Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

Healthcare vs

Healthcare vs
Torture

Sunday, November 30, 2008

PEGGY NOONAN PRAISES OBAMA'S TRANSITION AND TEAM CHOICES


"The hundred days are happening now. That's the real headline on President-elect Obama's series of news conferences and his announcements of intended administration policy, such as an economic stimulus package. We don't really have to wait till after the inauguration on Jan. 20 for the new administration to begin. What the Obama transition has become is historically unprecedented. He is filling the vacuum created by a collapsed incumbency and an acute economic crisis. He is moving forward with what looks like a high, if ad hoc, awareness of the delicacy of the situation. He can't seem presumptuous or aggressive: "We only have one president at a time." At the same time he can't hide. The White House exhibits chastened generosity, refusing to snipe, mock or attempt to undermine.


"Mr. Obama's cabinet picks and other nominations suggest moderation, also maturity, and his treatment of Joe Lieberman shows forbearance and shrewdness. Politics is a game of addition, take the long view, don't throw anyone out as you try to hit 60. Most of all, leave Mr. Lieberman having to prove every day to the Democratic caucus that he really is a Democrat. There's nothing in being a maverick now. Mr. Obama's preternatural steadiness continues. It's been a while since anyone called him Bambi or compared him to the ambivalent, self-torturing Adlai Stevenson. For all of which—and for the cooperation of the Bush administration, whose desire to be of assistance in what used to be called the transition is classy and a good example—one can be thankful.


"We can be thankful we had an election whose outcome was clear, not murky and a continuing trauma. It is good that 2008 was a seven-point win by someone, and not a 50-50 contest forced into resolution in the courts. Imagine what it would be like now, the general tone and feeling of the country, if at this moment we were arguing over hanging chads and bent ballots. I am thankful that more than half the country is, in at least one area, politics, happy, and that the 46% who voted the other way accepted the outcome as America always has, peacefully and with good-natured resentment. So many are hoping for the best, as if hoping for the best is a function or an expression of patriotism, which to a degree it is."


The rest of the article is here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

W. KRISTOL SUGGESTS BUSH GIVE THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM TO TORTURERS

I've always suspected that Kristol was a bit "funny" in the head. This confirms it. Kristol has been absolutely, completely, embarrassingly wrong on everything. And he's paid by the New York Times to write?

After urging Bush to fight the incoming administration’s desire to close Guantanamo, Kristol concludes with this:


One last thing: Bush should consider pardoning–and should at least be vociferously praising–everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points. The lawyers can work out if such general or specific preemptive pardons are possible; it may be that the best Bush can or should do is to warn publicly against any such harassment or prosecution. But the idea is this: The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it.


Source

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.


Off for the holiday. Enjoy your family and friends and your tofu turkey.


Later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

AH, GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS COMPETENCE, HOW WE'VE MISSED YOU!

The Economist, hardly a liberal publication, praises President-elect Barack Obama's competent and wise choice for Treasury Secretary.

Here's what it has to say:

Assuming he is nominated Mr Geithner brings two crucial qualities. First, he represents continuity. From the first days of the crisis last year, he has worked hand in glove with Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and Mr Paulson. He can continue to do so while awaiting confirmation. If Citigroup, for example, needs federal help, Mr Geithner will be involved. An unknown when he joined the New York Fed in 2003, he is now a familiar face to the most senior executives on Wall Street and to central bankers and finance ministers overseas.

Second, he represents competence. He has spent more time on financial crises, from Mexico and Thailand to Brazil and Argentina, than probably any other policymaker in office today. Mr Geithner understands better than almost anyone that in crises you throw out the forecast and focus on avoiding low probability events with catastrophic consequences. Such judgments are excruciating: do too little, and you undermine confidence and generate a bigger crisis that needs even bigger policy action. Do too much, and you look panicked and invite blowback from Wall Street, Congress and the press. At times during the crisis Mr Geithner would counsel Mr Bernanke on the importance of the right “ratio of drama to effectiveness”.

Ah, glorious, glorious competence. How we've missed you.


Source

Friday, November 21, 2008

THE RUMP PARTY?

"Poll Data: GOP Fast Becoming Rump Party
By Eric Kleefeld -
November 21, 2008, 10:26AM

If some new poll data is to be believed, the Republicans might be in for a long time in the wilderness. Let's take a look at the numbers.


The new Gallup poll shows that the Republican Party as an institution has a 61% unfavorable rating, with only 34% favorable.

And the numbers have only gone downhill since the election -- in October they were at 40% favorable and 53% unfavorable.

But it actually gets worse for the GOP from there.


A separate question in the data set showed 59% of Republicans saying the party needs to be more conservative, compared to only 12% who say the party should be less conservative.


So not only is the pool of Republican voters shrinking, but the ones who remain are really nuts.


We could be seeing the emergence of a pattern common in democracies, when a ruling party is turned out of power in a landslide:


The folks who are left to pick up the pieces are often the most extreme elements, and are in fact the least fit to actually clean things up.

The best examples of this are probably the UK Labour Party after they were beaten by Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservative Party after Tony Blair finally ousted them in 1997, and over here the Democrats when they lost in 1980 and then nominated Walter Mondale in 1984.



Hmm, can anyone say Palin/Bachmann in 2012?"


Source

Thursday, November 20, 2008

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA'S USE OF COMPLETE SENTENCES STIRS CONTROVERSY


Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.


But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.


According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota , some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.


"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."


The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska .


"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AS MORE VOTES ARE COUNTED, PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA'S LEAD OVER MC CAIN WIDENS

President-elect Obama Now Over 67 Million Votes...

Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 10:54:28 AM PST

...and John McCain under 46%. Here's where the numbers stand right now:

Obama: 67,065,042 (52.7%, 365 EVs)
McCain: 58,420,587 (45.9%, 162 EVs)

Remember how things looked on election night at around midnight ET?

Since then, Barack Obama's margin of victory has grown from 5% to 7% and his vote total has swelled by 12.6 million (compared with 8.5 million for John McCain).

The crazy thing is, it's still growing, bit by bit.

h/t dailykos

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TALK RADIO, AND HOW IT HELPED THE REPUBLICANS LOSE


Senator Chuck Hagel:


"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus."


"You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."
And...
Kathleen Parker tell us why the Republicans lost:
As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.
Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.
I'm bathing in holy water as I type.
To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.
Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.
But they need those votes!
So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.
Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.
Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.
Read the rest here.

Monday, November 17, 2008


My friend Patrick over at Sane Political Discourse had some thoughtful posts on what happened to the Republican Party. Unfortunately, every conservative blog I've read, post election, refuses to acknowledge one of the primary reasons the Republican Party lost the 2006 and 2008 elections. The Economist, hardly a liberal publication, takes a good hard look at what conservatives choose to ignore. Here are the main points and a link to the entire article.

Conservatives/Republicans: Ignore this at the risk of becoming a smaller and smaller based political party of backward thinkers.


Ship of fools

Nov 13th 2008
From The Economist

Political parties die from the head down

JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the “stupid party” now belongs to the Tories’ transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.

There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.

The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.

The Republican Party’s divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his “heart” rather than his “head”. He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael “heck-of-a-job” Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics.

Republicanism’s anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future. The party’s electoral success from 1980 onwards was driven by its ability to link brains with brawn. The conservative intelligentsia not only helped to craft a message that resonated with working-class Democrats, a message that emphasised entrepreneurialism, law and order, and American pride. It also provided the party with a sweeping policy agenda. The party’s loss of brains leaves it rudderless, without a compelling agenda.

This is happening at a time when the American population is becoming more educated. More than a quarter of Americans now have university degrees. Twenty per cent of households earn more than $100,000 a year, up from 16% in 1996. Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster, notes that 69% call themselves “professionals”. McKinsey, a management consultancy, argues that the number of jobs requiring “tacit” intellectual skills has increased three times as fast as employment in general. The Republican Party’s current “redneck strategy” will leave it appealing to a shrinking and backward-looking portion of the electorate.


