Thursday Mashup (9/27/12)

September 27, 2012

  • If Mike Fitzpatrick is running in another election, that must mean that it’s time for more smears and partisan garbage (here)…

    Republicans injected one of the region’s most emotionally charged murder cases into a tight Bucks County-based Congressional race late Wednesday night, attempting to tie Democratic challenger Kathryn Boockvar to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal because of legal work Boockvar’s husband (Jordan Yeager) performed in the mid-1990s and early 2000s.

    Republicans point to work Yeager did while he and Boockvar were partners in their own firm. In 2000 Yeager represented Abu-Jamal’s literary agent, who was arrested and charged with petty crimes while protesting his (sic) Abu-Jamal’s conviction. The agent, Frances Goldin, was 75 at the time and was one of 95 people arrested in the demonstration. The prominent agent, an Abu-Jamal supporter, later paid a fine and was sentenced to one year’s probation.

    Yeager, while at a separate Philadelphia firm, worked in 1996 as an attorney for Veronica Jones, a woman who initially gave testimony against Abu-Jamal but later recanted, saying she had been pressured by police when she provided the first version of her story. Yeager told reporters in 1996 police were also trying to intimidate her with arrests on old charges after she changed her story.

    The calls make no mention of the time frame of Yeager’s work. Republican Web ads include a grainy photo of Abu-Jamal alongside an image of Boockvar, who was in her teens at the time of Abu-Jamal’s conviction.

    Umm, so I guess the “issue” is that Yeager represented Mumia Abu-Jamal’s agent and a supporter after Abu-Jamal’s conviction, all of which is still thoroughly legal – ?????

    I guess it isn’t surprising that there’s no “there” there since we’re talking about our wet noodle PA-08 Repug U.S. House rep, who was mute while the state Republican Committee circulated a mailer claiming that Ginny Schrader (Fitzpatrick’s Dem 2004 opponent when running for the House) supported Hezbollah (here), a particularly odious charge since half of her family is Jewish. And this also isn’t surprising coming from the guy who also stood mute in 2006 while the Army service of former rep Patrick Murphy was questioned by two veterans, one who served in another branch of the military and one who served in the Army in a completely different time frame from the one in which Murphy served (here).

    I don’t know how the polling is going in this race, but even though this is right of out Mikey’s slimy playbook, the fact that he felt he had to resort to it must mean he’s more anxious about the final result than I thought.

  • And speaking of underhanded Repugs, I give you this from Mikey’s pal John Mica…

    Since taking office, the current administration has rebuffed nearly all attempts by Congress to create jobs and improve our economy. Voters will understand this at the polls. The rate of poverty, the number of food stamp recipients and soaring unemployment, especially among minorities, are all factors working strongly against the President’s campaign at this time. They are particularly poignant in Florida and the I-4 Corridor.

    Isn’t it darkly humorous to see how those who are disadvantaged actually show up on the radar of Republican Party politicians during election time, though they seem to be invisible to the “Party of Lincoln” at every other moment?

    As noted here, if you’re going to talk about poverty, you need to talk about unemployment. With that in mind, this tells us that Mica proposed a six-year transportation reauthorization bill last year that “would cut transportation funding to a level that is 20 percent less than the last reauthorization bill signed by President Bush in 2005.”

    Meanwhile, as noted here (and with not a peep of protest from Mikey or Mica), the American Jobs Act continues to sit in the House with no action (and this tells us that Medicaid expansion in the Sunshine State, which would help to alleviate the plight of some of those in poverty, would hardly “bust the budget” as Rick Scott, Mica’s fellow Floridian and Repug, claim here…when Scott isn’t trying to illegally purge voter rolls, that is).

  • Next, this story tells us the following…

    The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday officially cleared Rep. Maxine Waters of all ethics charges after nearly three years of investigating the California Democrat.

    

Members of the panel handed the lawmaker a gigantic victory by voting unanimously to find her not guilty of allegations that she tried to secure federal money during the financial crisis for a bank in which her husband owned stock.

    “It appears that Rep. Waters recognized and made efforts to avoid a conflict of interest with respect to OneUnited,” the committee said on Tuesday.

