Daily Digest for March 30th

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Chip Bennett New Plugin: cbnet Manage Plugins Donate Link - http://bit.ly/dd9lix [chip_bennett].
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New Plugin: cbnet Manage Plugins Donate Link

Filed in Web DevelopmentTags: Geekery, Plugins, WordPress

Do you use WordPress? Do you use several plugins? Have you ever considered donating to the authors of the plugins you use, but find it rather inconvenient to find each plugin's listing at WordPress.org Extend, just to find the author's Donate link?

If so, then you will find the cbnet Manage Plugins Donate Link plugin to be incredibly useful.

Donate Link

Donate link displayed in list of links beneath the plugin description

Plugin authors define their Donate link in the plugin's readme.txt file. This plugin reads each plugin's readme.txt to find the Donate link, and then, if it finds one, adds that link to the list of links in plugin_row_meta beneath the plugin description on the Manage Plugins page.

With this plugin enabled, you will have quick, convenient, one-stop access to the Donate links for the authors of all your installed plugins.

My hope is that this plugin will encourage more voluntary donations to plugin authors, most of whom put in countless hours of unpaid code contribution to the WordPress community. More and more plugin authors, out of economic necessity, are moving to "freemium", subscription, or other paid models, because they simply do not receive donations from those who use their plugins.

This plugin is but a humble attempt to encourage more users to donate to plugin authors.

Links

Support

Please do not post support questions here. Please post all support questions in the plugin support forum.

Daily Digest for March 24th

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Chip Bennett Chip I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! RT @OneFineJay BIG SURPRISE! RT @AoSHQ: Shocker: Obama doesn't sign abortion EO http://bit.ly/9eaV4G..
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Chip Bennett I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! RT @OneFineJay BIG SURPRISE! RT @AoSHQ: Shocker: Obama doesn't sign abortion EO http://bit.ly/9eaV4G [chip_bennett].

Daily Digest for March 21st

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Chip Bennett Matheson, Space voting No: one Yes-No flip and one prev-No undecided. Nay votes 207, another 6 w/Stupak, 10 undecided: http://bit.ly/ck9hka [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip Matheson, Space voting No: one Yes-No flip and one prev-No undecided. Nay votes 207, another 6 w/Stupak, 10 undecided: http://bit.ly/ck9hka..

Daily Digest for March 20th

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Chip Bennett If House Dems really wanted to fix the Senate bill, they would use the proscribed method: amend it and send it back to the Senate #hcr #tcot [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip If House Dems really wanted to fix the Senate bill, they would use the proscribed method: amend it and send it back to the Senate #hcr #tcot..
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Chip Bennett Chip Obama: Campaigner-In-Chief. All speeches, no action: 432 days, 471 speeches - 54 (one every 8 days) on #hcr http://bit.ly/bV80EB #tcot..
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Chip Bennett Obama: Campaigner-In-Chief. All speeches, no action: 432 days, 471 speeches - 54 (one every 8 days) on #hcr http://bit.ly/bV80EB #tcot [chip_bennett].

Daily Digest for March 19th

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Chip Bennett Chip You voted for Slaughter rule @IkeSkelton @bradellsworth @repcarnahan, you will be voted out for dereliction of duty to uphold Constitution..
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Chip Bennett You voted for Slaughter rule @IkeSkelton @bradellsworth @repcarnahan, you will be voted out for dereliction of duty to uphold Constitution [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett The Slaughter Rule: Unprecedented - http://bit.ly/9ZGBGM [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip The Slaughter Rule: Unprecedented - http://bit.ly/9ZGBGM..
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Chip Bennett Chip When Dems tell you that the Republicans have done the same thing as the Slaughter rule, don't listen. They're wrong: http://bit.ly/boqv2V..
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Chip Bennett When Dems tell you that the Republicans have done the same thing as the Slaughter rule, don't listen. They're wrong: http://bit.ly/boqv2V [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett I assume, @clairecmc, that, given your oath to uphold the Constitution, you would support such an amendment? http://bit.ly/cer02H [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip I assume, @clairecmc, that, given your oath to uphold the Constitution, you would support such an amendment? http://bit.ly/cer02H..

The Slaughter Rule: Unprecedented

Filed in PoliticsTags: Constitutional Rights, Democrats, Legislature, Media Bias, ObamaCare, Republicans

Congressional democrats promoting the use of the so-called "Slaughter rule" - a self-executing or "deem and pass" rule that would allow the House of Representatives to "deem" as passed the Senate health care bill without bringing the bill to the floor of the House for consideration are attempting to rationalize their actions by claiming that Republicans have used self-executing rules in the past, and that, therefore, their opposition to the Slaughter rule is hypocritical.

On the surface, their claim sounds rather damning for Republicans, such as Mike Pence, who oppose the Slaughter rule. However, upon closer inspection, the democrats' claim proves specious.

