Breaking News

Remember how two former Gitmo detainees helped plan that Detroit Christmas terror attack?  To say the least, I was skeptical:

I am calling 100% bullshit on this piece of reporting.

I haven’t been around that long, but I can point out Pentagon propaganda when I see it.

So as you can imagined, I was stunned – absolutely stunned – to find out this morning that one of the supposed former detainees had actually surrendered to Saudi authorities in February – and therefore could not be anywhere near for the planning of the attack.  As for the other one, there hasn’t been one solid piece of reporting to date that actually links him to the attack – just the word of anonymous military officials.

Of course, this is not the first time this has happened:

We’ve seen this pattern of an erroneous report making the rounds and turning out to be false. ABC also had to correct its report that alleged Fort Hood shooter Major Hasan attempted to make contact with “people associated with Al Qaeda.”

Before that, a New York Times front-pager on a startlingly high rate of “recidivism” among Gitmo detainees also got big pickup, before the story was revealed to be deeply flawed, leading to a lengthy correction.

All journalists make mistakes, so what’s a reader to do? Be skeptical of initial reports, particularly on intelligence stories, and keep a close eye on sourcing. And always keep in mind the record of the reporter who authored the story.

This is great advice from TPM – even though they’re one of the liberal blogs who fell hook, line, and sinker for the original story – it also was front page news on The Huffington Post.

So what happens now?  The corrections will be in small print, leaving most people with the general impression that the whole attack was planned by people released from Guantanamo Bay.  It’s the same thing they did with WMD in Iraq – every time they found a jar full of chemicals, the news media reported it in huge print, and then pulled the original story and corrected it in fine print – leaving most of the country with the impression that we had actually found Chemical weapons – which of course never happened.

Right-wingers will be parroting this story until kingdom come, retractions be damned.  And Gitmo is staying open for another year.  Does anyone think that the political capital (or bravery) actually exists for us to close it then?  The behavior of the media will make it awfully difficult – and we’ve certainly seen no indication that that will change anytime soon.

Lovely country we live in, isn’t it?

Deep Thought

It took the right wing of the Republican party 10 years to realize that their Corporatist party wasn’t actually doing anything for them – It took them that long to realize that abortion was still legal, there was still no prayer in schools, and I can still light a flag on fire whenever I want… Not to mention the fiscal irresponsibility and liberal Immigration policies that were pretty hard to miss.  All it took was a President who was willing to say “God” once in a while, and they were pretty much happy for most of those 10 years.

On the other hand, it’s taken the left wing of the Democratic Party all of 10 months to become completely disenchanted with the leadership of the party and the President.  It only took us that long to realize that there simply hasn’t been much of a course change since our guys took power… almost like the same people are pulling the chains no matter which party has the most seats.

Which set of radicals do you think is more attached to reality?

Friday Music Break

Just thought I’d share this.  I saw this band open for The Decemberists in Missoula last year, heard them play on NPR, and recently found out that a couple of their members originate right here in Astoria, where I’m living now.  They’re called Blind Pilot, and other than The Goonies, they’re the only thing that came from Astoria that I’d even heard of before I ended up here (Kindergarten Cop does NOT count.)

Anyways, this video is shot in an Astoria landmark, an old building that was used to dry fishing nets in the early 1900s, and is miraculously still standing amongst the pilings of other buildings long since collapsed or dismantled.  So it was kind of awesome to find this video today – shot at a place I already feel so familiar with.

Oh yeah – the music’s pretty damned good too.

Bill Maher is a Jerk

And that’s why I like him:

New Rule: You can’t complain about health care reform if you’re not willing to reform your own health. Unlike most liberals, I’m glad all those teabaggers marched on Washington last week. Because judging from the photos, it’s the first exercise they’ve gotten in years. Not counting, of course, all the Rascal scooters there, most of which aren’t even for the disabled. They’re just Americans who turned 60 and said, “Screw it, I’m done walking.” These people are furious at the high cost of health care, so they blame illegals, who don’t even get health care. News flash, Glenn Beck fans: the reason health care is so expensive is because you’re all so unhealthy.

Yes, it was fun this week to watch the teabaggers complain how the media underestimated the size of their march, “How can you say there were only 60,000 of us? We filled the entire mall!” Yes, because you’re fat. One whale fills the tank at Sea World, that doesn’t make it a crowd.