Last week, conservative organization Focus on the Family announced that it planned to air a 30-second “life- and family-affirming” television ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. The ad will feature 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will “share one of their many positive personal stories.” Specific details about the ad haven’t been released, but the AP notes that it is “likely to be an anti-abortion message chronicling Pam Tebow?s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim.”
MediaDailyNews reports that CBS yesterday approved the Focus on the Family script:
CBS executives approved a script for a Super Bowl spot from evangelical group Focus on the Family, which suggests the ad will not carry a pro-life message — at least an overt one.
The network has a policy of prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an “implicit” endorsement for a side in a public debate. A CBS spokesman did say the network will review the video version of the spot before giving it the final green light, but does not anticipate any hurdles.
The networks and the NFL have repeatedly rejected advocacy ads — including by progressive organizations. In 2004, CBS rejected MoveOn.org’s 30-second ad about President Bush, which Salon called “a low-key attack on Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility that’s unlikely to make anyone very angry.” The network has said that it doesn’t accept spots where “substantial elements of the community (are) in opposition to one another.” Last year, NBC rejected a 30-second public service announcement about marriage equality. Anti-consumerist activist Kalle Lasn and PETA have also had their ads turned down under the “no advocacy” policy.
However, the policy is fuzzy enough that the networks have considerable discretion. As Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, explained:
The rules are exactly what the owner of the news medium wants them to be, and they are not rules, they are simply choices. For many news organizations, the rules are governed by such things as taste and accuracy. In the case of some, the question of taste slips over into finding the message disagreeable or believing that the audience would find that message disagreeable. The long and short of it is they don’t have to run any advertisement they don’t want to.
Indeed, the networks are also therefore able to run any ad they want — including ads that clearly advocate a position. Last year, ThinkProgress documented that NBC ran anti-smoking and anti-steroids ads, even though it rejected the marriage equality ad and a pro-life ad because it was supposedly banning all advocacy spots. In the past, CBS also approved “an anti-smoking spot, a public service announcement about AIDS, and a commercial from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy” during the Super Bowl.
So even though CBS accepted Focus on the Family’s ad and the network has a “no advocacy” policy, CBS may still allow the group to advocate a right-wing position.
Doug Southgate, Ohio State University professor of environmental economics, felt the plaintiff?s wrath after testifying for Chevron, based on his experience in Ecuador, dating back to the late 1970s. The plaintiffs attacked him for being a member of the Heartland Institute, which does not believe in global warming. He says he is not a member and only made one presentation to the Institute. It is remarkable, he says, how easy it is to spread anything on the internet.How dare you smear me by repeating those vicious internet rumors that I'm a member of the Heartland Institute!
California officials and political soothsayers have been warning that a Martha Coakley loss in Massachusetts could have wide-ranging "ripple effects" for elections on the west coast.
For [Senator] Boxer, a favorite Republican target, a GOP win in Massachusetts would be a particularly dark sign representing "not just the canary in the coal mine," said Wade Randlett, a leading Silicon Valley fundraiser for Obama. "It's the flock of dead ravens landing on the lawn."And this from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom:
We better get our act together - and quickly. Voters are so angry. They don't feel that we're paying attention to their needs, in terms of their jobs.Today, with the votes counted, San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci gave her take on how Republicans running against Boxer, including former Rep. Tom Campbell, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, are reacting to the news: "Their message: it's on."
Additionally, if Scott Brown defeats Coakley, I suspect that the resulting change in the Senate may cause a certain Senator from California to give much more serious consideration to a gubernatorial run. Senator Feinstein may have been loathe to leave a Senate where Democrats hold, even if tenuously, a filibuster-proof majority and where she enjoys significant power and responsibility. However, the loss of Kennedy's seat and the resulting Senate gridlock might well tip the balance in Feinstein's deliberations regarding a 2010 gubernatorial run. Why would Feinstein want to stay in the, likely, more toxic environment of the Senate and forgo her last chance to fulfill her dream of being California's first female governor? Will Feinstein really want to cede that distinction to Meg Whitman?However it turns out, the MA loss will have an enormous impact on the 2010 cycle. Whether it's a game changer election-wise remains to be seen
You know, being politicians and all, you'd think the Institutional Democratic Party could READ A FUCKING POLL!DEMOCRATS LEARNING WRONG LESSON FROM MASSACHUSETTS?EVEN SCOTT BROWN VOTERS WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION, WANT DEMOCRATS TO BE BOLDER"In an election[...]
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Jane Dyer announced today that she is running again in South Carolina for U.S. Congress. She will[...]
