Archive for February, 2010

A Saturday in Bowling Green

February 28, 2010

3 games, 1 day, $10 combined, and several friends made for an enjoyable Saturday at the ‘ole alma mater.  It started with the women’s basketball team handling Kent St to clinch the East division title and leave them one result from the #1 seed at the upcoming Tournament.  I have to think that was not the Golden Flashes’ best effort as they were unable to hit a number of shots in the lane.  I’m not sure BG was at its best either committing a few more turnovers that would be ideal but it was a solid team effort.

The men’s basketball team lost to Akron in a hard fought effort.  The Zips used a 15-3 or so run in the middle of the 1st half to open up a lead they would never relinquish, though the Falcons did pull within as close as 4 late in the game.  What was most remarkable about this game, though, was the mechanically weak effort by the officiating crew.  I want to stress nothing really impacted the outcome but several simply poor plays stand out.  For example waiting until 2 foul shots have been attempted to discuss and review to make sure it was a 3 point shooting foul. Or signaling the shooter 1-and-1 when it was really a 2 shot foul, having the miss be rebounded and playing for several seconds before stopping the game and decided it was the double bonus after all, then not replacing the elapsed time back on the clock.  Oh well.

The attending of sports portion of the day ended with a surprise 3-2 (1-0 in the shootout) win over Michigan St in hockey.  The night started with BGSU and Miracle on Ice alumnus Ken Morrow dropping the ceremonial 1st puck.  As for the game you could tell the Falcons were playing at their peak, whether because it was Senior Night, because of Morrow being in the house, because of the basically full house, or whatever the reason they were hitting hard, battling hard.  It was fairly clear that the outright skill level is not as high as would be ideal, but they played their butts off and were rewarded with the win.  And the game ended in plenty of time to head out and get pretty well buzzed and hit Waffle House at 2:30am.  So not a bad day at all.

Coach Cashdollar Resigning

February 28, 2010

As head coach of the East Liverpool boys basketball team after 3 seasons.  If you ask me he certainly sounds burned out, and perhaps a tad bit bitter also:

http://www.reviewonline.com/page/content.detail/id/524451.html?nav=5010

A lot of people in the community took an almost immediate dislike to his coaching, and I’m sure that is contributing to any degree of bitterness he feels.  Frankly too many gave him no chance from the start, and that was unfortunate and unfair.  That having been said I think the change will be good for the Potter basketball program.  None of the teams he coached were state title contenders to be sure.  His first team was forward heavy and really struggled ball handling.  Last season was incredibly young, and this season was still young and incredibly thin at the forward position.  But even given those limitation there always seemed to be a little something missing in terms of the fundamentals.  Most especially, entirely too many turnovers for a constant theme.  Sometimes it was the opponent, but oftentimes it was players trying to rush, or at other times thinking too much, not being in the right position.  Hopefully the next coach, whoever he may be, will be able to address that.  Assuming Brian Beverly can come back healthy and a functional rotation of forwards can be cobbled together, the 2010-11 team has the definite potential to be very solid.  I wish Coach Cashdollar the best and look foward to the new chapter.

The Streak Is Over

February 28, 2010

For the Oak Glen wrestling team which had won a staggering 13 consecutive West Virginia state wrestling titles.  It was not to be this season as they finished 4th behind Point Pleasant.  It was not necessarily a surprising result as it was a very young squad for retiring coach  Shaw but it is still remarkable.  That could very well be a streak that is never eclipsed.  Congrats Oak Glen on a great run!

Weekly Media Matters Update

February 28, 2010

As per usual its mostly Fox News:

Fox News: “Voice of the opposition” on health care reform

Last March, Fox News VP Bill Shine was asked how his channel would adjust to life under a Democratic Congress and White House. Shine responded with a simple plan: Fox can be the “voice of opposition.”

