Ethics · News Reporters

Reporters Rank Very Low in Gallup Honesty/Ethics Poll, Slightly Ahead of Congress


Americans don’t trust reporters much more than they trust Congress.

Surprise surprise: people hate the media and their elected officials. That’s one of the key takeaways froma new Gallup poll on certain professions and how much people associate them with honesty and ethics. And reporters rank very low on the list, slightly above Congress and slightly below bankers.

Atop the list are people in the medical profession, doctors, and police officers, but the majority of jobs on the list have less than of respondents saying they’re honest or favorable.

In the single-digits: car salespeople (9 percent), members of Congress (8 percent), and lobbyists (6 percent). Gallup notes that nurses have topped the list every year (save for one) since 1999.

20 percent of respondents had a favorable view of TV reporters, while 21 percent said the same about newspaper reporters. It should be noted these numbers have been relatively constant in the history of the poll since 1998.

Another key revelation from the poll is that for the first time, less than 50 percent of people believe that the clergy is both honest and ethical.

You can read the full poll results here [PDF].

[photo via Shutterstock]


Kos' "Sunday Talk"

Daily Kos Sunday Talk: Turnabout is fair play

Daily Kos

Earlier this year, “hip-hop conservativeTrey Radel joined with most of his GOP colleagues in voting to require mandatory drug testing for food stamp recipients.

At the time, he probably couldn’t imagine that he’d be pleading guilty topossession of cocaine this week.

After all, drugs and alcohol tend to impair one’s cognitive abilities.

Meanwhile, in the (supposedlyhigher-functioning chamber of Congress…

Harry Reid dropped a nuclear bomb on the Republican minority, forcing them to quit their filibuster addiction cold turkey.

There was much gnashing of teethrending of garments and clutching of pearls on the righta far cry from what they were saying during those heady Bush years.

On the left, the move was widely celebrated; however, their victory would likely prove to be pyrrhic if the 2012 election were held today.

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Pre-empted by coverage of Formula 1 Racing.Face the Nation: Jackie Kennedy’s Secret Service Agent Clint Hill; LBJ’s DaughterLuci Baines Johnson; Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA);RoundtableDavid Sanger (New York Times), David Rohde (Reuters), Kim Strassel(Wall Street Journal) and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA); Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg; Author/Poet Maya AngelouRoundtableCokie Roberts (ABC News), Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Republican StrategistMatthew Dowd and Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard).

Fox News Sunday: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R); Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN); Sen.Ben Cardin (D-MD); RoundtableGeorge Will (Washington Post), Julie Pace(Associated Press), Nina Easton (Fortune) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA); Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: interviews with the federal agents who helped capture Whitey Bulger (preview); a report on revolutionary new therapies being used to treat PTSD (preview); and, an interview with author Malcolm Gladwell (preview).



The torch has been passed to a new generation of Republicans


Born in the XXIst century, tempered by nothing, disciplined by a hard and bitter government shutdown, proud of their ancient confederate heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those privileges to which the white majority has always been committed, and to which they are committed today at home and around the world.

H/t:  Don Babets


113th Congress · GOP Hubris

Poll: Republicans’ Handling Of Shutdown Gets Low Marks From 3 Out Of 4 Americans

The Huffington Post

Nearly three-quarters of Americans disapprove of Republicans’ handling of the budget crisis, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday.

Disapproval of the GOP, which has risen steadily since just before the government shutdown began, is now at 74 percent, up 11 points from late September.

A majority of Americans are also discontented with Democrats’ role in the budget negotiations. But disapproval ratings for Democrats in Congress and for President Barack Obama, both of which started at a lower level than disapproval of Republicans in Congress, have remained largely unchanged in the past two weeks. Sixty-one percent of Americans now dislike congressional Democrats’ handling of the crisis, while 53 percent dislike Obama’s. Those are rises of only 5 points and 3 points, respectively, from before the shutdown began.

Republicans themselves are increasingly negative about their lawmakers. In the latest survey, Americans who identified as Republican were about evenly split on congressional Republicans’ performance, with 47 percent giving them a thumbs-down. Sixty-three percent of “very conservative” Republicans, however approve.

Other surveys have found similarly bleak results for the GOP. A Gallup poll last weekshowed the party’s rating at a record low, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, also released last week, found that Americans assigned Republicans far more blame for the shutdown. The latter survey also found evidence of an “ideological boomerang” against the GOP, with support rising for a Democratic-controlled Congress, Obama’s health care law and an expanded role for government.

The current political atmosphere is reminiscent of that surrounding the government shutdowns in 1995-1996, said pollster Gary Langer, from which he drew a note of caution.

“That result might give some pause to prognosticators who suggest that criticism of the GOP today will spell losses for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, just more than a year off,” Langer told ABC. “No such impact seems readily apparent in the 1996 election: Ten months after those shutdowns, Clinton won re-election, but the Republicans held the House and Senate alike. Now, as then, what may matter most is not just today’s blame, but the eventual resolution of the crisis, and the extent of damage done en route.”

The ABC/Washington Post poll surveyed 1,010 adults between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13, using live telephone interviews.

113th Congress · The Onion

Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned For 5% Of Americans Who Approve Of Congress – The Onion

Reading this has just made my day.  The Onion is one of the best satirical websites on the internet…

The Onion

Noting that the individuals in question may be extremely mentally disturbed or suffering from a serious psychological illness, the nation’s psychiatrists announced Wednesday that they are deeply concerned for the estimated 5 percent of Americans who were found in nationwide polls this week to approve of the U.S. Congress.

“With numerous members of Congress refusing to negotiate an end to the shutdown in the face of widespread federal furloughs and a looming deadline to avoid defaulting on government debt, we are extremely concerned for the mental health of those Americans who responded, ‘Yes, we think Congress is doing a good job,’” psychiatrist Dr. Donald Levin said in a press conference this morning, telling reporters that the estimated 15.5 million Americans who approve of Congress are likely “very troubled” citizens who may in fact be experiencing psychotic episodes or delusional thoughts.

“We’re not entirely sure who these people are or where they come from—perhaps they are psych ward patients, or unstable recluses living in remote huts on the outskirts of society—but what we do know is that they are extremely disconnected from reality and in need of immediate attention if they are not already receiving it.

We need to find these people and get them the help they need before their illnesses get worse.” Psychiatrists added that because a number of mental health services are currently furloughed, many respondents would just have to “sit tight and hang in there” until the shutdown is resolved.


U.S. Politics

BREAKING: Pentagon ordering most of its furloughed civilian employees back to work despite shutdown

Jacquelyn Martin, Pool/Associated Press – U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel answers question aboard the USS Stethem DDG 63 at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, a U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, outside of Tokyo on Friday Oct. 4, 2013. After speaking to sailors on the guided missile destroyer, Hagel is returning to Washington, completing his trip to South Korea and Japan.

You gotta love U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s “Don’t tread on my military” posture aimed at the GOP in Congress.

The Washington Post

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, October 5, 1:58 PM

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is ordering most of its approximately 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work.The decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is based on a Pentagon legal interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

That measure was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama shortly before the partial government shutdown began Tuesday.

The Pentagon did not immediately say on Saturday exactly how many workers will return to work. The Defense Department said “most” were being brought back.

The law ensured that members of the military, who have remained at work throughout the shutdown, would be paid on time. It also left room for the Pentagon to keep on the job those civilians who provide support to the military.

Government Shutdown

Why the U.S. government is shut down: 5 theories from abroad

America was never all that popular in Pakistan to begin with. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)


There’s no doubt that the government shutdown has been an embarrassment for the U.S., with its friends and enemies alike looking on with amusement and/or horror as Congress descends into apocalyptic theatrics over a bill to finance the government for a mere six weeks.

The fight is particularly confusing to the U.S.’s allies in the developed world, where universal health care, another bone of contention in the shutdown fight, is as commonplace as traffic lights, clean tap water, and other hallmarks of modernity.

Here, a taste of how other countries are explaining the government shutdown.

America is insane:
In an editorial headlined, “Wake up, Jefferson, they’ve all gone mad!” France’s Le Monde writes: “There’s no rational explanation for the Tea Party’s actions. It’s pure hatred of the president, a conception of politics as permanent civil war.”

