I was wrong – AIG unlocked my writing brain

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I’ve talked before how the passage of Prop 8 here in California was a double edged sword for gay rights. Yeah, it was a setback, but I believe that was only momentary. The passage created so much publicity that the topic of gay marriage and dicussions on nearly every news program brought the conversation out in the open. And I think everyone knows what can happen when a little light is turned on an ugly little secret like discrimination. Anyway – this isn’t about that, but more about the point of how people have become more aware of it. I am pretty certain that taking the same vote today would bring much different results – perhaps even tipping the scales thanks to all the talk.

Meanwhile, we have the bailouts of big companies during these economically trying times. With multiple examples across industries of companies doing incredibly stupid things AFTER receiving govt bail out money. Spa weekends. Super Bowl parties. Bonuses. Yes, bonuses. Um..may I ask please, a bonus for WHAT? Superior performance? A share of company (non existant) profits? No, AIG claims they are contractually obligated. Yeah well,  auto manufacturers are contractually obligated to their union workers too – yet those union workers were told they had to reduce demands on their companies or else the govt would not help. So auto workers who do not make *nearly* the salaries of these financial company employees were told to tighten their belts as a condition for funding, but no one else? Sorry folks, but that is just bullshit. Oh, and those contracts? Wouldn’t they have been violated had AIG gone under? Which is what we were told would happen if they were not bailed out. Collapse of company. Kaput. Jobs gone. Uh, that would have meant no bonuses! Seems to me the fair compromise in exchange for being allowed to KEEP their jobs and salaries would have been to forgo those contractually obligated bonuses. Why was THAT set up as a condition for money like the conditions put upon the auto companies? Why the double standard people??? I know this was all originally set up under the prior administration, but I am also quite disappointed that Obama’s admin has not clamped down on these inequities sooner. There have been rumblings and complaints amongst progressives from the start about his choice of Geitner and Sumners as economic advisers. For sure even my layman eyes can see the problems with Geitner given his earlier role in the marketplace. I fear he is much too loyal to these financial executives to see clearly how their business practices are so wrong.

In the long run, what does encourage me is that the media is shining a light on these excesses. The public is more aware now. I hope that translates into demands on Congress for more accountability.

If all else fails – I say we just sic Jon Stewart on them :-)

The media – GAH! Or, maybe it’s the people watching?

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*Note – my own life is rather incredibly routine at the moment so putting the spotlight on others is just way more interesting :-)*

I saw this tag line on Politico today during lunch: “Going gray’s just fine, man” and I immediately knew it was a write up on Howard Fineman.

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Why? Because while watching him yesterday on Hardball I noticed that he has been letting himself go gray.  This picture shows him before – I searched and could not find a recent one with the gray more prominent. Actually I noticed it a few days ago on Countdown when he and Keith were side by side and it kinda looked like Keith’s natural gray (which I love) was bleeding over onto Howard. And I like it. I wrote once about how I love gray hair and will not be coloring over mine. So when I see TV stars/personalities letting their gray show I tend to notice. But, it was just something I *noticed* – not something I freaked out about which prompted me to start emailing or blogging about the hair color change.

Freaked out about you say? Blogging about it you say? Emailing the man himself over it? Yeah – check out this part of the posting from Politico:

Perfect strangers, we hear, go up and talk to him about it. If you Google “Howard Fineman” and “hair,” 30,500 hits pop up.

Fineman told Shenanigans, “I’m letting my hair go gray — duh — but it grows slowly. I attribute [last week’s] particularly disconcerting look on ‘Hardball’ to two factors: I drove around town with the top down on my old convertible, and I read the hair-raising details of the stimulus package. By the way, nothing I’ve ever said, reported or written over the years has generated as much comment as the Hair Transition, which says a lot about the power of television and, I guess, the importance of what I have said, reported and written.”

