedong. In fact, Nixon met with Mao in February 1972. Read More

Fox News' Hemmer "keeping track of the stimulus money" -- by lifting research from GOP website
Bill Hemmer repeatedly suggested information about four "interesting" projects reportedly funded by the recovery act was obtained through Fox News' own research, even though nearly all of the information Hemmer mentioned, as well as that included in on-screen text and graphics, first appeared on Rep. Eric Cantor's Republican Whip website. Read More

More Fox figures pick up tenuous claim that harsh interrogations thwarted L.A. plot
Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Catherine Herridge joined other Fox News figures in advancing Marc Thiessen's claim that the use of harsh interrogations techniques on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed "stopped an attack on the Library Tower." But the Bush administration has said that the attack was thwarted more than a year before Mohammed was captured. Read More

Fox News greets alleged torture with antics
Many on Fox News have greeted the release of Justice Department memos authorizing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques with antics that mock the notion that these practices constitute torture. Read More

Conservative media claim prosecution of Bush administration officials will turn U.S. into "banana republic"
Conservative media figures are comparing possible prosecutions of Bush administration officials for their roles in authorizing the use of harsh interrogation techniques to circumstances in a "banana republic," in "Third World ... dictatorships," or "some little Latin American country that's run by ... the latest junta." Read More

Warren County to Obama: Keep your ‘filthy money’

LEBANON Warren County is saying “no thank you” to federal stimulus funds.

The county is the only one in the state that has rejected stimulus money for transportation improvements, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Commissioners rejected $373,000 in stimulus money to buy three new transit buses and upgrade their fleet, citing their opposition of deficit spending for buses and vans.

“I’ll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama’s filthy money,” Commissioner Mike Kilburn said.

ODOT spokesman Scott Varner said the money was specifically for transit improvements in rural areas to improve transportation for disabled people, seniors and others needing access to health care and educational opportunities.

"I'm tired of paying for people who don't have," Kilburn said. "As Reagan said, 'Government is not the answer, it's the problem.'"

County Administrator Dave Gully said the Ohio Department of Transportation sent the county a letter saying it was eligible for the money, but the commissioners decided not to apply for the funds.

"It was an act of omission, rather than rejection," Gully said.

"About $180 million was allocated for this," Varner said.

"We had hoped to share those dollars with all counties, but Warren County has decided against it."

Commissioner David Young said the commissioners also are looking for a way to give back $1.8 million in stimulus money allocated for energy efficient windows and roofs on government buildings.

"We are working with the prosecutor's office to find a way for us to give back the money and make sure that no one else spends it," Young said.

"We want to make clear that we are saying 'no, thank you' to spending this money and we are reducing the $787 billion being spent by $1.8 million."..............

Is Jane Harman Telling the Truth? And Why It's Important To Know

David Corn

It sure looked (or sounded), at least for a moment, that NPR host Robert Siegel had caught embattled Rep. Jane Harman in a contradiction.

The California Democrat went on "All things Considered" on Tuesday as part of a PR offensive, in which she was reacting to CQ's story reporting she had been captured on an NSA intercept telling a suspected Israeli agent she would try to reduce the espionage-related charges for two AIPAC officials, possibly in return for help in her bid to become chair of the House intelligence committee.

Harman has called for the release of the NSA intercepts and has decried such wiretapping as a "gross" abuse--despite the fact she has been a major congressional defender of the Bush administration's warantless wiretap program. But she has not publicly said who was the other party in this particular conversation. In fact, she has said she cannot recall such a call. She told Siegel:

We don't know if there was a phone call. These are three unnamed sources, former and present national security officials, who are allegedly selectively leaking information about a phone call or phone calls that may or may not have taken place. I have to say I am outraged that I may have been wiretapped by my government in 2005 or 2006 while I was ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.

She also said: " No. I can't recall with any specificity a conversation I may have had four years ago."

Yet later in the interview, she said, "The person I was talking to was an American citizen." Wait a minute. She cannot recall the conversation, but she knows the person was an American? Siegel is sharp, and he pounced on this:

MR. SIEGEL: But you are saying that you know it was an American citizen. So that would suggest that you know that there was a -
REP. HARMAN: Well, I know that anyone I would have talked to about, you know, the AIPAC prosecution would have been an American citizen. I didn't talk to some foreigner about it.....................................................

