What will get you kicked off US Airways: Saggy pants or underpants?


US Airways has acknowledged that less than a week before having a college student arrested for allegedly refusing to hike up his saggy pants while boarding, the airline allowed a man wearing little more than women’s underwear, black thigh-high stockings and heels to fly.

On June 16, University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman was removed from a US Airways flight at San Francisco International Airport and arrested for refusing to follow crew members’ requests to hike up his saggy pants.

At the time, an airline spokesperson said that while the airline “does not have a specific dress code …we do ask that our passengers dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our passengers.”

Now there are reports — and a photo published in the San Francisco Chronicle —showing that six days before the saggy-pants incident, the airline allowed a man to board a flight in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wearing an outfit that consisted, mostly, of women’s underwear and a short, see-through, cover-up shirt.

Read more at msnbc.com…

Really Lame: CIA Fake Vaccination and Bin Laden

JAMES FALLOWS James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s.

A few days ago I mentioned the CIA’s effective but (in my view) long-range foolish tactic of setting up a fake-vaccination program as part of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. According to reports in the Guardian, the CIA worked with a Pakistani doctor to lure families in for hepatitis B vaccinations. In addition to giving the shots, the medical team would collect DNA from the people who showed up, presumably via small amounts of blood. As the Guardian report said:

>> The vaccination plan was conceived after American intelligence officers tracked an al-Qaida courier… to what turned out to be Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound last summer.

The agency  … wanted confirmation that Bin Laden was there before mounting a risky operation inside another country. DNA from any of the Bin Laden children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to provide evidence that the family was present.<<

When I first mentioned the story, I included several “if this turns out to be true…” caveats. No offense to the Guardian, but maybe it was yet another conspiracy fantasy about the ever-scheming, all-powerful United States. And now according to the Washington Post, the CIA not only is failing to refute the story but is actively bragging about its trick prowess. The Post quotes an unnamed “senior US official” thus:

>>”People need to put this into some perspective,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else.  If the United States hadn’t shown this kind of creativity, people would be scratching their heads asking why it hadn’t used all tools at its disposal to find bin Laden.”<<

OK, let’s put it in perspective. A decent nation has many reasons not to use “all tools at its disposal” even when looking for bin Laden. We didn’t drop an atomic bomb on Abbottabad to get bin Laden — or on Tora Bora when he was there, even though that option was “at our disposal.”

We didn’t use poison gas or anthrax. We didn’t take members of bin Laden’s family hostage and torture or kill them until he gave up. SEAL Team Six wasn’t instructed to wantonly gun down everyone they saw on the ground in Abbottabad. We didn’t do those things not because we “couldn’t” do them but because the damaging side effects would have been worse and longer-lasting than the benefits.

Read the full story in the Atlantic Monthly…

Paul Ryan’s $350 Bottle of Wine?


Remember John Edwards‘s $400 haircut? That turned out to be quite a problem for him. It looks like Paul Ryan is about have a similar problem on his hands.

According to this astounding article (with pictures) at Talking Points Memo, Ryan — the leader of the tighten-your-belt, fiscal-austerity crowd — is in the habit of drinking $350-a-bottle wine, specifically Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru. In fact, Ryan enjoyed two bottles of this fancy Pinor Noir while dining the other night with a pair of conservative economists at Bistro Bis, the swanky Capitol Hill restaurant favored by lobbyists and other expense-account barons.

Ryan had the misfortune of sitting at the table next to Susan Feinberg, a Rutgers business professor, who didn’t share his nonchalance about calling for draconian budget cuts for the poor and elderly by day and then sipping $350-a-bottle wine by night.
Feinberg confronted Ryan after dinner and demanded to know “how he could live with himself.” Confronted by TPM, Ryan did not deny the story, but lamely pleaded ignorance about the cost of the wine. And he was rather ungallant to Ms. Feinberg, whom he called “crazy.”
If there’s any justice in the world, Ryan ought to get at least as much grief for this as Edwards got. And if I were President Obama’s adviser, I’d suggest that he add $350 wine to that line about Republicans defending corporate jets and hedge-fund fat cats.

14 Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans


There is nothing more sacred to the maintenance of democracy than a free press. Access to comprehensive, accurate and quality information is essential to the manifestation of Socratic citizenship – the society characterized by a civically engaged, well-informed and socially invested populace. Thus, to the degree that access to quality information is willfully or unintentionally obstructed, democracy itself is degraded.

