Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Call

Meet the new employee/boss relationship involving Keith Olbermann, same as the old employee/boss relationship involving Keith Olbermann.

Keith Olbermann, who came to Current TV this year to remake the channel and compete against his old home, MSNBC, is sitting out the biggest political nights of the season.

Despite being the biggest star on the fledging channel, Mr. Olbermann is not scheduled to anchor Current’s coverage of the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary in January. Instead, Current’s other prime time anchors, Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, will be joined by the channel’s chairman, the former vice president Al Gore, according to the channel’s TV schedule.

Mr. Olbermann also was noticeably absent from two special reports that Current produced after Republican debates in mid-December. Those, too, were anchored by Mr. Uygur.

These absences suggest that there may be new tension between Mr. Olbermann and the managers at Current, who are trying to create a progressive-oriented cable news channel. 

I don't get Current TV on my cable provider...and I'm not too particularly broken up over it either.  But if Cenk is Al Gore's new golden boy, I can't wait for the fireworks to begin...especially when Cenk's extracurricular activities at HuffPo involves telling people not to vote for President Obama on Tuesday in Iowa in order to "teach him a lesson".

I follow politics for a living; I'm not unaware of how hideous the Republican choices are. But that doesn't mean that we should pretend that President Obama has been brilliant because we're scared of the big, bad Republicans. That would be fundamentally dishonest.

And to be honest, I'm really disappointed that he does not have a primary opponent. This country is dying for someone who is going to take on the establishment. Who is that going to be on our side -- Barack Obama? On that, I know whether to laugh or cry. Every time I think about the idea that President Obama might be against the establishment, I laugh and laugh and laugh. There is never been a guy who was this enamored with the establishment. If he had wrestling nickname it would be The Establishment.

Hey Current?  Your new host is openly advocating weakening the President, ostensibly because walking out on "establishment" Dems and handing the House to the Tea Party in 2010 worked out so very well for progressive legislation in 2011.  It'll be good for Cenk's ratings so he can continue to rail at the horrible Dems while the GOP wrecks the country, or so he thinks.

Then again, HuffPo has no problem espousing the greatness of Ron Paul and saying Dems need to insist on dumping Biden for Hillary as soon as possible, so nobody should be surprised at Cenk's antics.  Works for HuffPo, doesn't it?

Perhaps Olbermann has noticed the ratings swirling down the drain. Things are certainly...interesting over there.   On the other hand, maybe there's a reason why people are dumping Current with analysis like this:

The agenda of the president sucks and is deeply Republican.

Boy, that sure makes me want to switch over from "fake progressive" MSNBC and watch "true progressive" Current, huh.

All For States' Rights Until He Gets States Wrong

Rick Perry is all for states' rights and taking power away from the "unelected" evil federal courts...unless he needs them to smack around a state who doesn't recognize his awesome hair.

"Because of the overly burdensome and unconstitutional requirements" of the state's election law, they argue, he was "unable to obtain a sufficient number of signatures from qualified voters to qualify for the Republican Party presidential primary ballot in Virginia. If either the state-residency requirement for petition circulators or the threshold amount of signators is constitutionally unenforceable, plaintiff should be certified for the March 6, 2012 Republican Party primary ballot."

The state requires that those who circulate petitions must be either registered to vote in the state or qualified to do so. Such a rule, however, prevents candidates from using out-of-state volunteers to gather signatures. And Perry points out it prevents even presidential candidates themselves from gathering signatures on their own petitions, unless they happen to be from Virginia.

Please note the massive hypocrisy of the man who calls Social Security an unconstitutional "Ponzi scheme" and says as President he would eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs in order to give states the power to "do what they should" and that he would ignore Supreme Court rulings he disagreed with now needs the federal courts to immediately be "activist judges" and step in to put him on the Virginia ballot because he refused to follow their primary rules.

On second thought, I don't see Perry making it much past March anyhow.

Brought To You By The Letters "F" And "U", Once Again

Mitt Romney enters the inevitable self-parody phase as he seeks to "fix" public broadcasting.

Explaining his plan to slash the federal budget by billions in order to reduce the deficit, Romney targeted a (minuscule) part of the federal budget Republicans have wanted to do away with for years: taxpayer subsidies for children’s programming on PBS.

“I like PBS,” Romney told a town hall in Clinton, Iowa Wednesday. “We subsidize PBS. Look, I’m going to stop that. I’m going to say PBS is going to have to have advertisements.”

So it's actually a good plan, force PBS to take ad money, then FOX and the Tea Party boycotts and destroys any company that actually does it.  Repeat until PBS goes under, claim victory.  Problem is, plenty of companies already underwrite a number of PBS shows quietly.  It won't be quietly much longer, I suspect.

Republicans do so very much loathe an educated populace.  But remember, Mitt Romney's a moderate, not one of those crazy Tea Party Republicans or anything.  Keep telling yourself that.  Also, there's no difference between Romney and President Obama.  None at all, so your vote is meaningless.  Apathy will solve America's problems, right?

