Current Caboodle for February 1, 2014

ca·boo·dle:  the lot, group, or bunch

The death penalty, March for Life, Glenn Beck’s Bombshell!, and congressmen gone wild in this week’s Current Caboodle.

The Department of Justice announced earlier this week that it would be seeking the death penalty against Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is not surprising that the DoJ is seeking the death penalty against someone responsible for multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries. What is surprising is the possibility that it would not be sought.

Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author and activist who has written books and produced a documentary critical of president Obama was recently indicted for campaign finance violations. The charges against D’Souza allege that he reimbursed contributors to a Senate campaign as a way of getting around campaign finance limits. The indictment is a result of routine review of post 2012 campaign filings by the FBI. While this may be perfectly legitimate this administration does have a tendency to use the power of government against its perceived enemies.

Glass Houses
The 36th annual March for Life was held in Washington DC on January 22nd. CBS news tell us that Americans are mixed in our view of abortion:

The results suggest a majority of Americans are comfortable with slightly more restrictive limits on abortion, but they do not want to ban the procedure altogether and they oppose unduly burdensome regulations on clinics that perform it.

Along the lines of Paul McCartney’s “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian,” campaign maybe pro-lifers need to get people thinking “if abortion clinics had glass walls, everyone would be pro-life.” At least, in the case of the former, the slaughter produces food.

Glenn Beck Apologizes!
Glenn Beck was in the news recently when he apologized for “helping to tear America apart,” during his time at Fox News. The story from The Wire:

Beck was with Fox from shortly before the 2008 election until 2011, during which time he became notorious for his encouragement of the Tea Party and his far-reaching conspiracy theories about Socialist infiltration of the Obama administration.

Homer Simpson endorses Ted Nugent for President

Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson

Glenn Beck’s Fox News program could be over the top and was easily caricatured. The Simpsons episode where Homer becomes famous as a populist cable television host, launches the Gravy Movement, and ends up endorsing Ted Nugent for the  presidency, seems an accurate parody.

Theatrics and occasional exaggeration aside the main question about Beck’s on air commentary is whether he was correct. Providing a platform for a group of outsiders and political novices is usually something liberals support. As for his “conspiracy theories” about socialist infiltration of the Obama administration an example that springs to mind is Anita Dunn. Dunn was the White House communications director early in the president’s first term and was brought back for debate prep ahead of the 2012 election. Dunn named Chinese dictator Mao Zedong as her favorite political philosopher. No one is hired for such a high level post without the people in charge knowing, and approving, of their views. Imagine the reaction to a White House staffer in a conservative administration speaking admiringly of Pinochet.

Glenn Beck may regret some of his actions but the fact that he created an audience that is large enough to renew his radio contract and launch a pay TV service shows that he satisfies a need that has gone unmet. That the press devoted time and effort to this – “Beck’s Bombshell” read the graphic on Piers Morgan’s show – suggests that Beck hit a nerve. At least Beck never fantasized about inflicting some obscure slave punishment on the people who disagreed with him.

Congressman’s Lost Temper
A New York congressman felt some heat after threatening to throw a reporter over a balcony following his post State of the Union comments. (R) Michael Grimm of Staten Island apologized to New York 1 political reporter Michael Scotto the next morning but the damage was done. His outburst got him hours of coverage on MSNBC the following day. Unfortunately the word of the day was ‘thuggish.’

Representative Grimm’s behavior was not acceptable. Threatening to hurl a reporter over a balcony – on the air, no less – suggests that the representative lacks some self control. Grimm initially claimed that he was upset because he agreed to speak to Scotto on camera after the State of the Union and fit him in ahead of other media outlets. Scotto did not stay on topic and suggested that the congressman was trying to dodge his question when he headed to his next appointment.

It is no surprise that journalists will take any opportunity to put a Republican in a bad light. Maybe the RNC or the state Republican parties can create a training program to help elected officials deal with hostile press.

That’s all for this week’s Current Caboodle. See you next time.

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