Archive for February 3, 2010
I watched a few minutes of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today. Gabriel Thompson was on, talking about his new book, Working in the Shadows.
Thompson talked about how he spent a year doing manual labor, like ripping raw chicken breasts apart in a plant that slaughtered something like 50,000 chickens a day. He talked about how he harvested veggies in California, bending and stooping and sweating for eight hours so he would know what it’s like to work “in the shadows.” The premise of Thompson’s book is that working in the shadows means you probably don’t have any sick leave, break time, overtime and often, no pay. You’re essentially an indentured servant.
Suddenly, Mike Barnicle butted in, trying to equate Thompson’s to with James O’Keefe’s, the wannabe boy “journalist” who thought an easy road to fame would be to spend an hour or two trying to bug Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s phones:
Barnicle: You know it’s great for people to get more information about what kinds of jobs are being done by largely an immigrant population but you mentioned, you know, journalism, and it’s important also to note—you didn’t deceive any of your employers did you—in going to work?
Thompson: I totally deceived every employer because at the outset—it was more of a mission of when I told them my work experiences, did I say I’d spent years as a community organizer or years writing about Mexican immigrants—no. Because none of them would have allowed me access.
Barnicle: Do you view yourself in a similar fashion as, you know, the guy who got grabbed trying to wiretap the phones of Senator—or whatever they were trying to do at Sen. Landrieu’s office?
Thompson: Well… he was trying to commit a felony, right?
Thompson: I don’t think I was trying to commit a felony.
Thompson: What I was trying to—what I wanted to experience and get access to is what it’s like to work in these jobs.
Thompson handled it beautifully but as for Barnicle? How about attaching to a rock somewhere out in Boston harbor for the next 5, 10 years.
Where would Sarah Palin be without Trig, the prop that keeps on giving?
In his PolitiFact debut, Brown says federal jobs pay twice as much as private sector jobs.
Buzzer please. FALSE.
The Mudflats, one of the very best blogs in Alaska and the go-to place for news about Sarah Palin and Alaskan politics, has an explosive post up today titled: Sarah Palin — Tax Cheat? Contents of Mysterious Envelope Revealed. (The site was very slow to load for me. I have a feeling it’s being overwhelmed.)
The gist of the post is that Todd and Sarah Palin own a roughly 20-acre tract of land in Petersville Hills, Alaska. “There are two large cabins on the property that are well built, and include thousands of dollars worth of improvements and amenities. The buildings are clearly nicer that many people’s homes. Also on the property is a large shop for snowmachines and four-wheelers.”
Copies of tax assessments are provided which show that the land is assessed at $30,000 but there is $0 assessed for buildings on the property: “The buildings have been on the property for years now, yet the Palins have done nothing to correct the assessment.”
Very interesting. Mark my word, Palin is going to self-implode, one way or another.
Wow. It’s unreal that this woman didn’t realize she had a six-inch knife stuck in the back of her neck. (Caution. Photos are graphic.)
Mugging victim Julia Popova calmly went home after being robbed on her way home from work – without realising she had a six inch knife stuck into her neck.
The 22-year-old office worker had grappled with her attacker when he snatched her handbag as she walked to her parents’ home in the Russian capital Moscow.
But she was so shocked by the ordeal she didn’t know that the thug had buried a kitchen knife in her neck just fractions of an inch from her spinal cord.
Her horrified parents rushed her to hospital where surgeons managed to remove the blade without damaging Julia’s spine.
“Shock had kicked in and her body prevented her from feeling any pain. She simply walked home without feeling the knife in her back,” said one medic.
The Raging Grannies of South Florida have their say over CBS’s decision to air the Focus on the Family’s anti-choice ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl. (I have no problem with CBS airing the ad per se, but I do have a problem with CBS refusing to air ads from the likes of MoveOn and PETA. They claim not to want to air “controversial” ads, but apparently, in their world, “controversial” means liberal/progressive.)
Chris Hedges posted a new article over at Truthdig the other day: The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News.
