Category Archives: Media

Between the Ferns

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In an attempt to reach his target audience of young customers for ObamaCare, the president appeared on the Zack Galifianakis show, Between Two Ferns.

The president took some flak for being unpresidential - but so what – he’s unpresidential most of the time. Here he was funny. And Galifiankis was really funny. Plus Zack is a way better pitchman for ObamaCare than Pajama Boy. Actually, he didn’t even make a pitch for the ACA. He mocked it.

Not Between any Ferns

Well, it’s all fun and games until we come to Megan McCardle’s Bloomberg analysis of the McKinsey survey of who’s actually buying ObamaCare. It’s not the previously uninsured “young invincibles”:

If the McKinsey numbers turn out to be correct, I think we should expect that the individual mandate will simply not be enforced. Otherwise, we would be “helping” the uninsured by raising the cost of the insurance available to them, and then fining them hundreds or thousands of dollars for not buying it. I believe the technical term for this is “political suicide.”

Says Jonah Goldberg, “Obamacare, was designed from the outset to screw young people, overcharging them for products they don’t need in order to subsidize older Americans.”

Issa and Cummings Committee Chaos

140305cummings, Issa, committee, chaosThe big story on Fox New Sunday was that IRS kingpin Lois Lerner would waive her 5th amendment rights and testify before Daryl Issa’s House Oversight committee. At least that’s what Issa told Chris Wallace on Sunday. On Wednesday Lerner pled the fifth again.

Issa Cummings Committee Chaos

Angered by Lerner’s continued silence, Issa ruled the the hearing adjourned. He then silenced the leading committee Democrat, Ellijah Cummings, by cutting off his mic. The room erupted in chaos with Cummings shouting “I’m a U.S. Congressman” and fellow Dems chanting “shame”. Let’s go rinkside to Dana Milbank:

Issa told Wallace on Sunday that Lerner’s “attorney indicates now that she will testify” after refusing to do so at a hearing last year. The lawyer denied this, and Lerner did not testify Wednesday — and that would have been the news, if not for Issa’s sound-system antics.

Indeed. Issa keeps stepping on his own punchline. The news might have been about why Lerner doesn’t want to talk about these emails:

“Tea Party Matter very dangerous… Counsel and Judy Kindell need to be in on this one… Cincy should probably NOT have these cases,” Lerner said in a February 2011 email.

“Cincinnati wasn’t publicly ‘thrown under the bus’ (but) instead was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks,” wrote Cindy Thomas, former director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Cincinnati, in a May 10, 2013 email to Lerner.

It looks like the IRS intimidated conservative groups and the Tea Party was relatively quiet in the 2012 election. Was there corruption? So far Republicans haven’t come up with a smidgen of proof.

Harry Reid’s Horror Stories

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You like your doctor but you can’t keep him. You like your insurance but you can’t keep it. ObamaCare is a train wreck.

Koch Brother Horror Stories

These horror stories are all lies, lies, and damned lies according to cowboy poet Harry Reid. They didn’t really happen to you. They were ginned up at the un-American Brothers Koch Fairy Tale mill to send red state democrats running for cover.

Flynt v Falwell Cartoon First Amendment Anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Flynt v Falwell decision. It was a very important ruling because it acts as a kind of get out of jail card for cartoonists. Also, it gives me an excuse to quote myself from my book The Recent History of the United States in Political Cartoons: A Look Bok!:

As an endangered industry, political cartooning seeks, and gets, federal protection. It comes in the form of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Flynt v Falwell

Larry Flynt published an over-the-top raunchy cartoon, in his porn magazine Hustler. The cartoon was about Rev. Jerry Falwell and his mother. Falwell sued and the case made its way to the Supreme Court. Falwell claimed the cartoon caused him emotional distress. Of course it did. That was the point, as Chief Justice Rehnquist noted in the court’s unanimous opinion for Flynt:

“The appeal of the political cartoon or caricature is often based on the exploration of unfortunate physical traits or politically embarrassing events… often calculated to hurt the feelings of the subject of the portrayal.”

In order to protect political cartoons the court had to protect Larry Flynt’s offensive cartoon. Not many jobs have a Supreme Court mandate to cause emotional distress.

Even so, it’s not like I keep this date marked on my calendar. I noticed it when I stumbled on this piece about it by Carl Cannon at Real Clear Politics. Cannon had this to say about the court’s ruling:

To decide otherwise, the eight justices reasoned, would effectively outlaw political cartooning. This, too, the high court ruled, would be an unwise and unconstitutional decision to render. Rehnquist quoted approvingly from the words of a cartoonist:

“The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn and ridicule and satire; it is least effective when it tries to pat some politician on the back. It is usually as welcome as a bee sting, and is always controversial in some quarters.”

First Amendment

Flynt and Falwell eventually went on the road together debating the First Amendment.

FCC Plan to Pressure Newsrooms

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Last week the Wall Street Journal published a story about an FCC plan to pressure  newsrooms to provide the kind of coverage the government wants. That led to the kind of coverage the government didn’t want and the FCC backed off its scheme.