Americans high on Obama, direction of US

WASHINGTONFor the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.

Intensely worried about their personal finances and medical expenses, Americans nonetheless appear realistic about the time Obama might need to turn things around, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. It shows most Americans consider their new president to be a strong, ethical and empathetic leader who is working to change Washington.

Nobody knows how long the honeymoon will last, but Obama has clearly transformed the yes-we-can spirit of his candidacy into a tool of governance. His ability to inspire confidence — Obama's second book is titled "The Audacity of Hope" — has thus far buffered the president against the harsh political realities of two wars, a global economic meltdown and countless domestic challenges........


So far, Obama has defied the odds by producing a sustained trend toward optimism. It began with his election.

In October 2008, just 17 percent said the country was headed in the right direction. After his victory, that jumped to 36 percent. It dipped a bit in December but returned to 35 percent around the time of his inauguration and has headed upward since.

Obama is keenly aware that his political prospects are directly linked to such numbers. If at the end of his term the public is no more assured that Washington is competent and accountable and that the nation is at least on the right track, his re-election prospects will be doubtful.........

Republican Socialists of America: Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan

by: Paul Rosenberg

Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt, a conservative? Not so much. In fact, when it came to socialism, this is what Roosevelt said in his autobiography:
Because of things I have done on behalf of justice to the workingman, I have often been called a Socialist. Usually I have not taken the trouble even to notice the epithet. I am not afraid of names, and I am not one of those who fear to do what is right because some one else will confound me with partisans with whose principles I am not in accord. Moreover, I know that many American Socialists are high-minded and honorable citizens, who in reality are merely radical social reformers. They are oppressed by the brutalities and industrial injustices which we see everywhere about us. When I recall how often I have seen Socialists and ardent non-Socialists working side by side for some specific measure of social or industrial reform, and how I have found opposed to them on the side of privilege many shrill reactionaries who insist on calling all reformers Socialists, I refuse to be panic-stricken by having this title mistakenly applied to me.

So, it looks like Roosevelt would have voted for Obama, if he were still around today. And it looks that way even moreso, if think about his tax proposals. Although the income tax did not exist when he was President, Roosevelt was a firm proponent of it--as well as the estate tax. Talk about a tax-raiser, he was a tax-creator--or at least, he wanted to be. The following passages are from his 1907 State of the Union. First, on the income tax:

When our tax laws are revised the question of an income tax and an inheritance tax should receive the careful attention of our legislators. In my judgment both of these taxes should be part of our system of Federal taxation. I speak diffidently about the income tax because one scheme for an income tax was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; while in addition it is a difficult tax to administer in its practical working, and great care would have to be exercised to see that it was not evaded by the very men whom it was most desirable to have taxed, for if so evaded it would, of course, be worse than no tax at all; as the least desirable of all taxes is the tax which bears heavily upon the honest as compared with the dishonest man. Nevertheless, a graduated income tax of the proper type would be a desirable feature of Federal taxation, and it is to be hoped that one may be devised which the Supreme Court will declare constitutional.

Next, on the inheretance tax:

The inheritance tax, however, is both a far better method of taxation, and far more important for the purpose of having the fortunes of the country bear in proportion to their increase in size a corresponding increase and burden of taxation. The Government has the absolute right to decide as to the terms upon which a man shall receive a bequest or devise from another, and this point in the devolution of property is especially appropriate for the imposition of a tax. Laws imposing such taxes have repeatedly been placed upon the National statute books and as repeatedly declared constitutional by the courts; and these laws contained the progressive principle, that is, after a certain amount is reached the bequest or gift, in life or
death, is increasingly burdened and the rate of taxation is increased in proportion to the remoteness of blood of the man receiving the bequest. These principles are recognized already in the leading civilized nations of the world....

A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood.

Roosevelt goes on to sharply distinguish this from socialist proposals....