Nearly a year later, Shine’s strategy proved correct as Fox News has opposed the White House on nearly every issue: economy, foreign policy, administration officials, environment, taxes, judicial nominations — even Obama’s supposedly elitist choice of mustard.

But Fox News has made defeating health care reform it’s top priority, as the channel’s hosts, reporters and pundits have pushed a steady stream of falsehoods and smears about “death panels,” euthanasia, deficit explosions, the public option, constitutionality, rationing, abortion, and socialized medicine.  Fox News served as the chief promoters of anti-health care reform disruptions of town halls, the anti-health care “Code Red” rally and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) anti-health care demonstrations.

With so much practice, and the bipartisan health care summit at the top of this week’s political agenda, there was then little surprise that Fox News ran its full-court press against health care reform.

Even before the summit began, Fox News personalities agreed with Rush Limbaugh that Obama was setting a “trap” for Republicans — never mind that just months ago, Fox Newsers were complaining that Republicans were “locked out” and “excluded” from health care discussions.

Discussing Democratic health care proposals, Bill O’Reilly and contributor Doug Schoen falsely suggested that GOP ideas like interstate competition — not a great idea to begin with — “aren’t in the bill” (they’re in the Senate version). Contributor Karl Rove distorted a Congressional Budget Office report to claim that “everybody’s health care premiums are going to be higher than they would be otherwise” and falsely claimed that an excise tax on plans would be “paid by people who are not in unions … [union members] don’t have to pay.” And contributor Newt Gingrich falsely claimed that “all” the Democrats’ health care proposals “require…higher deficits” and would add “big deficits” — actually, the CBO found that the House and Senate bills would reduce the deficit.

After the summit, Fox News figures reacted predictably by declaring the meeting “boring” and claiming that Obama “lowered himself” by participating. Fox Nation, meanwhile, decided that the “Dems lose summit on substance.

Republican health care falsehoods also got an on-air pass from White House senior correspondent Major Garrett, who presented Sen. Lamar Alexander’s falsehood that the Senate bill would increase premiums “because of the government mandate” and Rep. Paul Ryan’s falsehood that the Senate bill “does not … reduce the deficit” as a he-said, he-said with Obama. Garrett did not point out that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) supports Obama.

As they have on numerous other issues, Fox News adopted the GOP’s anti-Dem strategy as their own. In 2005, former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) coined the phrase “nuclear option” to describe a proposal to change filibuster rules for judicial nominations. After Republican strategists deemed the term a political liability, Republicans began to attribute it to Democrats. Fast-forward to today, and the term has shifted again: In just the past week, Fox News hosts Martha MacCalllum, Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity and Bret Baier redefined the “nuclear option” to mean the unrelated process of using reconciliation to pass tweaks to the health care legislation.

Rebranding the “nuclear option” not only gives conservatives a more ominous sounding phrase to replace the wonkish “reconciliation,” it also allows them to falsely accuse Democrats of hypocrisy for expressing opposition to the actual “nuclear option” in 2005 — as Fox News repeatedly did in using oppo-material promoted by the website of Fox favorite and unabashed partisan Andrew Breitbart.

Just how indistinguishable has the rhetoric from Fox News and GOP officials been? Try matching the following statements about the Democrats’ potential attempt to pass health care with a majority vote to either a Fox News employee (Fox’s Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity or Charles Krauthammer) or GOP official (Sen. Jon Kyl or Rep. John Boehner). (No cheating — answers at this section’s end.):

1) Democrats are “going to ram it through, whether we like it or whether the American people like it.”

2) Democrats are threatening “to ram this through with 51 votes.”

3) Democrats are “going to ram it down America’s throat.”

4) Democrats are “preparing to employ a ‘trick’ to bypass rules in the Senate and ram legislation through on a one-party vote.”

5) Democrats are preparing “to try to ram it through on a procedural trick in the Senate.”

