Wednesday Mashup (7/17/13)

July 18, 2013
  • Part of me truly wanted to avoid this recent column by Stu Bykofsky, but I believe it is too rank to be ignored (on the matter of PA AG Kathleen Kane’s decision not to enforce the commonwealth’s indefensible Defense of Marriage Act)…

    It doesn’t matter whether you support or oppose gay marriage, this is an issue of law, current law.

    The state Attorney General is substituting her own preferences to Pennsylvania law, which she is sworn to uphold. Ms. Kane doesn’t get to decide constitutionality, the courts do that.

    This is materially no different than George Wallace blocking the entrance to a school because he didn’t agree with the court knocking down segregation. It is different only in that we don’t like where he was, but (most of us) do like Kane’s position. But that it (sic) not the issue. The issue is obeying (and in Kane’s case) defending the law, even if not palatable.

    (Frankly, couldn’t she just have assigned a low-ranking, inexperienced attorney, who would botch the job? She could have. I think she is show-boating here.)

    In response, I give you the following from here

    In a public statement on Thursday, Kane said, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional,” adding, “It is my duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act whenever I determine it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to authorize the Office of General Counsel to defend the state in litigation. Additionally, it is a lawyer’s ethical obligation under Pennsylvania’s Rules of Professional Conduct to withdraw from a case in which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement with the client.”

    So Kane didn’t kill the case. Not at all! Instead, she rightfully disclosed a conflict of interest due to a difference of opinion, and passed the case along to Gov. Corbett.

    How many politicians do you know that disclose a conflict of interest? You can count that number on one hand.

    Oh, and paging “Byko” for this one…

    Kane also didn’t sabotage the case by accepting it and then giving it to a lackey – an awful suggestion that has been made by some.

    Instead, she took the high road and essentially recused herself and her office from handling the case.

    Kane’s decision is making national news. But it shouldn’t. She’s hardly the first attorney general to refuse to participate in a case involving this or any other hotbed social issue.

    Back when California Gov. Jerry Brown was the state’s Attorney General, he refused to defend California’s anti-gay-marriage measure, Proposition 8. Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the case, ruling that those who defended Proposition 8 didn’t have legal standing to do so.

    Time will show very soon that PA’s DOMA law is unconstitutional, too – the same way that Loving v. Virginia declared that banning interracial marriages was illegal.

    And as far as “Byko” and the comparison between Kane and George Wallace (really?) is concerned, I give you this

    Of course, while similar on the surface (the law is involved?), Kane’s position isn’t really like Wallace’s at all! In Brown v. Board of Ed., the Supreme Court said that states could no longer segregate their own schools. In the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision this year, it was ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is not constitutional, though doesn’t say the same about Defense of Marriage Acts passed in individual states.

    When Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama in 1963, he was refusing to enforce a federal court order to allow three students with perfect qualifications to attend the school.


    (And somehow, I find it hard to believe that Eric Holder or another Justice Department attorney would ever show up on the steps of the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg, arguing with Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett about whether or not straights should be allowed to marry, parroting this iconic photo of Wallace with Kennedy Justice Department lawyer Nicholas Katzenbach.)

    I will admit that there’s a bit of posturing by Kane going on here, since I’m pretty sure that she once claimed in her primary campaign against Patrick Murphy that the Attorney General didn’t have the right to decide which laws should be enforced. However, I definitely believe that she’s acting in the interests of the “greater good” here.

    Besides, Kane is, aside from the head prosecutor in PA, also the chief administrator of law enforcement. Given that, what kind of judgment would it show if she committed personnel and resources of her office, all on the public dime, to defending a law that, on the federal level, had recently been invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court?

  • Next, if we’ve recently suffered a gun tragedy or a miscarriage of justice of some type over guns within the last week or so, you can always count on John Lott to pop up with more demagoguery and misinformation to try and show that it’s all the fault of those dastardly liberals somehow (here)…

    Comments by President Obama, Al Sharpton and others surely stirred up the racial aspects of the case and appear to have led some blacks across the country to attack whites to avenge Trayvon Martin

    Really? Obama “stirred up the racial aspects” by urging calm? Before he presses on another ugly piece of propaganda for Fix Noise, Lott should actually try reading their web site once in a while (here).

    Also, Reverend Al said that the protests in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict were mostly nonviolent here, which is also borne out by this clip from Rachel Maddow here.

    Of course, this isn’t the first time that John Lott has either demonized African Americans or whitewashed attempts to marginalize them at the ballot box, as he did here, claiming that he somehow wasn’t able to name a single person who was disenfranchised from voting in the Florida 2000 presidential election.

    I don’t know what’s in the minds of these people when they concoct this garbage. And I really don’t want to know either.

  • Further, I got a bit of a laugh out of this item (here)…

    Ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) charged that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was engaged in “unprecedented data collection.”

    “The CFPB is collecting credit card data, bank account data, mortgage data and student loan data,” Crapo said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “This ultimately allows the CFPB to monitor a consumer’s monthly spending habits.”

    Crapo’s comments came just hours after the Senate voted 71-29 to end debate on the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the CFPB. A final vote on Cordray’s nomination could come as early as today.

    I’d recently read comments from Mikey the Beloved to this effect also. And in response, let me ask this; who isn’t engaged in massive data collection these days (not approving it – just asking the question).

    And in defense of Cordray, I give you this

    Cordray replied that the credit card and mortgage payment data are widely available and are bought from companies such as Argus and from credit records, which the CFPB is using to work with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to construct a national mortgage database. “The information is not personal but is anonymized,” he said. “If people want to misunderstand and think that it’s invading privacy based on speculation, I’d simply say, that’s not what it is.”

    The bureau must gather such data if it is to prepare cost-benefit analysis of the structure of markets and to deliver reports required by Congress, he added. “If we didn’t, you’d be disappointed with us and rightly so.”

    Similarly, the CFPB’s consumer complaint database, which has accumulated nearly 100,000 complaints about lenders, does not risk disclosing personal data, Cordray said. The complaints are “scrubbed” of personal identifiers after confirming that the complainer has a commercial relationship with the company. “We use it to communicate to companies on how to improve, and to the public too,” he said. “We need more of this, not less.” He did promise Crapo a visit from his staff to clarify the bureau’s privacy safeguards.

    Also, while I’m on the subject of Cordray, allow me to congratulate him due to the fact that he was finally confirmed by the Senate as part of a recent deal “aimed at freeing up seven stalled appointments President Barack Obama has made to the consumer agency, the National Labor Relations Board and other agencies,” as the AP via HuffPo tells us here.

    And concerning the NLRB part of the deal, I give you the following whining from Sen. Charles Grassley here (from “Tiger Beat on the Potomac,” as Charles Pierce rightly calls it)…

    …Grassley (R-Iowa) said the decision to block Cordray ultimately helped lead to a deal that forced two previous nominees for the National Labor Relations Board to be replaced with new candidates as part of a broader Senate deal struck this week over how executive branch nominees will be handled going forward.

    “We got two illegally appointed NLRB people off the agenda,” he said. “It was pretty important when the court says somebody’s been illegally appointed that they don’t get Senate confirmation.”

    The two NLRB appointees in question, Sharon Block (a former labor counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy) and Richard Griffin (former general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers), had been serving on the board since January 2012, appointed by Obama during a Senate break after Republicans blocked their confirmations (as the New York Times tells us here).

    The “legality” of Block and Griffin’s appointments was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; as noted here, the court issued a ruling that, in essence, also retroactively invalidated about 300 other recess appointments of this type by prior presidents since 1981 (and of the three judges on the appeals court panel, one was appointed by The Sainted Ronnie R, one was appointed by Bush 41, and one was appointed by Bush 43).

    And I think we also need to recall the following from here

    When Obama took office, the NLRB only had two members. In April 2009, Obama nominated three people to serve on the NLRB – Mark Pearce (D), Craig Becker (D) and Brian Hayes (R). Yet Senate Republicans’ silent filibusters were effective in preventing a Senate vote on these nominees.

    In March 2010, Obama recess appointed Becker and Pearce to the board. In June, the Senate confirmed Pearce and Hayes, but continued to block Becker.

    When Becker’s recess appointment expired on Jan. 3, 2012, the NLRB didn’t have a quorum to make decisions. Confronted with Senate Republicans intent on undermining the NLRB’s authority, Obama made three recess appointments – Sharon Block (D), Richard Griffin (D) and Terence Flynn (R) – to guarantee a fully functioning board. These members joined Pearce and Hayes, who left the board in December 2012. (Flynn resigned after an ethics scandal in March 2012.)

    So basically, that’s the history of the Repugs doing their best to gum up the NLRB since Obama was first elected in 2008. In fact, they have such an animus towards the NLRB (how dare an agency of government create such a “burdensome” environment for business by allowing workers to present and seek redress of grievances??!!) that the House, apparently believing that the Senate would end up allowing the NLRB appointments, decided to make things worse on their own by passing the utterly odious HR 1120 here, which basically shuts down the NLRB altogether (Mikey the Beloved commendably voted No).

    Grassley should shut his proverbial pie hole on matters related to the NLRB and Obama’s recess appointments overall. The actions of his party may not have been illegal, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t stink to high heaven anyway (besides, based on this, it looks like Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao got outfoxed for a change).

    Update 7/18/13: And depressing though it is, here is more food for thought on this subject (to me the name James Sherk is a bit Dickensian).

  • Finally, I’m glad to hear that this guy is back on the air (here). I’m sorry that he will no longer be a political voice; I think that’s a monumental waste, but it was even worse for a reporter and broadcaster of his caliber to be effectively blackballed from TV journalism altogether.

    So good luck, Keith, and just bite your lip if the Texas Rangers make it to the World Series and Former Commander Codpiece starts strutting and yakking all over the place, trying to take credit for something he didn’t do, as usual.

  • Friday Mashup (2/1/13)

    February 1, 2013
  • It’s been a little while since I checked in with former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm of Investor’s Business Daily, but, kind of like the dull toothache you experience when you bite down a little too hard on a freezer pop, he has returned, Obama-baiting rhetoric and “Democrat” Party references in tow (here, and as is almost always the case accompanied by polling numbers that don’t come close to telling the whole story)…

    Predictably perhaps, the nation’s economy, which President Obama has vowed to repair even more often than he golfs, earns the least satisfaction from Americans, according to the new Gallup survey. Only one-in-five Americans (20%), presumably among those still employed, are somewhat or very satisfied with the economy. That’s down 27 points since the same 2005 Gallup survey.

    Inquiring minds giving Malcolm more attention than he deserves would be wondering I’m sure why the Dubya loyalist would go back to 2005. Why, that was at the peak of our last economic bubble under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History, of course (you know, so Malcolm could skew the numbers as much as he could).

    And let me note also that, while only 20 percent of this country is satisfied with the economy, Gallup also tells us here that 14 percent approve of our wretched U.S. Congress.

    So with an economic approval of only 20 percent, Obama’s actual approval number would be about that or near Congressional approval if Malcolm were correct to blame Number 44 exclusively, right?

    Uh, no (48 percent, to be exact).

  • Next, Repug U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch tells us here that upgrading our system of background checks in this country prior to approving to gun purchases would lead to a “reduction in liberty,” or something.


    To get an idea of why Hatch said that, you need only read this; basically, like all Repugs in Congress, Hatch is worried about saying or doing anything whatsoever that could bite him in the ass from the Limbaugh-Hannity-Drudge faction that was once the fringe, but pretty much calls the shots now in his party (Hatch easily won re-election last year, but the fundraising pretty much never stops any more in the absence of public-money-only campaign financing).

    Hatch also doesn’t want to do anything whatsoever to shut off that flow of dough from the NRA, which has graced him with about $136 grand to date, as noted here.

  • Continuing, I give you the latest from Stu Bykofsky at on immigration (here)…

    If we fail to get enforcement – not just at the border, but in the workplace – we will “invite” millions more “guests” to arrive illegally, and we will repeat the same drama again.

    That’s a recipe for disaster.

    In response, this tells us that, after about 30-40 years of steadily increasing immigration to this country from Mexico (legal and otherwise), the pace has slowed down. Also, this tells us that PA Repug U.S. House Rep Lou Barletta (who I discussed here) said recently that there basically was no point to pursuing immigration reform for unskilled workers since, well, they’ll just become Democrats anyway (nice guy).

    Think Progress has the nonsense from Barletta and a lot more important stuff on this issue from here (and on the question of Obama and enforcement, the following should be noted from here).

    Update 2/3/13: More “epic fail” from Barletta is here – voters in his district who supported this clown must be so proud (I’m sure Barletta needs special protection from an would-be assailant brandishing a spoon).

  • And speaking of policies from the Obama Administration, I give you this

    Smith & Nephew eliminated nearly 100 jobs in Memphis and Andover, Mass., on Thursday, Jan. 31, as the medical device company cuts expenses in an effort to offset tax hikes included in the Affordable Care Act.

    The Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3 percent medical device tax, which took effect Jan. 1.

    The London-based company, which employs about 1,800 people in Memphis, said the new tax will cost the industry about $30 billion over 10 years.

    “(The tax) has impacted a number of companies across the U.S.,” said Joe Metzger, senior vice president of corporate communications. “Smith & Nephew is not immune from this added expense burden.”

