"Well if we´re catching flak from both sides we must be doing something right…" [Snip] It´s not left-wing-biased: how could it possibly be when it so often gets complaints from left-wingers criticising its outrageous bias towards the right…? Actually, I can think of lots of reasons why this proves absolutely nothing. It´s a classic case of what I call the Hitler/Churchill fallacy--or, maybe more appropriately as far as the BBC is concerned the Mao/Stalin fallacy: the false idea that whenever you take two extreme positions the sensible, decent middle ground must lie at the median point between them.
Comments: In this piece James gives a link to something he wrote in another publication. In response to a man-made global warming advocate´s statement, he flames:
It represents such a cherishably stupid, rude, fatuous, crabby, bigoted, ignorant, petulant, feeble, fallacious, dishonest and misleading argument that if it turned out the speaker in question was a professor of logic or philosophy you really might want to shoot yourself in despair.
Where else could you find the very useful novelty of a word like "cherishably"? Please do read both articles; you´ll be tickled pink.
James´s Hitler/Churchill fallacy is something I have railed against in the US media as well. Stories about a new brand of vodka, for example, will include a quote from a MADD or AA spokesman. Why? Pure laziness and simple-mindedness. Two extremes=balance, they think. Rubbish.
Implementation of health-care reform continues to suck all the oxygen out of the Washington media echo chamber, where even the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address can become a political football. The debate is whether ´Obamacare´ is fixable or in a death spiral. Given the current media frenzy, conservative commentators are having the easier time of it. Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View lays out two reasons why she thinks the future of health care reform is so tenuous. First, in order for Mr Obama´s programme to work, the public must have faith in the government-run "exchanges," where they can
Britain´s cancer shame was exposed last night as a major report showed our survival rates are still no better than Eastern Europe. Women with cervical cancer in the UK are less likely to be alive after five years than their counterparts in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, a major international study found. Our survival rates for breast and bowel cancer are also among the worst of the world’s industrialised nations, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development. Its report found that even Russia has a lower mortality rate for cancers than the UK--and that the NHS has fewer MRI
US spies were allowed to analyse the emails and phone records of potentially millions of Britons after being given permission by Tony Blair´s Labour Government, it has been claimed. The government allowed the US National Security Agency to store information regarding Briton´s landline numbers and later data regarding mobile phone and email communications and internet use. According to Channel 4 News, documents leaked by fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that the NSA was given the go ahead to ´unminimise´ British landline telephone numbers from as early as 2004 in a 2007 agreement meaning that the agency was not required
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services and the White House´s chief Obamacare cheerleader, was left ashen-faced during a photo-op on Tuesday when volunteers helping Floridians use healthcare.gov were faced with a website that didn´t work. While reporters trailed her during a tour of a Miami hospital, one noticed that the site was crashing. ´The screen says, "I’m sorry but the system is temporarily down,"´ CBS-TV4 reporter Brian Andrews told Sebelius, who could only mutter a surprised, ´Uh oh.´ The unlucky volunteer Obamacare ´navigator´ operating the laptop told Sebelius that her marquee website still displays that message a
Today’s Washington Post/ABC News poll is devastating reading for the White House. [Snip] Much of the disillusionment with the Obama presidency has been driven by mounting opposition to Obamacare, with 57 percent of Americans now against the government’s health care reforms, and 62 percent disapproving of the president’s handling of its rollout in recent weeks. As The Post notes, half of Americans now see Barack Obama as dishonest and untrustworthy: On three measures of leadership and empathy that have been tested repeatedly in Post-ABC polls, Obama now is underwater on all three for the first time.
The Norweigan army has announced it will feed soldiers a vegetarian diet once a week in an effort to cut down on ecologically unfriendly foods. ´Meatless Mondays´ have been introduced at one of the country´s main bases and will soon be rolled out to all units in a boycott of food whose production contributes heavily to global warming. With livestock farming accounting for almost 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the army´s proposal has been welcomed by environmental groups. ´It´s a step to protect our climate. The idea is to serve food that´s respectful of the environment," a Norweigan
This Ukranian guard knocked his cap off during a solo salute in front of two presidents - but managed to save face with a quick reflex. The young man was saved blushes when he rescued his hat with a quick sword trick after his salute knocked the cap from his head. The guard was taking part in a ceremony in Kiev in front of the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who both smiled at the blunder. The incident happened during a state visit on Monday, and has since gone viral on YouTube.
