Olbermann and O’Reilly Forced by Bosses to Bury Hatchet? Why?

In a story titled "Truce Reached in Cable News Feud", the New York Times is reporting that a deal has been struck between Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman of GE, and Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of News Corporation, to end the long-running battle between Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. According to the article, Olbermann’s last attack on O’Reilly was on June 1 and O’Reilly’s final attack was on June 2.

It’s easy for me to see why GE would enter such a deal. It appears that O’Reilly’s final attack disrupted a GE shareholders’ meeting and also resulted in a barrage of email for Immelt and GE. However, I have a bit of a problem seeing why Murdoch would agree to such a deal. As the article said, "the feud had increased the viewing audience of both programs", so it’s clear that Murdoch profited from the feud.

The only possible explanation I can come up with for Murdoch agreeing is that GE might have threatened a lawsuit over O’Reilly’s continued attacks on GE. I encourage other suggestions in the comments.

Olbermann, who is on vacation, responded by email to the Times, saying "I am party to no deal". Then why did the attacks stop, Keith? Why have you stopped, Bill?

Another Kind of Summit

The White House issued this seemingly noncontroversial statement today:


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 31, 2009

Readout of the President’s meeting with business leaders today:

As part of the President’s ongoing outreach to the business community he invited Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon and Chairman of the Business Roundtable, Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart, Dan DiMicco, CEO of Nucor and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks to join him for lunch in the Private Dining Room this afternoon. They had a wide ranging conversation about the state of the economy, health care reform and energy during the 75 minute lunch. The President and his economic team look forward to continuing to hold informal meetings with members of the business community to seek their input.

What the statement fails to acknowledge is that these CEOs represent some of the worst anti-union gangsters in the country. Most of us have heard about Wal-Mart, but Nucor and Starbucks are just as bad. For its part, Verizon is currently engaged in hammer-and-tong contract talks with the Communications Workers of America.

It would be interesting to know what these four thugs said to Obama about EFCA, and even more interesting to know what Obama said in return.

So That’s What It Takes

Like me, I’m sure you’re all sick of watching "moderate" Democrats suck up to the right while dissing the left.  But there is hope!  Today, after many years of fruitless observation, I have finally discovered how to get one of them to absolutely go off on conservatives:

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) has called Grover Norquist’s anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform “lying sacks of scum” for lumping him in with other moderate Democrats who support the House health reform bill. 

“Americans for Tax Reform are lying sacks of scum, and anyone who knowingly repeats this false information is also a liar,” Taylor said in an unusually blistering statement for a member of Congress.

So there you have it.  The only way a conservative can raise a Blue Dog’s hackles is to… accuse him of mildly progressive tendencies.

Now we must figure out how to make this valuable new intelligence work in our favor.

It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind
even if she can’t spell ‘prerogative’

A wink does not a binding contract make

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit – V. Lombardi

The former Queen of Moosylvania is bailin’ again:

Just days after officially stepping down as governor of Alaska, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is dropping out of an advertised speaking engagement in Simi Valley.

Palin was slated to attend on Aug. 8 the 50th anniversary gala of the Simi Valley Republican Women, Federated, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. It would have been her first public appearance since leaving office and had been widely reported by media outlets.

Pat Saraceno, the spokeswoman for the Simi Valley Republican Women, said they found out Thursday that Palin wasn’t coming.

“I had direct knowledge as of yesterday. I am not going to comment on how or from whom,” said Saraceno.

“There’s no harm, no foul. We always respected the (former) governor’s right to change course.”

Saraceno said the group would not be commenting further.

That seems a little, um, terse, doesn’t it? I wonder why? Oh:

It was on Thursday that Palin’s spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton made public the news of the decision not to attend the event via Palin’s Facebook page. She wrote that Palin had never committed to coming to Simi Valley and had requested several weeks ago that her name be removed from the invitation.

So, according to Saraceno, she just found out as of yesterday, but Meg "Lips Apart, Lies Coming Out" Stapleton said that Palin opposite-RSVP’d a couple of weeks ago. Which… means… that either  the Simi Valley Republican Women Federated were selling tickets under false pretenses or, well… you know the drill.

It seems like only a few weeks ago that someone wrote:

 Sarah Palin breaks open her High School Musical day-planner  and makes plans for August 8th for her coming out party … in pencil:


Unless someone with a more bitchin’ car invites her to the prom….

I guess this is not one of those "no one could have predicted" moments…

Well There Goes My Weekend! Palin Won’t Do Reagan Library

sarah-palin-blows-kiss.thumbnail.jpgI had a great plan to attend Sarah Palin’s appearance at the Reagan Library in honor of the Simi Valley Republican Women’s Club on August 8th. One of my friends’ moms was once Orange County Republican Woman of the Year. Mmmhmmm, you see where this is going:

1.    Use Mumsie’s name to get tickets
2.    Dress like a Republican
3.    Attend dinner with top secret blogger tools hidden in my G-faux-P girdle
4.    ???
5.    Profit!

Sadly though that pesky Palin has thwarted my hijinx! She backed out…Hmmm could her operatives have sensed my stealthy prowl?  Or does she just like to tease and then say "No"?

Today this sad message appeared on the website of the Simi Valley Republican Women in tragic blue san-serif font:

We regret to inform you that Governor Sarah Palin is unable to attend our event on August 8, 2009. As stated, we invited her to attend and we were honored by her consideration. We sincerely appreciate the support of our members and guests. We will refund ticket purchases for anyone who chooses not to attend.  

Here’s what Ex-Gov GILF had to say on her Facebook page:

As repeatedly stated to several in the media over the last week, former Governor Sarah Palin is not committed to attend the Simi Valley Republican Women’s event at the Reagan Library and in fact is not attending the event. Neither the Governor’s state staff nor SarahPAC has ever committed to attending this event or speaking at this event, and even requested that the Governor’s name be removed from the invitation several weeks ago. The Governor has other work and commitments to take care of at that time. She looks forward to visiting her friends in California soon.

All event requests must be confirmed with Meghan Stapleton of SarahPAC. Additionally, all invitations bearing the Governor’s name must be approved by her attorney before proceeding.

Thank you.
Meghan Stapleton

Guess who the replacement is? Palin’s very own amanuensis: John Zeigler

AFSCME Urges Say-on-Pay for Shareholders

AFSCME filed the first shareholder "say-on-pay" proposals in 2005. In the four years since then, we’ve put together a broad coalition of investors fighting to get shareholders a voice on executive compensation. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected later today to vote on "say-on-pay" legislation crafted by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA). In this morning’s issue of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee urges Congress to pass this bill as an important step in the effort to hold corporations accountable to shareholders.

Ridiculous bonuses justify say-on-pay for shareholders

By Gerald W. McEntee
The Hill
Posted: 07/30/09 05:58 PM [ET]

While America’s families continue to be battered by unemployment, foreclosures and other pains associated with the worst recession in decades, Wall Street executives are raking in the big bucks again.

Goldman Sachs is preparing to hand out $6.65 billion in salary and bonuses for the second quarter after getting funds from the taxpayer through the Troubled Assets Relief Program. JPMorgan put aside $14 billion to pay top executives and traders. That’s just ridiculous. And since excessive executive compensation has flourished even when businesses are failing, shareholders need a say-on-pay.

President Barack Obama earlier this year decried the "culture of narrow self-interest and short-term gain at the expense of everything else" that has fostered corporate irresponsibility. CEOs like Martin J. Sullivan, who ran American International Group (AIG), the giant insurance and financial services firm, into the ground, illustrate the problem in our boardrooms. He was fired, but walked away with a severance package estimated at $47 million.

He wasn’t alone. While the economy was thrown into turmoil and people across the nation lost their life savings, AIG executives continued to receive hefty bonuses. We’ve all taken a hit thanks to AIG’s greedy manipulation of exotic investment products. The perverse system of excessive pay, even for failure, created incentives for foolish risk-taking by major financial institutions.

For years, AFSCME has worked to rein in the excessive paychecks unrelated to long-term performance that unaccountable corporate boards of directors have given many of America’s CEOs. We’ve argued that boards cheat shareholders and workers when they cloak their operations in secrecy or are unaccountable to shareholders.

Responsibility for the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression can be laid at the feet of those CEOs who put short-term profits ahead of long-term and sustainable wealth (more…)

Reply to Ezra Klein on the Importance of the Public Option and Exchanges (Part II)

This is Part II of a response to Ezra Klein on the relative importance of the Public Option (PO) (Part I) and the "exchange" through which individuals would gain access to the PO. Part I is here.

Now about the exchange(s). I agree that exchanges can be useful; I’m fine that the concept is in the bill. But to single out the exchange(s) (there could one in each state) as critically important relative to the Public Option seems to confuse their respective roles.

If you read what Ezra says about them, their principal value arises from the fact you might have better choices within the exchange. But that’s only likely if there is a viable PO competitor pushing prices down and serving as an alternative model you could choose if the private insurers didn’t provide products you wanted (or continued to abuse their customers).

Klein’s discussion confuses the benefits of an exchange — the place (or website) you go to to choose a plan — with the competing plans themselves. We could have some competition without a formal exchange — just as different insurers compete today in offering plans to employers. And if we had a strong PO available to employers, we could have some very interesting competition, still with no exchange.

But if we don’t have a viable PO, then whatever competition occurs in the exchange is limited to the highly concentrated private insurers whose "competition" among themselves has already proved to be inadequate and a long ways from any economic model for competitive markets. (more…)

Stand For Marriage Maine Delivers Signatures- But How Many Are Valid?

UPDATE: Apparently yet ANOTHER spokesperson for SFMM yesterday told the press that about 70,000 signatures were being submitted- not over 100,000!

Scott Fish, spokesman for the Stand for Marriage campaign, said volunteers are going to drop off more than 70,000 signatures – about 15,000 more than the minimum needed to force a referendum.

Hilarious- they don’t seem able to get their story straight at all, do they?


Check out this video response by Maine4Marriage:

Supposedly SFMM, er, their hired hands from Michigan collected over 100,000 of them. Funny- they never stopped by my house ONCE…

Opponents of Maine’s new law allowing same-sex couples to marry delivered more than 100,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office on Friday as part of their effort force a November referendum on the issue.

Leaders of the petition drive said the fact they were able to collect so many signatures over a relatively short time underscores deep discontent among Mainers toward the new law.

“We are here today to witness this that 1,260-some volunteers and over 100,000 Maine citizens have already said no,” said the Rev. Bob Emrich, one of Stand for Marriage Maine’s leaders. “And they did so because they believe there is still a duty and a benefit to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional marriage,”

If at least 55,087 of the 100,373 signatures are deemed valid, a question will appear on the November ballot asking voters whether they wish to repeal the gay marriage law.

But there’s the thing: just how many of those are indeed valid? I have little doubt that SFMM was able to pull 55k+ signatures, but 100k?

No way in hell. Calling bullsh*t here, folks…

But as one could expect, those who oppose Maine’s equal marriage law (and the larger national picture this law represents) are not questioning the validity of the signatures at all, but instead reporting the 100k as a sign of strong support.

Washington Times even interviewed the latest newbie campaign manager. Did I miss something while on vacation- what happened to Marc Mutty, on loan from the Portland Roman Catholic Diocese?

Since when is Jeff Flint the official campaign manager?

But then again, I seem to remember Mike Heath “sardonically” stating that not he (Heath), but Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland’s Bishop Richard Malone was in charge

Anyone else see, similar to a major league baseball game, the changing of pitchers after every inning as an indicator of a game plan going badly?

As for the “1260 volunteers”… oh please.

If they had that many volunteers, why did they have to pay for troops from Michigan?

You think just maybe the number, which is utterly laughable when one also considers the 4 lone donations from Mainers, might be a reaction to this accurate figure of 400 grassroots volunteers??

A coalition fighting a move to repeal the state’s gay marriage law says it has collected more than 60,000 pledge cards of support from Maine residents.

Maine Freedom to Marry organizers announced at a noon rally Thursday at Portland City Hall that more than 400 volunteers had collected the cards from across the state. The announcement came a day before opponents are scheduled to deliver signatures to Augusta to put the issue of gay marriage on the November ballot.