    Smith & Nephew announced in February 2012 that it would reduce its global workforce by 7 percent over the next three years. Several other companies announced similar plans, including Stryker and Medtronic.

    I’m sorry about the Smith & Nephew workers in this country who are now out of a job, of course. However, the company still was able to pursue a deal worth about $782 million in cash last year to acquire Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, a “big name” among bio-pharma companies (here). Didn’t they anticipate what they thought would be the “rainy day” of more medical device taxes to protect their workers?

    And I wonder if a $22 million settlement in a bribery case had anything to do with their sudden financial hardship (here and here)?

  • Finally, with the return of a new Congressional session last month, that marked a return of the old Repug U.S. House wingnut extraordinaire Steve King of Iowa (here, among other idiocies)…

    Mr. Obama’s executive elimination of all work requirements of “welfare to work” violated the 1996 welfare reform work legislation, which was signed by President Clinton. Mr. Obama violated the Constitution by waiving provisions that the law specifically stated could not be waived by the president.

    It should be noted that Politifact had something to say about that urban legend of sorts here when it was uttered by Former Senator Man-On-Dog during the Repug presidential primary last year (just add this to the ever-growing catalog of King wingnuttia, much of which is chronicled here).

  • Some Monday “Byko” Blather on Carter and Race

    September 21, 2009

    Stu_BykofskyStu (“I’m Thinking Another 9/11 Would Help America,” here) Bykofsky really should have just gulped down a fistful of Xanax and gone over to lie down in a corner instead of spitting out his utter dreck of a column today, but he concocted his idiotic screed anyway.

    See, “Byko” is in a lather over President Carter’s recent comment that the anti-Obama sentiment in this country is race-based, something which I think is pretty evident based on this.

    So he thusly piled on (I could take time to refute all of it, but this sampling is pretty indicative – and by the way, he makes it sound like Carter and Muammar Qadhafi were buds, but it was Dubya who signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government’s immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the US, not Carter, as noted here – also, if there’s one person Carter would not be friends with, it is Fidel Castro, since the latter played the former like a fiddle in the matter of the Mariel Boat Lift)…

    (Carter’s) remark paralleled the equally hair-trigger opinion of the Philadelphians who hung the “racist” tag on anyone who objected to the Eagles’ hiring of Michael Vick.

    Uh, I objected to the Eagles’ signing of Vick (here), and I didn’t get any comments branding me a racist (and I most definitely support President Carter in this matter).


    In his latest ramble, Old Mushmouth said the “overwhelming portion” of those loudly opposing President Obama are racists.

    He hasn’t created so many waves since he was in a waterborne battle with an enraged swamp rabbit.

    In reality, there’s a racial strain in most national discussions involving Obama, but it is irrational to think r-a-c-e is animating all, or even most, of the animosity.

    See the prior post on Noel Sheppard for proof that Carter is right, “Byko” (and by the way, I don’t know what the hell “Byko” is talking about with that comment about a “racial strain” that somehow isn’t “animating…the animosity”; “Byko” also introduces more faux equivalency between those who opposed Clinton over a blow job and those who opposed Dubya for lying us into war with an enemy that had nothing to do with 9/11, expanding our country’s policy of rendition beyond all reason or adherence to the law, trashing the environment and civil liberties, staffing his administration with hacks and flunkies in charge of government agencies, acting as if he actually cared about those “values voters” his party plays for fools every four years, etc.)…


    Predictably, anyone disagreeing with Carter was immediately tarred as a racist. That’s what MSNBC’s semi-rational ranter Keith Olbermann bayed last Wednesday. If you diss Carter, he suggested, you are a racist and a right-wing nutjob.

    From this transcript (and I hate to admit that “Byko” is partly correct, even though Olbermann was dead-on, but “Byko” left out the rant of a certain Flush Limbore)…

    OLBERMANN: Carter and courage: The former president elaborates on his comments about racism being at the core of some of the rage against the president.


    JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There is an inherent feeling among many people in this country that an African-American ought not to be president.


    OLBERMANN: And he gets the “all too predictable” reactionary blowback from the racists he‘s talking about.


    RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Jimmy Carter is the nation‘s hemorrhoid folks.


    OLBERMANN: Well, I got to defer to him here, the nation‘s (BLEEP) hole would know about the nation‘s hemorrhoid.

    Oh, and by the way, Byko, when you decide to actually provide meaningful, factual information to support your ridiculous claim that that “individual rights (are) being usurped by a federal government growing like kudzu,” let me know, OK?

    Meanwhile, I’ll breathlessly await word on how much money Philadelphia Newspapers lost this week, or how their brilliant plan to have one group of rich Philadelphians headed by Bruce Toll bail out another group of rich Philadelphians headed by Bruce Toll is progressing.

    More “Byko” Blatherings On Euna Lee And Laura Ling

    June 25, 2009

    Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky wrote the following today (from here)…

    IT’S HARD FOR me as a journalist, and as an American, to write this, but if Laura Ling and Euna Lee deliberately crossed into forbidden North Korea to grab some video and perhaps an interview, the U.S. shouldn’t do much, overtly, to help them.

    And we’re not.

    Even if they were kidnapped, the U.S. should not bow to extortion when North Korea – a saber-rattling, paranoid thugocracy run by a stunted loon with a bad haircut – tries to use them as bargaining chips.

    I hasten to add that Bykofsky didn’t say to leave Ling and Lee behind altogether, which was decent of him (though I’m sure he would be all over Hillary Clinton were she to speak again publicly on this). However, he then goes on to compare the capture of the two with the seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo by North Korea in 1968.

    I know the common element here is a crazed regime in North Korea acting with typical thuggery as Byko said, but I just don’t see the equivalency between what could have been an act of war (and it might have initiated that had we not been already engaged militarily a few degrees south of where the Pueblo was seized at the time) and the capture of two reporters.

    (Also, Byko said the Pueblo seizure was “far more serious.” Any idea of how he came to equate one capture with the other?)

    Another thing – I wonder if there would have been so much pejorative criticism aimed at Ling and Lee if they had been instead, say, Carlotta Gall of the New York Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN instead? Yes, I realize venturing into North Korea like that was foolish; however, Ling and Lee are American journalists! But, as far as Byko is concerned, they used bad judgment, so they don’t deserve another public word on their behalf.

    And in a perfect world, Ling and Lee would be affiliated with the Times, and the whole story of their capture would have been embargoed as the story of reporter David Rohde was, which helped lead to his escape (here). But again, I guess, in Byko’s view, Ling and Lee are also supposed to be punished because they’re not sophisticated enough in these matters (or perhaps talented enough) to be employed by “the old gray lady.”

    Well, in spite of that, I should note that vigils were held for Ling and Lee in San Francisco on June 3rd and elsewhere (here) and Santa Monica, California on June 4th (here). Also, this provides more information on what you can do to publicize their cause.

    Although Byko is right about the insanity of North Korea’s “leadership,” that doesn’t mean that we should let the cause of the two journalists disappear from our public dialogue (maybe North Korea has calculated that they can act with impunity against them because not enough people in this country will care about the outcome – all the more reason to prove them wrong, as far as I’m concerned).

    Another Smelly Screed By “Byko”

    May 11, 2009

    I guess it’s a sign of progress that Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky decided to actually criticize a Republican today for our budget mess in addition to laying the blame at the feet of Democrats here (yeah, that’s more than a bit of a stretch – I belabored the point here that we ended up in this hole first and foremost because of profligate Repug mismanagement for most of this decade…”Byko” is opining here about the $17 billion cut by President Obama from his 2010 budget).

    And, in the midst of some pretty relentless name-calling against Janeane Garofalo since she had the audacity to call the “teabaggers” out for the racists that they are (check this out), “Byko” ends up “want(ing) to kick myself – for not interviewing the handful of African-Americans I saw at the local protest” (I suppose a few attended, but I didn’t see any – if that isn’t a case of “Stockholm Syndrome,” then I don’t know what is).

    But I wanted to take note of the following

    (Iowa Dem Senator Tom) Harkin fought to keep a $1.8 million earmark to study how to deal with the odor from pig manure. (How about the stench coming from Congress, Tom?)

    I realize that pig manure isn’t a big deal to Byko or most other people not living in the vicinity of a farm, but still, the following should be noted from here (in which Harkin objects to Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who of course objects to the $1.8 million also)…

    “I suppose we’ll hear a lot of jokes on David Letterman and Jay Leno and a lot of other people will be making jokes about this money for manure. But keep in mind this is not wasteful or an unnecessary or frivolous. This is very important in the daily lives in the people of my state, in North Carolina and every other place where we raise swine,” said Harkin, who pointed out that something in the neighborhood of 20 million pigs live in Iowa on any given day.

    “In farm country manure and odor management are profound, serious challenges which can be mitigated through scientific research,” said Harkin, who pointed out that in Coburn’s state of Oklahoma the issue of pig odor led to a lawsuit by the governor against a neighboring state over animal waste – in this case from poultry.

