You Stay Classy, Big Coal

This is some real awesomesauce:

Last month, when coal execs read the report linking birth defects to mountaintop removal mining, they weren’t exactly thrilled. One rebuttal, penned by four attorneys with the firm Crowell & Moring, which represents the National Mining Association, accused the study’s authors of using cherry-picked and misleading data. But that apparently wasn’t convincing enough, so they went a step further and employed a discredited stereotype about inbreeding in West Virginia.

“The study failed to account for consanquinity [sic], one of the most prominent sources of birth defects,” the attorneys’ statement said. It then went on to advertise the firm’s services to coal companies looking to “counter unfounded claims of injury or disease” from potential lawsuits sparked by the study.

The statement, which had been on the firm’s website for more than a week, was quickly removed yesterday after Charleston Gazette blogger Ken Ward Jr. pointed out its insinuation that inbreeding hicks, not mountaintop mining, were to blame for spikes in the rate of birth defects, which it also said didn’t exist in the first place. Wrap your head around that one. (Thanks to Ward, you can still read the statement here.

It’s not the pollution causing those non-existent birth defects, it’s the inbreeding.

Assholes. You know what would fix this problem? Deregulation and tort reform.

Whiny Little Brats

Time for another press pool hissy fit:

Obama chafes at the time-honored practice of answering questions shouted at him during pooled, non-press conference events — and his staff has often opted for “stills sprays,” excluding print reporters or TV cameras who might capture Obama in the less than flattering non-act of snubbing a query.

When asked today why TV crews and print reporters were barred from the pool covering the White House meeting with congressional leaders on the deficit, Carney responded by pointing out that the administration has held two press conferences in the past two weeks and allowed TV cameras into the spray earlier this week.

“People shouted questions at him,” Carney said. He then added, “The purpose of the meeting is not to create a circus, but to negotiate, so today we’re doing stills only.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association has protested exclusion of print and TV from pools — and several reporters in the briefing room took Carney’s comment as an annoyed expression of presidential displeasure with shouted questions.

“It’s an absurd reason to say that because we asked questions you’re not going to allow cameras in there. He’s capable of ignoring our questions. He does it all the time,” said Chip Reid of CBS.

There is a reason the President ignores jackasses like Chip Reid.

Is it really so hard to understand why the President might not want a clown parade throwing rubber chickens and making farty armpit sounds during delicate negotiations? Christ, the only reason they are whining is because access is all they have- these talentless asshats have skated by on autopilot for so long, none of them know how to chase down or investigate a real story anymore (assuming they ever did), so now, when you refuse them the right to shout deeply insightful questions like “Are you any closer to a deal” or “Have the negotiations seemed tense,” you’ve basically cut them off at the knees. They won’t be able to dissect your facial expression or find some silly gotcha or call John McCain for a caustic response, and will have NOTHING to write about. They’ll be left writing about whether the President is sneaking smokes or that it smells in the press section of Air Force One or how many calories are in the Michelle’s lunch or whether someone was mean to Dick Cheney.

Oh, wait. They are already doing that.

Union Thugs 1, Breitbart and the Clown Parade 0

Remember this nonsense:

It took a St. Louis County jury less than 50 minutes to return a not guilty verdict in the assault trial featuring Kenneth Gladney and two union members who were charged with attacking him outside a two hall event during the tumultuous summer of 2009.

The altercation itself was regrettable and was over almost before it began: the type of heated scuffle that happens countless times everyday in this crowded country, and everyday people move on with their lives.

But because this particular clash was captured on tape, and because Tea Party members went bonkers hyping it, and because right-wing media carnival barkers like Dana Loesch and Andrew Breitbart operate with no moral compass, the Gladney story blew up overnight and became a (demented) cause celebre among hardcore conservatives who hatched a weird fantasy about run-away union violence in America, not withstanding what was captured on the Gladney tape.

