Thursday open thread and headline of the day

Ok, here it is:

Lettuce implicated in Taco Bell outbreak

The question remains, though: when will Lettuce officially be doing the perp walk?

I should note, for the record, that it looks like the AP has changed the headline of the story to read “Lettuce suspected in Taco Bell E. coli” – much better. The Mercury News’ posting of this AP story still has the original headline up though, as of this writing.

Sorry, I had to have a little fun with the headline writers at the AP :D Usually when you see the word “implicated” in a story or headline, it’s something along the lines of “Man implicated in the death of neighbor” or something like that. Lettuce being implicated, however, is something you don’t read much about as it relates to sinister activity …

Now lettuce all join hands and sing Kumbaya …

Update: Have any of you been experiencing slow loading times for the blogs or times you’ve been unable to access it in the last couple of days? It’s loading very slowly for me this afternoon.

Re: The media and Senator Johnson’s condition: is the MSM a tool of the right?

Senator Tim Johnson continues to be in the prayers of many today as he is recovering from brain surgery he had last night after suffering “stroke-like” symptoms.

Johnson is still in critical condition, but something else in critical condition for much different reasons is the reaction from the usual suspects on the far left on how the media has framed Johnson’s health almost from the word go in terms of how it could impact the Senate. While I join those on the left and right in condemning the MSM for how they came out of the gate last night with reports on how his condition could affect the balance of the Senate come January, I’m a bit mystified as to the far left’s attempts today to try and paint the media as a tool of the right simply because they are writing about what this means in terms of what the future may hold for the make-up of the Senate. Check out some posts from some of the lefty blogs at Memeorandum and you’ll see what I mean.

Take this one from Kos himself, for example:

Can Fox News and the AP hold off on the drooling, at least until it might be more warranted?

I mean, what’s with the AP headline?

Senate back to 50-50 with Johnson out

Firs of all, Johnson isn’t out. Furthermore, we don’t know what Gov. Rounds would do if forced to fill a vacancy, so we don’t know if it would be 50-50. (The pressure to appoint Johnson’s son as a “legacy” fill-in until the 2008 elections would be intense.)

But we can’t let the facts stand in the way of barely restrained premature celebrations.

Uh – “premature celebrations”? I could maybe understand if it was just Fox News talking about how the Senate could look if Johnson can no longer serve out his term, but – well – just about every media outlet is speculating on the same thing. It’s clearly been established via the admissions of many in the MSM that the media are liberally biased, so why on earth would they possibly be “celebrating” the possibility of the Senate going into Republican hands again?

Now let’s take a look at what Judd from the liberal Think Progress blog is saying:

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is at George Washington University hospital, recovering from brain surgery.

Meanwhile, Fox News is speculating how the balance of power could shift in the Senate, even if Sen. Johnson survived. Fox’s Steve Doocy said that although “the issue of incapacitation is not spelled out in the state law” there “would be a precedent of the federal level.”

Another Fox anchor added, “We’ll have to see what happens in terms of what exactly his condition is and who’s going to weigh in on whether it’s an incapacitation or whether that’s just clear from the facts.”

This is filed in the “Radical Right Wing Agenda” category at Think Progress. Surprise surprise. Noteably absent from Think Progress’ blog in any posts there are the countless other articles written by others in the MSM speculating on what the future may hold for the Senate should Johnson be too ill to continue serving. With one of their own in the hospital in critical condition, there’s still time to engage in some good ol’ read meat Fox News bashing, eh?

Chris Bowers at the MyDD blog also singles out Fox News’ coverage here, with no mention of the too-many-to-count stories of MSM speculation across the spectrum on Johnson and the Senate balance.

By my count, we’ve got one very popular far lefty blog insinuating that the entire MSM are “celebrating” over the possibility of Johnson being too ill to serve as of the entire MSM were conservatively biased (and we know they’re not) and two other popular far lefty blogs deliberately ignoring the fact that news outlets other than Fox are rampantly engaging in such speculation, as noted by the Google News link I provided, which I’ll link up to once more.