We have not the slightest sympathy with that socialistic idea which would try to put laziness, thriftlessness and inefficiency on a par with industry, thrift and efficiency; which would strive to break up not merely private property, but what is far more important, the home, the chief prop upon which our whole civilization stands. Such a theory, if ever adopted, would mean the ruin of the entire country-a ruin which would bear heaviest upon the weakest, upon those least able to shift for themselves. But proposals for legislation such as this herein advocated are directly opposed to this class of socialistic theories.

Roosevelt quoting Lincoln ......
Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: The fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal; but also to insist that there should be an equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared to his fellows.


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower firmly rebuked the reactionary wing of the Republican Party. In a 1954 letter to his brother, Edgar Newton Eisenhower, he wrote:

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.5 Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

He did cut taxes, though. In 1953, when he took office, the top marginal income tax rate was 92%. Ike thought this was outrageous. He cut the rate to 91%. That's well more than twice the top rate that Obama propose


Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon tried to implement a form of negative income tax as a way of substituting direct cash payments for bureaucratic forms of welfare assistance:

Nixon had experienced the sting of poverty as a child, and he never forgot it. But while he sympathized with the poor, he also shared many Americans' conviction that the welfare system had grown into an inefficient bureaucracy which fostered dependency and low self esteem among welfare recipients and contributed to the breakdown of families by providing assistance only to households which were not headed by a working male.

With the assistance of Urban Affairs Council secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Nixon created the Family Assistance Plan. FAP called for the replacement of bureaucratically administered programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, and Medicaid, with direct cash payments to those in need. Not only single-parent families, but the working poor would qualify for aid. All recipients, save the mothers of preschool age children, would be required to work or take job training.

Nixon revealed FAP in a nationwide address on August 8, 1969. Heavy criticism followed. Welfare advocates declared the income level Nixon proposed -- $1600 per year for a family of four -- insufficient. Conservatives disliked the idea of a guaranteed annual income for people who didn't work. Labor saw the proposal as a threat to the minimum wage. Caseworkers opposed FAP fearing that many of their jobs would be eliminated. And many Americans complained that the addition of the working poor would expand welfare caseloads by millions. A disappointed Nixon pressed for the bill's passage in various forms, until the election season of 1972. He knew a bad campaign issue when he saw one, and he let FAP expire.

What's more, as can be seen below, under Nixon, the tax rates--particularly on high earners--were as high or higher as they were under Kennedy and Johnson:


Ronald Reagan

Even more than Teddy Roosevelt, McCain likes to associate himself with Ronald Reagan. But though Reagan talked a good conservative game, when push came to shove, he often switched directions. In fact, he not only rolled up record deficits, he raised taxes, saved Social Security, and greatly expanded the same type of negative income tax measures (refundable tax credits) that McCain is railing at Obama for.

In my earlier diary, "John McCain Makes A Fool Of Himself, Again--Obama the Socialist Edition", I brought up the most successful form of negative income tax in US history--the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC). It was introduced under Republican President Gerald Ford, and then expanded under Ronald Reagan:

Enacted in 1975, the initially modest EIC has been expanded by tax legislation on a number of occasions, including the more widely-publicized Reagan EIC expansion of 1986. The EIC was further expanded in 1990, 1993, and 2001 regardless of whether the act in general raised taxes (1990, 1993), lowered taxes (2001), or eliminated other deductions and credits (1986). Today, the EITC is one of the largest anti-poverty tools in the United States (despite the fact that most income measures, including the poverty rate, do not account for the credit), and enjoys broad bipartisan support.

Reagan also helped save Social Security, in partnership with House Speaker Tip O'Neill, as Joshua Green explained in an article for Washington Monthly in early 2003, "Reagan's Liberal Legacy":

Reagan also vastly expanded one of the largest federal domestic programs, Social Security. Before becoming president, he had often openly mused, much to the alarm of his politically sensitive staff, about restructuring Social Security to allow individuals to opt out of the system--an antecedent of today's privatization plans. At the start of his administration, with Social Security teetering on the brink of insolvency, Reagan attempted to push through immediate draconian cuts to the program. But the Senate unanimously rebuked his plan, and the GOP lost 26 House seats in the 1982 midterm elections, largely as a result of this overreach.

