US News & World Report's Washington Whispers page currently features a poll asking readers who they would prefer to run a daycare center for their kids: First Lady Michelle Obama, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
And no, the poll doesn't offer the obvious fifth choice: "Why the hell would anyone ask this question?"
UPDATE: Fixed headline, which originally referred to "Madame Secretary."
How long before some reporter points to this as evidence of insufficient bipartisanship on Barack Obama's part?
New York Republican Rep. John McHugh, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has turned down Barack Obama's invite to Monday's fiscal responsibility summit, his office tells my colleague Alex Isenstadt.
The New York congressman emerged as a tough critic of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress last week.
One the heels of the controversial New York Post cartoon that depicted a dead chimpanzee with two bullet holes in its chest with a police officer holding a gun saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," GLAAD has launched a call to action noting Sean Delonas, the cartoonists, long history of anti-LGBT cartoons.
GLAAD president Neil Giuliano said:
"Sean Delonas has a history of defamatory work and we stand with those who decry this recent cartoon as unacceptable and a vicious portrayal that neither enlightens nor entertains. It's unacceptable that the New York Post continues to provide a platform for such instances of hateful defamation."
GLAAD goes on to remind readers:
As we mentioned yesterday, Delonas has been the subject of three separate GLAAD Action Alerts for his continued juvenile and defamatory treatments of LGBT issues as well as making the "Worst" on the "Best and Worst" list on several occasions. This year he was named to GLAAD's "Worst Defamation of 2008" list.
Here is a slideshow of some of Delonas' anti-LGBT cartoons:
You can learn more about GLAAD's action campaign here.
You may remember earlier this week when we posted a photo from ProgressNowColorado of right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin posing for a photo with a man holding a sign that uses a circled swastika as the "O" in Obama. The photo was taken at a Colorado rally against the President's economic recovery plan.
Then there was Malkin's initial defense when she posted a bunch of images using the swastika and Nazi imagery to attack former President Bush and other conservatives (including herself). It's worth noting that none of the images Malkin posted included prominent progressives -- say, Markos from DailyKos, radio's Ed Schultz or MSNBC's Rachel Maddow -- posing with someone holding a swastika sign.
Well, thanks to our state-based Colorado Media Matters, we now know that Malkin "do[es] not think it's out of bounds" to make analogies comparing Obama to Hitler.
From Colorado Media Matters:
Conservative author and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, appearing as a guest on KHOW's The Caplis & Silverman Show, asserted it is not "out of bounds" to analogize President Obama to Adolf Hitler. During a discussion about a photo taken in Denver of her posing with a person holding a sign showing a circled swastika as the "O" in Obama, she claimed without providing evidence that a progressive group conspired to capture the image and asserted it is "the M.O. of the left" to "play the Hitler card." Neither host pointed out that numerous conservative radio hosts -- including some on KHOW and sister station KOA -- have used Hitler or Nazi references and allusions in criticizing Obama and other Democrats.
Listen for yourself...
For those of you who missed the photo, here it is again:
Maintaining its drumbeat of relatively pointless articles about the new Obama administration, Politico thinks it's a big deal there are no CEO's inside the new cabinet. Because only titans of business know how to run economies, right? Politico also suggests it's been the norm for decades to include CEO's in White House cabinets, although the historical proof it provides is rather sketchy.
We chuckled though, when Politico, leaning heavily on the angle that the lack of CEO's might hurt Obama, noted:
That's in contrast with other recent administrations, which have seen a host of ex-CEOs and businesspeople in the president's inner circle. George W. Bush, for example, selected three consecutive ex-CEOs as Treasury secretary: Paul O'Neill, former CEO of Alcoa, John Snow, former CEO of CSX, and Hank Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs. By contrast, Obama's pick for the same position is Timothy Geithner, a veteran bureaucrat who served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Hmm, Bush appointed three former CEO's to run the Treasury Dept. (i.e. to help run the economy), and now the Obama administration has to try to undo the extraordinary damage done to the economy during the Bush years.
But Politico still thinks it's weird that Obama's not following Bush's lead.
In its look at the increase in the number of women robbing banks, says Melissa McEwan at Shakesville:
The uptick in bank robbery committed by women correlates with the economic downtown, the head of the Nassau County police department's robbery squad says that women are primarily motivated by a need to "pay bills, get a little extra cash... They need diapers for the baby that kind of thing," and yet the framing story is all about a thrill-seeking thief and the accompanying article photos are of the "Barbie Bandits"—blonde, teenage strippers who robbed a bank to go on a shopping spree. There's a real story to be told about desperate women who have no resources and no opportunities, but it's buried beneath yet another "hot chicks doing boy things" story.
This is quite an observation from MSNBC's Domenico Montanaro [emphasis added]:
The great challenge that this White House is dealing with is the 24/7 nature of the Twittering media that no other president has ever dealt with on the policy front. It's the natural evolution, considering that campaigns have gotten this kind of coverage for years. Still, this environment of incremental up-down rulings by the punditocracy (most notably business pundits, see yesterday) on Obama's first month of policy, is quite the message handling challenge for this White House. Right now, it's chosen to deal with it by flooding the zone; instead of pushing one storyline a week, they go ahead and try and sell multiple messages. Can they keep up the pace?
Domenico's point is that the new Obama administration faces a new type of media environment that moves at a lightening pace and insists on handing out grades on an almost hourly basis.
To that I ask: Didn't Bush just leave office like less than 40 days ago. Is Domenico suggesting that in the last 40 days here has been some sort of overnight, technological media revolution inside the Beltway which now causes the press corps to act in a dramatically different, and in some cases almost unrecognizable, fashion?
