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By Mark Finkelstein | | December 3, 2012 | 8:44 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, asked by substitute host Willie Geist how much of the tough talk by Republicans and Dems over the fiscal cliff was posturing, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that 80% was posturing, then added "a lot of it is, let's see how big yours is versus mine."

Steele was careful to suggest he was simply talking about the size of the two parties' respective . . . plans.  But between the smirks, raised eyebrows—and an immediate intervention from Geist—it seemed obvious that Steele was making a macho allusion to something else. View the video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | | December 3, 2012 | 8:24 AM EST

Reuters reports the Pope is entering the world of Twitter at "Pontifex." On Monday morning's Bill Press show, the former seminarian mocked the 85-year-old pontiff: "What do you think the chances are that the Pope has any idea how to access Twitter?" By the way, hip Bill Press is 72.

Press producer Peter Ogburn mocked the plan for the Pope to answer tweeted questions at #askpontifex. He read some favorites, which ranged from Jesus-and-microwaved-burrito questions to the assertion that the Catholic Church is causing "millions to die in the Third World" by opposing condoms: [ relevant video follows the article ]

By Tom Blumer | | December 2, 2012 | 11:50 PM EST

Tonight's fun facts relate to the strike by the group a Reuters report describes as "500 clerical workers at the ports, members of the relatively small Office of Clerical Union Workers" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The strikers' picket lines have been honored by "some 10,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union."

These fun facts are rarely mentioned, but readers will want to learn them, and the rest of the country also should be quite interested. Though they could conceivably be elsewhere, I only found them mentioned in one Associated Press item from two days ago currently carried at Google News. It's a good thing it's there, because it appears to be gone from the AP's national web site. In fact, a search there at 11 p.m. ET on "Los Angeles ports" (not in quotes) came up empty. The fun fact is not in the aforementioned Reuters story, a very long AP story from November 28 found at the San Jose Mercury News, or a related November 30 New York Times story. The fun facts, and a link to the AP story, are after the jump:

By Noel Sheppard | | December 2, 2012 | 10:57 PM EST

NewsBusters reported Saturday the tragic murder-suicide involving a Kansas City Chiefs' football player and his girlfriend.

During halftime of NBC's Sunday Night Football, Bob Costas chose to lecture America about how guns were to blame for the incident concluding, "If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | | December 2, 2012 | 9:46 PM EST

An eight-year-old Georgia girl was bitten by a dolphin on a pre-Thanksgiving visit to Orlando's SeaWorld.

The incident, caught on video by her father, took place as Jillian Thomas was feeding dolphins with her brother and other children.

By NB Staff | | December 2, 2012 | 9:18 PM EST

On his November 26 program, left-wing radio host Mike Malloy, whose sick rants we here at NewsBusters have noted from time to time, fantasized about how he wished there were an angel of death that would sweep down across the fruited plain and destroy "tea baggers," but which he meant Tea Party conservatives. 

This was just one example in the latest batch of venom being spewed from left-wing radio hosts that our friend Brian Maloney of the Radio Equalizer blog discussed on the Nov. 28 edition of Hannity. You can watch the full segment below:

By Noel Sheppard | | December 2, 2012 | 7:35 PM EST

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol gave a rather sobering view of American foreign policy and the state of geopolitics this weekend.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Kristol said, "I've never seen a more worrisome moment of U.S. weakness and chaos following."

By Tim Graham | | December 2, 2012 | 4:37 PM EST

David Brooks and E. J. Dionne actually disagreed on NPR Friday night about how the “fiscal cliff” talks are going. “We’re off to a really bad start,” Brooks declared about Obama’s pushing tax hikes for the rich and no movement on entitlements. The Obama team pushed the House GOP "back to Grover-ism," he complained.

Setting up the usual center vs. left debate, Dionne disagreed: “I think it's a good start. I think that we got so used to the idea in Washington that President Obama makes preemptive concessions before the other side puts anything concrete on the table, that we can't believe that he's just being a normal negotiator.” Then Brooks brought up the Lincoln movie, and Dionne compared Obama’s tax-hiking resolve to Lincoln’s resolve to ban slavery:

By Noel Sheppard | | December 2, 2012 | 1:27 PM EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) had some harsh words Sunday for Barack Obama's proposal to avert the looming fiscal cliff.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Boehner said, "The president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what I ask."

By Brent Baker | | December 2, 2012 | 12:30 PM EST

In a colorful demonstration of the Washington press corps’ disdain for Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, on Sunday’s This Week, a flustered ABC News/NPR veteran Cokie Roberts blurted out: “It’s...politically smart to cut the knees out from under Grover Norquist. I mean this guy is, you know, who is he? He’s an unelected lobbyist.”

She soon urged that “a certain amount of saying ‘the emperor has no clothes’” about Norquist is helpful. “To say that, I think is very useful.”

By Tim Graham | | December 2, 2012 | 9:29 AM EST

The German news magazine Der Spiegel is neutral on bestiality. German legislators have recently moved to ban the sexual perversion. At the blog Get Religion, they report the magazine turned for expertise to Michael Kiok, the chairman of the pressure group ZETA (Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information).

Kiok argued the new law was unfair: “We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification. We don’t force them to do anything.” Mr Kiok goes on to describe his relationship with an “Alsatian called Cessie” and argues that the animal butcher should be punished before the animal lover. Then the magazine wildly overestimated that perhaps five percent of Germans have this ahem, affinity:

By Brandon Dutcher | | December 2, 2012 | 8:35 AM EST

One fact of politics that has not received much attention is that many of America's most conservative geographic areas are also home to radical left media outlets that regularly produce stories sneering at the values of their neighbors.

In Oklahoma, one of the most conservative states, the perfect example of this is the Tulsa World newspaper which frequently derides conservative ideas and groups. The publication provided a perfect example of this tendency earlier in the year running a piece that smeared several well-established and accomplished conservative organizations as somehow being "controversial."

By Tim Graham | | December 1, 2012 | 7:13 PM EST

On Friday night, NPR reporters couldn't say Susan Rice lied on television about the Benghazi attack, only that Senate Republicans make that accusation. In a report on Sen. Kelly Ayotte, reporter Don Gonyea could only manage "The trio accuses Rice of misleading the public in statements she made on television in the days following the attack."

But that wasn't half as shameless at NPR State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen, whose Friday night story lined up Rice supporters to suggest that opposition to Rice is sexist (even for Ayotte?), that Libya is actually a selling point for Rice, and that Republicans are damaging the country's image to oppose her: 

 

By Tim Graham | | December 1, 2012 | 5:51 PM EST

NPR's All Things Considered on Friday night repeatedly came to Susan Rice's defense -- and NPR journalists repeatedly played dumb, pretending to be confounded why critics would object to her lying about Benghazi on five Sunday talk shows.

While NPR's three full or partial features on the subject suggest Rice is having difficulty, the spin was all friendly. Anchor Robert Siegel asked NPR's pundits E. J. Dionne and David Brooks "Are the complaints against her serious, in your view?" Dionne said no, as if all Secretaries of State lie on national TV. Brooks thought Rice was "fine":

By Randy Hall | | December 1, 2012 | 5:31 PM EST

Many conservatives believe the fiscal cliff deal from President Obama that was delivered to Capitol Hill on Thursday by Treasury Security Timothy Geithner will not solve the government's financial problems despite the positive coverage the mainstream media is giving the plan.

One of those expressing concern about the proposal and the media attention it has received is Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, who said during his Friday broadcast that “there is such an arrogance in the media since the president won."