January 22nd, 2011


Going On A Palin Free Diet

Though it is embarrassing to admit this in public, I can no longer hide the truth. I have a Sarah Palin problem.

I have written about her in 42 columns since Sen. John McCain picked her as his vice-presidential running mate in 2008. I've mentioned her in dozens more blog posts, Web chats, and TV and radio appearances. I feel powerless to control my obsession, even though it cheapens and demeans me.

But today is the first day of the rest of my life. And so, I hereby pledge that, beginning on Feb. 1, 2011, I will not mention Sarah Palin -- in print, online or on television -- for one month. Furthermore, I call on others in the news media to join me in this pledge of a Palin-free February. With enough support, I believe we may even be able to extend the moratorium beyond one month, but we are up against a powerful compulsion, and we must take this struggle day by day.

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Sure, no one puts the "Oh No They Didn't" into politics quite like Palin, but this author as the right idea. So what do you think, ONTD_P, think we can go 28 days Palin Free?

Edit: Source
  • ook

With Comcast/NBC merger is MSNBC About to Make a Right Turn?

UPDATE: The word out of MSNBC is that Keith Olbermann, who'd been negotiating his severance with one year left on his contract, can't move to another cable/broadcast news channel right away, so he may be "on ice" for some time. On the other hand, he could go back into sports talk.

The MSNBC statement (posted below) about Keith Olbermann's firing came without warning. The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell will move to 8 PM weekdays on MSNBC, and The Rachel Maddow Show remaining at 9 PM, with The Ed Show starring Ed Schultz moving to 10 PM. Cenk Uyger of the liberal "Young Turks" will be taking over Ed's 6 PM slot.

The moves are simultaneous with new owner Comcast starting to show its hand over the broadcast network and cable NBCU (NBC UNIVERSAL Company) after receiving FCC approval. "He's been very problematic," an NBCU source told Deadline about Comcast's attitude to Olbermann. 

Officially, the Comcast takeover is next week. But word has been circulating for months now that the new owners have wanted to "tinker" with MSNBC and had many changes in store, including a right turn for the left-wing cable channel so that it represents both political points of view more evenly. It is well known that both Comcast chief Brian Roberts and NBCU chief Steve Burke have donated heavily to the Republican party with Burke more recently donating money to a few Democrats as well as heavily to Republicans. Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention while Burke raised at least $200,000 for George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

above: Comcast's Brian Roberts

Olbermann hosted the highest-rated program on MSNBC. His Countdown averaged 1 million viewers, down a modest 10% from 2009. However, he's known as a very polarizing figure and a loose cannon, and became more and more of a liability for MSNBC. In November, he was briefly suspended for making Democratic campaign contributions -- and then reinstated. Olbermann's exit follows yesterday's departure of NBC primetime president Angela Bromstad in a housecleaning at NBC.

MSNBC STATEMENT REGARDING KEITH OLBERMANN: MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.


FOXNEWS SHEP 1,786,000
FOXNEWS BECK 1,780,000
CNN PIERS 1,025,000
CNN COOPER 740,000

Sources after the cut. Collapse )

“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society.”

Keith Olbermann, the combative left-leaning anchor of MSNBC's most popular program, "Countdown," surprised viewers Friday night by announcing that the show would be his last. Olbermann said he had been told by MSNBC that the cable network was ending his contract.


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once upon a time

PolitiFact: Classical Music in Public Metro Stations Lower Crime?

Rep. Jefferson Smith says classical music pilot program shows 41 percent reduction in crime at MAX light-rail stop

East Multnomah County state Rep. Jefferson Smith, D-Portland, has introduced a bill to require TriMet to broadcast classical music at MAX light-rail stations in high-crime areas. (You can look up House Bill 2909 here.)

The jokes are swirling already. Would you like a little Vivaldi with that mugging? Maybe it’s more like, I’d like to harass that innocent bystander but this Chopin is making me feel so mellow. Or even, this classical music is so annoying that I’m going to take my trouble-making self elsewhere.

