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BLACKOUT: Planned Parenthood Organ Trafficking Media Silence: ‘I’m Going Dark’

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Okay, to be fair, The Hill did cover it today. Sort of.

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M.Z.Hemingway writes

…While the media usually rush to flood the zone on news stories — for a few weeks our media were obsessed with stories surrounding the Confederate flag, for instance — there has been a stunning blackout on this news story. Six hours after the news broke, here is how major media reported on the expose of Planned Parenthood:

Washington Post:

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New York Times:

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CNN:

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Los Angeles Times:

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Politico:

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ABC News:

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NBC News:

Screen-Shot-2015-07-14-at-1.39.38-PM Read the rest of this entry »

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More Layoffs at The New York Times

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Nicole Levy writes: Job cuts at the New York Times will exceed the stated goal of 100 newsroom positions eliminated, the Newspaper Guild of New York said yesterday in a memo to union members.

According to the guild, the Times said yesterday it will lay off 21 union-represented employees starting as early as today, after 57 guild members and roughly 30 non-guild members accepted buyout applications. That amounts to more than the 100 newsroom positions the newspaper said it needed to eliminate as a cost-cutting measure on Oct. 1.

Targeted staffers are expected to receive the news today or Wednesday. Many of those laid off will receive two weeks of notice pay, but those who began at the paper of record before May 1, 1994 can receive pay for 15 weeks of work.

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Times management’s decision to cut more than 100 newsroom jobs followed the hiring of “numerous new employees over [the] past six months,” the union memo said. Prominent recently was the hiring of former NPR executive Kinsey Wilson as editor for innovation and strategy; Michelle Dozois as growth strategy editor; and Justin Bank from The Washington Post as deputy editor for audience development, to name a few. Other hires are expected soon, including possibly Alex Burns of POLITICO, according to a report from the Huffington Post.

Read the union’s memo below:

Despite having announced its target of reducing newsroom staff by 100 – and accepting the buyout applications of 57 Guild members and nearly 30 excluded employees – The Times told the Guild on Monday that it would lay off another 21 Guild-represented employees this week. Whatever the total (the number of excluded employees to be laid off is not known at this time), the company clearly will exceed its stated goal of 100 job cuts…(read more)

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet announced the end of the buyout process, and the beginning of layoffs, in a memo to staff Tuesday morning. Baquet said the layoff process will end this week. Read the rest of this entry »


White House Cancels Press Briefing After Office Blows CIA Identity

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney won’t have to face reporters shortly after his office made a critical error.

For Breitbart.com reports: The White House press office canceled the daily briefing with reporters Tuesday, dodging tough questions after the press office mistakenly revealed the identity of the top CIA official in Afghanistan.

The official was named in a list of participants of a meeting with President Obama during his brief trip to Afghanistan.

[According to the White House, Obama had a private lunch with foreign policy columnists Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Jeffery Goldberg, Gerald Seib, Fareed Zakaria, Peter Bergen, Susan Glasser, and Peter Beinart.]

After journalists at the Washington Post questioned the White House decision, the press office scrambled to update the list of participants sent to the press pool. Read the rest of this entry »


30 Common Fallacies Used Against Libertarians

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Max Borders writes:  By now you have probably heard of Bryan Caplan’s “rational irrationality.” The idea is that if the cost of holding irrational beliefs is low enough, there may be more irrationality demanded. Indeed, if holding an irrational view makes someone feel better about himself or keep membership in some in-group—but holding the view doesn’t directly harm the holder—she may very well stick with that view.

Caplan contrasts this with the idea of “rational ignorance,” which is more familiar to our readers. That simply means the cost of acquiring enough information to have a truly informed opinion about some issue is generally high, so people remain ignorant.

Both of these behaviors certainly play a role in the preponderance of dumb policies and dumb views. But are there corollaries in debate tactics?

Most libertarians find they’re arguing in social media these days. So they’re not only finding new people on whom to test their ideas, they’re finding new fallacies in response. And sometimes these fallacies work, despite being fallacious, which is probably why they’re so commonplace. This is especially true on social media, where one can quickly learn that the real point of these exchanges is to play to the audience, to provide them with an excuse to withdraw into whatever biases they already hold. Still, maybe it’s possible to raise the costs of employing these fallacies—at least a little.

We’ve decided to offer you a fun list of them, which you can use as a handy guide in the process of engaging in well-mannered, reasoned discourse online.

  1. Argument ad KochBrotherium: This fallacy is a cousin to the genetic fallacyand guilt by association. The twist, of course, is that anything that the Koch Brothers ever say, said, fund, funded, might fund, came close to funding, could have funded, will fund, walked by, looked at, support, think about, or mention is invalid by virtue of, well, “Koch Brothers! Boo!”
  2. The Unicorn: You’ll recognize this fallacy from the question, “Why does no libertarian country exist anywhere in the world?” Embedded in the question is the assumption that libertarian countries don’t exist because they are fantastic creatures, like unicorns. Of course, just because something doesn’t exist yet does not mean it can’t exist. Indeed, the Internet in 1990 and the American Republic in 1775 beg to differ. And the unicorn fallacy fundamentally confuses the libertarian worldview with some “L”ibertarian platform that might be the product of some electoral processes—processes most libertarians reject. Michael Lind and E. J. Dionne have brandished this fallacy rather shamelessly, and have had it parried rather effectively by better minds.
  3. Nut-Picking: This fallacy has nothing to do with Jimmy Carter. In this style of argument, the arguer finds the kookiest or most insane person who self-identifies as libertarian and then ascribes all of that person’s beliefs or claims to all libertarians. (This one could also be called the Alex Jones fallacy.) This is a tough one to counter simply because there are plenty of nuts to pick from, and plenty of them use the l-word.
  4. Must Be Scared/Have No Answer: This one’s pretty simple really, and a unique creature of “debate” via social media. The libertarian leaves his computer or signs off for a while and the opponent accuses the libertarian of not being able to answer his or her FB claims, which the libertarian simply never saw or had no time to answer.
  5. The Tin Man: This fallacy was identified and named by Cole James Gentles (here) who inspired this article. With the tin man the arguer either concludes or falsely assumes that the libertarian “has no heart” because she argues against some favored policy. This cousin of the straw man (scarecrow) fallacyassumes a direct line between sympathies and outcomes. Any failure to support some means amounts to a failure to support the wished-for end.
    Read the rest of this entry »

Johnny Raincloud: Americans think John F. Kennedy was one of our greatest presidents. He wasn’t.

John F. Kennedy was many things, but a great president was not among them. (Associated Press)

John F. Kennedy was many things, but a great president was not among them. (Associated Press)

I meant to wrap up our multi-volume series on Kennedy yesterday, but a this one caught my eye. It fits in with the contrarian view–a reality check on Kennedy myth–to counter the Kennedy inflation that characterized much of the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination this month. If you’re a Kennedy skeptic, this is for you. If you’re a Kennedy admirer, the Washington Posts’s WonkBlog‘s Dylan Matthews is here to rain on your parade. 

Dylan Matthews writes:  Fifty years ago Friday, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy. The assassination was a tragedy — and it turned the target into something of a secular political saint. There are few modern presidents about whom The Post’s own George Will and E.J. Dionne can agree, but JFK appears to be one.

“It tells us a great deal about the meaning of John F. Kennedy in our history that liberals and conservatives alike are eager to pronounce him as one of their own,” Dionne notes. A Gallup poll last week found that Americans rate him more highly than any of the other 11 presidents since Eisenhower. A 2011 Gallup poll found that he came in fourth when Americans were asked to name the greatest president of all time, behind Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Clinton, but ahead of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.

Some of that reputation is hard to argue with. Kennedy was a brilliant rhetorician who inspired a generation of young Americans, and his death left a lingering scar on the American psyche. But it’s important that his presidency be evaluated on its actual merits. And on the merits, John F. Kennedy was not a good president. Here are six reasons why.

1. The Cuban Missile Crisis was his fault

Soviet strategic missile sites under construction in Cuba in 1962. (National Security Agency)

Historians disagree on what exactly lead to the October 1962 crisis that almost ended in a nuclear exchange. But basically every interpretation suggests that, had the Eastern Seaboard been wiped out that month, it would have been the result of Kennedy’s fecklessness.

Read the rest of this entry »