Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Silence Was Deafening

MSNBC Barely Touches Stewart vs. Cramer

Every time someone uses the phrase,"liberal media," I look for the nearest brick wall on which to pound my head against.

In anticipation for the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer knock-down-drag-out, Cramer took to the airwaves of the morning shows in his defense to attempt to rehabilitate his image and rebut his main critic with a specific message: "A comedian’s attacking me. Wow. He runs a variety show." I remember him saying it at least twice. He appeared on the Today show, got Joe Scarborough to shill for him on Morning Joe, and even pounded dough with Martha Stewart.

After the bloodletting, Joe Scarborough was touting an exclusive interview with Cramer on Morning Joke™ using Twitter.

I even got up at an ungodly hour to watch. No Cramer. Then this.

So much for Jim Cramer taking it like a man. Did he no-show or was he cancelled? Maybe the latter.

..."MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today." In fact, the only time it came up on MSNBC was during the White House briefing, when a member of the press corps asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Pres. Obama watched. Gibbs wasn't sure if the president had, but Gibbs did. "I enjoyed it thoroughly," the Press Secretary said.

Keith... Keith... Why have you forsaken us?

The biggest disappointment in all of this is that the "liberal media" (namely MSNBC according to its detractors) took its marching orders with the culmination of Keith Olbermann completely ignoring what was probably one of the best journalism pieces this short year. Not. A. Word. And the silence was deafening.

Now we all know what side KO's bread is buttered on, but I think this qualified as a pretty big news story and if Olbermann doesn't think he can mention it because of a conflict of interest with separate NBC network entities, then he actually did no better than Jim Cramer.

Luckily, there is still one person on the MSNBC line up that kept her integrity.

Yes, Rachel Maddow framed the feature of this "Dust Up!" story in regards to what millions were interested in, in comparison to other newsworthy stories... but she mentioned it. She didn't ignore it like the rest of the day of MSNBC programming, from Morning Joke™ to hours of inane coverage of that missing Halleigh girl to even more news of Anna Nicole Smith two years after her death. That's what they talked about. But something that happened to one of their own in the NBC family? Mum's the word.

Chris Matthews, who got his own drubbing in my opinion with the Ari Fleischer crapfest, ignored it. David Shuster? Did he mention it? Apparently not, since it seems to be the talk of the intertubes that except for Maddow, the Cramer story was ignored (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Let's not forget that this isn't some little side story about television personality rumbles. This was the true outing of the lack of financial oversight and regulations that have put our government in an economic crisis that we all fear, an admission from a former hedge fund manager as to how the inside game is played because the SEC doesn't understand it, as well as a complete deficiency of investigative journalism on the part of the financial "reporters" on financial news networks like CNBC and Fox Business Channel. If they have doubts about a certain company, do they seriously expect a CEO of said company to come on their show for an interview and be honest?

As for Jim Cramer, he was the only other NBC regular that actually mentioned "what happened yesterday" on his Friday broadcast, proving to all that it was going to be "business as usual" on his show, bell, whistles, red buttoned sound effects, plastic sledgehammers and all. So much for the promise of change, Mr. Cramer. So much for the promise of change.

Excuse me while I go find a brick wall.

Must Reads

Christopher Hayes: Healthcare Enemy No. 1

Christopher Brauchli: The Tax Payer and the Tax Collector

Lynne Gillooly: Who's 'Pro-Life'?

Glenn Greenwald: There's Nothing Unique About Jim Cramer

Armadillo Joe recommends...

driftglass: Copy Editors

President Obama's Weekly Address - March 14, 2009

Reversing a Troubling Trend in Food Safety

Friday, March 13, 2009

Submitted Without Comment

Cross posted by Fraulein

J.P. Morgan CEO: "When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America, I personally don’t understand it.”

Public health advocacy group announcement, two days later: Carcinogens found in more than half the infant bath care products tested.

The Obama Economic Surge?

The Dow Jones has rebounded 623 points in the last three days, a 9.5% gain. I'm waiting with bated breath for all the "Obama Recession" bastards to give him credit for having the foresight to throw money at the problem and stem the tide.

The Obama economic "surge" worked! Why can't they admit that? Say it. SAY IT!

ADDING... Of course, I'm kidding. My point is that one has nothing to do with the other. It's all speculation based on insider news and confidence.

It's just very interesting and obvious that while the markets are doing poorly, President Obama's face is plastered all over the DJIA ticker, but when the markets are rallying, rags like Andrea Mitchell are trying to say the White House is taking credit for it while the MSM remains mum. Oh, they'll tell you the Dow is up, but the very next line isn't, "Is President Obama doing too much?" That's only reserved when the numbers are in the red. And please show me a quote where the White House taking credit that isn't intended as a joke, Andrea. And while you're at it kick your husband, Alan Greenspan in the scrotum. That scumbag was part of the problem.

