Category Archives: TV

What a twisted line of reasoning!

Anti-McKenna Ad

This ad has been bugging me for several weeks now.  In the world of half-truths and distortions which is political advertising, this really stands out as using really tortured logic.

The text, taken from the website of the organization sponsoring it, is as follows:

Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.  But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.  (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Okay, let’s Just look at the claims here:

1. Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.

Evidence for this claim — none given.

It probably is true that he has claimed this. McKenna has stated that he is no longer opposed to the Affordable Care Act and doesn’t want to see it repealed.

Oh, but that’s evidence that he actually is a moderate. Whoops!

Moving on:

2. But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.

Evidence for this claim: (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

The evidence supports the claim, although the terminology used to characterize what that evidence says is arguable and selected to make McKenna look as bad as possible.  Par for the course in political advertising.

Now, the whopper:

3.  Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Evidence for this claim:  Nothing at all.

For claim 1 and 2 to justify claim 3, you would need to show some connection between things Rob McKenna has said about himself and some selected excerpts from the RNC Platform.  Evidence that he supported or endorsed the Platform would be a start, but you’d really want to show that he supported those particular sections as written and characterized here.  But none is given, or even seriously hinted at.

So, what you’d have to believe is that McKenna supports all of those things just because he’s a Republican, and all Republicans must slavishly follow every item of the RNC Platform.  So, when he says he’s a moderate, he’s really just trying to trick you because there is no such thing as a moderate Republican, and everybody knows that.

This is one of a series of ads.  Another has the same structure, but the 2nd claim this time has to do with McKenna supporting the campaigns of current and former Republican candidates.  Once again, the only way that fact has anything to do with a conclusion is if you accept that supporting a Republican candidate in any way is proof that you’re not a moderate and must, by implication, be an extremist.

These ads aren’t being put out by McKenna’s opponent.  They’re being put together by a list of usual suspects:  Our Washington, PO Box 9100 Seattle WA 98109. Jason Bennett, treasurer.
Top five contributors: Democratic Governors Association, Washington Education Association PAC, National Education Association Advocacy Fund, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Justice for All PAC.  Essentially, a Super-PAC funded by the people who have claimed outrage over the Citizens United decision that made the Super-PAC possible.

Full disclosure:  I’ll be voting for McKenna, because he’s the last remaining Republican in the race, and he’s not obviously unqualified to do the job.  I don’t think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I think he’s good enough to support.  I recognize that he’s not as nice looking as his opponent, and that he’s much more likely to have received some wedgies and noogies back in school.  But he’s not this evil, deceiving woman-hater these folks are using such insultingly stupid logic to make him appear to be.  I’m looking for people who support his opponent to distance themselves from this grossly misleading advertising as a way of showing they have more character than this.

The “real” issue in the Shirley Sherrod case

A response to a column by Joan Walsh on the Shirley Sherrod incident:

I think there are several important issues that need discussing here, and that those who don’t want to discuss one will want to accuse those who do of trying to not discuss another.

There are problems with race in the country, but there is more to it than there are some vestigial fragments of the institutional slavery of the past several centuries. There is wide-spread distrust and anger along racial lines which does not seem to be improving. And there are voices in the civil rights movement who will only engage in the conversation if it is agreed that all and only white people are racist, because they benefit from a racist system. Since I recognize the realities of multiple brands of racial privilege (and identify this as one of them) while rejecting the legitimacy of any of them, we are unable to have a conversation on those terms. I don’t see a way around that impasse with those individuals. The only solution I can see is to bypass them, and engage in the conversation with real individuals who are prepared to have it without preconditions or privileged positions.

When Ms. Walsh claims that “people on the right” are trying to label as racist any black person who has ever said a bad thing about white people in general (without substantiating anything approaching that level of generality), the discussion becomes more difficult. Even if there were a significant number of individuals like she is vaguely describing, they would have a more sustainable position than the one mentioned above, where white people are racist even when they have never said or done anything remotely negative about black people, and that black people are incapable of being racist no matter how much hate and violence they manifest to people just for being white.

There is also a problem with the rush to make this problem entirely about Fox News and Glenn Beck in particular (although Ms. Walsh does not mention Beck in her article). Particularly when the narrative was established before the fact pattern was there to support any portion of it (and it does not support every portion of that narrative). Are Fox’s contributions to this situation really worse than the blanket labeling of Fox News, Glenn Beck, without regard to their participation in any part of this, as racist simply by associating with Fox. Or for claiming that Fox is trying to create white fear of black people by talking about this and asking why the Justice Department dropped the case against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation.

Clearly, what is needed is to detoxify the topic of race, so we can talk about real issues on top of the table, and can spend less time trying to focus on hidden racism. And also less time trying to use race as a trump card to “win” on things that have only a minimum to do with race, if that.

Perhaps it was fear of criticism for racial aspects of this case that drove USDA and the WH to demand Ms. Sherrod’s firing. Responsibility for that fear is to be found on those who have it. Passing blame for their unwise and capricious choices, which clearly and unarguably damaged Ms. Sherrod, to Breitbart and Fox, is simple denial that a “friend” would hurt you and projecting blame for their bad behavior on your “enemy.” It is legally indefensible, and morally vacant.

Perhaps Ms. Walsh’s attention to the wrongdoing of Breitbart and some at Fox is justified by the evidence. Some of it, anyhow. But trying to wrestle every other question the incident raises into nothing other than a conversation about the wrongdoing of Breitbart and Fox is wrong in its own turn. There is more than one thing to talk about here, and more than one valid thing to say.

Thank you for spoilering.

I tend to be interested in shows where the fun of the show is the unfolding of the overarching story, and where little details along the way can really spoil the fun.  I appreciate that folks who post here to talk about their shows tend to take this into account by making it easy to avoid reading those little details along the way, but wanted to explicitly be grateful for it.  And, also, to list the shows that I’m particularly concerned about, so folks can know — and so we can talk about them if you want:

Sarah Conner Chronicles

I’m also planning on starting my way into Chuck and Big Bang Theory, but haven’t gotten to them yet.  I know the basic plot of Chuck, but have forgotten the premise of BBT — and don’t want to be reminded.  I don’t like the “what’s coming next” at the end of episodes, nor the teasers in promos.  I don’t even like the flashes at the end of the BSG theme.  I want the story to unfold on its own. 

But that’s me.

Word of the Day: Skein

So I was wondering when there would be another season of my preferred reality show, Beauty and the Geek, so I did a little googling, and learned, to my dismay, that it’s unlikely that there will be another season. 

However, I did run into this word “skein” in a way I hadn’t seen before.  Turns out that “skein” is Hollywood insider lingo for a TV series.  I’ve never heard it used that way before. 

So, I thought I’d share. 

Bad, bad Jeopardy.

So I just did my second Jeopardy of the day, and it was bad.  I made no points at all on the Double Jeopardy board, scored only 6800 (my second lowest score ever), and the player I’ve hated more than any other since I started just won, making him a finalist so I’ll have to see him one more time.  And the one I liked the most didn’t make the Tournament, for reasons I don’t know (this is the Tournament of Champions — anybody who watched last week already knows who won and I don’t really care about that).

The first game went pretty well, but it’s not going well for me lately.  That same play-week (just finished off) had my lowest score ever.  I’m doubting there’s much point in this — I don’t think I’m ever going to score 24000 average for two weeks in a row, let alone consistantly.