Fox News also (again) allowed disgraced political adviser turned disgraced Fox “political analyst” Dick Morris to use his employment to organize opposition — and funds — against health care reform. On The O’Reilly Factor, Fox & Friends, and Hannity, Morris urged viewers to visit his website to learn how to pressure “vulnerable” congressmembers to vote against health care reform. Morris’ Fox-promoted website features numerous fund solicitations (“giv e us money to run the ad!”) for the League of American Voters, a conservative group that employs him as a chief strategistAccording to Morris, the group has “raised $200,000 in the past three days.”

Has the conservative news organization’s year-long drumbeat against health care reform had an effect? Separate Pew Research Center and NBC News polls found that Fox News viewers are more likely than any other viewer to believe health care “misinformation” such as the “death panels” lie. Meanwhile, the channel continues to misinform viewers on “death panels,” and executives actually awarded the claim originator (Sarah Palin) a multi-year contract.

With activism like that — from both the purported “news” and “opinion” sides — it’s no wonder Fox News has become the favorite of Republican officials.

But don’t just believe one of the Fox News-described “Media Matters blogger[s] … stuck in the attic taking turns trying on grandma’s underwear.” In the past year, the news channel has drawn praise from GOPers like Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Eric Cantor, Rep. Lamar Smith and pretend-Sen. Liz Cheney. Sen. Jim DeMint touted Fox’s conservative agenda-setting; contributor Newt Gingrich told conservative activists that Fox News helped make Scott Brown’s “insurgency possible”; and Mitt Romney expressed optimism that the news organization would give the GOP “strength” in 2010 and beyond.

Back in 1994, House Republicans made Rush Limbaugh an honorary member of their caucus for aiding their political efforts. One can’t help wonder what’s taking the Republican Party so long to bestow a similar honor to the men and women of Fox News.

Fox News employee or GOP official answer key: 1) Sen. Jon Kyl. 2) Fox’s Megyn Kelly. 3) Fox’s Sean Hannity. 4) Rep. John Boehner. 5) Fox’s Charles Krauthammer.

Other stories this week

Conservatives mock the uninsured

For the conservative perspective on the country’s health care problems, look no further than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Since the beginning of time, politicians have used personal anecdotes to accentuate policy points, and the bipartisan health care summit was no different. But conservatives went out of their way to respond to the summit by mocking the uninsured — specifically, remarks from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who told the story of a woman without health insurance who “had no denture. She wore her dead sister’s teeth.”

Multi-millionaire Limbaugh, who has claimed “there is no health care crisis,” responded to Slaughter by asking, “Isn’t that why they make applesauce?”

LIMBAUGH: You know I’m getting so many people — this Louise Slaughter comment on the dentures? I’m getting so many people — this is big. I mean, that gets a one-time mention for a laugh, but there are people out there that think this is huge because it’s so stupid. I mean, for example, well, what’s wrong with using a dead person’s teeth? Aren’t the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what? So if you don’t have any teeth, so what? What’s applesauce for? Isn’t that why they make applesauce?

Multi-millionaire Glenn Beck similarly stated, “I’ve read the Constitution … I didn’t see that you had a right to teeth.” One of Beck’s co-hosts responded to the anecdote by talking in a baby’s voice: “I have no health care, Mr. Pwesident, and I have no feet and no tonsils because doctors took ’em out.”

Conservative attitudes to the health care crisis perhaps can perhaps best be summed up in Limbaugh’s advice to a caller who couldn’t afford the $6,000 cost to treat his broken wrist: “Well, you shouldn’t have broken your wrist.” Media Matters’ John Santore wrote: “Politics aside, the real question is this: Why do ordinary Americans continue to listen to conservatives who don’t even pretend to care about the senseless indignities and horrors experienced by countless citizens of this country?”

The reaction to Slaughter’s health care anecdote comes days after conservatives also mocked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for linking unemployment to a rise in domestic abuse (a claim supposed by several studies). Steve Doocy, RedState.com, Jim Hoft, Mike Gallagher, and The Jawa Report all suggested Reid will abuse his wife if he loses his Senate seat. Conservative radio host James Harris, who describes himself as possessing “humor, grace, and insight,” went one further on Fox and claimed that Obama’s to blame for increased domestic violence reports in Nevada.