Or, as I'd suggest, is it simply that the same media infrastructures remains in place (i.e. Twitter existed while Bush was prez, right?), it's just that the Beltway press corps has voluntarily chosen to act in a dramatically different, and hyper-caffeinated, fashion to cover (and grade) and new Dem White House?
I'm pretty sure it's the latter.
Yep, the CNBC reporter who yesterday claimed the all-white, all-male traders surrounding him on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange represented a cross-section of America. In fact, at one point on Thursday, CNBC's Rick Santelli turned to face the floor, extended his arms toward the six-figure salaried employees and announced, "This is America!"
Ah, life inside the CNBC bubble.
But that didn't stop the out-of-touch press from anointing Santelli a "populist," following his rant against the Obama housing recovery plan and how the president was leading the country down the road to communism, which is what Santelli yesterday clearly suggested during his on-air meltdown.
So let's take a look at Santelli's "populist" credentials, as viewed from his 2007 bio posted at the Milken Institute's Global Conference, held at Los Angeles' Beverly Hilton:
Rick Santelli is a Bond Market Reporter for CNBC. He joined CNBC Business News as on-air editor in 1999, reporting from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. His focus is primarily on interest rates, foreign exchange and the Federal Reserve. A veteran trader and financial executive, Santelli has provided live reports on the markets in print and on local and national radio and television. He joined CNBC from the Institutional Financial Futures and Options division at Sanwa Futures. There, he was a vice president, handling institutional trading and hedge accounts for a variety of futures related products. Prior to that, Santelli worked as vice president of Institutional Futures and Options at Rand Financial Services Inc., served as managing director at the Derivative Products Group of Geldermann Inc., and was vice president in charge of Interest Rate Futures and Options at the Chicago Board of Trade for Drexel Burnham Lambert. Santelli began his career in 1979 as a trader and order filler at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in a variety of markets. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
As Media Matters noted on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Heartland Institute publisher Dan Williams "said Heartland is skeptical about the crisis that people are proclaiming in global warming" and that former Sen. Harrison Schmitt "said he's heartened that the upcoming [Heartland] conference is made up of scientists who haven't been manipulated by politics." But at no point in the article did the AP note that Heartland receives funding from the fossil fuels industry. Moreover, the AP uncritically reported that Schmitt "said ... the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise," echoing a claim widely disputed by scientists.
Well, yesterday the Austin American Statesman came out with a story making reference to Heartland and what did they do? Emphasis added:
He is "regarded with reverence," said Dan Miller, a publisher at the Heartland Institute, which puts out a newsletter asserting no scientific consensus on global warming and gets money from energy corporations. "He has been in this battle, in the trenches for a long time. He's a warrior of epic proportions on this issue."
Climate scientists, however, hold that carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on a changing climate.
A 2007 climate change study by an international group of scientists found that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and said with "very high confidence" that the net impact of "human activities since 1750 has been one of warming."
Atmospheric and climate scientists at UT and Texas A&M University have said that temperatures will rise in Texas, coastal communities are at risk from rising sea levels in the Gulf, and weather conditions are likely to include more severe droughts and flooding.
I'm not saying the Statesman piece is perfect but they do two important things in this story. (1) When they go to the Heartland Institute for comment, they let their readers know where Heartland gets its money -- the energy industry. (2) They counter Heartland's bogus claims with facts based on science from scientists. They show the scientific consensus that exists over global climate change and the impace humans are having.
Has anyone belatedly slammed the barn door shut quite as aggressively as Rush Limbaugh does today in the pages of the WSJ? Days after the Obama White House made it clear it had no interest in reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, an FCC statute that hasn't been on the books in two decades, Limbaugh breathlessly arrived on the scene to beseech the president not to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.
But this is what happens when the leader-less GOP anoints a radio talk show host to be the voice of the conservative movement; non-existent legislative initiatives like the Fairness Doctrine are treated as wildly important because they might concern Rush.
Note that the top headline in the Journal's news pages today reads, "Market Hits New Crisis Low: Dow Is Now 47% Below Its Peaks; Analysts Warn They See Few Signs of a Bottom." Yet there on the pages of the Journal's Op-Ed section is Limbaugh going on and on about some obscure AM talk radio regulation. I'm sure that agenda is bound to appeal to a large cross-section of struggling Americans these days.
Of course, Limbaugh's column is filled with all kinds of casual falsehoods that are his trademark. Like when he claimed Obama admonished "members of Congress not to listen to my show." False. Obama suggested, in private, to Republican members of Congress they shouldn't legislate by taking their cues from a radio talk show host. (A radical notion, I know.)
Elsewhere, Limbaugh claimed the AM spectrum is just a rainbow of content diversity [emphasis added]:
Today the number of radio stations programming talk is well over 2,000. In fact, there are thousands of stations that air tens of thousands of programs covering virtually every conceivable topic and in various languages.
Actually, according to the most recent statistical analysis, 91 percent of talk programming in America is conservative. (And yes, I chuckled when Limbaugh referred to the broadcasters' "public interest" as a "contrivance.")
But mostly, I was struck by the run-away egomania the column so effectively captured. Remember a couple weeks ago when Limbaugh appeared in the Journal to announce--aside from the fact that the current recession would simply fix itself in a matter of months--he was proposing his own stimulus bill. (Suddenly Limbaugh has the power to appropriate money?)
Well today, Limbaugh demands that the new president set aside all other pressing concerns and respond directly to the talker's demands and spell out White House communication policy, again. Because apparently Limbaugh needs things explained to him more than once.