[more...]

Link

Interesting letter in the comments section of The Economist regarding this article:

Sinistar wrote:
November 17, 2008 18:26

Hi all, First time post. This article was dead on and I applaud the Economist for publishing it. I am a long time Republican (Cast my first vote for Reagan in 1984) that has lost patience and tolerance for the Republican party and voted for Mr. Obama this time.

I am one of those Post Graduate degreed individuals that will probably see his taxes go up but still voted Democratic. To be honest I'm willing to give up some of my income in exchange for a return of the Constitution and to defeat the Evil of Willful ignorance.

It seems to me the party of Reagan has been hijacked by the Mitt Romneys and the Dr. Dobbson's that say you can't be a Republican unless you turn your back on Scientific research and exploration ala Stem Cell Research, Evolution, etc.

The Evangelicals wouldn't vote for McCain until he was willing to hold up his right hand and swear alegiance to Life starts at Conception and Marriage is only between a man and a woman.

When the Republican party is ready to accept ideas that don't come straight from the Bible they may get some of us back. But for now I am happy to put as much distance between me and the Evangelical Republicans as possible. Good Riddance!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE OBESE SOUTH



I have no idea why the south is the fattest area in the nation. The south has the mildest weather, compared with, say Boston, where I live. So the population has more opportunities to be outside and moving around: running, walking, playing sports. I don't know why this area of the country has this problem. But I hope the people begin to address this issue.



Huntington, W.Va., home to highest percentage of obese; also tops in diabetes, loss of teeth
By MIKE STOBBE Associated Press 6 hours, 30 minutes ago in
Science & Health
As a portly woman plodded ahead of him on the sidewalk, the obese mayor of America's fattest and unhealthiest city explained why health is not a big local issue.


"It doesn't come up," said David Felinton, 5-foot-9 and 233 pounds, as he walked toward City Hall one recent morning. "We've got a lot of economic challenges here in Huntington. That's usually the focus."

Huntington's economy has withered, its poverty rate is worse than the national average, and vagrants haunt a downtown riverfront park. But this city's financial woes are not nearly as bad as its health.


Nearly half the adults in Huntington's five-county metropolitan area are obese _ an astounding percentage, far bigger than the national average in a country with a well-known weight problem.
Huntington leads in a half-dozen other illness measures, too, including heart disease and diabetes. It's even tops in the percentage of elderly people who have lost all their teeth (half of them have).


It's a sad situation, and a potential harbinger of what will happen to other U.S. communities, said Ken Thorpe, an Emory University health policy professor who is working with West Virginia officials on health reform legislation.



"They may be at the very top, but obesity and diabetes trends are very similar" in many other communities, particularly in the South, Thorpe said.
The Huntington area's health problems, cited in a U.S. health report, are a terrible distinction for the city, but the locals barely talk about it. Many don't even know how poorly the city ranks.
Culture and history are at least part of the problem, health officials say.



The rest of the story is here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

YES SHE SHOULD!

Sarah "explains" the media and its bias to you:




I have no idea what she's said. She keeps talking in circles and then contradicts herself at least 4 times in this.



We've heard a lot of speculation over whether or not Sarah Palin will be the Republican nominee for president in 2012, as well as the head of the RNC.

I hope she does both. Yes! Please. I want to hear more from Gov. Palin. More like this, please:

BLITZER: I just want to sort of footnote, was that your idea or did somebody write those lines for you?

PALIN: It was a collaborative effort there in deciding how do we start bringing up some of the associations that perhaps would be impacting on an administration, on the future of America. But again, though, Wolf, knowing that it really -- at this point, I don't want to point fingers backwards and play the blame game, certainly, on anything that took place in terms of strategy or messaging in the campaign.

Now is the time to move forward together, start progressing America.


Oh yes, let's start progressing America! America needs you Gov. Palin.

**********************

She was asked Wednesday about speculation that she is the party's future


"I don't think it's me personally, I think it's what I represent," Palin told reporters. "Everyday hardworking American families _ a woman on the ticket perhaps represents that. It would be good for the ticket. It would be good for the party. I would be happy to get to do whatever is asked of me to help progress this nation."

"Progressing America" or "progress this nation!" Sarah is a progressor! Or is it "progressive?"

You go Sarah.

On that pesky rumor about Africa: Country or Continent?

Palin: "So we discussed what was going on in Africa. And never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or is it a continent. I just don't know about this issue. So I don't know how they took our one discussion on Africa and turned that into what they turned it into.

"I don't know, because I remember the discussion about Africa, my concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue, as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska's investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars, I wanted to make sure that that didn't happen anymore."

Classic Sarah:

Q: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?


A: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda mocked, I guess that's the word. Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. We have trade missions back and forth, we do. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

And on 2012: She'll be plowing through that crack in the door:

On 2012: "I can't predict what's going to happen. I can't predict what's going to happen a day from now, much less four years from now...

"You know, I have -- faith is a very big part of my life. And putting my life in my creator's hands -- this is what I always do. I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."


Yes. Please let this woman be the face of the Republican Party, and its nominee for president in 2012.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

OH THE TIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'






Come gather round people wherever you roam

And admit that the waters around you have grown

And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth saving

Then you'd better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone

For the times, they are a changing


Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pens

And keep your eyes open, the chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon, the wheel's still in spin

And there's no telling who that it's naming

Oh the loser will be later to winFor the times, they are a changing


Come senators, congressmen, please head the call

Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt will be her that has stalled

The battle outside ragging will soon shake your windows

And rattle your hall

For the times, they are a changing


Come mothers and fathers all over this land

And don't criticize what you can't understand

Your sons and your daughter are beyond your command

Your old role is rapidly aging

Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand

For the times they are a changing


The line, it is drawn, the curse, it is cast

The slow one will later be fast

And the present now will soon be the past

The order is rapidly fadingThe first one now will later be last

For the times, they are a changing

DOES THE STOCK MARKET DO BETTER UNDER DEMOCRATS THAN UNDER REPUBLICANS?


The data say unequivocally YES!


This post is in response to a new commenter, two dogs, here at Progressive Eruptions who said I was wrong when I made the claim that the stock market historically does better under the Democrats than it does under Republicans. Here are the facts:




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Posted by ei-forum in Investing. trackback


One of the topics that seems to be all over the news is what Presidency will be best for the stock markets.


At fist sight, one would tend to think that the markets would react more positively to a Republican victory:

Generally big money and big businesses in the market tends to be Republican


Republicans are all about capital accumulation and low taxes


Republicans tend to favor growth through economic policy, free markets


Etc….



But it appears that the above is not true… apart from the fact that there is a trend for a more pronounced bounce after a Republican victory, history shows us that the Democrats are better for the markets.


The New York Times has published a really interesting chart/study showing that under a Democratic Presidency the average yearly return is better and that a $10,000 investment in the S&P in 1929 would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only and to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9% under Democratic Presidents:



Saturday, November 8, 2008

PALIN'S RHETORIC INCITED ASSASSINATION THREATS, ACCORDING TO US SECRET SERVICE

Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama


Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.


The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.
But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.



The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.


Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"


The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.


Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."


Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

Source

(Remember. This is the woman the conservatives adore and hope will run for office--president?-- in 2012.)

Just what this country needs. A woman who will appeal to the worst in America.

THE RISING IRRELEVANCE OF TALK RADIO

It is no secret that I dislike Rush Limbaugh and the likes of Hannity and Savage. I believe they have done more harm to this country than we can accurately assess. "Ditto Heads" are called that for a reason--they let Rush tell them what to think. When someone with a political agenda has three hours a day, five days a week for decades to tell people that the opposition party are demons and enemies, it's no wonder we have been a divided nation.

But perhaps talk radio's influence is coming to an end. This piece in The Boston Globe spells out the whys and how of Rush's waning days as Demagogue in Chief of the conservatives.




ONE MORE note on the significance of the presidential election of 2008: It's the first one in more than 30 years on which talk radio had no major impact.

Perhaps the Carter-Ford contest in 1976 was the last in which talk radio was so irrelevant to public opinion on candidates and issues. In retrospect, 1979 (the year the Iranian hostage crisis began) and 2004 (the year of George W. Bush's reelection) may well be regarded as bookends of talk radio's greatest influence on American politics.

Consider some of the major stumbles this year by the medium's 800-pound gorilla. Rush Limbaugh vigorously promoted three separate political objectives over the past year, all of which failed: derailing John McCain's quest for the Republican nomination, sabotaging Barack Obama's drive for the Democratic nomination by fomenting Republican crossover votes for Hillary Clinton, and ultimately stopping Obama's march to victory in the general election. Contrast this with the impact talk radio once had on local taxes, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, congressional pay raises, a mandatory seat belt law, etc.

What happened?


Most radio people hate to discuss the primary factor: overall use of their medium is in decline. Although the trend is affecting news and talk (including public radio) less than music programming, it is inexorable.


Alternatives to broadcast radio have proliferated - satellite, netcasts, downloads, blogalogue, iPod entertainment, cellphone updates. As a result, younger listeners largely ignore talk radio, and its existing audience is calcifying.


New ears - even middle-aged or senior ears - are vital to talk radio's influence because they are attached to brains that are available for persuasion, rather than brains that have already made a choice. In other words, if Limbaugh and Michael Savage (not to mention Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and other more recent adventurers in talk) fail to attract many new listeners, they end up talking only to those who agree with their opinions, and thus have a smaller chance to affect the ideas of the electorate in general.


Beyond the shift in media usage are three factors of content and style.

First, news-and-comment television has gradually usurped talk radio's position as the destination of choice for freewheeling opinion. Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly are the major faces of the form, but news with an edge now defines the programming on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. Talk radio, even when its sounds stimulate imaginary pictures in the minds of listeners, is low-def.


Second, American listeners no longer expect talk-radio hosts to be reasonable - or even rational. Most listeners now assume that when they strike a talk show as they cruise across the dial, the talker will be a (sometimes rabid) promoter of a particular point of view.


Third, talk radio no longer even pretends to be a "town meeting of the air." The telephone call itself, which was a primary reason for the form's wide acceptance, has become an inconvenient appendage to most programs. Hosts, along with the usually inaudible producers, programmers, managers, and owners, ordinarily do not perceive callers' contributions as valuable use of airtime.


Phone calls from listeners once occupied 40 to 50 percent of a typical program. A host would often spend five to 10 minutes, and sometimes much more, with an individual caller, if the caller's ideas warranted it. Past paragons of talk familiar to many Bostonians - hosts like Jerry Williams, Paul Benzaquin, and David Brudnoy - actually argued with their callers. They asked them questions like, "What makes you say that?" or "Why do you feel that way?" This led the majority of listeners, the people who never made calls themselves, to value the medium as a place they could sample the ideas of others - even if they didn't agree with them.


But there's no going back, even if a modern host wanted to try. The American mass audience is dispersing, and talk radio, if it is to survive, will have to adapt to a nichified world.


Steve Elman worked for WBUR for 30 years. Alan Tolz is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Marlin Broadcasting. They are the authors of "Burning Up the Air: Jerry Williams, Talk Radio and the Life in Between."

Friday, November 7, 2008

CHANGE.GOV


Here's a great website that catalogs everything that President-elect Obama and his team is working on during the transition period.




Thursday, November 6, 2008

OUT OF AFRICA, ER, HER MIND, ACTUALLY.



DEAR SARAH,




This is Africa. It is a continent. South Africa is a COUNTRY on the continent of AFRICA.




You're welcome.


It is stunning that a woman who was chosen by the Republican presidential nominee didn't know basic information.


She also didn't know what countries were included in NAFTA.


This is not according to any Liberal blog or any Liberal commentator.


This was reported by FOX NEWS.


DEAR SUFFERING JESUS!
Perhaps one of the most astounding and previously unknown tidbits about Sarah Palin has to do with her already dubious grasp of geography. According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked "a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency," in part because she didn't know which countries were in NAFTA, and she "didn't understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself."
Palin was apparently a nightmare for her campaign staff to deal with. She refused preparation help for her interview with Katie Couric and then blamed her staff, specifically Nicole Wallace, when the interview was panned as a disaster. After the Couric interview, Fox News reported, Palin turned nasty with her staff and began to accuse them of mishandling her. Palin would view press clippings of herself in the morning and throw "tantrums" over the negative coverage. There were times when she would be so nasty and angry that her staff was reduced to tears.

Some of my blog friends who adore Sarah Palin will defend this hideous example of her ignorance. Why?

Sigh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

HOPE






A reader from Andrew Sullivan's blog wrote this, and I'm passing it on because it echoes my feelings as well as the feelings of friends and family:

"Nothing in my life has actually changed in the 30 minutes since it was announced Obama will be our next president. I have the same bills, the same amount of money in the bank, my dishwasher is still broken, and my 5 month old beagle won't stop peeing on my carpet. Everything in my life is exactly the same as it was 30 minutes ago; and yet I feel as though everything is different.
I feel so much hope. I feel so much pride. I feel like my one vote was a single drop of water in a great Tsunami of change. I feel like I was one of a million voices screaming in the night, " I love my country and I'm taking it back!" I'm so proud of the country that I love and have so much hope in my heart that we can together heal the wounds that have been such a source of pain and anger to us all.
I know Obama isn't going to fix the economy overnight, I know he won't be able to provide healthcare to all Americans by February '09. I know Obama isn't a Messiah who four years from now will have turned this country into a fabled utopia. But I also know Obama will make moral decisions. I know Obama will try to unite where others try to divide. I know Obama will help to make America the beacon of hope it once was to others. I know that at 27 years of age, I witnessed one of the most important and hopefully glorious chapters in American history.
I know hope."



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

ONE DAY MORE

YES WE CAN!


MC CAIN WAS PALLING AROUND WITH WHO????

– Bad enough for a presidential candidate to pal around with a “lawless radical,” Steve Chapman writes in the Chicago Tribune, but worse to clam up about it even as you blast your opponent for the same thing. That’s exactly where John McCain is over dealings with G. Gordon Liddy, who was convicted for Watergate felonies and since urged radio listeners to kill federal agents.

“This leads us to some inescapable conclusions,” Chapman writes. “The first is that McCain lied when he promised to lay out his relationship with Liddy. The second is that he is hypocritical in demanding something of Obama”—see Bill Ayers—“that he won't do himself. The third is that he is scared to tell Americans the truth because they won't like what they hear.”




McCain stonewalls on radical friend
Steve Chapman
October 23, 2008

There are three things in the world that you should recognize will not happen in this lifetime. You will not become a billionaire. The Cubs will not win the World Series. And John McCain will not explain his warm association with a notorious political criminal.

McCain has attacked Barack Obama for his connection to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, who in McCain's words "was unrepentant over his activities as a member of a terrorist organization." In the final debate, McCain said that "we need to know the full extent of that relationship."

But though he thinks it's terrible for Obama to associate with dangerous militants, he thinks it's fine for him to do the same thing. And he'd rather go back to the Hanoi Hilton than disclose "the full extent of that relationship."

The extremist McCain has befriended is G. Gordon Liddy, who got a 20-year prison sentence for multiple felonies in the Watergate scandal—including burglary, conspiracy and illegal wiretapping.

Finally forced to acknowledge the connection in an interview last week by David Letterman, McCain ducked and dodged before replying, "He went to prison, he paid his debt, as people do. I'm not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."

Source