In support of health care reform, SEIU's website recently highlighted the case of Karlyn Zimbelman, an American who received successful medical treatment abroad because she couldn't foot the $40,000 bill for hip replacement surgery she would have been forced to pay in the United States. And so, she went to India, where the surgery and 13 days of medical care cost her $12,500 -- $16,500 with travel and other costs.
Beck ran parts of a video testimonial from Ms. Zimbelman, who had the audacity to say the following: "I think the American health care system is excellent, but I just think it's so expensive. Where's the money going?" Beck then offered the following explanation of the cost differential (emphasis added):
The best I can figure is all that money goes to high-tech hospitals and doctors who studied at Harvard rather than Gajra Raja medical school. Oh sure, yeah, you know, it's weird. You can buy a Gucci bag on any New York street corner for like four bucks. No different than the 3,000 dollar real thing. They're identical!
But he wasn't finished. Beck continued (emphasis added):
And also, in our research that it took us, oh about 40 seconds, we figured out that some of that money here in America winds up in the pocket of a skilled doctor that helps off-set the 20 years of schooling that he endured and the loans he took out. And - you're not going to believe this one, Karlyn - some of that money seems to go to the 1 million SEIU workers in the healthcare industry that make slightly more here than in India. Because, you know, they have an American lifestyle, maybe a couple of cars, great union benefits, and homes with something that we in America like to call flush toilets.
And finally (emphasis added):
I don't want a discounted doctor. I don't want discounted wages. I don't want any of this stuff. If I wanted to live in India, I'd live in India. I want not the Indian lifestyle, I want the American lifestyle. I'm sure, no offense to India, I'm sure it's beautiful and everything. I've heard especially this time of year, especially by the - you know that one big river they have there that sounds like a disease? Come on, it does. I mean, if somebody said, 'I'm sorry, you have a really bad case of Ganges,' you'd want Cipro."
Thus, within the span of a few minutes, Beck implied that there are no quality medical schools in India; implied that medical care in India is a shoddy imitation of real health care; implied that the entire nation is an undeveloped backwater without even so much as indoor plumbing; and compared the Ganges River, a holy body of water for one of the world's oldest and largest religions, to a disease.
What does this say about Beck's respect for the millions of Indian-Americans living in the United States, let alone the Indian people? What does it say about his respect for the faith traditions of others? What does it say about his views on the tens of thousands of doctors who graduate Indian medical schools every year in the hopes of serving the world's second largest nation? Or on the tens of thousands of doctors who studied medicine in India but now practice it in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia?
Most importantly, why does Beck feel that ignorant, bigoted rants like these are funny? Or does he simply have so little respect for his viewers that he thinks he must resort to this kind of xenophobia in order to maintain his ratings?
You can watch the clips here:
The Times columnist uses the phrase all wrong today in her attempt to portray a Democratic senator as being caught up in a "sex scandal" [emphasis added]:
It's time for political sex scandals to reclaim their rightful place in our national discourse. The way things have been going lately, you'd think extramarital sex only happened to professional athletes. Consider the case of Senator Max Baucus of Montana. We learned last week that the recently divorced Baucus had nominated his girlfriend, Melodee Hanes, to be a U.S. attorney without warning the White House that they were an item.
Note also that the headline for the column reads "The Joys of Political Sex."
Collins tries very hard to push the Baucus story as a "sex" one, and even constituting a "political sex scandal," even though sex had nothing to do with the story. (See CJR.) And there certainly isn't a "sex scandal," or even "extramarital sex," involved in the story.
So simple question for Collin: what exactly are you talking about?
It comes courtesy of Public Polling Policy, last seen making headlines when, just days before Election Day, it announced that conservative Doug Hoffman boasted a "commanding" 17 point lead in the NY-23 special election last month. (Hoffman promptly lost.)
With its latest, PPP, which conducts automated, computerized surveys (i.e. push button phone replies only), the polling firm claims it has a shocker:
Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama's declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they'd rather have his predecessor.
First of all, if Obama wins his re-election in 2012 and he wins the popular vote 50% vs. 44% against his GOP challenger, that will be considered to be a landslide. A six-point win in a two-man nationwide race is enormous. (It's not that far off from what Obama trounced McCain last year; 53% vs. 46%.) Just sayin'.
Secondly, and more importantly, does it really make sense to take somebody's who's out of public life and no longer has a single political responsibility and who hasn't commented on, let alone taken a stance on, current events in nearly 12 months, and pit him with against the man sitting in the Oval Office and who's forced to make all sorts of unpopular decision on a weekly basis? Of course it doesn't make sense.
Why, other than headline trolling, would PPP poll about somebody who will never run for office again? Why is PPP asking people about a fictitious candidate? And if that's the route it wants to take, why doesn't PPP ask people if they'd prefer if Ronald Reagan were president, or Teddy Roosevelt? Or Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise for that matter. They're in the public arena today about as much as Bush is, which is to say no at all.
Meanwhile, I love the hilarious headline Politico's Ben Smith put on his PPP item; "Bush closes the gap." If that's meant to be a tongue-in-cheek joke, than I give Smith credit because he sees the absurdity of treating Bush as a candidate; as somebody who's trying to close "the gap." But if the headline's meant to be serious, than I'm laughing at Smith, because whole Bush vs. Obama premise is almost too dumb for words because one guy no longer has to make a single difficult decision (except maybe select a golf partner), while the other one has to make tough, controversial choices pretty much on a weekly basis and be held up for relentless critiques. But gee, we're supposed to be surprised by the polling results?
UPDATED: And congratulations PPP, you also scored the second dumbest Obama polling question of the week [emphasis added]:
Do you support the impeachment of President Obama for his actions in office so far? If yes, press 1. If no, press 2. If you're not sure, press 3.
A little Thursday morning fun:
For past editions of Rush Limbaugh Karaoke on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, click here.
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 December 9 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
In a December 9 post on the Chicago Tribune's "The Swamp" blog, Mark Silva wrote that the Piast Institute, which is "a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the understanding of Poland and Polish Americans," condemned Beck for mocking the name of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in his comments this week about her and her husband, Robert Creamer.
It took a smug-faced Beck five or six syllables to get through Schakowsky's name - which he used to suggest that Creamer is "well-connected'' in Washington.
And it took the Piast Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the understanding of Poland and Polish Americans which is based in Hamtramck, Mich., about a day to protest Beck's attempt at ethnic humor.
"American names come from all over the world and it is incumbent on all of us, especially those in the media, to learn to pronounce them correctly,'' the institute said in a statement released today. "Ms. Schakowsky's name is only three syllables long and its original spelling was altered to make it easy for English speakers to say.
"Our names are a key to our identity, self-esteem and our pride in our heritage and family,'' the institute noted. "To fail to pronounce them correctly, especially on national television, is a mark of disrespect. This is a serious matter. The prejudice the Polish-Americans have suffered has usually begun with the mockery of our names.''
A December 4 New York Times article on White House social secretary Desirée Rogers reported that the Obama administration had apparently considered a "non-religious Christmas" celebration in the White House as a way to reach out to other faiths and that, according to the Times, there was a debate about whether to display the traditional nativity scene. In the end, the article added, "tradition won out; the executive mansion is now decorated for the Christmas holiday, and the crèche is in its usual East Room spot."
Run that story through WorldNetDaily's looking glass -- heavily distorted by right-wing partisanship and sheer, unreasonable hatred of Barack Obama -- and you get a December 8 WND article by Chelsea Schilling, headlined "Obama's latest target: Ousting baby Jesus" and carrying this lede:
The Obama administration sought to ban baby Jesus from the executive mansion as part of its plans for a "non-religious Christmas," according to a participant at a White House luncheon.
Briefly considering not erecting a nativity scene means you "sought to ban baby Jesus"? Really?
Does the WorldNetDaily store sell these looking glasses so the rest of us can take part in this same mind-bending distortion? Or is the experience open only to those who hate Obama with a burning passion like Joseph Farah and Co. do?
This may come as a shock to many of you, but Rush Limbaugh was not entirely honest during a discussion of Tiger Woods today. I know, it's hard to believe. But take a listen:
LIMBAUGH: Compare the attention that the drive-bys are giving all of these alleged mistresses. Compare that to the way they treated Gennifer Flowers and the other bimbo eruptions during the first Clinton campaign. They made excuses for Clinton. ... Gennifer Flowers was ignored, and then she was mocked, and then discredited. And she had tapes!
Ok. First, Gennifer Flowers was not "ignored," unless by "ignored" Limbaugh means "The New York Times never quite got around to changing its name to Gennifer Flowers Daily." A Nexis search for "Gennifer Flowers" in the New York Times directory yields 77 hits in 1992. In the Washington Post directory, 171. CNN: 150. ABC: 30. CBS: 41. Flowers' allegations got so much attention, Clinton went on 60 Minutes after the Super Bowl to respond to them. So, "ignored" is just a flat-out lie.
Now, on to "mocked, and then discredited." As Arkansas journalist Gene Lyons has detailed, "Flowers' resumé claimed degrees from colleges she'd barely attended, membership in a sorority she'd never joined and jobs she'd never held. Her claim to have won the Miss Teenage America crown proved false. Much was made locally of her claim to The Star that she and Clinton had many torrid assignations during 1979 and 1980 at the Excelsior, Little Rock's fanciest hotel. The Excelsior didn't exist until November 1982."
Gennifer Flowers, in other words, discredited herself, by lying about just about everything she could think of. And still, the media did not ignore her; years later, she was still showing up as a guest on Chris Matthews' television show, where she spread lies that the Clintons were murderers.
Finally, the tapes: contemporaneous news reports indicated the tapes were selectively edited to make Clinton look worse. (Years later, Flowers sued James Carville and George Stephanopoulos for defamation because they referred to those news reports. Her suit was thrown out of court.)
Back to Limbaugh:
LIMBAUGH: And they went out of their way to save Bill Clinton and to destroy-- even when the Lewinsky thing hit.
Right. The Washington Post and New York Times each assigned half their newsrooms to cover the Lewinsky story -- and they were certainly not alone in their obsessive coverage.
LIMBAUGH: They all joined forces and tried to make Ken Starr out to be some sex pervert. That was so laugh-- but anyway.
Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr submitted a report to Congress that mentioned the word "Whitewater" twice and the word "sex" more than 500 times -- not to mention the countless graphic descriptions of sex acts. If anyone made Ken Starr appear to be obsessed with sex, it was Ken Starr. (And remember, Starr was snooping around Arkansas trying to find women who had slept with Clinton long before the Lewinsky matter came to his attention.)
Back to Rush:
LIMBAUGH: Now, with Tiger, all theses alleged mistresses are believed: Every word they say. The media is digging deep to find out everything they-- imagine if the media had acted this way with Bill Clinton and John Edwards back in their day.
Please. If the media had devoted any more attention to the Lewinsky story, they wouldn't have had room for baseball box scores or movie listings.
The simple truth is that no single story -- political or otherwise -- has received the sustained level of media attention the Clinton-Lewinsky story got for all of 1998 and the early part of 1999. Limbaugh claiming the media ignored allegations of infidelity by Bill Clinton isn't like claiming two plus two equals five; it's like claiming two plus two equals three-hundred and forty-seven thousand.
In a segment about the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement that it will issue an endangerment finding allowing it to regulate greenhouse gases, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy brought up a GOP press conference that he claimed was about "a bombshell internal EPA report that showed that the White House was interfering with the EPA's investigators who were looking into the effects of carbon dioxide." He also aired a clip of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas saying:
"They [EPA scientists] were told point blank, the decision's already been made at the White House, we're gonna move forward with this, your report's not helpful, in fact it's harmful. Stop working on it. Now I have a copy of that report, I'm sure Mr. Sensenbrenner and Mr. Issa, we can provide it to anybody in this room, and it clearly, just a casual review of this report shows that they had made a predetermined decision to issue the endangerment finding, to heck with what the facts are."
According to Nexis transcripts, Barton also said, "There is a suppressed report that we've been able to get a copy of and Mr. [Darrell] Issa [R-CA] has done yeoman's work on this, and Mr. [Jim] Sensenbrenner [R-WI], that we'll be using in the future. It's an internal EPA report that shows that it's way too early to issue a public health endangerment finding.... The group within the EPA that was supposed to go out and verify issued a report that was suppressed and they were told, point blank, the decisions have already been made at the White House, we're going to move forward with this, your report is not helpful, in fact, it's harmful, stop working on it."
Barton is presumably referring to the conspiracy the right-wing hatched last June about the agency suppressing EPA "scientist" Alan Carlin's dissenting report on climate change. The right-wing blog Human Events certainly seems to think so, reporting today that Carlin's March 16 report "was disclosed by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) at a Tuesday afternoon press conference in which he said that the report was not considered by EPA in reaching its Monday determination."
But the idea that the EPA suppressed Carlin's report has been repeatedly debunked -- the EPA said Carlin was not a scientist and was never asked to work on the endangerment finding, but that nonetheless, his opinions would be incorporated. Sure enough, Carlin is listed as one of the "authors and contributors" to the technical report the EPA issued yesterday supporting the finding.
But Fox & Friends ran with it anyway; as Doocy was speaking, the following on-screen graphics appeared, despite the fact that no information provided by Fox & Friends, nor anything in Barton's remarks, supports the graphics' claim that "an EPA scientist "admit[ted] findings were fraudulent," or that the White House "interfered" with any of EPA's actual scientific research.
For days now, the Fox & Friends trio -- Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade -- have doled out an insane amount of false rhetoric about climate change science. Baited by skeptics who say emails reportedly stolen from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) show that climate change is not happening, the Fox & Friends hosts have repeatedly distorted the emails' content without any regard for facts or context.
But since they can only spin one topic for so many days before it gets old, today they moved on to rehashing the old, debunked, Carlin was "hushed up" claim.
Support for the U.S. role in the war in Afghanistan jumped 9 points following Obama's West Point speech last week, according to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll. It will be interesting to see what kind of media play that gets, considering how lots of pundits panned Obama's address, and how the press this year has shown an overwhelming interest in Obama polling data when the numbers go down for Obama.
UPDATED: An even more recent Quinnipiac survey puts Obama's approval rating at 46 percent, while a new Bloomberg News poll puts that number at 54 percent. Which result do you think is getting more media attention?
UPDATED: This is kind of priceless. Time's Mark Halperin does highlight the Bloomberg poll, but not the good news for Obama. Instead, here's the news Halperin found in the poll that showed Obama with a robust job approval rating:
Poll: Majority See Nation on Wrong Track: Despite reporting 54% approval for Obama, new Bloomberg survey shows 59% think country is heading in the wrong direction.
So, if you're following at home, the Quinnipiac poll that showed Obama's Afghanistan policy receiving a spike in support is of little interest to the press. But the Quinnipiac poll that shows Obama's approval rating falling is of interest. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg poll showing Obama's approval rating remaining strong is of little interest to the press. But the portion of the same Bloomberg poll showing bad "wrong track" numbers is of interest.
In other words, good news is no news.