I’m a bit sad I missed yesterday’s show from El Rushbo, which surely included the juiciest nuggets in response to Obama’s State of the Union address. Instead he kicks off today’s show by ingratiating himself to me, describing using his iPad to watch the movie “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Two points for Rush!
In the news: last week’s unemployment numbers rose sharply, continuing our slower-than-desired economic recovery. According to the AP, the crazy Snowpocalypse weather in the east contributed to the figure; according to Rush, there’s no evidence that this was the case, and the AP—liberal as ever, if you ask Rush—inserted that possible explanation to ingratiate itself to the Obama administration. I guess we’d need to check with the government analyst whom the story quotes, but Rush is simply wrong in saying that the story just made up the Snowpocalypse connection. “There’s no mention of snow anywhere in the report citing this week’s figures,” says Rush. He’s right, there isn’t; notice there’s no mention of anything. It’s just a bunch of numbers without analysis. That’s how these reports are.
Rush doesn’t let up, though. “Was there ever snow during the Bush years? Did we ever hear unemployment numbers blamed on snow during the Bush years?” Well, yeah, probably, but it’s much more compelling to blame it all on Obama. And it’s a clever rhetorical question that’s impossible to respond to without some serious news-scouring.
Then it’s poll-review time. Read the rest of this entry »
I think taking a day off between Rush sessions is good for my health. Need time to recuperate, so that tone of voice isn’t echoing in my brain all night as I try to sleep.
I joined a few minutes late, and I have to admit that the first thing I heard Rush say made me chuckle and nod my head: “Politics is just showbiz for the ugly.”
Not to worry, though, he got annoying quick. Rush mentions “a so-called poll—” here he effects an annoying mock laugh— “from the USA Today saying that Americans want Democrats and Republicans to work together.”
Wow, two days in a row. Is this a consistent pattern with Rush? He seems to have a genuine hypocrisy about which poll numbers he believes are credible. “We know at the end of the day [the Democrats] are going to govern against the will of the American people.”
The Friedman is Dumb
This hour’s target: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Rush plays, twice, a quote from Friedman concerning the Chinese president’s visit to Washington: “There’s only one thing worse than one-party autocracy—the Chinese system—and that’s one-party democracy.” Friedman’s larger point is that a majority-rule party finds things hard to accomplish if the minority party is constantly “sticking a spoke in its wheels,” whereas the rulers of an autocracy have the potential to execute their “vision.”
I’ll go on and give Rush a point here. Thomas Friedman doesn’t come across too smartly. And it’s a juicy morsel for Rush to savor: “To the ruling-class types…” and here Rush leans into the microphone, “…that is the essence of unique brilliance.” Well, maybe not, but it’s easy to tie a wacky quote like that to the notion that liberals would like nothing better than to enact socialist tyranny.
Meanwhile at the Death Panels…
“Obamacare just got a shellacking, folks.” (The House voted was 245-199 in favor of repeal, a larger margin than they got in passing it.) Of course it’s a pretty safe bet, if you’re a swing-district Democrat, to be able to vote in favor of repeal when you know the entire repealing initiative is a dead end. But a vote is a vote.
And then he pulls his patented Rush move (you might be noticing a pattern here): citing polls which show Americans are strongly in favor of repealing health-care reform. I don’t want to beat Rush at his own game or anything, but those polls are pretty specious:
The pollsters first asked people whether they support the law, and found that 45 percent back it, while 50 percent oppose it and 5 percent have no opinion. That latter 55 percent were then offered a range of options as to what they would prefer be done. The breakdown:
Repeal all of it: 18
Repeal parts of it: 19
Wait and see: 17
Less than one in five support full repeal.
I know what you’re going to say, and the answer is, I provided data.
Sadly my designated hour of Rush-listening ends just as Rush begins mocking, yet again, the notion that checking your tire pressure is a good way to reduce pollution and our dependence on oil. The absolutely correct, true, factual, well-documented notion.
But it ties beautifully into my Rush quote of the day. Y’all might want to get your palms ready, though.
“Lord, my friends. We are surrounded by genuine, institutional ignorance!”
Oh boy. The House is planning to fruitlessly repeal the health-care reform law today, so you know Rush is going to dive into that big debate. Ya know, things like whether it “kills jobs” (it might, but it probably won’t). Given that I spent quite a bit of time investigating health-care reform, I’m sure I’ll find plenty to grit my teeth about this week.
But first! Rush returns to the “call for civility” theme from last week, and with more force than ever: this time he calls it “censorship.” Yes, censorship.
I’ve heard this before; when Glenn Beck’s ratings and sponsors started dropping after one too many wacky comment, he compared his situation with censorship. And heck, just today Sarah Palin described negative reaction to her now-infamous “blood libel” Facebook video as an attempt to “destroy the message and the messenger.”
Speaking of that video, Rush does seem to enjoy cherry-picking his poll numbers, doesn’t he? All last week I heard him cite multiple polls about Americans rejecting the notion that rhetoric contributed to the Tucson shootings. I didn’t comment on it, since I didn’t have time to check the numbers myself. But now, Rush cites another pair of polls: first, that 78% of Americans approve of how Obama handled Tucson; second, that only 30% of Americans approve of Sarah Palin on the same question. “I don’t, believe, either, number,” he announces, in his trademark slowed-for-emphasis tone.
After a commercial break, Rush keeps hammering at it, declaring that polls tend to be “weighted… shifted… massaged… influenced.” He finally figures that this polling house must have undersampled Republicans in conducting the poll, which explains the surprising numbers. He offers no evidence that this happened.
Moments later, Rush asks: “Isn’t it amazing how everything that the left wants turns up as a majority opinion in a poll?” I start to wonder if he’s deliberately messing with me at this point. Rush, are you reading my blog?
Rush Loves Sarah
I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but Rush has been the #1 Palin Supporter over the last week vis-a-vis her connection (or lack thereof) to Tucson. He’s seemingly exasperated by those who “irrationally” hate her, even those on the right, since she and her Tea Party followers represent a threat to the powers-that-be. Rush goes on an impressive, extended rant suggesting that it could just as easily have been liberalism that influenced a twisted young mind to commit murder. What follows is as much of a transcript as I could get down while he rambled. It was actually over five minutes long.
“The left established this culture of pessimism, self-hate, and desperation. If you’re Hispanic, you have no chance. If you’re African-American, you have no chance. Your only chance is the military, and if you do that you’re stupid. …They turn citizen against citizen. They want people to hate each other based on income, based on race, based on sexual orientation. …This is the message of the Democratic party EVERY DAY, and it is ratcheted up every election. It’s THEM! It isn’t us! …We’re based on love: love of this country, love of its potential. …They tell you that the deck is stacked against you, that the rich hates you…Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance…what are you gonna do after a lifetime of hearing this? If you’re told every day that your future doesn’t exist, that it’s been robbed and stolen from you, what are you gonna do? You’re told the rich are ripping you off! If not for them YOU’D have the boat, and YOU’D have the house on the beach, and YOU’D have the three cars. This is what you hear EVERY DAY! It’s their PLATFORM!”
So, we’re making progress on that whole civility thing, then.
Conspiracy Theory of the Day: The plan for Democrats and Republicans to intermingle during the State of the Union address later this month is actually a ploy to mask the Republican majority in the House.
Wacky Radio Commercial of the Day: http://godsaidmansaid.com/ – Go on, check it out.
Rush’s overall theme this week, not surprisingly, is defending himself against the notion that inflammatory rhetoric such as his was somehow tied to Loughner’s actions. Indeed there isn’t any direct evidence that Loughner watched a lot of Glenn Beck and then loaded his Glock; to turn the tables, there’s more evidence that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were directly influenced by violent video games before shooting up Columbine High School. In each case, those more inclined to defend the media under assault (Rush Limbaugh, Wolfenstein 3D) were quick to direct the responsibility toward, ya know, the persons who committed the crime.
Rush comments on President Obama’s remarks during the Arizona memorial on Wednesday night. He accuses Obama of double-speak in saying that poor rhetoric didn’t cause this tragedy, but then encouraging all listeners to improve their rhetoric. “He’s got plenty of incendiary rhetoric on his side,” opines Rush. “One deranged gunman—not American society, not American culture—was responsible for this.” Rush doesn’t seem to think that Obama’s words were directed to both left and right, nor does he grasp that Obama’s point isn’t the least bit hypocritical.
“We must improve our dialog, when at the same time, it had nothing to do with this, by his own admission! We’ve all got to improve…not him! No way.” He plays a sound bite of Obama’s speech, then responds: “You mean like calling people ‘bitter clingers‘?” He cites a couple of other examples of poor speech from Obama—”unchecked, uncommented upon.” He even says at one point that “Obama’s side started this.”
At this point I’m struck by how completely un-self-aware Rush Limbaugh seems. Does he believe there’s an equivalency between Obama’s tone over the last two years, and his own? Does the fact that his first example happened at a private event almost three years ago not strike him? He’s not even justifying or defending his tone at this point, just accusing the other side.
