I'm as shocked as you are, but RedState's Erick Erickson is quite clear in his announcement:
Today I want to reaffirm and make it more definitive. If you think 9/11 was an inside job or you really want to debate whether or not Barack Obama is an American citizen eligible to be President, RedState is not a place for you.
Got that? RedState's banning birthers and anyone who wants to have a "debate" about Obama's birth certificate.
Cue Sarah Palin, last December:
"Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?" she was asked (around 9 minutes into the video above).
"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers," she replied.
"Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?" Humphries persisted.
"I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," Palin said. "The McCain-Palin campaign didn't do a good enough job in that area."
Uh-oh, Palin said the public was "rightfully" asking birther questions and that it was "fair game."
Question: Will Erickson grant Palin dispensation?
UPDATED: Perhaps Erickson should compare notes with Andrew Breitbart on the pitfalls of RW birther hypocrisy.
Because in his WSJ write-up about what he witnessed at last weekend's Tea Party convention in Nashville, the the RW blogger announces that the movement has spurred "millions of Americans to the streets over the past year." [Emphasis added.]
Really Glenn? I'd sure be curious how many millions and millions of Tea Party fans have taken to the streets in the last twelve months. Is it 4 million, 9 million, 14 million? Because as I noted last weekend, when the New York Times tried to push the same milions-and-millions line, I don't see proof that any "millions" have participated in Tea Party protests over the last year.
We all remember that at their largest event last September in Washington, D.C., Tea Party advocates claimed 2 million people protested. (Reynolds himself helped push that phony line at the time.) But in the end, that estimate was off by roughly 1.9 million. (Oops!)
So if the biggest Tea Party event drew approximately 60,000 people, and most of the other very, very large events attracted, say, 10,000 people, that means that either A) the Tea Party movement hosted hundreds and hundreds of huge, five-figure events that I never heard about in order to reach the "millions" tally, or B) Tea Party advocates like Reynolds, are making stuff up again in effort to puff up their cause.
Which is it Glenn?
UPDATED: Last April, Nate Silver's site, fivethiryeight.com, posted an extensive list of crowd estimates for every Tea Party even held on April 15. The total: 112,000 attendees. That, combined with the D.C. event equals approximately 172,000 Tea Party protesters. Although, if you want to get technical about it, it's likely there was overlap between the April 15, protests and the D.C march in September. Meaning, if lots of the same people participated in the two, you wouldn't count them twice as part of Reynold's alleged "millions of Americans" total.
There were certainly Tea Party events and protests held outside of the April 15, and September events. But I'd sure like to see Reynolds point to concrete numbers (as opposed to make-believe RW blogosphere numbers) that show how those events attracted millions, when the two biggest Tea Party mass gather days last only tallied 172,000.
UPDATED: Does being a Tea Party cheerleader entitle you to your own set of facts?
UPDATED: Meanwhile, I chuckled when I read Reynolds WSJ headline, "What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention." Because after reading the column it's clear Reynolds slept through Joseph Farah's primetime birther speech since Reynolds makes no mention of it. Instead, Farah's embarrassing fiasco gets flushed down the memory hole. Farah's loony birther talk doesn't fit with Reynold's spin that Tea Party attendees were cheerful, everyday folks, therefore Farah does not exist.
Punchline: Reynolds claims Tea Party followers crave transparency!
UPDATED: It's been crickets from Reynolds. I'm taking that as confirmation he cannot point to any evidence/facts/proof to back up his claim that "millions of Americans" have taken to the streets to protest in the last year.
And if Reynolds cannot confirm the fact, when will the WSJ issue a correction? Although I've noticed lately that being a "conservative journalist" means not having to correct, or even acknowledge, egregious errors. Just ask Greg Pollowtiz at National Review.
In his continued effort to attack anything related to the Obama administration, Glenn Beck ridiculed first lady Michelle Obama's initiative to combat the issues of childhood hunger and obesity. Seriously, despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the prevalence of childhood obesity is on the rise -- leading to greater incidence of cardiovascular disease, asthma, liver degeneration, diabetes, and psychosocial risks associated with social stigmatization -- Beck staked his position against the first lady's initiative to improve nutrition and exercise among children.
After complaining that too many children receive unearned trophies and drawing a connection from that to 20-year-old workers requesting vacation days, Beck turned his attention to Michelle Obama's "obesity campaign":
BECK: So now going all out to have government limit the food choices available at our kids' school, to make sure that grocery stores pop up in what they are calling -- and I'm not kidding you -- food deserts. There's no salad bars; it's a food desert. Then we are going to put the grocery stores instead of fast food businesses.
They'll limit what we can watch on TV, what ads we can run and how long we can watch. No doubt we'll start mandating certain kind of activities as part of this wonderful government campaign.
In reality, the Let's Move initiative aims to issue guidance for front-of-package nutritional labels, educate physicians on childhood obesity, and develop online tools to provide information about health and nutrition. In addition, grants will be available to construct grocery stores and bring farmers' markets to underserved communities -- known as food deserts.
Estimating that $150 billion is spent annually to treat obesity-related health issues, the administration is also calling for reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act -- which helps to provide lunch to 31 million students living at or near the poverty line every school day -- all while improving the nutritional standards for school meals.
Sound like the coming of fascist socialism to you? Here's Beck:
BECK: This is torn from the pages of the progressive playbook. You're too stupid. You need the government to fix your life, and they agree with you that government has no place in this business. But we're just going to help make things better.
Yes. They're coming and they are slowly but surely taking away your freedom under the guise of helping you.
From a February 12 post on Beck's Twitter feed:
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his February 12 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From The Fox Nation, accessed February 11:
The Republican National Committee is sending out a fundraising e-mail that urges donors to send GOP Valentine's E-Cards to loved ones, with online contributions of anywhere from $10 to $100.
Donors can choose from 18 different Valentine's cards that the RNC has created, including one that features Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claiming they didn't craft the card behind closed doors, as they did with their "government-run health care experiment."
Another has President Obama claiming he's saved or created millions of Valentine's, "just like his party has claimed that the wasteful, pork-filled stimulus bill has created or saved thousands, 1.5 million or 2 million jobs depending on which Obama administration official you ask."
At Media Matters' we've repeatedly pointed out the media's inability to consistently identify the conflicts of interest or note-worthy connections of contributors and guests on various cable news outlets as well as those quoted in major newspapers as experts. Years' worth of examples of past Media Matters research on the subject can be found at the end of this post.
The Nation's Sebastian Jones has an incredible piece out this week detailing the results of a four month investigation which found that, "[s]ince 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials -- people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests -- have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them."
From Jones' report:
President Obama spent most of December 4 touring Allentown, Pennsylvania, meeting with local workers and discussing the economic crisis. A few hours later, the state's former governor, Tom Ridge, was on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews, offering up his own recovery plan. There were "modest things" the White House might try, like cutting taxes or opening up credit for small businesses, but the real answer was for the president to "take his green agenda and blow it out of the box." The first step, Ridge explained, was to "create nuclear power plants." Combined with some waste coal and natural gas extraction, you would have an "innovation setter" that would "create jobs, create exports."
As Ridge counseled the administration to "put that package together," he sure seemed like an objective commentator. But what viewers weren't told was that since 2005, Ridge has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power company. As of March 2009, he also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock, according to SEC filings.
Moments earlier, retired general and "NBC Military Analyst" Barry McCaffrey told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require an additional "three- to ten-year effort" and "a lot of money." Unmentioned was the fact that DynCorp paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone. The government had just granted DynCorp a five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9 billion to aid American forces in Afghanistan. The first year is locked in at $644 million, but the additional four options are subject to renewal, contingent on military needs and political realities.
In a single hour, two men with blatant, undisclosed conflicts of interest had appeared on MSNBC. The question is, was this an isolated oversight or business as usual? Evidence points to the latter. In 2003 The Nation exposed McCaffrey's financial ties to military contractors he had promoted on-air on several cable networks; in 2008 David Barstow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series for the New York Times about the Pentagon's use of former military officers--many lobbying or consulting for military contractors--to get their talking points on television in exchange for access to decision-makers; and in 2009 bloggers uncovered how ex-Newsweek writer Richard Wolffe had guest-hosted Countdown With Keith Olbermann while working at a large PR firm specializing in "strategies for managing corporate reputation."
Based on Jones' report, it looks like the problem is far more pervasive than previously known. It makes one wonder if Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, who has often failed to disclose his own conflicts of interest, will discuss the story on his weekend broadcast of Reliable Sources on CNN.
Be sure to check out Jones' expose in its entirety. It's well worth a read.
