The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 15th, 2012: Who Said What?

You never know what you’re going to find at Foreign Policy magazine online. Recent issues contained two items which I decided to use for today’s offering: one somewhat humorous, one not so much.

The ‘somewhat humorous’ one is a fairly new feature at FP, entitled “Who Said It?” This particular version is “Grand Ayatollah or Grand Old Party?”, by Reza Aslan, who opens the article with:

“One is a religious fanatic railing against secularism, the role of women in the workplace, and the evils of higher education, as he seeks to impose his draconian moral values upon the state. The other is the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Rick Santorum

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran

Aslan’s quiz lists nine quotes, asking “Who Said It?”, Santorum or Khamenei. The answer is given on the next page within the article, where the subsequent quote is then listed. See how you do in this quiz!

The second article, the ‘not so humorous’ one, is by Stephen M. Walt, and lists the “Top Ten Media Failures in the Iran War Debate.” A few key observations by Mr. Walt, although by no means the most important or insightful ones in his article, include:

“…when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives.”


“A recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” as if its existence were an established fact. U.S. intelligence services still believe that Iran does not have an active program, and the IAEA has also declined to render that judgment either.”

Mr. Walt’s article is yet another illustration of the deficiencies of today’s ‘mainstream media’, which has, for quite some time, deplorably failed to serve or inform the public. 😦

This is our daily open thread — so, what’s on your mind?

162 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 15th, 2012: Who Said What?

  1. There is no true news reporting except on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Rachel Maddow does a good job. She will correct herself if she discovers that there was an error in her reporting. All the other news shows just present “hearsay” which is usually filled with lies and innuendos. Local news reports are more accurate but the locals are close to where the news is happening.

        • The only point behind 24/7 (other than Murdoch’s agenda) is to entice people to buy things. So “news” is targeted to entertain people, which requires keeping content shallow, short and happy. Or to spend 24 hours telling the audience that “we don’t know anymore than we did two hours ago but we’re still here covering this breaking news that you must know about, right after the break.”

  2. Finished reading the FP on the deplorable state of US journalism wrt Iran. David Gregory is a tool, Robert Siegel surprised me but then I listened to him let the Gingrich SuperPAC guy skate by on source of funding while he had him (turns out Gigrich’s SuperPAC is 75% funded by *just. two. people*).

  3. Trumpeting a new report from Brookings, Max Fisher shows how “health care subsidies on birth control actually save you money — a lot of money”:

    The savings come from averting health care, child care, and other costs associated with unplanned pregnancies. [It’s] a rate of return of 100% to 500%, making it one of the safest and most profitable investments anywhere. … As an added bonus, you’ll also reduce the number and rate of abortions, 90% of which are estimated to be for unintended pregnancies. And you’ll reduce the number of unwed mothers (if you happen to think this is a number that should be reduced), who carry 70% of unplanned pregnancies.

    • If the Republicans weren’t trying so hard to please the religious right, the simple logic of providing contraception coverage SHOULD be enough to convince them to support it. If it wasn’t so serious, it would almost be funny watching them squirm between wanting to be fiscally conservative and wanting to appear to have the moral high ground. Obviously, they’ve decided that religion trumps saving money.

      As Zooey once said, they’re “ass-holier-than-thou.” I like that!

  4. The thing that bothers me the most about the MSM is that they refuse to call liars “liars” or even interject a remark like “that’s not really true”. Let’s restrict ourselves to ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. When was the last time the anchor on any of their newscasts mentioned that President Obama lowered taxes or mentioned that we are drilling for oil/gas at four times the rate we were drilling during the bush administration? When was the last time they said “that’s not really true” when some Reichwhiner has said that President Obama has raised taxes and/or blocked domestic oil drilling? When have they said “that’s not really true” about any Reich-wing lie?

    PBS, while generally a very good news source, might piss me off the most. They, at least, will host guests from both sides of an issue but, in the name of fairness, refuse to actually call a guest on an untruth. Judy Woodruff might be the most annoying. She will sit there and allow one guest to lie through their teeth, give said lying guest the last word, then close the segment with “we’ll have to leave it there”. I realize that newscasters, aside from FAUX”News”, are supposed to be impartial but I don’t think it’s taking sides if said newscaster points out a falsehood. But? They never do.

  5. Sen. Lugar declared ineligible to vote in Indiana

    Lugar, who sold his Indianapolis house after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. He’s been using the Indiana address on his driver’s license and voter registration, even though he and his wife own a home in Virginia.Last month, the state Election Commission unanimously ruled that Lugar is eligible to run for office in Indiana even though he gave up his residence there.

    A similar situation has popped up after congressional redistricting. Apparently members of the House don’t actually have to live in the district they represent. Michelle Bachmann, for example, now lives in a different district after the lines were redrawn. If she were to run in her home district, she’d likely lose. But she apparently has the right to still run in her old district.

    Perhaps it seemed implied (and common sense) to the framers that you must live in the place you plan to represent. Perhaps in the 21st century, we’re incapable of common sense, so maybe we need a constitutional amendment to force the point.

    • You’d think that the voters would, party notwithstanding simply turf the bastards out….. oh, what am I thinking? Sorry forget that I thought that the democratic system worked even passably…for a moment… I’m all better now.

    • As a long term politician, Lugar seemingly represents lobbyists, a lot of whom would also live in Virginia. He could easily imply he is representing his home district.

    • I’m a bit torn on this one. Before modern transportation and communication it was necessary for a lawmaker to live in the district they represent. The only real problem I see with someone living 20 miles away is if said lawmaker passed legislation that would hurt them if they lived in said district while benefiting from living outside the district. On the other hand, I really think that a U.S. Senator or member of Congress should be a legal resident of the state they represent.

    • I’m old fashioned. I think elected representatives should maintain a residence in the constituency they represent. Not a PO Box. Not their deputy step cousin in laws house but an actual residence. Otherwise we should rename DC Versailles or something.

      • There should be barracks built in the District of Confusion for Members of Congress to reside at when in session. They should have a curfew too!

    • The United States Constitution – The U.S. Constitution Online –

      No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age
      of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and
      who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall
      be chosen.

      No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

      Actually, the framers did put it in there. Apparently the word “inhabitant” means something different now than it did then.

      Inhabitant – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

      Definition of INHABITANT : one that occupies a particular place regularly, routinely, or for a period of time <inhabitants of large cities> <the tapeworm is an inhabitant of the intestine>

      Hmmm. This is sounding pretty dicey for Mr. Lugar.

        • Indeed. I think Bachmann (and presumably other House members who choose not to live in their districts, but elsewhere in the same state) gets a pass. The Constitution does not require them to live the district they represent.

          And even though it says at the time of the election, I don’t think it means their very first election. I think a fair read is each election.

  6. Some ignorant cracker March Madness:

    Jack Moore captions:

    “When Kansas State’s point guard Angel Rodriguez went to the line, a chant of “Where’s your green card?” rang out through the crowd. (It can be heard at 2 and 17 seconds in the video.) Reporters on the scene identified it as having come from Southern Mississippi’s band. Thankfully it was short lived.”

    • And here in Canada we have no shortage of people who didn’t give a shit about what happened to Maher. I hope he and his family are doing well now.

  7. Newt’s Despicable Gasoline Price Promise:

    “Why doesn’t Gingrich promise free daily ice cream and cake for everybody while he’s at it? … While it is true that the Obama administration has ruled out drilling on vast areas of the federal estate, the number of oil and gas rigs operating in the U.S. has nonetheless increased markedly in recent years. Indeed, it is not surprising that as the price of petroleum soared so too did the number of drilling rigs. The oil and gas rig count has increased to more than 1,900, up from around 700 [PDF] in 2000. … ”

    If Gingrich wants to lower oil prices, perhaps he should stop his saber-rattling against Iran:

    Tim Evans, energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York wrote in The Financial Times, “The recent run up the price of oil is almost completely the result of concerns about losing Iranian oil or Iran attacking shipments in the Strait of Hormuz.”