Don’t Lie, Don’t Misinform

Following President Obama’s call for a repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy in favor of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, Media Matters released a comprehensive guide reviewing the myths and falsehoods conservative media figures have pushed in their efforts to prevent repeal.

Among the myths: DADT is working; repealing DADT would undermine morale and unit cohesion; and the public does not support the policy’s repeal.

Earlier this week, NATO military committee chairman Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola drew on his experiences in Afghanistan and told CNN that allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly is “working out quite well,” adding that unit cohesion and combat readiness have “[a]bsolutely not” been undermined.

Media Matters has joined a coalition of leading organizations and activists who have signed an open letter demanding that news reports on DADT remain accurate and fair. Fox News’ Special Report demonstratedtwice — how not to report on DADT by pushing the debunked claim that repealing DADT would “adversely impact” troop readiness.

Pittsburgh Sets Snow Record

February 25, 2010

February 2010 officially became the snowiest month in recorded history in Pittsburgh, supplanting January 1978:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10056/1038591-455.stm

And of course, whatever falls between this evening and Sunday from the current storm will add to that total.  Bleah!

Potters Go Out Not With a Bang

February 24, 2010

But with a whimper, losing last night in the Sectional Quarterfinal (District Octofinal) to Steubenville 87-66 at OU Eastern in St. Clairsville.  The game was close at halftime before Big Red blew it open in the 3rd quarter.  A number of things contributed to the loss including the Potters being a step slow all night defensively.  Also Big Red seemed to be hitting everything after nailing a well-guarded buzzer beating 3 to end the 1st quarter.  Also as has oftentimes been the case for the Potters of the Matt Cashdollar era an inexcusable number of turnovers robbing the Potters of scoring chances.  Of the first 12 possessions of the game, one ended with Marky Thompkins hitting 2 free throws, one ended in a Jason Dickey triple, and the other 10 ended with turnovers.  It was late in the 1st quarter before a possession ended with a missed shot.  So unless one of the regular season postponements gets made up the Potters end the season at 7-11.

***UPDATE*** I stand corrected.  The home game with Youngstown Christian has been rescheduled for Thursday 2/25 at 6pm.  That is to say, for tomorrow.  Of course, given the weather forecast . . .

NBC Getting A Bit Bored

February 22, 2010

I mean, how else do you explain opening your primetime coverage with Bob Costas coming in across Coal Harbor in a seaplane with Al Michaels waiting for him at the dock?  To say nothing of commandeering a commuter plane during evening rush during the Olympics which I assume is increasing traffic flow in the area for the stunt?  Oh well.

In other news, the US should not get too excited, nor the Canadians too disappointed, after last night’s hockey game.  It was a prelim game.  Yes it helps the US to have a bye then playing a non-power in the quarterfinals whereas Canada has to win a game just to play Russian in the quarterfinals so it was helpful for the US to win last night.  But no medals were won or lost.  That will happen in the coming few days.

RIP Al Haig

February 21, 2010

A key figure of the Nixon years, he is of course most famous for his inartful words after President Reagan was shot, asserting he was in control when of course Vice President Bush was.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/20/AR2010022001243.html

Weekly Media Matters Update

February 21, 2010

This week’s email from them focused on CPAC:

Media Matters: Postcards from the edge (and by “edge,” I mean “CPAC”)

As the week comes to an end, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will rage on, with Fox News host Glenn Beck slated to deliver the gathering’s keynote address on Saturday evening. It is unclear at this time whether Beck will have his trusty blackboard in tow.

Beck’s appearance cements the hold conservative media figures have on the movement. Remember, radio host Rush Limbaugh was last year’s keynote speaker.

