Day: October 11, 2010

Oops! How Much Research Did Megyn Kelly Do Before Going On The Air With Incorrect Obama Casting Call Story?

News Hounds

Megyn Kelly and Fox News were so eager to malign an upcoming MTV Town Hall with President Obama that they didn’t bother to investigate the facts behind a Backstage.com notice for audience members. Kelly wrongly gave the impression that Obama’s audience was to be selected like a Democratic casting call – i.e. for good-looking actors playing town hall attendees – when, in fact, the Backstage notice was just one of several places where invitations for submissions were posted. Furthermore, though Kelly noted the “casting call” did not come from the White House, she allowed the suggestion to stand that there was a connection. In fact, Mediaite debunked the “casting call controversy” last week. Now, Mediaite has discovered that Backstage placed the notice on their own, without any connection to Obama or MTV or the town hall. We’ll be watching for a correction tomorrow.

Mediaite gave credit to Megyn Kelly for referencing another, bigger casting call controversy, namely a call for a “‘hicky’ Blue Collar look’ of West Virginia truckers in an ad for Senate candidate John Raese. But the WV ad got little more than a mention in a segment that was primarily about Obama’s town hall.

Three cheers to Democratic Dick Harpootlian for getting in this little dig at Fox. “If the president’s trying to reach that (MTV) demographic of young kids are open on a lot of issues, that’s the way to do it… If the president were trying to reach bitter white men over the age of 40, what network would you think he’d want to go to?”
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Obama’s Fed Nominee, Delayed By Congress, Wins Nobel Prize In Economics

Norwegian Nobel Committee

Image via Wikipedia

What is the difference between  Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiabo, who is serving 11 years for his writings and Federal Reserve board nominee and one of the three Nobel Prize winners for economics, Peter Diamond who’s nomination by President Obama is being held up in Congress? 

Not much by my calculation.  One is being held in prison to quell his open dissent and the other is being held in limbo to quell Obama’s moderate agenda.

In my opinion, not much at all.

The Huffington Post

Two Americans and a British-Cypriot economist won the 2010 Nobel economics prize Monday for developing a theory that helps explain why many people can remain unemployed despite a large number of job vacancies.

Federal Reserve board nominee Peter Diamond was honored along with Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides with the 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.5 million) prize for their analysis of the obstacles that prevent buyers and sellers from efficiently pairing up in markets.

Diamond – a former mentor to current Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke – analyzed the foundations of so-called search markets, while Mortensen and Pissarides expanded the theory and applied it to the labor market.

Their work, dating back to the 1970s and ’80s, sheds light on why the classical view of markets, in which prices are set so that buyers and sellers always find each other and all resources are fully utilized, doesn’t always apply to the real world.

One example is the housing market, where buyers can struggle to find new homes even though there are a number of unsold properties available.

Another is the labor market. Because searching for jobs takes time and resources, it creates friction in the job market, helping explain why there are both job vacancies and unemployment simultaneously, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

“The laureates’ models help us understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy,” the citation said.

Their work resulted in the so-called Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model, a frequently used tool to estimate how unemployment benefits, interest rates, the efficiency of employment agencies and other factors can affect the labor market.

“One conclusion is that more generous unemployment benefits give rise to higher unemployment and longer search times,” the academy said.

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The Fifteen Craziest Senate Candidates

The Daily Beast

In a crazy campaign season, who’s craziest of all? The Daily Beast, using its Election Oracle and 9 other factors, discovers the 15 Senate candidates scoring highest on our new Wingnut Index.

Somehow, 2010 has turned out to be the year of the Wingnut. An unprecedented array of far out—and mostly far-right—candidates have won closed partisan primaries and now have a real shot at entering the nation’s most deliberative body—the Senate. But how can we quantify the crazy?

In the spirit of rankings that determine candidates’ ideological or special-interest adherence, we have come up with our own Wingnut Index as a way of measuring the extremism of Senate candidates this year. (Subsequent rankings of congressional and gubernatorial candidates will be coming every Monday until the election.) The 15 Senate candidates who earned enough points to grab top slots on the Wingnut Index reflect roughly one-quarter of the total candidates running this year—a fair measure of the extremes’ influence on our politics today.

The 15 Highest-Ranked Wingnuts

In the 10 areas measured, we have reached for binary criteria whenever possible, such as whether the candidate subscribes to the conspiracy theories of being a “birther” or a 9/11 truther, or whether they have compared their political opponents to either Nazis or communists. Evidence of either Bush Derangement Syndrome or Obama Derangement Syndrome was included in the general category of fearmongering.

