Archive for August, 2009

Updated FedEx Cup Standings

August 30, 2009

After Heath Slocum’s win at The Barclay’s:

Remember the Top 100 are eligible for this coming weekend’s Deutche Bank Championship and that 2,500 go to tournament winners here in the playoff events.  For a complete table of how points are earned during the playoff events:


An Interesting Thought

August 30, 2009

Mike Tomlin, in an interview with Bob Costas aired just now during halftime of a Bears/Broncos preseason game, said that the Steelers would’ve more strongly considered signing Michael Vick but for the civil suit against Ben Roethlisberger they didn’t want to add more turmoil at the quarterback position to that mix.  Interesting.

Weekly Media Matters Update

August 30, 2009

Media Matters: Storming Camelot: Sen. Kennedy’s death brings out worst from the right

Following Wednesday’s early-morning news that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy had lost his battle with brain cancer, Media Matters posted the following statement from president Eric Burns at 3:51 a.m. ET on the County Fair blog:

“Ted Kennedy was a true American statesman. The values that he so eloquently and tirelessly championed represent the best of our American ideals. He reached across the aisle to get hard work done but never sacrificed principle. Though he is gone, the dream will forever live on. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Vicki Kennedy, the Senator’s family, his loyal staff and the millions of lives he touched throughout his historic life and career.”

Far from letting Kennedy rest in peace, many media conservatives savagely attacked the Senate’s last liberal lion. Leading the charge was radio host Rush Limbaugh, who began his broadcast Wednesday morning eulogizing Kennedy by calling him “the lion of the Senate” before noting that “we were his prey.” Hardly finished, El Rushbo would go on to say that “Kennedy screwed up everything he touched.” He said Kennedy’s opposition to Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination was “the beginning of the dawn of the age of the current hate.” He claimed Kennedy “used the government to take money from people that work to give it to people that don’t work” and that “most of Senator Kennedy’s plans ended up damaging the people he seeks to help.” Finally, Limbaugh marveled at the fact that “the Constitution is still there, even after Ted Kennedy in the Senate for 52 [sic] years.” All that and more led MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Politico‘s Patrick Gavin to agree that “Limbaugh showed great restraint” in discussing Kennedy’s death. Can you imagine what Rush would have said had it not been for such “restraint?”

Limbaugh was hardly alone in his disgusting attacks on Kennedy. Radio host and Fox News political analyst Tammy Bruce kept it classy, claiming on Twitter that Fox News Sunday‘s Chris “Wallace noted the last great act of Kennedy’s career was to endorse [President] Obama. I agree: he left a woman to drown and now he’s left us to drown.”

Eric Sanger, a director at Premiere Radio Networks, ABC Radio/Citadel Media and The Sean Hannity Show, said on Facebook (emphasis added), “The irony is that the media is already positioning Ted as a champion for the little man against wealth and privilege. This piece of garbage was the poster child for wealth and privilege. Hopefully, this event will mark the end of this repugnant family and all the endless crap, entitlement, personal indulgences and collateral damage (Kopechne, Bessette, Bowman, Moxely, etc.).”

Wesley Pruden, a Washington Times columnist, wrote that Kennedy’s death was “a good career move” and that Democrats “are smiling through their tears,” while Andrew Breitbart, a fellow Times columnist, called Kennedy a “villain,” a “duplicitous bastard,” and a “prick” on Twitter, as noted by Politico. Riehl World View, a right-wing blog, came to Breitbart’s defense, claiming that liberals criticizing him were “hypocrites” because when Dick Cheney dies, they’re going to do the exact same thing. That’s right, liberals today are hypocrites because of what they might do in the future. Now that’s some crazy fortune-telling.

Fox News host Sean Hannity told his audience that “out of respect for his family,” he had decided not to “bring up Mary Jo Kopechne” or Kennedy’s “radical socialism.” Seriously.

