The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Archive for the ‘Mainstream Media’ Category

Who Used the Term First?

Posted by ALmod on December 14, 2009

In an answer to Don, who commented on one of my blog postings just before comments closed– as they do after a month…

I’m going to turn this into a formal request to all of my readers.  Please Google a question before you ask it.  Otherwise, expect a long time before I can respond.  How long?  Well, Don posted his question on the 5th, and I’m just now getting to it, but a quick Google search allowed me to answer his question in about 5 minutes.  A lack of an answer doesn’t mean that I can’t answer.  It just means this…  I’ve been tied up with other things, and I simply don’t have time to answer every email that comes across my desk when you could have answered it yourself.  I’ve had no less than sixteen different people emailing me and wanting to debate in length the entire Tea Party issue, policy issues, and the health care bill(s).  From here on out, if your question starts out with something akin to “What does the health care bill say about…”, please don’t expect anything less from me than, “Here’s the link.   You tell me.”

December is a HORRIBLE month for me almost every year, but this year has been particularly bad.  Of course, the holidays are going to make December quite busy for anyone.  I have no less than five parties to attend every single year whilst toting a toddler and cramming in my last minute shopping that, yes, I should have done in October.  This December, that’s compounded by a few other things.  I had a car accident a couple weeks ago, and it’s taken me quite a bit of time in talking to the other people involved, dealing with the insurance company in totaling out the car, picking up police reports, getting a rental, getting out of the rental, and buying a new car (which involved quite a few days of haggling with dealers and doing research).  That’s not all.  My aunt sent me an invitation to a lesser family holiday event that led me to believe the big party had been rescheduled, so we accidentally scheduled two parties on the same day, but my mother seems to create drama over the fact that we’ll be late (as opposed to not showing up at all).  That’s not all.  My daughter is having some trouble in preschool that has required some parent-teacher conferences, a screening by the local public school system, and appointments and phone calls to a child psychologist for a screening.  The psychologist is supposed to be good, but their office apparently isn’t great about picking up the phone or returning phone calls when you do get through.  That’s not all.  A shipment of Christmas gifts purchased online hasn’t shown up yet, so I’m making calls to THEM to see what the holdup is.

In a nutshell, I’m swamped.

So now, to answer this question in particular, which seems to be the subject of many emails to me from many different people:

The first joke that I can recall was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in March, where he showed footage of Fox News’ Griff Jenkins saying demonstrators were going to “teabag the White House.”  You can find that footage on http://www.thedailyshow.com and various other places.

Here is one of those clips.

As is widely known, the tax day protests were highly PROMOTED (not merely COVERED) by Fox News.  I’ll let Rick Sanchez bust this one for me:

Various footage of Fox promoting the event, even to the point of them labeling the event as a “Fox News Tea Party”:

Speaking of Fox News and promoters…  I’ve already proven to SEVERAL of you via email about how the promoters and Fox News used pictures of other events from as early as the 1970s and represented them as pictures of the tea party protests to make the crowd seem larger.  That was easily proven to be the case, and if for some reason there’s still someone out there who’s going to ask me to prove it, I’d ask you to Google it.  It’s out there and quite easy to find.

By the way, I didn’t happen to notice anything snotty in the way CNN covered the event.  But in particular, pay attention to what starts at about 3:33 in the video, so I hope that when Fox News manufactured this outrage over something that they created (but claim that the liberal left created), nobody takes them seriously.  It’s why I brought up the subject of the photograph thing.  In fact, Fox News making things seem a certain way when it isn’t is nothing new:

Like when they used footage of the wrong event to make crowds look bigger at a later event.

Of course, by the time the jokes started from MSNBC– the most widely distributed source of the “humor”– it was early April.  By then, the meaning had already been widely known, as you can see from reports in February and March of tea party protesters using the term.

Here’s a sign in February.

That was in fact the earliest example of anyone using the term in that manner in regard to the tea party protests, and I’d challenge anyone who says otherwise to provide the evidence to back it up.

Well after the double meaning became widely known, it was still used by many sites promoting the events and people holding signs at the big rally:

Here’s one website.
Here’s one sign.

