As the Beltway Media turn their attention to the latest snowstorm to hit the nation's capital, no matter how much snow ultimately falls, one story is threatening to get buried.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put a "blanket hold" on several of Obama's nominations for the executive branch. The move has the effect of requiring 60 senators to vote for cloture to break it. Shelby's office would not confirm that the senator is blocking all of Obama's nominees, but did confirm he was blocking "several."
TPMDC's Evan McMorris-Santoro has been on the story and reported Friday:
"Sen. Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns," Shelby spokesperson Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement. "Among his concerns" are the progress on multi-billion dollar defense contract that would see planes built in Mobile, AL and Obama's decision to scrap a $45 million FBI improvised explosive device lab Shelby secured an earmark for in 2008.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back at Shelby Friday, the New York Times reported:
"I guess if you needed one example of what's wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 70 qualified individuals to make government work better because he didn't get his earmarks," Mr. Gibbs told reporters today. "If that's not the poster child for how this town needs to change the way it works, I fear there won't be a greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010."
One can only imagine the outrage that would ensue over at Fox News if a Democrat were holding up several nominations because of unfulfilled earmarks. Indeed, one will have to imagine Fox's ire over the Shelby story as well, because as of Friday night, according to Nexis, Fox's major shows had yet to discuss the story...
Tucker Carlson -- sporting a single Windsor knot -- took over hosting duties for Sean Hannity Friday night, suggesting that all the other possible Fox guest hosts were snowbound or we can expect to see more of Carlson on Fox.
Even though Carlson has said "I'm not a huge fan" of Fox, unfortunately for him, it's his last hope for relevance given that CNN and MSNBC have booted him.
Fox hired Carlson even after he seemingly had burned bridges with the network. First, while defending telemarketers on a Crossfire segment, Carlson said he'd give out his home phone number -- only it was the number to Fox's Washington bureau. Fox retaliated by publishing Carlson's unlisted home phone number. Carlson then reportedly called Fox "a mean, sick group of people."
But that was nothing compared to the verbal smackdown he laid on Fox and Bill O'Reilly in a 2003 Salon interview.
Carlson was asked about the "demagoguery" that was "fueling a big part of the success of Fox." Carlson responded: "I don't like partisanship because it abets lying. And I think you burn out fast when you demagogue."
He was also asked if he could ever see himself working for Fox. He replied:
It's hard to imagine. CNN has been really nice to me. Also, I like foreign travel. And I'm always struck that if you're in Gambia, as I was this summer, or if you're in Peshawar, they're not watching Fox News Channel, they're watching CNN. I know it sounds trite, but I love the fact that CNN is engaged with the world.
Wonder how Carlson is adjusting to partisanship and demagoguery.
But Carlson was most critical of Fox's biggest star.
Carlson said that O'Reilly was talented and understands the medium, but said that "his shtick is a really dangerous one."
It gets better.
Carlson went on to call O'Reilly a "humorless phony" and said of the Fox suit against Al Franken:
Yeah, but I'm not sure how much that hurts him [O'Reilly]. What did we learn about that? We learned that Bill O'Reilly is a thin-skinned blowhard? Well, I think we knew that. The potentially damaging charge -- that he's a liar -- now that is a big deal.
Of The O'Reily Factor, Carlson said: "I don't know who would want to watch that shit. Do you?"
Needless to say, it's unlikely Carlson will be taking over guest-hosting duties for O'Reilly anytime soon...
It's a talent Jeremy Peters reveals here [emphasis added]:
In an apparent effort to court a voting bloc in her home state, Senator Kristen E. Gillibrand is preparing to introduce legislation that would withhold funding to enforce the "don't ask, don't" law.
And yes, that's the article's first sentence. Which means even before Peters explains what the Democratic senator is doing, Peters, via his mind-reading skills, explains why she's doing it. (i.e. For purely political reasons.)
This is just wrong [emphasis added]:
Six hundred advocates had gathered for the convention at the Gaylord Opryland here, a small fraction of the millions that Tea Party advocates say turned out for protests over the last year.
Really, according to Tea Party advocates, millions of people took part in protests within the last year, and the Times has no problem reprinting that is fact? So what, is it like 4 million who have protested over the last year? Eight million? Fourteen million?
I'd sure love to know, because I don't see proof that any "milliions" have participated in Tea Party protests over the last year. We all remember that at their largest event last September in Washington, D.C., advocates claimed 2 million people protested. But in the end that estimate was off by roughly 1.9 million. (Oops!)
So if the biggest Tea Party even 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 are, once again, making up numbers.
I'll go with B. And given the Tea Party's history of lying about the size of their protests, you'd think the Times would think twice before reprinting Tea Party claims as fact.
From a caption at washingtonpost.com [emphasis added]:
Six hundred tea party leaders arrived Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, for the first-ever three-day National Tea Party Convention. Organizers announced the creation of a political action committee called Ensuring Liberty Corp.
"Leaders"? Wasn't the Tea Party convention open, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to whoever wrote checks to cover the nearly $600 convention costs? How does that make them "leaders" of a political movement?
UPDATED: Oops, from the accompanying article:
It's a critical moment for a movement that is unmistakably people-powered, that has been deliberately left leaderless to give voice to all frustrations.
If the movement is leaderless, than how did its leaders arrive at the convention?
UPDATED: More WashPost oddities:
The 600 delegates at the National Tea Party Convention feel taxed to death, ignored by their elected representatives and the media, and appalled at the federal government's spending -- and there are millions of Americans just like them. Their anger has helped claim some political scalps, and they vow to "take back America."
