Question of the Day

If a raving lunatic hacked Sarah Palin’s Twitter account, how would we tell the difference?

Bill Introduced To End Prohibition Of Marijuana

A group of Democratic Congressmen, joined by Ron Paul, proposed legislation in the House to end prohibition of  marijuana. Politico reports:

Modeled on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution that repealed the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, the legislation is being cast by the Marijuana Policy Project as the “the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

The bill would let states legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. It would also “reprioritize federal resources” away from the enforcement of anti-marijuana laws, limiting the federal government’s role in combating cross-border and interstate smuggling, as well as in fighting the growth, use and sale of the drug.

Sponsors of the bill include Barney Frank, John Conyers, Steve Cohen, and Barbara Lee. The addition of Ron Paul allows them to frame this as a bipartisan measure, but Ron Paul is hardly likely to obtain very much support from his GOP colleagues on such a measure. I doubt that this will pas now, but sometimes measures which are considered too radical when first proposed do ultimately gain support . Maybe Republicans will ultimately go along with this as a means to get out of the budget crisis they created, preferring taxation of marijuana to raise money over a slight increase in the marginal tax rate of the top two percent. Between saving money on the failed drug war and the increased revenue from taxation of marijuana, this must have some meaningful impact on the budget.

Keith Olbermann: Top Ten Reasons to Watch the New “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6IFcPkIetw

Keith Olbermann: Top Ten Reasons to Watch the New “Countdown with Keith Olbermann

(From Keith Olbermann’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman)

10. You’ll want to treat yourself to a larger television to accommodate my giant head.
9. Now that Oprah’s gone, I want to be your new best girlfriend.
8. It’s the only show on television that’s not a damn singing contest.
7. Tomorrow Hugo Chavez stops by to make his famous Jalapeno Wowzers.
6. We are neither fair, nor balanced.
5. Special news commentary from my hand puppet, Topo Gigio.
4. What else are you going to do with your time, read?
3. I just hired Paul Shaffer as my musical director — I’m sorry, Dave.
2. Better watch now because things could go wrong in a hurry.
1. Some lucky viewer gets tweets of my penis.

Quote of the Day

“Our long national nightmare is over. Ladies and gentlemen, we got him. Anthony Weiner has resigned. That’s right, he decided to take his balls and go home. And it is now safe to go back on Facebook. I have to warn you. Newt Gingrich today put up a large Web ad. So you still may be seeing pictures of a huge dick.” –Bill Maher

Michele Bachmann’s Religious War On American Values

Matt Taibbi warns about Michele Bachmann’s holy war in an article at Rolling Stone. In summarizing her life, he notes that she “found Jesus at age 16.” Unfortunately, like most in the religious right, she feels a need to impose her beliefs upon others. She is exactly the sort of politicians that the founding fathers were trying to protect us from in promoting separation of church and state, but Bachmann undoubtedly believes right wing revisionist history which denies this important part of our heritage. There is something very non-conservative about today’s conservatives who promote radical change and reject the principles which this country was founded upon.

Taibbi pointed out the effect of her religious background:

This background is significant considering Bachmann’s leadership role in the Tea Party, a movement ostensibly founded on ideas of limited government. Bachmann says she believes in a limited state, but she was educated in an extremist Christian tradition that rejects the entire notion of a separate, secular legal authority and views earthly law as an instrument for interpreting biblical values. As a legislator, she not only worked to impose a ban on gay marriage, she also endorsed a report that proposed banning anyone who “espoused or supported Shariah law” from immigrating to the U.S. (Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn’t born of professional jealousy.)

In her young life, Bachmann demonstrated the usual degree of Tea Party  hypocrisy:

Michele took a job as a tax attorney collecting for the IRS and spent the next four years sucking on the tit of the Internal Revenue Service, which makes her Tea Party-leader hypocrisy quotient about average.

Worse problems in her background surfaced when she became involved with actual issues of separation of church and state:

Anyone wanting to understand how President Bachmann might behave should pay close attention to what happened at New Heights. Because the school took government money, like other charter schools, it had to maintain a separation of church and state, and Bachmann was reportedly careful to keep God out of the initial outlines of the school’s curriculum. But before long, parents began to complain that Bachmann and her cronies were trying to bombard the students with Christian dogma — advocating the inclusion of something called the “12 Biblical Principles” into the curriculum, pushing the teaching of creationism and banning the showing of the Disney movie Aladdin because it promoted witchcraft.