    • Gingrich is stupid or a liar or both and anyone who believes him is stupid also.

      But I want a pony, he needs to get me a pony.

  8. So an HR person I know left my company to go somewhere else. She just updated her job title on LinkedIn, and she is a “Human Capital Consultant.”

    Human Capital.


    • But. But. But there can’t be any good news while there’s a black guy in the White House. The market is only doing well because the GOoPers are going to assume complete control in January. Alan West said so and he wouldn’t lie (spit!).

  9. George Stephanopolous must have been reading the conversation between Zooey and I last night. (Or was it two nights ago?) He asks the question about Santorum winning. His final summation:

    Chances of a Brokered Convention | Power Players – Yahoo! News

    Is it likely?  Not really, but not impossible either.

    My comment from two nights ago:

    Not impossible, certainly, but I’m wondering how probable it is at this point.

    Hey it’s the little things in life. I’m pleased that George agrees with me. 🙂

  10. Fox News Poll

    Who do you think national leaders in Venezuela, Iran and North Korea want to win the
    2012 presidential election?
    55% – President Obama
    20% – The Republican candidate
    6% – (Doesn’t matter to them)
    19% – (Don’t know)

    Why do you even ask that question? Fox. Ugh.

    • Why? Because obviously Obama is liked by these leaders and therefore will appease them at every step of the way. That’s the message to the fox bots.

    • No biggie. IF a N. Korean, Venezuelan, or Iranian would somehow turn out to be the Republican candidate, I just might vote for him-her-it — something I could NEVER say if the options were Mo(m)ney, Rantorum, or Newtered!

      And that’s a fact, Jack.

      • After 7 hours of standing in water; after 70 takes of the same 3 minute scene; after being served animal crackers, and weak coffee; many “beavers” were ready to take down the director, and gnaw her to the bone. The assistant director came out from behind the shrubs, stood next to me and addressed to all of us,”how great we all were”, then winked at me. He fuckin WINKED at me. 7 hours of standing in muck, I get hit on by the asst. director. Other than that it was fine. 🙂

    • “Kathryn is fit to be tied,” said a pal. “She feels as if she’s be­ing tarred and feathered with the same brush that people are using on her hus­band. She really let him have it.

      At least she hasn’t done a “Gloria” Cain – parade out to defend the creep

      • What does she expect? She married a world famous racist, bigot, misogynist.

        Marry a guy knowing that about him, and not only will you fucking EARN every cent you get, you will be tarred with the same brush. Deal with it.

        • Oh she knows the game she’s been playing, and you can be certain she’ll get her pound of flesh. Victimhood is written into her act, play it out, then Payday.

            • Trying to imagine why a woman … any woman … would climb willingly in the sack with Limbaugh, Viagra’d or not. There is no logic. Unless potential bank account overflow is ‘logic.’ Perhaps to some it might be. But still … sacko with Rush? Nah.

              Retardation. The only possible answer. There ain’t enough money on the planet. Or enough Viagra. Is there?

              Nah. No way.

            • But frug you’re trying to imagine with a rational mind that is grounded, and explain their actions through that filter. It is impossible to have emphathy with a well documented psychosis.

            • Yah. I know. And therein lies the rub. Sotospeak.

              I want to migrate. To a place where there’s no money, no greed, no power, no religion, no nuthin’ save for maybe warm breezes, swaying trees, blue lagoons, fishes, berries, and maybe room for me plus one incredibly beautiful lady?

              I’ll pay millions* for the details, the map!

              *millions in, that is, Wall Street/GOP dollars. I hope a check. is. ok. sotospeak.

  11. Goodnite all. I’m still soggy from yesterday, and need my masculine inducing sleep wherein dangerous perversions await me in dreams.

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