Day: November 2, 2010

The Sanity Song – Jon Stewart’s Speech Auto Tuned!

This is kinda cute…

Huffington Post

It didn’t take long for auto-tune gurus the Gregory brothers to work their magic on Jon Stewart’s closing speech at the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. Here it is, aptly titled “Sanity Song,” highlighting Stewart’s cry for the media to use its magnifying glass for good with some added facts about transportation in New Jersey. It may not be as catchy as the “Bed Intruder” remix, but the message is certainly more profound!

Your Election Night Guide

The Daily Beast

Alaska’s Nail-Biter

Alaska’s Senate race has surprisingly become one of the most exciting this year. Polls on this race vary wildly, and any outcome is possible. Will Joe Miller’s scandals doom his candidacy? Will Murkowski’s hard-to-spell last name sink her prospects as a write-in? Or will Miller and Murkowski divide the conservative vote enough to give Scott McAdams (D) a surprise first-place finish? Plan to stay up late and expect the unexpected. The Daily Beast’s Election Oracle gives Murkowski and Miller each a 40 percent chance of winning.

The Not-So-Energized Youth

With all this talk of Democratic doom, one has to wonder, what happened to all those new young voters Obama inspired to vote in 2008? The answer might be in a polling problem. Most polls call respondents on landlines, but a quarter of U.S. households can only be reached on a cell phone—and many of that growing cohort are young people. Could the polls just be playing catch-up with this technological shift, overstating the trouble the Democrats are in by under-counting one of their key constituencies?

Is the GOP Losing Latinos?    

After years of increasing outrage over illegal immigration, the Republican base has finally succeeded in forcing the Republican establishment to act. Arizona’s tough and controversial law is inspiring copycat laws elsewhere, and Latinos may feel they no longer have a place in the GOP. Look at the voting patterns in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, where high Hispanic turnout and a shift toward the Democrats could dramatically change the electoral calculus for Republicans down the line.

The Dems’ White Women Problem

White women have been reliable voters who tend to favor Democrats, but they may be leaving the party in the dust in 2010. When The Daily Beast re-analyzed Gallup polling data in September, we found that white women are the least enthusiastic of all demographic groups, behind black men (36 percent) and white men (40 percent). A significant percentage of white Republican women are enthusiastic, but independents (21 percent) and Democrats (24 percent) are anything but excited.

Colorado: A Key Battleground

The state was a key Democratic pickup in 2008, a symbol of Democratic inroads into the Republican West. In 2010, Colorado will be an important proving ground for the Tea Party. Their candidate, Ken Buck, is challenging Michael Bennet (D) for a senate seat, and polls are nearly even—The Daily Beast’s Election Oracle gives each a 50 percent chance of victory. Two ultra-conservative candidates, Dan Maes (R) and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, are squaring off against the popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D), in the gubernatorial race. Hickenlooper gets a 90 percent chance of victory from the Oracle.

Emotions Run High Over Obama’s Senate Seat  

If Mark Kirk (R) wins Obama’s old Senate seat away from the Democrats the emotional toll on Democratic morale might be as significant as the knock to the Democratic Senate majority. Alexi Giannoulias (D) trails Kirk (R) 40 percent to 60 percent in the Oracle’s prediction.

Nevada’s Tight Race

Harry Reid (D), a milktoast incumbent who as Senate majority leader represents the Democratic establishment more than perhaps anyone is feeling the heat from his conservative, insurgent, lightning-rod opponent, Sharron Angle (R). Polls are fairly tight but the Oracle has called the race for Angle, giving her a 70 percent chance of winning. Her victory will be seen as a tremendous rebuke for the Democratic policies of the last two years.

Obama’s Man in Virginia in Trouble

In no race has Obama put his name on the line more than in the Virginia 5th, campaigning for Tom Perriello (D) against challenger Robert Hurt (R). Obama gave Perriello a shout-out on The Daily Show, and visited the state, rallying students around the embattled Democrat, a freshman congressman who has taken heat in his conservative district for voting in favor of the health-care bill. This could be a very close race, but it isn’t looking good for either Obama or Perriello, who has only a 30 percent chance of holding on to his seat, according to the Oracle.