A while back, I expressed some entirely warranted exasperation that conservatives like the bias sleuths at NewsBusters continually use isolated weather events, like snowstorms in winter, as evidence that global warming is bunk. At the time, I surmised that the problem was that certain conservatives are "too abysmally thick to grasp even the basic idea of latitude."
Turns out I was being too generous.
NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein went after the New York Times this morning for reporting of the record snowfalls on the east coast:
But Dr. Masters also said that government and academic studies had consistently predicted an increasing frequency of just these kinds of record-setting storms, because warmer air carries more moisture.
Finkelstein was incredulous at the bit about warmer air carrying more moisture:
So more snow fell from Philly to DC because the temperatures were warmer than normal during the blizzards? That got me wondering: just what were the temperatures in DC on the snow days, and how do they compare to the norm? And guess what?
Bottom line: the temperature was colder than average on every one of the snow days. On average the snow days were about eight degrees colder than normal.
To spin these facts as proof that the blizzards are evidence of global warming because "warm air holds more moisture" is bunk.
This is so dumb it's actually frightening, so I'll try to explain it in a way that even a NewsBuster can understand.
Assume for the moment that there are basically two types of air -- warmer air, and colder air. Warmer air tends to have higher moisture content, as the New York Times reported. When a mass of warmer, wetter air meets a mass of colder, drier air, the warmer air is typically pushed up over the cold air, where it condenses, forming precipitation (that's a fancy science word for rain, snow, sleet, etc.). Once that precipitation gets heavy enough, it falls, and if the colder air beneath it -- the air that determines the temperature at the surface -- is below freezing, it falls as snow. It's basic meteorology, and it's all right here for your perusal.
The scientist cited in the Times did not say that more snow fell "because the temperatures were warmer than normal during the blizzards." He said that the warmer air that condensed to form the precipitation contained more moisture than normal -- hence, more snow. This was obvious to anyone who had paid attention in fourth-grade science.
But, of course, Finkelstein's inept turn as weatherman was enthusiastically endorsed by Rush Limbaugh and Finkelstein's colleague Noel Sheppard, whose serial climate change idiocy is becoming tiresome.
If conservatives want us to believe they know better than the climatologists, they should start by at least getting temperature down pat.
As reported on the New York Times' website on Wednesday (and in print Thursday), "Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide have accused the private security company of defrauding the government for years by filing bogus receipts, double billing for the same services and charging government agencies for strippers and prostitutes, according to court documents unsealed this week."
It seemed to be a story tailor-made for Glenn Beck. Last year, during and following the ACORN "scandal" that Beck had worked to turn into a national story, he had railed again and again against the corruption choking Washington, D.C.
Beck's anger was also predicated on the nature of the supposed crimes being committed: specifically, ACORN's theoretical willingness to support prostitution.
And so, it was intriguing to watch his reaction to the latest accusations facing Blackwater, which is embroiled in numerous legal investigations. Beck's Thursday Fox News broadcast included seven mentions of the word "socialist" or "socialism" and five mentions of "communist" or "communists." He even mentioned "fascism," "Hitler," and "Van Jones" once each.
But Blackwater? Beck didn't mention it once.
For the host, such obvious and overt hypocrisy is nothing new. Last September, Media Matters set out to establish if there was any consistency to his professed concern with "corruption" in Washington. Our researchers reviewed the transcripts of every episode of his television programs, beginning with his May 2006 debut on CNN Headline News and ending on September 18, 2009. During the period, several corruption scandals broke involving major U.S. military contractors Blackwater, KBR, and Halliburton, as well as Republican lobbyists and office-holders, such as Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney.
The results were striking: During the time period studied, Beck's programs were approximately 50 times more likely to reference ACORN than any of the military contractors and approximately 149 times more likely to discuss ACORN than either Abramoff or Ney. This, despite the fact that Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater received tens of billions of dollars in military contracts. (By comparison, ACORN has received an estimated $53 million in federal funding over the past 15 years, which is an average of $3.5 million per year.) Furthermore, KBR was even connected to the fatal electrocutions of 13 U.S. service members between the start of the Iraq war and July 2008 due to faulty electrical work that the company performed.
In case there was any doubt about his priorities, Beck answered them just two days after our report came out. On September 25, 2009, he dismissed the idea that he was disproportionately focused on ACORN. After playing a clip of Roland Burris defending the organization and criticizing Blackwater, Beck said, "I don't think I can take the Blackwater thing anymore. I can't take any of it...What about ACORN?"