Jon Stewart just had the director of Rich Hill, a documentary about a town in Bates County.
Given the poverty in the town, Stewart was appalled that the Congress woman representing the town voted to cut SNAP funding.
The good news: Missouri’s 24th Senate district, a lean-Democratic district that just barely elected Missouri Tea Party luminary, Republican John Lamping, to the state senate will have a chance to redeem itself. State Rep. Jill Schupp (D-88) will be running against Lamping, or if he, as he has been hinting, declines to run again, whichever GOP clone gets the party’s nod to take his place.
The bad news: What Lamping and the state GOP have already cost Missouri. Just take a look at Lamping’s recent performance on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. Lamping appeared in a clip in which he tried to articulate the Missouri GOP’s rationale for refusing to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, thus denying access to health care to about 300,000 eligible Missourians who are currently without coverage (the Missouri segment begins at about 4:10″ and Lamping’s appearance is 4:45″ in):
Lamping’s comments were contrasted to that of Missourian Bertha McIntyre who supports herself and her children on $1200 a month and who, needless to say, does without insurance:
Lamping: The entire cost of Medicaid in Missouri is one third of Missouri’s Budget; we can barely afford to be in the Medicaid program as exists today …
Stewart: Boy, that is a tough choice, should we, as a state, accept 100% of this program’s expansion costs from the federal government for the first three years, or, I don’t know, [bleep] it. But it is a tough choice some of your citizens are making.
Bertha McIntire: An I going to take food out of a child’s stomach, or am I going to do without going to the doctor? Which would you choose?
Stewart: Here’s the best part. These governors and legislators who refuse to accept Medicaid for that nice lady, all but three of those twenty-six states already take more money from the federal government than they contribute in tax dollars; they’re already burdens on the system. I believe that they’re referred to by those Republicans as moochers, moocher states. If statehood was healthcare, Mississippi and Missouri would be rejected as having that as a pre-existing condition. …
And there’s worse, at least if you think hypocrisy counts against politicians. As the Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling pointed out, Missouri’s legislative anti-Obamacare, anti-Medicaid brigade aren’t nearly so worried about taxpayer dollars when it comes to the taxpayer funded insurance coverage that is available to them – just another example of the GOP what’s-good-for-me-is-too-damn-good-for-you-so-suck-it-up-and-suffer ideology.
Schupp’s assessment of the legislature’s anti-Obamacare Medicaid tantrum offers an instructive counterpoint – and one that demolishes the dishonest Lamping assertion that we can’t afford to expand Medicaid. As Schupp observes, we can hardly afford not to do so:
The most important opportunity the legislature failed to act upon this year was providing healthcare access to 260,000 low-income Missourians. Timing was critical, because for three years, starting in 2014, 100 percent of the funding was to be covered by the federal government. Not passing the legislation for the 2014 start date means we lose one year of 100 percent federal funding.
Then, consider that the expanded coverage would pay for both doctor and emergency room visits. Currently, care for the indigent making emergency room visits is partially covered by federal DSH payments (disproportional share), helping hospitals afford to take care of the un- and under-insured patient. Part of the Affordable Care Act includes DSH payments winding down in 2014. This was an important incentive for states to expand coverage of Medicaid. Hospitals will not receive reimbursement from DSH, and in Missouri, because we did not expand Medicaid, thousands of patients will still not have insurance. Some hospitals, including and especially rural hospitals, are likely to close.
And there is more. For all the talk about economic development and competition with our neighboring states, providing this extended healthcare access is estimated to provide 24,000 Missouri jobs in the first year alone, and over the next several years, infuse billions of dollars into Missouri’s economy. Divergent groups from the Hospital Association to Insurance companies to the Missouri Chamber, Missouri Budget Project, Catholic Charities, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice and Metropolitan Congregations United (and more) have all agreed to the importance of this initiative. Other than political ideology, there is no reason to have defeated this expansion.
Jill Schupp’s remarks make it clear that reasonable citizens of the 24th district have a viable alternative to Lamping or whoever else the GOP drags in; she’ll be a candidate who will try to do the best for the district and the state rather than mindlessly echo the revenant John Birchers who run today’s Republican party and who are also quickly running the state into the ground.
Maybe thinking he was safe in friendly territory with a group of Tea Partiers, Rep. Todd Akin held forth Thursday on the topic of evolution:
I don’t see it as even a matter of science because I don’t know that you can prove one or the other. …
I imagine that must come as a surprise to most scientists who tend to believe that all biological science depends on the theory of evolution. (Yes, I said theory – and if you want to know just what theory means in science, read this.) Further, understanding the crucial role the theory of evolution plays in biological sciences has practical consequences for us all. This extract from a letter written to their administration by members of the Biology faculty at the University of Texas to defend the teaching of evolution makes the scope opf evolutionary theory quite clear:
Evolution education is more than an academic question. Biotechnology is a key player in our economy, and biotech firms move to places with well trained biologists. Evolutionary biology has made fundamental contributions to drug synthesis, medical genetics, and our understanding of the origins and dynamics of diseases. Principles of evolution are at the basis of human genomics and personalized medicine and are applied daily by people working in medicine, agriculture, engineering, and pharmaceuticals. In contrast, anti-evolutionary ideas like intelligent design have yet to produce any medical or technological advances.
