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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Limbaugh Burned By The Google: Uses 10th Grader’s Essay To Attack Obama

It’s no secret that the right STILL hasn’t figured out how to effectively use the internets, so it comes as no surprise that the Grand Poobah of right wing radio talkies , Rush Limbaugh, has made a complete fool of himself by using a 12 year old essay by a 10th grader to attack Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama.

The best story I’ve heard this week by far was told today over lunch. Apparently, a co-worker of mine named George listens to the Rush Limbaugh show in his car, and yesterday heard him discussing Barak Obama’s comments about similarities between the recent housing crisis and the lead-up to the Great Depression. I imagine the comments were referring to the obvious similarities between those who obtained ridiculous sub-prime loans and those in the 1920s who bought stock they couldn’t afford on margin. However, Limbaugh decided that Obama’s comments were the result of a crazy “liberal education” - and even remarks how “lucky” he is that he didn’t graduate from college, thus allowing him to escape the perils of actual knowledge.

To prove his point, Rush says he did some Google searches for “Great Depression” and then proceeds to attack each of the results as liberal propaganda. Because we all know that college professors teach straight off of Google results pages. So my friend is listening and hears something rather striking… the name of one of our mutual colleagues - Paul Alexander Gusmorino (”The Third!” - I love the way Limbaugh says that).

Limbaugh found among the top results an essay written by Paul, entitled “The Main Causes of the Great Depression.” He quotes Paul’s essay and refutes each of its claims, dissecting them as if they were part of a Harvard professor’s lecture on the subject. He doesn’t pull any punches either. “Mr. Gusmorino, you better check Karl Marx and see if you plagiarized him in putting this piece together.”

Ouch. Those words would be harsh if they really were for a Harvard lecturer. But that’s not who wrote this essay. It was my friend who works as a Program Manager at Microsoft. When he was in 10th grade. Read on…

The story checks out. I followed his link and sure enough, the transcript is right on El Rashbo’s website. (scroll down a bit) He even has the Freepers going nuts over this.

Original here

Can Clinton Go Back to the Senate?

With the race for the Democratic nomination drawing to a close, Senator Barack Obama and a good chunk of the Democratic Party have begun to look to the future and the challenges ahead.

And before too long, Hillary Clinton will, too.

But for the former First Lady, her challenges will be much different, and her future far less certain. Over the next several weeks, Hillary Clinton will have to decide what to do with her career.

Ostensibly, she'd return to the Senate to continue doing the same thing she's done since she first took office back in 2000. After all, that's what John Kerry did, right?

With Clinton, the answer might not be so simple. By mid-summer, the Senator from New York may find herself in somewhat of an awkward position. She'll be returning to a position that most of her supporters, colleagues, and aides agree that she only took as a stepping-stone on her way to the White House, which she ultimately will have failed to accomplish.

She'll be returning to a chamber where more of her colleagues backed her chief rival than did her- and let's not mince words: the Clinton's haven't earned the reputation as the most forgiving of political teams.

Hillary Clinton's own ambition, which has taken on a stature of legendary proportion, seems to beg the question: will she be content to return to New York as one of two Senators in a body of 100?

A little more than a year ago, many in the media were prepared to crown Clinton the next Democratic nominee, if not the next President of the United States. It stands to reason that Clinton stopped for at least a moment or two to imagine the sheer possibility of her own presidency. Clinton, who spent eight years next to her husband while he held the office, was close enough to close her eyes and feel the heavy oak of the desk in the oval office.

But today, the story has changed dramatically. The general election is fast approaching, and for all intents and purposes, Clinton has no place in it.

In all likelihood, Obama will be of no help to her. Just three months ago, Democratic insiders were talking about making some kind of deal- perhaps Clinton in the VP slot or a powerful cabinet position- to appease her and get the party to coalesce around a single candidate. But now Obama, having weathered the storm of contentious primaries, is under no obligation whatsoever to involve Clinton in his administration. At this point, he doesn't need to bargain with her to secure the nomination for himself.

Beyond swallowing her pride and stepping confidently back into the Senate, there's little Clinton can do to advance her career from its current position.

Yes, she can run for a leadership post. But after running a campaign for the most powerful position in the world, something seems to suggest that she won't take the Senate's #2 spot. She'll want the Majority Leader title, and that means Harry Reid will have to be willing to part with it. Not impossible, but consider the fact that getting to that position was the crowning moment of Reid's 30-year legislative career, and it doesn't seem too likely.

What is not beyond the realm of possibility is Clinton's retirement, joining her husband in a life of philanthropy and social work outside of politics. Book deals, interviews, foundations, speaking tours...not the presidency, but not too shabby either.

