Wednesday, 15 December 2010

NBC BIAS? NAAAAHHHHH

Ken Berwitz

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is out and, in it, Barack Obama has the lowest approval rating of his presidency.

So what is the headline on NBC's web site (www.msnbc.com)? 

Poll: Obama down but not out

NBC/WSJ survey shows president leading in 2012 match-ups

Wow.  The news isn't bad, it's good!!!

Then the article goes on to state that...

After his partys midterm losses and with the unemployment rate still hovering around 10 percent, President Barack Obama might be down.

 

But hes far from out especially when it comes to his prospects for re-election in 2012.

 

Thats the conclusion from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which finds that the presidents job approval rating has once again hit its lowest level; that more people believe the nation is on the wrong track than at any point in Obamas presidency; and that just a third of After his partys midterm losses and with the unemployment rate still hovering around 10 percent, President Barack

 

Yet the survey also shows Obama comfortably leading prominent Republicans like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups for 2012.

In other words, Barack Obama may be at the lowest ebb of his presidency, and the country may be in dire shape.  But that doesn't count because he can still show a lead against.....no actual Republican candidate, just a list of possible contenders, none of whom was selected and none of whom is campaigning against him.

This is what I would call, for lack of a better term "desperate spin".  It is the best NBC can come up with when the Obama numbers are in the toilet, so up it goes, as the lead story.

Then they wonder why people (like me) call them biased......


ADVIL'S STEALTH DOSAGE

Ken Berwitz

My wife has had a rip-roaring cold for the past week. She probably got it either from our son, daughter in law or grandson, all of whom had colds of varying intensity during this period. 

Somehow I was spared; at least until yesterday, when I felt the beginnings of something brewing. Stupidly, I did nothing about it at that time. 

This morning, it had not progressed (lucky me!), but I decided to get wise and head it off at the pass.  To this end, I went through the veritable drugstore-section's worth of cold/congestion products my wife has accumulated. 

The first thing I saw was Advil Cold & Sinus (non-drowsy).  That looked about as good as any, so I decided to take it.

The fun began when I looked on the label for dosage information. 

Front.  Back.  Sides.  There wasn't any.

Then I looked at the individual plastic pill-holders (you know, the ones you can't open without a scissors or a decent set of teeth).  Not there either.

I assumed it must be me, and asked my wife to show me where the dosage information was.  She looked and couldn't find it either (fascinating, since she has been taking this stuff for days - but that isn't a blog discussion, it is a she-and-me one).

I decided to call the pharmaceutical company which makes Advil and ask where the heck (well, two letters of that word is what I was thinking) its dosage information was.  It turns out that the company, Wyatt Consumer Healthcare, has been taken over by Pzizer.

So I called Pfizer and spoke to a very affable young woman who assured me the dosage information was there; it was just a little hard to find. 

She told me to go to the back of the package (which I had read several times already), and notice a small black triangle at the upper right-hand side of the information area - the one that said "LIFT HERE for more drug facts").  So I LIFTED THERE, and uncovered a bunch of information about Advil -- with the recommended dosage innocuously placed midway down the left-hand column (the one furthest from where you LIFT HERE). 

I asked the Pfizer person if I was the only person who had called about this and it was made very clear to me that I was not. 

I then asked why in the world dosage information would be so hidden, and she said (I do not remember if this was personal speculation or a recital of company policy) that Pfizer wanted people to read the warnings before checking the dosage information - which they would presumably do in an effort to find the dosage information.

I told her that this was nuts.  N U T S  nuts.  She said she would pass that along.

Is it just me, or is this bizarre, and then some?

Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Zeke ..... .... Does Pfizer hide the dosage info for their little blue pills also ? ...... .... "Hold on, Gertrude. I'm trying to see how many of these things to swallow." (12/15/10)


AND WHAT DID YOU THINK OF OBAMA'S 3RD YEAR AS PRESIDENT?

Ken Berwitz

What you are about to read is not - repeat, not - satire.  This is excerpted from an actual article in the actual Washington Post today:

Washington Post-ABC poll: Public is not yet sold on GOP

 

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen

Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 15, 2010; 12:00 AM

 

Republicans may have made major gains in the November elections, but they have yet to win the hearts and minds of the American people, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The midterm elections - in which Republicans gained 63 seats to take control of the House and added six seats to their Senate minority - were widely seen as a rebuke to President Obama. Still, the public trusts Obama marginally more than they do congressional Republicans to deal with the country's main problems in the coming years, 43 percent to 38 percent.

