I’ve gotten out of the habit of tuning in to evening cable news shows, but I flipped on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell last night in time to catch him dressing down Rene Stutzman, a reporter for The Orlando Sentinel who covered the leak of George Zimmerman’s statement to police.
For more coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, here’s a link to all Angry Black Lady posts with that tag.
I was astonished as O’Donnell began to ream Stutzman, apparently quoting her story in the Sentinel.
O’DONNELL: Rene, I want to ask you about some lines in your story today that are presented as fact, and I don’t understand why they’re presented as fact. You say, “Zimmerman was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community.” Now, others have said that he was on a community watch thing. You don’t say that Zimmerman says that. You don’t say that police told you that. You just report it as fact as if you know exactly what Zimmerman was doing. You don’t know that.
STUTZMAN: I think you’re misreading the story –
O’DONNELL: No, I’m reading –
STUTZMAN: — High in the story, it says –
O’DONNELL: — I’m going to quote you again. “Zimmerman was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community.” You don’t attribute that to anyone, except your own knowledge.
I identify fairly strongly as a liberal (although this was not always the case), so perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that one of the most frustrating phenomena I experience as a politics junkie is watching liberal leading lights latch on to stupid ideas. Today, for instance, whoever was running the Mother Jones Twitter account sent out this:
The link points, as you can see, to Adam’s Serwer’s latest piece, When the US Government Can Kill You, Explained. His lede:
On Monday, the Obama administration explained when it’s allowed to kill you.
The piece, which discusses Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech Monday on the legal reasoning behind the administration’s national security policy, is accompanied by a stock photo of U.S. Air Force “Reaper” drone armed with guided HELLFIRE missiles — the sort used to kill the American-born al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki.
A fun game to play is to head over to National Review’s “Corner” blog and count how many lines of text you need to read before hitting a blatant lie. Usually it’s less than ten.
Yesterday, I tried this little exercise and found myself reading Victor Davis Hanson’s post, “So are high gas prices good or bad?” (Warning: Link goes to National Review). Here he is, proudly harrumphing about the president’s horrible energy policies and their effects on the price of fuel:
The Obama team’s various explanations for addressing skyrocketing gas prices so far seem threefold: It claims that by getting out of Iraq it is settling down the Mideast; it is reducing demand; and it is increasing production. All of these are either half-truths, or developments that are irrelevant to the presidency. And the fact that gas prices have doubled since January 2009 suggests that whatever the current Obama policy is, it has not worked — at least if lower gas prices were the aim.
Ah yes, we’ve started hearing this one pretty frequently, right? That since Obama’s inauguration, gas prices have doubled.
The Senate will vote on Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) amendment to repeal the Health and Human Services “birth control mandate.”
The argument against the mandate, as Angry Black Readers by now are no doubt aware, is based on the idea that the mandate violates Constitutionally-guaranteed “religious liberty.” I can’t think of a better way to represent this argument than the way it was recently framed by Sarah Palin:
Truly, it is a war on our religious liberties and that violation of conscience that he would mandate that is un-American because it violates our First Amendment in our Constitution.
Breathtaking. Somewhat unrelated, but if someone with a background in semiotics could parse that quote for me, I’d be very appreciative.
Anyway, I’ve been browsing Supreme Court decisions* on religious liberty and the rule of law, and I thought some of these might be of interest. Interestingly, I found most of these in the citations Justice Antonin Scalia made while writing the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith:
After some lengthy discussion about the Catholic Church’s dismay over the Health and Human Services Department’s ruling that insurance plans must provide free-of-charge contraceptives, a couple things have become abundantly clear.
The first is that, as is often the case with matters even tangentially sexual, certain Catholics have a special set of rules. The crux of their argument against the “contraception mandate” is that Catholic employers will be required to pay for products that frustrate the procreative force of sex, which they (some of them, anyway) consider a grave moral evil1. This line of reasoning surprised me (although it probably shouldn’t have), because Catholics seem to have very little problem indirectly subsidizing other “grave moral evils” – in many states, for example, Catholics are compelled to pay taxes that cover the costs of carrying out death sentences. Presumably, these tax-paying members of the faithful are not held accountable for the actions of the state, which, in the case of the death penalty especially, violate Catholic teaching.
In August 1996, 250 people watched as Kenya’s highest Catholic cleric, Cardinal Maurice Otunga, ceremonially set fire to boxes full of condoms and copies of “safe sex” pamphlets. In the face of the rapidly-mounting African AIDS crisis, the Vatican had responded by saying basically that while HIV and AIDS might be bad, the use of contraceptives was worse — and it will always be impossible to know how many were condemned to die miserable, wasting deaths as a result.
The Catholic Church, which I was baptized into during an event I cannot be expected to remember, is rarely stranger than when it takes up arms against contraceptives. Since Pope Paul VI’s controversial 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae especially, the Catholic hierarchy has been intransigent on the subject of artificial prophylaxis, even when it is clearly the much lesser of two (granting this momentarily for the sake of argument) “evils.”
I like following conservative and conservative-ish pundits on Twitter, because A) it’s good to know what the other side is saying and B) they’ve
often sometimes got insightful things to say about their cause. Here are some of my favorite tweeted reactions to tonight’s debate from a couple of the nation’s leading conservative thinkers:
Posted in Election 2012? Oy vey!, Eye of Newt, Ian Boudreau, Magic Underpants, Miscellany, The Frothman Cometh, Weird Ass Shenanigans
Tagged CNN Debate, conservatives, GOP Debate, LOL, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Twitter, who is Ron Paul
I wrote before about how Dana Loesch, who as far as I am aware is still employed by CNN, said on her radio show that she would have joined four Marines in urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghans, as depicted in a video that surfaced this week.
Now, tea party darling Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has joined in, making some perfunctory noises about the Marines’ actions being wrong. His recommendation is for field-grade Article 15s (this being a relatively common form of military “non-judicial punishment,” issued by an officer of the rank of at least major) and for the soldiers “in full dress uniform [to] stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.”
(Not-so-subtle teleprompter dig duly noted.)
But his statement is more interesting for the remarks preceding, and following, the above. From the Weekly Standard:
A video of four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters sparked outrage this week, and the Pentagon announced today that it was moving toward proffering charges against the servicemembers who appear in it.
This may have come as a surprise to BigGovernment.com Editor-in-Chief and CNN “Political Analyst” Dana Loesch, who took a distinctly positive view of the act Thursday on her 97.1 FM News Talk radio show.
Had she been there, Loesch said, she would gladly “drop trou and do it, too.”
As listeners were presumably scrambling to find Internet videos of adorable kittens in order to relieve themselves of that mental image, Loesch went on: “That’s me though. I want a million cool points for these guys. Is that harsh to say? Come on, people – this is a war. What do people think this is?”
The more appropriate question is: What does Dana Loesch – “editor,” “journalist,” “paid CNN contributor” Dana Loesch – think this is?
Whatever Loesch might think “war” means, the people paid to engage in it are not taking this lightly: Continue reading