“The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is report what both sides say and you’ve done a fine job of objective journalism debilitates the press,” the late columnist Molly Ivins once wrote. “There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. The smug complacency of much of the press—I have heard many an editor say, ‘Well, we’re being attacked by both sides so we must be right’—stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from both sides, preferably in an official position, you’ve done the job. In the first place, most stories aren’t two-sided, they’re 17-sided at least. In the second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, ‘Cat,’ and the other side saying ‘Dog,’ while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes.”
This abject moral failing has left the growing numbers of Americans shunted aside by our corporate state without a voice. It has also, with the rise of a ruthless American oligarchy, left the traditional press on the wrong side of our growing class divide. The elitism, distrust and lack of credibility of the press—and here I speak of the dwindling institutions that attempt to report news—come directly from this steady and willful disintegration of the media’s moral core.
Objectivity creates the formula of quoting Establishment specialists or experts within the narrow confines of the power elite who debate policy nuance like medieval theologians. As long as one viewpoint is balanced by another, usually no more than what Sigmund Freud would term “the narcissism of minor difference,” the job of a reporter is deemed complete. But this is more often a way to obscure rather than expose truth.
Real reporting, grounded in a commitment to justice and empathy, could have informed and empowered the public as we underwent a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion. It could have stimulated a radical debate about structures, laws, privilege, power and justice. But the traditional press, by clinging to an outdated etiquette designed to serve corrupt power structures, lost its social function. Corporations, which once made many of these news outlets very rich, have turned to more effective forms of advertising. Profits have plummeted. And yet these press courtiers, lost in the fantasy of their own righteousness and moral probity, cling to the hollow morality of “objectivity” with comic ferocity.
So, so true and so, so sad.
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Get your copy of the all new Sarah Palin magazine, on shelves now.
This is starting to smell an awful lot like it’s all about the money.
Miley Cyrus’ sister Noah (who looks to be about 11) is set to launch a lingerie line…for little girls. Little girls. Like, 8-year-old girls. It will be called “Ooh! La La Couture.”
Where are her parents? Where did she get this idea? What’s going on in that family?
I feel so sorry for young girls. The pressure to look good and to be attractive and sexy is out of control. It already starts at 12 or 13. Now we’re going to put that stress on children the age of 7, 8, 9 years? This is too much.
Some statistics on police stops in New York City in 2009 from Bob Herbert:
An overwhelming 84 percent of the stops in the first three-quarters of 2009 were of black or Hispanic New Yorkers. It is incredible how few of the stops yielded any law enforcement benefit. Contraband, which usually means drugs, was found in only 1.6 percent of the stops of black New Yorkers. For Hispanics, it was just 1.5 percent. For whites, who are stopped far less frequently, contraband was found 2.2 percent of the time.
The percentages of stops that yielded weapons were even smaller. Weapons were found on just 1.1 percent of the blacks stopped, 1.4 percent of the Hispanics, and 1.7 percent of the whites. Only about 6 percent of stops result in an arrest for any reason.
Here is a list of the candidates that Sarah Palin’s PAC contributed to in 2009 (all of them Republians, of course).
Judging from the amounts she gave, she doesn’t think much of Lindsey Graham but he’s hot for John Kasich’s bid for governor of Ohio. Oh, and she gave the max to Doug Hoffman (NY-23). Can’t win ‘em all.
I watched Obama’s question time with Democrats this morning. I heard a lot of “shoulds” and “Americans want us to…” Just do it Dems.
After a year during which the GOP lined up and turned its back on President Obama, he seems not to have learned a thing about their willingness (or not) to work with him: Obama Continues Policy Outreach to Republicans.
So, we have Republicans who are deliberately not working with Obama because they want him to fail, and we have a President who is spending an incredible amount of time — time the country doesn’t have — following them around like a stray puppy, desperately hoping they’ll give him a pat on the head. This has been going on for a year and Obama has decided he’s going to keep on waiting for that pat?
It wouldn’t take a stray dog that long to realize he was following the wrong person around, so what’s taking Obama so long?
He should see a therapist.