(emphasis mine)

Agree or disagree with him, this is a very well respected political correspondent. The Chief Political Correspondent for Newsweek magazine and someone who has interviewed every President since 1984. And it’s his HAIR COLOR that has people talking about him?????

I would love to blame this on what is an easy to pick on shallow media, but from that Google stat and the feedback he is getting from what must be much more than just reporters, I now have to just put it out there – perhaps the media is shallow because the VIEWERS are shallow?? Maybe that’s all they really want? Is this a which came first question? Did American dumb down the media by only demanding and responding to fluff? Or did the media dumb us down by only feeding us fluff?

Well?

And yes I realize that I will be adding to the Google stats with this post.

So called ‘liberal’ media.

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I’ve been through lots of debate over the last few years on media balance/bias. Some people point to the commentary or ‘spin’  by hosts found in certain networks as an indication of bias. Some like to point to studies on who watches which networks along political party lines. I’ve been more interested in something more black and white. Which political party is more strongly represented on the networks? Because that is more easily identifiable – was the congressperson an R or a D? No gray area :-)

A study done during the last presidential term showed a heavy skewing towards his party across all networks (not just one he one you would suspect). The excuse given by all the heads of those networks was that they were the party in power so it was only natural that they received more air time. Ok, fine. So how have things been looking over the last two weeks?

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Ok, network big wigs – what’s the excuse now?

(source for both graphs is here)

Is it Jan 20 yet?

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Took a break from political posts after the election due to extreme burn out. Even though things mostly went the way I personally wanted them to go, I was just done talking about it. The break has been good and I knew I was ready to dive in again when I saw this and felt a jolt of optimism and pride:

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See that Presidential seal on the plane? Chills!! For the first time in my political lifetime (which I define as me being politically aware and not just voting by habit), the White House will be occupied by someone closest to my political leanings. He’s not a perfect match – heck, no one is and I do get a bit hot under the collar when people complain about politicians from either side not being a perfect match for them (hello, reality anyone?)

A word to my more conservative readers. I’m sorry. Really, I am. I know that picture spurs a completely different reaction for you. I know exactly how you feel. I was there in 2000/2001. The policial winds of the nation have always blown back and forth. Each down period makes that party stronger as it refocuses and gets in touch with voters and finds the message that will resonate beyond just their most loyal base constiuents. I’d love to reassure you and say it will all be fine, but I know that’s a lie. Because a few of my friends said that in 2000 and IMHO the last 8 years did not prove to be fine at all. So I wont placate with false promises. I do advise my more passionately political friends to find a place where you can rant away with a few like minded folks. That really does help (which is why DailyKos became my political home). Vent and then work on improving the party from within any way you can.

Meanwhile, let’s both make of some low hanging fruit shall we? Yes, that means, the media. Because I really really wish that BREAKING NEWS flashing in RED actually meant that I was about to be told something I absolutely HAD to know about. Horrid as it sounds, there better be fire/flood/destruction etc etc. I had better NOT see that just because Barack Obama’s plane has landed in DC for the first time. Or because the grand parents of Caylee Anthony have arrived for a new conference about the child’s remains being found. Or because John Travolta’s son has died. Those may be *news* items, but they are not BREAKING worthy!!

His tie? Really?

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First of all I want to thank everyone who visits because last month was a record breaker – 3093!! Which for many of those I read is a mere pittance, but for me HUGE! The closest before that had been just over 2400 so thanks to all who click over here regularly. Thanks also to Google for sending over everyone who searches on “Couch Potato” and “Obama’s Grandma”  – boring perhaps when compared to some of my friends with much more ‘interesting’ search term hits!!

I’ve already admitted my post-election addiction to Politico44 the new page on Politico which provides “A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency” as they put it. It’s been a good way to wean off of all things election and polls and such. It’s also something I follow with a great deal of humor as I do see the ridiculousness in it all. In fact, it’s a bit of a joke around the house as I will ask SportsBoy if he knows where Obama is NOW…and he looks at the little time line on the right side to tell me he is at the gym :-)  But hey, the media needs something to do too eh? So they provide with this voyeuristic tool and we enjoy – tongue in cheek most of the time.