Rush Makes A Good Point
(I felt I should give this a headline.)
Rush compares the Arizona memorial to a political or pep rally, pointing out that Obama’s speech was interrupted no fewer than 50 times, even to the apparent embarrassment of the President himself. He accuses Obama of delaying the memorial until the “poll numbers came in, the T-shirts got printed, and the logo got designed.” It was indeed rather jarring to expect a solemn ceremony on TV, and instead get a raucous and joyous environment not dissimilar to a 2008 campaign rally.
Rush Returns to Making Bad Points
He then executes an impressive turn, comparing the language of Obama’s speech to language from an Organizing For America webpage which equates negative language with a capitalist society. That’s one of Rush’s keen talents: he can take any politically-tinged story and connect it with his larger conservative worldview.
Or maybe it’s more an anti-liberal worldview, since his points are almost always contrary: liberalism hates capitalism. Liberalism despises personal responsibility. Liberalism goes against the Constitution. It goes back to that perpetually-negative tone that’s so hard for me to stomach.
If Only They’d Used Canvas Shopping Bags
A new topic! Climate change! Rush cites a study from the journal Science that suggests climate change might have contributed to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. (Interesting—here’s a link.)
“I thought it was culture and liberalism, the rise of tyranny—but no,” Rush announces sarcastically, “it was climate change! And I thought they were the smart ones.”
I start to get a headache at this point. First, I’d never heard “liberalism” tied to the fall of the Roman Empire before. I’d like to hear a non-Rush-Limbaugh scholar comment on it. But the main portion of my headache is the rank anti-intellectualism on display here. Rush literally doesn’t dive into the details of the study one bit; rather, he subtly implies that the liberal scientists found a convenient scapegoat for the fall of the Roman Empire besides the liberal policies that were supposedly the real culprits. He dismisses the work of professional scientists without examining the substance of their findings. (You might do Rush one better and actually read the article.)
I heard a word once applied to Sarah Palin that I thought was particularly appropriate—and that applies to Rush, as well. The word is “incurious.” Rush’s worldview is set upon a mighty rock, and nothing can shake it; if a random scientific study is conducted on Roman tree rings, you can bet Rush will dismiss it if it can be spun in another direction. Oddly, Rush has previously pointed to scientific studies indicating historical climate change as evidence that our current changes are nothing special. See? Headache.
In the time it took me to consolidate the points above, Rush ventured off into health-care reform, rising gas prices, and was defending Sarah Palin yet again by the time I turned off the radio. It’s a whirlwind of conservative thinking. I need to handle this a bit at a time.
That’s all for this week! Rush doesn’t run on Saturdays… does he?
Had a political discussion with Mary Beth the other night, in the context of the Arizona shooting, and the extent to which vitriolic talk from the right wing helped to enable it. Though I’m not one to blame the Sarah Palin set for pushing Jared Loughner over the edge—the shooter seems to be certifiably crazy enough on his own, thank you—I do think the whole incident is a great excuse to review the level of discourse in the media and figure out if it helps to enable those on the fringe. Barring that, we can take the chance to evaluate whether the tone of such rhetoric helps or hurts society as a whole.
Of course the conversation landed on Rush Limbaugh, who dwells just far enough on this side of crazy that Mary Beth doesn’t mind listening to him in the car. (Point of reference: she agrees with me that Glenn Beck is a bloomin’ idiot.) I, meanwhile, can’t listen to him for more than 20 seconds without executing a perfect facepalm, which is unsafe while operating a moving vehicle.
Naturally Mary Beth said I can’t really judge Rush Limbaugh unless I’ve really listened to him with an open mind. At this point I got really drunk or something, blacked out, and when I regained consciousness I found myself having committed to listening to Rush Limbaugh for at least a week’s worth of shows, for at least an hour per day. Read the rest of this entry »
(Note from Kevin: I almost wrote “finger things.”)
Greetings from Ireland everyone! I am having a lovely vacation while Kevin slaves away at work all day. I am a little ashamed of how lazy I have been, but then I think… I deserve it, right? My days have been pretty much like this:
1. Wake up at 9:15 for free breakfast at the hotel
2. Enjoy breakfast and tea until around 10
3. Head back up to the room and read until I fall back asleep
4. Wake up around 12:30
5. Head into the city for misc excursions
6. Have lunch between 2 and 3
7. Head back to the hotel around 4:30
8. Order a beer at the bar before I head up to the room to wait for Kevin
9. Dinner around 7
10. Sleep around 1 (unless Sarah wakes me up at 4:30 am to tell me she’s engaged)
There are a few things I have fallen in love with here that I thought I would share with all of you. Please be forewarned… I am not a writer of Kevin’s caliber, so please no judging.
