Archive for March 30, 2012
[The United States has] 760 prisoners per 100,000 people. Most European countries have one seventh that number (per capita, so it’s adjusted for population). Even those on the high end of the global spectrum – Brazil, Poland – have only a quarter the number we do.
In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.
Ass backward priorities or what?
Per the headline above, I’m there as long as that standard is applied to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e:
Just read this tweet from Politico:
Which lead to this video put out on Wednesday by the Koch brothers:
Which is a kill-the-messinger response to this documentary which was officially released by Brave New Films in New York City last night:
My question to Politico’s Vogel:
I’ll let you know if I hear back. Is Vogel a tool for the Koch brothers, or not?
Keith Olbermann posted this about an hour ago (5:50 p.m. ET) regarding being fired by Current TV:
My full statement:
I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain. http://nyti.ms/HueZsa
In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.
I haven’t watched Olbermann since he left MSNBC because in order to watch Current I would have had to “upgrade” my Comcast subscription and I didn’t think it was worth the money. (Yo, Comcast — why do I have to “upgrade” by buying access to four bazillion channels I don’t watch if I only want one?) I watched Olbermann online a few times when his Current show first debuted but I thought it was a formulaic transplant from MSNBC.
I don’t know if that’s the fault of Current management or of Olbermann but I won’t miss Keith’s show. What upsets me is that I think I’m watching the demise of the potential for a real “liberal” network because establishment liberals Al Gore and his co-owners at Current don’t get what that really means. I’m talking the likes of Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Scahill and Peter Hart with one or two hour-long shows.
I’ve heard rumors that Keith Olbermann has a hard time getting along with people. Seems those rumors might be true. Can’t wait to hear what happened from his perspective:
To the Viewers of Current:
We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.
Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.
We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.
As we move toward this summer’s political conventions and the general election in the fall, Current is making significant new additions to our broadcasts. We have just debuted six hours of new programming each weekday with Bill Press (“Full Court Press” at 6 am ET/3 am PT) and Stephanie Miller (“Talking Liberally” at 9 am ET/6 pm PT).
We’re very excited to announce that beginning tonight, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Eliot is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights and he relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this election year. We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis.
All of these additions to Current’s lineup are aimed at achieving one simple goal — the goal that has always been central to Current’s mission: To tell stories no one else will tell, to speak truth to power, and to influence the conversation of democracy on behalf of those whose voices are too seldom heard. We, and everyone at Current, want to thank our viewers for their continued steadfast support.
Al Gore & Joel Hyatt
The Senate Ethics Committee did this yesterday:
In June 2011, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senator David Vitter (R-LA), after the senator attempted to block a pay raise for Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar until he issued new deepwater exploratory permits. CREW alleged Sen. Vitter had attempted to bribe Sen. Salazar in violation of criminal law and that he violated Senate rules by engaging in improper conduct.
Today, the Senate Ethics Committee released a letter to Sen. Vitter finding the senator’s conduct was inappropriate, but failing to take further action because there was “no clear Senate guidance addressing such conduct.”
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “So now senators need guidance to know extortion and bribery violate Senate rules? If the ethics committee hasn’t issued specific advance guidance senators can’t be held accountable for outrageous conduct? How about if the ethics committee just issues this blanket guidance: criminal conduct violates the rules.”
This is the second time the Ethics Committee has effectively warned Sen. Vitter, “don’t do it again.” Back in 2007, CREW had filed a complaint against Sen. Vitter for soliciting for prostitution.
Here’s a simplified version of what Vitter did (on behalf of the oil companies):
Vitter vowed last year to block legislation to raise the Interior secretary’s salary by $19,600 until the Interior Department issued six permits for new deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico every month.
I love CREW. They’re a great organization and Melanie Sloan is a pistol. Good on them for filing this complaint but as for the Senate ahem, ethics committee, one can only imagine why they’re afraid to go down the disciplinary road. My imagination tells me there’s so much corruption going on there that everyone has dirt on everyone else and they’re all subject to blackmail. So, around and around they go with this faux policing of themselves.
This is the cover of the April, 2012 issue of the Texas Observer.
Creepy but true. Ugh. Makes my skin crawl.
Vote Republican ladies and we won’t just have this in Texas. Your guys want this to go national. Yippee!