But scoffing aside, PolitiFact Oregon was intrigued by a statement Smith made to The Oregonian’s Michelle Cole. A test last month at the MAX station at 162nd Avenue and Burnside, he said, saw "crime was down 41 percent from the December a year ago."

We checked with the representative’s office, who directed us to the Portland Police Bureau for the results. Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson confirmed -- as does this online post by Portland Police Sgt. John Scruggs -- that TriMet installed a classical music system at that light-rail station on Nov. 16. Simpson said there is no official report, but the numbers are as follows:

From Nov. 16, 2009 to Dec. 16, 2009, there were 46 calls for service.

From Nov. 16, 2010 to Dec. 16, 2010, there were 27 calls for service.

The math is correct. There is a 41 to 42 percent difference in the number of service calls between the time periods.

But a call for service doesn’t necessarily indicate criminal activity. A service call can be for anything from disorderly conduct to a fare check, Simpson said. They can be generated by an officer who decides to check out a station, or by someone calling in a request for help.

And this is why Sgt. Scruggs was more careful in his post: "The first month of data for our attempt has shown a 42% reduction in calls for service at 162nd/ Burnside. We are going to do a more comprehensive study soon."

"I think it’s a good indication that it’s working, but it’s early numbers, early stats," Scruggs said in an interview.

In his interview with Cole, Smith readily acknowledged that statistics based on one month merit more review. He stressed the numbers were preliminary. This week, his legislative assistant forwarded more information from Scruggs that show a 40 percent reduction in calls for service at that stop over a two-month period. Three other stops without classical music showed increases in service calls. Again, this is all early data.

PolitiFact Oregon enjoys classical music. If it actually helps reduce crime at light-rail stations, that’s great, but we’re not weighing in on that broader question. Our focus is on the recent test. In an interview with PolitiFact Oregon, Smith said he may have used the two terms -- "crime" and "service calls" -- interchangeably when talking to Cole, inaccurately conflating the two.

We rate the claim Mostly True -- accurate but needing just a little bit of clarification.

Source is more editorial than news-y, but still an interesting concept to consider. 
Shirley Animated

Back Alley Abortions in 2011

Back-Alley Abortions in 2011: How Anti-Choice Zealots Force Women to Go to Dangerous Clinics Like Dr. Kermit Gosnell's

Thanks to the anti-choice movement, poor women throughout the U.S. cannot afford safe abortions and are sometimes forced to make extremely dangerous choices.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been charged with murdering one woman and seven newborn babies at his rogue clinic, called the Women’s Medical Society, in West Philadelphia. Though it’s too early to predict this case’s full political impact, it’s certain that anti-abortion groups will use it to push for further restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. But the legislation pushed by these anti-abortion conservatives is what has forced women into such life-threatening situations. Poor women throughout the United States cannot afford safe abortions and in consequence sometimes make extremely dangerous choices.

“Because of the Medicaid ban on abortion funding and state restrictions, poor women in the state and in Philadelphia really face horrific choices about what to do if they have an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, or a pregnancy that poses significant health problems,” says Rose Corrigan, a professor of politics and law at Drexel University. “So what I’ve seen is that women often shop around for abortion services. Women are so poor that a few dollars really make a difference.”

Corrigan is also a volunteer at the Women’s Medical Fund, a Philadelphia organization that offers financial assistance to poor women seeking abortions. She says that her organization has been advising women against visiting the Women’s Medical Society since the mid-1990s.

“When women would call us we’d say, ‘There’s a reason it's cheap. Don’t go there.’”

“I think it’s also that abortion has become so stigmatized and that abortion care has become so ghettoized from mainstream medical care,” says Susan Schewel, executive director of the Women's Medical Fund. “It means that people aren’t talking about where’s a good place to go and where’s a safe place to go. And when women are harmed they’re afraid to go the authorities. We’ve talked with people here who have been mistreated at this clinic. And we’ve asked them to report it to proper state government authorities, and they said, ‘No way would we do that.’”

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coffee lol

National Enquirer: Todd Palin x Alaska Madam- SCANDAL!