For the French, ObamaCare is not the real issue. “This is the pretext chosen by the core extremist, fundamentalist, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, to sabotage President Obama. This reflects a growing polarization of American public life to shame the Founding Fathers of this great Republic.”

America is not a democracy:
Waleed Aly says in Australia’s The Age that the gerrymandering of congressional districts by Republican-controlled statehouses has rigged the system in the GOP’s favor.

“To get a sense of the scale of it, consider that in the seven states redrawn by Republicans, near parity voting (16.7 million votes to 16.4 million) delivered 73 Republicans and 34 Democrats. That’s a clear perversion of democracy and it’s no accident.”

“Freed from the need to defeat any meaningful Democrat challenge, Republican politics is now such that everyone’s racing to outbid each other for the mantle of true believer. It’s a classic case of a closed system encouraging ever more radical posturing.”

America is a failed state — and fat, to boot:
Pakistan’s Express Tribune is miffed that the U.S. will drop drone missiles on Pakistan when it can’t even govern itself.

“Were the same yardstick to be applied to America that it so often applies elsewhere, it might be possible to say that it is displaying one of the symptoms of failed statehood — namely a breakdown of governance to the detriment of the populace as a whole.”

“To the mystification of many, both inside and outside America, this looks like the infliction of a wound the nation — already chronically obese and with health care geared to a ruinously expensive, if you are poor, insurance system — does not need.”

America has a death wish:
Clemens Wergin in Germany’s Die Welt says the U.S. has made itself so ungovernable that it will lose superpower status. “America’s political class has shown itself in the past few years to be as dysfunctional as we’ve seen European problem states to be — including Italy right now. Apparently it doesn’t take old and new rivals Russia and China to shove the West down the staircase. We do it ourselves.”

Americans hate their government:
Eric Grenier at Canada’s Globe and Mail says lawmakers brought the shutdown upon the U.S. because they have nothing to lose — after all, America detested them well before the shutdown began.

“A political class so despised by and disconnected from the American people can hardly damage itself any further as a result of the shutdown of the U.S. government. They are likely to come out of it unscathed and as unloved as they were before it occurred.”

Government Shutdown

8 Things To Know About A Government Shutdown

An empty Senate meeting room, just outside the chamber, is seen Monday in Washington. Only a week remains for Congress to pass a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.

This article was written about a week ago, but the information is worth the read…

NPR – It’s All Politics

In  [a few hours], the federal government runs out of money.

While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution Friday that keeps the government funded through Dec. 15, the measure also defunded President Obama’s signature health care law — which means it has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If a budget resolution doesn’t hit President Obama’s desk before Oct. 1, that’s a big problem: The government will be forced to close its doors.

With that prospect looming, here are eight things you should know about the possible shutdown:

It won’t be the first time

Since a new budgeting process was put into place in 1976, the U.S. government has shut down 17 times. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan each dealt with six shutdowns during their terms in office, lasting anywhere from one day to 2 1/2 weeks.

The last actual shutdown came in 1996 — though the government came close during budget negotiations in 2011.

The last shutdown lasted three weeks

The three-week shutdown that lasted from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996, ranks as the longest in U.S. history. As a result, about 284,000 federal workers were furloughed, and around 475,000 essential employees went without a paycheck, although they were eventually reimbursed.

They weren’t the only ones inconvenienced. Some benefits for military veterans were delayed, and cleanup at more than 600 toxic waste sites was stopped. The government also shut down for six days in mid-November 1995, initially resulting in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees. The Congressional Research Service reported the shutdowns cost taxpayers a combined $1.4 billion.

Only the “essentials”

Only federal employees deemed “essential” would continue to come to work during a shutdown. Employees who qualify as essential include those involved in national security, protecting life and property and providing benefit payments.

That means members of the military, border control agents, air traffic controllers, the FBI and the TSA are among those who would remain on duty. The president and members of Congress are also exempt from furlough and must decide which of their respective staff members to keep around during a shutdown.