The continuing presence of American troops after their planned withdrawal next year will prolong the war in Afghanistan, a senior political leader of one of the country´s key insurgency groups told the Telegraph on Wednesday. Dr Ghairat Baheer, an influential Afghan political figure and a senior leader of the Islamist group Hezbi Islami, was speaking on the eve of a Loya Jirga gathering of 2500 tribal leaders from throughout Afghanistan to decide whether to approve a Bilateral Security Agreement which will allow a continuing United States presence beyond 2014. Talks for the deal have provoked a row in the United
Traders in London were left scratching their heads on Wednesday morning when a rapid-fire 10-second spell of selling sent gold prices quoted on a Bloomberg monitor down suddenly by about $10 (£6) to trade near $1,260 an ounce. IG Markets commented that the fall came suddenly following a 2,000-contracts sell order hitting the market, but the incident shows how markets don´t always comply to the logic of traders reacting to big news events that are publicly disclosed and that we all know about. [Snip] Traders I spoke to in London this morning were themselves lost for an explanation over the
We might have hit the nadir of Barack Obama´s presidency--and it´s no coincidence that it should happen when his biggest initiative finally bears fruit. The latest CBS opinion poll says that his approval rating has sunk to its lowest point yet: just 37 percent. [Snip] The Republicans might be feeling pretty down in the dumps right now but at least they have the consolation of knowing that Obama´s down there with them. How did it all go wrong? Well, CBS throws out another figure that explains all: support for the Affordable Care Act has slumped to another historic low of
It is already America´s longest war, but a new draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal reveals plans for military forces to stay on indefinitely in Afghanistan--costing the taxpayer tens of billions. The wide ranging document, obtained by NBC News, outlines plans to stay on until 2024 ´and beyond´--maintaining bases in Afghanistan and paying to support and train hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces. Afghan officials hope that up to 15,000 American troops will remain in the country after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal date as the United States faces a never-ending war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the
Venezuelan MPs have granted President Nicolas Maduro yearlong decree powers that he says are essential to regulate the economy and stamp out corruption but adversaries view as a thinly veiled power grab. [Snip] Though winning the decree powers hands Mr Maduro a political victory in the runup to Dec. 8 municipal elections, he still faces a severely distorted economy with embarrassing product shortages and inflation surging to nearly 55 percent. "With this Enabling Law we are following an order by President Chavez," said Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly and a staunch supporter of Mr Maduro. "He told us
President Barack Obama told the Wall Street CEO Council Tuesday that his administration has "reined in spending" and "cut our deficits by more than half." "After years of trillion-dollar deficits we reined in spending, wound down two wars and began to change a tax code that I believe was too skewed towards the wealthiest among us at the expense of the middle class," said Obama. "And since I took office, we have now cut our deficits by more than half. Add it all and businesses like yours have created 7.8 million new jobs over the past 44 months, we´ve gone farther
Negligence? Absolutely. Incompetence? The case can be made. But scandalous? To suggest that the White House has willfully engaged in the intentional misleading of the public and an outrageous dereliction of its responsibilities to enforce the laws passed by Congress has been a bridge too far. Until recently. New revelations are now forcing even the most reluctant of President Barack Obama’s critics to concede that the Affordable Care Act’s implementation has evolved into a scandal. “I was not informed directly that the website would not be working, as the way it was supposed to,” Obama told reporters on November 14.