Stewart vs. Cramer: Brawl Street

I watched the edited version on Comedy Central last night and thought Stewart said his piece and Cramer took it like a man. Watching the unedited (and in my opinion, much better) version, there was more of a dialogue that I wish they had time to air on the show. That being said, maybe it'll make Cramer rethink the hype, give a fairer assessment on his program and get rid of the "Booyah!" plastic sledgehammer.

I used to watch these CNBC shows and initially thought that they were working for the interest of the viewer. But the events of the past year, especially the last two months, the tone seemingly changed to a "Blame Obama" mentality (maybe I'm biased) when this crisis was years in the making and Obama had been in office for two months, culminating with the Santelli rant that has the appearance of having been planned far in advance, I have to wonder what dubious or perhaps nefarious factors are at work here.

Jon Stewart may work at Comedy Central, but his style and crackerajck team has been at the forefront of exposing hypocrisy without the need to pull punches like so many "journalists" who fear losing access.

My prediction is that CNBC will suffer reduced viewership, will need an intense overhaul and if not, possibly cease to exist - and as far as the Cramer show, if he doesn't get rid of his big, red buttons and plastic cows and shed his sound effects for some more nuanced, serious financial discussion, he'll be gone by the end of the season. But what do I know?

This is an excellent interview, but my favorite part (with a guilty smile on my face) is when Stewart refers to Joe Scarborough as "Doucheborough."

We are capitalizing your adventure

It's not a fucking game

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Earmark Hypocrites

There's something to be said for John McCain railing against earmarks. And he has every right to complain about wasteful spending tacked on to a budget that would bring monies home to certain districts. After all, McCain had not attached a single earmark to the bill, whether as a solo project or in conjunction with other Senators.

But what about some of the others that have taken the opportunity to take the stage, have the vapors and shake their fists in a rage over the outrageous "pork"?

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) “...At a time when so many American families are tightening their belts to make ends meet, Congress should be as equally committed to living within its means."

Senator Bayh had $1,118,000 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "The bill costs far too much for a government that should be watching every dime."
Senator McConnell had $51,186,000 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R): "Each and every time, whether a Republican or Democratic initiative, I have refused to go along with big government spending or big government solutions."

Senator Inhofe had $53,133,500 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Of the 35 Senators that voted against the bill, 28 of them had solo earmarks included in the bill. Of those 28 Senators, 27 were so-called "fiscally conservative" Republicans and only one was a Democrat.

Here's the list:

Barrasso (4 earmarks, $2.7 million)
Bayh (4 earmarks, $1.2 million) -Democrat
Bennett (23 earmarks, $18 million)
Brownback (21 earmaks, $12 million)
Bunning (5 earmarks, $735,000)
Burr (3 earmarks, $1.3 million)
Chambliss (7 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Collins (1 earmark, $380,000)
Corker (1 earmark, $760,000)
Cornyn (5 earmarks, $2.5 million)
Crapo (1 earmark, $100,000)
Enzi (5 earmarks, $1.7 million)
Graham (14 earmarks, $9.5 million)
Grassley (8 earmarks, $350,000)
Gregg (19 earmarks, $10 million)
Hatch (7 earmarks, $700,000)
Hutchison (35 earmarks, $9.9 million)
Inhofe (34 earmarks, $53 million)
Isakson (2 earmarks, $1.4 million)
Kyl (3 earmarks, $5 million)
Lugar (10 earmarks, $3.3 million)
Martinez (8 earmarks, $18.8 million)
McConnell (36 earmarks, $51 million)
Roberts (11 earmarks, $2.2 million)
Sessions (12 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Thune (6 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Vitter (16 earmarks, $4 million)
Voinovich (6 earmarks, $13.5 million)

Total: $234 million. This is only for solo earmarks. This doesn't include co-sponsored earmarks that account for about $7.7 billion in spending.

But here's the thing: earmarks aren't necessarily a bad thing. You need that bridge repaired in your district? Want to add speed bumps by the grade school? Does the park that has fallen into disrepair need an overhaul to detract undesirables from loitering and provide a much needed playground in the area? All those are worthwhile items and earmarks can provide federal funding for certain needs that can't be afforded by local government revenues.