“One member of Michele’s entourage talked about how he had visions, and that God spoke to him directly,” recalled Denise Stephens, a parent who was opposed to the religious curriculum at New Heights. “He told us that as Christians we had to lay our lives down for it. I remember getting in the car with my husband afterward and telling him, ‘This is a cult.'”

Under pressure from parents, Bachmann resigned from New Heights. But the experience left her with a hang-up about the role of the state in public education. She was soon mobilizing against an educational-standards program called Profile of Learning, an early precursor to No Child Left Behind. Under the program, state educators and local businesses teamed up to craft a curriculum that would help young people prepare for the work force — but Bachmann saw through their devious scheme. “She thought it was a socialist plot to turn our children into little worker-automatons,” says Bill Prendergast, a Stillwater resident who wrote for the town’s newspaper and has documented every step of Bachmann’s career.

From there, there was a continued “pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying.”

Quote of the Day

“Poll: In hypothetical match-up between Palin and Obama, Palin supporters ask what ‘hypothetical’ means.” –Andy Borowitz

Fox Viewers Are Not Dumb As A Rock–But Come Close

Jon Stewart discussed the controversy over his recent statement that Fox viewers are, “The most consistently misinformed media viewers.” It turns out that Jon Stewart was not one hundred percent accurate if you use the bizarre interpretation of this statement used by PolitiFact to claim this is not true.

While PolitFact has done a lot of good work to debunk Fox lies (some of which are demonstrated in the video above), they ignored the types of facts which Stewart was referring to and appeared to be unaware of several of the polls which back up Jon Stewart. Sometimes fact checking organizations appear to try to put out an occasional report attempting to show inaccuracies from the left to balance the far more frequent reports which often show outright lies from the right in order to look objective.

As Chris Mooney explains in greater detail, the criticism of Fox raised by Stewart, and measured in the polls he was referring to,  is based upon politicized, contested issues:

What Stewart obviously meant—and what I mean—is that when it comes to politicized, contested issues where the facts have been made murky due to political biases, it is Fox viewers who are the most likely to believe incorrect things—to fall prey to misinformation. A quintessential example of such an issue is global warming, or whether Saddam Hussein’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or was collaborating with Al Qaeda. There are many, many others.

PolitiFact, ignoring the many polls which showed that Fox viewers are misinformed on such issues, looked at matters of general knowledge such as, “who the vice president is, who the president of Russia is, whether the Chief Justice is conservative, which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives and whether the U.S. has a trade deficit.” In cases such as this, people who watched no news at all wound up being even more misinformed than Fox viewers, which is hardly a surprise. I’m sure Fox viewers are more likely than someone who watches no news at all to know who the vice president is. The problem is that any “news” reports from Fox are likely to be biased in a positive manner when the vice president is a Republican and in a negative manner when a Democrat is a vice president.

In conclusion, if we are looking at basic information, then Fox viewers are only the second most misinformed. They are not dumb as a rock, but come pretty close. If we are looking at politicized issues, which there is no doubt Stewart was talking about, multiple polls show that Fox viewers are the most misinformed.

Palin Quits Bus Tour Early

Should we have expected anything different? The former half-term governor of Alaska has quit her bus tour early and returned to Alaska. Real Clear Politics reports:

Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska, where the skies are currently alight for over 19 hours a day and the Bristol Bay salmon fishing season is nearing its peak.
As Palin enjoys her sojourn to the 49th state, she has not reconnected with key early-state figures like Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and she may have jeopardized whatever political momentum she gained from her recent reemergence in the 2012 discussion. Her political action committee’s website still greets visitors with a stale banner, announcing the nationwide bus tour beginning “[t]his Sunday, May 29th.”
More than a few of Palin’s core supporters have grown impatient and confused about her strategy, venting their frustration on Internet fan sites.
The former governor herself has consented to only one interview since her East Coast jaunt ended early this month, and her lack of recent public activity has generated a host of rumors about what her next step might be. Last week, the American Spectator, citing a single and unnamed Republican source, claimed that her presidential decision was imminent. Palin shot this speculation down immediately, but she didn’t counter it with anything definitive.

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Quote of the Day

“Many people have noticed that Palin likes to use ‘flippin” instead of the ‘f’ word. For instance, one email says, ‘I wish my daughter and Levi Johnston would stop flippin’.'” –Conan O’Brien

Quote of the Day

“New Rule: Stop comparing Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann just because they’re both Republican women. And crazy. And know-nothings. And Jesus freaks, who claim to receive messages from God. Who both get their historical facts wrong all the time. Who both give off a sound that only animals can hear and makes microwaves explode. Seriously, stop comparing them.” –Bill Maher