When they weren’t busy attacking Kennedy’s legacy, media conservatives — like Fox News’ Laura Ingrahamwere attacking Democrats for purportedly attempting to use his passing to stifle debate and enact health care reform legislation, repeatedly calling this supposed tactic the “death card.” In a true episode of pot meets kettle, conservative media figures — like health care serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey — have used Kennedy’s death to attack health care reform, some even baselessly suggesting that if reform passes, elderly cancer patients — as Kennedy was — will be “denied” treatments or that their treatments will be “rationed.” Limbaugh said that “Ted Kennedy didn’t have to read a death book,” while Tom Marr, guest-hosting Lou Dobbs’ radio show, said under a public option, a “bureaucrat” would have told Kennedy, “77, brain tumor, bye-bye.”

On top of the relentless smears from media conservatives, several mainstream press outlets repeated without question the GOP claim that Kennedy’s absence from the health care debate prevented lawmakers from reaching a bipartisan compromise and that had Kennedy been present, agreement on health care reform would have been more likely. Several progressive commentators have identified this talking point as GOP spin intended to disguise Republicans’ obstructionism, with’s Joan Walsh, for example, stating that “absolutely no evidence supports that point of view” and blogger Ezra Klein noting that Kennedy’s committee has already reported out a bill — a progressive one, at that.

In another example of, shall we say, interesting reporting, ABC’s Jonathan Karl claimed on August 27 that if “last night’s town hall meeting in Phoenix is any indication” of whether Kennedy’s death will “inspire newfound unity on health care reform,” “the answer seems to be no.” But the video Karl aired to support his claim was from an August 25 event that occurred before Kennedy’s death, not from “last night.”

Perhaps worst of all, conservative media figures — like Fox News’ Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, and National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, to name a few — have returned to the tired smear that the memorial service for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) became “a political rally” to suggest that progressives will excessively politicize Kennedy’s death. But as now-Sen. Al Franken documented at length, the claim that Wellstone’s memorial was politicized is a myth based on distortions propagated by the conservative media.

Which leads me to think this is becoming a case of déjà vu all over again.

Other major stories this week

Death becomes them

An increasingly morbid culture is dominating conservative attacks against health care reform. Not content to accuse Democrats of merely seeking the deaths of seniors and the disabled with supposed “death panels,” conservatives have now accused them of seeking to turn the Veterans Affairs Department into a euthanasia organization — for veterans. Yes, it was the week of the “death book.” The book in question was “Your Life, Your Choices,” or YLYC, originally published in 1997 and designed to help vets consider end-of-life issues. According to the right, though not according to fact, the Bush administration had temporarily put the book out of use, but Obama’s VA has brought it back, among other similar works.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate proposed calling on Medicare to cover voluntary advanced planning consultations — end-of-life counseling, as it were. Fox News, of course, ignored the story. But consistency isn’t their bag — hypocrisy is.

And so, after an August 18 Wall Street Journal op-ed argued that YLYC contained an unmistakable “hurry-up-and-die message,” Fox News’ Chris Wallace repeatedly cropped quotes from the new Veterans Health Administration (VHA) document mentioning the book in order to falsely suggest the Obama administration was requiring veterans to read it. When his guest, assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth rebutted his accusation, he said she was lying.

The conservative noise machine swung into action. The baseless assault was soon repeated by multiple Fox News guests. A Washington Times editorial raised rationing fears and claimed that “the book fosters dark thoughts about a difficult life somehow being less of a life.” Sean Hannity said the administration was doing something “unimaginable.” Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page that the book “encourages veterans to forego care as they make end-of-life decisions.” National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg said that the VA was telling “veterans that maybe they should be euthanized.” Fox News’ Karl Rove said that vets were being pushed toward “assisted suicide.” Even Sen. John McCain agreed that the book was like a “death panel.” (Sadly, CNN entertained the smear, too.)

When The New York Times reported on the story, it neglected to note a fact that just might get to the heart of the story. The author of the original Journal op-ed, H. James Towey, runs a nonprofit group that has published its own booklet on end-of-life issues, a book by Towey himself. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that Towey has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get the VA to adopt his literature instead of YLYC.

How do veterans feel? The Vietnam Veterans of America weighed in on Wednesday, saying that “it is outrageous for some partisans to politicize the debate by targeting veterans with blatant scare tactics.” But don’t look for them to get much airtime on Fox. That’s not what the conservative media mean when they talk about “supporting the troops.” blogger Richard Smith criticized Towey’s assertion that YLYC presents “end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions,” noting “if the document was really trying to get veterans to pull the plug on themselves, then first suggesting to them that their life should be prolonged at all costs is a pretty stupid way to do it” [emphasis in original].

As was the case last week, there were good examples of media coverage to be celebrated. MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer noted that Betsey McCaughey, who is normally treated by the media with a sort of reverence, was forced to resign from a medical company’s board over “conflict of interest” concerns. NBC News’ David Gregory corrected Sen. Orrin Hatch’s false claim that “tens of millions” of Americans will switch to a public option if it is offered. MSNBC’s David Shuster debunked claims about the “death book” and rebutted the idea that Democrats will provide health care to undocumented immigrants, while his colleague Keith Olbermann also took the “death book” smear to task, as did Alison Stewart, guest-hosting for Rachel Maddow. While interviewing McCain, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos pushed back repeatedly against the baseless conservative spin. CNN’s Howard Kurtz discussed a poll finding that 75 percent of Fox News viewers believe the false “death panel” claims — which turned Fox News’ Shepard Smith into an outlier when he forced Carl Cameron to note that there are no “death panels” in Democratic health care legislation. Look for him to face renewed criticism from conservatives for daring to set things straight.

Conspiracy theorist Beck loses 46th advertiser

Did Glenn Beck forget that he called Obama a “racist”? And does the fact that nearly 50 advertisers to date have abandoned his program in response to a grassroots campaign have anything to do with Beck’s sudden bout of monumental amnesia?

Why do we ask? Because when Beck visited Bill O’Reilly’s show this week to bemoan attempts by nasty liberal “loons” to shut Beck up, to snatch away his freedom of speech, there wasn’t a single mention of what exactly Beck had done to attract such scorn from progressives. At Fox News, that smear seems to have been flushed down the memory hole, and all that’s left is playing the victim.

We’re used to Beck being “out there,” but Thursday’s show was special. Beck’s hour (the second day in a row in which he didn’t say a thing about Kennedy’s death) was all about the supposed secret army being built by Obama. In fact, Obama’s comments about the necessity of a “civilian national security force” came from a July 2, 2008, speech on service, and they referred to expanding the foreign service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps.

This secret army idea — not supported by any facts, though possibly written in invisible ink that Beck can interpret — is a pet cause of fringe radio host Alex Jones, who is something of a leader in the underground 9-11 “truth” movement, which believes that the attacks were an inside job and that all the governments of the world are controlled by a cabal of the uber-rich who want to kill two-thirds of the world’s population. Jones has repeatedly alluded to the existence of a secret army being built by Obama, a charge similar to the one leveled by Beck on his show. The difference, of course, is that Jones mostly transmits over the Internet and shortwave radio. Beck has a show on a cable “news” network. Beck’s previous flirtation with the idea that FEMA was building detention camps for conservatives is also an article of faith with Jones and his followers.

When Beck wasn’t occupied with scrawling wild conspiracy theories on a chalk board (by the way, it became apparent this week that Beck could use some spelling lessons), he was begging his audience to “call a friend and tell them to watch the show this week.” Surely, this had nothing to do with the legions of advertisers fleeing his show. By the way, Palin was happy to oblige, inviting her Facebook fans to tune in.

Sean Hannity for president, Hahahaha …

Here’s a good laugh to close out the week. On Monday, the right-wing Fox News website linked under the headline “President Hannity?” to a WorldNetDaily article that claimed the Fox host “would make a formidable candidate, with the likability of Reagan, good looks and strong convictions.” Adding more fuel to the hilarious fire in an “exclusive commentary,” Joseph Farah, a birther and founder/editor/CEO of WorldNetDaily, weighed in: “I could get excited about a Sean Hannity candidacy. I could get excited about a Sean Hannity presidency. I even hear he has a birth certificate.” For his part, Hannity said Thursday: “I would run for office at some point in my life.” Could America be so lucky? Try not to swoon.