Our first pleasant surprise was our hotel, Hayfield Manor. You know how sometimes you view photos of a hotel on a website only to arrive and discover that the hotel was not as advertised? Well, this is certainly not the case here.
The garden courtyard at Hayfield Manor where you can find me sipping tea and reading a British novel just like a true fancy.
The room is perfect. The service is grand. And until an obnoxious guido-esque American tourist checked in yesterday morning, I had absolutely nothing to complain about. I’ve always wondered why it is said that Europeans can’t stand American tourists. This man is why!
I have spent a good bit of time at the “Leisure Center” where there is a beautiful indoor pool, hot tub and steam room. The spa at the hotel is very similar to Halina’s on Burnet Road, and I think I’m going to give it a try tomorrow.
Then there are all the flowers. I am a little obsessed actually. The hydrangeas grow like weeds here! They are literally on almost every street corner, driveway, park, you name it. And it’s not just those pale, pastel colored blue or pink ones you see in the grocery store. I have seen them in the richest colors. Dark blues, bright pinks and even rich purples.
Put that in your pot and grow it! No… seriously, find a way to grow it. I want some for my flowerbed.
The scenery is altogeter gorgeous. You should flip through some of the pics Kevin posted of our drive. There are grand statues along the highways. Rolling hills of the greenest grass. Winding roads with historic-looking rock walls. Even the occasional pond, water lillies and all.
And finally, the finest of all things on a truly great vacation… the food. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the cuisine in Ireland. It’s definitely not one of those places you visit solely for the cuisine, but I did my reasearch, and we have a long list of the best food I can find in our area. But it all started with that first breakfast Sunday morning. We stayed up all day on Saturday, not going to sleep until 9 or so to try to beat any jet lag. Kevin even said, “I am gonna try to make it until 10 because I can never sleep more than 8 hours.” We planned on waking up around 8 or 9 Sunday morning to head off on our drive. Then the unthinkable happened. Kevin had a Mary Beth sleep! At around 11:45 am we woke up to realize we had missed breakfast at the hotel, and we had slept much of our planned day away!
We immediately headed out driving towards the Beara Peninsula to visit a few places and decided to stop at a pub for some much needed sustenance. We learned on this first excursion that the farther into the country you drive, the harder it is to understand what anyone is saying, and I DON”T CARE that they are speaking English. It still sounds like a foreign language half the time. A young man at the pub very quickly offered us our breakfast options, only two of which we could understand: full-Irish and mini-Irish. We went with mini. This is “mini” in Ireland.
Count that people, clockwise from the tomato: ½ grilled tomato, 3 slices thick Canadian style bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 thick slice black pudding (pudding is like blood sausage), 2 links pork sausage and 1 slice of white pudding. 8 slices of toast, 2 thick slices of Irish soda bread and 2 thick slices of country white bread, butter and jam are out of frame, mind you. “Mini”… Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!! Full Irish could throw my mother instantly into cardiac arrest!
But I must admit, it was all very tasty. Except the pudding. I’m still a little to scared to try that stuff.
That evening we had room service for dinner. A fancy salad with goat’s cheese and a burger with portabello mushrooms. We even had dessert first since it had ice cream on it. Since then we’ve enjoyed the following:
Monday – fresh bread with homemade dips and steaks with creamy mash at Cornstore
Tuesday – mushroom and thyme risotto, a crab crumble and the most divine passion fruit panna cotta at Fishy Fishy Cafe in Kinsale on the harbor
Wednesday – crispy chicken with wild mushroom crema and a sadly overcooked filet at Isaac’s
Thursday – Our best meal yet at Cafe Paradiso, a lovely vegetarian place right off the RIver Lee… the food smelled so yummy, we dug right in and forgot about photos. We shared a grilled haloumi starter with gingered gooseberry chutney and a broad bean, purple potato & marjoram salad. I loved tempura fried cheese and caper stuffed squash blossoms with sauteed squash, tomatoes and onions, grilled polenta all served with a light tomato broth. Kevin’s was the best, a phyllo and spinach stacked pastry served on a coriander crusher potato galette with harissa sauce and sugar snap peas. Needless to say, I’ll be heading back here for lunch.
I think I will devote a whole post to tea later on. Maybe by then I will figure out how to turn off italics. Now I am off to bed. I need rest for my lazy days.