From Jonah Goldberg's January 20 column:
While the scope of the tragedy in Haiti is nearly impossible to exaggerate, it's important to remember that last week's earthquake was so deadly because Haiti is Haiti.
If a similarly powerful earthquake were to hit much more densely populated San Francisco or Los Angeles, the death toll would be much lower. That's an amazing thing when you consider that US cities are crammed with skyscrapers while Port-au-Prince's skyline was, for the most part, one story high.
Indeed, as others have noted, when a 7.1 earthquake hit the Bay Area two decades ago, 67 people were killed. The Haitian death toll is almost unknowable, but almost certainly over 100,000 and climbing.
It's hardly news that poverty makes people vulnerable to the full arsenal of Mother Nature's fury. The closer you are to living in a state of nature, the crueler nature will be -- which is one reason why people who romanticize tribal or pre-capitalist life (that would be you, James Cameron) tend to do so from a safe, air-conditioned distance and with easy access to flushing toilets, antibiotics, dentistry and Chinese takeout.
The sad truth about Haiti isn't simply that it is poor, but that it has a poverty culture. Yes, it has had awful luck. Absolutely, it has been exploited, abused and betrayed ever since its days as a slave colony. So, if it alleviates Western guilt to say that Haiti's poverty stems entirely from a legacy of racism and colonialism, fine. But Haiti has been independent and the poorest country in the hemisphere for a long time.
Even if blame lies everywhere except among the victims themselves, it doesn't change the fact that Haiti will never get out of grinding poverty until it abandons much of its culture.
From a statement released to The Radio Equalizer:
We of good cheer should offer our friends on the other side of the aisle some good advice:
DON'T CHANGE A THING.
KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE PRESIDENT.
SUPPORT THE STRATEGY OF REID AND PELOSI.
From Glenn Beck's website on January 19:
From the January 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
The following group of commenters formed a panel in the 8 p.m. ET hour of CNN's coverage of the Massachusetts Senate special election:
Clockwise from top left: Paul Begala, Alex Castellanos, Erick Erickson, Dana Bash, John Avlon and Gloria Borger.
That's two conservatives (Castellanos and Erickson), an independent who used to be a speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani (Avlon), two journalists (Bash and Borger), and one liberal (Begala).
From a January 18 WorldNetDaily article:
Fund initially told a crowd in November 2009 at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum that Schumer, D-N.Y., and Frank, D-Mass., would be the architects of the universal-voter legislation.
"We read that on some right-wing websites, but we're not sure what they're talking about," Frank's spokesman told WND. "We haven't heard anything about it. We know it started with the Journal's John Fund, but we don't know anything about it, honestly. We're not sure where he got it from."
However, Fund corrected himself when he spoke with WND.
"I made an error. I should have referred to John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee," Fund said. "It's not Congressman Frank. It's Congressman Conyers."
Public Policy Polling's most recent survey of the Massachusetts Senate race brings some troubling, but unsurprising news. A full 25 percent of respondents say that they "think ACORN will try to win the election for Martha Coakley." Only 38 percent of respondents think the group won't try to hijack the election; 37 percent aren't sure.
Actual voter fraud is extremely rare. Nonetheless, a full quarter of Massachusetts voters think that a community activist group whose employees occasionally engage in admittedly sloppy voter registration work (which doesn't turn into actual voter fraud, since "Mickey Mouse" doesn't end up making it to the polls on Election Day) is going to swing a Senate race.
This is nuts, but as I said above, ultimately unsurprising. Fox News and its right-wing-noise-machine-comrades have spent years demonizing the group, talking up sketchy "voter fraud" claims that were trumpeted by Republican leaders. Meanwhile, they've used ACORN as a consistent scapegoat for various national crises. And they trumpeted Andrew Breeitbart's dubious ACORN document dump claims and his heavily edited videos of low-level ACORN employees.
As Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott wrote of the poll - proving a point different than the one he perhaps thought he was making:
Such results perhaps should not come as a surprise, considering the past two years of reporting on the dark side of ACORN, including the organization being charged with voter registration fraud and other election-related abuses in more than a dozen states during the 2008 presidential campaign, the Washington Examiner's expose of federal funding of ACORN, and the sensational revelations by Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com of ACORN workers offering advice on mortgage fraud, tax evasion, and establishment of a brothel featuring underage girls smuggled into the country from Latin America.
From the January 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
This seems to have angered Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, who took to her blog this morning to say:
I challenge the White House to come on ON THE RECORD at 10pm and debate ME about ON THE RECORD at 10pm. If they are certain about their swipe (which includes ON THE RECORD at 10pm since they say all of Fox) - they should have the courage and strength to prove it. I am responsible for 10pm so I am eager to talk to them about our work at 10pm - an hour included in their swipe. I will be fair, polite but strong. I expect them to be the same. I will be armed with facts about ON THE RECORD at 10pm - not swipes.
Unfortunately for Van Susteren, as Ben Armbruster notes at Think Progress, even Fox News doesn't consider Greta part of what it considers its "traditional news" operation (we've previously noted that this distinction is bunk). The New York Times reported:
Fox argues that its news hours - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays - are objective. The channel has taken pains recently to highlight its news programs, including the two hours led by Shepard Smith, its chief news anchor. And its daytime newscasts draw more viewers than CNN or MSNBC's prime-time programs.
Note to Van Susteren - "traditional news" generally doesn't involve uncritically airing Rush Limbaugh's latest screed.
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 January 19 sponsors, in the order they appeared: