In an opinion piece yesterday for, who else, the Washington Post, Bob Woodward managed to come off as manipulative, petty and totally off the mark.
Titled “Obama’s sequester deal-changer” he rambles on about just who was responsible for the sequester thingamajig anyway:
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?
And then goes on to pat himself on the back for his remarkable reporting that shows that Obama’s team originally proposed the idea. To which the only reasonable response is “who cares anyway?” Congress passed it. Everyone was responsible for it. What our intrepid analytic reporter completely glosses over is why the idea of a sequester was proposed in the first place. To hear Woodward tell it, it was just some mean trick that Obama wanted to play on an unwitting American public. Here is his sole reference to the situation in the second to the last paragraph of a piece taking up two pages:
In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.
During last year’s election, we and many others remarked on the possibly disastrous consequences of politicians believing the BS that the rightwing blogosphere and other online media peddle and parroting it in public, where occasionally more stringent evidential standards apply. It cost Mittens dear during the second Presidential Debate when his attempt to bully President Obama about when precisely he characterized the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism backfired catastrophically and left him scraping egg off his coif.
On February 7, Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel (according to “Senate sources”) received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” The report spread quickly through the conservative media as damning of Hagel, until Dave Weigel at Slate.com pointed out a salient fact—there’s no evidence that “Friends of Hamas” exists. Now, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman is claiming that a joke he shared with a GOP source is the provenance of “Friends of Hamas.” In response to their story falling apart, Shapiro and Breitbart.com—who angrily and self-righteously demand accountability from the rest of the media for every slip-up, real or imagined—are lashing out and refusing to accept responsibility for publishing a report based on a falsehood.
If Shapiro deserves credit for anything, it’s introducing us to a new meme about his oeuvre—”accurate and clearly caveated,” which translates as, “I pulled this out of somebody else’s ass, and I warned you it was probably bullshit at the time.” (It’s also led to much Twitter punnery on the lines of “Friends of Hummus” etc., to which the title of this post is a humble contribution.)
Meanwhile, the unspeakable John Nolte has been wearing out his iPhone in a desperate CYA campaign on Twitter. You can always tell when they’ve screwed up particularly badly because he goes postal.
Malkin’s Twitchyite horde have also been trying to comfort each other, distracting and covering their embarrassment by picking up on a brief minor omission by BuzzFeed’s Cat Correspondent Andrew Kaczynski.
There’s a conspicuous silence and lack of support for Shapiro on this issue from the rest of the RW blogs, some of whom, like Hugh Hewett, were also caught out, the buffoonery also ensnaring Rand Paul. Others are crediting the ‘bartlets et al. for fouling the pitch for their conspiracymongering and virtually ensuring Hagel’s appointment next Monday.
I may be premature and overly optimistic here, but the era of knitting your own reality seems to be drawing to a close. Will Republicans ever learn to factcheck before shooting their mouths off on the basis of the nonsense their online organs churn out? I hope not.
This morning I came across a down-to-earth, plain-spoken little gem of bloggage that made my day. It was posted under the intriguing title: If you Were John Boehner, Your Ass Would Be Fired. Who could resist? The post was written by a lady named Sandy Hingston who, it turns out, is a senior editor at Philadelphia magazine right here in my own backyard.
Imagine that every day, when you went to your job, you spent the entire time thwarting everything your co-workers and your boss did. Imagine that you took every opportunity possible to undermine them: You badmouthed them to the media, you interfered with their projects, you didn’t show up for meetings, you even stole their lunches out of the office fridge. Imagine that when they came to you for help, you shouted at them and called them names. Imagine that when they came up with new ideas, you shot those ideas down, said, “What, are you crazy? That will never work.” When they issued press releases about the great things your company was doing, you issued press releases that said your company was doing crappy.
How long do you think you’d last, working for that company and that boss?
“Anyone ever hear of pocket tweet, pocket dial? I mean it was pretty simple, you know. I have an iPhone 5. If anyone has an iPhone 5, the keys are small,” Brown told Boston’s FOX 25. “It’s very, very sensitive.”
He said his daughter had been teaching him how to use Facebook and Twitter, but “there are some areas that I didn’t really understand.”
“It was after her concert, we were here right in the living room and I responded to a couple of people. And then I put it in my pocket,” he said.
One of the tweets — “bqhatevwr” — quickly became a meme and was widely mocked.
“The next thing, I wake up and I said — it trended worldwide. Worldwide trending on a pocket tweet,” he said.
FOX 25’s Maria Stephanos then asked whether the tweets were just a mistake. “What else would it be?” he replied.
Okay, player—what else could they be? Let’s stipulate you were sober, because, really, I don’t care who drinks and who doesn’t, because I get ‘faced now and again, my ownself. Maybe you just had a case of the fumblefingers, typo’d, and then made Tweets you didn’t have to explain because, duh, just Tweets.
Instead, we get an explanation about asspocket-dialing. On an iPhone 5. Now, I have an Android phone myself, but it does have one of those touchpad deals. It doesn’t even recognize my dry-skinned fingers unless I’ve used a little lotion. They aren’t so weirdly receptive that you can post nonsense handsfree—and even if you could—it would be nonsense. Although there was this one time I nearly texted pi to the tenth decimal place with my butt. It was all like:
And I’m like “That’s random—except if that was pi, it would be ‘3.1415926535’—I thought my ass knew math!” and it was when I had a phone with an actual, not virtual keyboard, and I might have been tipsy like erryone else in the club, oh yeah, and I made that up because you can’t ass-dial a nearly statistically improbable series of numbers anymore than you could a nearly-English language Tweet. So, like, why front, Brown?
Unless, as is the contention of, I believe, most of us here at Rumproast, this Scott Brown guy just ain’t bright. Thus, “Bqhatevwr” has become one of our tags to symbolize not-bright things conservatives say. And I thought I would throw this down about the legend of Brown because he may resurface as a gubernatorial candidate in MA or something. And our auld acquaintance with this knob shouldn’t be forgot. So bqhatevwer for auld lang syne, my dears. His ridicule is just and deserved.
Since embarking on my Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy series, I have been wrestling with an existential dilemma that I’m sure will sound familiar to most readers, that is: When faced with monolithic human stupidity is it best to back slowly and quietly away, so as not to induce an escalation to barking madness -or- does one have a responsibility to stop and try to help?
Today’s case study involves Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R- Dixieland), who has been serving the good people of Alabama, in their state legislature, for close to fourteen years now. Being a God-fearing, well-bred southern lady of refined sensibilities, Rep. McClurkin despairs of the fact that girls, these days, have far too many options when it comes to their lady parts.
Bill Maher reports on The Donald’s decision to sue him for $5 million for alleging on air that Trump’s the progeny of his mother and an orangutang. (There’s a short ad at the beginning, but you can skip it after 5 seconds or so.)
Donald Trump has made it clear ... his legal war with Bill Maher isn’t just about the money ... it’s personal—telling TMZ the comic CROSSED THE LINE when he suggested Trump’s mom banged an orangutan.
Trump just appeared on “TMZ Live” and explained why he’s confident he’ll emerge victorious in his $5 million lawsuit against Maher ... claiming he doesn’t believe Bill was joking when he appeared on Leno earlier this year and challenged Trump to prove he isn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”
Donald says he vows to defend his parents’ honor—telling us, “What he said about my father is disgraceful ... and what he said about my mother, who’s deceased, was in a certain way, even more disgraceful.”
“I’ve never heard anything like that said about my parents ... who were truly great people.”
It appears that the Bush Family (yes, that one) got hacked recently, causing several personal emails and pictures to come floating out where people can see them. I don’t endorse this kind of thing, myself. I think everyone should be entitled to some privacy. However, I can’t resist commenting on the two works of the hand of former president George W. Bush because there’s something so solitary and bath-centered about them.
I’ve tried not to read other art criticism regarding the pieces because I like to keep my impressions fresh, and I’m sure there will be no small amount of speculation over the subliminal “coming clean” motif due to the pictures both involving Bush in the state of, well, becoming clean. It should be noted that as these are self-portraits, one might expect the painting to reveal something about the artist—I don’t know that it does. The bath portrait reveals legs mostly submerged in water. The shower portrait is more oddly composed, giving the viewer the perspective of gazing over the subject’s shoulder, yet being able to glimpse his face at an odd angle in the reflection of a shaving mirror. It is hard to refrain from speculating about what this says regarding the psychological state of the artist, himself. I will note that the bathroom is the one place where people can find themselves truly alone, the bath or shower where one finds oneself naked. It is a place where one performs daily rituals of hygiene, but it is also a place of vulnerability.
But the choice of the bath or shower for the settings of Bush’s self-portraits could also mean no more than that, in retirement, he’s simply taking a heck of a lot more showers and baths. He has the time to be clean now. The inner self of the artist remains a puzzle. If it exists, at all.
I’m sure our Roasters can derive more insight into what is here than I have, however, so I’ll leave it to you.
Idaho is a marvelous state in the Northwest US, large and nearly empty except for its famous spuds and its less famous gemstones, ergo Idaho’s nickname “The Gem State,” which I’m sure we’ll all agree is a far sexier nickname than “The Potato State.” All of New England could fit comfortably in Idaho’s footprint but the population is only 1.5 million souls, 89.1% of which are Caucasian and 23% of which are Mormons (about which we know considerably more than we used to).
Idaho is a great place to be all kinds of maverick-y and left alone by the pesky rest of civilization—the state motto is Esto Perpetua—Latin for “Let it be forever”—and it’s a terrific place to be trigger-happy. The Brady Campaign which rates the 50 US states, on a scale of 0 -100, for their legislative efforts to prevent gun violence, puts Idaho at a 2, along with Kentucky, Louisiana and Montana. The only states that have less gun control are Alaska, Arizona and Utah at zero.
For the sake of comparison, California comes in at a tyrannical 80, and New Jersey scored 72.
Today I thought it might be instructive to introduce one Todd Kincannon, Esq., one of the Republican Party’s bright young things waiting in the wings. Young Guns, I think they call themselves, as they noisily racket around trying to reinvent the GOP for the eleventy-eleventh time.
By my reckoning the GOP change-meisters have managed—by hook or by crook—to drag the party into the 20th century and appear to be hell-bent on emerging into a solidly 1950’s mindset. What next?
It is true that as far as flippant jackassery goes, Sen. McCain’s Tweet implying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a simian astronaut probably isn’t as purely awful as his improvised song parody, “Bomb, Bomb Iran”, but it is up there, even drawing criticism from fellow Republican, MI Rep. Justin Amash, who Tweeted in return: “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”
Despite the fact that he remains popular in Massachusetts, the highly negative tone of his campaign against my hero Elizabeth Warren probably hurt him. There are also speculations that he might be looking at a shot at the governor’s office. That would be interesting! Not sure that Scott’s prior experience posing nude for Cosmopolitan, working as a hand model or sashaying down the couture runways in pink leather shorts will necessarily provide the skillz set for a high pressure administrative job.