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We're currently having our daily afternoon editorial meeting. And man, I don't think I've ever heard so much sarcasm, biting comments and just hilarity of a painful sort. Mainly coming from me. [...]
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I've asked twice in posts today when Scott Brown is coming to town, and now I have an answer: Thursday. Which is great, because it may finally give us an answer on another so far unasked question.
Brown's supporters made a huge deal of insisting that he be seated immediately after his victory, and in fact made enough noise about their theories that his swearing-in would be unduly delayed (among which theories they counted close observation of the rules of the Senate and the laws of Massachusetts) that Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) felt compelled to chime in on the subject. From all corners came the demand that the Senate not vote on the health insurance reform bill until Senator-elect Brown could be sworn and seated.
But there's been no mention of the fact that the Senate is, beginning today, voting to raise the federal debt ceiling without Brown in his seat. Suddenly missing from all the calls to take seriously the movement -- if that's what it is -- that allegedly propelled Brown to victory is any interest in the issue that until now supposedly lay at (or at least very near) the heart of that movement: the growing federal debt.
And yet, I've not heard a single voice raised to demand that Scott Brown be seated before the Senate votes to raise the statutory limit on the federal debt by nearly a trillion dollars, from $12.104 trillion to $13.029 trillion.
Could it be because no one ever relishes voting on such a bill? Well, that should pose no problem. As a member of an out-of-power minority, ordinarily he wouldn't be expected to.
But it's often said of debt limit hikes that as distasteful as they may be, the alternative to passing them is fiscal disaster. Government shutdowns, Treasury bond defaults, and the like -- though it's also true that during emergencies in the past, workarounds have been employed that involved the issuance of government IOUs on a temporary basis.
And this time, there's an added twist. While an out-of-power minority is typically not expected to throw its support behind a debt ceiling hike, it's also never been the case that they've sought to block one using the filibuster. Yet that's what our current out-of-power minority is doing, having employed the "painless filibuster" to extract a unanimous consent agreement last month that would require 60 votes to pass the debt limit increase. Now, with what should be just 59 votes in the Democratic camp, at least one Republican vote would be needed to raise the debt ceiling, if Brown supporters' demands to "seat him now" had been complied with.
It's surprising that there's such a strong consensus for delaying health insurance reform action in the wake of Brown's election, but not the debt ceiling vote. It's hard to imagine him riding the teabagger wave into the Senate and then immediately voting to raise the debt limit. But it's also a wrinkle Republicans likely weren't counting on when they sought and won the 60 vote threshold -- that the resolution could actually fail as a result.
It's Paul Kirk's continuance in office that excuses Brown from being put on the spot about that. Not that escape hatches aren't available. The previous unanimous consent request locking in the 60 vote threshold could be undone or supplanted by a new one. Or some other Republican, perhaps someone already set to retire like George Voinovich (R-OH) could do Brown a favor and take one for the team.
Either way, it's just... interesting that someone propelled into office allegedly by a groundswell of popular concern for America's fiscal health -- at least as teabagger activists would have it -- wouldn't insist on racing to Washington to participate in this pivotal vote, and that none of the voices who insisted that their support for that agenda lay in their "fiscal responsibility" have been heard urging him on.
By Stephen Crockett
There is very little upside to the election of a Republican Far Right Senator to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) for Democrats, progressives and reformers.
Even before the Bay State debacle, Democrats faced no easy path forward on health care reform. If House Democrats like Bart Stupak, Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler are to be believed, there are not 218 votes in the House for passing the Senate health[...]
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GREEN IS GOOD
by Margaret Smith
New York's most notable feature may be the city that never sleeps, but a new trend that's been sweeping the nation over the past couple of years has finally made ground. And when we say "made ground" we're talking literally here, because it plans on drilling its way thousands of feet underground in New York state.
Yes, New York has become the new epicenter for the hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," debate. A popular technique used by natural gas and oil companies, fracking is a way to easily extract natural gas from rock fissures. A chemical mixture of sand and fluid is injected under high pressure deep within rock formations to break open pores and easily release natural gas. From there, the natural gas is directed toward a production well where it can then be brought to the surface.
For New York, plans have been set aside to drill out of the Marcellus Shale. Part of the Devonian Black Shale Succession, the Marcellus Shale is a 575-mile long shale formation that extends through Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia. A profitable move? Definitely. Natural gas as energy has been commonly used in New York for over two centuries. Recently it found that the Marcellus formation contained a mind-blowing amount of natural gas, and now New York stands to make more than a trillion dollars from its production.
But at what cost? That's what many New Yorkers have been asking themselves lately as plans to drill keep moving forward and problems such as wastewater treatment, local impact, and mining remain to be solved.