    “I ask the senator to travel in his own state, ask farmers and their neighbors about whether it is worthwhile to do research into animal odor and manure management,” said Harkin “If I’m not mistaken — and I may be here; I don’t know. if I’m not mistaken, I believe the attorney general of Oklahoma a few years ago brought a case, an action, I think, against their neighboring state, if I’m not mistaken — Arkansas — in terms of some of the effluent that was coming into Oklahoma. And this, again, raised questions of manure management, how it’s put on the land and things like that. And that’s what this research is about. People constantly complain, with good reason, about big farms, factory farms and their environmental impacts. So it makes good sense to fund research that addresses how people can live in our small towns and communities and livestock producers can do the same, and they can coexist.”

    Besides, Byko, you should be more concerned about the stench emanating from North Broad Street instead, particularly every Friday and every other Thursday from certain editorial writers I frequently take to task. It still seems to attract my attention even after moving from the City of Brotherly Love a number of years ago.

    Some Friday News Musings (Updates)

    February 6, 2009

    (This post is a bit long, but I think this needs to be said.)

    In yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News, columnist Stu Bykofsky theorized about the future of newspapers and proposed the rather ridiculous idea of charging subscribers $5 a month to read content (in response to a grilling the Inquirer apparently received from Philadelphia Magazine; I didn’t read the magazine article, which is OK because I’m not commenting on that, only what Bykofsky said in response).

    And as dumb as that is, a similar line of thought about charging for content was echoed here.

    Oh, and “Byko” also said that the next time Google decides to “pick up” (re: steal, to Byko’s way of thinking) content, Google should be sued for a billion dollars.

    Yes, he really said that, people.

    You see, cousins, Byko still believes that news professionals such as he should be the sole gatekeepers of content (this is a variation, by the way, on the argument that former Inquirer editor Chris Satullo advocated, that bloggers should work to fill in reporting gaps for budgetary reasons when it comes to covering zoning hearings or city council/county/township management board meetings and the like because the paper didn’t have the “bandwidth” or budget to do it themselves; some bloggers are really good at that stuff I’ll admit, but I always found that argument by Satullo overly simplistic, to say nothing of disingenuous).

    Or, as Byko puts it…

    Bloggers can’t replace newspapers.

    The million bloggers comment mostly on what was revealed by resource-rich newspapers. No matter how many eyeballs they attract, blogs rarely “break through” because they are so many and so scattered. They lack newspapers’ broad-based public square, where the masses assemble. They also lack the public megaphone and spotlight, which may be the print press’ most important weapons.

    I’m not arguing that; I readily admit that, were I unable to access news content to support what I argue in my posts, about 2/3rds of what I typically write would disappear.

    But Byko assumes here that news professionals are, in each case, the sole originators of news stories. I don’t have any numbers to verify how many stories are initiated from an editor or some informal contact providing a tip, or research on the part of a reporter. However, I also don’t know how many news stories are originated from someone working in a public relations capacity of one type or another who is looking to “leak” information to a reporter who happens to be the fortunate recipient of something that ultimately leads to a story or opinion column.

    Simply stated, yeah, I’ll buy the argument that most reporters generate stories through hard work. But sometimes stories come their way through luck, and for Byko to more or less imply that the former is always the case is creating an undeserved mythology as far as I’m concerned.

    And Byko also says that bloggers rarely “break through” because they are “scattered”; if by that he means that there are so many of us doing our thing that we don’t get the hit count of someone established or recognized by traditional news sources, then I’ll give him that also. But I’m not sure what that has to do with generating good content.

    He continues…

    Was it a blogger who turned a spotlight, and publicly shamed, the Postal Service (in Philadelphia) for dumping mail? No, that was the Daily News. Did a blogger have the resources in time, talent and staff to drag DHS onto the front pages and into the grand-jury room? No, that was the Inquirer. Every day newspapers run stories that would not otherwise be told.

    Was it the New York Times, Washington Post or Inquirer who provided the ground-breaking coverage in the “Scooter” Libby trial that led to his conviction on charges of obstructing a criminal investigation? No, Byko – that was firedoglake, Glenn Greenwald, and a contingent of “A” listers who doggedly pursued the story while individuals such as Bob Woodward decried their efforts (of course, Woodward was hardly without blemish himself on that story, as noted here).

    However, this is where Byko really goes “off the deep end”…

    Do all (any?) bloggers have the training or the inclination to post only what is verifiable? Working for a newspaper means you have been vetted by virtue of education or experience, and you hew to ethical norms of accuracy, honesty and objectivity. Do we always succeed? No. But almost all of us make an honest effort, and we have angels on our shoulders (called editors) to ensure that we do.

