Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time to Stop Digging

President Obama commented yesterday on the Shirley Sherrod controversy. He didn't do himself any favors. He referred to the situation as an overreaction to a "bogus controversy," and said she "deserves better than what happened last week." She sure did, but his administration are the people she deserved better from.

Andrew Breitbart is a tool for editing her remarks the way he did, and Fox News--well, criticizing Fox News for broadcasting Breitbart's excerpt is like criticizing a stone for sinking on water. She worked for the Obama Administration--she was what would be referred in an anonymously sourced piece of journalism as "an administration official," or, "a USDA official." She deserved the benefit of doubt from you, above all.

Obama also said, "Rather than jump to conclusions, we should all look inward and try to examine what's in our own hearts." What he should have said was, "Rather than jump to conclusions, we should have looked inward and examined what was in our hearts before we took drastic action on a spurious report of the nature we've been decrying for three years now."

This deflecting the blame shit is too Republican for my taste. Honest to God, how dumb does he think we are?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not as Smart as He Thinks; Hopefully Not as Dumb as He Acts

For someone universally accepted as an intelligent man who has surrounded himself with intelligent people, the Barack Obama sure does a lot of stupid stuff. Not just things that can be reasonably debated by reasonable people; I'm talking serious dumbass.

This week's example is the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod from USDA, after conservative muckraker Andrew Brietbart made public a video of her stating that, in her pre-USDA days, she had denied white farmers assistance because they were white. Such shameful behavior, even years ago, would certainly disqualify Ms. Sherrod from government service.

If it were true.

Turns out Breitbart cherry-picked a couple of key sentences from a speech Sherrod gave to make it sound like that's all we needed to know. Fox News picked it up and ran with it like a hyena with an antelope leg. (It should also be noted the esteemed Washington Post was happy to report this early version of the story on its web site, as well.)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack immediately demanded Sherrod's resignation, apparently prompted by the president himself.; Sherrod complied. Then, in the immortal words of the late Paul Harvey, came the rest of the story.

The true facts came out within twenty-four hours, leaving the Obama Administration looking like idiots. Upon viewing the entire speech, Sherrod was describing something that crossed her mind in this instance twenty years ago, and rejected it. The white family not only got their help, but they credit her with saving the farm. Breitbart and Fox left those parts out (as did the Post, originally, nice work MSM), and the Obamites swallowed it hook, lie, and stinker. Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new gig; she has yet to decide whether to take it. (Leaving him to twist in the wind is appropriate, according to the Book of Passive Aggression, Chapter 6, Verses 11-14.)

I wonder what kind of stimulus, health care, and financial regulation laws we might have now if Obama had been as willing to get out in front of the curve on those as he was to put his foot in it here? On legislation he waits until Congress does the heavy lifting and saves himself for a few key comments to push it over the edge so he can claim this was what he wanted all along; on something like this, he can't wait to run into the brier patch. For such a smart guy, he sure does a lot of dumb shit.

The Post's Greg Sargent wonders if Breitbart has damaged his credibility by his handling of this affair, and whether the media should take his assertions with a little less credulity. He might want to start by looking into the fact checking policies of his own paper. It's Breitbart who comes out of this smelling like a rose. His credibility has always been primarily on the right; anyone to the left of Lindsay Graham has had good reason to be skeptical. He punked the Obama Administration and make their reaction to his childish prank the story for several days. Who's the smart one here?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hair in Iran

No longer content to subject only women to their curious ideas about, well, just about everything, the Iranian government has issued a catalog of approved, "Islamic" haircuts for men. Flattops and Elvis-esque pompadours are fine; ponytails, spikes, mullets and Mohawks are right out.

Dogs are also taking a hit. Considered unclean by people who wipe their asses with their bare left hand, the rise in dog ownership in Iran has been noted, and the government is about to crack down on this infidel decadency. "Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West," said Grand Ayatollah Naser Makerem Shirazi, according to Reuters. "There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children."

As opposed to those family-loving Muslims who love their wives and daughters so much they will allow them to be gang raped or stoned to death for "shaming" the family.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yesterday's Line of the Day

ESPN's Bill Simmons, referring to LeBron James's self-adulating announcement he will sign with the Miami Heat:

"'I'm taking my talent to South Beach' is the new euphemism for masturbation."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Only in Bal'Mer...

This falls into the "Shit You Can't Make Up" category.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Typically, prisoners who are on work release get to leave the inside of the jail to work outside the fence, and then must return.

David Newton, on home detention awaiting trial on drug and burglary charges, had an opposite course. He would leave his home to go to work inside the jail, and would then return to his house at the end of the day, as a condition of his pre-trial release.

So prison officials were perplexed Wednesday afternoon when they said the 19-year-old Newton, who was not cuffed or shackled, ran from correctional officers who were escorting him to the laundry room at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Authorities said Newton scaled one fence and was climbing over a second along East Monument Street when a correctional officer shot him twice in the leg. He was only hours away from the end of his shift, at which point he would have climbed into a prison van and been driven home.

"He woke up in his own bed, and he could've gone back to his own bed tonight," said Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

More can be found here.