 

The poll suggests that the election, while perhaps a vote against the status quo, was not a broad mandate for Republicans and their plans. The survey also underscores the degree to which Americans are conflicted about who they think is setting the agenda in Washington.

 

The president's narrow advantage is a striking contrast to the public's mood at this time in 1994 and 2006, the last two midterm election years when one or both chambers of Congress changed hands.

 

In the new poll, just 41 percent of respondents say the GOP takeover of the House is a "good thing." About 27 percent say it is a "bad thing," and 30 percent say it won't make any difference. Most continue to say that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues.

 

Wait a minute.  Wait one cotton-pickin' chicken-flickin' minute. 

Have the 63 additional house Republicans and 6 additional Republican senators - not to mention the 5 additional Republican governors - taken office yet????????????  No they have not.

In other words, this poll has been conducted entirely on the basis of......nothing. 

And the "point" (if you are charitable enough to call it a point)  that Americans are conflicted about who is setting the agenda?  Since Democrats are still entirely in charge of everything, and will be for three more weeks, it is impossible for Republicans to demonstrate any control of the agenda. 

Let me say this another way:  The election was November 2.  The new congress convenes January 4th.  Until then, the previously elected congress (255-178 Democrat in the house, 59-41 Democrat in the senate) is still in charge.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll, therefore, is an idiot's delight - a hit job on Republicans apropos of exactly nothing.  And the Washington Post and ABC News should be ashamed that they paid a research company to have it conducted.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

free` Add this post to yesterdays post "OBAMACARE MEDIA BIAS? NAAAAAHHHH" and you have a "news" company that should be on the road to bankruptcy. The MSM in this country are just a sick propaganda spewing conglomerate. (12/15/10)


KATIE'S CHOICE

Ken Berwitz

As a long-time New York Yankee fan, I know a little something about huge contracts that don't pan out.

Which leads straight to Katie Couric, whose contract to anchor CBS Evening News is nearing an end.

Five years at $15 mllion per, during which the CBS news show went from a weak 3rd place to an even weaker 3rd place -- so bad that I started calling her Katie Carwreck.

But Ms. Couric is far from unwanted, as the following excerpts from an article at Broadcast and Cable indicate:

Exclusive: Multiple Syndicators Pitching Katie Couric on Daytime Talker

While many expect her to stay with CBS News, daytime option emerges

By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/15/2010 3:15:51 PM

As Katie Couric's contract with CBS News nears its end, multiple syndicators are approaching her about daytime possibilities, confirm several sources.

Couric's $15 million annual contract with CBS News expires at the end of May. It's still too soon for her to begin negotiating with CBS, but the news anchor has begun considering her options should renewing her contract with CBS not pan out. Couric, who was The Today Show's star for 15 years, has long been considered the ideal candidate for daytime talk due to her warm rapport with Today Show guests and her broad experience covering female-friendly topics.

"She could get in there and command a lot of money," says one syndication executive who spoke anonymously because they could be a potential bidder for a Couric show.

If Couric and her team can negotiate an attractive package at CBS News, that is probably where she would prefer to stay, say sources. But if syndicators can devise an even more appealing deal - that would likely include Couric creating her own production company and multi-platform offerings -- she could perhaps be convinced to make the switch.

If Couric wanted to make a move to daytime - which would not pay her as much as her current CBS News contract, but could pay as much as $5 million a year plus a piece of her show, estimate sources - 2012 would be a good time to do it.  

The mystifying part of this story is that CBS would be interested in negotiating another contract for Ms. Couric to anchor its network news show.

WHY?  What are they expecting from her?  Did they not notice the last five years? 

Personally, I always found Katie Couric - her obviously partisan politics aside - very perky and engaging on morning TV.  I would think those same attributes would serve her quite well in daytime talk.

The money might not be as much, but a) she is already rich, isn't she and b) at least she would have a chance to be successful, instead of the bottom-dwelling laughingstock her stint at CBS has made her.

It will be interesting to see which way this one goes.


AFGHANISTAN: A DISASTROUS, DOOMED WAR STRATEGY

Ken Berwitz

In terms of our initial involvement, I agree with President Bush and President Obama that Afghanistan was a necessary war.

In terms of strategy, I agree with President Bush, whose objectives were to remove the taliban from power and close down al-qaeda's operations - particularly the training camps that Afghanistan's taliban government welcomed and allowed to flourish. 

But President Obama's strategy?  Wrong from the beginning.  And, now, an ongoing disaster.

