Thursday, October 22

This IS the Change we Hoped For...

In the last week or so the World has almost literally shifted upside down...

In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzi has agreed to a Run-Off Election, which will significant help legitimize the government after the UN report of ballot stuffing in the election.

In Iran, a deal has been agreed to that will significantly control and slow down that countries Nuclear ambitions.

Corporate Fat Cat CEO's and Execs who have been growing even Fatter with Record Bonuses out of the Pockets of the American Public have just received a massive Smack-Down.

In Addition the Obama Administration has directed that the remaining $316 Billion in TARP funds head straight to Main-Street where the jobs are needed instead of Wall Street.

Several different Terrorist plots have been foiled - No Torture Was Required.

Lastly, we may soon have a vote on Medicare Part-E - Medicare for Everyone.

Not A Bad First Year so far.

I'm not saying everything is "perfect" - far from it - but just consider how different today is from yesterday, and the week before and the week before that?

All Five Health Care Bills have passed out of Committee and are headed to the House and Senate Floor for a vote. In the meantime the Dems seem to have finally learning the Branding Game and are now beginning to call the Public Option - Medicare Part E.

With this kind of framing calling it a "Government Take-over" or "Death Panel" just became all the more difficult. And it gets even harder with this recent study that shows that a Robust Public Option would almost immediately bring down Health Care Costs by an average of 11%.


What this means is that the premiums charged by the public option would be roughly 11 percent lower than private insurance, but, in reality, it would cost 18 percent less for the public option to provide health insurance. Since the public option is cheaper it would end up attracting a less healthy costumer base. Having people with more medical needs sign up for the public option would end up somewhat increasing the premiums the public option would need to charge. Conversely, because the public option would end up attracting many of the least healthy individuals, it would also drive down premiums for private insurance plans.

Yeah, that's some Change I can believe in.

Meanwhile the Obama White House has decided to openly admit the Fox News - GASP - IS Not News, this has prompted the Fixed Ones to defend themselves and for people such as Karl Rove to suggested in mock apoplexy that "People would have gone CRAZY if Bush had frozen out NBC or the New York times" -- yeah, well Bush Did Freeze out NBC and the New York Times!

ROVE: I mean, imagine what would have happened if President Bush had said, “You know what, I’m not going to — I’m going to call NBC not a news organization because, well, MSNBC has some ugly left- wing opinion programming”? I mean, people would go nuts.

What would happen if somebody said, “You know what, the people who are working for The New York Times are not journalists because on the opinion page of The New York Times there are very liberal journalists and very liberal editorials?” I mean, people would be up in arms.

No Karl, they wouldn't be - because they weren't when Dana Perino accused NBC of being biased in their Reporting in May 2008.

Perino: The reason that we sent the letter yesterday is because we had gotten fed up with the way that the President’s policies are being mischaracterized, or the situations on the ground weren’t being accurately reflected in the reporting. We had complained before. And it just reached a boiling point when things had boiled over when we believed that NBC News specifically edited out — intentionally edited out — something that the President said in response to a question in an interview regarding Iran, and that it mischaracterized the whole interview because of it.

As regards the civil war, I remember very distinctly how there was quite the pomp and circumstance when NBC, on the Today Show, decided to declare — that they were declaring that Iraq was a civil war. But since then, after the surge and things certainly improved in Iraq, NBC has never had a corresponding ceremony to say that Iraq is not in a civil war. I was just curious to find out what they believe.

And the same goes with the economy. When we got the numbers just two weeks ago on the GDP for the economic growth, it said that we had grown at 0.6 percent. And yet the anchor that night decided to disavow that number. We’re just curious what part of the official government data that’s been coming out for years do they not agree with. So we haven’t had a response on that.

Then there's the idea that the Obama White House is compiling a Nixon-like "Enemies" list simply by pointing out that Fox News is biased - yet that exact same accusation was made the Bush White House when Ed Gillespie accused NBC of being Biased...

Mr. Capus, I'm sure you don't want people to conclude that there is really no distinction between the "news" as reported on NBC and the "opinion" as reported on MSNBC, despite the increasing blurring of those lines. I welcome your response to this letter, and hope it is one that reassures your broadcast network's viewers that blatantly partisan talk show hosts like Christopher Matthews and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC don't hold editorial sway over the NBC network news division.

Never - NOT ONCE - did George W. Bush give an interview to the New York Times. It was even quite common for Conservatives to openly accuse NYT Editor Bill Keller of Treason simply because the Times had the Temerity to report that the Bush Administration was Illegally Wiretapping American Citizens.

Eleven days after the meeting with Bush, the Times defied the president; the story, by James Risen and Eric Licht­blau, was headlined bush lets u.s. spy on callers without courts. That same day, the USA Patriot Act was blocked in the Senate.

The White House went into attack mode. Its target: Bill Keller and the New York Times.

Even Former Nixon Aide Pat Buchanan thinks this "Enemies List" stuff simply Ridiculous!

BUCHANAN: It is the most idiotic comparison I’ve ever seen. Barack Obama won 95 percent of Washington DC, he comes in with both houses Congress behind him, the media love him, the country loves him. Nixon came in with both houses of Congress against him, he probably got 8 percent of the vote in Washington DC, the media loathed him. ... I don’t see any comparison between Obama and Nixon whatsoever. ... [T]here’s no comparison. Barack Obama’s got enormous press support, he’s got problems with Fox News but for heaven’s sakes there is no comparison here.

Yeah, well - when Barack Obama orders that the IRA Audit Rupert Murdoch and he has Rahm Emmanuel stage a break-in at Rockefeller Center to "dig up dirt" on Bill O'Reilly - (as if there already weren't enough dirt in his sexual harrassment case papers) - the Fox Whiners might have a point, right now they don't.

Nixon didn't just keep "A List" - he went for Pay Back!

Meanwhile as Liz Cheney is ranting about how Obama needs to "Keep America Safe" by continuing to implement TORTURE - and accuses MSNBC of being "afraid to debate the issues" while she refuses to appear on any of their shows and debate the issues - Obama is busy actually Keeping America Safe

Plot #1
Four men are in custody over an alleged plot to bomb a New York synagogue and Jewish community center.

The men wanted to fire surface-to-air missiles at military planes, according to prosecutors.

Plot #2
After weekend arrests made in Colorado and Queens, the FBI says it prevented a terrorist attack in New York City. Authorities arrested the plot's suspected ringleader, Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old airport shuttle driver, in Denver on Saturday night. Zazi's father, Mohammad Zazi, was also taken into custody, and both are expected to appear in court in Denver on Monday. Zazi had been under surveillance by the FBI and CIA for a year leading up to his arrest, and allegedly traveled to Pakistan twice for al Qaeda explosives training. Nine handwritten pages detailing the manufacture and detonation of explosives were found in Zazi's possession, according to the FBI.

Plot #3

BOSTON - A pharmacy college graduate and two friends tried and failed to get into terrorist training camps and then plotted to kill two prominent U.S. politicians and randomly shoot people at American shopping malls, authorities said Wednesday.

Tarek Mehanna, who recently taught math at a Muslim school in Worcester, was arrested early Wednesday at his parents' suburban Boston home. Mehanna was charged with conspiring with two other men — an American now in Syria and another man who is cooperating with authorities — to provide support to terrorists.

Rather than use Waterboarding, Stress Positions and Sleep Deprivation President Obama actually bothers to read his daily security briefings which is a BIG change from where we were at the same point in President Bush's first term.

Again, everything isn't perfect - Chicago still didn't get the Olympics, we don't yet have a comprehensive plan to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan - but with actual effective diplomacy instead of cowboy bluster, rational policy and bipartisan outreach instead of petty partisan snipe-hunts and vindictiveness our country is certainly headed in a better direction, the right direction, and that's the change I wanted and voted for.


Obama White House is Dead Right to Go After Fox

All week long we've been hearing from the Punditocracy questioning the White Houses "Motives" for attacking Fox News.

"What do they hope to gain?"

"Why do they feel the need to "Punch Down"?"

"Don't they realize Fox has unlimited Time to Fight Back?"

"Don't they know it's going to Back Fire?"

Well here's the thing - It's Not! What they've done is shine big bright spotlight on Fox, and now the Cockroaches are starting to scramble for cover.

It's doesn't matter that their is NO REAL DIFFERENCE between Fox's Opinion Commentators and the So-Called "News" reporters as Media Matters has thoroughly documented.

The question we should be considering is how many decades did the Right Wing Decry "Media Bias"? How long did they make it the Mantra? When did it ever "Back-fire" on them?

We've even had studies of so-called Media Bias from UCLA that conclude that the Media has an inherent Left-Wing Bias.