Mike Pence: Hypocrite?

Democrats claim that Pence has voted for a self-executing rule three times. Let us examine those votes.

HR1003 (109th Congress, 2006)

HR1003 reads as follows:

Resolved, That upon adoption of this resolution, House Resolution 1000, amended by the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Rules now printed in the resolution, is hereby adopted.

Thus, HR1003 used a self-executing rule to deem as passed HR1000, which modifies the order of proceedings for the House of Representatives.. However, this use of a self-executing rule differs from the Slaughter rule in two critical aspects:

  1. HR1000 was a resolution that amended the order of proceedings for the House of Representatives. It was not a legislative act.
  2. HR1000 was originally brought to the floor of the House, and was referred to and amended by the Rules Committee. The use of the self-executing rule in HR1003 merely allowed House members to deem as passed the resolution as amended by the Rules Committee, rather than bringing the resolution to the floor again. Thus, the use of the self-executing rule was intended to circumvent normal House procedure, not to avoid voting on HR1000.

Verdict: the use of a self-executing rule in HR1003 in order to deem HR1000 as passed does not invalidate opposition to use of the Slaughter rule to deem the Senate health care bill as passed.

H.Res.653 (109th Congress, 2006)

H.Res.653 reads as follows:

Resolved, That the House hereby concurs in the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the bill (S. 1932) to provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 202(a) of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2006 (H. Con. Res. 95).

H.Res.653 represents the passage of a conference report for the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and is a classic example of how bills typically become law in the U.S. Congress:

  1. The House or Senate (always the latter, if the bill involves levying taxes) passes a bill
  2. The other chamber considers and passes the same bill.
  3. If the second chamber amends the bill as passed by the first chamber, either the first chamber must pass the bill as amended by the second chamber, or else (as is typically the case), the two chambers seat a Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The outcome of this process is known as a Conference Report.
  4. Both the House and the Senate then each pass the Conference Report, and the bill is then presented to the president.

In fact, the 109th Congress followed this process exactly in enacting the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005:

  1. The Senate passed S.1932 on November 03, 2005.
  2. The House passed H.R.4241 on November 18, 2005.
  3. The two bills were reconciled via Conference Report.
  4. The House passed the Conference Report on February 01, 2006, via H.Res.653.
  5. The Senate passed the Conference Report on February 08, 2006, via S.Con.Res.80.

Thus, H.Res.653 used a self-executing rule to deem as passed the Conference Report for S.1932, which the House originally passed as H.R.4241. However, it also differs from the Slaughter rule in two critical aspects:

  1. H.Res.653 deemed as passed a bill on which the House of Representatives had already voted: H.R.4241.
  2. H.Res.653 did not further modify the Conference Report for S.1932/H.R.4241. The Slaughter rule attempts to deem as "passed" the Senate health care bill, while at the same time amending that same bill. (The Slaughter rule "deems as passed" the Senate bill only upon House passage of a Reconciliation bill that amends the Senate bill.) Thus, the House will be engrossing a bill that it has at the same time amended.

Verdict: the use of a self-executing rule in H.Res.653 in order to deem the S.1932/H.R.4241 Conference Report as passed does not invalidate opposition to use of the Slaughter rule to deem the Senate health care bill as passed.

H.Res.572 (109th Congress, 2005)

The germane section of H.Res.572 reads as follows:

SEC. 2. Upon adoption of this resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 308 is hereby adopted.

Thus, the self-executing rule of H.Res.572 deems as passed a "technical correction", per H.Res.308, in the enrollment of H.R.3058 (an appropriations bill). However, it also differs from the Slaughter rule in two critical aspects:

  1. H.Res.572 merely deemed as passed a "technical correction" to a bill on which the House of Representatives had <em>already voted</em>: H.R.3058.
  2. H.Res.572 did not further modify the H.R.3058. The Slaughter rule attempts to deem as "passed" the Senate health care bill, while at the same time <em>amending</em> that same bill. (The Slaughter rule "deems as passed" the Senate bill only upon House passage of a Reconciliation bill that <em>amends</em> the Senate bill.) Thus, the House will be engrossing a bill that it has at the same time amended.

Verdict: the use of a self-executing rule in H.Res.572 in order to deem as passed a "technical correction" amendment to the already engrossed H.R.3058 does not invalidate opposition to use of the Slaughter rule to deem the Senate health care bill as passed.

Verdict: Mike Pence

Pence's opposition to the Slaughter rule cannot be considered to be hypocritical with respect to his previous support of self-executing rules in the House. None of his previous votes represents, supports, or justifies the intent of the Slaughter rule, since, in all cases in which Pence voted for a self-executing rule, he was doing so with respect to bills that had already been voted on and passed by the House.

Bonus: Et Tu, Steny?

Liberals in the media are bending over backward to paint the Republicans as hypocrites on the self-executing rule issue - but, ironically, in so doing, they merely display the hypocrisy of the Democrats. Consider Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader. Time, that bastion of liberal group-think, quotes a hyperventilating Hoyer in 2003. After complaining about the Republican majority limiting debate in the House (paging Nancy Pelosi... paging Nancy Pelosi...), Hoyer unloads this corker:

Not content with the denying the Minority to offer amendments and substitutes, the Majority has even refused to permit Democrats the chance to vote on the Majority's own bills. That is precisely what happened on June 12. This being the 23rd, that was 13 days ago. When the Republican leadership reported a self-executing rule providing for the adoption of the $82 billion plan over 10 years and an almost trillion-dollar plan over 20 years, accelerating the increased child tax credit for low-income people families, we didn't even get an opportunity to vote on the bill itself except by reference in a self-executing rule. What kind of lack of confidence does that display? What kind of process in pursuit of effectiveness does that mean that we are adopting? What kind of demeaning of democracy is the objective of efficiency resulting in? I would remiss to fail to note that barely 1 hour later, the House passed on a bipartisan vote -- you talk about bipartisan votes -- a nonbinding motion to instruct the conferees to accept the substantially more responsible Senate version of that bill, doing exactly the opposite of what a half an hour the House had voted on. Why? Because it had no full debate, and it was very ambivalent, and we knew the House was ambivalent, and you knew the House was ambivalent, and you were afraid, fearful that 12 or 15 Republicans, if allowed to vote on the substance as opposed to voting procedurally on a rule where party loyalty is so important, you were afraid to put the substance to the test of democracy, fearful that you would lose 12 to 15, and we would prevail in our position. House Democrats, of course, are trying to offer the same Senate bill as the substitute, but the Republican Majority blocked us from doing so.

Wow, sounds bad, huh? Sounds exactly like the Slaughter rule, doesn't it?

Except, it isn't.

Notice, if you will, Hoyer's mention of conferees. Why, those would be the sitting members of a Conference Committee, who return Conference Reports. That means that the House of Representatives had already voted on and passed the bill in question. The Conference Report regarded H.R.1308, which passed the house by a voice vote. The self-executing rule to deem the Conference Report as passed was in H.Res.270, which passed by roll-call vote. When Hoyer claims that the minority didn't get to vote on the bill, he is lying.

Dare I say it? Hoyer's ardent defense of the Slaughter rule is the epitome of hypocrisy. To wit, here is what Hoyer has to say about the Slaughter rule:

“We’re going to vote on a bill, on a rule, which would provide for the result that, if a majority are for it, that will adopt a bill, the Senate bill, which has had extensive debate, extensive exposure,” Hoyer said.

“Does anybody in this room doubt that you have to vote on that?” he said. “We will vote on it, in one form or another.”

I rest my case.

Other Self-Executing Rules in Republican-Controlled Houses

Clerical/Technical Corrections to Already Passed Bills

The following House Resolutions represent self-executing rules to deem as passed "clerical" or "technical" correction amendments to bills that have already been voted on and passed by the House:

  • H.Res.180, 104th Congress, 1995 (amending a Conference Report)
  • H.Res.393, 104th Congress, 1995 (amending a Conference Report)
  • H.Res.232, 105th Congress, 1997 (amending a Conference Report)
  • H.Res.71, 108th Congress, 2003 (amending a Conference Report)

All of the above uses of the self-executing rule apply only to amendments to bills already voted on and passed by the House of Representatives. As such, these House Resolutions do not justify the Slaughter rule to "deem as passed" the Senate health care bill, which the House has never brought to the floor for debate, much less voted and passed.

Consideration of Conference Reports

The following House Resolutions represent self-executing rules to deem as passed the Conference Report to already passed House bills:

  • H.Res.63, 1933
  • H.Res.510, 1948
  • H.Res.391, 104th Congress, 1996

All of the above uses of the self-executing rule apply only to deeming as passed Conference Reports for bills already voted on and passed by the House of Representatives. As such, these House Resolutions do not justify the Slaughter rule to "deem as passed" the Senate health care bill, which the House has never brought to the floor for debate, much less voted and passed.

Specifying House Procedures in Consideration of Other Bills

The following House Resolutions represent self-executing rules to specify the procedures and rules of debate in consideration of other House bills:

  • H.Res.336, 104th Congress, 1996
    (specifying the rules of debate for another bill under consideration by the House)
  • H.Res.386, 106th Congress, 1999
    (tabling a Conference Report)

The above use of the self-executing rule applies only to specifying the procedures and rules of debate for other bills under consideration by the House. These self-executing rules do not deem any bill to be passed. The first represents merely a procedural motion, and the second tables a Conference Report. As such, these House Resolutions do not justify the Slaughter rule to "deem as passed" the Senate health care bill, which the House has never brought to the floor for debate, much less voted and passed.