The following year, Reagan made one of the greatest ideological about-faces in the history of the presidency, agreeing to a $165 billion bailout of Social Security. In almost every way, the bailout flew in the face of conservative ideology. It dramatically increased payroll taxes on employees and employers, brought a whole new class of recipients--new federal workers--into the system, and, for the first time, taxed Social Security benefits, and did so in the most liberal way: only those of upper-income recipients. (As an added affront to conservatives, the tax wasn't indexed to inflation, meaning that more and more people have gradually had to pay it over time.)

By expanding rather than scaling back entitlements, Reagan--and Newt Gingrich after him--demonstrated that conservatives could not and would not launch a frontal assault on Social Security, effectively conceding that these cherished New Deal programs were central features of the American polity.

Reagan also raised taxes a lot more often and more freely than any conservative would dare to admit. Here's just a snippet of what Green has to say on that:

The historic Tax Reform Act of 1986, though it achieved the supply side goal of lowering individual income tax rates, was a startlingly progressive reform. The plan imposed the largest corporate tax increase in history--an act utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today. Just two years after declaring, "there is no justification" for taxing corporate income, Reagan raised corporate taxes by $120 billion over five years and closed corporate tax loopholes worth about $300 billion over that same period. In addition to broadening the tax base, the plan increased standard deductions and personal exemptions to the point that no family with an income below the poverty line would have to pay federal income tax. Even at the time, conservatives within Reagan's administration were aghast. According to Wall Street Journal reporters Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray, whose book Showdown at Gucci Gulch chronicles the 1986 measure, "the conservative president's support for an effort once considered the bastion of liberals carried tremendous symbolic significance." When Reagan's conservative acting chief economic adviser, William Niskanen, was apprised of the plan he replied, "Walter Mondale would have been proud."

What's more, when he was governor of California, Reagan faced a budget crunch, and responded by agreeing the the Democratically-controlled legislature to respond with a balance of spending cuts and tax hikes raising the highest tax bracket. That's a step that the so-called "moderate" Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been either unwilling or unable to take.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shouldn't have Pissed in Cheney's Sock Droor ...

... he wouldn't have had too Waterboard you.... stupid Kitty

Obama vs Cheney (Action Figures)

Senator Feinstein On Torture Investigations: "They were not CIA officers, they were contractors"

Dear Lord please Smite - Bill Nye "The Blasphemous One"

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" was booed in Waco, Texas for suggesting the Moon did not generate its own light, but reflected light from the sun.

Trouble started when the children's entertainer brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars," and pointed out that the lesser light was actually a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out, including woman with three small children who shouted, "We believe in God!" and left.

Nye was taking part in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series, giving talks on global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption, but it was the moon thing that got them.

According to Morgan Matthew, "This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment."

This is the link:

God Makes Surprise Visit To Local Church

FAYETTEVILLE, NCParishioners at the First Presbyterian Church were left stunned and in awe of His glory Sunday, when the Lord God Almighty dropped by their 11 a.m. service unannounced.

Interrupting Pastor Terry Pridgen's sermon on His unending mercy, God appeared suddenly before His flock as an intense beam of white light, instantly dispersing the earthly forms of those seated in the first two pews. Sources said the remaining congregants had to avert their eyes from their Creator, whose booming celestial voice overwhelmed their worldly senses and humbled their hearts as He politely apologized for not calling first.

"I AM the God of Abraham, the LORD MOST HIGH, who brought you forth from the bondage of Egypt," God said unto church members, many of whom cowered in reverent fear of Him. "Thought I'd just pop in and see how things were going. Please, pretend like I'm not even here."

The Supreme Being then thanked the choir for its "lovely introduction" and took a seat to the right of the altar.

According to wholly repentant witnesses, who were scarcely able to look upon the Alpha and Omega, much less conceive of the enormity of His Might, God did not speak again for the entirety of the service, but was seen nodding approvingly during the Nicene Creed.

Attendees reportedly did not ask the One Who Made Them Flesh why He had chosen to visit their small parish, though some suspected the church's new electric organ might have had something to do with it.

"I don't think anyone knew He was coming," said churchgoer Ron Stiehl, adding that, for once, he was happy his wife dragged him to church. "At least it seemed that way when He started walking toward us and everyone was yelling their heads off like it was Judgment Day."

"Turns out the King of Kings was just making the rounds," Stiehl continued. "I thought He'd be taller."

While God did not reveal unto man a reason for His visit—nor did He, in His great wisdom, offer to pay for the six stained-glass windows that shattered from the awesome power of His presence—the Almighty sat among His followers for the last 35 minutes of the Sunday service, as well as the free coffee and pastries that followed.

Sources said that Our Father sat alone eating two cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, and was approached only once, when 5-year-old Jeremy Pacheco tried to hug the omnipotent deity. The boy's parents immediately yanked him away.

The other 112 church members avoided God entirely, and reacted to His continued stay with a mix of astonishment, confusion, fearful reverence, and the sublime inner peace that comes with the knowledge of a power greater than oneself.

"I wanted to ask the Lord what heaven is like, and if my mother is there, but I wasn't sure if it's still considered taking His name in vain when you address Him directly," Wendy Alston said. "And I didn't dare draw attention to myself with two teenagers wearing blue jeans to church. I could barely look at Him, I was so ashamed."

"Oh dear God," said 72-year-old church volunteer Michael Sharpe, completely enraptured by the materialization of the One True Creator before his very eyes. "Oh, dear God in heaven."

Since the Almighty's decision to stop by the First Presbyterian Church, the theological world has been thrown into chaos. Presbyterian leaders said God's appearance was indisputable proof that their denomination is the one true faith, but afternoon sightings of the Lord at two other Fayetteville churches, as well as one synagogue, have cast doubt on that theory.

"God said He just wanted to see what we were up to," Pastor Pridgen said. "This is His house, after all. He can drop in whenever He wants."

"Although, you'd think an all-knowing deity unbound by time and space would be able to give us some warning so we could at least put a bulletin in the church newsletter," the pastor added. "Not that I'm complaining or anything. All praise be to God. Is He still hanging around the parking lot?"

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-22-09

Media continue to ignore Cheney role in authorizing torture tactics
Media outlets continue to cite Dick Cheney's criticism of President Obama for releasing previously classified Justice Department memos authorizing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques while ignoring Cheney's self-acknowledged role in authorizing the use of those techniques. Read More

Hannity decries use of "the 'B' word," unless Ted Nugent is using it about Clinton
Sean Hannity decried Perez Hilton's use of "the 'B' word" in reference to Carrie Prejean, saying, "I can't think of anything more vicious, more mean, more insulting, more degrading." But Hannity did not object when Ted Nugent referred to Hillary Clinton as a "worthless bitch." Read More

Politico omits Blair's reported statement that costs of techniques "far outweighed" the benefits
The Politico reported that Dennis Blair stated that harsh interrogation techniques yielded "high-value information" but did not note Blair's reported statement that the costs of those techniques "far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us." Read More

Scarborough falsely compared harsh interrogations to military training programs
Joe Scarborough asserted that interrogation techniques, such as "sleep deprivation and working on phobias" used against detainees, are no different from those used in U.S. military training programs. However, officials familiar with both dispute the comparison. Read More

Media ignore falsehood in Miss California's same-sex marriage response
Numerous media figures have suggested that Carrie Prejean lost the Miss USA pageant because of the "honesty" of her response to a question about same-sex marriage. But the suggestion that Prejean was merely giving her opinion ignores a factual falsehood in Prejean's response. Read More

Fox News runs with dubious claim that KSM's interrogation thwarted L.A. plot
Fox News hosts and contributors have advanced the assertion that the use of harsh interrogation techniques on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed "stopped an attack on the Library Tower in Los Angeles." But the Bush administration said that the attack was thwarted in February 2002 -- more than a year before Mohammed was captured. Read More

Media cite DOJ memo to claim link -- refuted by Bush timeline -- between KSM waterboarding, thwarted L.A. plot
Media figures have pointed to a 2005 Justice Department memo to claim that the use of waterboarding on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed caused him to reveal information intelligence officials used to foil a plot to attack the Library Tower in Los Angeles. But according to the Bush administration, the plot was broken up more than a year before Mohammed's capture. Read More

