Cant explain shit/cant focus: Should we blame the lead paint in their childhood homes? Could it be chemicals in the air? Whatever the explanation might be, its astounding to watch the New York Times attempt to deal with health care.
Consider Robert Pears hapless report in this mornings paper.
Good God! After all these days, Pear actually arranges to quote some language from the Stupak amendment! But he might as well be writing in Urdu, so inept is the long-term Timesman when it comes to explaining such matters. Pear attempts to explain the difference between the House and Senate bills when it comes to funding abortion. Wed say he wrote the passage in crayon. But this would tend to overstate the skill he brought to this task.
Meanwhile, we had to laugh when Pear marveled at the difference in the cost of the House and Senate bills. This is the start of his report:
PEAR (11/20/09): The Senate version of sweeping health legislation would cover five million fewer people than a companion bill passed by the House, but it would cost less, in part because Senate Democratic leaders felt they had to win support from fiscally conservative members of their party.
The Senate version of sweeping health legislation would cover five million fewer people than a companion bill passed by the House, but it would cost less, in part because Senate Democratic leaders felt they had to win support from fiscally conservative members of their party.
The Senate bill would spend $821 billion over 10 years on Medicaid and subsidies. The House bill would spend 25 percent more: $1.03 trillion over 10 years.
Wow! The House bill would spend substantially more over the first ten years! Only much later does Pear drop the information which shows how misleading that account is:
PEAR: A major difference between the bills is the effective date for important provisions, like the requirement for people to obtain insurance and the obligation of employers to help pay for it.
Many provisions of the House bill would take effect in 2013. But to help hold down the cost of the bill, Mr. Reid decided to delay the effective date for many provisions by one year, to 2014.
Groan. To judge from that passage, the House bill will be in effect for seven of the next ten years. The Senate bill will be in effect for only six of those years. That said, should we really be surprised when the House bill costs more? (When it costs 25 percent more, for 16 percent more years of coverage?) More to the point, is there any serious difference in level of spending once the Senate bill goes into action? Its silly to report that difference in spending over ten years without making any attempt to deal with such an obvious question. But todays report is an advance on yesterdays highly annoying effort, when Pear didnt mention the delayed starting-date for the Senate bill at all. (The Washington Post did do so.) In fairness, Pear kept readers up-to-date on the Senate bills number of pages.
Pears reporting has been hapless all year. Simply put, he cant explain shit. Then again, theres Lady Collins, whose problem is different. She cant focus.
One bit of good news did emerge from yesterdays column. Collins had breast cancer in 2000and she survived. Beyond that, her columnwhich pretends to discuss the new mammogram guidelinesis her usually steaming sack of lightly comical blather. As she does with every topic, Collins finds ways to make breast cancer amusingfun:
Her headline is this: The Breast Brouhaha. Her sub-headline really delivers the fun: Should we whammo the mammo?
Weve told you before, though you didnt believe us: If World War III broke out tomorrow, Lady Collins would pen a column, helping us enjoy the wry humor in New York Citys total destruction. The Lady is simply unable to focus, like all such elites through the years.
Nor is she able to fashion a point about this, or any, topic. Go ahead! See if you can find any point in what she writes on this life-and-death subject. Before very long, this wriest of royals is offering this mirthful crap:
COLLINS (11/19/09): I had breast cancer back in 2000, and I am trying to come up with a way that I can use that experience to shed some light on these new findings. I have never believed that everything happens for a reason. But I do feel very strongly that everything happens so that it can be turned into a column.
Whatever the moral would be, I dont think it helps Representative Camps argument. I had mammograms every year like clockwork, and I had just gotten a clean bill of health from my latest one when I found a lump on my left breast while watching a rerun of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, multitasker that I am.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! In case you hadnt already noticed, Collins reveals her core philosophy here: Every event exists for one purposeso it can help her knock off a column! And in this column, as in so many others, there is no moralno pointat all. Collins writes about one medical eventher own. Obviously, no moral can be drawn from that single examplealthough she did eke out a column!
In fairness, at least she didnt wryly mention Seamus, Mitt Romneys dead dog!
Youd almost think that someone like Collins would want to help people understand those new mammogram guidelines better. Youd think she might want to help people assess Representative Camps argument, which is about as funny as a rubber crutchwhich may be more of the medical disinformation Nicholas Kristof railed about, right across from Collins column (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/19/09).
You might think Collins would want to help readers assess such life-and-death matters. But that would be in a different world from the world of Gothams royals. In the world of the New York Times, top reporters cant explain shitand many top pundits cant focus. Alas! Your nation is sinking beneath the waves, powered down by these upper-class morés.
Special report: We, Heathers!
PART ONETHE DOCTOR WAS IN: We use the term Heathers for a reason. Ten years ago, Time magazines Eric Pooley used the gender-tinged term to describe his own mainstream press corps.
Pooley described 300 reporters in a press room, watching a major political event on large-screen TVs. Pooleys report was quite instructive. During the hour-long event, those reporters repeatedly erupted in a collective jeer, like a gang of 15-year-old Heathers, he said. Well briefly revisit that gruesome event at the end of this new series.
Pooley was right, of course. All through the last decade, the mainstream press corpsboys and girlsbehaved much like a gang of Heathers, with their jeering directed at the Clintons and Gore.
Today, though, the worlds top Heathers sometimes seem to be liberals. Today, could the Heathers be us?