Hyper-partisan, special-interest-driven voting records were taken into account when possible—for example, candidates who received a 100 percent rating from the Family Research Council or a 100 percent rating from what could be considered their opposite interest group on the left, the AFS ratings by the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees. (In the interest of full disclosure, Barbara Boxer’s 99 rating was rounded up for inclusion.)

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Eric Cantor Seeks Distance From Rich Iott, GOP Candidate Who Dressed In Nazi Garb

Huffington Post

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sought on Sunday to quickly and clearly distance the Republican Party from a GOP candidate whose past participation in Nazi re-enactments surfaced this weekend.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Cantor (the lone Jewish Republican in the House) said he “would absolutely repudiate” Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Ohio’s 9th District who apparently had an affinity for donning a German Waffen SS uniform.

“What we have got now is a new crop of young leaders energized to go to Washington for the right reasons,” said Cantor. “Now Debbie [Wasserman Schultz, Cantor’s co-panelist] went and launched into her attacks as to some of the reports about candidates that are running, particular the one in Ohio having to do with Nazi re-enactment. She knows that I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual who would do something like that.”

At this point Wasserman Schultz urged Cantor to actually articulate his repudiation. “I’m doing it right here,” he replied. “I’m doing it right here Debbie. You know good well that I don’t support anything like that.”

Iott’s past involvement in Nazi re-enactments, first reported by The Atlantic, may well constitute the largest discomfiture for the Republican Party in a cycle in which a number of candidates have done or said discomforting things. The Ohio Republican has defended himself by insisting his participation in the events was done for “purely historical interest in World War II.” But the defense has done little to assuage GOP leadership. Once listed on the Republican Party’s site of “Contenders” (a ranking/prioritization of candidates that was just below the “Young Guns”), Iott’s name was removed altogether once the photos of him surfaced.

The Democrat in the race, incumbent Marcy Kaptur, already seemed likely to hold the seat. Iott’s quick sink seems likely to seal the deal.

Newt: on the edge or over the line?

Politico

Newt Gingrich likes to bask in the uproar his comments create.

In August, Newt Gingrich compared backers of a mosque near Ground Zero to Nazis putting up signs at the Holocaust museum. In September, there was his assertion that President Barack Obama is motivated by a “Kenyan anti-colonial” world view. And early October already has brought a declaration that Democrats are “the party of food stamps.”

It has been a busy season for the former House speaker, who seems every few weeks to return to a playbook he first began using three decades ago: Lobbing rhetorical grenades into the crowd, and basking in the uproar that follows.

Gingrich is used to hearing gasps of outrage from his Democratic targets. But his latest provocations have also brought groans and rolled eyes from Republican quarters, where some prominent figures warn that Gingrich’s instinct for bombast is an obstacle to him being taken seriously as a party leader or a promising presidential contender in 2012.

The squirming on his own side highlights a predicament for Gingrich.

In some ways this should be his moment. The kind of harsh, attack-based politics that were novel when Gingrich first began specializing in them during the late 1970s have become in many ways the norm in the modern political media environment.

But some skeptics, including some Republicans who say they wish Gingrich well, contend that he has never learned the difference between going to the edge and going over it. Earlier this year he wrote that Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are part of a “secular-socialist machine” that is as dire a threat to the country now as Hitler’s Germany or the Soviet Union were in the past.

And Democrats suggest he has been trafficking so long in ostentatiously partisan statements—Bill Clinton recently called it Gingrich’s “shtick”—that he has devalued his own currency.

By these lights, one part of Gingrich’s brain is that of a strategist and intellectual—a person comfortable talking about history and ideas, on a constant search for the right language and themes to connect with voters.

But the other part is that of a man who lives always in the moment—addicted to overstatement, rarely pausing to consider whether the words that will get him attention today are consistent with what he said in the past or will advance his larger ambitions to recover from his 1990s setbacks and restore his standing as a major national leader.

 
 

 

Paladino: I didn’t say gays were ‘dysfunctional’

Carl Paladino  tries to back track his statement about gays…

‘Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie’

The Republican candidate for governor of New York lashed early Monday at reports that he had said “there is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

Carl Paladino’s campaign said several media outlets initially reported that the gubernatorial hopeful had made the remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Sunday.

He was said to have added, “That is not how God created us.” However Paladino said in a statement obtained by NBC News that the comment was “not the actual statement I made.”

“I do not agree with this passage, nor did I say it,” he said, saying his hosts at a synagogue in theWilliamsburg neighborhood had handed out what he described as “suggested remarks” after he left.  

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