Archive for November, 2010

Roger Ailes: Jon Stewart loves polarizing; NPR execs are Nazis

Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News, commenting on Jon Stewart:

“He’s crazy. If it wasn’t polarized, he couldn’t make a living. He makes a living by attacking conservatives and stirring up a liberal base against it. He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It’d be a bomb.”

Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News, commenting in that same interview on NPR executives:

“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.”

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Palin drawing a bead on Barack Obama’s job

“President Palin.”

Kinda has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Let’s try it out in other ways.

“Ladies and gentlemen, President Sarah Palin and the First Gentleman, Todd Palin ….”

“I, Sarah Palin, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States…. ”

“BEIJING — (AP) President Sarah Palin, emerging from closed-door talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, announced that an accord had been reached ….”

It’s not a farfetched thought, at least not to Palin herself. More and more, she sounds as if she’s ready to take the plunge.

And as she told Barbara Walters of ABC News the other night, if she runs, she believes that she’ll beat Barack Obama.

“I’m looking at the lay of the land now, and…trying to figure that out, if it’s a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it’s a good thing.”

She gave a similar answer in a profile interview with the New York Times Sunday magazine, in which she was asked whether she was seriously …

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The only ones deserving of help are those who don’t need it

Unless Congress acts by Nov. 30 — which seems unlikely because of GOP opposition — two million unemployed Americans will lose the jobless benefits that in many cases account for their only income. And from there, the numbers will grow larger. Many of those who will lose benefits have children to feed and clothe; many of them have homes they are in the process of losing.

The officially conservative narrative teaches us that assisting these people through hard times is unaffordable given our deficit problems. It further instructs us that these fellow Americans are “nonproducers” or “parasites” living large — on a maximum of $330 a week here in Georgia — at the expense of the virtuous “producers.” The conservative narrative holds that these people are simply lazy, and that once aid is cut off, they will finally be motivated to go out and take the jobs that are surely available … somewhere.

The numbers, on the other hand, tell a different story. Almost 15 million Americans are …

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Can critics of GM bailout issue a recall of their predictions?

Eighteen months after the Obama administration launched a taxpayer-funded rescue of General Motors, the company is reporting earnings so far this year of $4.8 billion, which means it is outperforming Toyota.

And on Thursday, for the first time, the new General Motors will offer stock for sale by private investors. Wall Street seems eager to have the opportunity. Experts predict the stock will sell well, and demand is so high that this week the company boosted the estimated price range of its stock from $26-$29 to $32-$33.

In the late spring and early summer of 2009, conservative critics were citing the bailout as proof that Obama was taking us “down the road to socialism,” as U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby put it. Yet after this week’s IPO, the federal government will no longer be GM’s majority owner, and government officials are debating whether to shed the remainder of GM’s stock relatively quickly or sell it more slowly, allowing it to increase in value and perhaps even turn a …

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Keeping things legal at state Capitol

In January, in an otherwise austere budget, Gov. Sonny Perdue requested $300 million in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects, with most of the money earmarked for projects to ease freight movement.

The biggest priority on the list — and at $121 million, the most expensive — was completion of the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway linking I-95 to the Port of Savannah. Trucking companies have complained for years about the delay caused by traffic jams into and out of the port. Perdue also requested $68 million to dredge the Savannah River to let deep-water vessels access the port.

However, few Georgians knew that in the months just before the governor’s announcement, representatives of his private trucking and grain businesses had been meeting repeatedly with port officials about how to increase the amount of business the Perdue companies do with Georgia ports.

As AJC reporter Dan Chapman documented in a story Sunday, one of those meetings included Perdue himself. According …

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James O’Keefe’s latest victim: A special ed teacher

In August, an undercover operative for James O’Keefe — the conservative “filmmaker” of ACORN and Shirley Sherrod fame — started chatting up an unwary schoolteacher in a New Jersey bar.

Alissa Ploshnick, the single, 38-year-old special ed teacher, was flattered by the attention from her new 26-year-old “friend.” Over the next two and a half or three hours, they had some drinks, some laughs and apparently some flirtation. At one point, in a conversation about teacher tenure, Ploshnick told the attentive young man how hard it was to fire a tenured teacher. To prove her point, she told her admirer a story about a fellow teacher who had actually called a student the N-word, but the teacher had merely been demoted, not fired.

As happens with many a bar story, the story itself was apparently false. But in telling it, Ploshnick used the N-word herself.

Ploshnick had no idea that she was being audiotaped. A couple of months later, O’Keefe ambushed her outside her apartment with a …

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Rangel’s walkout no reason to delay ethics case

For months, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, has been demanding quick action on the 13 ethics charges against him.

Today, when eight of his congressional colleagues finally began a public hearing into the charges against Rangel, the congressman changed his mind. Forty minutes into the proceedings, he demanded a delay until he could raise more money to hire attorneys.

When the panel refused his request, Rangel walked out, and the proceedings continued.

Rangel has already spent almost $2 million in legal fees on the case. Postponing the proceeding while he raises another million — and who would he raise it from? — means it would be delayed indefinitely. Since the facts in the case are not in serious dispute, and since Rangel’s expulsion from the House is not among the punishments being considered, the panel has every right and indeed the obligation to finish its job.

“Retention of counsel is up to the respondent,” as panel chairman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., correctly observed. …

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Israeli right, American right link arms across the sea

Last week, after President Obama protested an Israeli decision to build 1,300 new apartments in a disputed section of Jerusalem, the deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset rebuked the president and reminded him that, well, elections have consequences:

“President Obama has apparently not yet internalized the results of last week’s elections in the United States,” Danny Danon said. “Israel can and should build without any restrictions in our undivided capital of Jerusalem. I commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for ignoring the unreasonable demands of some US administrations officials.”

Clearly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues feel emboldened enough by the results of this month’s midterm elections to defy Obama’s efforts. More remarkable still, Republican officials here at home are encouraging Netanyahu to do exactly that.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the incoming House majority leader, met privately with Netanyahu for an hour. Afterward, …

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Some tasty Cajun spice in tonight’s travelin’ music

I’ve been wanting to post something by Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys for a long time, but I’ve had a hard time finding a video of suitable quality. The videos posted on Youtube are all taken by amateurs from live performances, and the sound and image quality are often lacking.

This one, though, comes closer than any other to capturing her voice, musicianship and personality, an authentic taste of Louisiana and Americana. (If you buy her CDs, you’ll also find she has a hilariously bawdy sense of humor.)

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Arthur Laffer’s Alice-in-Wonderland economy

Arthur Laffer is a famous economist with a PhD from Stanford. He is also, to some, a guru of sorts.

I, of course, am none of the above.

On the other hand, I also didn’t write the silly, myopic, Alice-in-Wonderland piece by Laffer published in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal in which he offers the following analysis of our jobless situation:

“Employment is low because the incentives for workers to work are too small, and the incentives not to work too high. Workers’ net wages are down, so the supply of labor is limited. Meanwhile, demand for labor is also down since employers consider the costs of employing new workers—wages, health care and more—to be greater today than the benefits.”

Interestingly, in Laffer’s explanation of how we got into this mess and how we might get out of it, the word “housing,” as in the bursting of the housing bubble, is never mentioned. Nor are the words “derivative” or “mortgage” or “Wall Street” or “foreclosure”.

The word “consumer,” as in the …

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