Potters Open Asher Era With Win

August 28, 2009

20-14 was the final score over rival Beaver Local at Fighting Beaver Stadium.  The Potters controlled field position most of the game starting with a failed onside kick attempt by the Beavers to open the season.  The first drive stalled after a procedure penalty against the Potters (a recurring theme) and resulted in a missed field goal, but Beaver Local had to punt and the Potters took the ball right down the field for a touchdown.  A fumble on the next drive gave Beaver Local a short field that they converted into a TD to lead 7-6, but the Potters were able to drive the ball down the field before halftime and scored with 50 seconds left to lead 12-7 at halftime.  To open the 2nd half Beaver Local fumbled and the Potters moved the ball before a 3rd and long interception at the 8 yard line.  However, the Big Blue Wrecking Crew forced a -4 yard 3 and out possession and the Potters got great field position off the punt and scored to go up 20-7.  Beaver Local did hit a big pass play in the middle of the 4th quarter to score and make in 20-14 and got the ball back late but weren’t able to move the ball very far before a turnover on downs and the Potters ran the clock out.

The Potters are far from a polished and finished product but there was a lot to give a fan hope that things are moving back in the right direction.  I thought the line play was solid on both sides of the ball, save several procedure penalties on offense, but that is correctable.  The running backs had holes and the defensive line made several great plays to stuff Beaver Local.  The Potters showed a varied and multi-dimensional running game with Willie Leavell, Preston Foster, Marky Thompkins (at quarterback) and others getting productive carries.  They ran it up the middle, they ran it wide, they ran counters, they ran draws, they ran options.  The passing game OTOH is a work in progress as Thompkins looked a bit rough delivering the ball.  But he had one nice downfield pass to Andrew English to convert a key 3rd down (English did a great job hanging onto the ball while a Beaver defender was undercutting him) and with practice and experience (Thompkins only being a sophomore) that part of the game should get smoother and make the Potter offense more dangerous.  They’ll need to work on consistency as several drives were stalled by false start or illegal motion penalties, guys getting anxious type things.  But once the play started they were clean except for one roughing penalty that I thought was a bit borderline, unlike the McNicol era when you could pretty much count on at least 2 egg-headed late hit fouls a game at least.  Conversion attempts are another worry as the Potters kicker didn’t get either the field goal or the extra point elevated at all, no chance at success, forcing them to go for 2 after the last couple scores.  And, quite frankly, there are teams on the schedule that will test this team more than Beaver Local, who looked rather ordinary.  But it was a good and promising start.

Speaking of Beaver Local, how much patience did those great teams earlier this decade buy head coach Rich Wright from his fans?  I thought he made several tactical blunders in this game.  I have no idea what he was doing at the end of the 1st half after the Potters scored with 50 seconds left they got the ball at the minus 28 with 3 timeouts and the Potters having 1.  Beaver Local has little in a passing game, so I thought he might run the clock out, or perhaps take one shot downfield and then run the clock out if it didn’t work.  And, it appeared they were running it out, but then he called timeout on 3rd & 1 with 13 seconds left.  Why?  If that play gets stuffed the Potters could call their timeout and force the 4th down play.  As it is they converted on the qb sneak and then called another timeout with 6 seconds left the ball near midfield.  To throw a hail mary you figure?  No, to run the ball for 6 yards again as the half ends.  But more substantial was at the end of the game, facing a 4th & 9 with about 90 seconds left having all 3 timeouts (running clock).  He needs to call timeout right away, this is their last realistic chance at winning.  And, if the play fails the Potters have 85 seconds to kill and he has two timeouts.  No, he lets the clock dwindle to about 1 minute even .  . .  and then calls his timeout.  So now after the play fails the Potters only have to kill about 50 seconds against 2 timeouts.  As it is the Potters got a 1st down, but even if they didn’t the 4th down play was going to be with little or no time left (3rd down play ended with 36 seconds on the clock so highly questionable if the ref would’ve even made the ball ready for play above or below 25 seconds).  Also, the offense showed very little imagination even though, as a couple plays in the 4th quarter most noteably their 2nd touchdown shows, they are physically capable of completing forward passes.  But he’s the winningest coach in Beaver Local history so he probably has some leeway.

