Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Commissar Obama, didn't ya know?

As we mark Obama's first 100 days, the Center for Media and Public Affairs has released a report on how the press has covered the president, positively or negatively, during his first 50 days. Among the findings:
The three networks have evaluated Mr. Obama very similarly – 57% positive comments on ABC, 58% positive on CBS, and 61% positive on NBC. But he fared far better in New York Times stories, where nearly three out of four evaluative comments (73%) by sources and reporters were favorable. And he fared far worse on Fox News, where only one out of eight such comments (13%) were favorable. ...
Skipping ahead to the NYT- and Fox-specific findings:
The New York Times policy coverage, while less positive than its personal coverage of Mr. Obama, was about evenly divided between praise and criticism (48% positive). Although similar to the broadcast networks in its treatment of economic policy (40% positive), the Times portrayed other domestic policy areas relatively favorably (60% positive), and its 39% positive coverage of foreign policy domains was still more favorable than the networks’ 24% positive coverage. ...

By contrast, Fox News coverage was even more negative toward Mr. Obama’s policies than the Times was positive. Only one out of twelve evaluative soundbites (8%) praised any of the president’s policies, including six percent positive judgments on the economic matters, seven percent on other domestic issues, and 17% on foreign affairs.
So it would seem the New York Times really loves Obama's personality, and are slightly more favorable when talking about his policies than the three major networks are. Fox News, on the other hand, seems to hate nearly everything about the president. Nothing that hasn't been suspected by anyone who follows the news, but now it's been measured in statistics.

Fair and Balanced, as redefined by Fox News (courtesy of Media Matters):

For more "100 Days" stories, such as 100 Days of Glenn Beck's Paranoia, check out this page.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Equal Pay Day

Quick reminder: Today, April 28, is Equal Pay Day.

Equal pay is still given lip service these days, and for good reason -- men still earn more than women for doing the same jobs:

According to the Census Bureau, women earned 78 cents for every $1 in wages received by men in 2007.

For African-American and Hispanic women, the disparity was even greater: 69 cents for the former and 59 cents for the latter.

That's some real money right there. For every $1,000 a man earns, a woman earns $780. Obviously less if you're not a white woman. In addition, today marks the occasion when a woman's earnings finally catch up with a man's from the previous year. So men could have not worked at all this year until today, and would have made as much money as a woman in the same job did last year. Nice.

One of the first things President Obama did when he took office was sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and that's great. But it's not enough. We should be at the point where women are getting paid fairly in the first place and therefore don't have to sue over this issue. To try to get us there, the House has already passed a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is now in the Senate. This is an important bill; write to your Senators and urge them to vote for it. Read more about the bill here, and find your Senators' contact information here.

How silly is it that this is still in issue, when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

And women, stand up for yourselves when it comes to your money. Don't be afraid to negotiate or ask for a raise, or even to learn a new skill or computer program if it will help you. If you're not sure how to approach the issue, ask some friends, find a mentor or search for tips online. There's plenty of resources out there. Men, don't think this is just a "feminist" issue. Surely you know a couple women, right? And surely don't want your mother, or sister, or spouse making less money just because of her gender. If your daughter wants to be a teacher when she grows up, shouldn't she get paid just the same as a male teacher with the same experience?

Monday, April 20, 2009

You might be ... illiterate?

If you haven't heard yet, conservatives are oh-so-mad about the Department of Homeland Security's latest report, officially called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." You can read the whole report here.

The most common overheard complaint is that the report labels all conservatives as terrorists. Obviously it does not, but it's curious as to why so many people are eager to self-label and be offended by the report. The document clearly talks about "extremists," which is not the same as "conservatives." A DHS report issued in January talked about left-wing extremists, specifically environment and animal-rights groups. Does that many that any person who cares about the environment or animal rights is a left-wing extremist? Of course not. Just as this report is not calling all pro-lifers and supporters of the Second Amendment extremists.

The whole point is that some people can, and have, used those stances to commit violent crimes, destroy property, or, you know, blow up a federal building. Just like left-wing environmentalists and animal-rights groups have (minus the federal building part). But somehow because the government issues a report to law enforcement about the possibility that such things might happen, all conservatives are now terrorists.

This has led to a new Twitter trend that, frankly, astonishes me. You can see for yourself by searching for #rwe.