The rally was the latest development in a campaign that is expected to be highly emotional and very expensive. By mid-July, the coalition of opponents of gay marriage, the Stand for Maine Marriage political action committee, had raised more than $343,000, while those fighting the repeal had taken in $138,640 in contributions.

Gay-marriage proponents at the rally said they had collected the pledge cards during the past year. Jesse Connolly, campaign manager, said volunteers will collect even more this summer.

“We are the local grassroots campaign,” said Connolly.

And look who was first to weigh in with his opinion of this very dubious “accomplishment”: “native Mainer” NOM’s Brian Brown!!

Stand for Marriage Maine supporters, however, believe voters will restore the traditional definition of marriage.

“In thirty other states in America, when voters have had their say, they have voted for marriage as between a man and a woman,” noted Brian Brown, executive director of National Organization for Marriage, which is also part of the Maine coalition.

Okay, okay… here’s a real local reaction, via Christian Civic League, er, the Mike and Mike twins:

The Maine Family Policy Council congratulated Stand for Marriage Maine for the successful petition drive but cautioned the coalition against becoming overconfident.

“Victory in November is not a foregone conclusion,” the council stated. “Our opposition has unlimited financial resources, a clever propaganda campaign which plays on traditional Maine values, and that most powerful factor of all, the support of the media and the liberal establishment.”

Funny, aren’t they? Seems Heath and Hein are living in another Maine, very different than the Maine of mine and the Governor’s… you know, the one where people just live their lives and want everyone else to be able to do the same, equally…

By the way, there is a name change of note:

At the rally, Connolly announced that Maine Freedom to Marry had legally changed its name to No on 1/ Protect Maine Equality.

Mark Sullivan, a spokesman for the campaign, said the name change is designed to make it clear that a “no” vote on the referendum question in November would retain the gay-marriage law.

We want people to be absolutely clear what they are voting about,” said Sullivan.

Vacation time is over; time to go to work!! (more…)

Mike Ross Thrives While Constituents Struggle, Study Says

Mike Ross Likes his Pork

Mike Ross likes his pork like he likes his dogs: blue
(by watertiger)

Blue Dog Mike Ross benefits a great deal from the current state of health care in this country. But what about the people who he’s supposed to represent? According to a new report from the Main Street Alliance, the people in Ross’ state of Arkansas aren’t benefiting very much from the way things are:

The data presented in this report were gathered through a survey of 180 Arkansas small business owners. Surveys were collected through face to face interviews with business owners in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Malvern, Monticello, Stuttgart, Dumas and Little Rock. The results indicate that Arkansas small business owners:

• Are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of health care and need meaningful health reform so they can contribute to economic recovery;

• Support approaches to reform that include more public oversight of insurers and a choice between private insurance and a public health insurance plan;

• Are willing to contribute toward health coverage for their employees, but can’t do it without a system of shared responsibility where the costs are shared; and

• Want government to play a stronger role in making health care work for businesses and employees.

Furthermore, despite the massive amounts of money being dumped into media and Congressional manipulation by the insurance and health-care industries, they are actually losing the debate here. Polls show that Americans trust Obama on this issue more than they do Republicans, who are known to be opposed to any sort of health care reform (unless it’s fake reform that makes their lobbyist friends richer). Granted, you’d never know it from most media coverage, which is ridiculously slanted against meaningful reform, but that’s the way it is.

Blue Angels

UPDATE: How I Beat the Angels Blues, or, A true Story with a Happy Ending, below the fold!

The Blue Angels are at this very moment tearing the atmosphere over Seattle.  They are a perennial feature of Seafair, a celebration of, well, I’m not sure exactly.

Yes, fighter planes are a part of a modern military.  Yes, precision flying is an awesome skill.  But !@(*@&! I HATE the Blue Angels.  The Naval Air Force exists for one thing and one thing alone: to terrorize, intimidate and/or kill our enemies or would-be enemies.  Their planes terrorize me too, so I see using them as props in a city-wide festival as incredibly messed up.  I also suspect that many fewer Americans would see them as cool real life versions of a video game if they had ever been in a combat zone themselves.  Blue Angels do not exist to wow and marvel us, they exist to kill.  Wheee, now let’s have a picnic as they blot out our sun!

There, I just had to say that. (more…)