Anyhow, the Potters are 1-0 and will next contest the Battle of the Bridge on September 4th at Oak Glen, 7:30pm kickoff.

Ready for the FedEx Cup?

August 27, 2009

The format has been tweaked for this, the 3rd installment of golf’s 4 tournament playoff system:

It sounds like solid modifications resetting the points before the final event giving all 30 people who advance that far a theoretical chance to win the Cup.  Still, it could get interesting for the people who do enter that last event outside the top 5.  Basically, they’ll need to win and get help.  It’ll be a bit like figure skating in the old ordinals system where the skater that entered 4th had to win the free skate, and have the leader entering finish no better than 3rd.  Guys in the middle of the pack will need to have top guys buried down the leaderboard.  And of course combining and averaging points to account for ties will add another level of confusion.  Someone could be good if player x is in a 5 way tie for 4th (thru 8th) place but if a guy bogeys 18 to drop out of that tie and make it a 4 way tie for 4th (thru 7th) it changes the points and he’s not okay.  NBC will have to keep a couple fast computers tracking the points closely.  Unless of course whoever is 1st in points entering the Tour Championship wins and makes it simple.

RIP Edward Moore Kennedy

August 26, 2009

There’s More to Explore on the Corridor

August 24, 2009

The Pittsburgh-Columbus Corridor, that is:

Personally, I would tell someone looking to go from Pittsburgh to Columbus to just take I-79 south to Washington, PA to pick up I-70.  May need I-470 to bypass Wheeling while the Wheeling Tunnel is being rehabbed but other than that its functional.  That having been said, extending the St. Rte 161 designation along these other highways out to Steubenville would make things simpler.  I have driven that entire routing in whole or in part on a few different occassions, and it is a nice alternative to boring I-70 without being a lot slower.  The Tappan Lake area is very picturesque and one cannot truely say they’ve lived until they’ve seen the Longaberger Basket with their own eyes.  Of course, to widen that stretch of US 250 to four lane would be difficult in places through Tappan Lake unless you re-route to a place that you can’t actually see the lake.  Any road enhancements along this corridor would also serve to better connect the people of the Coshocton area to the rest of the state, especially if they add new 4 lane stretches.  Perhaps also enhance St. Rte 60 from Ashland through Zanesville to Marietta.  But I’m not sure traffic would ever justify making it 4 lane the whole way from Newark to Cadiz (Cadiz to Steubenville along US 22 already is 4 lane as is IIRC the I-270 out towards Newark stretch in central Ohio).  However any feasible enhancement to roads leading to Columbus can be a very useful thing.  I would say keep existing roadways with one road designation prevelant and widen to 4 lane where that is doable, leave 2 lane, at least for now, where its not.

But, quite frankly, I can think of higher priorities from a budget and need standpoint.  In Columbus, and frankly statewide, I would call it a much higher priority to redesign US 23 a limited access freeway north from I-270 through Delaware County.  In Eastern Ohio completing the project to make US 30 4 lane statewide in eastern Stark and western Columbiana Counties, or at least get a bypass around East Canton and Minerva would be more useful.  I’m not sure if its doable but it would be nice to have the Rt 7/I-70 interchange in Bridgeport redone so you didn’t have to go through downtown Bridgeport.  I can think of a few improvements that could be made in the Toledo area and I’m sure there are other projects as well.  Still, its a nice idea to at least redesignate the route.  All that takes is new signage.

