Monthly Archives: September 2009

ABC News grovels to White House for publicizing Obama’s ‘jackass’ comment

If I didn’t work in the news industry, this item would strike me as hilarious.

ABC News has issued an apology to the White House after one of its reporters publicized via Twitter potentially embarrassing comments that President Obama made during a CNBC interview. Obama reportedly called Kaye West a “jackass” in reacting to West’s behavior the other night during the MTV Video Music Awards program.

Terry Moran from ABC News tweeted the following: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’s presidential.”

And in responding to Politico.com, an ABC News spokesperson said: “In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview, ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview. This was done before our editorial process had been completed. That was wrong. We apologize to the White House and CNBC and are taking steps to ensure that it will not happen again.”

First of all, I’m not sure why ABC is reporting on an interview that CNBC is conducting with Obama. Aren’t there plenty of original stories for ABC to follow?

And did Terry Moran know that the “jackass” comment from Obama came during an off-the-record portion? Or was this an understanding between just Obama and CNBC? I don’t believe Moran would be ethically tied to an off-the-record agreement between Obama and another news agency.

But what gripes me the most is the groveling that ABC News believes it has to do to Obama for not muzzling his “jackass” comment. Is ABC News committed to cherry-picking comments that will serve only to put Obama in a positive light? Is this legitimate reporting?

No wonder so many people have given up on the press. Who wants to watch a bunch of spineless weasels make themselves look like fools?

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Oliver North is neither a prophet nor a hero, as 9/11 propagandists claim

There is a nauseating piece of “Patriot Day” propaganda making its way around cyberspace, and those spreading it should be ashamed of themselves. It’s obviously designed to coincide with memorials to the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

An e-mail I received late last night asks in its subject line, “Do you remember 1987 …” It includes a picture of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and then launches into a story about testimony Oliver North gave that year as part of the congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal.

The story has North testifying that he spent nearly $60,000 on a home security system. North defended the expenditure because a terrorist was after him. The U.S. senator grilling North, Al Gore, asked him the name of the terrorist who wanted to kill him. North replied, “Osama bin Laden.”

According to the story, North told Gore that Bin Laden was “the most evil person I know of.” North added, “I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the Earth.”

In the middle of the e-mail is a photo of the twin towers engulfed in flames. The e-mail ends with a photo of Ground Zero after the debris was cleared out.

Wow, that’s quite a story. Oliver North saw way back in 1987 that Osama bin Laden was a threat to world peace. If only Al Gore — and everyone else — had listened to North, 9/11 may never have happened.

The only problem with such a compelling tale is that it’s not true.

Osama bin Laden was confronting the Soviet military in Afghanistan as part of the mujahedeen in 1987, backed by the U.S. government. North testified that he had received the security system as a gift, worth $16,000, but said he didn’t know if it was financed by revenue diverted from the arms-for-hostages controversy.

It also turns out that Gore was not one of the U.S. senators pressing North for details about Iran-Contra. Gore was not a member of the Senate committee participating in the hearings. And North claimed that terrorist Abu Nidal was out to kill him, not Osama bin Laden.

So North is not the sage that some political opportunists want us to believe he is regarding 9/11. Rather, North is an unrepentent criminal and pathological liar whose actions put us in more danger, not made us safer.

I would say that were it not for a legal technicality, North would be serving time in prison — but even this may not be true. Had he been convicted, former President George H.W. Bush probably would have pardoned North just like he let six other Iran-Contra criminals off the hook.

So despite trampling all over the U.S. Constitution, North is exalted as a hero by so-called “law and order” conservatives (which doesn’t surprise me, seeing how these people admire fellow criminal and professional psychopath G. Gordon Liddy). North now hosts his own TV program on the Fox News Channel and has authored several books. What a shame that he profits so handsomely from his lawlessness.

A 1994 article by the late David Hackworth, a decorated Vietnam veteran, chronicles North’s numerous lies. Here is the link:

http://www.airborne-ranger.com/ranger/wannabees/OllieNorth.html

While North’s fans want to skew history to erase the evil he committed, 9/11 shouldn’t be part of their revision of the truth. What happened that day was horrible enough. These propagandists mustn’t be allowed to compound the tragedy by using it for their own benefit.

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Health care reform would pass more easily if taken in smaller chunks

Sadly, I believe the Obama administration is setting itself up for failure when it comes to reforming the nation’s health care system.

There’s no question that some reforms are long overdue. But Obama is looking to meet the same as did former President Bill Clinton with a gargantuan plan that won’t pass. And once it fails, no one will want to go near it for at least another decade.

Clinton tried tackling the entire health care problem in one swoop. And when the plan did a crash and burn, neither the president nor anyone in Congress had any interest in picking up the pieces and starting over.

So 16 years later, we still have the same health care system with even bigger problems. Obama is repeating Clinton’s error of trying to resolve everything at once.

He’ll end up with an enormous monstrosity that scares the bejesus out of many people. And it will fail because Obama will have to make concessions to Blue Dog Democrats and moderate Republicans that progressives won’t accept or appease the progressives at the expense of everyone else.

On a teleconference today with bloggers and Republican House members, I asked U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert, R-13th District, of Hinsdale and Peter Roskam, R-6th District, of Wheaton if they thought the health care reform effort would go easier if legislators decided to work on a few significant measures a year for several years. I heard former House Speaker Newt Gingrich discussing this very approach this morning on NPR, and I’ve long thought this would be more effective.

The teleconference was hosted by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the chief deputy Republican whip. In addition to Biggert and Roskam, it featured U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.

The event was organized in preparation of Obama’s speech tonight on health care reform.

Both Biggert and Roskam agreed that dividing the health care reform effort into manageable stages was more sensible. Democrats and Republicans could work on separate bills such as insurance portability and tort reform this year and then take on remaining issues over the next few years.

This would be the best way to proceed because the plan is now an all-or-nothing proposition. If something is somehow passed, it will be a convoluted bill with lord knows what contained inside.

But the bill has become so controversial because of its size that most Republicans and some Democrats are leery of voting for it. It’s more likely that it will fail, just as Clinton’s plan failed, and health care reform will be tabled for a long time.

Supporters of Obama’s health care reform initiative may balk at the notion of splitting the measure into chunks. I understand their concern; they believe detractors will easily swat away individual measures as they come up.

But what good is holding out for everything if doing so will get you nothing in the end? It’s easier to vote against a huge health care reform bill that is too complicated for many people to understand. Hashing out a series of legislative measures that will eventually bring needed reform to the health care system is a wiser approach.

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Vices getting more taxing

Cheers to the good old days, when alcohol didn’t cost as much.

The increase on sales tax for alcohol went into effect today. A six-pack of beer will cost you nearly 3 cents extra, while wine is going up by 13 cents a bottle and a fifth of hard liquor by 81 cents. The sales tax on a gallon of hard liquor will increase by more than $4.

Don’t worry, teetotalers with a sweet tooth will pay more as well. The sales tax increase also covers candy and soft drinks.

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