Friday, March 12, 2010

Massa; Tickling as Abuse

I hate to break my perfect silence here, but I have something to say. With all the crap flying round my life, I am happy to report that I knew little of this Massa issue that is buzzing in the background everywhere I go. But there is one thing that Ive been hearing, that has been sticking out and gnawing at me, and its making me pretty crazy: was only a ticklefight.

Whatever really happened in this case that seems to have caught the attention of the main stream media, I haven't heard anyone commenting on the fact that tickling someone until they cant breathe is, in fact, abuse. Tickling children is abusive bullying and besides siblings going through phases of evenly matched tickling, its not something that people really do anymore. There is something inherently sexual in tickling, and there is a dominance issue, considering that its actually painful. I don't think that people should do this to anyone who isn't a willing participant, and to hear an adult talking about something like this is downright creepy
That's all, really....Massa is a freak and he belongs on the supermarket checkout news, not the national news!

On the other hand, as Larry O'Donnell just said on Countdown, he gave the comedians of the world a huge gift with the funniest sex scandal ever. I haven't laughed out loud like this since I don't know when. Maybe I have to start paying attention again.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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at least to Jon Stewart...

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast

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Friday, January 22, 2010

RIP Air America...

There was a time when I listened to AAR all day. The early programming was that good, and with the exception of the grating Randi Rhodes who I sometimes couldn't take, it was my touchstone of sanity at a dark time in American politics. At some point I realized that I was keeping the radio on all day as I went through my schedule, often stopping to write things down and look them up, always feeling like there was some small ray of hope in what had become a real national nightmare.

For AAR, still considered fledgling, its been a rough go of investors and owners who wanted to see a profit in a business that is guaranteed to not show a profit for years. The lack of patience that each management team has shown was uniquely American, causing the loss of its best shows, tinkering all the time rather than allowing momentum to grow, and missing chances to build on the incredible well of talent that had been assembled from the beginning. Someone was sleeping in Broadcasting 101, unless this was just another corporate fuck, with the attitude of 'how much can we get out of this sucker?' and leave the drained carcass to die. The teams that came and went certainly talked a good game about AAR being more than just a station; yeah, really, "a movement!!" but the problem is bigger than just that; Americans want their profit and their big screen TV yesterday. We haven't yet lined up our Rupert Murdoch, willing to lose billions of dollars in service to a message. The visionary part of that for the neocon very rich is the long run, where an administration like Bushco actually pays them and their friends back tenfold in contracts and breaks. Im not so sure that the very rich liberals are that tied in to the military complex or visionary enough in the same sort of cut throat take over the world vision.

The day that Ronald Reagan did away with the fairness doctrine which protected our airwaves from the likes of the sort of big business machine that has come to rule them, was the day that this all began. The airwaves belong to the American people and the push of capitalism to take over and privatize everything is uniquely Privatization with regulations cut, and batty uncle Ronny saying "why do we need regulations? Old Mr Floyd from the hardware store down the street is perfectly willing to police himself...? Right?" Of course, the legacy of that deregulation has come to fruition now in the Supreme Court ruling that corporations have seemingly endless rights...forget it, we're fucked...

So long AAR; it went into reruns last Thursday and no one even noticed. The New York Times had a piece the other day about how liberal radio has to be more business-like and in these troubling financial times it was a bad business proposition, yada, yada, yada....
OK, was anyone gonna get rich on this? They were fools if they thought so. The new corporate model of a quick payout doesn't work in this medium, and trying to force that made the thing messy and embarrassing by the end, with the likes of the well hated, smarmy, Mark Green and his infomercials and continual failed bids at being a political player..."hey, wanna go on a cruise?"...yuck!

AAR was a mad experiment cast by the minds that brought us the likes of the Daily Show, it had a different tone, and it expected more of the audience than to just sit back and absorb the lies; the early Air America challenged us to think, reason, and take control of our lives using the tool of truth. The entire weekday lineup was challenging and at a time where the government was spewing lies at us, echoed by the main stream media news outlets, so, it followed that this programming would take all the more time to find its audience and create the foundation upon which to grow. We sounded like conspiracy theorists before AAR came along and we had Al Franken fact checking everything the point that no matter what anyone said about him and how ne presented things, they coulldnt say that what he said wasnt true. This was a revelation for me; you could hate Al and his persona, you could say "youre gonna believe that guy?" but you couldnt ever say that his facts were incorrect.
It did find an audience, in that the numbers were growing with the kind of fans that are loyal and long-term. The problem was to maintain an already screwed up business situation and for that they brought in the wrong person.

Danny Goldberg, CEO/investor/good friend of Don Imus, and a music industry "big shot", seemed to think that with Don's input he could program a radio station like he was rearranging the songs on a record or the members of a band. Coming into a situation midstream must have been difficult for him, and the pressure of the board and stockholders was an issue but really, what was needed was a firm hand in assuring everyone that tinkering too much would dislodge the invaluable hardcore fans in the service of passing numbers. According to Goldberg, he turned himself inside out fighting The Man, saving Rachel Maddow from obscurity, and if not for the stockholders and capitalism in general, he was going to save radio from itself.
This guy thought that his gut could somehow turn AAR into a profitable business, way ahead of schedule, and on top of that he would tinker with a lineup with steadily growing numbers to try to create a magic that he knew nothing about. If he thought he could show a profit at that point and presented himself in that light, he was full of shit. No programming, much less a new station which is building an audience could be profitable in that amount of time. In a way it was folly to put a non-radio guy in that job in the first place, but perhaps that was the only way that the investors could hear what they wanted to; that this thing wasn't going to hemorrhage money for 4 or 5 years at least. Goldberg quickly ushered in the beginning of the end of AAR and as much as I understand that he viewed this as production pre-release, he was unprepared for what would happen when he messed with what was a good lineup. His claims that he was hired to raise money fall on deaf ears here, because he clearly was rearranging the lineup more than he was out raising money. This was not the job for him.

Yesterday Goldberg wrote what I'm sure he thinks is the definitive obit of AAR at Down With Tyranny , (and then much more in comments,) alot of pap about how he struggled under the finger of the money people, and how they stopped him from raising funds because of their feelings of asking for funds being unseemly...huh?...He said that maybe he was an asshole sometimes...he had such a hard time...etc...feel sorry for him?...No! He walked out of there with a big payout at a time when the station was foundering, and was one person who did OK in the situation; he didn't take a bath the way others did and he took his payout while others, like talent who didnt come into this rich, were owed money. Its not our problem that he accepted a job for less money than he normally makes; he did OK for doing not much that was helpful and alot that was destructive.

What I know from the inside and as the spawn of a radio family, is that you don't treat people, much less the working talent, like shit, especially in their last weeks. Goldberg might have made the mistake of his life by trying to "save AAR" instead of staying in the music business "where he belongs," but during his time at AAR he certainly tried to cut a bold swath of change, relegating the same Maddow that he supposedly saved from obscurity, FROM the 9AM-noon slot in the fantastic Unfiltered show, TO the dead 5AM slot. He then set about deconstructing Morning Sedition, which was one of the best shows on radio, period. He didn't like Maron and he didn't get the comedy. He didn't make a secret of that either, and to say that it was purely a business decision forced on him by the stockholders and other bosses is disingenuous at best.

Goldberg knows the truth, and regardless of the depths of his depression, which may have had him playing solitaire on his computer for hours on end in his office, rather than raising funds or whatever it was that he was supposed to be doing, he isn't going to be able to escape what happened and his part in it. Tying himself to the coat tails of Maddow is not going to change history either; sorry. The advice of Don Imus was wrong; Goldberg had no talent in programming and tinkering, and every move he made was to render the programming into a more and more dumbed down,happy, format. It did what AAR had never done, which was to pander to the audience. By the time he had alienated the base, what was left?

The Mark Riley Show was what Goldberg wanted, and it was junk....totally junk. It reminded me of the Whoopie Goldberg Feel Good Show, which was not what the base was tuning in for. Riley was a pawn in all of that, and his show was painful to listen to. What could he follow up that sort of brilliance with? The Riley Show was what Goldberg thought was good radio. Regardless of the corporate structure or the financial situation, this guy came into a tanking situation and instead of trying to shore up what was there and growing he decided to scramble it all up and put the best talent either out of a job or in the boondocks. Even with star power, had any been there beyond those with a strong following, it would have been starting over. I have alot of trouble with Goldbergs's line about firing Maron to save Maddow. I just don't think that's true at all...and I am sure that Rachel is not thanking Goldberg for her great career.

Rachel had star power when she started Unfiltered, and continued to be herself on the same intense level straight through to Olbermann regardless of and in spite of Goldberg. The first thing he did was to cancel her show!! Those who got put at 5AM or on Sundays were those with contracts still in effect as opposed to those who's contracts were up.

What became of those talented players? Check out Maron's fantastic WTF Podcast and of course the Rachel Maddow show, which is a must watch every night of the week on MSNBC. I am assuming that Maddow's radio show is no longer available anywhere.
For background on that one particularly brilliant show and its comedy bits, check out Sedition Radio for which we owe PJ Sauter a huge debt of gratitude. The rest is out there if you look for it: Unfiltered, Sam Seder, Janeane Garafolo, even Al and Randi who had their ups and downs, but still are sorely missed around here... Lizz Winstead deserves a shout for putting alot of it together; Its over for good.

AAR as it was in the beginning, brought me laughter, joy, relief, and a kind of deep misery at its loss, that I couldn't have expected. I always though that this was so much more than a radio station and should be funded by a Rupert Murdoch type of deep pocket investor, but for whatever reasons it was set up wrong, by the wrong business folks and that doomed it from the start. Its all about the money in the end, and the money wasn't there...but it should have been, considering how much money is out there in liberal land. Showing a growing audience of loyal listeners and tapping those listeners for funding would surely have gone further towards interesting investors than dismantling what they had back to zero.

What of the Fairness Doctrine? These are our airwaves and just because Rush Limbaugh is a huge corporate force barreling through all sense and reason, doesn't mean that this outlet shouldn't be regulated by the government so that one corporation can exert too much influence on people because of yeah...never mind; corporations are now individuals with rights. As it stands our free airwaves are being used to misinform the people of this country, leaving the Fairness Doctrine as perhaps the most important political issue to address because of the way it touches all other issues; voting on issues that you have been lied to about comes to mind.

It was an idea and a dream, and much like Obama not being a corporatist or Edwards telling even the most basic truth, its all gone now. Rush and O'Reilly can breathe a sign of relief because there is really only Sirius Left, for those who have the subscription money; Internet radio shows for those who can afford the Internet...the rabble will never hear a bit of truth. Maybe its when things are really bad and there is no hope left, that some sort of movement will begin that will rise up and again give voice to the progressive agenda. Heaven knows we're out here in Internet-land shouting into the black hole and hoping someone hears. But there is too much noise, and we need more than just one Rachel Maddow to move this thing forward.

Its kind of sad to let those dreams go. But somewhere out there in podcasts or blogtalkradio format the message still lives, and in that there is hope, even if its sketchy....
godspeed to our kids, that's all I can say...this is a very different country than any of us could have imagined.

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm With Coco Too! On The Late Night Silliness...

I dont know whats wrong with network TV programmers, but for them to think that Jay Leno could carry a 10PM time slot was just crazy! What is more crazy is how much this is costing them, and that they had to move Conan and his crew of writers and producers to LA to begin with. Why does the Tonight Show have to be shot in LA?

Its not 1975 and we're not all dozing to the tonight show after the news...sorry guys, Jay Leno was only ever viable at that time because of the news lead-in. Obviously as a lead-in to the news himself, he cant cut it. Jay must have had some iron clad pay or play deal that made it worthwhile for them to keep him and oust Coco. Money talks, and its just too bad...but maybe we'll see someone new and interesting emerge.

Conan is bound to land on his feet. Hes much more cutting edge and youthful than the tonight show and he may find that he prefers the freedom to try other things. He presents more risky comedians and appeals to an audience that is a little more thoughtful. But that doesn't mean that Jon Stewart doesnt blow them all away! (Well, maybe Craig Fergusen is a contender but he is on much later.)

So long Conan...I never watched Jay and I'm not gonna start now.
And hey, we're getting the Food Network back! yay!

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rush Limbaugh : Reports say Chest Pains/Heart Attack; Press is Inexplicibly Silent

This came before the strange news blackout on what should be a big story even if this is a mild case of anxiety. Something is up when all of the major news outlets relegate the news of the possible heart attack of a major force on the dark side to the bottom of the pile. This is being mentioned as an afterthought, and I have been in a fugue state with this story all day, wondering if I made it up. But here it is, still fresh 24 hours later...

Rush Limbaugh has reportedly been rushed to a hospital in Honolulu Hawaii with chest pains. His site reports that he is resting comfortably, but various news outlet reports differ (and its been really hard to find anything that isn't a copy of the local paper with no real information,) with early reports being that he is in critical condition with a heart attack. There will supposedly be official news tomorrow morning so stay tuned.