United States Retains Solheim Cup

August 23, 2009

By beating the European squad 16-12 (8-4 in the Sunday singles matches).  Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, and Michelle Wie went out in the first 3 matches today and all got wins for the United States to put them in a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  Probably most key was Wie, who went 3-0-1 for the event, claiming the 1up win over Helen Alfreddson.  Wie played good golf all weekend hitting solid iron shots and putting well.  More to the point she looked comfortable, relaxed and like she was having fun on the golf course, not programmed and joyless.  This weekend could really signal a growth in her game and in her personally as she charts her own course and not one set by her father and the sports media.  We can only hope.  But the Cup was still looking like a 50-50 proposition until two critical halves came in.  Brittany Lang made a furious late rally to halve Laura Davies, who hit in a hazard on 18 to lose that hole, and team mom Julie Inkster also rallied late to halve her match despite losing 18.  From there it was a matter of not blowing it.  Christina Kim went dormi in her match with 2 holes left to get close, then Morgan Pressel clinched it when she won 16 over Anna Nordquist to win her match 3-2 and guarantee the US at least 14 1/2 points (needing a tie at 14 at least to retain).  I thought the lineup was well set by captain Beth Daniel, putting Paula Creamer out 1st to build momentum (and frankly not counting on her to anchor given her record in majors when she puts too much pressure on herself) and using the very controlled, fiesty, and gutty Pressel to anchor near the back and grind out a win if needed.  All and all a compelling weekend of golf in Illinois with plenty of close matches and solid play.

Weekly Media Matters Update

August 23, 2009


Media Matters: Press should take finger off button in “nuclear option” health care coverage

Media conservatives aren’t content to merely misinform regarding the content of progressive health insurance reform legislation. They want to misinform about the legislative process used to pass that legislation, too. Just think of it: Death panels passed using a nuclear option. What American could support that?

In recent days, talk of Senate Democrats using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform legislation has grown. According to Senate rules, bills advanced through the process can’t be filibustered, and so the 60-vote threshold that must be met to defeat a filibuster would not apply. Republicans used reconciliation in exactly this way during the Bush years to pass tax cuts in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Senate Republicans also used the reconciliation process to pass a bill permitting oil drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (The final version of that bill signed by Bush did not contain the provision on drilling.) So long as the legislation in question impacts the budget, doing so is within regular Senate order.

Conservatives in the media, however, have now chosen to portray such a course of action as the dreaded “nuclear option.” As usual, a little history reveals a lot of hypocrisy. The phrase was actually coined by former Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) in 2003 during the Democratic filibuster of U.S. Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada. At the time, Republican aides discussed changing the rules of the Senate to make filibusters of judicial nominees out of order. Lott, reflecting the drastic nature of such a change, called it a “nuclear option.” Starting in 2005, Republicans noted that the term polled badly. They began referring to such a rules change as the “constitutional option,” and claimed that only Democrats called it a “nuclear option.” The media quickly fell in line, repeating the falsehood.

Unsurprisingly, the hypocrisy has continued. Passing budget-related legislation through the reconciliation process and the “nuclear option” have nothing to do with each other.

This hasn’t stopped the conservative media from conflating the two. The goal is to portray progressives as a group of anti-democratic radicals, forcing through a supposedly unpopular bill using procedural tricks — or, in Chris Matthews’ words, “blow[ing] up the Senate rules.” Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was one of the first to draw the false equivalency back in June, and in recent days, the chorus has only grown. Dick Morris did the same on August 10, and Sean Hannity has repeatedly pushed the distortion. The Fox Nation website even chose to illustrate the story using a mushroom cloud.

Just as they did several years ago, multiple mainstream media figures have taken up the right’s deceitful talking point, among them A.B. Stoddard of The Hill, Matthews, and even CNN hosts Anderson Cooper and Kiran Chetry. Thus far, factual explanations, such as the one provided by CNN’s Josh Levs, have been few and far between.

This distortion has jumped from the media to the highest levels of the Republican Party. When Hannity hosted RNC chairman Michael Steele, he asked about the “by any means necessary” approach Democrats were considering. “Does this mean the will of the American people,” Hannity asked, “as evidenced by just about every credible poll, means nothing to them?” (It seems as though NBC/Wall Street Journal polls are no longer credible to Hannity.) Steele agreed: “If it means the nuclear option, it’s going to be the nuclear option.”

The right-wing distortion here is obvious and blatant. For the sake of its credibility, the media needs to take its finger off the “nuclear” button.