Today though..well…this article is just utterly embarrassing! Here is a snippet:

Monday was a big day for President-elect Barack Obama, with a major TV appearance scheduled to introduce his six-member national security team, including one of the biggest political rivals of his career.

So when he dressed in the morning, he put on a special tie.

Seriously? A journalist person wrote a piece about ties?? Nice. Our vaunted media at work! I love the third comment in the posting:

how much time did you spend researching this drivel?

Exactly.

Best line of the election (IMHO)

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Because it could come from either side of the aisle and it so APTLY describes the state of the media during this election:

“They seize on an innocent remark, try to take it out of context, throw
up an outrageous ad, because they know that it’s catnip for the news
media.”  (emphasis mine)

So damn true!!! Catnip for the news media. HAH!

(Quote by Barack Obama at a campaign stop today.)

This week in politics – A brave new world

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Two thoughts have rambled through my head this week as I watched coverage of the presidential campaign. The first is the rise of Free Ad Time. (dontcha love that it spells out FAT!) The media – again in their desperation for something to say – is now in the business of giving each candidate FAT. So far, this has benefited John McCain the most since it is his ads which have been receiving all sorts of scrutiny the last two weeks. In the primaries, Hillary Clinton benefited from the first big round of FAT thanks to her “3am ad”. What happens is that every single major news outlet runs an ad in its entirety and then spends entire segments analyzing it. Often their analysis is mind numbingly vapid, but still, that candidate is ever so thankful I am sure for the FAT considering how expensive actual advertising time is. Many ads are initially just regional buys since the candidate is just targeting a particular state at a time given financial contraints. However, the media ends up exposing the ad to the nation with their FAT segments. Now, the reason it has benefited McCain is because of the tone of his last two ads. The first one accusing Obama of ignoring the troops on his overseas visit ostensibly because cameras were not allowed was first all completely debunked right away since that was *not* the reason he skipped that last visit ni Germany and then was largely panned because the images they showed in the background of the ad were of Obama *visiting troops* in Iraq! It’s since been revealed that the McCain camp was prepared to critize Obama either way – for using the troops as props or for avoiding them. Funny stuff since again, it was McCain who pushed for that overseas trip!! Anyway, forgetting how silly some of the ads are, the really funny thing is how the media gets into them. They essentially reward the campaigns for outlandish ads. Now, the Obama camp has rightly pointed out that so far all McCain has done in his ads is attack Obama rather then promoting McCain and his positions on key issues. However, why should they? A drab ad telling you how McCain supports the gas tax holiday or drilling offshore would not give them anythign to yammer about! Which means no FAT. I also love the standard issue reponses from both campaigns. I know they have flash cards handy with these things. Both camps have the same ones, just depends on which name they need to insert :-) For example: “Senator X has again proven he does not understand what is important to the American people.” “Senator Y has again lowered the tone of this campagin by attacking Senator X rather than focusing on the issues” Rinse, repeat.

On a more hopeful note (yep, had to say it!), I’ve seen this mentioned in a few other places, but it really hit home to me as SportsBoy and I watched the tv last night. He is growing up thinking it is perfectly normal for women and minorities to hold positions of power in our country. He is not phased in the least by Obama’s race or his name. On his own he initially was rooting for Hillary to win the nomination. Given that this is the first presidential race that will be in his memory banks, I am so thrilled that it is not again another race between two older white men!! It’s always been my belief that it takes more than one generation to really change things. Equality for women, race relations, sexual orientation acceptance, those are things very very recent for our country. It takes time for those things to sink in. Time as in, generations of efforts. Here’s hoping that his generation is the one that really does get past the race/gender issue and makes even deeper inroads for same sex marriage and acceptance.