Archive for April 6, 2010
There’s no other way to put it:
You’d think that the National Geographic channel was owned by an entity like oh, the National Geographic Society, right? But no. It’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, the guy who owns Fox “News.”
Not all that long ago the Wall Street Journal was the place to go — worldwide — for business news. It was the place to go for a thoughtful, reliable analysis of all things financial.
Rupert Murdoch — who owns Fox News and a few other things — bought the WSJ in July of 2007, promising the family he bought it from that he’d keep the integrity of the newspaper intact.
Guess not. If the break-up of a two-bit Hollywood couple makes headlines at the WSJ, Murdoch’s trashy influence is obvious.
Remember the “lesbian panic” that caused a Fulton, Mississippi high school to cancel its prom because a lesbian student, Constance McMillen, was going to bring her girlfriend to the dance?
Fast forward to last Friday. The parents at the school arranged for a “real” prom to be held in one location while tricking McMillen into thinking the prom was at another location so she wouldn’t show up:
Constance McMillen finally attended her senior prom Friday at country club in Fulton, Miss. But the 18-year-old lesbian who has been in the news says she was duped into attending a “fake prom” while her classmates — with the help of parents — secretly partied elsewhere.
“They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen told The Advocate, a national gay-and-lesbian publication. “The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”
This is an 18-year-old kid we’re talking about here, whose strength, by the way, must be amazing. The entire community conspired against her in a vicious, cruel and evil way. Talk about bullying. Wow, this is heartbreaking and shameful and you know, I bet the folks who did this call themselves Christians.
Oh geez, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake just hit Sumatra, Indonesia. Tsunami warnings have been issued.
UPDATE: The tsunami threat has been lifted — 8:12 p.m ET.
Yesterday, Gallup released a poll under this headline: “Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics.“
But the poll found that,
just half of those Tea Partiers surveyed called themselves Republicans. Yes, the lion’s share of the other half say they’re independent. But they’re not: they’re Republican-oriented conservative voters who are dismayed by the direction of the GOP and who don’t want to identify with the party’s brand. That’s not surprising, given how tarnished that brand is. Only 8% identify as Democratic; 7% identify as liberal; 70% percent identify as conservative; two-thirds are pro-life; nearly 90% were opposed to the health care bill.
That’s “fairly mainstream?” Sorry Gallup. That. Is. Not. Mainstream.
Wow, I thought I’d Google “Don Blankenship on Twitter” and lo and behold, Don Blankenship, the Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy — the owner of the mine where the 24 men were killed yesterday — does have a Twitter account. And man-o-man, his tweets paint a picture of a hard-nosed bastard. Here are a few examples:
You probably heard that John McCain told a Newsweek reporter the other day that, “I never considered myself a maverick.”
Well, just sayin’:
I don’t watch CNN because on a day like today, when there’s an awful lot going on in the world, “the most trusted name in news” has time to do a segment on whether homosexuality is a “problem in need of a cure.”
Last I knew, the issue of whether homosexuality could be “cured” was resolved about twenty years ago. People don’t chose to be gay, they’re born that way. To suggest — CNN, I’m lookin’ at you — that there might be a “cure” is cruel; it assumes the gay person is either (1) sick, or (2) they’ve made a wrongheaded decision. So if CNN wants to report from the Dark Ages fine, you watch it.
Check out this billboard put up by AM950, the progressive radio station in the Twin Lakes area of Minnesota:
No George, we don’t miss you and I don’t think we ever will (and that probably goes for a good number of Republicans too).
Geez. Two weeks after Voyeurgate, after which a Republican National Committee fundraiser was fired, RNC Chair Michael Steele has hired someone to replace that person who allegedly used the “debit card of the PAC he chaired [in 2005] at Washington’s Dream Night Club, which is also known as Club LOVE.”
Way to go Mike. When does the movie come out?
Jim Hightower is in Boulder, Colorado today speaking at the annual Conference on World Affairs. I just got a tweet from a local newspaper reporter who is there covering the event: Jim Hightower: “The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open. It helps if that mouth is attached to a brain.”
As if we don’t have enough problems in Afghanistan already, I was watching MSNBC this morning and saw an interview with Peter Galbraith, the former UN envoy to Afghanistan. He said, in so many words, that Hamid Karzai is mentally unstable and that he’s a junkie:
He’s prone to tirades. He can be very emotional, act impulsively. In fact, some of the palace insiders say that he has a certain fondness for some of Afghanistan’s most profitable exports.
