From Siegel's November 12 New York Post column, "The AMA's 'reform' sellout":
The American Medical Association leadership is spineless when it comes to the health reforms now before Congress. The organization has focused almost entirely on a single issue -- the repeal of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which penalizes doctors a percentage every year if the total amount we're reimbursed exceeds government projections. The formula calls for a 21 percent across-the-board cut in our Medicare payments this year.
Yet the simple fact is that the AMA no longer speaks for the profession (if it ever did). Only about 20 percent of physicians belong, and many stay in only for the free subscription to the Journal of the American Medical Association, which publishes important studies.
I officially quit the AMA over the summer, and I haven't regretted it. I am now asking my fellow doctors to quit in protest, too.
At a time when we doctors are facing ever more cuts in reimbursements, shrinking direct payments from patients, more restrictions in the tests and treatments we can prescribe, the last thing we need is a bureaucratic group of lobbyists falsely saying they represent us.
The New York Times' Media Decoder blog reports:
Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views made him a TV lightning rod, plans to announce Wednesday that he is leaving the network, two network employees said.
A CNN executive confirmed that Mr. Dobbs will announce his plans on his 7 p.m. program.
Mr. Dobbs informed his staff members of his intentions in a meeting Wednesday afternoon. He did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment.
Dobbs makes it official: Under pressure, Dobbs announces his resignation from CNN
Eighty 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 of white people." Here are his November 11 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
The right-wing blog Gateway Pundit says Christians are the target of more hate crimes in the U.S. than Muslims:
In the real world... Hate crimes against Muslims have steadily declined since 2001. Today there are more reported hate crimes against Christians in the United States than Muslims.
That's a reference to the fact that there were 115 reported hate crime incidents against Muslims in 2007, according to the FBI, and 118 against Christians.
Now, this would be a good time to keep in mind that 78 percent of American adults are Christian, and 0.6 percent are Muslim. In other words, there are about 130 times as many Christians in the US as there are Muslims. And yet there were essentially the same number of reported hate crimes against Muslims as against Christians in 2007.
That sure paints a different picture than Gateway Pundit's statement that "there are more reported hate crimes against Christians in the United States than Muslims," doesn't it?
In an effort to downplay hate crimes against Muslims, Gateway Pundit has accidentally provided a reminder of just how disproportionately Muslims are the victims of such crimes. Heckuva job, GP.
I don't mean that in the sense the question is typically asked -- "Why would CNN inflict such a loud-mouthed xenophobe on it's audience?" I mean, why does CNN employ a host whose journalism is so inconsistent with its stated business model?
Whenever there's a news report about CNN's sagging ratings, a CNN executive steps forward to say that their brand is serious, nonpartisan news, and if they turned to opinionated hosts who might boost their ratings, they'd damage that brand. Here's an AP article out today, for example:
The network could cast aside Cooper, Larry King and Campbell Brown for opinionated analysis and probably see its ratings go up, said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.
The benefit for one arm of the company isn't worth the potential damage to others, he said.
CNN has built its business - encompassing international networks and wholesale news reports, mobile device services, a Web site, a wire service to print publications and radio - around the notion that it is delivering nonpartisan, straight news reporting, he said. The company has shown double-digit growth for the past few years and is on pace to continue. It invests by hiring more personnel, and this month opening a new production facility in Abu Dhabi.
"People hear what's being said and it's branded CNN and (they say), 'OK, that's news. That's nonpartisan, that's factual, it's timely," Walton said. "That's what we want to deliver around the world. We compete against a lot more than Fox and MSNBC."
So ... How does Lou Dobbs fit into that business model? Quite plainly, he doesn't. So why does CNN damage its brand by giving him an hour every night?
UPDATE: Right on cue ... Under pressure, Dobbs announces his resignation from CNN
I included this as part of an earlier blog post update, but I think it deserves a wider look. It's just the latest example of what an awful job Rasmussen does polling the public. And yes, I'm returning to my earlier pledge to not use Rasmussen poll results in the future.
2* Should the [Ft. Hood] shooting incident be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act or by civilian authorities as a criminal act?
60% Military authorities as a terrorist act
27% Civilian authorities as a criminal act
13% Not sure
What a mess.
Why is it an either/or question? Why are respondents asked to pick between a "military" terrorist investigation and "civilian" criminal investigation? It makes no sense. First of all, a terrorist investigation, by definition, is a criminal one. Second, it's the FBI (i.e. a "civilian" authority) that has been investigating "terrorists acts" in this country for generations. Civilian authorities launch terrorist investigations all the time, so why does Rasmussen pretend that only "military authorities" do that? Why does Rasmussen suggest that if civilians investigate Ft. Hood, then it won't be a terrorist investigation?
Why did Rasmussen formulate a question that makes no sense?
Interesting to watch, to say the least. It's sort of like watching right-wing pundits lecture police chiefs about guns when they're not sufficiently radical in their pro-guns views. But watching the same commentators now target the U.S. military is really a bit much.
In the wake of the Ft. Hood handgun massacre, more and more conservative commentators, adopting an at-times openly hostile tone towards the military, are explaining exactly what went wrong on the Army base. Mostly, conservatives are calling out the U.S. military as a bastion of liberalism where political correctness runs amok, which I'm guessing comes as a surprise to those who actually serve in the military, especially Muslim American soldiers.
Now the latest emerging talking point is that U.S. Army bases need more guns and that, according to today's WashTimes editorial, basically everyone at Ft. Hood should be walking around with a loaded pistol, if they want.