In fact Clinton may choose not to finish her current term, which only began in 2006. With a number of promising successors waiting in the wings of the Empire State (Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, prominent Democrat and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) and a Democratic Governor in David Paterson to appoint them, leaving early might not seem like a bad option for Clinton.

For in every way that the next few weeks and months will be a time for Obama to map and re-strategize, so too will it be for Clinton. But whereas Obama's planning marks the beginning of a new era, with her preparations will come an end to an old one- to a political dynasty that never really began, and potentially, to an illustrious career that began in the executive mansion in Arkansas, and ended just shy of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Original here

For Assassination Joke, Huckabee Should Be Off TV

Having joked less than a year ago about killing Mitt Romney (and his supporters), former Republican candidate for president, Mike Huckabee, has now made light of assassinating Sen. Barack Obama.

According to CNN, during his recent speech at the NRA convention in Louisville Kentucky, the former presidential candidate offered the following joke in response to a loud noise off stage:

"That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak...Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor." (from CNN PoliticalTicker.com)

As Huckabee transitions from presidential candidate to media pundit, his habit of joking about political assassination leads many Americans to question the place of violent rhetoric in the speech of high-profile political pundits, as well as the consequences that should result from it.

Legal vs. Civic Questions
Many would argue that joking about assassinating a Presidential candidate falls well within the realm of free speech and should not merit any particular consequences--legal, moral or otherwise. Indeed, past court rulings on the question of jokes about assassinating a sitting president suggest that it is very difficult to establish any kind of legal culpability in these instances. The question, it seems, falls down to two factors: (1) the often 'vituperative, abusive, and inexact,' nature of political rhetoric and (2) the legal difficulty of establishing intent to bring about actual harm in these instances (see Eugene Volokh, 'Jokes About Killing the President' Apr 27, 2005).

Legal questions, of course, are only one aspect of this issue. In addition to what is permissible by law, Americans are also deeply concerned with whether or not certain kinds of speech tend to undermine the necessary pragmatic nature of our civic process -- our ability to turn to the media and to each other to learn what we need to learn in order to achieve our common goals. When we turn away from legal questions and begin to examine the kinds of rhetoric that may undermine our deliberative democracy, we start to see that Americans are by-and-large opposed to violent jokes and speech tossed out by political pundits.

And yet despite this opposition on the basis of maintaining a healthy, civic process, violent-rhetoric from high-profile pundits continues largely unchecked.

In 2006, for example, Ann Coulter joked about the need for someone to assassinate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens:

We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media. (Coulter Jokes About Poisoning Supreme Court Justice, FOX News)

A trained Constitutional attorney, Coulter understood the legal precedents regarding jokes about political assassination -- meaning that she knew how to craft a joke about political assassination such that it would not land her in any kind of jeopardy. Nonetheless, it is clear that Coulter also knows that joking about assassinating a Supreme Court Justice would earn her a great deal of media coverage and have an impact on national debate on abortion.

In a political context where anti-abortion activists have assassinated medical practitioners on the excuse that they were stopping the doctors from performing further procedures, many interpreted Coulter's joke as having contributed to an atmosphere of violence and threat in American politics.

Citizen Outrage Ignored By Media Companies
Citizens' concerns over Coulter, however, were not in any way heeded by corporate media--both broadcast and publishing -- nor by political parties. Following her remarks, Coulter continued to earn huge book deals and continued to enjoy virtual open access to high-profile broadcast media.

What Coulter and Huckabee share in common is that they both used rhetoric that was legal, but nonetheless toxic to healthy political debate.

When a political pundit uses a high-profile political forum to joke about assassinating his or her political opposition, the result is that deliberative debate shuts down. Indeed, the response that violent rhetoric elicits in the minds of Americans is not the desire to censor speech in any way, but a call for violent-speech to be channeled towards entertainment where citizens are provided with the resources to make more informed choices about what they will and will not watch or hear.

In the meantime, Mike Huckabee's joke about an assassination attempt on Sen. Obama will lead to the same outcome as Coulter's joke about assassinating John Paul Stevens: disruption of deliberative debate followed by greater broadcast presence awarded to him by the media.

The outcome should be the opposite: media marginalization instead of aggrandizement.

For joking about the assassination of Sen. Obama, Mike Huckabee should be removed from the rosters of all the various cable and network stations on which he regularly appears.

Original here

sábado 17 de mayo de 2008

Da miedo..

What we are


This is a video response to Gorillas and us - a response to "what we are"

Sen. Kennedy hospitalized after seizure


Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, shown in this 2006 photo, was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital this morning after apparently suffering a seizure. He was later transported to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

After initial reports of 'stroke-like symptoms,' the senator is said to be joking with relatives at a Boston hospital.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, hospitalized Saturday after apparently suffering a seizure at his home on Cape Cod, Mass., was awake and joking with family members later in the day, a spokeswoman said.