That would be heroin and hashish — Afghanistan is the world’s #1 producer of both of them.
Wow. It’s rare for the media to print such an absolutely scathing article about a sitting politician: “Deconstructing the Facade of John Ensign — Revelations on Long History of Arrogance Expose a Persona Loyal Only to John Ensign.” The title alone is a whopper. But wait, there’s more:
Long before Ensign prompted speculation about a presidential run, the warning signs of what they regard as character defects were there, Republicans say.
A GOP operative witnessed him working as a casino manager, the career bequeathed to him by his father before politics: “He was an ass to his employees, barking orders, acting like a peacock.”
Ensign married his money to political power when he won a House seat in the Republican wave of 1994.
Chuck Muth, former executive director of the Nevada Republican Party and longtime conservative activist, recalled volunteering once at an Ensign fundraiser. “He treated us like hired help.”
After losing to Sen. Harry Reid by a whisper in 1998, Ensign ran again in 2000 and entered the world’s most exclusive club — the U.S. Senate. Republicans say his wife, Darlene, was displeased with the Washington lifestyle, which friends took as a portentous sign that Ensign should have heeded by returning to Nevada.
Instead, he was drawn deeper into the heady air of Washington, prodded on by a small, insular group of advisers, what one Nevada Republican called a “cult of Ensign.”
A Nevada Republican on a trip East to lobby Ensign and Reid said the difference between the two was striking: Reid knew the issues, paid attention, and assigned staff who later followed up.
The Republican might have expected even better treatment from Ensign given they shared a party label. Not so.
Ensign was uninformed. “Two minutes in, Ensign is looking at his watch. Five minutes in, he’s gone. Staff says they’ll get back to me. Never did.”
Read the whole article, it’s really something.
What? Could the wall around Fox “News” be cracking? This is astonishing: At a town hall meeting recently, super-conservative Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn said the following in response to a question from a woman who “railed against the possibility of being put in prison for not obtaining health insurance:”
“What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what’s going on and make a determination yourself,” Coburn added and then again warned the crowd against the myths perpetrated on Fox News.
“So don’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don’t know what they don’t know,” Coburn said.
Coburn closed the town hall by telling the crowd to read broadly and warned the mostly conservative audience about the danger of getting all their information from the same source.
That’s huge. I don’t think I’ve ever, EVER heard a Republican criticize Fox. It must be dawning on them that they can’t comport with the lies Fox has been telling.
Neither General Electric, which generated $10.3 billion in pretax income or ExxonMobil, which made $45.2 billion in profit last year paid one penny in taxes. Zero. Zilch.
But oh, that’s right, they shouldn’t have to pay taxes because they’re turning around and creating jobs with their money (which, to be polite, is a bunch of hooey that the corporatists feed us so we won’t rise up and revolt over mind-blowing inequities like this).
The story behind the explosion yesterday at a Massey Energy-owned mine in West Virginia that killed 25 and left 4 missing is unfolding just like all mine tragedy stories unfold. We learn after the fact that the company has been cited numerous times — in this case, an incredible 458 violations last year alone — and we ask the same questions: WHY THE HELL WAS THE MINE STILL OPEN?! Who let a mine stay open that got more than one violation a day in the previous year? Who did Massey Energy own and how much did they pay to have people look the other way?
Again, it’s the corporatocracy at work. Corporations win, workers lose, and in this case, they lost their lives.
This is probably a taste of what’s to come nationwide and it will be very interesting indeed to see how it unfolds: Health Insurers Sue to Raise Rates (this is in Massachusetts where they’ve had health insurance reform for about three years):
A half-dozen health insurers yesterday filed a lawsuit against the state seeking to reverse last week’s decision by the insurance commissioner to block double-digit premium increases — a ruling they say could leave them with hundreds of millions in losses this year.
The proposed rate hikes would have taken effect April 1 for plans covering thousands of small businesses and individuals. Insurers wanted to raise base rates an average of 8 percent to 32 percent; tacked on to that are often additional costs calculated according to factors such as the size and age of the workforce.
Yesterday’s legal action sets the stage for a showdown between state regulators and the health insurance industry.
I have a feeling that this is a head fake; that the insurance companies are using Massachusetts as an “example” to scare the country and to gin up opposition to the national health care plan that became law a few weeks ago.
Wow, I just heard that the temperature in Caribou, Maine last Saturday hit 82º — 82º! That topped the previous high (by a mile) of 58º set in 1988.