    That’s why I’ll trust the Associated Press’ reporting of President Obama’s recovery plan over anything I’ll read at or

    I don’t know if Byko has ever read any posts at or not (they can speak for themselves and try to justify their musings if they want; I only go there when I’m desperate for parody content that I can rip apart from time to time), but those last two paragraphs tell me that he doesn’t have a clue as to what is posted at The Daily Kos.

    Yes, there are a lot of meandering posts where someone more or less theorizes about his or her view of things without verification (the blogger Hunter does that from time to time, for example, but I find his – ? – prose enjoyable to read, and when I do my own research on his topics, I just about always find that he – ? – is spot-on). However, that’s why the site has its “rec list” and prioritizes posts as warranted by their quality, as well as how pertinent they are to ongoing news events.

    You want to read about the workings of Congress? I don’t know of anyone with more expertise than TDK blogger Kagro X. How about science? Has Byko ever read one of DarkSyde’s posts?

    Also, does Byko have any idea how closely Eschaton and Calculated Risk, among other notable blogs, have been following the meltdown of our financial markets and the response of our government, for good or ill?

    And for overall political analysis, I don’t know anybody who “nails it” with the frequency of Digby at Hullabaloo (and I’ve often found sites such as Open Left, Talk Left and Liberal Oasis to possess interesting content, and that’s not even taking into account the legion of “B” list sites, if you will, like Take It Personally and The Existentialist Cowboy that always have something interesting to say also).

    Also, as long as I’m commenting on the “crossover” between established journalists and bloggers, allow me to compliment the Bucks County Courier Times for publishing this excellent analysis of Bernard Goldberg’s hack-tacular new book last Saturday; when the Courier Times is further ahead of the curve than the Inky when it comes to interesting editorial content…well, that says something, doesn’t it?


    Is it arrogant to think that members of the Mainstream Media are a tad more impartial and professional than self-appointed “citizen journalists”?

    If they’re all the same to you, I’m a “citizen dentist.” Call me. I can get that molar out fast.

    Actually, Byko, I hope you’re an expert at removing feet instead of teeth from one’s mouth, since you need to “heal thyself” first.

    As far as I’m concerned, here’s the deal; You and your “dead tree” pals need us about as much as we need you, maybe more. We need you because operations such as the Inquirer and Daily News contain salaried news professionals who often do legitimately good work upon which we can comment given our particular viewpoint (and, despite what Byko claims, I see corroboration of those commentaries in blogs more often than not).

    And you need us because we’re slowly taking away your share of the market (some bloggers faster than others, I readily admit), and, if nothing else, you need to learn from us about how to reach an audience that consumes news in ways that few imagined months or years ago.

    To me, there is no reason why, when I navigate to or any traditional (MSM, if you must) news sources, I should not be able to link to Eschaton, Glenn Greenwald at Salon, FDL, The Daily Kos, Booman Tribune, Hullabaloo, The Huffington Post, or other “A” listers from the portal page instead of from a favored links list by a notable commentator or reporter at that site such as Dick Polman or Will Bunch (to keep with the example). And I don’t know if Byko has noticed or not, but if you watch someone like, say, Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, he will interview reporter Howard Fineman of Newsweek or WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne (as he did last night), but he will also interview Nate Silver of or Ezra Klein of The American Prospect (and last I checked, Olbermann’s ratings among the demographics that truly matter to advertisers were pretty good – trailing Fox, but closing, and leaving CNN in the dust), as well as other bloggers and online writers.

    Oh, but the problem is that all of this leads to the inevitable schism of linking to “liberal” versus “conservative” content, doesn’t it? Heaven forbid that a newspaper owned by Brian Tierney of Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. should “stain” itself with an association with some foul-mouthed hippie bloggers, right?

    Well, guess what, Byko (and Tierney, by extension)? How about letting the marketplace decide, huh? Put up some rotating links from to the blogs I noted above along with, say, National Review Online, Red State, Power Line, Little Green Footballs, Captain’s Quarters or whatever (not an authority on the “winger” sites, I readily admit) and see what happens to your site’s “hit” count.

    I hope that you aren’t afraid of what will likely be the greater scrutinizing of everyone’s content from discriminating news consumers who would welcome such a development, though I’m sure that Byko, established “citizen dentist” that he is, would have nothing to fear, considering the sterling, Pulitzer-quality work he generates in machine-like fashion (like, uh, this?).

