Category: Media

ANNOUNCING: The Pocket Barack-itizer! Campaign in a Widget

To hear the press tell it, Sen. Barack Obama just completed his first term as high school class treasurer and is trying to parlay that triviality into a bid to become Leader of the Free World. Innumerable pundits, most notable for how often they are wrong, are incessantly yammering about Obama’s allegedly slender resume. Had they bothered to do a little homework themselves, they would know that he has a stellar academic history, has unselfishly toiled for non-profit, public interest groups, and has ten years of legislative experience in the Illinois and U.S. Senate.

It occurred to me that pundits, and the citizens they misinform, might benefit by having convenient access to some basic facts about the man who may be the next President of the United States of America.

So as a public service…

Friday Night at 8: Turn and Face the Strange … Changes

The world can be a crazy place.

(That, by the way, is a rare video of a 1976 rehearsal of the tune “Changes.”  It’s raw and groovalicious.)

                                                    . . .  . . .  . . .   . . .

Shortly after 9/11 I stopped watching television completely.  Sure, I watched it while the towers fell, and in the days that followed I remember being very impressed with the coverage.  My ex-husband and I, both avowed haters of Rudy Guiliani, liked him fine when he appeared on TV.  Rudy did his job when it came to communicating with us, he didn’t pull any punches, and we had a single moment of not hating him.  During that time people pulled together, it was a moment of awful grace after such a huge trauma.

Neither my ex-husband or I, or anyone else I encountered either at work or at play, had any regard for George W. Bush when he came to Ground Zero and shouted out meaningless slogans through a bullhorn.  We knew he didn’t care about New York and wouldn’t do anything except attack Iraq.  It was no big secret.  And we knew Schumer and Hillary would get NYC lots of federal dollars that wouldn’t heal us.  We still have a hole in the ground downtown.

The  New York Times had an awesome series of little vignettes and pictures of each of the victims who died that day.  It was a labor of love.  I read the New York Times then.

But within a very short time, it appeared to me our media simply went  insane.  No, not in some grand dramatic fashion, but just a matter of complete removal from reality.  Of course, all too many Americans, with sincere and honest desires to help our country were instead lured by the siren call of “go shopping!” — and also went similarly insane and became dysfunctional as citizens.

So I stopped watching TV, and for several years stopped reading the Times, and to this day I don’t read any of the magazines I used to enjoy (except my science fiction magazines, lol — Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog and Isaac Asimov’s).

USA Today pokes Dems in the eye over health care

On health care reform, the choice between the Democratic and Republican candidates is crystal clear.  The two leading Democratic candidates tell the American people the truth about the American health care system – it is too expensive, leaves out 50 million people, and burdens employers.  One can argue that the Clinton and Obama plans do not go far enough toward creating universal single-payer coverage that citizens of other developed countries take for granted, but at least the Democrats are talking about steps toward solution.  By contrast, McCain and the Republicans offer nothing but tired rhetoric and more tax breaks for people that do not need them.  If you cannot afford health insurance, then putting aside money into a medical savings account is a cynical, if not blatantly cruel “solution” to the problem.  

This recent editorial in USA Today highlights the uphill battle we face as the media seek to muddy the waters and muddle the public.

The editorial notes that health care costs per person in the United States are double the per-capita rates in other countries, including Canada and the members of the European Union.  It grudgingly admits that many Americans lack health insurance and therefore access to quality care.  However, the rest is nothing but disinformation.

Wither the Fourth Estate?

Is this man laughing at you?



Well. We are rapidly approaching some awfully critical events in the world of domestic and foreign politics. The denouement of the Dem primary battle, and at least a mini-showdown on a few of the fronts where the Democratic Congressionals are FINALLY opposing Bush. It sure feels like Pakistan is going to get interesting, and Iraq is reminding me of the old movie line “it’s quiet……..too quiet.” Despite all of the tensions behind the scenes having to do with the ineffective puppet Govt. And the Oil law, and the Turks and the Kurds….etc. It is going to be quite a ‘interesting’ spring and summer. And then we have the general election that will (at the VERY least symbolically) shape and determine the fate of the world for the immediate future.

And of course during all this…the world is building hundreds of new coal burning power plants and huge numbers of cars and doing all it can to pretend that the ice caps aren’t melting.

And presiding over it all will be the Fourth Estate, the media.

Friday Night at 8: Brittney!

If it isn’t sex, it’s women in trouble, honest!

I get frustrated at work sometimes … my fellow secretaries, although quite intelligent and good women, are not interested in politics and when they do take time from their busy lives, they are more interested in reading about sex, relationships, Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton, and for a while there Whitney Houston was a big topic.  Oh … and now we also have Amy Winehouse.

What’s so compelling about these conversations?  What is so fascinating about reading and then talking about celebrity women in trouble?

This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course.  But our lamestream media (h/t lasthorseman) has market tested these kinds of stories to a fine edge … and thus we will see a Brittney Spears story take precedence over the fact that America commits torture.

Read a book once by Norman Spinrad called Little Heroes about, among other things. the music industry.

In Spinrad’s not too distant future, a Los Angeles based monolithic music corporation called MUZAK has pretty much taken control of commercial music.

Muzak’s employee pool is made up of creative music-and-visual tech wizards coopted into the corporation so they won’t be competition –“voxbox” players who can reproduce any kind of sound or voice, image engineers, etc.

They also have hired masses of market testers.

The corporate heads (or “the pinheads upstairs” as Spinrad’s character, Gloriana O’Toole, calls ’em) decided with glee that they should create a completely artificial rock star and thus rid themselves of their pain in the ass human ones who cost so much money and are so ill behaved and arrogant.

It’s a great book, and I recommend it to anyone.

The DailyKos Widget

I created this widget as a contribution to the DailyKos community. When you place the widget on your Blog or social network page you will have a handy rotating display of headlines from DailyKos. So will all of your site’s visitors.

The widget is free and easy to install. Just click the “Get & Share” button at the bottom of the widget and select a service from those displayed. Or you can select “Embed” to get the code to paste onto your page. That’s it!

I am presenting this as a sort of proof of concept. It can be replicated for any web site with an RSS feed (including this one). It could also use mixed feeds. And there are many ways to alter the look, feel, and purpose. Think creatively.

Hopefully, technology like this can be used to expand the reach of alternative media. It can spread important messages to the many corners of the InterTubes™. Given the state of the media, we all need to think of ways to multiply our voices, and the creative use of widgets is one way to do that.

If you like this widget, you can get more information here.

Stupid stupid stupid media analysis of Giuliani’s “failed strategy”

How stupid is the political media?  This stupid: they take seriously the notion that Giuliani’s decision to avoid the first six Republican nomination contests was a failed “strategy.”

It was a strategy of sorts, I suppose, in that had Rudy been able to pull off a win in Florida he could very well have been positioned to land a death blow in the Northeast and California on Stupor Tuesday.  But calling it a failed or foolish “strategy” ignores the fact that it was not his free choice or original intention to run to win the nomination in this way.  Rudy waited until Florida for one reason only: because he was hemorrhaging support in the wake of the “Sex on the City” scandals highlighting his misuse of city resources (including the police) in conducting his affair with Judi Nathan, and he needed to lay low.  His alternative to this “strategy” was not to run hard, under the bright media spotlight, in Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Michigan Nevada, and South Carolina.  His actual alternative at that time was to drop out in disgrace.  He has been running since last fall to avoid that end.

Olbermann vs. Matthews

In the last 24 hours we’ve had some very interesting communications from MSNBC.

Yesterday at 5 pm Chris Matthews opened his show with an apology to Hillary Clinton (h/t Atrios).

Was it fair to imply that Hillary’s whole career depended on being a victim of an unfaithful husband? No. And that’s what it sounded like I was saying and it hurt people I’d like to think normally like what I say, in fact, normally like me. As I said, I rely on my heart to guide me in the heated, fast-paced talk we have here on Hardball — a heart that bears only goodwill toward people trying to make it out there, especially those who haven’t before.

If my heart has not always controlled my words, on those occasions when I have not taken the time to say things right, or have simply said the inappropriate thing, I’ll try to be clearer, smarter, more obviously in support of the right of women — of all people — the full equality and respect for their ambitions. So, I get it.

I invite you to read the whole transcript and watch the video.  While it was pretty earthshattering breaking news to get any kind of apology at all, a lot of people, including myself, thought it was just an example of the “I’m sorry you were offended by what I said” variety of non-apology apology.

In fact I still think that.

Also yesterday, at 8 pm, Keith Olbermann had Lawrence O’Donnell, author of this from the Huffington Post, on to talk about the campaign and Lawrence pretty much delivered a hit piece on John Edwards.

Quite a few people over at the Daily Kos were upset enough to diary about it and many more joined their voices in agreement.

So today we get this from second time diarist Keith Olbermann (don’t worry, it’s a storyonly link)-

Those of you complaining about it are right.

His HuffPo piece was news to me.

Shouldn’t have been, obviously, but it was.

I don’t read every blog, nor everything written by my guests. I often don’t know until an hour beforehand who will be a guest on a given show…  Also, to announce, on-air, each guest’s preferences, prejudices, shillings and shiv jobs, would reduce the rest of the show to “Good Evening. Call Me Ishmael. My Boat Sank. The End. Good Night.”

But even with these caveats, the point about this appearance, especially in the wake of such a freshly-written piece, is well-taken and I’m very sorry.

It will be addressed tonight on the show.

As usual I hesitate to editorialize too much, you can think what you want, but in addition to the question of who’s the mensch I invite you to consider if this represents a new direction at MSNBC.

Media Meltdown


Did you watch Chris?

Did you watch Andrea?

As incredible as Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Betrayed by the polls and hour after hour of Beltway…

You know.

Scrambling for shreds of credibility.  We are Villagers.  Serious and important people.  This can’t be happening to us.

Move along.

Why Is This Edwards Surge Not A Headline Story?

A picture sometimes really is worth a thousand words

Rassmussen conducts a daily national tracking poll of all presidential candidates. The latest shows John Edwards picking up significantly more support, since the beginning of the year, than any candidate of either party.

The percent change for Republicans is: Huckabee 18.8% / Giuliani 13.3% / McCain 11.8% / Thompson 8.3% / Romney -6.3%.

So why isn’t this news?

It’s accountability, stupid!

With the comment, “We were stonewalled by the CIA”, the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission once again highlight what is a major problem for the people of this country. We have allowed the current caretakers of our government to do as they wish, say what they want and to do so with no accountability repercussions. They are, literally, getting away with crime. Today, The Huffington Post reports and Glen Greenwald blogizes on the CIA matter.


Matthews Wants Maddow Waterboarded

MATTHEWS:  … But we kick off with today’s debate itself.  Matt Continetti writes for “The Weekly Standard.”  Rachel Maddow’s a radio talk show host for Air America.  Rachel, you go first.  I know you’re on the political left.  Who won on the right today?

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Alan Keyes.  Alan Keyes was the star of this debate today, unexpectedly.  He took over.  A lot of the pundits are trying to ignore him and pretend like he wasn’t there.  But he was like the-he was the uninvited guest at the party who stole the show.

MATTHEWS:  You are causing trouble here because you don’t…


MATTHEWS:  I would like to put you-I would like to waterboard you right now because there’s no way on God’s earth you believe it!  Let’s go to Matt for straight answer.  Who won today?

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