MSNBC's Buchanan falsely attributed dubious OLC memo claim to Hayden-Mukasey op-ed
Pat Buchanan attributed the claim that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on detainees allowed intelligence officials to foil the Library Tower plot to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey. In fact, Mukasey and Hayden made no such claim in their op-ed. Read More

NBC's Mitchell falsely suggests Blair letter expressed approval for interrogation methods
Andrea Mitchell claimed that director of national intelligence Dennis Blair's statements appear to differ from President Obama's rejection of enhanced interrogation policies, when, in fact, Blair made clear in an April 16 letter that he opposed them. Read More

Kevin Roose Infiltrates Liberty University To Write Book

PROVIDENCE, R.I.Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.

Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

Each conversation about salvation or hand-wringing debate about premarital sex was unwitting fodder for Roose's recently published book: "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University."

"As a responsible American citizen, I couldn't just ignore the fact that there are a lot of Christian college students out there," said Roose, 21, now a Brown senior. "If I wanted my education to be well-rounded, I had to branch out and include these people that I just really had no exposure to."

Formed in 1971, Liberty now enrolls more than 11,000 residential students, along with thousands more who study through Liberty's distance-learning programs. The university teaches creationism and that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, while pledging "a strong commitment to political conservatism" on campus and a "total rejection of socialism."

Roose's parents, liberal Quakers who once worked for Ralph Nader, were nervous about their son being exposed to Falwell's views. Still, Roose transferred to Liberty for the spring 2007 semester.

He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy _ and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch "Gossip Girl?"

It wasn't an easy transition. Premarital sex is an obvious no-no at Liberty. So are smoking and drinking. Cursing is also banned, so he prepared by reading the Christian self-help book, "30 Days to Taming Your Tongue."

He lined up a publisher _ Grand Central Publishing _ and arrived at the Lynchburg campus prepared for "hostile ideologues who spent all their time plotting abortion clinic protests and sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls."

Instead, he found that "not only are they not that, but they're rigorously normal."

He met students who use Bible class to score dates, apply to top law schools and fret about their futures, and who enjoy gossip, hip-hop and R-rated movies _ albeit in a locked dorm room.

A roommate he depicts as aggressively anti-gay _ all names are changed in the book _ is an outcast on the hall, not a role model.

Yet, some students also grilled him about his relationship with Jesus and condemned non-believers to hell.

After a gunman at Virginia Tech killed 32 people in April 2007, a Liberty student said the deaths paled next to the millions of abortions worldwide _ a comment Roose says infuriated him.

Roose researched the school by joining as many activites as possible. He accompanied classmates on a spring break missionary trip to Daytona Beach. He visited a campus support group for chronic masturbators, where students were taught to curb impure thoughts. And he joined the choir at Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Roose scored an interview with the preacher for the school newspaper, right before Falwell died in May of that year. Roose decided against confronting him over his views on liberals, gays and other hot-button topics, and instead learned about the man himself, discovering among other things that the pastor loved diet peach Snapple and the TV show "24."

Roose would duck away to the bathroom to scribble down anecdotes or record them during lectures. He never blew his cover, even ending a blossoming romantic relationship rather than come clean. He revealed the truth on a return trip to campus. He grappled with guilt during the entire project, but said he ultimately found forgiveness from students for his deception.

"If he told me he was writing an expose or maybe if the book turned out to be what I considered unfair, then I might have been more troubled," said Brian Colas, a former Liberty student body president who befriended Roose.

The university administration has been less receptive. Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a statement that Roose had a "distorted view" of Liberty before he arrived and gave an incomplete portrait of the school.

"We appreciate Kevin's generally positive tone toward LU but he admittedly comes from a culture that has very little tolerance for conservative Christianity and even less understanding of it," Falwell said.

Roose said his Liberty experience transformed him in surprising ways.

When he first returned to Brown, he'd be shocked by the sight of a gay couple holding hands _ then be shocked at his own reaction. He remains stridently opposed to Falwell's worldview, but he also came to understand Falwell's appeal.

Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly _ for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.

He's even considering joining a church.