Archive: March, 2009
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! Whatever else the global financial crisis, puctuated by the highly justified outrage over the obscene and unwarranted bonuses paid to executives of taxpayer bailed-out insurance giant AIG, brings our way, it has done one thing. It has yanked away for good that longstanding (although rather transparent, in my humble opinion) curtain, to reveal the Rube Goldberg-like array of levers and pulleys which Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their ilk have used to manipulate their populace. And just like the mythical land of Oz, it turns out there was really no wizardry, no magic. Just an illusion -- that they were on the side of "the people."
It worked for nearly 20 long years, didn't it? Like any slight of hand, the gimmickry of right-wing talk radio was really quite simple. Take the anxieties of millions of working-class Americans -- over the slowly eroding American dream, the disappearing pensions, the struggle for adequate health care and to pay for college. the need to work two, three four jobs in a household merely to stay even -- and use smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from where all that wealth was really going, steadily drained uphill to the wealthiest Americans, to CEOs who went in a few short years from making 42 times what a rank-and-file worker made to more than 400X.
These Democrats are "socialists"? Give me a break! They're corporatist toadies, is what they are. If Glenn Beck wants to cry for America's future, fine, but he's crying over the wrong stuff.
By this I mean....this, Nancy Pelosi, along with Patti Murray and other pols, now joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, looking if there's a way that government can keep newspapers from going out of business. I say I'm uncomfortable because the idea that I think that they're proposing -- changing or repealing the Newspaper Preservation Act, one of the many federal laws that, arguably, may do the exact opposite of what was intended -- is worth at least exploring. But I remain uncomfortable with the idea of America's politicians trying to "bail out" newspapers, even if that "bailout" means changing anti-trust-type laws and not cash money. I might be a tad less uncomfortable if this push was a bit more bipartisan rather than all Dems, like Holder (who went all soft on pot in the same day...coincidence?)
It's complicated, but the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 (signed by Richard Nixon!) was meant to preserve two or more different editor voices in a major city, from an era when a city with no newspaper was simply unthinkable. Now, some argue that the law ensures two weak papers in a city that could conceivably both fold (San Francisco, Seattle, Denver) instead of encouraging one strong one. Would repealing the act then be bad for the future of the Philadelphia Daily News. Maybe, but so many things could happen it's hard to say.
I knew there had to be some advantage to working the late, late shift at the DN,. and I figured it out around 1 a.m. this morning as I watched Iggy play guitar with an amazing 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Kobe Bryant and the dreaded Lakers on their home court, in a regular season game that the handful of people who were actually awake to see it will remember for a long time.
So where do the Sixers go from here? Good question. They are a sometimes exciting team that seems locked into low-playoff-seed hell, a long way from either being good enough to beat the Celtics or Cavs in a seven-game series, or bad enough to draft a "Michael Jordan" to go with Andre Iguodala's "Scottie Pippen."
Lawrence Wilkerson, former top aide to ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell, has an excellent op-ed today that tries to bring some common sense to the debate about closing Guantanamo Bay (common sense....good luck with that!) It's hard to excerpt because the whole piece is powerful and informative, but here's one snippet (h/t Talking Points Memo):
It did not help that poor U.S. policies such as bounty-hunting, a weak understanding of cultural tendencies, and an utter disregard for the fundamentals of jurisprudence prevailed as well (no blame in the latter realm should accrue to combat soldiers as this it not their bailiwick anyway).
* Offer only valid for top AIG executives.
Actually, as angry as I am about the AIG bonuses, I think this proposal -- backed by Chuck Schumer -- to tax the AIG bonues at 98 percent is remarkably stupid on a number of levels. First of all, even though there's a part of me that would love to see Dick Cheney's future earnings taxed at 105 percent, but I think it's kind of funky -- and I don't mean that in the good sense -- to tax specific classes of individuals, no matter evil they are. Schumer might want to take a second to read the "equal protection clause" of the Constitution before he opens his mouth the next time. The time to stop this nonsense was before it happened.
Ronnie Polanezky has a good column today, but....
OPM paid Fumo's Senate lackeys to drive his summer-vacation luggage to Martha's Vineyard. And it paid for yachting excursions with friends, business buddies and political cronies.
If you're at work and reading this blog post on the computer, it may not be for you.
As you know, I've been avidly following the swelling discussion about the future of news and information in America. While generally my lot is cast with the radical reformers -- who say the newspaper model is broken and the world is waiting for what comes next -- over the curmudgeons, there is one area where I think the reformers tend to fall short.