CNN just aired a long segment on the trial of alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Their go-to "Terrorism Analyst" for the discussion? Larry Johnson.
Johnson, of course, is infamous for repeatedly offering the racially-charged claim beginning in May 2008 that according to his "sources," a video tape exists of "Michelle Obama railing against 'whitey' at Jeremiah Wright's church." No tape was ever produced. In attempting to explain earlier this year why the tape was "never revealed and used," Johnson claimed: "One theory is that the hardline conservatives in possession of the tape did not want John McCain to win, a plausible theory given the hard right's reluctance in general to aid McCain's campaign."
Is this really the most credible person CNN could dig up to discuss the Abdulmutallab trial?
On the other hand, unlike Fox News go-to terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer, I don't think Johnson has cited a major al Qaeda attack on America as "the only chance we have as a county right now." So he's got that going for him.
What's missing from The Hill's write-up of Rudy Giuliani's appearance on ABC's Good Morning America today?
The part where Giuliani falsely claimed there were no terrorist attacks in the U.S. Under President Bush. You know, the part of the interview that just about everybody else found most noteworthy.
As the Daily World (Opelousas, LA) reported, the effort to recall Landrieu "is 'useless'" and "invalid because there's no legal way to recall a congressman or U.S. senator, [Secretary of State Jay] Dardenne said." From the article:
Ruben T. Leblanc, of 505 Wiltz St. Lot No. 4 in New Iberia, properly filed a recall petition with the secretary of state's office, but it was rejected as being invalid because there's no legal way to recall a congressman or U.S. senator, Dardenne said.
The recall process stops there because Dardenne said he could not mail copies of an invalid petition to registrars of voters across the state to certify signatures. He discussed his decision with Leblanc this week and sent a letter citing his reasons and a copy of an attorney general's ruling on recalling federal officials.
Dardenne based his decision on a 2008 opinion issued by Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell when a Jefferson Parish man wanted to recall U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao.
Caldwell said research found that only the respective bodies of Congress can decide on the suitability of its members and remove them. The state constitution provision on recalls applies only to state and local officials.
By the way, Secretary of State Dardenne - the man who rejected the petition effort - is a Republican.
In 2003, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service wrote that "the United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States."
Fox Nation could have easily learned that the effort is "useless" if they had just used something called Google (apparently not a preferred tool of Fox News employees). As of 1:30pm today, the 2nd link for "Landrieu petition" is the Daily World article (the first is now Fox Nation).
Some in the conservative media are accusing Media Matters of calling the Wall Street Journal's John Fund an "ass weasel." That is false.
The claim appears to have originated with a recent American Thinker article by James Simpson about universal voter registration (which was subsequently reposted on other outlets like The Cypress Times). In it, Simpson wrote this:
The left has predictably launched vicious smear attacks against John Fund for bringing universal voter registration to our attention. A Google search of the issue brings up any number of nasty ad hominem attacks. Most notable is Media Matters, the leftist group whose sole purpose seems to be to smear Republicans and defend the left's indefensible policies. They put up this gem: "Right-Wing Ass Weasel John Fund Doesn't Like Universal Voter Registration because of ACORN."
The link does not lead to Media Matters' website. Instead, it goes to a YouTube page titled "FoxBastardPeople," which is not operated by Media Matters.
The owner of the page apparently embedded one of Media Matters' clips of Fund appearing on Fox & Friends to discuss ACORN and took the liberty of giving it a different title. We titled the clip, "Fund claims universal voter registration would 'mean ACORN's goal of voter fraud will be realized.'"
From a January 8 FrontPageMag.com interview of Fox News strategic analyst Ralph Peters:
FP: How much confidence, exactly, do you have in this administration providing safety to Americans against our enemies?
Peters: Unfortunately, I have no faith-none-in the administration's seriousness, when it comes to protecting Americans. A president who insists, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that every next terrorist is just an "isolated extremist" with no connection to Islam isn't interested in solving the problem.
FP: Your view of Janet Napolitano? Why is she still heading Homeland Security?
Peters: I'd rather not view Janet Napolitano at all. This woman is so far out of her depth that it can't be measured with Newtonian metrics. She was a politically correct appointment, period. On the positive side, word is that she'll be gone in the next few months-Obama's too vain to fire her right now, while the administration's under fire over the Christmas terror attempt, but he realizes what a political liability she's become.
There's another, unfortunate, side to this. When representing our country, especially on security matters, appearance and physical presence matter. It would be great if that were not so, but facts are facts. Even if Napolitano were a security genius, she doesn't project a forceful, capable image to our deadly enemies (or to our allies). Again, every one of Obama's cabinet-level appointments has been about domestic politics, not about their effectiveness on the world stage.
Well, at least he can't blame Bush for Napolitano.
In terms of job approval ratings, that is [emphasis added]:
President Barack Obama enters 2010 with one of the lowest approval ratings of any president heading into his second year, according to a new Gallup poll out Wednesday.
Fifty percent approve of how Obama has handled his job as president, the second lowest total since Gallup started polling. Obama beats only Ronald Reagan, who started 1982 with a 49 percent approval rating.
For weeks now I've been chuckling as I listen to conservative pundits go on and on about what a failure Obama is and how the country is turning on him, and that his presidency is a shambles, etc., etc. When in fact, Obama's first 12 months in office almost exactly mirror (ratings-wise) the first 12 White House months experienced by Ronald Reagan. Yes, the same Ronald Reagan who conservatives point to today as a towering Oval Office success; a man who was beloved by the masses.
And so rather than acknowledging that uncomfortable similarity between Reagan and Obama, fact-free commentators like Karl Rove claim Obama is the most unpopular, first-year president. Ever.
False. The truth is Obama and Reagan remain locked arm-in-arm.
UPDATED: I continue to be slightly puzzled by the media's on-going obsession with Obama's polling numbers and how he's only at 50 percent. (Big news!) The non-stop hand-wringing seems a bit odd considering that Obama's Oval Office predecessor served nearly his entire second term with an approval rating below 50 percent, and left the presidency with an almost incomprehensibly low 22 percent approval rating.
But today's Obama's at 50 percent, so that's big (bad!) news.
UPDATED: A bit more context about the Beltway media's Chicken Little-style reporting about Obama's 50 percent approval rating, which is uniformly deemed as being borderline disastrous. Guess what President Bush's approval rating was when he first entered office in 2001? Yep, almost exactly the same as Obama's rating today. But do you recall endless media hand-wringing about Bush's super-soft poll numbers back then?
Neither do I.
Washington Post columnist David Broder thinks Barack Obama is trying to do too much -- and that it's his own fault:
Obama, on the other hand, came into Christmas Day with an overloaded set of self-imposed tasks. He was winding down one inherited war in Iraq and expanding another one in Afghanistan. He was renegotiating our relations with other powers in the world and attempting to enlist their help in confronting outlaw regimes in Iran and North Korea. And simultaneously, at home, he was being pressed to rescue a badly wounded economy while lobbying a reluctant but allied Congress to pass controversial, ambitious changes in health care, climate control and financial regulation.
Raise your hand if you think dealing with two "inherited" wars and rescuing a "badly wounded economy" constitute "self-imposed tasks." How about dealing with financial regulation and a badly broken health care system? Anyone think those are optional? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Broder contrasts Obama's purportedly full plate with the ease with which President Bush shifted into fighting terrorism:
Bush reacted with anger and a determination to punish the people who wreaked the havoc.
For Obama to establish a new priority would obviously be much more difficult than it appeared to be for Bush. And this new priority would be a much less comfortable fit for Obama than leading a war on terrorism was for Bush.
Seems like there should have been room in there somewhere to mention that as "comfortable" as Bush was punishing "the people who wreaked the havoc," he was also pretty darn comfortable punishing the people who didn't. Or that Bush's obsession with the people who didn't wreak the havoc probably contributed to the fact that Osama bin Laden remains free to this day.
But Broder didn't bother mentioning either of those things. I guess that's why he's called the "best of the best."