Really? Tea Party conservatives feel "ignored" by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the Weekly Standard, National Review, Michael Savage, Drudge, Towhnall.com, WND, the WSJ, and the NYPost?
At least 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 for white people." Here are his February 5 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From a February 5 post by the Politico's Ben Smith:
Thompson, the wife of the former senator and presidential candidate, told POLITICO's Jonathan Martin that the remark, to Fox Business's Don Imus, amounted to misogyny, and that she was tired of seeing it from "these dirty old men" on Fox, a network that she said ought to be respectful of conservative women.
"Sarah Palin is now part of the Fox family," Thompson said on the show. "She deserves you all watching her back -- and I do not mean it literally."
Wallace, she said, "owes her an apology."
"Not only is she a national figure - she deserves the respect that any other man would get in that situation," Thompson said, saying that her inbox was full of complaints from conservative women over the segment, and that the Palin group Team Sarah, as well as the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, were dismayed by the segment.
"I hope that Fox does something about this, and they actually take this on, because it is not funny," Thompson said.
From the February 5 edition of Westwood One's The Fred Thompson Show:
J. THOMPSON: This is a good example of -- I'm sorry, we're going to have to say it. Old school, old men, mentality. And I can speak to that. So clever -
F. THOMPSON: Wait a minute --
J. THOMPSON: So cute, so contagious when it's such a, you know, such a guy talk thing. If Deirdre Imus was talked about that way, Don Imus would have, number one, either a nervous breakdown on his hands, or probably a divorce.
Not only was I insulted, you know, by the entire conversation here, I mean, I wonder how Chris Wallace, Mr. Newsman, feels about being chastised by Brian Kilmeade, the, you know, Fox & Friends sports guy down at the Super Bowl with a bunch of girls running around in, you know, spangles and he's the one being lectured for his not only inappropriate sort of jocularity, but then instead of actually taking ownership of it, he makes the classic mistake of going ahead and attacking [Fox & Friends co-host] Gretchen [Carlson] for saying that it's, you know, that it's irresponsi -- 'what would you do?' Well, Chris Wallace, I can think of several things that I would have done, and it would not have been any of the things that you've said.
Not only is she a national figure, she deserves the respect that any other man would get in this situation. In addition to that, Chris, I might point this out. If I were Sarah, I would not give you that interview. And I would say this to you, sir. Sarah Palin is now part of the Fox family. She deserves you all watching her back, and I do not mean it literally. I think he owes her an apology, and I hope Fox, actually takes him -- you know, we went after [Sen.] Arlen Specter [D-PA] for his lady comment to [Rep.] Michele Bachmann [R-MN]. I really think that Fox -- I want better from Fox. I want, we deserve better from them if we're going to give them the attention and the audience that we give them. And I want them to do something about it.
I'm not the only one. Team Sarah and the Susan B. Anthony List, I know they're upset about it. We -- this stuff, it's so cute. It's so fun. 'Ah-ha.' 'No, it's not really women-hating, it's not really misogynistic, it's just kind of silly.' It's this sort of insipid behavior that keeps someone like Sarah Palin from actually being vice president or president. It keeps Hillary Clinton from actually -- for the success and the good things that she's done, whether you agree with her or not, it keeps her from being in a different place. It is not a glass ceiling here. It is this sort of stuff that we just cannot tolerate, and I -- I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. My email box was full this morning from people that saw that. They said, 'you know, Chris Wallace, you put yourself out there to be a journalist.' You need to do something about this. And I hope that Fox does something about this and that they actually take this on because this is not funny.
In a February 5 letter to Rush Limbaugh, Tim Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, wrote that he "incredulously listened to the segment in your show in which you repeatedly and offensively used the term 'retard' in reference to our meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel."
Media Matters for America documented Limbaugh's use of the term on his February 3 show. While discussing Sarah Palin's call for Emanuel's resignation for using the term, Limbaugh stated, "Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards." The next day, Limbaugh claimed that he used the word "retard" only in "quoting Emanuel."
In his letter, Shriver wrote, "Our message is as simple as it is powerful: people with intellectual disabilities are human beings. Gaining social recognition of that humanity continues to be an elusive goal for them and for those who love and care about them. For centuries, they have borne the stigma of institutionalization, sterilization, social isolation, and bigotry. The names associated with them -- such as 'retarded' and 'retard' -- have for too long been used as cruel taunts."
Shiver further called on Limbaugh to join Special Olympics athlete Loretta Claiborne by "ending your use of this term and by further using your great influence and position to help others do the same."
From StopBeck.com, accessed February 5:
Best Western is the latest sponsor to drop Glenn Beck. Of note: they also dropped Glenn Beck in record time - less than 24 hours. Best Western ads first appeared yesterday (Feb. 4). After participants in the StopBeck effort reached out to them, Best Western sent along word this morning that they were pulling their ads.
This brings the total number of Glenn Beck's dropped sponsors to 101.
Best Western's statement (emphasis added):
Thank you for contacting us regarding our advertising programming. When purchasing our advertising, we typically purchase at a network level and not on specific television programs. We do not endorse a particular viewpoint and respect the different views of all of our valued customers. We have since made adjustments to our advertising buy and our ads will not run during this program.
Thank you again, for sharing your feedback and we hope to have an opportunity to serve your lodging needs in the near future.
From the Twitter account of Jeri Thompson, co-host of Westwood One's The Fred Thompson Show:
Thompson's link goes to: