Economist?s View: A conservative economist explains when stimulus is too big, too small, just right or utterly wrong.
Romenesko: A look forward to the Doonesbury strips some newspapers are refusing to run this week.
Satirical Political Report: A look back at why Rick Santorum really won in Kansas.
Jed Lewison: A look at why Mitt Romney had no comment Friday on the February jobs report.
Speaking of which, your quote of the day: ?He?s frequently telling us that he [President Obama] did not cause the recession, and that?s true. But he made it worse.? (Mitt Romney, February 1, 2012.)
Guest blogging Mike's Blog Round Up today is Jon Perr from Perrspectives. Send your tips, recommendations, comments and angst to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.
The controversy over Rush Limbaugh's venomous attacks on Sandra Fluke appears to have done what a dozen prior Limbaugh controversies could not: affect his bottom line. As John Avlon reports, advertisers are fleeing not only from Limbaugh, but from other hosts like him:
Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on "programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity)."
This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are "carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald's, Subway)." Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.
Avlon gives a good overview of the issues at play here, including talk radio's dependence on old white men, who are not the most desirable audience for advertisers, and the increased speed with which anti-host campaign can ramp up and have an impact. This highlights some essential facts about media in general, but especially about talk radio, the medium on which Republicans built so much of their political project over the last two decades.
Talk radio may have profound political effects, but it is, at bottom, a business. And in that business, listeners are not the customers. Listeners are the product. Advertisers are the customers. Programming is the means of delivering the product to the customers, whether it's music or news, Rush Limbaugh or the local Limbaugh imitator. "Programming," one top Clear Channel executive used to say, "is the shit we run between the commercials."
The people who make decisions in radio are not a courageous bunch. As progressive host Thom Hartmann told me when I interviewed him for a recent piece, "The typical thought that a program director has when they wake up every morning is not, 'How can I transform my radio station into something that is really going to sparkle?' Instead, they wake up every morning thinking, 'How can I avoid getting fired today?'" Rush Limbaugh is on 600 stations because he reliably brought those stations listeners who could be sold to a population of advertisers ready to buy time on his program. As soon as that is no longer the case, stations will start to drop him.
Is that going to happen now? Maybe, maybe not. I've always been a bit ambivalent about advertiser-targeting campaigns; they can be used for good or ill, by people promoting understanding or promoting division. But in the end, companies have choices to make about where they put their advertising dollars, and they must be responsible for those choices. If there were a Puppy Strangling Channel, no one would want to advertise on it, and justifiably so. Rush Limbaugh has been spewing his toxic brew of race-baiting, misogyny, and generalized hate for a couple of decades now, and despite the complaints of liberals, his advertisers? among them some of the most established, well-regarded corporations in America?haven't seen any downside to giving him their money. Now they're paying a little more attention. If Limbaugh wants to make the case to them that his program is just the kind of thing they want their products to be associated with, I'm sure they'd listen. But I doubt they'd be as convinced as they would have been a couple of weeks ago.
A variety of links to articles/interviews/speeches on current topics that may be of interest.[...]
Read The Full Article:
At 4 a.m. Saturday morning, Salon?s Glenn Greenwald put up a 2,500-word blog post that excoriated my post from earlier in the week, ?So Long But Not Farewell to Dennis Kucinich.? I'd written four paragraphs that amounted to a light-hearted farewell for the congressman, quickly noting both his most famous political efforts and two of his more well-known personal stories. Greenwald portrayed the article?along with pieces at The Washington Post and The New Republic?as a contemptuous and mean-spirited celebration of Kucinich's defeat in last week?s Ohio Democratic primary. While he focused largely on my description of Kucinich as ?among the wackiest members of Congress,? Greenwald framed his critique as an institutional one, neither mentioning me by name nor noting prior coverage of Kucinich's electoral plight. He wrote as though my blog represented The American Prospect?s editorial consensus rather than my own report. Still, he speculated errantly about my opinions of the Ohio congressman and the intentions of my post.
To Greenwald, the post was an effort to dismiss Kucinich's political agenda by highlighting some of his more colorful personal stories, like his experience with UFOs:
Neither the Prospect nor the Post would ever dare mock as ?wacky? the belief in invisible judgmental father-figures in the sky or that rendition of life-after-death gospel because those belief systems have been deemed acceptable by establishment circles. ?Wacky?, like its close cousin ?crazy,? is a term of establishment derision exclusively reserved for those who deviate from such conventions. And that?s the point worth making here: the real reason anyone with D.C. Seriousness, including many establishment liberals, relished mocking Kucinich is because he dissented from the orthodoxies of the two political parties.
Saying Kucinich is ?wacky,? Greenwald argues, is the same thing as calling him a nutcase. My one use of the term frames his lengthy critique. From my assertion that Kucinich is ?among the wackiest,? he infers that I not only dismiss Kucinich but also oppose his political goals, like bringing to light the Obama administration's deeply troubling record on civil liberties. By the end of Greenwald's piece, you could easily think that my post had celebrated the end of the "crazy? Dennis Kucinich while adulating President Barack Obama and his most disturbing policies. That was certainly not my intent nor my belief.
If I were to critique Kucinich, my issue would not be with his ideological agenda but with his political competence. In my piece, I quoted from The Daily Show, where Kucinich chose to perform his ventriloquism act and answer questions about his electability with rhymes and a discussion of the "Age of Aquarius." John Oliver asked if he was quoting the musical. I did not highlight the exchange because I disapprove of harmony and understanding. Rather, I cited it because it illustrates the extent to which Kucinich has fostered his image as an out-of-the-box and, yes, pretty darn wacky, kind of politician. It certainly has its appeal.
But to me it seems that image has hurt Kucinich's efficacy as a liberal champion. Kucinich fought a lot of political battles worth fighting. But he lost almost all of them, and in the meantime, he made his concerns appear to come from farther and farther out in left field. Whether it's speaking out against U.S. assisted killings or filing articles of impeachment, what I find problematic are not Kucinich's initiatives; it?s the fact that he allowed his eccentricities to muddle his message.
Those who love the congressman say that because he spoke hard truths and argued vociferously against the bad policies of the Bush and Obama administrations, he should be venerated. Often implicit in that argument is a notion that Kucinich's lack of political victories almost amounts to a badge of honor. One of the Salon commenters, mattwa33186 argues just that:
Kucinich didn't get much done in the way of legislation for the same reason Ron Paul doesn't get much done in the way of legislation?he never went along to get along. Never traded one principle to advance another. Never voted for something he thought was wrong so he could get votes for something he thought was right.
His lack of success in that area is simply a reminder that principled men can't get anything done in Washington any more.
But effectiveness does matter, and other principled liberals have been able to have more relevance. Take Representative Keith Ellison, who was undoubtedly at risk of being dismissed as ?radical? or ?extreme.? The Minnesota Democrat is both African-American and the first Muslim member of Congress. When he was sworn in, he asked that he place his hand on a Quran rather than a Bible. The right wing flipped out. But Ellison showed a shrewd political sense, using Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Quran. It was a move that helped change perceptions of Islam in America, and helped to establish Ellison as a formidable politician. Since then, Ellison has successfully pushed for consumer protections from credit card companies and co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Far from being dismissed, he now also sits on the House Democratic Steering Committee.
And Ellison, I should add, co-sponsored Kucinich's bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.
Visual source: Newseum
Paul Krugman pounds on the austerity-mongers again:
Just to take one recent example, when Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, delivered the Republican reply to the State of the Union address, he insisted that ?we?re only a short distance behind Greece, Spain and other European countries now facing economic catastrophe.? By the way, apparently nobody told him that Spain had low government debt and a budget surplus on the eve of the crisis; it?s in trouble thanks to private-sector, not public-sector, excess.E.J. Dionne irked a lot of his readers when he wrote in opposition to the Obama administration's first stance requiring religiously affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for their employees that includes contraception. But after the administration compromised on the matter, Dionne is wondering if the response from conservatives in the Catholic hierarchy isn't an indication they want to turn the Roman Catholic Church "into the Tea Party at prayer."
But what Greek experience actually shows is that while running deficits in good times can get you in trouble ? which is indeed the story for Greece, although not for Spain ? trying to eliminate deficits once you?re already in trouble is a recipe for depression.
To the evident discomfort of the White House and President Obama's reelection campaign, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called for the Democratic Party's 2012 platform to include an endorsement of same-sex marriage. Instead of resenting ? or fearing ? the mayor's proposal, Obama should embrace it and end once and for all the exasperating "evolution" of his views on the subject.Veteran labor journalist David Moberg laments the deal American Airlines negotiated with its workforce on pensions:
While some airlines, like United and US Air, used bankruptcy to end pension plans, Northwest, Delta and Continental either froze or preserved intact all or most of their plans. And despite complaints about their high costs, PBGC says many American competitors have higher pension costs. Delta pays into its funds 2/3 more per employee than American. Many of the other bankruptcies and pension terminations occurred when the whole industry was in trouble. Now American is the only major airline losing money.Kathleen Pender wonders why all but 23 House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, got "suckered" into backing HR3606, which would sharply cut investor protections for capital formation by some small and medium-sized businesses.
Workers and their pensions are not the problem, [Transport Workers Union President Jim] Little says. Since 2003 TWU workers have surrendered 30 percent of their pay?about $600 million, adding to a grand total of "billions of dollars" in concessions from all union workers since 2001, Little says. Bad management is the problem: "They didn't modernize their fleet, missed merger opportunities, got stuck with higher fuel costs, lost money year after year--and rewarded themselves with hundreds of millions in executive bonuses," he wrote.
The most famous study of America, written by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s, depicted a society shaped and dominated by its middle class, everywhere outside the slaveholding south. He saw a society where wealth existed, but where it passed from hand to hand, with no family remaining rich for very long -- and with new leaders constantly emerging from the ranks of the poor.Kevin Drum reiterates the economic slippage of America's middle class over the past three decades, with a chart.
Americans still quote de Tocqueville for insight. But increasingly, those insights describe the country's past, not its present and future.
Ilsye Hogue gets it right in her column saying Bill Maher got it wrong:
In response to Rush's ranting, no one has called for our government censorship. People have merely vocalized their desire not to be associated with companies that associate with Rush. Those associations risk reflecting on our values, which--in this case?so drastically diverge from his that we care enough to change our choices over it. There are no issues of law or free speech here. This is simply the marketplace doing its thing, shaping both our commerce and our culture by reflecting shared agreement on conduct and conscience.Peggy Noonan has a chat with House Speaker John Boehner in which not much is revealed:
By conflating this economic feedback loop with Rush's right to free speech, Bill Maher played into a right-wing canard, misinterpreted the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, and did himself and his viewers a disservice. In order to uphold the First Amendment, which is very important, it helps to know what it means.
The prize is winning the White House and the Senate. "They all understand there's big limits on what we can do only having one house. And while we've been able to stop all the real craziness of what's going on, trying to peel this back ... is gonna be difficult." By "this," he means the size, cost and power of the federal government. "It took the other side 80 years to build this monstrosity ... and our guys want to get rid of it tomorrow." Congress, he says, doesn't work that way. The Founders designed it not to work that way.As is so often the case, Cal Thomas proves just how profoundly he doesn't get it:
Limbaugh should invite Sandra Fluke to lunch and get to know her as a person, not a label. At the very least, he would send an important message that civility and strong political speech do not have to be contradictory.
Who knows, he might even persuade her to become a conservative.
Four years after the fact, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has gotten around to chastising the man behind a political action committee called "Californians for Obama" for raising thousands of dollars in support for then-Sen. Barack Obama while obscuring the fact that it didn't have any actual connections to the future president's campaign.
The group was run by a self-proclaimed movie mogol named Emmett Cash III, but Kinde Durkee -- the major Democratic treasurer who was arrested for allegedly stealing from many of her clients back in September -- handled its finances.
Californians for Obama came under FEC scrutiny in October 2007, when a California woman complained to the agency after she paid $2,423.76 to go on a "Women of Power Cruise" that was supposed to take place in September of that year. It didn't happen and her money wasn't refunded. The group had been the subject of a July 25, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article that detailed how Cash -- who according to the Chronicle had been a registered Republican until June 2007 -- had raised nearly $10,000, most of which was paid to himself.
In a conciliation agreement reached between Cash and the FEC last month and made public on Friday, Cash contends that Durkee filed an amendment with the FEC naming him as treasurer on Jan. 30, 2009 "without his knowledge or consent." The agreement states that Cash was in charge of the committee's strategy and acted on its behalf "almost entirely by himself."
He acknowledged that he solicited contributions in a manner which "may have led some contributors to believe that they were making contributions to Obama for America, Barack Obama's Presidential campaign committee." But Cash maintained he was simply trying to get the word out about Obama's campaign and that he wasn't aware what he was doing would be against the law because Durkee did not advise him of the law.
Despite finding against Cash, the FEC decided not to issue a fine because Californians for Obama -- which was renamed Californians for Change -- currently has just $29.41 in cash on hand and has disclosed debts and obligations of $10,804.73.
The case against Durkee has not yet been resolved, though the FEC found in December of 2008 that there was "reason to believe" that Durkee had violated the law. While a lawyer for Durkee claimed she and her company had "no responsibly for fundraising solicitations or any discretionary authority with respect to expenditures," but the FEC found the actions were "reasonably calculated to deceive persons of ordinary prudence and comprehension."
Durkee, of course, has bigger things to worry about, like her upcoming preliminary hearing on March 16. Federal prosecutors and her defense team asked a judge for a delay last month because the government needed additional time to analyze the data in the computers they seized during the investigation.
Great things are not accomplished by those
who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.
Born March 12, 1922
Read The Full Article:
Today, the Pennsylvania Assembly will vote on the voter ID law it passed and sent to the state Senate. The Senate added an amendment to allow college and university IDs in addition to state and Federal IDs. Another amendment allows for PennDOT to issue free IDs. Governor
Cretin Corbett has indicated he will sign it. Why wouldn't he? It's yet another attempt to prevent Democrats from voting.
35 states, including Pennsylvania, now either have Voter ID laws or legislation working its way through the process. Since there are too many elected Republicans in the US, the fight is now going to the UN. The NAACP will appear this week in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Commission. The UN has no authority directly, but:
"The power of the U.N. on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring them into line with global standards, best practices for democracy," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous told reporters Thursday. "There are plenty of examples — segregation of the U.S. to apartheid in South Africa to the death penalty here in the U.S. — of global outrage having an impact." Source.
Voter fraud by voters is so rare as to be less than one one-hundredth of one percent. Voter fraud by the people who count the votes, on the other hand, is relatively rampant. The Voter ID laws are, once again, another piece of proof that to be a Republican (or someone who votes Republican) is to be a racist. It's a direct correlation.
And speaking of racists, the Republican clown car rolls on to the deep south tomorrow, with primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. Republicans will also start the caucus process in Utah and American Samoa. Democrats are voting in a number of those places, but we're organized, and have our candidate.
I don't have much to say about Mississippi or Alabama: the results are proportional in both states and whatever Spawn and Newton take from Mittens just makes it more difficult for him. The more battered he is coming in to Tampa, the better.
Good Morning. How was your weekend? I think that it is important to go over how we got this[...]
Read The Full Article:
Muse in the MorningCilliae I know you have talent. What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent. I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I'm a pretty darn good cook. :-)Let your talent[...]
Read The Full Article: