Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Smokescreen

It has now been revealed what this column has  suspected all along: John Roberts is a covert liberal!

He’s simply been biding his time, waiting for the landmark case that would signal his defining moment to come out of the closet.

As conservatives gnashed their teeth, and liberals rejoiced, Roberts simply called a spade a spade, or, rather, a tax a tax, a toxic term the Administration has been at pains not to have attached to the mandate. If Republicans are smart, they can use this fact to advantage should Obama start to brag that he hasn’t raised taxes during his term; because he now most certainly has.

Don’t let the rulings in Bush v. Gore, or District of Columbia v. Heller, or Citizens United v. FEC, cloud your perception. They were just run-ups to the main event, a smokescreen to keep us off our guard, believing Roberts to be the Reactionary anti-Christ.

Were you fooled?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Serious Social Problem Solved By Beer?

I see by a recent purchase at our local grog shop that the Czech brewer of Pilsner Urquell has decided to grab the teenage drinking problem by the horns by printing: FOR PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 21 ONLY on every bottle.

If this is a new regulatory requirement by the ATF, the FDA, or the ABC, then Urquell is stuck with it, even though it’s like printing: NOT FOR USE BY “STAND YOUR GROUND” SOCIOPATHS on a box of bullets.

But, if it’s the brewer’s own initiative, then it’s got to be the lamest pass at exercising corporate social responsibility since Pontius was a pilot (as the WWII flyboys used to say).  Even if every brewer on the planet were to adopt the warning message, it wouldn’t put the tiniest dent in the problem. PC run amok.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disinformation Please

According to an email from the Columbia Journalism Review:

“In April 2010, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 75 percent of Americans understood that the Affordable Care Act provided for subsidies to help people buy insurance. Roughly two years later, a follow-up survey found that only 56 percent of Americans understood the same. Why is the act so poorly understood?

As Trudy Lieberman explains, President Barack Obama and those representatives have failed to adequately explain the act and its individual coverage mandate, now under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court. Too frequently, reporters take their lead from those politicians and miss opportunities to explain how the health insurance market changes under their readers' feet.”

This article also demonstrates how the press can, through inattention, inadvertently become an echo chamber for naysayers who are wealthy and nimble enough to mount an effective juggernaut of carefully crafted disinformation. Hapless proponents who have failed to present their case effectively are drowned out by the static.

This sort of thing has, of course, been going on in political America since scurrilous attacks on George Washington’s ability and integrity were rampant. Since WWII, the press has become more disciplined than it was in the 18th and 19th centuries, but it still too frequently functions – however unwittingly – as a sounding board for extreme partisans who can pass the smell test of being legitimate sources while peddling disinformation.

Needless to say, all political players take advantage of the press when they can, and the press cannot be expected to rescue those policymakers who drown in their own convoluted rhetoric (read Democrats) while the artful dodgers (Republicans) regularly outflank and out-message them.

See also Huffington blogger Adam McKay on this subject.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ironic Headline of the Week

Reporters Kicked Out of Romney Event at Newseum