Summary

The 12 uses of self-executing rules referenced above break down as follows:

  • Consideration (passage or tabling) of Conference Reports: 5
  • Passage of clerical or technical correction amendments to Conference Reports: 5
  • Passage of rules of procedure for the House: 2

None of the referenced uses of a self-executing rule represent passage of a bill that has never been brought to the floor of, debated, and voted on by the House of Representatives. Thus, none of the above referenced uses of a self-executing rule justify, rationalize, or support the use of the Slaughter rule to "deem as passed" the Senate health care bill.

The use of the Slaughter rule to "deem as passed" the Senate health care bill, which has never been brought to the floor of, debated, or voted on by the House of Representatives is, therefore, unprecedented.

Daily Digest for March 16th

Filed in Lifestream
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Chip Bennett Please #colts, no. Incognito is 2 Personal Fouls a game waiting to happen! Dirtiest player in the NFL http://bit.ly/aL5GCF /RT @Colts_News [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip Please #colts, no. Incognito is 2 Personal Fouls a game waiting to happen! Dirtiest player in the NFL http://bit.ly/aL5GCF /RT @Colts_News..

Daily Digest for March 14th

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Chip Bennett Texas Board of Education: Liberal Media Bias on Full Display - http://bit.ly/cPa5Z2 [chip_bennett].
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Texas Board of Education: Liberal Media Bias on Full Display

Filed in Social IssuesTags: Academia, Conservatism, Education, Liberalism, Media Bias

The unabashed liberal bias of the mainstream media is on full display in their reporting of the recent Texas Board of Education curriculum-change vote.

This Associated Press article (h/t Lucianne) practically hyperventilates before it even gets to the byline, with the following headline:

Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences

One immediately wonders what sort of radical beliefs the Texas Board of Education had just voted to include in the state curriculum. "Far right influences"? The headline virtually drips with alarm. On to the body of the article, then. First:

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

Then:

By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.

Then:

Board members argued about the classification of historic periods (still B.C. and A.D., rather than B.C.E. and C.E.); whether students should be required to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics (they will); and whether former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir should be required learning (she will).

In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class.

Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.

Numerous attempts to add the names or references to important Hispanics throughout history also were denied, inducing one amendment that would specify that Tejanos died at the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Another amendment deleted a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society."

Oh, but it gets even worse (at least as far as the liberal media are concerned). From this NY Times article:

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

And then:

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

Then:

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

Then:

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

And finally:

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

So, to summarize, the following points are considered "far right" by AP:

  • The Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers
  • Not highlighting the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state
  • Describing the US system of government as a "constitutional republic", rather than as "democratic"
  • Studying the decline of the US dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard
  • Heralding "American exceptionalism" and the free-enterprise system
  • Suggesting that the free-enterprise system thrives best absent excessive government intervention
  • Classification of historic periods as BC and AD, rather than as BCE and CE
  • Requiring students to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics
  • Requiring students to learn about Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
  • Learning the Bill of Rights
  • Emphasis on the Second Amendment in a citizenship section in US Government class
  • Rejection of hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement
  • Not specifying that Tejanos died alongside Davy Crockett and David Bowie at the Alamo
  • Removal of a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society"
  • Teaching the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the NRA
  • Including the violence of the Black Panthers along with the nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr. in teaching about the Civil Rights movement
  • Including the Congressional votes on civil rights legislation, largely supported and passed by Republicans
  • Studying the unintended consequences of Great Society legislation, affirmative action, and Title IX
  • Teaching that Germans and Italians were interned during WWII, and not only Japanese, to counter the alleged racial motive of internment policy
  • Requiring the inclusion of the Verona papers, which confirmed Soviet infiltration into US government, in discussions of McCarthyism
  • Rejecting the requirement that students study the reasons "the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others"
  • Studying economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek along with Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Maynard Keynes
  • In Sociology, teaching “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders"
  • The removal of Thomas Jefferson from the list of figures whose writings influenced late-18th and 19th century revolutions, and instead including Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone

As NewsBusters expressed: "Oh, the humanity!"

That the AP article would list the above points is far more indicative of its own bias. Such points - and opposition to them with respect to high school curriculum - can only be described as "far right" from a worldview that is so removed from the mainstream as to be itself properly described as far-left.

Apparently, to the far-left liberal media, any mention of the free-enterprise system, the Christian influence on the founding of our country; any less-than-utopian mention of liberalism; or any positive mention of the Constitution, conservatism, or Israel constitutes "far right" influence.

That the mainstream media holds such radically biased views so far removed from the mainstream is not a surprise; however, that this bias would be so blatantly on display is somewhat surprising. The AP makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to hide is radical bias.