It is ironic that in the era of 24-hour cable news networks and “reality” programming, the news-to-fluff ratio and overall veracity of information has declined precipitously. Take the fact Americans now spend on average about 50 hours a week using various forms of media, while at the same time cultural literacy levels hover just above the gutter. Not only does mainstream media now tolerate gross misrepresentations of fact and history by public figures (highlighted most recently by Sarah Palin‘s ludicrous depiction of Paul Revere’s ride), but many media actually legitimize these displays. Pause for a moment and ask yourself what it means that the world’s largest, most profitable and most popular news channel passes off as fact every whim, impulse and outrageously incompetent analysis of its so-called reporters. How did we get here?

Take the enormous amount of misinformation that is taken for truth by Fox audiences:

  1. the belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that he was in on 9/11
  2. the belief that climate change isn’t real and/or man-made
  3. the belief that Barack Obama is Muslim and wasn’t born in the United States
  4. the insistence that all Arabs are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists
  5. the inexplicable perceptions that immigrants are both too lazy to work and are about to steal your job.

All of these claims are demonstrably false, yet Fox News viewers will maintain their veracity with incredible zeal. Why? Is it simply that we have lost our respect for knowledge?

My curiosity about this question compelled me to sit down and document the most oft-used methods by which willful ignorance has been turned into dogma by Fox News and other propagandists disguised as media. The techniques I identify here also help to explain the simultaneously powerful identification the Fox media audience has with the network, as well as their ardent, reflexive defenses of it.

The good news is that the more conscious you are of these techniques, the less likely they are to work on you. The bad news is that those reading this article are probably the least in need in of it.


1. Panic Mongering. This goes one step beyond simple fear mongering. With panic mongering, there is never a break from the fear. The idea is to terrify and terrorize the audience during every waking moment.

From Muslims to swine flu to recession to homosexuals to immigrants to the rapture itself, the belief over at Fox seems to be that if your fight-or-flight reflexes aren’t activated, you aren’t alive. This of course raises the question: why terrorize your own audience? Because it is the fastest way to bypasses the rational brain. In other words, when people are afraid, they don’t think rationally. And when they can’t think rationally, they’ll believe anything.

2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person’s credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of character assassination is off the table and no offense is beneath them.

Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.

3. Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you’re using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first.

We see this frequently in the immigration discussion, where anti-racists are accused of racism, or in the climate change debate, where those who argue for human causes of the phenomenon are accused of not having science or facts on their side. It’s often called upon when the media host finds themselves on the ropes in the debate.

4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists make the facts fit their worldview. The Downing Street Memos on the Iraq war were a classic example of this on a massive scale, but it happens daily and over smaller issues as well.

A recent case in point is Palin’s mangling of the Paul Revere ride, which Fox reporters have bent over backward to validate. Why lie about the historical facts, even when they can be demonstrated to be false? Well, because dogmatic minds actually find it easier to reject reality than to update their viewpoints.

They will literally rewrite history if it serves their interests. And they’ll often speak with such authority that the casual viewer will be tempted to question what they knew as fact.

Read the full article at TruthOut…

Michele Bachmann: Obama spent ‘$200 million/day’ during visit to India



Really? $200 million per day for President Obama to make a short diplomatic trip overseas to India?

Assuming that the White House staff hasn’t increased by 50,000 or so employees recently (or that the 12 to 45 members of the White House advance team now each receive a per diem of $65,000 while on the road), one could reasonably surmise that Mrs. Bachmann’s calculations leading to her alleged $200 million daily expense were…

  1. Disingenuous?
  2. Patently untrue?
  3. Ill-informed?
  4. Indicative of severe deficiencies in reasoning ability, stunted emotional maturity and high-probability of adult-onset chronic bed-wetting?

Did she know that $200 million is more than the United States spends each day to conduct the entire war operation in Afghanistan? Does Bachmann understand anything outside of
the goofy false retail encampments of Woodbury, MN?

Now let’s watch Michele Bachmann make a complete fool out of herself in front of various cameras before national audiences:

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Michele Bachmann says kindred spirit is… John Wayne Gacy?


You can see the resemblance to John Wayne Gacy right around the eyes.

This morning, while in Iowa to announce her candidacy for president, Michele Bachmann made a play for local brownie points by comparing herself to one of the town’s native sons, John Wayne.
But John Wayne was from Winterset, Iowa. And the John Wayne from Waterloo is actually killer clown John Wayne Gacy.


Speaking on the front lawn of a quaint little home, Bachmann told a Fox News reporter, “John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

But The Duke is actually from a town about three hours away. The only famous John Wayne from Waterloo was one of the most deranged murderers in American history — the “Killer Clown” himself, John Wayne Gacy.