For those watching closely, it’s becoming pretty clear how all of this works. Limbaugh says, “I hope Obama fails,” and he’s offered the plum speaking role. Beck calls Obama a “racist” who has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” and he gets tapped for the honor.

Ladies and gentlemen, your modern right-wing, media-driven conservative movement.

It appears that Limbaugh and Beck have taught their followers well. This year’s lineup of CPAC speakers has been as light on truth and heavy on hateful vitriol as their leaders could possibly expect.

Young America’s Foundation spokesman and frequent Fox News guest Jason Mattera got things off to an interesting start. Speaking in a crowded Washington, D.C., ballroom, Mattera said to applause and laughter, “[O]ur notion of freedom doesn’t consist of snorting cocaine, which is certainly one thing that separates us from Barack Obama.”

I suppose it never occurred to Mattera that his words might make Beck, the center-ring attraction at this year’s CPAC circus, a bit uncomfortable. After all, the Fox News host has admitted to having had a cocaine problem, saying in a 2008 DVD, “I think by 24, I was making about $300,000 a year, and most of it went directly up my nose.”

Mattera went on to mock college feminism classes, describing what may be his “all-time favorite” — an Occidental College course that “deconstructs what it means to be a feminist new black man.” He advised the audience to think of “a feminist new black man” as a “crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank.” I’ve squared off with Mattera twice before on television, and in one instance, he deployed racially charged invective, and in the other, a homophobic slur. So I guess this was to be expected.

One thing became abundantly clear as the conference trudged on: Conservatives, like first-graders, love telling the same jokes over and over. As Media Matters‘ Brian Frederick rightly noted, CPAC might as well have called itself the Conservative Teleprompter Conference of 2010, given that the legacy of this year’s conference is shaping up to be little more than a bunch of lame teleprompter jokes. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that many of these jokes were made from a podium equipped with … yep, a teleprompter. Even Kathryn Lopez of the conservative National Review Online seemed to notice the bizarre fixation, posting the following to her Twitter profile: “I’ve heard at least three teleprompter jokes already. In front of a teleprompter. Godspeed to the man who uses the teleprompter.”

Yes, this year’s conference has featured as speakers both Stephen Baldwin — who called Obama “homey” — and some guy from 1985’s The Goonies who now does voiceover work on videos about demon sheep and who said Obama was “probably” planning to use Gitmo to imprison Andrew Breitbart and Ann Coulter. But CPAC hasn’t been all fun and games.

Former House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks founder Dick Armey, who, along with Fox News, is a driving force behind the Tea Party movement, mocked the idea of a “crisis in health care” and let us all in on what he considers to be the toughest issue facing the U.S. when he proclaimed that “the number one biggest problem in America is the physical size of this government.”

Singing from the same songbook, George Will lent the credibility of his employers — The Washington Post, Newsweek, and ABC News — to the gathering for a speech riddled with misinformation, including the tired right-wing canard that the New Deal failed. Will also dabbled in the land of conspiracy theories — popular territory for those assembled — by suggesting the Obama administration is creating a fiscal crisis to enlarge the government.

Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the conservative RedState.com blog, gave a shout-out to Media Matters, calling those who work here “the guys who can’t get jobs anywhere else” — which is odd, because he and I worked together at MSNBC (heretofore known as “anywhere else”) for a few days during the 2004 presidential election. However, Erickson did offer up some honesty while discussing the right wing’s infrastructure when he noted, “[W]e’ve got Fox News.” And for those wondering aloud at home: Yes, this is the same Erickson who CNN turned to for commentary on Obama’s State of the Union address this year.

What right-wing gathering would truly be complete without kudos for MSNBC’s resident bigot, Pat Buchanan, from Michele Bachmann, the kooky congresswoman from Minnesota? Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, who was named “Blogger of the Year” by a live-via-satellite Rush Limbaugh, praised Bachmann as “a tea party activist before the tea arrived.” Bachmann, in turn, challenged the audience to convert a liberal into a “Pat Buchanan, WorldNetDaily-reading conservative,” thus completing the triangle of delusion.