So why flip out over the earmarks and call them pork and wasteful spending? Well, how else to pose as a fiscal conservative and have soundbites ready for your next campaign commercial? How else are you suppose to show your Republican outrage at the way Washington works, wag your finger at President Obama and accuse him of not keeping campaign promises?

Speaking of campaign promises, let's get back to Senator McCain. Unless you live in a cave, you've probably seen the 15 second loop of McCain on the Senate floor waving his freak arms and shouting, "So much for the promise of change, Mr. President. So much for the promise of change" and all too stiffly, as if reading stage direction, slamming the bill with his hand. Well, like I said, McCain can argue against earmarks because he hasn't signed on for any, even though he can let other politicians in his state do the dirty work to the tune of $54.6 million in earmarks for Arizona.

But let's not confuse who made what promise. It was Senator McCain, while running for President who said he'd "make famous" the procurers of earmarks while waving his magic Sharpie™.

That was your promise, Senator McCain, not President Obama's. Besides the fact that your outrage at the earmarks this year account for less than 2% of the total bill. Are you saying that we can balance the budget with a 2% cut? I think I'll leave the economics to the professionals instead of listening to Mr. The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Still Strong.

President Obama promised transparent earmark reform and to scale back earmark spending to pre-1994 levels, when the Republican Party took over control of Congress. That year, Congress spent $7.8 billion on earmarks. The new $410 billion Omnibus bill? $7.7 billion in earmarks. Mission accomplished, if you will. Next year we plan to see the remainder of his promise to make all earmarks transparent and accessible.

First Brad and Jennifer, Now This!

USA Today: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's teen daughter Bristol, whose pregnancy out of wedlock caused a minor brouhaha during the 2008 presidential election campaign, has broken up with the baby's father, and Star magazine's website reported Wednesday.
Bristol Palin previously said she expected to marry Levi Johnston once they were finished with high school. Their baby son, Tripp, was born two months ago.

Oh, the horror...

Ari Fleischer on Hardball (How Many Lies Can You Spot?)

(In your best Rod Serling voice): Picture if you will, a man. Small. Bitter. Demented. A man so blinded by ideology he can no longer tell the difference between truth and fiction. Black is white. Up is down. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The US hasn't been attacked since 9/11, and we have George W. Bush to thank for it. Barack Obama should say thank you every day that he inherited a world without Saddam Hussein in it. Don't bother with your remote, you won't be able to change the channel or the message. You have now entered the Twilight Zone.

Why did I do it? I was tired. I had gone out to dinner with my wife and a couple of friends last night and stayed out longer than I intended. After a restless sleep and having an early call, all I wanted to do was take a little nap after my first show. I crashed in the office but unfortunately had MSNBC's Hardball on in the background.

And then it happened. Matthews, for reasons I'll never understand even if it was explained to me, had former Bush White House Press Secretary and current Bush apologist and legacy builder Ari Fleischer on to speak about Barack Obama. Really, Chris? What the fuck? And Matthews had his hands full trying to dodge a barrage of bullshit like a shoe ducking Dubya.

How many egregious lies can you spot coming from this scumbag's cakehole in this interminably long clip?

Poor, little Chris. He really tried, but Ari is a seasoned prick, one who can spew the crap better than anyone. He can tell little Billy that Lassie ran away while wiping the blood and guts and fur off his car fender, and do it with a smile on his weasely face.

What an A-1 Douchebag.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear Jamie Dimon,

Fuck you.

Armadillo Hussein Joe

Jim Cramer Picked the Wrong Guy to Fuck With

The Jim Cramer evisceration continues. And Joe Scarborough gets into the act. Joe Scarborough!

I believe Thrusday night at 11pm on Comedy Central is going to be a Must-See-TV night, as Stewart's guest is going to be... Jim Cramer! I would also suggest to The Scar that should he happen to criticize a show, perhaps he should watch it first.

Music Break! Eric Clapton

Groaning The Blues

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Emotional Emergency Hotline

I had the pleasure of going to Marc Maron's show, Scorching The Earth, at the Green Room in Greenwich Village on Sunday night. It's a work in progress or a workshop of his dealing with his divorce, always with the Maron dark humor twist. Very interesting for a Maron fan like myself who listened to him daily on the Air America's Morning Sedition during the station's inception. If you're in town, you should definitely catch this show.

Maron, along with Sam Seder, are now doing a live Internet show from 3pm-4pm daily called Break Room Live, actually taking place in the break room of the Air America studios. How do I know it's actually the studio? You can see Ron Kuby entering multiple times for coffee while his show is in commercial.

Anyway, here's a clip of the show and an idea from Maron for job creation that he thinks should be added to the stimulus package.