The argument is to be expected, since following the gun massacre at Virginia Tech, conservatives immediately began lobbying in hopes of passing a law which would allow college students to carry loaded weapons and turn campuses into gun meccas. And now the rhetorical push is on to do the same at military bases, as conservative commentators lecture the military about how to deal with guns.
As General (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey noted on MSNBC, immediately following the Ft. Hood shooting, "There is ferocious gun control measures on soldiers and families on a military installation." Who do you think has a better handle on how to deal with firearms in the real world, military commanders or editorial writers for the Washington Times?
UPDATED: And just so you know, according to the WashTimes, the Ft. Hood shooting was all Bill Clinton's fault. That's how the Times couches its rhetoric, which allows the editorial to directly attack Clinton (instead of the Pentagon) for allegedly instituting gun control measure on military bases. But the larger premise is unmistakable: the WashTimes know better how guns should be handled on bases than do military commanders.
UPDATED: And no, of course the WashTimes doesn't spend one sentencing contemplating where and how the Ft. Hood shooter was able to purchase his guns and bags full of ammunition.
Clearly, in the wake of the Ft. Hood handgun massacre we've been lots of predictably hateful, angry rhetoric from the right-wing media about the inherent dangers of having Muslims serves in the U.S. military. Conservatives commentators continue to focus in on the military and raise all kinds of warnings about Muslim American soldiers (or, "Muslim Soldiers with Attitude") and how "special debriefings" might be needed to prevent future attacks.
Or as Fox News' Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade put it:
"Because if I'm going to be deployed in a foxhole, if I'm going to be sitting in an outpost, I've got to know that the guy next to me is not going to want to kill me."
I guess all you can say in times like this is thank goodness Fox News, or a national conservative media voice like it, did not exist many decades ago and wasn't able to influence U.S. history at its critical junctures. Imagine the 1960's battle over civil rights if Fox News had a daily say in that debate? And, of course, imagine the mad hysteria it would have spread after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
And specifically, imagine what that right-wing media reaction would have been to the news of the creation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of Japanese American soldiers, many of whom came from families that had been forced into internment by the U.S. government [emphasis added]:
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the loyalty of all Japanese Americans were questioned. When they were finally allowed to enlist for military service, they were placed in segregated units. The 100th Battalion became the first battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, but was allowed to keep its name, "100th Battalion (Separate)" due to the renowned records in its first year of service overseas.
The Japanese American soldiers of WWII proved their loyalty through the sacrifices they made in service to their country, the United States. The decorations and awards they earned are a permanent and indisputable record of their bravery and their patriotism.
For its size and length of service, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated US military unit. The Military Intelligence Service (MIS) was credited as having "saved countless lives and shortened the war by two years" by Major General Willoughby, General McArthur's Intelligence Chief.
UPDATED: It's interesting that, according to new polling, a majority of Americans, 57 percent, seem more concerned, post-Ft. Hood, about the backlash against Muslim American soldiers, than they do about the supposed danger of having any of them serve in the military.
UPDATED: A note about the Rasmussen poll and how just how poorly it's worded. (Surprise!) Especially this question, which is getting most of the attention:
2* Should the shooting incident be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act or by civilian authorities as a criminal act?
60% Military authorities as a terrorist act
27% Civilian authorities as a criminal act
13% Not sure
Why is it an either/or question? Why are respondents forced to pick between a "military" terrorist investigation and "civilian" criminal investigation? It literally makes no sense, since of course, the FBI (i.e. a "civilian" authority) has been investigating "terrorists acts" in this country for generations. Civilian authorities launch terrorist investigations all the time, so why does Rasmussen pretend that only "military authorities" do that?
Why would Rasmussen formulate a question that makes no sense?
Newsbusters' Matthew Balan complains:
CNN's Candy Crowley neglected to include sound bites from conservatives during a report about Sarah Palin on Tuesday's American Morning, other than from the former Alaska governor herself. While Crowley did acknowledge the widespread support that Palin has among conservative Republicans, she only used clips from moderate commentator David Frum, Democrat Bill Owens, and colleague Wolf Blitzer. [Emphasis added]
David Frum has worked as a speechwriter for George W. Bush, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, and an editor for the right-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. He has been an advisor to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and a contributing editor to National Review. He is a resident fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and serves on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He supported John McCain's presidential campaign, and has written books titled "Dead Right," "What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America," "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush," "Comeback: Conservatism that can win again." And he co-wrote a book with Richard Perle.
But Newsbusters' Matthew Balan says Frum isn't a conservative; he's a moderate, and that CNN's report therefore failed to fearture any soundbites from conservatives. Oh, except Sarah Palin.
Another, more sane, way to look at the report would be to say it featured clips of two conservatives, Frum and Palin, and only one progressive, Democrat Bill Owens.
Oh, and that Owens clip? Here it is, in its entirety:
CONGRESSMAN-ELECT BILL OWENS: Thank you very much.
Oh, the bias!
Newsbusters' Carolyn Plocher thinks the broadcast news networks should have been quicker to suggest a religious motivation for last week's Ft. Hood shootings. And that's not all -- she's also upset that half of the news broadcasts that did bring up the shooter's religion "included a defense of the Islamic religion":
Until then, the broadcast networks had also downplayed his Islamic connections. From Nov. 5 through Nov. 10, all three evening news programs only identified Hasan as a Muslim one-fourth of the time (14 times out of 48 reports). And out of those 14 times, seven included a defense of the Islamic religion and expressed concern about a "possible backlash against Muslims in the military."
So Plocher's ideal news report would have immediately blamed an entire religion for the Ft. Hood shootings, and omitted any indication that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful. She doesn't want the broadcast nets to practice journalism; she wants them to wage a campaign against a religion.