From the Fox Nation, accessed on January 8:
On Monday, during a falsehood-laden defense of his Misinformer of the Year Award, Glenn Beck made a big show of the amount of research both he and his staff does while assembling his program. I'm not sure if we were supposed to be impressed by the stacks of paper, but regardless of the quantity of research his staff does, the quality certainly seems to be lacking (side note: his staff could save a good bit of time and paper if they didn't print every article.)
For example, last night, leading into a typically reasonable discussion of how the progressive movement is more akin to early Italian Fascism than the Founding Fathers, Glenn Beck rehashed a smear of Sen. Al Franken that was thoroughly debunked back in December.
As Senior Editor Brian Frederick pointed out while demolishing the phony talking point, this story doesn't hold water for several reasons. First, Sen. John McCain's supposed anger at the exchange is undermined by his blatant hypocrisy. In 2002, McCain objected to then-Sen. Mark Dayton's request for more time during the Iraq War debate. Second, Franken was acting on a request from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to adhere strictly to time constraints. Third, the same exact thing happened earlier the same day when Sen. Mark Begich objected to Sen. John Cornyn's request for more time.
In fairness to "some of the biggest minds in America," it was tough for me to dig up these facts. If you google "Franken Lieberman exchange," two of our items and Brian Frederick's blog post are buried...as the first search result.
I'm honestly curious how something like this ends up on the air. Did his research staff just not bother to research the exchange before airing it? Did they find the numerous articles debunking the bogus story and decide to run the smear anyway? Were they too busy printing articles to read them?
These are not rhetorical questions. If Beck wants to answer any of them, he knows how to reach us.
Beck misrepresented the same exchange on his radio show on Wednesday to label progressivism "evil." Perhaps it was unfair of me to place all of the blame on his television research team. Apparently Beck and his radio crew can't be bothered with facts, either. (H/T Z.P.)
In light of the news that the Washington Post either thought so highly of Dana Milbank's work as a columnist to give him a Sunday column on the op-ed page or couldn't afford to pay another salary, Politico's Michael Calderone asked Milbank how his Sunday op-ed would be different. In his regular "Washington Sketch" column, Milbank told Calderone he mostly writes on "what folks are doing wrong." In his new Sunday column, however, he hopes to "make a cogent argument that's not tied to a particular event and doesn't have the word 'yesterday' in it."
Don't count on many "cogent arguments" in Milbank's Sunday op-eds.
After all, in his attempt today to write about "what folks are doing wrong," Milbank himself is wrong.
Writing about the attempted airline bombing on Christmas, Milbank slams Janet Napolitano:
"The system worked," was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's original take on the would-be underwear bomber.
But, as we now know, the only system that worked to prevent a plane from blowing up over Detroit on Christmas Day was the system of luck.
Milbank -- throwing around names again -- goes on to call her "System Worked Napolitano" and criticized White House press reporters for not asking her about her initial comments during yesterday's press conference.
Perhaps that's because there was no need to. Those reporters either already knew that Napolitano's "system worked" comment was taken out of context or they had already asked Napolitano about the comments and she explained to them that the comments were taken out of context.
In fact, in her December 27 comments, Napolitano was describing the systemic response to the attack, not the circumstances leading up to the attack:
One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated.
So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly.
The conservative noise machine immediately dissected and distorted Napolitano's words and she was forced to explain them on the December 28 edition of Today:
I think the comment is being taken out of context, what I'm saying is once the incident occurred, moving forward, we were immediately able to notify the 128 flights in the air on protective measures to take, immediately able to notify law enforcement on the ground, airports both domestically, internationally, all carriers, all of that happening within 60 to 90 minutes."
Still, Fox News continued to beat the drum that Napolitano should or might be fired.
And finally, Milbank joined Fox's chorus, bringing the slant to the Post's news pages.
To review, not only is Milbank advancing a troublesome conservative talking point, he's doing so nearly two weeks after the rest of the conservative noise machine first invented it - at which point it was immediately debunked. And he's criticizing other reporters for not falling victim to it!
He should fit in just fine on the Post's Sunday op-ed page.