It’s difficult to capture just how madly the right-wing media overreacted to this story, doing its best to blow it up into a seismic, Rodney King-type of event. Fox New aired at least 20 segments mentioning Gladney, according to Nexis. Glenn Beck obsessed over the story. Breitbart penned a “I Am Kenneth Gladney” column in solidarity for the Washington Times. And CNN’s Lou Dobbs played dumb on the massive scale while hosting Gladney.

In the end, all the right-wing press had to show for their efforts were not guilty verdicts stemming from misdemeanor charges.

Indeed, the glaring problem with the Gladney tale was that rather than being savagely beaten and kicked, which is how right-wing bloggers breathlessly relayed the “brutal” tale, if you watched the videotape, Gladney appeared unharmed from the one or two seconds he was on the ground. He quickly sprang to his feet and was seen calmly discussing the aftermath of the scuffle with a police officer. (It was actually one of the “union thugs” who suffered a fractured shoulder during the dust-up.)

Someone ready some thorazine for Dana Loesch and Jim Hoft.

Chaos, Misinformation, Recalcitrant Stupidity — His Job Here Is Done!

Dave Weigel at Slate reports that Ron Paul will not run for re-election to the House:

… Five years ago, Paul was a marginal political figure who could save reporters from a slow news week as the subject of a profile. He was “Doctor No,” the guy with the “Don’t Steal, the Government Hates Competition” sign on his desk, the one Republican whose criticism of George W. Bush was entirely unsurprising. He announced his 2008 presidential campaign not with a rally, not with a lens-flared YouTube video, but with a dour interview on C-Span.
Paul will leave Congress next year as arguably the most intellectually influential member of the House of Representatives in a generation. (I write “arguably” even though trying to think of a runner-up is a deeply depressing task.) He was not necessarily a successful legislator. But his career has been remarkable for its consistency.
Starting with an uphill campaign for Congress in 1974, through a wilderness period where he won the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, and continuing with a 1996 comeback that the mainstream GOP opposed, Paul advocated the same economic and foreign policies for 37 years. A call to abolish the Federal Reserve, a campaign to return to the gold standard, a belief that America’s foreign interventionism was illegal and unsustainable: Some of his positions remain on the fringe of politics, but others have proved remarkably popular in America’s center-right party.[…]
When he ran four years ago, however, Paul didn’t have any ideological competition. He was solo and sui generis. It was part of his quirky appeal. Now, there are plenty of Republicans who can call themselves his successors, and as long as Barack Obama is president, Paul’s ideas are rolled into the GOP’s double helix. Ron Paul used to be alone in saying no to everything, doubting that the elites were telling the truth. Now, there are plenty of other Republicans who think that way. There are real debates now about war funding and debt default. That’s the legacy of screw-ups by presidents in both parties, and that’s the legacy of Ron Paul.

To repeat, because it’s horribly true: Ron Paul is “arguably the most intellectually influential member of the House of Representatives in a generation.” He is also a crank obsessed with a strange brew of sociological and economic theories that were thoroughly discredited by the beginning of the last century, during the collapse of the original Gilded Age. If an anti-Mt.-Rushmore were ever to be sculpted to memorialize short-sighted cupidity and an obsession with ‘elegant’ failed policies, Dr. Ron Paul’s chipmunk visage deserves a space… at the far right.

Oh, and just to reassure his deeply demented committed fan base: His presidential campaign is still alive!

How Long Before This is the New CW?

The balls on these people:

Huge chutzpah points to House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, who sends along a statement of support in response to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s byzantine plan to avoid a debt default.

“The Speaker shares the Leader’s frustration,” Steel says. “Republicans are unified in our commitment to ensuring that the debt limit is not used as leverage to saddle small businesses with increased taxes that destroy jobs.”

So it was the Democrats using the debt limit as leverage this whole time? I have a whole bunch of corrections to write.

Who will be the first “reporter” to advance this bullshit? Safe money is always on that right-wing hack Halperin.