Mad Max(ine)

Maxine Waters (M-oonbat, CA) on the effect sequestration would have. Hilarity ensues:

Even if you only heard the audio of this on the radio (as I had at first), it was apparent fairly early on that the congresswoman had no idea what she was talking about.

Jay Leno picked up on this, too:

After the opening theme and credits, Leno walked out onto the stage and said, “Welcome sequestration survivors. Yes!”
“As you know, Congress did not reach an agreement,” he continued, “and Congresswoman Maxine Waters said today that 170 million jobs could be lost because of it.”
“Now, there are only 155 million workers in America,” Leno explained, “yet, she says we'll lose 170 million jobs."
"Beginning to understand why we're in this situation in the first place now?" he asked. "Is it starting to become clear why everything isn't quite well?”
Hmmm...what exactly did he mean by that? 
a) Many members of the political class are stupid.
b) Many members of the political class are deceitful.
c) The media does not report the idiocy or mendacity of the political class unless they have "R" after their names.
d) The majority of the American electorate is not paying attention.
e) The majority of the American electorate is functionally innumerate (illiterate, too, but that's a whole 'nother issue).
f) all of the above
Just to get some idea of how things have changed and perhaps gain some insight into Leno's question about  how we've gotten to this point...from a little book called Four Centuries of American Education:
Consider...the basic math content of previous generations. Ray’s Arithmetic was one of the most popular elementary math texts in early American schools; notice some of its questions:


 I insured 2/3 of a shop worth $3600, and 4/5 of a house worth $6000, paying $126: what was the rate of insurance?

 How much money must be given with nine $100 shares at 15% discount, in exchange for eight $100 bonds at 2% discount?

 These were elementary math problems during the 1860s!

Consider also the math problems from an 1877 mental math text (that is, a text in which students solved the problems mentally – no pencil or paper allowed):

 A boat worth $864 – of which 1/8 belonged to A, 1/4 to B, and the rest to C – was lost; what loss did each sustain, it having been insured for $500?

 On a farm, there are 60 animals – horses, cows, and sheep; for each horse there are 3 cows, and for each cow there are 2 sheep: how many animals of each kind?

 If 7 men can do a piece of work in 4 days, in what time can it be done if 3 of the men leave when the work is half completed?

These were mental math problems for elementary students in 1877!

I wonder how Congresswoman Waters—or for that matter any of our elected officials today—would do with these questions.
Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters is not particularly sanguine about our chances:
It therefore seems impossible at this stage of our nation’s history to imagine a well-informed electorate being governed by honest leaders that have their best interests in mind.
h/t Tom

You DO see THESE stories in the MSM...

...all the time. For example (at Accuracy in Media):

...[Ron] Paul has said that Army soldier Bradley Manning, now on trial for treason, is a “hero,” and that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, now working for Russia Today [RT] television, is a whistleblower. Iraq war veteran Adam Kokesh, a Ron Paul supporter, had a regular program on Russia Today and organized a “Veterans for Ron Paul” group.
Manning, who was an intelligence analyst in Iraq, is charged with aiding Al-Qaeda through his release of classified information to WikiLeaks. Some of the documents he released concern counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East and the vulnerability of top-secret facilities to terrorist attack. Such disclosures increased the dangers to his fellow soldiers and their Afghan allies.
Assange, who has gone on the Russian payroll, stands out as someone openly devoted to the anti-American cause. It is also a fact that Press TV and RT find plenty of willing participants in their propaganda campaigns against America. These channels do not have Washington, D.C. studios and operations for nothing. In addition to their open collaboration with Ron Paul and his many “libertarian” backers, they are actively assisted by “progressives” who repeat the propaganda and want to see American influence in the Middle East reduced, if not eliminated. Liberal activist and RT host Thom Hartmann is perhaps the most visible example of this collaboration...
and most recently:
We are told that Sergeant Robert Bales navigated his way through Taliban-infested areas and killed 17 Afghan civilians, including women and toddlers. Then he took time out from shooting to stack up several of the bodies and light them on fire. One might expect that such a shooter would be running from any angry mob who identified this obvious intruder in their midst, if not be pinned down in a battle with the local Taliban. Instead, we are told that he walked back alone and calmly surrendered...
But you DON'T see THIS kind of story in the MSM.  I wonder why that is?
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Once in a while in combat, an event occurs that helps humanize warfare. When soldiers here were able to save a child gravely injured by an insurgent improvised explosive device, it became such an event.
Between March 14 and March 25, the Soldiers of Company B, “Blackjack,” Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Task Force Blackhawk, experienced a life-altering chain of events.Blackjack soldiers responded March 14 to a blast in Kushamond district in the compound of Saduzi, a known Taliban member. An IED, stored for a planned attack on U.S. and Afghan forces operating in the district, had detonated prematurely.
Upon arriving at the scene, they realized the insurgent device killed four children who appeared to be playing in the area and may have unwittingly engaged the trigger. At the time they didn’t know it, but one child, Saduzi’s eight-year-old son Matten, survived the blast. Within minutes, a man named Sultan, who lives in a neighboring home, carried the severely injured Matten to Combat Outpost Kushamond.
Sgt. Anthony Merino, the unit’s senior medic, reacted immediately and began treating the child.
“I assessed and stabilized the patient while we called in a medevac,” said Merino, a native of Bastop, Tex. “He was losing his airway. Had we not been able to treat him when we did, his wounds would certainly have been fatal”...
...Over the course of the 10 days, hospital staff members saw that the boy’s clothes and shoes were destroyed by the blast, and donated new clothes, shoes and toys. In addition to hospital workers donating, they received contributions from people in the U.S. as well.
“This was a deliberate outreach effort,” Putty added.  “This child was a victim of this war”...
...All those involved were greatly moved by the boy’s spirit and the humanity of the event.
“It affected me,” [Sgt. Michael] Torres said. “It demonstrated the human side of this conflict. The compassion of the American soldiers here and Bagram, and of the local villagers, really showed the pain of all of this.”
Sgt. Anthony Merino, senior medic for Company B, Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade,
and Capt. Giles Wright, Company B commander, pose for a picture at COP Kushamond, Paktika province, Afghanistan, with Matten, an eight-year-old Afghan boy whose face was severely damaged and blinded by an insurgent IED. Merino saved Matten’s life, but the insurgent IED blinded him.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Barnes)
h/t Tom