Former Vice President Darth Cheney and his daughter Liz made an appearance as well. Liz, who for months now has been on what can be described only as the Bush/Cheney-legacy-repair media tour, used her turn on the podium to promote the creaky right-wing narrative that Obama is an America apologist, saying the president needs to “stop apologizing for this great nation and start defending her.” I can think of a few things for which her father might wish to apologize.

CPAC is also home to many media conservative you’ve probably never heard of, like XPAC outreach leader and gay-hating bigot Kevin McCullough. XPAC is for the young CPAC attendees, because as we all know, adding an “X” to your name makes you hip and totally xool. McCullough, a radio host and Townhall.com blogger, has made a career out of bashing gays for their “perverse” lifestyle of “nihilism, narcissism and compulsive sexual addiction.” As CPAC speaker, McCullough said he was “not that terribly disturbed” that his birther friend, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Arizona GOP Senate primary. In a failed attempt to channel civil-rights icon Rosa Parks, he went on to say that young conservative activists “will not sit at the back of the bus.” And in a slap in the face to the greatest generation, he said “saving freedom” from academia and government is the “greatest task” asked of a generation, except “perhaps” the World War II generation.

Anyone who has followed CPAC over the years likely isn’t surprised by the antics on display at its 2010 incarnation — CPAC has always been a welcoming venue for the far-right fringe.

With one day left in the gathering, including Beck’s keynote, the crazy is sure to continue. You can keep up to speed by checking out Media Mattersongoing live coverage or by following @MMFA and @KarlFrisch on Twitter.

Other major stories

Happy birthday to Glenn Beck’s crazy-talk chalkboard!

A year ago, Beck rolled out the first in a long series of increasingly bizarre blackboard scrawls and graphics intended to link Obama and the progressive movement to extremists and dictators and otherwise illustrate Beck’s conspiratorial worldview. Throughout the year, he has used chalk, markers, and Fox News’ graphics department to bring his theories to life in vivid detail. To help celebrate the blackboard’s first birthday, Media Matters has reviewed Beck’s charts and detailed them in a special report you won’t want to miss.

Award-winning journalist Will Bunch joins Media Matters

This week, Media Matters announced that award-winning journalist Will Bunch will be joining the organization as a senior fellow. A senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and author of its popular blog Attytood, Bunch was named the city’s best blogger by Philadelphia Magazine in 2008 and best columnist by the same publication in 2009.

He is the author of a forthcoming book tentatively titled The Backlash (Harper, August 2010) which looks at the conservative media’s role in driving the Tea Party movement. Bunch is also the author of 2009’s Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy (Free Press, February 2009), which examined the calculated effort by the modern conservative movement to canonize the 40th president and its harmful effect on everything from runaway debt to failed energy policies to unchecked greed on Wall Street.

“After three decades as a highly respected journalist, Will Bunch brings to Media Matters a knowledge of media and politics that is unmatched,” Media Matters president Eric Burns said in announcing the news. “I am delighted that he will be joining us in the fight for a more honest, accurate media.”

Bunch has won numerous journalism awards, including a share of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for spot-news reporting when he worked for New York Newsday. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, American Prospect, American Journalism Review and numerous other publications.

“I’m thrilled to work with Media Matters in support of my new book, The Backlash,” Bunch said. “I’m also excited Media Matters is offering me a wider platform to push for better journalism, which in turn will lead to better democracy.”

Senator John Cougar Mellencamp?

February 19, 2010

Apparently some Democrats in Indiana are trying to draft rock musician John Mellencamp to replace the retiring Evan Bayh.  I can only assume that his politics would be progressive, looking to use federal stimulus money to buy little pink houses for you and me.  Also figures to be hawkish, lobbying (cherry) bombs at our enemies.