The Democratic senator is undergoing tests at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to determine the cause of the seizure.
The 76-year-old Kennedy, leader of a storied political dynasty and a liberal icon, was rushed from the family compound at Hyannis Port, Mass., to Cape Cod Hospital at 9 a.m. He was evaluated there, then airlifted to Massachusetts General.

Kennedy suffered what first appeared to be "stroke-like symptoms," a Democratic Party aide said. The longtime senator experienced one seizure in Cape Cod and a second while aboard the helicopter flight to Boston, the Boston Globe reported.

By the end of the day, however, Kennedy was "conscious, talking, joking with family," said Kennedy's spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter.

Nonetheless, news of his illness sent shudders through the Democratic establishment and commanded wide national attention, in part because he so vividly embodies the Kennedy legacy, with even his voice and appearance potently reminiscent of his two slain brothers.

Family members said they remained "guardedly optimistic" that he would recover soon, and hospital officials said he was resting comfortably. Relatives gathered at the hospital, joined by Kennedy's Massachusetts colleague, Sen. John F. Kerry.

The hospital canceled plans for a news briefing. Experts said a seizure is caused by the abnormal firing of neurons in the brain, producing an excess of electrical activity.

Although frequently thought to lead to a loss of consciousness or convulsions, seizures can produce symptoms as mild as numbness, nausea or a sensation of fear. Many of those symptoms also are associated with stroke, making it difficult at times to distinguish between the two.

Nearly everybody is at some risk of seizures, according to Dr. Marc R. Nuwer of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. They can be triggered by sleep deprivation, stress, alcohol consumption or medications.

It is unlikely that Kennedy will suffer any long-lasting aftereffects. But Nuwer said he would probably have a headache and a sore body for several days, "like he ran a marathon."

Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 to fill the seat vacated when his brother, John F. Kennedy, won the presidency two years before, and he has been a key player in U.S. politics ever since. He has figured prominently in this year's Democratic presidential race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama with his endorsement of the first-term senator from Illinois.

Obama, campaigning Saturday in Eugene, Ore., praised Kennedy during an appearance at a hospital.

"Ted Kennedy is a giant in American political history," Obama said. "He has done more for the healthcare of others than just about anybody in history, and so we are going to be rooting for him, and I insist on being optimistic about how it's going to turn out."

Clinton and likely GOP nominee John McCain, also Senate colleagues, likewise issued statements praising Kennedy and wishing him well.

Kennedy underwent surgery in October to clear his left carotid artery to reduce the likelihood of a stroke, and his colleagues and family members said he recovered well and soon returned to work.

He also has suffered from years of chronic back pain, dating to a plane crash in 1964.

Two of Kennedy's brothers, President Kennedy and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated during the 1960s. His oldest brother, Joseph Jr., died in World War II.

Kennedy has been a tireless campaigner on social issues such as increases in the minimum wage and improvements in healthcare.

He ran for president in 1980 but was defeated in the Democratic primary by the incumbent, President Carter.

He suffered a deep blow to his reputation when he drove off a bridge in 1969, plunging into a river channel between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha's Vineyard. The senator escaped, but campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a two-month suspended jail sentence.

After the Chappaquiddick incident and the loss to Carter, Kennedy turned his attention to building his senatorial resume.
One of six senators in U.S. history to have served in that body for more than 40 years, Kennedy chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

He has spent much of this year campaigning for Obama, providing him with political counsel and credibility among basic Democratic support groups such as organized labor and Latinos. He campaigned for Obama across the West, including in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Kennedy's appearances have drawn huge crowds, and the Kennedy name undoubtedly boosted Obama in many Latino households. Still, Latino voters continue to prefer his rival, Clinton, in larger numbers. And Obama did not win the popular vote in California.

At the time of his seizure, Kennedy was preparing to play host at the annual Best Buddies Challenge, a charity fundraiser for people suffering from intellectual disabilities that was started by his nephew, Anthony Kennedy Shriver.

Hundreds were expected to participate in the event, which started with a 100-mile bicycle ride from the Kennedy Library in Boston to Hyannis Port.

In the Senate last August, Kennedy cast his 15,000th vote, making him a member of one of the most exclusive circles within an exclusive club.

At first, seemingly no one noticed the milestone. But a few days later, Democratic and Republican colleagues paid tribute to Kennedy.

"Sen. Kennedy, as we all know, is a famous storyteller," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "But one of the greatest stories in American politics is his own."

Kennedy retorted: "People ask me how long I will continue to serve in the Senate. I give the same response -- that is, I am going to stay here until I get the hang of it."

richard.serrano@latimes.com

Times staff writers Tom Hamburger and Richard Simon in Washington and Thomas H. Maugh II in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Original here