The Black Vote

North Carolina’s 8th is a swing district where the importance of the African-American vote will be on full display. The Daily Beast’s Election Oracle gives Democrat Larry Kissel a 60 percent chance of keeping his seat, but Harold Johnson (R) trails him by less than two points in recent polling. Thirty percent of North Carolina’s 8th district is black, so the outcome of this race will answer one of the most intriguing questions of 2010—will blacks come out to support the president, as they did in 2008, even though he isn’t on the ballot?

The voter fraud & intimidation stories you won’t hear about on Fox

Everything the right wing does is designed to accomplish one of two things, either:
(a) transfer wealth from everyone else to the rich, or,
(b) distract everyone else from the fact that (a) is occurring.”
~ Jack Clark

For years the GOP and their media supporters have touted the straw man argument that there is wide-spread voter fraud going on in the general and midterm elections.  The fact is they are using these stories to cover-up what they are in fact doing in terms of voter disenfranchisement, voter caging and intimidation.

Media Matters

For the past several months, Fox News has hyped GOP accusations of voter fraud, no matter how little evidence exists to support them, and Bret Baier has promised that Fox will cover voter fraud allegations “in every show.” But Fox has failed to report on, or has dismissed and distorted, numerous accusations of voter fraud or intimidation carried out by individuals linked to right-wing groups and politicians.

Fox largely ignores the DoJ is looking into allegations that Texas Tea Party group members engaged in voter intimidation

King Street Patriots’ “True the Vote” initiative accused of intimidating voters. Talking Points Memo published an article on October 19 about allegations of voter intimidation by poll watchers trained by the Tea Party group King Street Patriots. According to the article, the Department of Justice is looking into claims that poll watchers in Harris County were “‘hovering over’ voters, ‘getting into election workers’ faces’ and blocking or disrupting lines of voters” at early voting stations. From the article:

Poll watchers in Harris County, Texas — where a Tea Party group launched an aggressive anti-voter fraud effort — were accused of “hovering over” voters, “getting into election workers’ faces” and blocking or disrupting lines of voters who were waiting to cast their ballots as early voting got underway yesterday.

Now, TPMMuckraker has learned, the Justice Department has interviewed witnesses about the alleged intimidation and is gathering information about the so-called anti-voter fraud effort.

“We are currently gathering information regarding this matter,” Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement confirming the Civil Rights Division’s involvement.

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Beck briefly mentioned and dismissed allegations that King Street Patriots poll watchers were engaged in voter intimidation. A Nexis search of Fox transcripts for “King Street Patriots or Houston Votes or True the Vote” returns two results, one from Glenn Beck’s October 31 program and one from the September 27 broadcast of Fox & Friends. Megyn Kelly also mentioned the King Street Patriots during a segment on November 1. Beck appeared to dismiss the allegations, managed to tie the DOJ’s actions to George Soros, and concluded, “Gee, I wonder which side will take the phone calls at the DoJ.” From the Nexis transcript of the program:

BECK: So expect the reaction. Expect the fraud. Expect intimidation. It’s all been done before. Eric Holder’s DoJ didn’t seem alarmed, you know, at the radical militants that were hovering at the polls. No big deal! They inexplicably dropped the rock solid case against them. Now they’re being looked at to look into voter intimidation, alleged voter intimidation, in Harris County, Texas. A group there called the King Street Patriots have been trained — have been training poll watchers to watch out for document or voter intimidation or fraud. They document everything they see. They write it all down.


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Fox & Friends hypes King Street Patriots’ “True the Vote” allegations of voter fraud, ignored reports they doctored a photo to support claims of voter fraud

Kelly mentions King Street Patriots but fails to mention Department of Justice involvement or specific allegations at polling places

Fox airs no reports on fliers from phony Texas group that were intended to trick Democratic voters

Non-existent “Black Democratic Trust of Texas” distributed fliers telling voters not to vote “straight ticket Democratic” because “it is actually voting for Republicans.”

Fox airs no reports on Republican activists in Texas allegedly harassing elderly black voters at their homes

Seven elderly black voters report being harassed at their homes in Texas after sending their mail-in ballots. Mother Jones reported on October 29 that a voting rights lawyer filed a complaint with the Department of Justice on behalf of elderly black voters who complained of being harassed and intimidated at their homes in eastern Texas. The article said at least seven elderly voters complained they were harassed by “two unidentified white women” who came to their homes in Bowie County to interrogate them about their mail-in ballot applications. The article describes the women as “middle-aged, local Republican activists who had accessed publicly available information about which voters had requested mail-in ballots”.

Fox did not report on allegations that GOP candidate Kirk planned “voter integrity” squads for African-American neighborhoods

By contrast, Fox has repeatedly hyped stories of “voter fraud” allegedly carried out by Democrats

Baier vowed that Fox News will cover voter fraud allegations “in every show.” After airing a report on various allegations of voter fraud on an October 31 special edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier concluded that “we’ll be following this in every show.”

Fox has relentlessly hyped GOP-linked accusations of voter fraud, regardless of their credibility. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, Fox News has promoted many allegations of voter fraud supposedly carried out by Democrats and left-wing groups, no matter how little evidence exists to support these claims.

Fox has voter fraud email tip line. As Talking Points Memo noted, on October 28, Fox News announced that it “has set up an e-mail to collect viewer complaints over voter fraud ahead of the midterm elections.” The email address is voterfraud@foxnews.com.

A Pathetic Attempt at Justifying Republican Obstructionism

Mario Piperni

George Will demonstrates how far conservatives will go to justify Republican obstructionism.

Let me just say this. The Republican Party is being told to be the party of no. No more stimulus spending. No cap-and-trade. No card check. None of this other stuff. Gridlock is not an American problem. It’s an American achievement. The framers of our Constitution didn’t want an efficient government; they wanted a safe government. To which end they filled it with slowing and blocking mechanisms. Three branches of government, two branches of the legislative branch, veto, veto override, supermajority, judicial review.

when we have gridlock, the system is working.

What are the odds Will would not be proclaiming the benefits of government gridlock in a Republican controlled Congress?  And if gridlock is a sign of “the system working”, then what exactly would a broken system look like?

Flashback: Republican Members Called Obama ‘Anti-American,’ ‘Marxist,’ ‘Gangster’

This wasn’t that long ago.  The folks who are poised to take leadership in the house were not very nice when it came to The President of the United States of America.  John Boehner said the POTUS was referring to Americans as “enemies” in a recent speech.

Talk about GOP hypocrisy, Boehner epitomizes the term…

Think Progress

In an interview with Univision last week, President Obama said: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Many conservatives took great issue with Obama’s use of the word “enemies” to describe political opponents. Tonight in Cincinnati, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) will give a major “closing argument” speech in which he will attack Obama for the comment:

Boehner’s sanctimony is truly stunning, considering that since the start of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and through his time as President of the United States, an office for which Boehner professes much reverence in his speech, Republicans have directly attacked Obama as everything from a “gangster” to Adolf Hitler, and suggested in myriad ways that Obama is an enemy to America, or perhaps not even actually an American.

A limited collection of the worst things Republicans have said about Obama:

– Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) was forced to apologize for “calling President-elect Barack Obama a ‘Marxist’ and comparing him to Adolf Hitler.” [11/12/08]

– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) also compared Obama not only to Hitler, but also Hugo Chavez. [07/09/09]

– Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) questioned whether President Obama was an American, saying: “Well, his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.” [02/23/09]

– Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) also questioned Obama’s citizenship, saying birthers “have a point” and that “I don’t discourage it.” [07/29/09]

– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said she was “very concerned that [Obama] may have anti-American views.” [10/17/08]

– Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) called Obama “an enemy of humanity” for his pro-choice views. [09/26/09]

– Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) called Obama “a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda,” and said he was “a dedicated enemy of the Constitution.” [07/22/10]

– Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that the Obama administration was a “gangster government.” [11/12/09]

– Bachmann, too, accuses Obama of heading a “gangster government.” [06/10/09]

– As Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin famously said Obama is “palling around with terrorists.” [10/04/10]

– Palin also said the president was being advised by “thugs” from Chicago. [06/10/10]

Boehner did not repudiate a single one of these comments, but has suddenly found a sense of political decorum. Perhaps the next time an elected Republican accuses Obama of trying to destroy America, Boehner can give another speech.