I sincerely wish Senator Johnson a full, quick recovery. I also sincerely wish that the far lefties in the blogosphere would show a little more honesty on the issue of media coverage in terms of who is engaging in what as it relates to what’s going on with Senator Tim Johnson. Ceasing the nonsense about how the entire MSM is “celebrating” a possible Johnson incapacitation would be helpful, too.

As a side note, I wonder how long it will be before some nut starts a conspiracy theory that Karl Rove (or some other evil right wing politico) had “something to do” with what happened to Johnson because they “couldn’t take” that we’d lost both houses of Congress? Hey, it happened with Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002 and Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan in 2000 when he ran against John Ashcroft for the Senate (as a refresher, both died in plane crashes a few weeks before the elections) , so why not this one, too? Never underestimate the power of a cooked up conspiracy theory from the Nutroots.

Update 2:29 PM: Toldjah So (hat tip: ST reader Sev).

More: MKH points to some very tasteless political speculation about Strom Thurmond back from 2001 at the liberal Nation magazine, speculation that was done before Senator Thurmond passed away. WuzzaDem takes a look at what’s happening at the Daily Kos on this story in the comments section.

Update 3:24 PM: Webloggin’ is also checking out the Kos conspiracy theorists (hat tip: Greg Tinti). Dan Collins at PW is monitoring the lefty reaction to this story as well.

Others blogging about this: Tom Maguire, Suitably Flip, Blogs of War, FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog

First “Draft Barack Obama for President” ads to start running next week in New Hampshire

There’s a lot of “I believe” Obama quotes in this video (which I think is from Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention), but what you don’t hear, and won’t, is Barack Obama saying “I believe that liberalism is the way to go in America, because I – ladies and gentleman – am a liberal, more liberal than Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.”

Hiding who you really are in order to get elected. Gosh, where have we heard of that happening before?

On a related note, the NH Union Leader has more news on potential 2008 Dem candidates for prez.

Prior:

What was the real reason behind the six imams publicity wave?

Katherine Kersten at the Star Tribune has an eye-opening piece that contains a detailed speculation that the imams who were escorted off the US Airways flight at Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport a few weeks ago may have been trying to drum up some publicity for a proposal that has been languishing in the House for the last two years called the “End Racial Profiling Act” – sponsored by Michigan Rep. John Conyers who, as noted in the article, represents a district with one of the largest Muslim populations in the country. Kersten writes:

On Dec. 1, a curious report on the grounded-imams incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport appeared on the website of the Iranian Quran News Agency. The report quoted extensively from Madhi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. The foundation is the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, “the world’s most influential Islamic fundamentalist group,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Bray’s initial statement about the incident had an all-American, see-you-in-court ring. He demanded “large financial compensation for the imams,” adding, “We want US Airways and any other airline displaying this type of behavior against Muslims to be hit where it hurts, the pocketbook.”

The report echoed statements made by the imams themselves. Omar Shahin, their spokesman, has portrayed the incident in a way that’s consistent with a lawsuit and a public relations offensive. He’s called for a Jesse Jackson-style boycott of US Airways, and applied classic civil-rights rhetoric to the incident: “This is prejudice; this is obvious discrimination,” the Star Tribune quoted him as saying. “I cannot change the color of my skin,” he told Newsweek.

But the report on the Iranian website, which has appeared on a variety of Muslim websites worldwide, had a larger primary focus. After the imams incident, it quoted Bray as saying Muslims want “new, broad-sweeping legislation that will extract even larger financial and civil penalties for any airline that participates in racial and religious profiling.”

The report is optimistic that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will lend his support to new legislation. Ellison, it says, has expressed his opposition to “such racial and religious profiling.” Ellison, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

One piece of legislation in the works is the End Racial Profiling Act. It is an important priority of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, whose district includes one of the largest Muslim populations in the country. Conyers introduced the bill in 2004 and 2005, but it went nowhere. Now the alignment of forces may be changing. Conyers will probably be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the new Democratic-controlled Congress convenes next month.

Nancy Pelosi, who called herself a “proud” cosponsor of the Profiling Act in 2004, is the incoming House speaker. And in January, Ellison, who represents the district where the imams incident occurred, will take his seat in Congress.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds