Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Mashup (8/30/10) (updates)

(I also posted here.)

  • The new Public Editor introduced himself over at the New York Times yesterday (here)…

    (Executive Editor Bill) Keller also said reporters are encouraged to respond to readers, except in cases of vitriolic attacks and organized campaigns.

    But is this enough in the age of Maximum Personal Expression, when readers and other critics chisel away daily at The Times’s credibility with such a potent arsenal of communication tools?
    Ok, time out.

    If the point of this blog or any other online endeavor of mine all this time had been Maximum Personal Expression or something like it, then I would have to say that I’ve been doing a pretty lousy job. There are a hell of a lot more things I could do, had I the inclination, time, or facility, to publicize myself personally at the expense of generating the best content that I can, and you can take that statement anyway you want.

    It’s basically a good thing that the Times has someone serving in this role, but this person does his or her readers a disservice by automatically trying to dismiss anyone who voices a contrary opinion by implying that the only goal of such a person is to draw attention to him or herself. Also, similar comments from Arthur Brisbane about “nitpickers,” “wounded lovers” and “armed antagonists” attempt to trivialize would-be critics of the paper also.

    Speaking for myself, I just want to read the story written and reported straight with no spin. And if the paper cares to know this, I should point out that, when I don’t say anything about their coverage and am devoting blogging real estate to the usual right-wing culprits instead, then the Times is doing a good job.

    In addition, is it too much trouble for the Times to take on someone for this role who has some kind of an actual familiarity with social media and emerging forms of communication? I kind of get the impression from Brisbane that he has never been to Daily Kos, Think Progress, Huffington Post, or even some right-wing sites (that’s kind of given away in his opening column by his generally dismissive tone towards these entities).

    I guess it is too much to ask. Oh well.

  • Next, we have the following “Foto Funny” from Mark Halperin…

    Somehow I don’t think everyone is gong to get the “boomer” references to Richie Rich and late actor Jim Backus as tycoon Thurston Howell III on “Gilligan’s Island,” Mark.

    And Obama gave an economic “soliloquy”? Is Halperin kidding us? Did he expect Obama to pose holding a human skull saying “Alas, poor Yorick – I knew him, Horatio”?

    Well, with that in mind, then, I would guess, if Number 44 were a true thespian, it would sound something like this…

    To be or not to be, president – that is the question
    Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The intransigent obstruction of Republicans and cowering Democrats
    Or revolt against financially compromised courtiers Geithner and Summers
    And by opposing, end them. To die, to put fall Republican hopes to sleep
    And by asleep, I say denying House and Senate majorities
    By revealing their plans for inquiries of my office, killing our initiatives
    To sleep – perchance to dream that they may yet win!
    So I thus say that we need more stimulus, Rasmussen and Quinnipiac be damned!
    Especially with historically low rates on treasury notes
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time
    With a stalled recovery amidst one active war?
    Yea, it would be the Senate and House Minority Leaders
    With their insolence of office, I may yet approach them
    With a bare bodkin, telling them to approve Elizabeth Warren for the CFPA
    And if Chris Dodd, he of Countrywide, continues to oppose
    I will dispatch him to The Undiscovered Country, where he will not be a FOA
    But nay, shall I tolerate them all into the midterms
    Be they elected as I, while others grunt and sweat unto a weary life
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is discolored by the daily TV diatribe from Fox News
    And enterprise of great pitch and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry
    And lose the name of action, depending on my approval numbers.
    Yeah, actually I’m starting to think the whole “Hamlet” thing could work. I’d go for a production where Darrell Issa gets the part of Polonius, and ends up standing behind a curtain while Obama makes ready with his sword.

    (Only a joke…).

  • And with the arrival of a new week, we receive pretty much the same as last week (stale propaganda, I mean) from Pancake Joe Pitts (here)…

    …in an address this week, the Vice President praised the government weatherization program that has been broadly criticized as a terrible example of government waste. The rules for the program were delayed for months as government bureaucrats had to account for numerous wage requirements written into the bill.

    Now that the program is up and running, things have been messy. According to the Associated Press, no home in Alaska has participated in the program yet. In Texas, the contractor receiving the most money in the state did shoddy work on the majority of homes it weatherized. In Biden’s home state of Delaware, the program has been shut down since May after auditors discovered fraud.
    I honestly can’t think of a word to note how laughable it is that Pitts has taken it upon himself to offer this critique of the weatherization plan across the country without even telling us its progress in his own district. As noted here, Lancaster has received about $18 million in stimulus funds for low-income households, green energy projects, and local governments and non-profit entities, among other uses.

    We know what Pitts is, and I know it gets a little repetitive to keep pointing it out, so I’ll just provide this link to the site of Lois Herr, his Dem opponent for his PA-16 seat, and only add further that, to paraphrase the song, I guess you have to be a weatherization man to know which way the wind blows:-).