    This will “lift all boats” better than any cockamamie scheme to extort payment for content. And everyone would be much better informed for the bargain.

    And let’s not forget that we have arrived at this state because traditional journalism, particularly given the media mergers of the last decade or so (and the subsequent consolidation of the corporate voice above all others that followed) has collectively failed in its duty to inform and educate us by refusing to separate fact from fallacy, truth from tirades, and substance from spin during some of the most calamitous times that our country has ever seen.

    And were that not true, I can most definitely tell you that this blog would not exist.

    Update 3/21/09: “Physician, heal thyself,” as it were (here).

    Update 4/7/09: Eric Schmidt echoes what I’m trying to say here.

    Update 4/9/09: Yep, this sounds like the last word to me.

    “Byko” And His Crackpot History Lesson

    November 17, 2008

    Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky told us last Friday here that “the road to George W. Bush was paved by 1968 and its aftermath.”

    Yes, I’m serious (a less odious observation than his despicable dreck here).


    In reaction to bombs’ being set off by domestic terrorists and violent protests by the Far Left, offended (and possibly frightened) Americans lurched rightward. The “silent majority” was repulsed by the foul-mouthed, head-banded, fringe-wearing anarchists, hippies and Yippies whom they blamed for violence and disorder. They also blamed Democrats.

    The White House was handed over to Richard Nixon. Republicans held it for most of the next 40 years.

    Now I’m not doing to defend Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, or the rest of the so-called “Chicago Seven,” but the other group leading the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago during the year in question (aside from Rubin, Hoffman and the “Youth International Party,” or “Yippies”) was the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (or “MOBE”), which was (according to Wikipedia)…

    …“able to organize several successful protests (that year). The first protest was the “Pentagon March”. MOBE organised a rally at the Lincoln Memorial with speeches by many renowned individuals, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, which was followed by a march and rally at the Pentagon. In the spring of 1968, MOBE sponsored the spring marches in New York and San Francisco. MOBE leaders worked with local officials to hold non-violent marches and to create a show of force against the Vietnam War. The April 27 march in Chicago was part of the MOBE spring marches.

    For Chicago, MOBE originally planned for two large-scale marches and an end of convention rally at Soldier Field. The goal was originally a massive show of force outside the International Amphitheatre. MOBE also planned to have workshops and movement centers distributed in 10 parks throughout the city, many in predominantly black areas, to allow demonstrators and participating groups to follow their particular focuses. The individual groups participating in the protest would run movement centers. The movement centers would have been coordinating areas where workshops could be held and information and first aid could be obtained. MOBE was working with Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) to provide medical attention at the various movement centers and during the marches and the Legal Defense Committee to help those arrested to understand their rights, post bail, and prevent the City from pulling any legal shenanigans.

    Several different areas were prepared (at the Chicago convention) for speech making, and MOBE marshals were instructed to help each different group in organizing their particular type of protest. For groups like Women Strike for Peace, MOBE marshals would instruct the women on how to picket without being arrested, how to avoid a violent confrontation with the police, and generally provide the amateur protesters with experience.

    (By the way, the Wikipedia article tells us that the MOBE actions did not take place because the group was denied permits by the city of Chicago and many of them decided not to participate illegally. And the group enlisted the federal government to aid them in obtaining their permits, but the feds were stonewalled by Mayor Daley also.)

    You see, “Byko”? The minute I or anyone else takes note of the fact that there were actually individuals at the convention who were trying to organize for nonviolent protest, that automatically explodes your phony argument.

    You make it sound as if any issues pertaining to social justice were resolved in 1964 or 1965 (which saw passage of civil rights and voting legislation, I’ll grant you). So, then, what about gender-based issues of equality? Don’t you think an individual such as Harvey Milk, for example, employed ‘60s-era techniques of organization and non-violent protest to ensure that a neglected minority was represented in his district? Or are you going to argue that Milk and LBGT individuals helped “pave the road to George W. Bush” also by not merely shutting up and going away?

    And what about the Equal Rights Amendment (“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”) More liberal wackiness as far as you’re concerned that originated in 1968?

    Don’t you consider passage of the odious Proposition 8 in California as a sign that the battle rages on forty years later? And I guess, to you, liberals who continue to fight it thus further denigrate themselves when they do so?

    If you choose not to associate with the “Far Left yakkers and bloggers” (as you put it) “Byko,” then state that that is your chosen preference. Don’t blame partly misunderstood events of 40 years ago as a reason for your own ignorance.

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