Before we look at the Daily Beast piece which occasioned this rumination, lets consider a report by Max Blumenthal, a report we read at Salon.
Blumenthal was assessing Sarah Palins book tour, saying that Palins continuing prominence could be a cancer on the Republican Party. That could be an accurate judgment, of coursehere at THE HOWLER, we simply dont know. But at one point, Blumenthal described Palins 2008 campaigning:
BLUMENTHAL (11/16/09): After the market collapsed in the fall of 2008 and the McCain campaign ran off the rails, Palin untethered herselfas her book title has it, she went "rogueignoring McCain's rules on attacking Obama. Instead, she lashed out at candidate Obama in her own distinctive way. "This is a man who launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist," she insisted. "This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America." With these two lines, apparently uttered without the permission of McCain or his top aides, Palin opened up a deep schism within the campaign, while unleashing a flood of emotions from the depths of the Party faithful.
"Kill him!" a man shouted at a campaign rally in Clearwater, Florida, when Palin linked Obama to terrorism, according to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank.
The next time she mentioned Obama, another man cried out, "Terrorist!" "Treason!"
"Go back to Kenya!" a woman typically screamed during a Palin rally in Des Moines, Iowa.
In our view, Palins comments about Ayers were deeply foolish and deeply unfortunate. (We have no idea why Blumenthal thinks that these repeated remarks were made without Saint McCains permission.) But todays liberal rarely contents himself with the tedious practice of arguing against a candidates conduct. The modern liberal likes to slime the candidates supporters as well.
Hence the passage about the flood of emotions Palin supposedly unleashed with her baldly unfortunate commentsthe comments the great Saint McCain would never have tolerated. Hence the trio of claims about cries from Palins supporters. When pseudo-liberals hand you such treats, they are trying to please your soul. In our view, theyre also creating the kind of politics which tends to doom progressive interests.
Question: What would it mean if someone at a Palin rally was dumb enough to yell out, Kill him? Logically, it wouldnt really mean muchif it actually happened, that is.
Alas. Blumenthal didnt tell you something about Milbanks account of that Clearwater rally. The Secret Service investigated Milbanks accountand concluded that Milbanks account had been wrong. (We know. Milbank wrong! What a shock!) On October 16, 2008, Salons Alex Koppelman reported this factjust click here. But thirteen months later, Salon returned to the more pleasing practice of feeding its viewers sweet gruel.
Did someone yell Kill him at that Clearwater rally? For ourselves, we have no ideabut the Secret Service said no. This week, Salonistas got to enjoy Milbanks claimand werent offered that later assessment.
Blumenthal gave two other examples of the flood of emotions we libs love to hate. But note the kind of pleasing gruel on which we libs are now fed. In his second example, Blumenthal gives no clue as to where or when this mans cry occurred. (Terrorist! Traitor!) In his third example, he says the cry Go back to Kenya was screamed (was typically screamed) at a Des Moines rally. No dateor linkwas offered.
Did actual people actually scream these actual quoted remarks? Its certainly possible, although we have no real idea what such cries would actually meanexcept as part of a leering novel, the kind of gruel on which we liberals are now constantly fed. That said, weve been unable to find any evidence that these particular cries did occur. Using Nexis and Google, we find no report that anyone cried Go back to Kenya at Palins October 25 Des Moines rally, the only rally she seems to have held in that city. The AP did report this: Cries of he's a socialist rang out from the Sioux City crowd Saturday morning and again later in Des Moines. But we find no report of that Go back to Kenya cry, whether on Nexis or Google. Indeed, the Nexis archives report no hits for Palin AND back to Kenya at all. Nor can we find any sign that any man ever cried out "Terrorist!" "Treason!" when Palin spoke, although its certainly possible that someone did. At various times, people did yell each of those individual wordsbut such cries were reported when Saint McCain spoke as well.
Did someone yell, Kill him? The Secret Service said this report was wrong. Did someone yell, Go back to Kenya? We can find no report of same. By the way: The conduct of Palinand McCainwas reprehensible in these matters. But you know how we liberals can be! Rather than go to all the trouble of developing winning arguments about the Big Pols, we love to start sliming the Great Unwashed, hoping to let the cry of one represent the evil of all. After that, we wonder why the Great Unwashed wont support our progressive agenda.
(And of course, we love to vouch for the good faith of the saintsMcCain and Wallace and Schmidt and Wilkerson, This seems to be some type of flu spreading out from the Maddow program. What in the world makes us do this?)
We e-mailed Blumenthal asking his sources on cries 2 and 3, but we havent received a reply. This leads us to ask a questiona question we asked when we read this piece at The Daily Beast. (Synopsis: Does Sarah Palin suffer from narcissistic personality disorder? Michelle Goldberg puts Americas hottest author on the couch.)
Do we liberals deal in factsand logic? Do we deal in winning argument? Or are we a gang of Heathers now? In the last decade, the mainstream press corps behaved like Heathers, jeering our leaders, inventing factseven offering psychiatric assessments of What Makes Someone Like Gore Lie So Much, Even When He Doesnt Have To. (George Bush rode this shit to the White House.) This week, it was Goldberg playing the fool, using the very language of that past jeering decade. Sure enough! The Doctor Was IN again this week. But this week, The Doctor Was IN over at Tina Browns site.
Goldberg seems to have bungled her facts as she postured and played the shrink. But her formats come straight from the Clinton-Gore years. Say good-bye to the mainstream press! Are we the Heathers now?