The crux of the issue seems to be the word “proven.” Like theory, however, proof doesn’t mean the same thing in science. It would help, don’t you think, if Akin bothered to learn something, anything at all, about science before he shoots off his mouth – even among Tea Partiers?
I know you’ve already heard it ad infinitum, but his fellow Republicans appointed this guy to the House Science and Technology Committee. Really. And he’s not the only crank on that committee – check out Jon Stewart’s take on Todd Akin and a few of his congressional peers. Stewart suggests some hard truths about Missouri voters:
How do these fucking crazy people make it to the national stage?” Stewart asked. “Easy. By being less crazy than the guys on the state level.
Jon Stewart entered the belly of the beast (yeah, there’s an ad at the start of this clip):
….Jon Stewart: You believe that Fox News is exactly the ideological equivalent [crosstalk] of NBC News.
Chris Wallace: I think we’re the counterweight. I think we’re the counterweight.
Jon Stewart: You believe that [crosstalk]…
Chris Wallace: I think that they have a liberal agenda and I think we tell the other side of the story.
[cut away from video]
Jon Stewart: The other side of the story. We don’t, we don’t tell both sides of the story. We tell one side. The other side. The one we perceive as never told [inaudible]. ‘Cause as you know news only comes in two sides. [laughter] And if the conservative side isn’t being told what’s being told must be liberal. Fox News isn’t fair and balanced it’s balancing the system, man. Don’t you get it? The system’s unfair and unbalanced. To balance the system Fox has to be the purest form of right wing resin because of how [laughter], because of how heavy left wing America is. Hollywood, comedians, every single news organization, the Internet, facts [laughter], history, science, it’s all just left wing [bleep], man…
A protest sign from a few years ago.
March 25, 2004:
We’ve continued our daily vigil on the Quad at our university for over a year. Yesterday I was joined by other activists, one by one, until by the end of our vigil our host numbered six. My colleague, the fourth to join us, noted as he approached, “Boy, you really notice it when there are three of you standing out here.” And we were noticed. You could see the people walking in the distance slow perceptibly as the passed, some squinting to read our signs.
I handed out signs to those who joined us. The usual question from me is “Which one do you want?” Some signs are more aggressive than others – the recipient choosing that with which they are most comfortable.
After I passed out signs I took up the “Faux News Channel, fascist groupies” sign. And yes, it is aggressive. At that time an individual slowed in the distance and called out “Does that make me a fascist?” It was an interesting reaction to observe – taking the content of a sign directed at a corporate entity as a personal affront. We had all been engaged in conversation. Upon hearing his question we all looked up. My colleague called back, “It just means you’re misinformed. Is that where you get all your information?” He replied, “Fox on the right, CNN on the left.” Several of us started laughing. Others in our group asked for a repetition of what he had said and upon hearing it, added to the laughter. It is symptomatic of this skewed world view that not being Fox News and actually being center right equates with a conveniently packaged leftist label. That standard would make Attila the Hun a moderate. And infinitely more compassionate.
He continued walking away in the distance as the sounds of our laughter followed him.
The story of the Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) interview of Jim Cramer (CNBC) has been generating a little bit of interest:
So we’re at the point that a comedian has to take a break from fart sounds and funny faces to dish out some journalism. Because otherwise, there isn’t any? Journalism, that is.
-Jay Ackroyd 07:28
Did Network Drink Wall Street Kool-Aid?
CBS Evening News: In Scathing “Daily Show” Interview, Jon Stewart Admonishes CNBC’s Jim Cramer
NEW YORK, March 13, 2009 | by Jeff Greenfield
…But the real question is this: How do we get the hard questions asked before things go wrong? That is the very serious question the late-night comedian was raising.
Good question. I would suspect, when you’re a journalist with access, that it might involve something along the line of actually asking those, you know, hard questions.
Friday March 13, 2009 08:09 EDT
There’s nothing unique about Jim Cramer
…The point that can’t be emphasized enough is that this isn’t a matter of past history. Unlike Cramer — who at least admitted fault last night and said he was “chastized” — most establishment journalists won’t acknowledge that there was anything wrong with the behavior of the press corps during the Bush years. The most they’ll acknowledge is that it was confined to a couple of bad apples — The Judy Miller Defense. But the Cramer-like journalistic behavior during that period that was so widespread and did so much damage is behavior that our press corps, to this day, believes is proper and justified…
…It’s fine to praise Jon Stewart for the great interview he conducted and to mock and scoff at Jim Cramer and CNBC. That’s absolutely warranted. But just as was true for Judy Miller (and her still-celebrated cohort, Michael Gordon), Jim Cramer isn’t an aberration. What he did and the excuses he offered are ones that are embraced as gospel to this day by most of our establishment press corps, and to know that this is true, just look at what they do and say about their roles. But at least Cramer wants to appear to be contrite for the complicit role he played in disseminating incredibly destructive and false claims from the politically powerful. That stands in stark contrast to David Gregory, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, David Ignatius and most of their friends, who continue to be defiantly and pompously proud of the exact same role they play…
“But, but, but,” our useless media whines, “we didn’t know…”:
Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War [from the PIPA web site introduction]
October 2, 2003
An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted June through September found 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found, 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. Overall 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions.
