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Obama: Afghan pullout plan on track

Does this mean the United States will have enough armed private contractors in place when uniformed Americans withdraw? Or is it simply time to declare victory and get out while we still can?

Cheer up, give us a grin…


Andrew Breitbart, 43. Since this is Andrew Breitbart and a fake news announcement is something we can’t rule out, we’re waiting for confirmation from other sources.

Which kind of sums up his legacy.

UPDATE: FOx, CNN, TPM, other sources now confirm.

Robert Reich started a recent column by looking on the bright side: “Economic cheerleaders on Wall Street and in the White House are taking heart. The US has had three straight months of faster job growth…” He then inched his way down to the real lede of his piece: “The negative wealth effect of home values, combined with declining wages, makes it highly unlikely the US will enjoy a robust recovery any time soon.”

March Photo A Day Challenge

Now, this looks like fun. This is a link to March Photo A Day Challenge.

It has a calendar with a daily word for inspiration for a photo. Today’s is “Up.” One doesn’t need a fancy camera, in fact, many just use the camera on their phones.

Upload the shots onto your favorite social media. I’ve gotten together with some virtual “social media” friends to share our photographs. It will be nice to share our creativity.

(h/t Price Benowitz LLP.)

A new ethics handbook released by National Public Radio seems to indicate the network is reacting in a positive way to persistent criticism of its “he said, she said” approach to the news. According to Jay Rosen of PressThink, the new handbook bluntly states that “a report characterized by false balance is a false report.” It calls for reportage that rejects false balance in favor of reportage that’s “fair to the truth.”

Rosen reprints two key passages from the new handbook:

In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.


At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.

Fair to the truth — what a concept! New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued for the same approach to the news back in July while criticizing the corporate news media:

News reports portray the [major political] parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of ‘centrist’ uprising as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides. Some of us have long complained about the cult of ‘balance,’ the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.”

Is there a trend in progress? Will mainstream media outlets begin printing stories that are fair to the truth rather than constructed to present opposing sides of a story as equally true, regardless of what the facts indicate?

Probably not, but NPR is at least fighting for reporters who value accuracy over the “spin” that publicists and propagandists always prefer. Think how far the George W. Bush team would have gotten in pushing for a war in Iraq if the corporate news media had been fair to the truth. Imagine all the lives that might have been saved.

Gov. Tom Corbett, the invisible man

Marcus Hook was one of the towns I covered as a reporter, and now it’s on the edge of losing the one main industry. The Republican governor is largely indifferent to their plight:

“Marcus Hook is a town teetering on the edge of destruction. Last year, Sunoco Oil announced that it would shut down its refinery in Marcus Hook. This refinery has employed residents for generations; it provides a tax base for the community, and directly funds part of the school district. As horrible as it is, I wish this were an isolated event; but Sunoco is also closing its south Philadelphia refinery, and ConocoPhillips is closing one in nearby Trainer, Pa. In total, 2,500 Pennsylvanians will be laid off, and thousands more will see their livelihoods affected as more residents struggle with unemployment and the tax base disappears.
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Allow me to translate

Miners are disposable.

PA state representative Kathy Rape -er, RAPP- is your garden variety Republican. She claim to love children while supporting anti-child policies. She stands for family values, like poverty and hunger. And like all republicans, she wants the government small enough to fit in your uterus. Enjoy our latest Piggie of the Week:

Freedom of Religion……

I’ve been kinda grumpy today. I must have a Newt hangover.  He came to visit the West Jawja area and I had tired of hearing about it, so I am not going to talk about it.

Moving on to other crazy people, there is Congressman Phil Gingrey, Republican from the 11th district of Jawja. Oh, that’s DOCTOR Gingrey,  pro life OB-GYN.

A friend dropped this letter from Dr. Gingrey into my email box this morning…….

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion regarding Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that will require mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients for religious institutions. As your Congressman, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and welcome every opportunity to be of service.

As you may know, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced on January 20, 2012 that an agency regulation stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148)—commonly referred to as ObamaCare—will require mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients, regardless of whether such coverage infringes upon the religious rights of individuals or businesses.

I believe that this regulation is a direct assault on our constitutionally protected right of freedom of religion. Employers must now choose between offering health insurance coverage to their employees or risk federal penalties if they exercise their religious beliefs. Religious charities will now have to choose between their convictions and providing food, clothing, medical care, and education to those who are most in need.

Unfortunately, many religious institutions have reported that they will be forced to close their doors rather than compromise their religious beliefs. Currently, religious employers include charities, hospitals, community clinics, universities, and other non-profits that provide free services to millions of Americans and insurance coverage for their employees.

To that end, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has introduced legislation – H.R. 1179, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 – that would permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity. Furthermore, this important issue of conscience protection was the subject of a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held on November 2, 2011.

As a cosponsor of H.R. 1179 and a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, please be assured that I will continue to monitor this situation closely.

Sincerely, Blah Blah blah

Energy and Commerce committee? Ooooo-Kay!

I was under the impression that “Freedom of Religion” was meant for the individuals practicing a religion, not the religious institutions. I thought the religious institutions existed because people came together to create them.



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