I don't know what to say, folks...It seems that the liberal, politically correct way is to try not to sink to the level of the likes of a cretin like Limbaugh, but apparently that's not me. I have to wonder if there is a moment for a sociopath in this advanced stage of narcissistic self involvement, where he realizes that this may be the big "it," and start to bargain with his God. I wonder about the real fear beneath the "heaven" bravado, and if he felt much pain before they started pumping him with medicines.

Tomorrow he may walk waving from the hospital with a cigar clenched in his teeth, tanned and ready for another round of golf...but right now, maybe there is a modicum of payback going on for the hate and violence that he incites; a seed of insight in that view of an end of the construct that is Rush, which touches even a tiny amount on the pain and turmoil that he as caused for countless innocent victims in the name of freedom of speech and capitalism. Maybe there will be some moment where the bluster breaks and he sees that the end is lonely, the riches fall away, and there is nothing but truth, whether you are to be a recycled part of the circle of nature, or judged in heaven, there cannot be an easy and good ending for this man.
I just hope that at some point the realization comes upon him...and that his legacy will be solely that he made money on the destruction of the struggling American society and spirit.

I don't like to be this hateful, but I, like so much of American society, have become a little hardened by what has gone on.. and Ive lost my patience for anyone who continues to deride those who are trying to chip away at the rubble pile left by the Bush-Cheney regime.

So, say a prayer to whatever god you've got; a prayer that people who go through these things are at the very least, faced with the truth of who they are and what they've done; then hes on his own and his record speaks for itself.

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Alan Grayson Tells it Like it Is! Pap on the Healthcare Debate

Ring of Fire's Mike Papantonio may be one of the only couple of good things left on Air America these days, and here Pap Attacks the health insurance corporations with the help of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla,) who is so refreshingly logical that he makes me want to cry.

Why is it so hard for Americans to get their minds around the concept of shaking up a corrupt industry in order to help our neighbors stay healthy and alive? How could we have gotten to a point where we are more interested in protecting huge corporations and when did we decide that we would prefer these same corporations to be in our lives and running our health care into the ground while stealing us blind?

It must be that people are just bamboozled by the lobby's has to be that people think they are saving on taxes or something, and cant see that in the big picture there will be savings all around. But, honestly, if that is really what its about, then there is something wrong with America. All of the religious folks out there who feel like they do their duty by going to church on Sunday or Temple on Saturday or Mosque whenever, have to reassess what is important in their lives. We cant just let people be sick and die, some 44,000 per year, so that we can have a tax break. No one is more deserving than anyone else; we all rely on luck in this country, and every one of us stands, in some way, on the shoulders of the person who went before us and who stands beside us.

To learn more about Grayson's background listen to part 2. This is a guy with the kind of prior experience to be a profound force in the progressive movement, and hopefully an important player in higher office. What has he done to block fraudulent contractors from receiving funds via contracts from our government and
What do we need to do to effect real change? Grayson explains it all here:

h/t to Go Left TV for bringing us video coverage of many of the high points of the debate out there. Go there and subscribe to their feed!

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast (its a bed and, really! Markos told me so!)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

First, do no Harm; The Inmate Takes the Asylum

What goes on in the human brain when its pushed to the breaking point? Could today's massacre at Fort Hood possibly be the result of aterra-ist plot? The country is shocked, shocked, once again, to experience the war right here at home. I believe they call this a frag, but I don't know if it could possibly ever be as simple as that. Bush's wars have created a new kind of crazy, and I'm afraid that we are only just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the particular form of pain coming our way in the fallout from these long, pointless wars and our shoestring budget for military after-care.

Major Nidal Malik Hassan was career military soldier, specializing in getting an education. He had not been at Fort Hood long; it was his first deployment and he was reportedly treating soldiers with PTSD. Hassan otherwise was just one of the close to 50,000 military members and almost 8,000 family members living at Fort Hood, America's largest Military base. Of course, in a population like that, the reasons for enlisting vary, and its safe to say that probably its the minority who actually look forward to overseas wartime deployment.

Before going for his M.D, Hassan got a masters in public health, so he owed years of service to the military, having attended their schools, and had recently found out that he was to be deployed himself. This was an idea that he was reportedly opposed to. In a country where higher learning is often so expensive as to be out of the reach of most people, the time had finally come for the perpetual student to pay the piper.
Hassan, 39 and on his first assignment, had become a military psychiatrist specializing in the most difficult cases of traumatic stress. It makes some sort of perfect sense in a senseless world that treating the victims of this war with their percussion injuries and paranoia about every little thing, was more than he had bargained for.