Other major stories this week

Tom DeLay joins Dancing with the Birthers

Disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has had quite a week. First, it was announced that he will be joining the new cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America, DeLay told Chris Cuomo: “I love dancing. … You’ve got to love dancing if you’re from Texas.” He’s right — we all remember DeLay’s deft ability to dance around congressional ethics rules. CNN’s Campbell Brown called it DeLay’s “second act,” but I’m pretty sure his curtain was called years ago.

Far from finished, DeLay made the rounds on cable and network television promoting his new venture as a reality star. On MSNBC’s Hardball, DeLay aligned himself with CNN’s Lou Dobbs by saying, “I would like the president to produce his birth certificate.”

Maybe ABC should rename the show Dancing with the Birthers, because Tom DeLay is apparently a master of el tango loco.

Beck’s advertiser exodus continues

Last week we noted:

There was an encouraging development in the ongoing campaign to get hate off our public airwaves. After a host of progressive groups, among them Media Matters and, publicized Beck’s recent rant accusing [President] Obama of racism, multiple companies announced that they would no longer advertise on his program — among them: ConAgra, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, Radio Shack, GEICO, Travelocity, and Sargento. Reflecting on the development, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart said that it might “pump the brakes on some of these wild statements.” We can only hope.

Well, Beck’s advertiser exodus continues. This week, Farmers Insurance reportedly said it had “ceased placing [ads] on Glenn Beck a week ago.” Likewise, GMAC Financial Services, parent company of Ally Bank, announced that it, too, had “ceased advertising on the Glenn Beck program.”

The conservative media chattering class is none too pleased with these developments. Radio host Rose Tennent called GEICO “idiots” for pulling Beck’s ads, while radio talker Jim Quinn said Color of Change has “kowtowed” advertisers into ditching Beck. On his radio program, Fox News’ Sean Hannity even claimed that accusations that radio hosts want the president dead (I, for one don’t, remember anyone of prominence making this charge) were part of a “strategy to silence,” like “people go[ing] after advertisers.”

In other sponsor news, JC Penney reportedly said it has a “policy” that prohibits advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show — but Media Matters was able to produce audio from El Rushbo’s broadcast containing an ad for the retailer. Home Depot also reportedly claimed it doesn’t “support” Limbaugh’s program, and Media Matters was also able to produce audio of a Home Depot ad airing during the conservative leader’s show. We welcome the policies announced by JC Penney and Home Depot, but perhaps now would be a good time for them to state publicly that they will no longer run ads on Rush’s show.

When claimed that “the pressure on advertisers has become a politically charged debate about the right to free speech, censorship and what constitutes hate speech,” Media Matters‘ Eric Boehlert responded: “Do editors at not understand what ‘censorship’ means in terms of free speech? … Of course, only the government can censor free speech.” In other words, the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee anyone the right to his own show.

Conservative media: Barney Frank is soooo rude

At a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, a woman took to the mic and asked Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who is both Jewish and gay, “why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?” Frank responded: “When you ask me that question, I’m going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question. On what planet do you spend most of your time?” Frank went on to say, “You want me to answer the question? As you stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. … Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to have an argument with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

For conservatives in the media, this was over the line. No, I’m not talking about the Nazi nonsense; I’m talking about Frank’s response to the lunacy.

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade blasted Frank’s “arrogance” and “smugness” and wondered why the Massachusetts Democrat couldn’t just say, “I understand where you’re coming from, but … ” His Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy repeatedly defended the woman, claiming that Frank’s response to her was “rude,” out of touch, and laden with “attitude,” while never noting the content of the woman’s question. Limbaugh called the woman’s Nazi sign and question “fabulous” before telling his listeners that Frank “spends most of his time living around Uranus.”

In the words of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, “I’ve been watching these town hall meetings, and I’ve had enough of these uncontrollable outbursts by members of Congress. Hey, congressmen, how are people supposed to scream their questions if you keep interrupting with your answers? And Democrat Barney Frank is the latest culprit.”

End of the Road

August 21, 2009

Ever wonder what happens to clunkered cars?