MICHELLE OBAMA: I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was really little and then I wasn´t that great at math and science so I switched to law because my mother told me that I like to argue a lot. But I realized in high school and in college that you don´t have to exactly know, you´re kind of always discovering yourself. So I studied law, I went to law to school, but was pretty clear I just wanted to be a good student. I wanted to know how to read and write and communicate, be able to
In an interview on BET last night with Bow Wow and Keshia Chante, First Lady Michelle Obama talked up her husband, President Barack Obama. "I always say my husband has got swag," said Mrs. Obama. "He’s got a little swag." The audience applauded. Mrs. Obama also said that the president of the United States "sings all the time." She continued, "Oh, yes, he’s in the bathroom all the time just singing." She also praised her husband. "[H]e has got a good voice." Here´s a transcript of that exchange:
Well folks, it looks like Arizona Senator John McCain will "be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.” According to the Arizona Republic, McCain is set to attend a glitzy fundraising for his 2016 campaign in New York City. Sen. John McCain has scheduled a December fundraiser in New York City, the surest sign yet that the veteran Arizona Republican is serious about possibly pursuing a sixth term in 2016. According to a copy of the invitation obtained Tuesday by The Arizona Republic, McCain is asking supporters to join him 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the midtown St. Regis Hotel
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama says she won’t wear shorts on Air Force One again because the one time she did, it created “a huge stink.”(snip)Mrs. Obama was asked about her biggest fashion regret. She said she’s always happy with her outfits but that, quote, “sometimes I forget I’m the first lady and I’m running around in shorts.” She recalled her family’s first White House vacation, to the Grand Canyon in August 2009. Mrs. Obama said her wearing shorts getting off the plane “created a huge stink because people were like, ‘she’s wearing shorts getting off of Air Force One.’” She said her thought
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama conceded that he will have to "remarket" and "rebrand" Obamacare as public confidence in him and the healthcare law he championed has plummeted. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit, Obama addressed the failures of the Obamacare rollout and said while he was confident that the healthcare model his administration built, which he claimed worked off of the "existing private insurance system," would succeed, the law would have to be rebranded. “We are going to have to obviously remarket and rebrand,” Obama said. “And that will be challenging in this political environment.” When he
President Barack Obama told a gathering of corporate executives Tuesday he´s confident that his model of health care will work in the end, but he said he´s going to have to "re-brand" it to sell it to a skeptical public. He didn´t use the word "Obamacare" once on Tuesday in talking about his health care law, but he mentioned the "Affordable Care Act" seven times. "So, look, I am confident that the model that we built, which works off of the existing private insurance system, is one that will succeed," Obama told the Wall Street Journal´s CEO Council Annual Meeting
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says everyone should stop talking so much about the 2016 presidential race, because doing so hurts President Obama, who´s only a year into his second term. "In this sense, I feel badly for President Obama. He just won a year ago, and everybody´s like, ´So, who´s next?´" Christie said Monday night at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. "There is work to be done in this country. And as we shove him out the door, we minimize his ability to be an effective executive. And we shouldn´t do that." Even as he urged people to focus
The White House has admitted that it was wrong to promise that people would be able to their health care plans under Obamacare. "With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan you can keep it, I think -- you know, and I’ve said in interviews -- that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. We put a grandfather clause into the law but it was insufficient," President Obama said
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says although some Democrats may be voting politically to distance themselves from Obamacare, they were still supporting the law and working in their districts to implement it. "This is history and the future and progress," she stated emphatically, "It stands right there as Social Security, Medicare, affordable health care, as a right, not a privilege for the few, but a right for the many." She was speaking Tuesday at an event sponsored by BuzzFeed. Pelosi acknowledged she was "really disappointed" that the technology behind the website failed, but said she was excited to see the program fully
President Obama irked some conservatives with his recitation of the Gettysburg Address, which he read aloud as part of a project celebrating the 150th anniversary of famous Lincoln speech. For the project, spearheaded by documentarian Ken Burns, a number of politicians and other high-profile people recorded themselves reading the Gettysburg Address. However, Mr. Obama´s recording seems to be the only one that leaves the phrase "under God" out of a certain line. Some conservatives took offense to the president´s reading. "Lincoln added ´Under God´ as he was looking out over battlefield. why would obama remove?" Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter. Gettysburg