NEWS DAY | Lies, damn lies and the right wing / Guns for the President / Feminizing fish

Politifact's Pants-on-Fire is the highest (lowest?) rating for political lies.

Politifact's Pants-on-Fire is the highest (lowest?) rating for political lies

Lies, damn lies and the right wing Media Matters dissects the lies about the right-wing rally in DC, beginning with Michelle Malkin and continuing forever. Malkin lied about ABC News estimating the crowd at 2 million — ABC never did, and the crowd never exceeded 70,000, at the most generous estimate. Not only did Malkin lie, and not only were her lies picked up and rebroadcast widely, but some rightwing nutcase posted a photo purporting to show the huge crowd. That photo, however, was at least a decade old, according to Politifact.

Lies have legs. The photo and the tweets and the reports about a massive crowd turning out to protest will keep circulating.

Just like the birther nonsense. Repeat a lie often enough, and it creeps into the public discourse. That’s the charitable explanation for a Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz referring to Kenya as “Obama’s native country.” Called on his misstatement in an on-line chat, Kurtz said he meant that Kenya was Obama’s father’s country. That’s not what he wrote, and his actual, published words — still uncorrected by either Kurtz or the Post — give support to the birthers.

And then there’s Joe Wilson’s latest lie, tracked by TPM.

Where is the mainstream media? They should be out in front, reporting the lie-of-the-day loudly and prominently. “Balanced” reporting does not mean repeating lies and truths as if they were equal.

Guns for the President As someone old enough to remember exactly where I was when I heard about the assassination of John F. Kennedy — and Martin Luther King, Jr. — and Bobby Kennedy, I cringe at the continuing reports of people taking guns to presidential appearances.

The latest case is right here, with the Star Tribune reporting on a Minnesotan toting a gun to the Saturday rally in Minneapolis. Like the rest of them, he claimed he was exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms, and stayed just inside the confines of the law.

That’s not really the point, is it? When more people take guns to see the president, the Secret Service has more people to watch, stretching their resources and making it that much easier for a real assassin to slip through surveillance.

I grew up in a family where hunting was a way of life, and no one thought twice about owning or using guns. No one in my family ever brought a gun to church or school or a birthday party or a political rally, or even thought of doing so. We knew that guns were for shooting, and the message of carrying a gun is that you are planning to shoot it. If you carry a gun into the woods, you are planning to shoot deer or squirrels or rabbits. If you carry a gun into war, you are planning to shoot people. If you take a gun to a political rally, you are making a threat. That threat might be protected by the Second Amendment, but that doesn’t make it any less a threat.

Feminizing fish The U.S. Geological Survey studied fish in rivers across the country, and found the highest rate of feminized fish (male fish with female sex organs) right here in Minnesota. MPR reports:

In the Mississippi River, near Lake City Minnesota, 73 percent of the smallmouth bass had characteristics of both sexes.The feminization is thought to be caused by hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment. They can include pesticides, PCBs, heavy metals, household compounds such as laundry detergent and shampoo, and many pharmaceuticals.

Cause for concern? Maybe — especially if you think that hormone-disrupting chemicals building up the environment could cause problems to more than fish.

Doctors support public option NPR has the latest word on where doctors stand on health care, from a poll of more than 2,000 doctors published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

Most doctors — 63 percent — say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That’s the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they’d like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent. …
“Whether they lived in southern regions of the United States or traditionally liberal parts of the country,” says Keyhani, “we found that physicians, regardless — whether they were salaried or they were practice owners, regardless of whether they were specialists or primary care providers, regardless of where they lived — the support for the public option was broad and widespread.”

War reports | Somalia U.S. commandos entered Somalia and killed a top Al Qaeda operative there, according to the New York Times. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was a Kenyan Al Qaeda leader, who had been working with Shabab militants in Somalia and training other foreign operatives. He is believed to be linked to the bombing of an Israeli hotel in Kenya in 1998 and to attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

“This is very significant because it takes away a person who’s been a main conduit between the East Africa extremists and big Al Qaeda,” said the adviser, who like several United States officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the mission.

The helicopters, with commandos firing .50-caliber machine guns and other automatic weapons, quickly disabled the trucks, according to villagers in the area, and several of the Shabab fighters tried to fire back. Shabab leaders said that six foreign fighters, including Mr. Nabhan, were quickly killed, along with three Somali Shabab. The helicopters landed, and the commandos inspected the wreckage and carried away the bodies of Mr. Nabhan and the other fighters for identification, a senior American military official said.

BBC reports that al Shabab says it will retaliate for the killing.

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