Jon Stewart Bitchslaps Jim Cramer - UPDATED

Stewart continued his rampage against CNBC, specifically Jim Cramer, who decided to write an article on how his advice was mischaracterized by The Daily Show. ...Bad move, Jim.

UPDATE (2:18pm): Cramer fights back with an appearance on The Today Show, claiming he stuck his neck out when he told everyone to sell by October 2008. Well fuck, Jim, by October '08 even I knew that! I didn't need a talking head financial guru slapping red buttons like a maniac to tell me the market was tanking when it had been happening for a year. He also refers to himself as "the little guy." Poor multi-millionaire Jim Cramer.

Maybe you should just go on The Daily Show and hash it out. I'd like to see that.

The Right Wing Noise Machine Continues

So not only is the push for the situation we're in being characterized as the "Obama Recession," now we have wingnuts like Mary Matalin claiming that the Reagan 1981 recession was worse and for that matter, so was the Bush 2001 recession.

MATALIN: I don’t want to say I’m panic-free... but I do have the perspective we’ve been through worse. Reagan had a worse recession, and arguably George W. Bush, I was there in that pre-9/11. We inherited a recession. We acted quickly, and the recession, in combination with 9/11, was shallow and short, and we went on to have 52 months of consecutive growth. I’m not doing talking points here.

Nice qualifier, huh? "I'm not doing talking points here." Except for the "we inherited a recession" part and the "52 months of consecutive job growth" part.

Well, Matalin must have not seen February's 651,000 job losses which officially puts us at a deeper loss than the '81-'82 recession. And do I need to remind anyone that we weren't in a 18 month nose dive when Bush took office, nor was 9/11 to blame for the mild (in comparison) recession Bush oversaw which started in March of 2001?

(Chart from TIME Online)

That brown line, which only shows losses through December 2007, is the current recession as opposed to the Bush recession shown by the orange line. In fact, this chart also shows that every other recession was deeper and recovered faster than that of Bush's two term clusterfuck.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the Mary Matalin/James Carville household.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tri Kim Tri

I know this is a hard time for our pocketbooks, what with our economy in shambles, record job losses and dropping a ton in the stock market (if you've been listening to Jim Cramer on CNBC), but I wanted to bring attention to a worthy cause in which my good friend Kim is participating.

I've known Kim personally for about for six years now and we have worked on a couple of shows together. My wife and I were lucky enough to have her attend our destination wedding. In the time that I've known her, Kim has expanded her horizons to include marathon running, which in my mind I always think I'd like to attempt just for the feeling of some incredible accomplishment... but if I wait long enough, the feeling passes and I belly up to the bar for another Guinness.

Now Kim is pushing the envelope even further for a good cause. My good friend has taken on the task of participating in a triathlon. Yeah! That's what I said! There's nothing better than running a 26 mile marathon... expect preceding it with a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride.

Kim will be traveling to Monterrey, California to compete in the Wildflower Olympic Triathlon in May and raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the process. She's a little over half way to her monetary goal. A tax deductible contribution of any amount would be of great help. You can follow her training process on her blog and contribute to her team.


Morning Joke™ (The Hysteria Edition)

The last minute of Morning Joke™ on a lovely Monday morning:

Joe Scarborough: What did you learn today , Mika?

Mika Brzezinski: I think I learned we're all being really impatient, REALLY impatient with this economic crisis and we need to give it 6 to 9 months. I do. We're throwing around a lot of hysterical words here. So simmer down.

JS: Well, well so we give Washington 6 to 9 more months to spend a trillion dollars a day?...

MB: They've already spent it.

Mark Halperin: Throw away your stopwatch and get a calendar.

JS: ...The Chinese are going to be moving tanks into Times Square in a week...

Pat Buchanan: My portfolio won't take it.

JS: Can the Dow actually go down into negative territory, Mika, if we're gonna wait six more months?

Way to keep the hysteria down to a minimum, Joe.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Can We Just Give Texas Back To Mexico?

Don McLeroy, chairman of the State Board of Education and point man in the fight over Texas' science curriculum... is convinced that evolution taught uncritically undermines faith, [and] knows that it will take a different kind of argument to win the debate about what should be taught in science classes in Texas public schools.

...[The avowed creationist] is among board members who want the standards to require a more critical approach to the teaching of evolution. It's a theory that McLeroy, 62, believes lacks the empirical data required to be taught without discussion of its particular insufficiencies.

I suggest to Mr. McLeroy that as soon as he collects an equal amount of "empirical data" for creationism or intelligent design (or whatever you're calling it this week) as has been collected for evolution, then he can make his case.