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Scritti Politti: April 7, 2009

First Posted: 05/08/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:15 PM ET

Halperin Haz A Sad

It's been so long since I've bothered to read The Page that yesterday's instance of Mark Halperin using Time magazine as a venue for his kindergarten Photoshop exercise gave me a nice twinge of nostalgia. But an item from today's The Page helped me to remember that I had deemed Halperin to be worthless not merely on the strength of his constant, addlebrained photoshops, but also because of his knack for taking in the news of the day, missing the nuance, vomiting conventional wisdom in every direction and, ultimately, getting the story precisely wrong. Take this item from today, which boldly asserts that Robert Gates was taking "a knife to the Pentagon budget."

Halperin Haz A Sad

As Brian Beutler points out, that would be the exact wrong way of capturing what's going on with the defense budget:

The big news from yesterday (still settling in across Washington) is that President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates teamed up to propose a sweeping overhaul of the defense budget--calling for the elimination of unnecessary systems and spending the savings on special forces, intelligence equipment, and other tools of counterinsurgent warfare.


In other words, by retooling the Pentagon, Obama and Gates plan to move a lot of money around, but they also plan to increase the overall defense budget. In the final year of the Bush administration (and excluding the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion--$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year's outlays were.

So, how, exactly, does Halperin manage to call a $21 billion INCREASE TO THE DEFENSE BUDGET the work of a "knife" making "deep cuts?" I guess it's a MAGIC KNIFE, probably the same one that turns news stories into conventional wisdom sausage by paring away everything that's not shallow and stupid.

There Oughtta Be A Commandment Against False Witness--Oh, Wait: Pam Spaulding captures celebutard charlatan Rick Warren telling Larry King that he's never come out in support of Proposition 8, as if there weren't widely available YouTubes of Warren saying things like: "Let me say very clearly. We support Proposition 8." But yeah, they exist! Here! Look! IT'S A MIRACLE!

Bad Year For Detroit: But thanks to Regret The Error, we can rest assured that the city is not, in fact, having to deal with a cursed locker room.

What Happens To A Drudge Link Deferred?: Thanks to Greg Sargent, Matt Drudge and Jake Tapper are going to have to take out a Missed Connection on Craigslist or something.

You Have A Right To Free Choice, As Long As You Aren't Stupid Enough To Actually Try It: Megan Carpentier details, as best as anyone can, the mind-bendingly obtuse new laws that will dictate the way Missourians will have their minds made up for them on the issue of abortion by the state of Missouri.

Making Fun Of Bums: Among all of Sarabeth's points, the one I fixate on is that it's really time to stop giving full faith and credit to Allen Stanford's totally downmarket "knighthood."

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