I know Howard Kurtz has had a rough time of it over the whole ‘Jason Collins lied by not telling us he was engaged to a woman’ (except that it’s right there in his Sports Illustrated post) thing.
I know he’s desperately looking to regain some credibility, not to mention find some work after being dismissed by Newsweek and The Daily Beast…
But this is a textbook example of what we call ‘trying too hard’:
OK, Obama standing under an umbrella held by a military aide opens the metaphor floodgates for an administration in a downpour
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) May 16, 2013
In a certain sense, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R – KookyTown) is my very favorite congresscritter. After all, he provides nearly endless entertainment. Of course, Louie actually takes himself and his job very seriously — which is why he took to questioning Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday like a pig to mud.
But the most unusual exchange came when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) questioned Holder over the FBI’s investigation into Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Gohmert accused Holder and the Department of Justice of unfair targeting of Christian groups while failing to thoroughly investigate Tsarnaev, and said the FBI “blew it” by not following up after Tsarnaev had become “radicalized.”
“Because of political correctness, there was not a thorough enough investigation of Tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized,” Gohmert said, raising his voice at Holder.
Rep. Gohmert had his five minutes to question Holder, and there were definitely some fireworks. It was when his time runs out, though, that things really got nasty. As you can imagine, Louie didn’t take too kindly to these words from the Attorney General: ”You don’t have access to the FBI files,” Holder said. “You don’t know what the FBI did. You don’t know what the FBI’s interaction was with the Russians. You don’t know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that. … I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know.”
Well now see, that just sounds an awful lot like questioning Mr. Gohmert’s credibility. Or, as Louie indignantly declares, in what Huffpo’s Luke Johnson calls “a malapropism for the ages”:
“The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
You probably should watch it for yourself. The following video is the entire exchange. Asparagus enters into it at about 8:57. Enjoy:
The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets. (HuffPo)
So hey, on the one hand that’s great that those funds aren’t just making their way in to the pockets of the banks anymore. But, on the other hand, it seems a bit out-of-step with our long-held values about the pursuit of higher education as a national good. I guess some might say it’s a national good that struggling borrowers are helping to bring down the deficit so we don’t have to slash oil and gas subsidies or something. Personally, it makes me queasy that our government is profiting in this way.
The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency’s aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt.
This is not the way it’s supposed to be.
A survey released last Friday shows about three quarters of those surveyed struggling with student debt. It’s doing no good, and much harm, to our economy that these borrowers are delaying marriage, home-buying, saving, and all kinds of other spending that would stimulate the economy because of the heavy burden of student debt.
Fortunately, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown get it.
“Wall Street, student loan servicers, and now the government are reaping profits at the expense of students,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “When everyone is benefiting from student loan policy except students and graduates, we have a problem.”
“The fact that the government is now expected to profit $51 billion off student loans this year — more than the annual profit of any Fortune 500 company and about five times the profit of Google — is just plain wrong,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). “We should put an end to the practices that generate Fortune 500 profits off of our students.” (HuffPo)
Oh my, it looks as though ABC News was carrying someone’s water, whether they knew it or not. Just four days ago, ABC’s Jonathon Karl was the big man on campus with his “bombshell” story that the Obama administration scrambled in the wake of the Benghazi attack, revising talking points memos 12 times, and scrubbing them of any reference to terrorism. Karl’s source(s) provided him with damning emails contradicting what the administration has publicly said. For instance:
In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. — three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows – Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed.
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.” (ABC News)
Wow. That looks pretty bad. Looks like Rhodes was more concerned with covering the State Department’s ass than with getting to the truth. Except that today Jake Tapper from CNN has obtained the actual email which “differs from how sources inaccurately quoted and paraphrased it in previous accounts to different media organizations.” Compare:
“Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.
“We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.”
Well that doesn’t appear to be the same thing at all!
Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his e-mail on the State Department’s concerns.
Previous reporting also misquoted Rhodes as saying the group would work through the talking points at the deputies meeting on Saturday, September 15, when the talking points to Congress were finalized. While the previously written subject line of the e-mail mentions talking points, Rhodes only addresses misinformation in a general sense.
So whoever leaked the inaccurate information earlier this month did so in a way that made it appear that the White House – specifically Rhodes – was more interested in the State Department’s concerns, and more focused on the talking points, than the e-mail actually stated.
It would seem the Benghazi leaks are not all they’re cracked up to be. Who woulda thunk it?
Who is Larry Conners, you ask? According to his Facebook, he is a “public figure”. But actually, he is part of the channel 4 news team at CBS affiliate KMOV in St. Louis, Missouri. And this one time, he did an interview with President Obama and asked him about spending and vacations. I’m sure you can guess what happened after that — yep, the IRS painted a great big target on his back and started “pressuring” him. Do Obama’s Nixonian tactics have no end?!?
Conners took to his Facebook last evening to reveal the oppression:
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.
The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.
That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda – political or otherwise – at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me. (From Conners’ Facebook post, via BuzzFeed - emphasis mine)
Alrighty! What to make of this, eh? Conners does not go on to detail this alleged abuse. — What does he mean by “pressure”? We don’t know!
A perusal of Conners’ Facebook page reveals a pretty conservative fellow whose fans feel comfortable making Tea Party-type posts about the evils of government and gun control. But hey, it is Missouri, and he’s a local television personality. Even now, after posting about his politically-motivated abuse at the hands of the Obama IRS, his Facebook page has fewer than 4,700 likes. Would the Obama administration really target this guy just because he asked some of the same annoying questions as the DC press corps?
And if so, can he prove it? No… But whatevs! Run with it, Larry. The Obama administration is having such a no good, horrible, really bad week - who’s going to argue one more allegation? Maybe Larry will really luck out and have his story blow up and then the IRS will think twice about messing with local TV anchors!