This is so obvious that even the Obama-loving New York Times is acknowledging it.  Here is an excerpt from Elizabeth Bumiller's lead article in today's paper:

WASHINGTON As President Obama prepares to release a review of American strategy in Afghanistan that will claim progress in the nine-year-old war there, two new classified intelligence reports offer a more negative assessment and say there is a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunts down insurgents operating from havens on its Afghan border.

The reports, one on Afghanistan and one on Pakistan, say that although there have been gains for the United States and NATO in the war, the unwillingness of Pakistan to shut down militant sanctuaries in its lawless tribal region remains a serious obstacle. American military commanders say insurgents freely cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan to plant bombs and fight American troops and then return to Pakistan for rest and resupply.

The findings in the reports, called National Intelligence Estimates, represent the consensus view of the United States 16 intelligence agencies, as opposed to the military, and were provided last week to some members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. The findings were described by a number of American officials who read the reports executive summaries.

American military commanders and senior Pentagon officials have already criticized the reports as out of date and say that the cut-off date for the Afghanistan report, Oct. 1, does not allow it to take into account what the military cites as tactical gains in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces in the south in the six weeks since. Pentagon and military officials also say the reports were written by desk-bound Washington analysts who have spent limited time, if any, in Afghanistan and have no feel for the war.

They are not on the ground living it day in and day out like our forces are, so they dont have the proximity and perspective, said a senior defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be identified while criticizing the intelligence agencies. The official said that the 30,000 additional troops that Mr. Obama ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 did not all arrive until September, meaning that the intelligence agencies had little time to judge the effects of the escalation. There are now about 100,000 American forces in Afghanistan.

The dispute between the military and intelligence agencies reflects how much the debate in Washington over the war is now centered on whether the United States can succeed in Afghanistan without the cooperation of Pakistan, which despite years of American pressure has resisted routing militants on its border.

The dispute also reflects the longstanding cultural differences between intelligence analysts, whose job is to warn of potential bad news, and military commanders, who are trained to promote can do optimism.

 Can this really be?  Is it actually true that the only way we can "win" is if Pakistan - with the taliban controlling much of its Afghanistan border and commanding the support of the people there - magically becomes our loyal surrogate?

 

If that is what it will take, this war is doomed.  Pakistan barely (if at all) controls that part of its country.  And the people there - partly because they share the taliban's belief system and partly because they (understandably) fear expressing an opposing view - will not help to carry out a pro-USA agenda. 

When President Bush initiated this war, his objectives were basic, clear, and accomplished with a tiny fraction of the troop strength President Obama has brought us to.  Yes, Mr. Bush demanded - and got a modicum of - support from Pakistan's then-President Pervez Musharraf.   But Mr. Bush never fooled himself into expecting more than Musharraf could give, and he never pretended that more than a tiny portion of Afghanistan could be transformed into what it is now:  an incipient, extremely tenuous democracy.

By contrast, under President Obama we have something like 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, fighting an unwinnable war for no viable reason.

When do we go back to simply keeping the taliban out of Afghanistan's major cities and disallowing terrorist training camps from functioning -- which is what we should be there for?

We've all seen those billboards which have sprung up in several parts of the country, featuring a picture of President Bush with the words "Miss me yet?". 

Regarding Afghanistan (and a lot more), the answer to that question is "Emphatically yes". 

Zeke .... .... ... The last foreign general to succeed in Afghanistan was Alexander the Great of Macedonia. ...... ...... ..... The British fought two wars there in the mid 1800's ... and were soundly defeated. ..... ..... Russia fought there in the 1980's with modern weapons - tanks, helicopters, aircraft, etc .... and was soundly defeated. .... .... The terrain is the absolute worst in the world. .... ... Pakistan's lawless Tribal Areas are sanctuary .... .... The enemy are religious fundamentalists who will not give up. .... ..... ..... After denying al Qaida the training and staging areas, there is absolutely no reason for the US to be there. ..... .... Bush did have the right strategy -- very limited forces, and kick the crap out of al Qaida. ..... ...... (12/15/10)