This incident is being covered wall to wall as if something like this could never possibly happen on American soil, and not just that, on the beloved soil of a military base. But really, it seems like a regular day full of all the possibilities of a trip to the Mall of America. Bush's America is armed and as surely as Hassan shot up the soldier preparation area of Fort Hood with 2 semi-automatic handguns, every 3rd person at the mall likely has one of those tucked somewhere waiting for the inevitable. This is not a case of a soldier with AK-47's shooting up the place; its actually less fire power than the average gang member off the street has; But it was enough to kill 13 people and injure 31.

Of course also, the name Hassan sounds a little too Arabic for comfort, which has caused some punditry to mention the possibility of him becoming a part of a terraist network or some such. According to the punditry, a shooting of this type was recently called for by Al Qaeda leader, ex-American wunderkind, Adam Gadahn, and heaven knows, anything is possible at this point. It gives Tweety something to go on about; could Hassan have contacted Al Qaeda on the Internet tubes and been converted in his spare time? The possibilities are endless and we will likely be treated to every scenario along the way.

The inevitability of this thing is what is so glaring. Yeah, it's unusual and shocking that the guy either acted to make a statement or succumbed to this level of insanity, directly before he was to be deployed and that no one noticed that something was wrong. And yeah, it makes little sense that he would kill the very people that he was trained to help. There is surely more to this story, but the rub here is that whether or not he meant for this to be a political statement, it is one. The injuries and PTSD suffered by the soldiers he treated may well have been horrific enough, and his empathy or fear deep enough, that he couldn't take it. So, for whatever reason, he cracked, for whatever reason he crossed over into a place where he could do this much harm. His actions speak volumes on the damage of these wars and how overused our soldiers, in every capacity, are.

Hassan killed 13 people who had lives and families, fears and beliefs of their own. He locked his own fate in those actions, as he must have intended to die today. There is just no knowing what causes someone to snap, but we have to know, very clearly, that we are going to be seeing more of this. Its not going to be something predictable or something that you can prevent. The injuries suffered because of the Bush Administration's lies are vast and deep. We were going after Bin Laden, not nation building, but all of these years later, now we're responsible for the whole area.

So expect the unexpected and keep your eyes peeled for odd behavior or normal behavior or packages left untended on the subway platform. Bring a biscuit for the bomb dogs in Grand Central and realize that this is how much of the rest of the world lives their lives largely because of our meddling. Get used to the new landscape; Obama cant make things OK again...too much has happened.

The unsure nature of things is really not so different than the rest of life, except that we know that we can stop the setting that causes this particular problem, and really, as much as our representatives don't listen to us, we may have to try to make a louder statement that we have to stop the wars...both of them...


That's all.


Breaking 10:45 PM via CNN: Hassan, who had been believed dead in the massacre, is alive and in FBI custody. So, maybe we are gonna get some answers after all. So much for going out in a blaze of glory!

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ned Lamont Again...

I knew something like this was coming, but I didn't realize that it would be this big. Rising from the ashes of a mixed mid-term, Ned Lamont has decided to cheer us up a little by announcing that he has formed an exploratory committee to look into a run for the Governor's seat in Connecticut. Yes, my long suffering adopted state is getting another chance at Lamont, and we'd best not screw it up this time around.
Since the 2006 campaign for Senate, I have continued to meet with citizens across our state — as co-chairman of the Obama campaign in Connecticut, founder of a state policy institute at Central Connecticut State University, and as an outspoken advocate for health care reform. I have been constantly reminded during these conversations that Connecticut is not living up to its potential and that too many of our families are still being left behind.

Ned Lamont is a good guy and has some great ideas. The Governor's office, like most of Connecticut's government, is ruled by cronyism and less than legal shenanigans. The incumbent Governor, came into the office on the tails of her predecessor's perp walk and subsequent jail term, and yet she claims that she knew nothing of his deeds.
It seems to me that someone working closely within an office where certain entities are taking payoffs would surely at least know; if not, they were perhaps not paying attention. In any case, the governor's office needs new blood and though it might be an uphill battle, he could just be the man for the job.

At least its an interesting idea, in a year that will hopefully see the "retirement" of Joe Lieberman, the election of Ned Lamont to the governor's office would surely send a message. Of course, it appears that all of that depends more on Obama's behavior and the American People's short memories than anything that might or might not actually happen.

Good luck and Godspeed to Ned Lamont. Hes the kind of guy that we need now more than ever.

c/p Brilliant at Breakfast

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