The checks are in the mail

Even in the event of a shutdown, Social Security beneficiaries will still find their checks in their mailboxes and doctors and hospitals will receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. However, if the government does not resolve the budget situation by Nov. 1, those entitlement program payments could be delayed by up to two weeks.

Even in a shutdown, the Postal Service delivers

One reason Americans will get their entitlement checks: A government shutdown would not hit the operations of the U.S. Postal Service. Government agencies that the Treasury Department does not directly fund, like USPS, would be relatively unaffected in the short term by a shutdown . Some postal employees would very likely face furlough, but it wouldn’t be enough to completely close down the agency.

National parks and museums? Forget it

Have plans to visit a national park or go sightseeing in the nation’s capital? You might want to cancel them. During the Clinton-era shutdowns, 368 national parks closed, resulting in the loss of 7 million visitors. In Washington, D.C., the public would be unable to visit the monuments and museums that millions of tourists flock to every year. The Capitol building would remain open, though.

Visa and passport delays

Those hoping to enter or leave the country during a shutdown would most likely experience some difficulty. The government was unable to process around 200,000 pending passport applications and a daily average of 30,000 visa and passport applications by foreigners during the 1995-96 shutdowns. This would result not only in a headache for would-be travelers but a loss in millions for the airline and tourism industries.

Who would be blamed for a shutdown?

Generally speaking, no one comes out looking good if the government shuts down. A Pew Research poll conducted Sept. 19-22 shows 39 percent of Americans would blame Republicans if a shutdown were to occur, compared with 36 percent who would fault the Obama administration and 17 percent who would hold both sides responsible. According to a Pew poll from a comparable period during the 2011 budget battle, the public spread the blame around nearly identically.


Affordable Care Act · John Boehner



The New Yorker – The Borowitz Report

In a special Sunday radio address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a health tip to the American people, advising them to delay getting cancer for a year.

“We’re involved in a high-stakes fight over our freedom from centralized government control of our lives,” said Mr. Boehner, speaking on behalf of his House colleagues. “You can do your part by delaying getting cancer.”

He added that heart disease, emphysema, and diabetes were among a laundry list of conditions that would be “patriotic to avoid for a year.”

“If you delay getting any of these things for the next twelve months, together we will win this fight,” he said.

In closing, he reassured the American people that in the event of a government shutdown, members of Congress’ health benefits would remain intact: “We want to be in tip-top shape to continue to do the excellent job we’re doing for you.”


Budget Deficit · U.S. Politics

Fox’s Hume Details How Right Wing Media Push GOP To Extremes

Media Matters

HUME: I’m not sure they’re calling the shots but make no mistake about it, Bill. These — some of these radio talk show hosts have real influence. They have a huge following, particularly in very conservative areas where they are most popular and where the many members of congress who inhabit those areas are not worried about being reelected if they can get nominated. But they are worried about a primary challenge that could deny them the nomination.

O’REILLY: And that happened —


HUME: So they’ll go a long way to avoid it and keeping radio talk show hosts off their back is one way of doing that.


O’REILLY: That happened in Indiana to Lugar. He was a very well thought of senator, moderate. And then a more conservative guy got the nomination. He lost in the general race. So you believe that in Congress, if somebody has to run every two years as they do, and they get on the wrong side of a powerful radio voice, that’s beamed into their district, because the guys are national, they can really do them bad damage if they promote the other guy?


HUME:  Well, look, it’s not controlling but it’s a factor. I mean, if you’re a pragmatic politician up for reelection, you’re looking at the landscape and you don’t want to a lot of problems. And you don’t — and in many of these districts the Democrats can’t cause you any problems. There are just not enough of them. What there are enough of is conservative Republicans and conservative Republicans around the country today are very disappointed in their party and its leadership. And they think that the control of the House of Representatives should have been able to give them much more leverage than they seem to have been able to demonstrate and they should have been able to do more with it. And so if you’re sitting over in the House of Representatives and some measures of defund Obamacare comes along and you think it’s a suicide mission because it might involve a government shutdown you’re going to be hesitant to oppose it anyway because you don’t want the most conservative — you don’t want the tea party and you don’t want the conservative radio talk show hosts on your back. That doesn’t mean they can defeat you but it means you don’t want it.

See video here…