free` Ken I have a twofer for your "Why we fight" blogs. First; Austria: Judge Rules That Yodeling Offends Muslims israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/141152 by Elad Benari It seems as though in Austria, the popular yodel is an insult to Muslims. An Austrian court has recently fined a citizen for yodeling while mowing his lawn, according to a report in The Kronen Zeitung newspaper. The citizen, 63-year-old Helmut G., was told by the court that his yodeling offended his next-door Muslim neighbors, who accused him of trying to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin. In Muslim tradition, the Muezzin is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets. The yodel is a song which is sung with an extended note which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch and makes a high-low-high-low sound. Developed in the Central Alps as a method of communication between alpine mountaineers or between alpine villages, the yodel later became part of the region's traditional lore and musical expression. The technique is used in many cultures throughout the world and Austria is one of the countries where it is most popular. Unfortunately for Helmut G., his neighbors were in the middle of a prayer when he started to yodel. The Kronen Zeitung reported that he was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled that he could have tried to offend his neighbors and ridicule their belief. Helmut G. clarified that “It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood.” The second one; Indonesia: US Citizen Jailed for Blasphemy - faithfreedom.org/features/news/indonesia-us-citizen-jailed-for-blasphemy/ Gregory Luke's crime? During the month of Ramadan he complained about the loudspeaker at a mosque. Asked them to turn down the volume. Muslim's didn't appreciate it, accused him of unplugging the loudspeaker. (12/15/10)


JUAREZ: IS IT OUR FUTURE?

Ken Berwitz

This story is excerpted from an article at cnn.com:

(CNN) -- Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, made its own history Tuesday as its homicide rate reached 3,000 deaths for the year -- 10 times the number of killings annually that the border city counted just a few years ago.

 

With two weeks left in the year, 2010 is now the deadliest year Juarez has ever seen, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office told CNN.

 

Before a spasm of drug-related violence hit the city in 2008, the bloodiest year in Juarez was around 300, according to Sandoval.

 

"Last year we had 2,656. The year before in 2008 it was around 1,500 and in 2007 we had about 300," he said. "Can you imagine?" 

For the record, Juarez is right on the USA border, next to El Paso, Texas.

We better hope and pray that Juarez's present is not El Paso's future.

But what will stop it from happening?  The secure borders President Obama, eric holder and janet incompetano are working so hard to give us?

When do these three wake the hell up.  And when do we wake up, rise up, and demand serious border security?


SUBVERTING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE

Ken Berwitz

Going into the 2010 elections, Democrats held a dominant position in USA politics.  The party had a 255-178 majority in the house, a 26-24 majority of governors and an effective 59-41 majority in the senate (57, plus 2 "independents", Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman,who aligned with the Democratic majority).

Well, the voters spoke. Loudly.

Starting next month Republicans will hold a hefty 242-193 majority in the house,  a substantial, 29-20 majority among governors (one independent), and the Democratic senate majority has been cut to a perilous 53-47.

You would think they'd have gotten the message, wouldn't you?

Well, read this excerpt from Stephan Dinan's article in today's Washington Times and think again:

Forget about going quietly into the night.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a broad agenda for an end-of-session sprint that otherwise could be a whole year's worth of activity  including an arms-reduction treaty with Russia, a major immigration reform bill and legislation overturning the ban on openly gay military service members.

That's not to mention the nearly 2,000-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill that contains hundreds of pork-barrel projects and new rules governing things such as airport baggage and the fate of detainees at the military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We're not through. Congress ends on Jan. 4," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

What is likely to get the most attention is the omnibus spending bill, spanning 1,924 pages and spending what amounts to an average of $575.13 million per page.

It stands in contrast to the House, which last week passed a bill freezing fiscal 2011 spending at 2010 levels. The Senate bill boosts spending by $16 billion a tough sell at a time when deficits and debt are dominating the policy debate in Washington.

In some cases, the spending bill rejects President Obama's proposed cuts. For example, Mr. Obama asked Congress to cut funding for the Delta Health Initiative, which in 2010 received about $26 million for health care programs in eight states. The Senate bill increases funding for the program to nearly $35 million.

In further defiance of Mr. Obama, aides said, the bill funds an alternate production line for engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Mr. Obama has said he would veto any legislation that funded the second engine program, which Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said is not needed.

"Our military does not want or need these programs being pushed by the Congress, and should Congress ignore this fact, I will veto any such legislation, so that it can be returned to me without those provisions," Mr. Obama said in a statement in May, when Congress was ramping up its budget process.

Senators also included their House colleagues' requests for earmark spending after the House passed a bill devoid of pork. Still, earmarks total less than 1 percent of the budget.

You're heard that line "Shop 'til you drop"?  Well, the Harry Reid-led senate Democrats apparently have revised it to "Spend 'til you end".

For two years Democrats held complete ownership of the country - President, Senate, House, Governorships.  Voters saw what they did with it - especially the two consecutive trillion-dollar-plus deficits - and blew them away in last month's election. 

But instead of accepting the people's verdict, Democrats - at least in the senate - apparently are going to try shoving an entire agenda the country does not want right up our rectums.

I wish them every failure.  And I hope that voters' memories extend right through to 2012.


SENATOR MCCAIN'S STATEMENT REGARDING THE OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL

Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I blogged about senate majority leader Harry Reid attempting to inflict an insanely bloated, earmark-filled "Omnibus Appropriations Bill" on us before the new, far less Democrat-dominated congress takes office next month.

Well, Senator John McCain has something to say about this.  He made a statement on the floor of the senate imploring President Obama and his Democratic cohorts not to pass this "monstrosity", and warning them of the consquences if they did. 

Here are the key excerpts of Senator McCain's statement (the bold print, of course, is mine):

STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN ON THE FISCAL YEAR 2011 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT

December 14, 2010

Mr. President, at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon, my office received a copy of the omnibus appropriations bill.  It is 1,924 pages long and contains the funding for all 12 of the annual appropriations bills for a grand total of over $1.1 Trillion.  It is important to note that the 1,924 pages is only the legislative language and does not include the thousands of pages of report language which contain the details of the billions of dollars in earmarks and, Im sure, countless policy riders.

While we continue to uncover which earmarks the appropriators decided to fund thanks to a new online database we at least know what earmarks were requested by Members and how much those projects would cost the American people if they were all funded.  Taxpayers against Earmarks, www.washingtonwatch.com and Taxpayers for Common Sense joined forces to create this database.  According to the data they compiled for fiscal year 2011 Members requested over 39,000 earmarks totaling over $130 billion.  Absolutely disgraceful.  I encourage every American to go to the website www.endingspending.com study it, and make yourselves aware of how your elected officials seek to spend your money.

In the short time Ive had to review this massive piece of legislation Ive identified approximately 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion.  Here is a small sample:  

$277,000 for potato pest management in Wisconsin

$246,000 for bovine tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota 

$522,000 for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey 

$500,000 for oyster safety in Florida

$349,000 for swine waste management in North Carolina

$413,000 for peanut research in Alabama

$247,000 for virus free wine grapes in Washington

$208,000 beaver management in North Carolina

$94,000 for blackbird management in Louisiana

$165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont

$235,000 for noxious weed management in Nevada

$100,000 for the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage Visitors Center in New York 

$300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii

$400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas

Mr. President, I will have much more to say about this bill later this week.  I assure my colleagues we will spend a great deal of time talking about this bill and the outrageous number of earmarks it contains.  But for now let me just say this:  it is December 14th we are 22 days away from the beginning of a new Congress and nearly three full months into fiscal year 2011 and yet we have not debated a single spending bill or considered any amendments to cut costs or get our debt under control.  Furthermore, the majority decided that they just didnt feel like doing a budget this year.  How is that responsible leadership?  

One thing is abundantly clear to me that the majority has not learned the lessons of last months election.  The American people could not have been more clear.  They are tired of wasteful spending.  They are tired of big government.  They are tired of sweetheart deals for special interests.  They are tired of business as usual in Washington.  And they are tired of massive bills just like this one put together behind closed doors, and rammed through the Congress at the last moment so that no one has the opportunity to read them and no one really knows what kind of waste is in them.

Let me be clear about one thing if the Majority Leader insists on proceeding to this monstrosity - the American people will know whats in it.  I will be joined by many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle to ensure that every single word of this bill is read aloud here on the Senate floor.

I encourage my friends on the other side of the aisle to rethink their strategy and move forward with a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government into next year when a new Congress takes over a Congress that was elected by the American people on November 2nd.  The majority may be able to strong arm enough members into voting for this omnibus but they will not win in the end.  The American people will remember and I predict that we will see a repeat of November 2nd in the very near future. 

How's that for laying it on the line?

Thank you Senator McCain for plainly saying what had to be said.  We can only hope that a) your colleagues on the other side of the aisle are paying attention and b) our wonderful "neutral" media fully report both the specifics of this legislation and your statement about it.

Zeke ... .... .... One mo' time: "You have to PASS the bill, in order to find out what is in it". ..... ...... Each house of Congress has VERY specific procedural rules ..... ..... which appear to be ignored by the majority leadership. .... .... It should be VERY different, when the Reps are the majority in the House, in Jan, 2011. .... .... (12/15/10)

free` And this is on top of the so called tax cuts extension that spends a bunch of money we don't have. (12/15/10)


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