Update This afternoon, President Obama said he wishes he used the word opponents, instead of ‘enemies.’ “Now the Republicans are saying that I’m calling them enemies,” Obama said. “What I’m saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different

Keith Olbermann Suspends ‘Worst Persons’ Segment Until Further Notice

In a move that was sparked in part by the Rally To Restore Sanity, Keith Olbermann is doing his part to restore it…

Mediaite

Longtime fans of Countdown may have been disappointed to learn tonight that one of the franchise segments, “Worst Persons,” is no longer – at least for the time being. Why? Well as host Keith Olbermann explains in the segment below, its original reason for being (Tucker Carlson?) no longer seems relevant. Oh, and it’s probably more than just a coincidence that Jon Stewart held up Olbermann as an example of the divisive nature of cable news (among many others) during the Rally to Restore Sanity.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the “sanity rally” was that cable news programming, specifically those who successfully traffic in “opiniontainment” like Fox News and MSNBC, is not helping our country, but rather is hurting the public discourse, at least in the eyes of the rally’s host. This raised the ire of at least one cable news host, Keith Olbermann, who, after seeing his own heated political rhetoric amidst Fox News personalities (and others), expressed his outrage over Stewart’s apparent false equivalency between he and his political opponents.

Olbermann used that as an introduction into his explanation behind suspending the popular (and yes, hyperbolically divisive) segment:

The overall message that the tone needs to change, was not lost on any of us. The anger in this news hour was not an original part of it, nor was it an artifice we added to it. It was a response to a threat to this democracy posed by Mr. Bush and now by his lineal descendants. The anger happened, it will still happen, it is not for ratings and it is not ‘get angry first and find a reason later.’

But there is an institutionalization of it that may no longer be valid. That is the ‘Worse Persons in the World’ Segment. Which started, of all things, as a way of defending Tucker Carlson. Its satire and whimsy have gradually gotten lost in some anger, so in the spirit of the thing, as of right now, I am unilaterally suspending that segment with an eye towards discontinuing it. We don’t know how that works long term. We might bring it back. We might bring back something similar to it, might kill it outright, and next week we will solicit your input.

Its just that today, given the serious stuff we have to start covering tomorrow, we think its the right thing to do short term and then we will see what happens. And we’ll also see if anyone else, on tv, or radio, will do something similar.

Olbermann has never been one to shy away from a fight, as evidence by his Saturday tweet that was critical of Jon Stewart’s media critique. This makes his suspension of “Worse Persons” all the more impressive. Media critics are certain to predictably say that Olbermann somehow caved to Stewart’s critique, but that would miss the point entirely. What Olbermann announced was remarkably sane, and regardless of where one finds him or herself on the political spectrum, he should be lauded.

Morgan Freeman Says GOP Candidate B.J. Lawson Is Lying: I Never Recorded An Ad For Him

Huffington Post

 Actor Morgan Freeman is denying that he provided the narration for a Republican candidate’s political ad, saying that the campaign lied by claiming that he did.

“These people are lying,” said Freeman in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. “I have never recorded any campaign ads for B.J. Lawson and I do not support his candidacy. And, no one who represents me ever has ever authorized the use of my name, voice or any other likeness in support of Mr. Lawson or his candidacy.”

Lawson is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. David Price in North Carolina’s fourth congressional district. The ad in question is titled, “What is David Price Afraid Of?”

Watch the ad…

The Price campaign is calling on Lawson to immediately pull down his ads and apologize. “This is an unfortunate and desperate attempt to fool voters in the last hours of a campaign,” read a statement by the campaign. “By using Mr. Freeman’s good name, BJ Lawson has ruined his own, and he should be ashamed. Now the voters will decide whom they trust.”

UPDATE, 5:24 p.m.: This is not the first time there has been controversy over an ad narrated by “Morgan Freeman.” Recently, Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate used an actor that sounded very much like Freeman to narrate one of its ads. The Awl wondered whether there was an intention by the campaign to knowingly mislead voters about the voiceover.

UPDATE, 8:36 p.m.: The Lawson campaign issued a press release Monday evening, saying it had “been tricked by a political mercenary based out of California.”

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