Not Punishment Enough

Here is an update and a quick recap regarding the "Chair Lady."  It's one of the worst stories I heard from the whole year, it still haunts me.

Independence, MO — Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday in the death of an elderly Independence woman found in squalid and filthy conditions whose primary caretaker was her son.

James E. Owens, 52, faces a charge of first-degree involuntary manslaughter. His mother, Carol F. Brown, 74, died Nov. 1 after emergency crews removed her from her home five days earlier on Oct. 27.

Court records describe conditions so deplorable that the home had to be condemned. First responders had to don breathing masks due to the overwhelming stench of human waste. They called Brown a “living corpse.”

Owens told police he had not fed his mother in four days, when he gave her soup. He also told police that he believed his mother had suffered a stroke days earlier but had not contacted medical personnel because Brown did not like doctors or hospitals.

When paramedics arrived, Brown had not moved from a chair in the living room in four days. She had been sitting in a vinyl recliner for so long that her legs had become fused to the footrest. Medical staff found an open, maggot-infested wound on her ankle.

I say again: there is a special place in hell waiting for this man.  There is no way you can make his actions noble or caring.  At best he's a danger to people for gross inability to make judgments about right and wrong.  At worst he's a pitiful man who let his mother rot alive and cashed her checks.  I hope to post about this one more time, when he's sentenced to decades of hard time.

Two Sides Of The Same Stupidity

ROSWELL, Ga. -- A Roswell man is accusing police of keeping his cancer-stricken wife from medical care by pulling him over on their way to the hospital.

Johnny White told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander his wife complained of chest pains Tuesday afternoon, so he rushed to make the 10-minute drive from their home to North Fulton Hospital. White was driving through a school zone on Hembree Road when he says a Roswell Police Officer pulled him over.

"He didn't care about whether my wife was gonna expire there or whether she was having a heart attack," White said. "He didn't care about that."

Roswell Police Lt. James McGee said White was clocked at 44mph in a 25mph school zone. The stop occurred between 2:30 and 3:00pm.

We have a lot going on here.  First, you have a medical emergency ten minutes from a hospital.  Then you have a cop who doesn't know how to properly call a bluff.

Stupidity #1: You call an ambulance.  You do not put innocent people at risk because it gives you warm fuzzies to be in control.   You do not speed through a school zone at Prime Going Home Time.  If White had been determined to drive his wife, he could have avoided the school zone.  Let's make no mistake however, letting professionals drive while tending to his wife was the right answer.

Stupidity #2: As for the cop, he should have acted in the interest of the sick woman because he cannot prove or disprove the statement.  He must therefore err to the safe side.  He could have been faster on that instead of trying to demand proof of an appointment.  As it happened they were telling the truth about her condition and every second counted.  He didn't act inappropriately, but he could have been faster and better about it.

The Best Of 2011: The Jon Swift Roundup

Over at Vagabond Scholar, Battochio continues his tradition of honoring blogging legend Jon Swift with the best posts of 2011 from smaller blogs, as chosen by the bloggers themselves.  Do check out some of the better pieces there from friends of mine, Tbogg, Kay, Tom Levenson, Sarah Proud And Tall, Blue Gal, and bjkeefe.

I was asked to contribute again this year, but, well, I'm shy.  If there's one piece I could have decided on for Bats, it would have been this one.

Nuked Gingrich, Part 13

With just 5 days until the Iowa Caucuses, Team Newt is "managing expectations" for Gingrich's crash and burn.

On Wednesday evening around 6:30 ET, Newt Gingrich strategist Joe DeSantis declared the Gingrich surge in Iowa officially over.

“Oh I think anywhere in the top five would be surviving Iowa,” DiSantis told CNN.

Just a couple weeks ago, Gingrich was riding high in Iowa, leading by huge margins. DeSantis acknowledged that his candidate is no longer in “the top tier” however, chalking up the decline to the blanket of negative ads that have been run against Gingrich since he surged.

“I don’t care what candidate’s in the race, if they get $9 million in negative advertisements against them they’re going to drop in the polls,” he said. “Considering we’ve been outspent 30-1 on the air, that still being very competitive for fourth place right now and, frankly, really not that far off from being in the top tier in Iowa still is pretty impressive.” 

The latest polls find Romney having regained the lead, with Ron Paul now dropping to second, Gingrich dropping to fourth rapidly, and if anything, Rick Santorum gaining a bit of momentum as he's now in third.  Gingrich has disintegrated, going from 33% to 14% and falling.

But Mitt can't seem to break that 25% mark.  That means a vast majority of Republicans still want him to jump off the nearest pier.  That probably explains why Newt is talking about sticking around after finishing fifth or so:  whoever does drop out after Iowa would end up giving their votes to, well, anybody but Mitt.  And it's not going to take much to beat Mitt's weak showing down the road.

And for now, that may be enough.


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