Those pesky social issues just won't go away but it isn't for lack of trying on the part of the MSM.

At Newbusters last night (Monday, 2/6):

NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation...

Ah. No mention of the HHS diktat that would force Catholic and other institutions to include sterilization, abortifacients and contraception in virtually all health plans offered to employees. Religious freedom? Freedom of conscience?  Fuhgeddaboudit.

And Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation?  You've heard about that one but maybe not this part:

Karen Handel, a senior vice president of public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, resigned after the breast-cancer group decided to overturn a decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Ms. Handel joined Dallas-based Komen after an unsuccessful run for governor in Georgia. During that race, Ms. Handel wrote in a blog that she would eliminate any state grants for organizations that supply abortions such as New York-based Planned Parenthood which, she wrote, “I do not support"...
...“Today I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel,” said Komen CEO Nancy Brinker, the group's founder, in a statement...
...Ms. Handel declined a severance package in her letter.......

Planned Parenthood earlier had said Komen was pressured to end the grants by anti-abortion forces.Komen had said it ended the grants because Planned Parenthood was under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, into whether Planned Parenthood is illegally using government money for abortions.

Komen had originally said it changed its criteria to deny money to any organization under federal, state, or local investigation. The criteria were later amended to make it clear that the investigations must be criminal and conclusive.
Which, in the current environment and as far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, it will never be. How convenient.
Back to media bias.  At Accuracy in Media, via New Zeal:
So we made it a point to tune into the Big Three network newscasts on Friday night—hours after Nancy Brinker of Komen had caved. We wanted to see if this story would be treated in a neutral manner, or if the stories would be written from the standpoint that Brinker did the right thing—and, why did it take her so long? We did receive a shock, though it was a mild one. One of the three networks actually did a fairly nice job.
NBC was first. Brian Williams handed the story off to Lisa Myers. She had a packaged piece in which she featured several pro-abortion video bites, but no sound-on-tape from any pro-life people. She provided one very short pro-life quote, as a throwaway. It was advocacy journalism, pure and simple.
On ABC, Diane Sawyer did not hand off to a field reporter and did just a brief rundown of the story. But she was giddy about “people power.” There simply was no thought that anyone in the audience might have disagreed with her viewpoint.
It was a different story on CBS. Anchor Scott Pelley put the story later in his broadcast, opting for some national/international stories that he considered more important. When he handed off to Nancy Cordes, she presented a more balanced report with on-camera reaction from both sides of the issue. We suspect Pelley is influencing the CBS Evening News, and taking it down a more journalistic path.
Maybe not so much, as demonstrated at the top of this post.
So tell me again—why would we trust the MSM?

Gasland redux

Oh, the power of innuendo.  At The Daily, "School Knows Frack-tions":

...Dozens of districts are closing budget shortfalls with fracking leases, especially in Pennsylvania and Texas.

However, fracking, which involves the injection of high-pressure liquids underground to extract gas and oil, is controversial. Opponents worry about polluted water and other environmental damage. The industry contends the method is safe, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this month that fracking may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution in Pavillion, Wyo....
That's it, except to note that "School district and company officials did not return phone calls. "

Read the whole thing (it won't take very long—like most things in The Daily, it's what amounts to a sound byte). Compare it with this:
...The draft EPA findings, released Thursday, said compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.
But at a State Capitol press conference with Gov. Matt Mead, [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar said the EPA’s findings were only preliminary and haven’t yet been reviewed by other scientists.
“We’ll see what happens with this Pavillion study,” Salazar said. “And I think it’s important that the real facts finally get to the table with respect to the peer review and seeing whether there’s something specific with respect to that basin that is different from what we have across the country.”

Salazar said fracking “can be done and is being done safely” in the United States...
Oh.  Well, that sounds a little different doesn't it?  The Daily story does say that "fracking may be to blame..."   But many people who attended a PAUSE presentation in Newfield in October greeted with utter disbelief the doubts expressed by CSI's Steve Penningroth about the validity of the oft-quoted Duke study on methane in drinking water. How likely would those folks be to think that the jury is still out on the EPA Pavillion study?
And we're talking about schools here. So The Daily is slyly engaging in the kind of fear-mongering that avante-garde director Josh Fox raised (almost) to the level of art in Gasland.
And they wonder why we're skeptical.
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