    Basically, Waters’ grandson represented OneUnited Bank and lobbied for TARP funds, but Waters made sure OneUnited didn’t get any because it would have been a conflict of interest (Waters’ husband would have reaped a significant windfall). All of which makes me wonder why this was investigated in the first place.

    Oh, and by the way, this development proves yet again that Michelle Malkin is an idiot (here).

  • Further, this item in USA Today caught my eye…

    Income is growing much faster in Republican-leaning “red states” than in Democratic-tilting “blue states” or the pivotal swing states that will decide the 2012 presidential election, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

    Personal income in 23 red states has risen 4.6% since the recession began in December 2007, after adjusting for inflation. Income is up just 0.5% in 15 blue states and Washington, D.C., during that time. In the dozen swing states identified by USA TODAY that could vote either way Nov. 6, income has inched ahead 1.4% in 4 ½ years.

    The big drivers of red state income growth: energy and government benefit payments such as food stamps.

    Food stamps? Really???

    Well then, shouldn’t those recipients automatically vote for President Obama? I mean, the Teahadists call him the “food stamp president,” after all, as noted here.

  • Continuing, I give you the following fit of umbrage from The Daily Tucker (here, from someone named Thomas Kilgannon)…

    Dear Mr. President:

    On September 14, at Andrews Air Force Base, you paid tribute to four Americans who lost their lives in the service of our country. These individuals were killed by terrorists who carried out an orchestrated attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Along with their families, friends and co-workers, you met the caskets containing the remains of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.

    In closing your tribute to these men, you said that “the flag they served under now carries them home.” Indeed it did. American flags draped the caskets of each of these patriots and were solemnly presented to their families “on behalf of a grateful nation.” As you know, the manner in which the American flag is placed on a casket, and how it is folded, are rich in meaning. The protocol symbolically unites the deceased with America’s first patriots, who won our independence.

    This month, in the course of a few days, Americans saw contrasting images of our flag in the news media. As described above, they watched you at Andrews AFB, a familiar ceremony in which the flag is proudly and prominently displayed to convey American resolve, but also a sense of national mourning. On the other hand, American citizens saw video footage showing angry Muslims desecrating the Stars and Stripes to demonstrate the depth of their hatred for America. Their understanding of how important our flag is to us is precisely the reason they burn it.

    Last week, as fundamentalist Muslim mobs burned American flags, it was revealed that you, Mr. President, took our nation’s banner, modified it with your political logo, and offered it for sale on your website. The modified American flag was designed for your personal and political profit.

    Mr. President, this is repugnant.

    In response, I give you this

    Here we go again with the right trying to turn a total non-issue into a firestorm. FOX News is LIVID that the Obama online store is now “selling copies of an American flag painting that replaces the 50 stars in the blue field with the president’s campaign logo.”

    Meanwhile, the Obama campaign tweeted that the print — entitled “Our Stripes: Flag Print” and designed by Ross Bruggink and Dan Olson of Studio MPLS — is “a poster to say there are no red states or blue states, only the United States.” Sadly, those who are staunchly red staters seem to want to take that unifying message and turn it into something extremely divisive. They’re crying foul, saying it’s creepy, “un-American,” “offensive,” “insulting,” and “stoops to new lows.” Ay yi yi!

    To be fair, I could see how any deviation from what we know the American flag to look like today in 2012 might upset people. It’s a sensitive subject. Especially those who have served in the military under that flag. And those people are entitled to their thoughts and feelings surrounding the image of the American flag.

    That said, you would think someone who considers themselves a “patriot,” a proud American, would be passionate about American values, which includes freedom of speech and expression. That’s all this is.

    The American flag has been used in political campaigns for probably over a century by both of the major political parties and some others (and by the way, I have no evidence that Kilgannon served).

    But let’s buy this phony-baloney premise for a minute, though. Let’s say that the image of the flag should never be used for political campaigns.


    Well then, what do you call this (from the GOP online store)? Call me crazy, but doesn’t that look suspiciously like an image of the flag behind that airplane (a subtle “9/11” reminder also)?

    I would say that “repugnant” is as “repugnant” does.


    Update 10/24/12: Oh, and by the way, wouldn’t this guy be guilty of appropriating the flag for political purposes too?

  • Finally, it looks like we lost the war in Afghanistan; we must, because wingnut columnist Jack Kelly said so (here)…

    As of Monday, 1,493 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, 70 percent of them since Barack Obama became president. About 15 percent of NATO troops killed this year have been killed by our purported Afghan allies. “Green on blue” attacks were virtually unheard of four years ago.

    I guess, in a way, it’s a good thing that Kelly is saying something about the Afghanistan war, because we should all be paying more attention and clamoring to get our military out of there; of course, with the Repugs moving further and further into crazyland every day, that gives Dems and excuse to move more and more to “the sensible center,” as our pampered Beltway pundits like to refer to it. I’m not saying that to excuse our staying in The Land Where Empires Crumble, I hasten to add. I’m just saying that our goal should have been only to take out bin Laden and al Qaeda and then leave, but we are where we are.

    My problem, though, is that this criticism is coming from a guy who claimed that Dubya’s Iraq war was “all but won” in February 2005 here (I also cannot help but wonder what kind of a comment Kelly is making about our military, since, if someone had said this about Iraq under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History, something like this would have happened – in fact, something like that did…also, as noted here, a big part of the reason why we’re in the mess we’re in there is that Dubya outsourced the Afghan war to Pakistan, providing a minimal amount of U.S. troops in Afghanistan while concentrating on Iraq instead).

    Or to put it another way, as journalist Douglas Anders wrote in February 2004 (here)…

    “Every Saturday morning I look forward to the Jack Kelly column on the Op-Ed page of the Blade. As surely as things fall down, Kelly can be counted on to recycle half-informed (not to mention half-formed) arguments from the right side of the blogosphere, and dutifully march forth to make the GOP sanctioned argument of the week. His modus operandi is simple and unvarying: report the facts that support his thesis, ignore everything that undermines it and end with an overblown claim that Democrats (or the ‘nay-sayers’ or peacenicks or Bush-critics) are nothing more than unrepentant liars. He rarely lies outright (though I have caught a few), but his one-sided presentation of the facts always produces a deeply deceptive column. I warn you, if you try to make pro-Republican arguments based on what you read in a Jack Kelly column, you will quickly establish that you are an easily hoodwinked fool. There are good honest conservatives out there, but Jack Kelly isn’t one of them, he exists to regurgitate the GOP line of the day.”

    And finally, I give you Kelly himself from his infamous 2005 column…

    “…when will journalists be held to account for getting every major development in the war on terror wrong?”

    When indeed?

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    Tuning Out The “Local Radio Freedom Act”

    June 22, 2009

    Krok-Pot_20090415
    While I listened dolefully to another Phillies’ loss yesterday on radio station WPHT in these parts, I heard an ad for something called the “Local Radio Freedom Act” (more information is here from the station’s web site).

    I was automatically suspicious because I have that reaction to any news/editorial content I hear on that station, and also because what I felt was the propagandistic tone of the ad ended up matching what you can read from the link above. Simply put, to say that you’re not getting the whole story here is an understatement.

    More information on the Local Radio Freedom Act is available here, and if you could ever make a case for guilt by association, this is it; there are 236 co-sponsors of the Act, and many are Democrats. However, there are just as many (if not more) Republicans, no doubt realizing that they’d better leap to the defense of their precious constituents in AM radio, which has done more to further the ruinous conservative ascendancy than any other communications medium (including this individual above named Chris Krock in GA), with the possible exception of direct mail marketing (let’s see, Michele Bachmann, Joe Pitts, Chris Smith, Heath Shuler – yep, a real “rogues gallery” here…why Chaka Fattah, among others, would sign onto this is something I don’t understand).

    It’s important to note, thought, that the Act is a response to this, the Performance Rights Act, which, among other things, “grant(s) performers of sound recordings equal rights to compensation from terrestrial broadcasters” (the link above provides the details of the bill – it has yet to be voted on by the full House).

    And this article describes more of the maneuvering on the bill, including this excerpt…

    Rep. Howard Berman, a Democrat who represents the Hollywood section of Los Angeles and who is a longtime strong supporter of the legislation, saw (Rep. John) Conyers’ invitation (to the National Association of Broadcasters to discuss the bill) as an opportunity to take a poke at broadcasters who have rejected the measure. “We have invited the NAB to come in and work through the points of the bill. It is not that they are not interested, they are. They have worked very hard against the bill.”

    But (Rep. Maxine) Waters jumped to broadcasters’ defense. “Broadcasters felt they did not have a chance,” she said. “They have felt that too many people work arguing for the entertainment industry. We know that is not true, but….”

    Berman wrinkled his face, not buying a bit of it. “They did not think they needed to work something out,” he said pointedly. “They thought they could stop this bill in the subcommittee. We invited them to come in and negotiate this, and they would not, and we still invite them to. Come in and talk about it.”

    Earlier in the discussion, Berman made a wisecrack reference to broadcasters, noting that they’d “rather slit their throat” than negotiate. It is a reference to outgoing NAB chief David Rehr’s line uttered last year that he’d rather slit his throat than negotiate with record labels. It has haunted and hurt the NAB ever since he said it, and legislators who back the royalties’ bill have not been able to leave the line alone. It has become their battle cry, characterizing what they feel is a flawed lobbying association and flawed approach. The tact appears to be working: Even longtime supporters of broadcasters have begun whispering that the NAB should make an effort to talk with the other side. However, broadcasters argue that they are paying nothing now and they will only lose ground if there is a discussion about rates and fees.

    After the panel voted to send the measure on to the full House for a vote, Kendall Minter, chairman of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, told Radio and Records he considered it a major victory for artists. “This is a right that should be uncontested because half of the creators of songs are being compensated–composers. Performers now need to be included.” He said broadcasters “have been enjoying a free ride for the past 80 years, forcing us into being part of, as George Bush called them, ‘the axis of evil.’ Only China, North Korea, Iran and the U.S. do not compensate performers for their work.” He added that by passing the measure into law, American performers will then receive compensation from foreign countries when their works are broadcast on their airwaves because “we’ll have reciprocity with other nations.” He rejects the NAB’s argument that the biggest record labels that will benefit from royalty payments are foreign-owned labels: “Sure, three of the major labels are foreign-owned. But there are thousands of independent labels owned by Americans, and the money will go to American artists.”

    So basically, I don’t buy the “crocodile tears” from the radio business about how HR 848 will “harm local radio stations, who have already seen their revenues sink to double digits under the current economic crisis,” as noted here.

    And by the way, anybody who thinks that there’s anything “local” about radio any more must still listen to Frank Merriwell and The Great Gildersleeve on the crystal set. Among other things, this tells us the following…

  • The top four radio station owners (Clear Channel, Infinity, Radio One and Cox) have almost half of the listeners and the top ten owners have almost two-thirds of listeners.
  • The “localness” of radio ownership – ownership by individuals living in the community — has declined between 1975 and 2005 by almost one-third.
  • Just fifteen formats make up three-quarters of all commercial programming. Moreover, radio formats with different names can overlap up to 80% in terms of the songs played on them.
  • Niche musical formats like Classical, Jazz, Americana, Bluegrass, New Rock, and Folk, where they exist, are provided almost exclusively by smaller station groups.
  • Across 155 markets, radio listenership has declined over the past fourteen years, a 22% drop since its peak in 1989. The consolidation allowed by the Telecom Act has failed to reverse this trend.
  • For the most part, terrestrial radio is dying. The only stations that are truly listenable any more are member supported through fund drives and other forms of donations. This is a fate for which they themselves are responsible far more than anyone else (and HR 848, to me, is an attempt to justly reward artists long denied their fair share by these “local” entities).

    And the “Local Radio Freedom Act” isn’t going to prevent their inevitable demise, perhaps later than sooner, but eventually.

    (And by the way, rulings like this are another reason why I could care less about those poor, oppressed, “local” stations – h/t The Daily Kos; if somebody has to pay a judgment like this to those RIAA bastards just for some song-swapping, then why should I care about entities having to “pony up” who can actually afford it?)


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