What's "rwe" you ask? That would be "right-wing extremist." Here's a couple of examples:

  • "You might be a right wing extremist if you don't believe spending is the way out of debt."
  • "I would love to waterboard Obama. (And if you weren't before, you are NOW a RWE!! LOL!)"
  • "You might be a right wing extremist if you think it send the wrong message to the world when our Pres "buddies up" to terrorists."
  • "You might be a right wing extremist if you love your country and are willing to defend it."
  • "Why must all RWE's be categorized as we look in the mirror and just not see the same thing that DHS does?"
  • "As long as center is anything right of Obama. I'm actually a complete centrist but Obama considers me a #RWE"
  • "would like to formally thank the Dept of Homeland Security for target they've put on my back. It looks great!"
  • "apparently whack jobs are popular this year, November 4,2008 made that very clear"
  • "New Hashtag #rwe is right wing extremists? I've found home!"
  • "The Socialist Media is running scared, attacking the Tea Parties, I guess we are all RWE now! Proud of it!!"
  • "1000's of citizens now wear "right wing exter" RWE w/honor, akin to Jefferson Adams Hamilton Franklin"
  • I'm a RWE: I believe in the Constitution, God, the Bible, gun rights, free speech & capitalism. What a nut case, eh?
  • Libs HATE terrorists. Especially the Right Wing Extremist kind. (ed. note: do conservatives not hate terrorists?)
  • You might be a RWE if you allow your children to enlist in the Navy to protect this country, too. (ed. note: John McCain is a RWE??)
  • oh yah. our favorite #RWE activities: going to CHURCH, reading the BIBLE to kids, supporting USA military (shock), paying taxes, twittering!

And that's just a sample.

My only conclusion can be that these people have not read, or cannot read, the DHS report. Because if you read it and are conservative and are offended ... well, then I guess you might be a RWE. And let me tell you: you're not.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tea party a-twitter

Lot of hot air on these days over the recent tea party protests. A couple in particular caught my eye. I'm not posting usernames, because I'd rather just discuss what was said than get into a "who said what" exercise.

1. "No group should ridicule another for exercising free speech."
First of all, free speech is just that. You can say (nearly) whatever you want. But if someone disagrees, they're just as free to say that as well.
Secondly, I guess for some a taste of their own medicine can be bitter. Check out some of the reaction to recent protests about the Iraq war, immigration rights and others in this article.
Third, and I'm sorry for this one, when a group holds tea parties and talks about teabagging people in Congress, jokes are going to be made.

2. "I didn't know 1 iota about FreedomWorks & never mentioned in 100s of posts bout teaparty prior 2 events False journalism 2 core!"
This was a response from someone angry at the suggestion that these tea parties were not solely a grass-roots movement. Well, they're not. Sorry. I wish they were, it would have been a lot more impressive and a lot harder to overlook them. But Fox News has its hands all over them, going so far as to call them "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties," as does other organizations like FreedomWorks, who is behind the national tea party scheduled for Sept. 12 in D.C., coordinated with Glen Beck's 912 project. When ever in the past has a news channel sponsored protests?

3. "Get a free pocket Constitution. Read it, support it, defend it."
"if you look at a lot the government does anymore at a constitutional level I think you'd find they don't follow it anymore."
I keep hearing about how the Constitution is being torn apart by the Obama administration, but I have not yet heard how. Can anyone clue me in?

4. "Conservatives have VALUES, MORALS, PRINCIPLES - Lefties don't. 'EVERYTHING GOES' SOCIETY! Losers, unhappy, complainers"
How does this advance any conversation? Does someone actually believe that not one person to the left politically has any values, morals or principles? And um, is it not the right-leaning folk complaining most these days about how unhappy they are?

5. "you cannot have intelligent conversation with the Left. You tell them facts, and they ignore it."
I'm waiting for facts. And while I wait, here's one: You DO NOT have taxation without representation, no matter how much you disagree with current policy. Unless you live in D.C., in which case you do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What if Dems had held Tea Parties?

By all accounts I've read and heard, tomorrow's Tea Parties are being held to protest government spending and/or taxes and/or Obama in general. What if Democrats had done the same during the Bush administration, and called the protests Tea Parties? A lot of people associate tea with "snooty" people (aka liberals), and I'm sure most conservatives would be the first to say they don't take part in any actual tea-bagging activities, most likely claiming that's something reserved for the sex-crazed liberals in this country. What if Dems were the ones out there holding signs that said "Hitler gave good speeches too?" (Not that Bush gave good speeches, but you get the point.) What if the liberals blindly followed a Dick Armey type but called it "a grass-roots" movement? What if MSNBC was sponsoring the protests instead of Fox News?

Pretty sure the Republicans' response would've been complete outrage, full of things like "Well that's just un-American. It's typical of liberals, they hate this country and they're elitist, too. Of course they're having 'tea parties.' Besides, Bush already cut our taxes. What's there to complain about?" And, umm, Bush ran up the deficit, expanded the government, kissed the Saudi king, ripped up the constitution, and as far as I can tell, took part in basically everything the Republicans are protesting tomorrow. Remember how this recession started under his watch? Yeah.

This whole phenomenon is laughable. Despite numerous explanations from conservatives on the validity of their using the phrase "tea party," the Boston Tea Party has little to do with today's government. It feels more like the usual Republican method of "let's grasp onto something that happend in the past and contort it until it fits us" ... even if the event was way in the past.

However, I do thank everyone involved for giving me fits of giggles over all the tea-bagging talk. Because these (and other) news segments are outstanding.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Does it really matter?

Obama bows, Bush kisses and holds hands. Hard to avoid grovelling one way or another when we need that oil.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I am going to kick laziness in the rear and start posting here again. Soon.

Really, I am.


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