Bloomberg Ricin Attack: Don’t Overreact Just Yet

Published: mic (May 29, 2013)

When an issue is as superheated as gun control, one can almost instinctively predict the reaction to news stories such as this one:

“New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received an anonymous threatening letter that preliminary tests indicated contained the presence of the poison ricin, law enforcement officials told NBC News.

A similar letter, which early tests indicated contained ricin, was also sent to the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in Washington, D.C. read more

George Zimmerman Trial: Release of Trayvon Martin Text Messages is Racist and Reprehensible

Published: mic (May 27, 2013)

After facing a wave of controversy for their decision to release Trayvon Martin’s private cell phone records to the public, George Zimmerman’s attorneys are defending themselves by claiming they merely wish to demonstrate that Martin was “hostile.” In their own words, their sole goal is to “assist the jury in understanding why Trayvon Martin chose to hide then confront George Zimmerman rather than simply going home.”

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: If you believe that, it’s time for you to develop a bullshit detector. read more

Joe Biden Gaffe: VP’s Jewish Comments Were Not Anti-Semitic

Published: mic (May 25, 2013)

While Joe Biden is notorious for his gaffes, his recent comments in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month should not be designated as such … despite the outcry from some critics claiming otherwise.

First, let’s take a look at what he said:

“The truth is that Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it’s fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage. The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America. No group has had such an outsized influence per capita as all of you standing before you, and all of those who went before me and all of those who went before you.” read more

Why Today’s Democrats Are Not Like LBJ

Published: mic (May 23, 2013)

There are days that call for history lessons, and while most liberals don’t realize it, we should definitely insist on May 22 being one of them. After all, it was 49 years ago yesterday that President Lyndon Baines Johnson intoned these words at a speech delivered to a graduating class at the University of Michigan:

“For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people. read more

Tom Coburn and Republican Senators Repeatedly Opposed Disaster Relief Funds

Published: mic (May 21, 2013)

Update: Since this article was written, Senator Coburn announced that he would be insistent that any aid to the Oklahoma tornado victims must be offset by additional spending cuts elsewhere — predictably putting partisan politics ahead of helping his constituents. Read more here.

It’s always immensely satisfying to read an article that makes its point simply by listing facts.

The piece that inspired this observation appeared in the Huffington Post. As reporter Christina Wilkie observed, the recent string of tornadoes which have devastated Oklahoma are putting that state’s pair of Republican senators in a rather “awkward position.” Not only did Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe support a conservative plan last year to cut Hurricane Sandy disaster relief from $60.4 billion to $23.8 billion, but they even opposed additional funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when it was set to run out of funds back in 2011. Of course, despite a claim by one of Coburn’s spokesmen that that his boss never makes “parochial calculations” in his voting decisions, the erstwhile physician is on the record urging FEMA to act as quickly as possible after a 2007 ice storm so that “Oklahoma has the resources needed to begin the clean-up.” When the Department of Housing and Urban Development came through with additional relief funds the following year, Inhofe joined Coburn in offering effusive praise. read more

Ted Cruz 2016: Presidential Run Would Put Birthers in a Bind

Published: mic (May 18, 2013), The Morning Call (May 20, 2013)

From a strictly political standpoint, the past month has been pretty good for Sen. Ted Cruz. First the Tea Party darling further endeared himself to grassroots rightists by claiming that he had privately told the Republican senators who supported the gun-buyer background check bill to “not be a bunch of squishes.” Now he is in the headlines again, this time for being on the receiving end of a senatorial insult namely, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement that Cruz had acted like a “schoolyard bully” during Senate budget negotiations. read more

‘All My Children,’ ‘One Life to Live’ Return 2 Years After Cancellation — Online

Published: mic (May 1, 2013)

If you thought NBC’s inept mishandling of the Tonight Show franchise was the mother of all network debacles, take a look at this recent story about ABC from the Los Angeles Times:

On Thursday, production company Prospect Park Networks filed a $25-million breach of contract lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co-owned broadcast network. The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged that ABC backstabbed the production firm by carrying out a devious plot to destroy Prospect’s efforts to bring the beloved daytime dramas back to life as online productions. read more