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

Of course any report that says the Drudge Report Leans Left has to be seriously questioned, but the point isn't whether such charges are true - it's that they've become so common they are often assumed to be true and therefore those with a right-ward persuasion are justified in feeling aggrieved and disenfranchised.

Then comes Fox News.

They claim to be "Fair" in that they won't dismiss Right-Wing Ideas so hair-brained that the Mainstream Media wouldn't touch it while wearing a Level 5 Hazmat suit. They claim to be "Balanced" in that they hire multiple sets of Conservative Republicans like Former Congressman John Kascich (who led the Gingrich Budget Fight Against Bill Clinton in the 90's) and Former Governor Mike Huckabee to Host their own shows, but have yet to do the same for a single solitary Former Democratic Politician?

"Fair"? I think not.

They even gave convicted congressional liar Oliver North his own show!

Shouldn't we be expecting the William Jefferson/Blaggo Variety Hour from them next?

MSNBC is supposedly "Biased" to the left but the largest block of programming they have everyday is hosted by Former Gingrich-Era Republican Congressman Joe (Oops, I just found a dead intern in my office) Scarborough. And each and everyday - sometimes multiple times a day - we get pithy commentary on MSNBC by former Nixon henchman and devout Right-wing Nutball/Neo-Racist Pat Buchannan! If anything MSNBC is pretty darn "Balanced" when *those two* are what you have to cantilever against for contrast.

The point is that no media outlet is perfectly balanced - and it's easy to admit that if you look at the things with as skewed a world-view as Sarah (Death Panel) Palin, Michelle (Anti-American Test) Bachmann, James (Global Warming is a Hoax) Inhofe or John (JUST NUKE 'EM) Bolton of course you think CNN or the New York Times is "Biased" when they refuse to agree with and validate some of your Fracking Crazy, Wacked-Out Ideas - however some of them on their actual News pages, if not their opinion sections, are at least Trying to do their reporting accurately and responsibly. Conversely Fox News not only isn't trying to be balanced on their News Coverage, their deliberately spinning it like a top as was shown when direct orders from Fox VP John Moody were given to his NEWS people to try and look for the "Happy Insurgents"....

The point is that bashing the so-called "Liberal Media" really didn't hurt the Conservatives - they RAN WITH IT like a runaway horse whose tail was on fire. So pointing out the FOX NEWS IS BIASED doesn't really have a downside, what are they going to do Make up even Bigger Lies about Obama?

Besides delegitimizing Fox as a reliable source for News and Facts - this tactic has the additional benefit of actually being true, and ultimately Truth is an Absolute Defense.


Monday, October 19

You Must See the Adventures of Power!

Last night I caught a screening of this Amazing, Funny, Pro-Union, Inspiring and Hilarious new Indie Film called Adventures of Power in Hollywood.

Part Norma Rae, Flashdance, Napolean Dynamite and Rocky this is the best film about NOT drumming you're likely to see - Ever.

I had a chance to participate in a Q&A with Writer/Director/Star Ari Gold at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters in Hollywood and when asked why he wanted to make a movie about Air Drumming he said - "Because I do it.. and it's funny."

At the time I didn't think to mention that the kind of Air Musician Event he envisions at the climax of his film actually exists and has been recorded in films such as the documentary Air Nation.

The Faux Musician Championship was even reported by Faux News. Somehow quite fitting.

So even though the basic premise of the film is completely made-up and seems far fetched - it actually isn't.

Laying beneath the basic idea of self-actualization and realizing your dream purely through having the will to believe the film also touches on many real issues as the father of the main character played by Spinal Tap veteran Michael McKean leads his fellow copper miners through a bitter strike against an oppressive greedy corporation. Eventually though even the bitter hyper-realist father realizes just how important it is to dream, as his own hopes and those of his son become joined in a powerful scene of strikers standing up to a bull-gang of corporate thugs sent to intimidate them into submission, instead of running they stand their ground defiantly Air Drumming to "In the Air Tonight" without sticks as they are viciously beaten with billy clubs.

Yes, we bloody well CAN! Yes we WILL!

The film is playing in very limited release, as Ari described the independent film business has been devastated in recent years and resources that used to be readily available are now long gone.

It's scheduled to be shown in Austin in the next week, then move on to Salt Lake City. After that there will be a limited engagement in Pheonix, Portland and New Mexico.

And just to whet your appetite here's a deleted scene featuring Ari as "Power" in an Air/Real Drum-off with Neal Peart of Rush (who does a brief cameo in the finished film).

More info