The National Enquirer reported today that Todd Palin, husband of former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, has been engaged in an illicit affair with a massage therapist-cum-madam.
The tabloid newspaper indicated it has documentary proof that the woman in question, 36-year-old Shailey Tripp, had been arrested for running a house of prostitution in March 2010. Tripp pleaded no-contest to those charges in June. The National Enquirer also claims to have proof that the authorities have physical evidence that may definitively prove liaisons between Tripp and Palin took place.
The National Enquirer has a history of leading the news on major political sex scandals, most notably the case of John Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter in October 2007. However, the tabloid's record for accuracy is not exactly spotless. Earlier this month The National Enquirer reported that Edwards and Hunter were engaged, a claim that Edwards has denied and Hunter has not commented upon. The National Enquirer has been making such claims since early 2010. Yet in the Palin case, rumors of extramarital affairs have hounded the Palins since 2008, and divorce rumors have been flying since at least late 2009. Neither Todd or Sarah Palin have commented on The National Enquirer's story.

If true, the Palins would not be the first political couple in recent times to become embroiled in a mixture of cheating and prostitution.
* Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, was felled by just such a sex scandal when it was revealed he had patronized the glitzy prostitution ring known as Emperors Club VIP, making call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre a household name.
* The infamous "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, claimed after her 2007 arrest that many of Washington's movers and shakers were among her clients, and that boast was not an idle one. Randall Tobias was forced to resign from his post as Administrator of the Agency for International Development (USAID) when he was linked to Palfrey.
* Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana was also linked to Palfrey's services, but remains in office today. Palfrey committed suicide in 2008 after her conviction on money laundering and racketeering charges.

* Nor is this type of scandal merely an American phenomenon. In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is engaged in fighting off an investigation into whether or not he had a liaison with a dancer who is not only an alleged prostitute, but was 17 at the time and, thus, legal minor as well.


Yeah, I know it's the National Enquirer, but they've sort of become more credible over the past few years. Anyway, I'm really interested in seeing what becomes of this. At the very least it gives me something other than Wikileaks to obsessively follow. :P

Somehow i dont think you thought your cunning plan through

Anti-Abortion Crusader Aims To 'Humiliate' Obama As Dem Challenger

Notorious anti-abortion noisemaker Randall Terry is running for president. Here's why: Terry thinks he can use his campaign as a vehicle to put graphic images of aborted fetuses on national television, preferably during the Super Bowl. The strategy worked for him last year, when the Terry-managed Missy Reilly Smith campaign -- she was a candidate for DC delegate to the House -- was able to broadcast ads so graphic YouTube pulled them.

So, that's the plan: raise enough money with his campaign to get a graphic anti-abortion ad on during the Super Bowl in 2012 by using his presidential candidacy as a hook to prevent TV stations from refusing to air them in the middle of the primary calendar. (More on the scheme here.)

But at a press conference held outside the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington today, Terry outlined loftier goals for his run for president, including freeing the tea party movement from leaders he says are intent on shying away from social issues and the humiliation of President Obama in Iowa, the state where his unlikely journey to the White House began in earnest back in 2008.

"We will focus on a theocentric libertarian platform," Terry told the crowd of maybe a couple dozen supporters and press.

What's that? Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Terry said he will run an "unashamedly theocentric campaign."

"The Constitution of the United States of America is a phenomenal document," he said. "But it is not the primary document that was given to the human race to govern themselves. That would be the Ten Commandments and the Sermon On The Mount."

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He thinks he can actually get 35-40% of the vote in the Dem primaries and that's his low-ball prediction. And yes Randall did just use "theocentric libertarian", "the Constitution", "Ten Commandments" and  "civil liberty" in his platform.
misc - microphone


Did Obama dye his gray hair away?

Photos of President Obama released this week are prompting a feverish round of "does he or doesn't he" speculation about whether our commander in chief dyed his hair.

The visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao has provided the nation's pundits and politicians with plenty of serious talking points. From the potential threat posed by China's increasingly sophisticated military to the impact that Beijing's monetary policies have on the U.S. economy, there is no shortage of weighty issues. So it may be no surprise that, after Wednesday's White House dinner for Hu, the question spiking interest on the Web is about … Obama's hair.
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source actually has this under "news"
mus | like a bird in a cage

Sex survey shows 'tolerant attitude' to rape by acquaintance

Poll round-up: 35% of East Jerusalem residents would prefer to be Israeli citizens, and Israeli-Arab men earn a third less than Jewish counterparts

Three recent thought-provoking surveys on very different subjects caught my eye. I think the most interesting (and the most detailed - it's worth looking at the raw data) is the poll of East Jerusalem. Here they are, the most recent first, in outline:

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MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Roe v. Wade: 38 Years Later

Statement by President Obama on the Roe vs. Wade Anniversary

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right.

I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

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Roe v. Wade 38th Anniversary: A Time for Celebration -- and Commitment
By Merle Hoffman

As we celebrate the 38th anniversary on Jan 22nd of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, this day must also signal a commitment to the future -- to protect and advance women's reproductive freedom despite the challenges and risks.

This year, 2011, also marks the 40th anniversary of Choices Women's Medical Center, which I founded shortly after New York State legalized abortion in April of 1970. Before there was Roe, there was Choices, and the history of the two are intertwined. I will never forget the first woman who came to Choices. She was from New Jersey, a state where abortion was still illegal. She was young, married with one child, but having another child at that time was financially impossible for her. Since that day so many years ago, Choices has been there for hundreds of thousands of women assisting them in what is one of the most difficult and profound decisions of their lives.

While Roe established abortion as a legal right for women, current laws in many states mean women still have to cross state lines or face other restrictions to secure abortions.

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Remember Roe v. Wade -- and Stop the Violence
by Katherine Spillar

We mark the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision tomorrow, and celebrate how it affirmed that women should have power over their own bodies -- but we are also alarmed at the rising tide of anti-abortion violence in the U.S.

Following the 2008 elections, and with little hope of a quick reversal of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion extremists announced they would "return to the streets." Threats escalated against clinics and doctors in some 14 states, and on May 30, 2009, late-abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in Wichita, KS.

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  • lyahdan

Since it's an abortion themed day...

First post...hopefully all i's dotted and t's crossed

Confronted by blogger, Santorum fails to differentiate between little girl, dish of cells

By David Edwards and Stephen Webster

A former Republican Senator considered to be a candidate for the party's 2012 presidential nomination was recently confronted by a blogger with a perplexing question: Being pro-life, if you found yourself in a fertility clinic that was burning down, and you had a choice between saving a 2-year-old girl or a petri dish of five fertilized eggs, what would you do?

Rick Santorum, an employee of the Republican Fox News Channel and former US Senator from Pennsylvania, didn't seem too sure.

"I'd try to rescue as many as those children as possible," he told blogger Mike Stark while filling in as a guest host for a Friday broadcast of the Bill Bennett radio talk show "Morning in America."

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It really is instructive that he's unwilling to say what every rational person looking at that question would say...save the crying, about to be burned, actual child, not the dish full of cells.

Nobody except the forced-childbirth brigade calls blastocysts people. And even they don't actually believe that blastocysts are people or they would be picketing IVF clinics as zealously as they barricade Planned Parenthood. They would be demanding a national research agenda to halt the massive deaths of blasto-people who die before ever implanting, or shuffle off this mortal coil via spontaneous miscarriage before the first trimester.

Republican spending plan signals a new culture war

The morning after the House voted to repeal the health-care law, Speaker John Boehner walked into a TV studio in the Capitol complex to announce his next act: "a ban on taxpayer funding of abortions across all federal programs."

It "reflects the will of the people," Boehner proclaimed. "It's one of our highest legislative priorities."

"First repeal health care, now this.... What about jobs?" the first questioner asked after Boehner finished his abortion rollout. "I thought that jobs was the highest priority."

"Our members feel very strongly about the sanctity of human life," Boehner answered. "We listened to the American people."Collapse )


This is the same dude who wants to go Palin-free for a month.