Such misperceptions are highly related to support for the war. Among those with none of the misperceptions listed above, only 23% support the war. Among those with one of these misperceptions, 53% support the war, rising to 78% for those who have two of the misperceptions, and to 86% for those with all 3 misperceptions. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “While we cannot assert that these misperceptions created the support for going to war with Iraq, it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions.”
The frequency of Americans’ misperceptions varies significantly depending on their source of news….
Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War [pdf] [from the PIPA report]
…The widespread presence of misperceptions naturally raises the question of whether they are to some extent a function of an individual’s source of news. In other words, did people vary in the frequency of their misperceptions according to their source of news? …
Frequency of Misperceptions:
Evidence of al-Qaeda Links, WMD Found,World Public Opinion Favorable
Respondents with one or more misperceptions
Print Media 47%
That’s a lot of “Kool-Aid drinkers”, even for CBS and CNN. I wonder why? Did our media ask hard questions before things went wrong? Ironic, don’t you think?
Let’s take a look back:
CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN
Aired October 4, 2002 – 07:46 ET…
…BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: You know the song, “War, What is it Good For?” Well, it seems Iraq’s vice president is singing the same tune.
Taha Yassin Ramadan suggesting a way for the U.S. and Iraq to avoid war and bloodshed. His idea is this: Get the feuding leaders together face-to-face — president vs. president, vice president vs. vice president — for a duel…
…GREENFIELD: Now, here’s another suggestion. We might turn to a karaoke contest, because we do know from one of his ex-mistresses that Saddam’s favorite song is, “Strangers in the Night.” The president favors the classic Everly Brothers song, “Wake Up Little Susie.” Frankly, I’m with Team USA on that one.
And I would suggest another crazy (ph) competition, but it’s the biathlon, not the one you meant.
HEMMER: It is?
GREENFIELD: The biathlon is a Winter Olympic event, where competitors race on skis, and then drop to their knees and fire guns at their targets. This is what my grandparents saw when they were fleeting Romania.
And once again, given the ski and snow element here, probably not much chance for practice in Iraq…
…HEMMER: But Saddam, what, he’s a swordsman, right?
HEMMER: Somewhat practiced anyway.
GREENFIELD: We have to be careful about that phrase. But, yes, he is literally a swordsman.
But here, here we take a page from New Jersey Democrats. You remember, stuck with a losing candidate, they simple substituted a different one.
If Saddam tricks us into using swords, a very simple solution. The president steps aside for Air Force Academy Cadet Weston Kelsey (ph). Why? He happens to be the reigning American fencing champion. Now, that is what we mean by preemption. And frankly, Bill, you don’t get this kind of analysis anywhere else.
HEMMER: So true.
HEMMER: Who needs the doctor when we’ve got you, huh?
GREENFIELD: Let’s get ready to rumble.
HEMMER: You got it. Thank you, Jeff. Good stuff.
Let’s get ready to rumble? This is what passed for quality journalism about a very serious subject?
There’s plenty more where that came from:
CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN
Cheney Makes Administration’s Strongest Case Yet For U.S. Strike Against Iraq
Aired August 27, 2002 – 09:
…GREENFIELD: …So the U.N. speech is one where I’m — they haven’t called me in on it.
KAGAN: The White House is on the phone, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: No, no, no, we don’t do that.
But I strongly suspect that will be the appeal to say it is in the international community’s interest for us all to stop whatever Iraq is up to and get that guy out of here.
KAGAN: More layering and making the case….
You don’t do that? Yes, you do. See the PIPA [pdf] study above.
Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler [December 14, 2006]:
…One final note to Greenfield, who is plainly one of our brighter pundits: You sat back-you rarely said boo-while your colleagues staged their lunatic war against Gore. In that way, you took part in the crackpot process which sent George Bush to the White House-and the U. S. Army to Iraq. As such, it’s a little bit late for you to start crying about high-minded journalistic practice. Start by describing what your colleagues did. Then, start to criticize us…
As for Jeff Greenfield:
…Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
[aloud] Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!…
Oh, thank you very much. Eight years too late.
( – promoted by hotflash)
Jon Stewart interviewed Stephen Hayes, a Cheney sycophant who’s written a book about his idol. Stewart compared the video of Cheney speaking against the invasion of Baghdad in 1994 to Cheney’s Pollyanna predictions before the 2003 invasion. Hayes gamely defended his man, but it was no contest. Take a look.
What particularly struck me about Stewart’s critique–aside from his unerring, simple logic–is his civility. He was patient and pleasant (we could take lessons from him), but unrelenting.