Monday, January 24, 2011

Theories continue to swirl about why Olbermann called it quits at MSNBC. I just thought there was some bittersweet irony to this:
With Maddow enjoying both immense popularity inside MSNBC and very strong ratings for her Rachel Maddow Show, Olbermann’s invincibility as the heart and soul of MSNBC’s brand became softer.
[W]ith the Comcast-related departure of Jeff Zucker, and the rise of Maddow and O’Donnell, the landscape shifted, making an Olbermann exit suddenly seem well-timed.
From Day 1 for Maddow, Olbermann seemed to be an instrumental mentor to her, almost father-figure-ish, with appearances being that Keith was a big reason for Rachel getting her own show on MSNBC. She did so well that the network apparently took comfort in her success, enough for it to become a factor in releasing mentor Keith.

Whatever the reason(s) for Olbermann's exit, one thing is for certain: he will be sorely missed. He not only introduced the viability of liberal or left-leaning broadcasting (in stark contrast to Air America Radio's failure), thus helping to make it possible for Maddow, Shultz and O'Donnell, but Keith delivered with fire, with real heartfelt passion, and came closest to matching toe-to-toe the acidic tone of the right. For those of us who were sick and tired of the wet noodle, weak kneed, overly polite delivery from most figures on the left, he was a welcome and refreshing smack of fresh air.

But for some reason I get the feeling we haven't heard the last from him.... Let's hope not anyway.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's estimated that 200 underground coal fires burn in 20 states, and thousands more burn around the globe. Just in the U.S. alone, an EPA assessment in 2002 put the amount of toxic mercury emitted in the air from these fires at 48 tons per year.

Just another very important story that goes under-reported, tucked in the back of the newspaper, or not reported on at all. And mind you, supposed "clean coal" won't put an end to these fires....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On Monday, Keith Olbermann had Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) on his show and among other things they discussed the Republicans stated goal to repeal health care reform. Here's a bit of their exchange:
WEINER: [I]f they want to vote their very first vote to take away prescription drug money from senior citizens, to take away coverage for young Americans 21 through 26, to take away coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions—this is the first thing they want to do. If they want that fight, bring it on, chicky. I think that that‘s exactly the kind of debate that we want to have.
OLBERMANN: The things that were just signed into law yesterday that the president made a note of seem to be really popular.

WEINER: Exactly.
Weiner believes because many things within the health care reform law do indeed poll very well with the public, it would seemingly be political suicide for the Republicans to try for a repeal. However, I believe Weiner (and Olbermann?) need to wake up on this matter.

Yes, on the surface one can assume Republicans would pay dearly for such an overreach to get rid of something so popular. However, what Weiner (and Olbermann?) fail to consider is that the Republicans and many special interest groups have done yeoman's work at thoroughly confusing the public about health care reform, in many instances convincing them that it will actually cost too much, deliver very little, will hamper job growth and is even likely unconstitutional -- all not true. But the fact remains that despite when asked the public does favor individual items of reform within the law, when asked about health care reform in general, support becomes less uniform and more tepid, thanks in large part to the opposing side's propaganda machine and massive effort to circulate misinformation.

The point being the Republicans and their allies have succeeded in doing what they've done for climate change: hoist enough non-facts and distortions into the discourse in an effort to create mass confusion about what should be fairly clear. By doing so allows them to take advantage of needless uncertainty and unwarranted fear -- in this case, affording the political cover to torpedo a law that in reality would be a huge benefit to the country.

Again, Weiner assumes that if a debate were to occur on this matter that the public would fully understand and appreciate what is at stake, what they stand to lose, and it would hurt the Republicans. Not necessarily true for the reasons I just discussed. The Republicans did what they do (distort and fabricate to achieve their goal(s)) and the Dems did what they do (lack the ability to effectively communicate to the public what they've done on their behalf). Advantage GOP.

Another huge fact the Republicans are well aware of: they must at all costs stop this law from being enacted because once implemented and the public began to actually experience the many benefits it stands to provide, and realize all of what they feared and were confused about were just lies and scare tactics, then the Republicans would never be able to repeal it. To try and do so then would clearly be political suicide, much as is the case today with Medicare and Social Security. Those of the public who criticize big government and excessive spending are most often enthusiastic supporters of both programs.

Republicans know they need to steer this train off the rails before it makes it to its destination. Weiner (and Keith) should've realized all of this and stated such. I think it's why in part the Dems always seem to remain a step or two behind the craftier Republicans.