All that being said, the argument that I keep hearing is that “it wasn’t all of the protesters/promoters or even a large percentage.”  Nevertheless, it was still protesters/promoters who first started using the term.  It was these same protesters/promoters who made up a decent portion of that large crowd that you boasted.  Are you going to say they didn’t count?  Even if they don’t, it’s still completely false to say that anyone from the “liberal left” or began use of the term in reference to tea parties to pick on you.  Your guys used it first, and it was funny.  The other guys just went with it.

Yes, I noticed the term the first time I heard Griff Jenkins utter it, and because I recognized the term without anyone having to tell me I’ve been accused of being crude or hanging out with questionable people simply because I recognized the term.  I’m sorry to break this to you, but I know because I (like 11 million other people) play World of Warcraft, which gives me significant exposure to high school and college age kids and their vernacular.  Anyone under the age of 35 (and some over) will likely be at least vaguely familiar with an urban dictionary and the words held within.  “Teabagging” isn’t exactly an obscure word, either.  In fact, I’d say it’s more widely used than “fallacio. ”  And because of the age of many of the players, it’s become quite common in-game to “teabag” your fallen opponents.  As you can see from the video below, which was made in 2008, it’s typically taken as a psych out or a joke to those you’ve defeated in-game:

By the way, if you are fnot familiar with the terminology used in that video, the jokes will go right over your head.  But please don’t ask me to break it down and explain what this guy’s talking about.  That would require nothing short of a novel.  Instead, I’d recommend a free 14 day trial of the game.  Run to a major city (which you can do at level 1), and read the chat.  After an hour or so, you’ll have a better idea.

Juvenile?  Yes.  Crude?  Maybe.  Out of the mainstream?  Obscure?  Hardly.  World of Warcraft isn’t the only MMOG out there, and I can assure you that the terminology is pretty much the same in all of them and even some outside the game.  And if WoW has well over 11 million subscribers, then imagine how those numbers add up when you include other games.  Does that make me crude?  No.  I just play a game, and part of playing that game exposes me to words that aren’t even necessarily limited to the other players within the gaming community.  It’s like calling folks who watch CSI crude or implying that they’re less morally sound than you simply because they’re familiar with the terminology used on that show.

So if you guys don’t mind, I’m going to be AFK for a while.  I realize this isn’t exactly OOC for me, since I do it a lot, but don’t expect me to run you through any instances anytime soon.

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Posted in Mainstream Media, Public Outrage, Tibits | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

More Tea Party “/facepalm”

Posted by ALmod on November 11, 2009

Jon Stewart caught something I completely missed.

Posted in Mainstream Media, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on More Tea Party “/facepalm”

You stay classy, Paepcke!

Posted by ALmod on October 29, 2009

Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not a Langford fan.  And I think the guilty verdict was deserved.  Heck, Langford’s own defense pretty much consisted of “Langford did it, but…”  There are no buts.  Langford did it and admitted it.  It’s nice that you think he’s a swell guy in spite of that, but it boils down to the fact he did it.

Now all that being said, let me direct you to this writeup by Kyle Whitmire, who (along with John Archibald) covered the trial spectacularly.  Now once you’ve read that, watch the video of Langford’s reaction, and then pay attention to the second reporter and the question he asks.  That reporter was NBC 13’s Jon Paepke.

Now, it’s quite obvious to anyone who isn’t a moron that Paepke wasn’t asking a serious question.  That was a kick in the nuts and berries that you’d expect from a blogger or pundit– not a professional news reporter.  Grow up.

Posted in Local Government, Mainstream Media, Scandal | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Stantis Cartoon You Didn’t Get to See

Posted by ALmod on October 29, 2009

Thank you to Matt Murphy for posting it, and of course to Scott Stantis for drawing it.

Scott Stantis, The Chicago Tribune

Posted in Local Government, Mainstream Media, Scandal | Tagged: , | Comments Off on The Stantis Cartoon You Didn’t Get to See

The Heart of the Problem

Posted by ALmod on September 27, 2009

So here I was just reading the letters sent to The Birmingham News, and this one letter in particular stood out to me.  Here’s the letter, and I’ll see if you can pick out what it was:

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Anyone?

Okay, if you haven’t spotted it by now, I’m referring in particular to where Mr. McLendon appears to be referring to the U.S. Constitution regarding his statement about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That line is actually from the Declaration of Independence, and while it’s a good line, it’s not from the U.S. Constitution.  The preamble for the Constitution actually states the following:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Pay attention to that quote in particular because I’m going to get back to it very soon.

If you read the other letters, you’ll also note where someone else makes the statement that health care isn’t a guaranteed right in the Constitution and then backs that up with a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling.  Again, I’m sure it’s a fine point to make, but the SCOTUS doesn’t actually maintain the Constitution.  They merely interpret it, and they’ve been known to get it very wrong and can reverse their decisions.  The Constitution can be altered for the most part through the legislative branch, which is a completely different branch of our government.

I have a huge problem with people who say that health care isn’t a right because it’s not guaranteed in the Constitution.  Saying that only shows that one hasn’t read the Constitution or at least isn’t somewhat familiar with the contents thereof.  In particular, the argument that something isn’t a right unless specifically stated is thrown out by the Bill of Rights, Amendment Nine to be exact:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

In other words, Amendment Nine specifically states that it should not be assumed that a right does not exist merely because it isn’t specifically stated in the Constitution.  And then there’s that whole bit about promoting the general welfare that was mentioned in the preamble.  Whether or not you agree that health care would fit under the description of “general welfare” or that it should be considered a right, the mere argument or insinuation that something isn’t a right because it’s not in the Constitution is nonsense and easily disproven with the text itself.

Further, consider that you could have made the exact same argument about a woman’s right to vote about a hundred years ago.  The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  The Constitution changes, so even if your argument is that something should be specifically mentioned in the Constitution to be considered a right, well that can be taken care of.

Which brings me to my real beef.  Statistics show that only one-third of Americans can even name the three branches of government.  Can you?  (I’ll give you a hint:  Two of them are talked about thus far in this posting, and one of them is specifically mentioned by name.  The third will be talked about in a bit.) And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  How many people can tell you what each branch does instead of just naming them?  Only about half of Americans can tell you who represents them in the U. S. Congress.  Most can’t tell you who is next in line for the presidency should something happen to both the president and vice president.  Even if they could, most couldn’t give you a name for the person currently holding that position, but I can guarantee you that if you gave them the person’s name, at least some will tell you they hate that person but couldn’t tell you exactly why.

Americans should know how their government works.  They should know these things beyond sound bites and talking points.  If you call someone a “socialist” or a “fascist,” you should know what those terms mean, and you should know that you know what they mean.  Nothing is more wince-inducing that watching Craig T. Nelson talk about how he was on welfare and got food stamps and he didn’t get any help.  It’s why birthers get laughed at when they start talking about the constitutional requirements of presidential candidacy and/or being a “natural born citizen.”  I’m not saying that it would change the stance of anyone having these arguments in either direction, but at least it might make for a more intelligent discussion.

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Posted in Education, Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on The Heart of the Problem

Rick Sanchez to Fox News: “Your pants are on fire.”

Posted by ALmod on September 18, 2009

I have to admit I was rather baffled to hear a few people comment on the 9/12 rally by saying that the “other news networks” weren’t there.  I suppose this would explain it.

Posted in Mainstream Media, Scandal | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

FactCheck.org and Jon Stewart vs. Betsy McCaughey

Posted by ALmod on August 26, 2009

A lot of other folks have already posted on this, but I was waiting on the response from FactCheck.org before I covered it as well.  I did leave a rather lengthy comment over at Left in Alabama, though.  For those who haven’t seen the interview, you can find it in its full unedited form here (part 1) and here (part 2).  I’ll warn you that it’s rather uncomfortable to watch.

What you’ll see is McCaughey reading a passage from (I believe) HB3200 to try to prove her euthanasia claim.  Further, she’s arguing that the clause regarding seeing your doctor for what amounts to setting up a living will would not be voluntary.  McCaughey’s argument was that the bill gave incentives to doctors for providing this service and would therefore make it something that doctors rammed down their patients’ throats.  Here’s the portion she read that “proved” her point.

H.R. 3200, page 431-432: (1) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE.—Section 1848(k)(2) of the Social Security Act 19 (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(k)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs: (3) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE.— (A) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of reporting data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available, the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate. Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment.”

Now, if you look at this as is or listen to someone read it, you might be inclined to agree with McCaughey.  The problem is that you’d be skimming and not actually reading it.  And listening to someone read it isn’t exactly going to give you the opportunity to break it down and see it for what it actually says.  In other words, McCaughey’s argument depends heavily on you not reading or understanding the passage in question.  So let’s break this down a bit…

“For purposes of reporting data…”  This is for reporting purposes.

“…on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available…”  They’re reporting what services were covered and what was available.

“…the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate.”  This is big wording for saying that whatever is reported might include (but isn’t limited to) how many such consultations they did.

“Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment.”  The key words here are “life-sustaining.”  This means exactly what it says.

And as FactCheck.org points out, McCaughey’s claim that this somehow affects a physician’s “quality rating” is false.

What McCaughey didn’t count on and what so many others before her have taken for granted is the fact that Stewart is no dummy, and he doesn’t just nod his head and listen.  Nor does he follow the Bill O’Reilly formula of simply yelling over the other person.  Stewart allowed her to first make her argument and even produce the portion of the bill that she said proves her point.  Stewart probably would have been either a lawyer or investment banker had he not gone into comedy, and he saw right through the bullshit and interpreted the passage exactly as it was– line by line– to prove her wrong.  McCaughey was left with saying, “You’re wrong,” as her main argument.  She simply couldn’t produce the wording to back her claims, and what she did produce, Stewart read back to her to show her error.

To boot, McCaughey actually added to her argument that decisions made by a patient while they were still of sound mind and body were not really what the patient would want when they were no longer able to voice their wishes.  In short, the one arguing that health care reform would take away your choices was actually arguing that your wishes should not be followed if she (or someone else) didn’t personally agree with them– that your choices should be ignored.  Why?  Because you wouldn’t really know what you wanted unless you were unconscious and unable to convey your wishes?

Then McCaughey referred to FactCheck.org as “SpotCheck.org.”  It’s nice to think that Fact Check is the only fact checking site or source out there.  Unfortunately, there are several, and I haven’t found one that agrees with her.  And invoking FactCheck.org, as our former vice president found out, is a sure fire way to get them to respond.  Calling the nonpartisan watchdog groups liars isn’t exactly the best way to prove your point.

Oddly enough, McCaughey resigned the next day.  From what?  Well it might explain where her true interests lie, but McCaughey was the director of a medical company.  The company, among other things, sells medical equipment and would likely have a much smaller bottom line after the passage of a health care reform bill.  Sounds familiar.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Laugh It Off, Mainstream Media | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on FactCheck.org and Jon Stewart vs. Betsy McCaughey

Worst Headline of the Day

Posted by ALmod on August 24, 2009

Children under age of 12 being banned from Dothan hospital as swine flu precaution

The article specifies that they are not allowing children under 12 as visitors— not banning children as patients.

Children under age of 12 being banned from Dothan hospital as swine flu precautionChildren under age of 12 being banned from Dothan hospital as swine flu precaution

Posted in Mainstream Media | Tagged: | Comments Off on Worst Headline of the Day

Quote of the Day

Posted by ALmod on August 20, 2009

Jon Stewart (to Fox News) – “Welcome to liberalism, f**kos!  See you guys at Sean Penn’s barbecue this weekend.  We’re haveing tofu bourguignon– it’s French AND vegan!”

The Daily Show last night was absolutely hillarious!  The quote from above was from the end of a segment (which you can watch if you follow the link above) where he compared the views expressed on Fox News to what they describe liberals to be.  At the end, only one conclusion could be reached.  Fox News is liberal.

Posted in Laugh It Off, Mainstream Media | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Quote of the Day

First Blackledge. Now Stantis.

Posted by ALmod on August 19, 2009

Just as one of our best reporters for The Birmingham News has gone to the greener pastures of the Associated Press, we are now losing a very talented cartoonist to Chicago Tribune.  Just can’t keep ’em in Bama, but I can’t blame them.  Both Blackledge and Stantis were always the kind of quality that deserved to be in bigger newsrooms.  Stantis will be missed, and I hope he keeps up a blog.  I’d like to follow him even after his move.

Posted in Mainstream Media | Tagged: , | Comments Off on First Blackledge. Now Stantis.