  • Finally, there are a couple of other items I intend to get to at some point, but not this moment, because I want to point out something else. Previously, I commented on Halperin’s note about Obama’s economic “soliloquy,” – well, according to this, it didn’t go well (h/t Atrios).

    Yet again, we experienced a moment of vacillation from the White House (including more avoidance from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs) because they apparently don’t plan to go back to Congress for more stimulus. Once more, we witnessed the at-best-mixed signals from Ben Bernanke this weekend over the role of the Fed in trying to stimulate employment (here – with jobs being really the only issue that matters this fall; the war in Afghanistan should factor into it also, but we are where we are…and yes, I realize that Bernanke came from Buscho).

    So now, are we all sufficiently bummed to the point where we feel like we should throw up our hands over Obama and the Democrats admittedly not getting it completely right on the “big ticket” items, such as the economy, the environment and our military commitments?

    Good. Now hold onto those thoughts for a minute and read Paul Krugman’s column today (here).

    Yes, I know the bunch in power doesn’t completely deserve all of our support; Obama is, at heart, a disciple of Milton Friedman more than John Maynard Keynes on the economy, which should be apparent by now to all but single-celled life forms, including those employed at Fix Noise – we needed a much more robust response than we got after he was inaugurated, cries of “socialism” be damned particularly since he would have heard those cries regardless of what he did.

    But seriously people, have you considered the alternative (spelled out in horrifically accurate detail in Krugman’s column)?

    Endless investigations. A new “revelation” every day about the First Family (get ready for the return of Bill Ayres, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and hearings into the alleged “New Black Panther Party” Philadelphia polling scandal on Election Day 2008, for starters). And no legislation (none of any good to us, anyway).

    Privatizing Social Security. Defunding Health Care Reform. The return of Tax Cuts for the Rich which will “pay for themselves.” Bye Bye Cap And Trade. Endless investigations. Testimony of Cabinet members before Congress as to why they’re actually doing their jobs instead of rolling over for the institutions they’re supposed to regulate, as they did under Dubya.

    So long Lilly Ledbetter Law. New restrictions on stem cell research. Legislation to enshrine the worst excesses of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Reopening “K” Street for business. A bill to abolish Net Neutrality forever.

    Oh, and did I mention Endless investigations? And don't think the "I" word is out of the question either, people.

    Basically, we can sit around and mope and let the corporate media narratives define themselves, or we can become involved again as we once were to build the majorities we should be working to defend with all the energy and talent we can muster (I don’t know how many of you were paying attention to the Congressional politics of the ‘90s, but I definitely was, and I never want to see those days again).

    If we choose the former path, destruction is imminent, and it will be irrevocable. And despite the ways those we’ve supported have fallen short, we really will only have ourselves to blame if they get turned out (well, maybe not Blanche Lincoln, who will lose anyway; let's work to get them back and then beat on them, so to speak, if they don't do what we want - imagine how silly we will feel while the “Tea Party” Repugs rule the roost and we’re still licking our wounds over the fact that the stimulus was only $787 billion instead of $1.2 trillion).

    If we choose the latter path, we can stand the people working for news organizations with initials for names on their heads, as it were, as they search for their next narrative (and wouldn’t it be nice if it were “A Dem Resurgence Confounds The Republican Revival,” or something like it?).

    We have work to do, people. All of us. And we’d better do it. Fast.

    They can’t win unless we help them by our inaction.

    And Dear God, we absolutely must not let that happen!

  • Update 1 8/31/10: I read stuff like this, and words fail, people, truly.

    And I know it’s bad form to call out my “A” list “betters,” but I received this link from Atrios, whose attitude is “we should’ve ‘clapped louder’,” which of course is snark.

    And Chris Bowers, someone else I respect, is circulating a petition over at Daily Kos to get the Senate to “reform” filibuster rules. And Jed Lewison, another person I respect, wrote a lengthy post yesterday about how Glenn Beck’s rally couldn’t possibly have drawn the attendance Beck claimed.

    Which to me begs the question, why the #@$! are you people bothering with this stuff when our hard-earned Congressional majorities are in danger from our own distracted disinterest and the unending money fueling the Repug fear-and-smear machine?

    Don’t bet that the people of this country will sober up on Election Day and vote for us without our strong prodding. Remember, we’re talking about a country that elected (more or less) George W. Bush twice (once after the worst foreign terrorist attack on our soil).

    Unless, of course, you actually want to see all of this bad stuff happen.

    And in that event, I have neither the time nor the inclination to deal with you in any way whatsoever.

    Update 2 8/31/10: I’ll tell you what – I’ll put this as simply as I can.

    I’m tired of reading blog posts, news articles, opinion columns, etc. telling us how we’re all going to get hit with the metaphorical train on Election Day. Why don’t we all work harder to change the direction of the track instead?

    Update 9/3/10: What this person sez here...

    Update 9/11/10: A look at the horror that (potentially) awaits (here)...

    Update 10/14/10: And I wasn't kidding about the "I" word either, as noted here.

    No comments: