Media & Politics (one section only today)
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Presenting: the 23/6 cheap-ass Halloween costume (23/6)
Stuck for a costume idea this Halloween? Worry no longer. All you need is a pair of scissors, a piece of string, and an overweening disregard for evolution and birth control. It’s the official23/6 Scary Mask, and it’s available for download, absolutely free! Click [here] to download a PDF, suitable for wearing, framing or setting on fire.
Provided as a public service, since the Halloween mask makers weren’t able to get Sarah masks out in time. But honestly, she’s less scary to me than Barack.
Press Release: Obama & DNC admit all allegations in Berg v. Obama
(Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania – 10/21/08) – Philip J. Berg, Esquire, the Attorney who filed suit against Barack H. Obama challenging Senator Obama’s lack of “qualifications” to serve as President of the United States, announced today that Obama and tbe DNC “ADMITTED”, by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit. Obama is “NOT QUALIFIED” to be President and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate. The case is Berg v. Obama, No. 08-cv-04083.
Click through to read the list of allegations that have not been answered.
Lahde Quits Hedge Funds, Thanks `Idiots’ for Success (Bloomberg)
Andrew Lahde, the hedge-fund manager who quit after posting an 870 percent gain last year, said farewell to clients… ”I was in this game for money,” Lahde, 37, wrote in a two-page letter today in which he said he had come to hate the hedge-fund business. ”The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other sides of my trades. God Bless America.”
In an aristocracy, you have incompetent people put in charge of things just because they’re related to someone with power. This kind of favoritism is what destroyed the Roman Republic and then the Roman Empire. It destroyed France, leading to the French Revolution. It destroyed the British Empire. It led to revolutions in Russia and in China. Why are we letting it happen here?
One of the reasons I like some of the contest- type reality TV shows is that they provide a way of getting recognition for people who might never receive any because of ossified and political structures designed to keep upstarts from ridiculous places like Lucky, LA and Moline, IL from interfering with the assumed natural rights of the children of the already powerful.
Barack Obama wasn’t born into the aristocracy, but has been made an honorary member. All his life, he has been coddled by powerful people who were willing to help him further his ambitions. And that makes him way too much like George Bush for me to be comfortable with the thought of his become president.
The Aura of Mr. Smooth (by Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune op-ed columnist)
We are about to elect a president because of how he makes us feel, not how he makes us think. That says a bundle about an undemanding electorate. Yes, Obama has policies, and he enunciates them eloquently, and a lot of people support them; but notice is mostly taken of his delivery, not of his substance… Having aura is fine, but electing a president based on whether he or she possesses it shows curious understanding of how democracy is supposed to work.
From a commenter named spaceman: that was just a totally racist article. i bet this guys first name isnt even dennis and lets find out how much bak taxes he owes. lets get this racist
My comment: Actually, the last candidate who was elected because of feelings about him, rather than actual accomplishments, was George W. Bush. And look at how THAT turned out. Back in 2000, people like spaceman were calling us communists for supporting Al Gore. Now they’re calling us racists for refusing to support an arrogant empty suit who happens to have light brown skin. I’m sure it’s the same people.
What is Biden talking about? (by J –SOM at Liberal Rapture)
What the hell is Joe Biden talking about? “‘Mark my words,’ the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. ‘It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama..’”… How does this statement not argue for John McCain being elected? If the “world” is going to throw something at us – why not have the guy who has already been tested in office? A side note: Palin said to a CNN interviewer that ”If I had said that you would have clobbered me.” The CNN reporter said “You’re right.”
Strange days, indeed… (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
Something’s comin’, something bad… Biden pretty much admits that Obama’s response will piss off the Democratic base. I’m thinking military action against Iran after a terror strike on U.S. soil. That’s just a guess. In all likelihood, the Republicans also know what this “something” is. Maybe that’s why the Republicans aren’t even trying to win this thing. Better it should happen on the Democrats’ watch.
Joe Biden: Huh?! (by madamab at The Confluence)
Here’s what Joe is saying:
1) If you elect John McCain, the international community won’t be “testing” him. But if you elect Barack Obama, you’re going to have an international crisis within the first six months.
2) You’re not going to like what we do in response, but you should support us anyway, and make sure all your friends do also. In fact, no one is going to like it, and that’s what makes it right.
3) And the economy is going to suck too, so get ready for the tax hike. (Toldja!)
I must repeat, HUH?… Does the Vice Presidential nominee not remember how Bush and Cheney used this type of fearmongering against John Kerry in 2004, to great effect?… I wanna know what is in that Kool-Aid, because it’s apparently turning Joe Biden into Dick Cheney.
The Press Covering For Biden is Frightening (by masslib at Alegre’s Corner)
A few days ago, Joe Biden insisted that if elected, we WILL face a major crisis, because our enemies will want to test Barack Obama. This is relevant information for the voters… Check out the front page of the New York times or the Washington Post today. They didn’t report the story. Imagine if Palin had asserted what Biden has, but about McCain. Do you think the press would not have reported it? Frankly, that’s frightening. There is bias and favoritism and then there is the complete abdication of the responsibility of a free press. To not report Joe Biden’s stunning proclamation to the electorate falls in the latter category. This isn’t about Obama, and it’s not about McCain. It’s about us. The voters have a right to know the views and expressed opinions of those running for office. This isn’t right, it isn’t even wrong. It’s dangerous.
Obama up by double digits, but there’s still some vulnerability (Hot off the Trail, McClatchy)
Barack Obama leads John McCain by every measure, a new Pew Research Poll found Tuesday, but Obama could still be vulnerable. Nearly three-fourths say McCain is well-qualified, while 53 percent see Obama that way. And 23 percent of the electorate are considered swing voters. The poll found ” Swing voters are less likely than all voters to say that McCain would continue Bush’s policies and more likely to express confidence in McCain than Obama to handle national security issues. ” Nevertheless, Obama, the Democratic nominee, is up 52-38 percent among registered voters and 53-39 among those most likely to vote.
The Power We Are About to Inherit (by paradox at The Left Coaster)
Booman at Booman Tribune raises a point in a post about realignment that has been on my mind a lot lately: if the Presidential and Congressional races turn out as currently forecast, will the Democrats truly be unaware of their mandate for change and reach for too little?
My comment: HA ha ha ha ha ha ha. HA ha ha ha ha ha ha. HA ha ha ha ha ha ha. HA ha ha ha ha ha ha. HA ha ha ha ha ha ha. If we wanted a DEMOCRAT as president, we would have nominated Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama.
Well, that’s done … (by Sarah at Corrente)
Didn’t vote the straight ticket after all.
Be careful about writing in Hillary’s name, though. In some states it may end up being counted as a vote for someone else. Check your state’s rules at WriteHillaryIn.com.
Our long national nightmare isn’t over (by myiq2xu at The Confluence)
Election day is two weeks from today, but we already lost. Seriously, no matter who wins on November 4th, we lost… I have no illusions about John McCain. He will be a bad choice, and the best we can expect is that he will be a mediocre President during a time of crisis. But Barack Obama is worse. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, with an empty resume and the worst traits of George W. Bush. His election will be a setback for liberal politics and a disaster for the Democratic party. He will cause Democrats to lose seats in Congress (and possibly control of the Senate) in 2010 and will allow the GOP to retake the White House in 2012. We can expect four years of gridlock, scandals, right-of-center policies, ineffective crisis management and a failed Presidency.
Obama Started Month With Huge Money Edge (Political Wire)
Sen. Barack Obama began October with nearly $134 million in the bank, the AP reports. In contrast, Sen. John McCain started the final stretch of the campaign with $47 million. “Both candidates are also getting help from their respective parties. The DNC had $27.4 million in hand at the end of the month. The RNC said it had $77 million. That helps close the gap, but Democrats still hold a considerable $37 million advantage.” Key point: “Obama’s $5 million-a-day fundraising rate has likely continued in October and will widen the financial gap between the two sides.”
So why isn’t Obama farther ahead? And why is he planning to charge the media for access to his election night party? See below.
Obama campaign selling Chicago election night coverage packages to news outlets (by Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, thanks to LisaB at No Quarter)
WASHINGTON—The Obama campaign is putting a hefty price tag on the best camera and reporting positions for news organizations covering Barack Obama’s outdoor election night activities in downtown Chicago. If a reporter wants access to the file center–which will be the best place to find Obama officials and spokesmen–be prepared to write a check for $935. The cheapest place a reporter could stand on a riser with a view is $880. That $935 covers one reporter in a heated file tent, power, cable tv, internet and food. I am told by an Obama spokesman who did not want his name used that this just covers costs and they are not turning a profit on this. The planners could have built in more al a carte options for Grant Park coverage. This is an outrageous pay to play plan that caters to national elite outlets with deep pockets.
$600 Million, $150 Million in September alone (by NewHampster at No Quarter)
Why does nobody ask where the money goes? I know a ton of money goes to staff, facilities and Bambi One. What I don’t know how to find but would like to know is what that $600,000,000 is really buying or can be perceived to be buying. This is where my great Internet sleuthing skills have hit a brick wall.
• I want to know how much Obama has spent with NBC as compared to McCain?
• I want to know how much Obama has spent with CNN, ABC, CBS as compared to McCain?
• Heck, I want to know how much Obama has spent with The New York Times and WAPO as compared to McCain?
• How much has Obama spent on Huffington and Politico as compared to McCain?
• How much has Obama paid for the love he gets from the media?
• I wouldn’t ask how much has Obama given out in bribes to each network as that would be a racist thought.
Big Donors Driving Obama’s Money Edge (Washington Post)
Lost in the attention given to Obama’s Internet surge is that only a quarter of the $600 million he has raised has come from donors who made contributions of $200 or less, according to a review of his FEC reports. That is actually slightly less, as a percentage, than President Bush raised in small donations during his 2004 race, although Obama has pulled from a far larger number of donors. In 2004, the Bush campaign claimed more than 2 million donors, while the Obama campaign claims to have collected its total from more than 3.1 million individuals.
Wednesday: Joe the Plumber- To the Barricades! (by riverdaughter at The Confluence)
RD the Chemist here. This is not the first time in history that the average Joe has been told to give up and accept his fate. It’s not the first time that the people have resisted either… It was Tito the Construction Worker who put his finger on the problem: “Someone asked why Munoz had come to the rally. ‘I support McCain, but I’ve come to face you guys [members of the media] because I’m disgusted with you guys,’ he said. ‘Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something else. Why is that wrong?… I am Joe the Plumber!” Munoz chimed in. “You’re attacking me.”
Let us review all of the lovely things the media has brought us in the past 15 years, shall we?
• Paula Jones
• Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
• Rose Law Firm Billing Records
• Ken Starr
• Newt Gingrich’s Contract on America
• Monica Lewinsky
• Impeachment of Bill Clinton
• 12 years of Movement Conservatives in Congress
• George Bush (2000)
• Code Orange after 9/11
• George Bush (2004)
• Iraq War II and over 4000 dead
• The intentional neglect of Valerie Plame’s outting by a sitting VP
• *NO* impeachment of George Bush
• The trashing of Hillary Clinton
• Coverup of the manipulation of the Democratic primaries and delegates
• Unchecked misogyny in the service of their chosen candidate…
It is time we took control of our lives back from the people whose goal is to manipulate our perceptions. We must trust one another and resist the power of the media narrative. When we put them back in their place, we’ll be back in charge of our own lives for the first time in 15 years. To the barricades!
CREEPING ANDREW SULLIVANISM: (by Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler)
Then we have the astounding Josh Marshall… “I don’t think there’s any question that McCain’s is the dirtiest and most dishonest campaign, certainly in the last 35 years and possibly going much further back into the early 20th century.”… Is the current campaign “the most dishonest” of the past 35 years? For a liberal or a Democrat, it’s insane to address that question without discussing the twenty-month War Against Gore—and yes, Josh understands that fact (link below). But Josh is making himself a career—and he’s willing to disinform you to do it. Within the Village, you become a Very Serious Person by disappearing what the Villagers did for twenty straight months during Campaign 2000… The biggest mistake we’ve made in ten years was letting Josh slide in 2002, when he began to lie in your faces about the shape of that campaign… [H]e is emerging as the Sully of the pseudo-left. It’s long past time for this weird, creepy man to pack his satchel and go.
Sullied (by Anglachel)
The Incomparable Bob Somerby [see above] … talks about the broken soul of emerging “progressive” culture, insults from transparent strivers, the frantic desire to become a Very Serious Person, the pseudo-left… His focus is on the blogosphere and the straightforward lies of people like Marshall, Yglesias, Markos, Kevin Drum, Hamsher, Huffington, Atrios, Steve Benen, and Digby, the people who started exactly in the same place as Somerby (well, not Arianna) and who all of them, every last lying scumbag one, found out that the way to get invited onto TV, interviewed in big name news papers, sucked up to by political campaigns, was to join in the defamation of the Clinton/Gore administration.
It is more important to this group of the wanna-be punditocracy to be seen beating up that administration than to be critical of any Republican one. As we have seen over the last year, it is also more important to the Unity Democrats to defame these people than to actually unify the party into an electoral super-majority… To me, as I have been writing for months, the key lies with the psychosis of the Stevensonian crowd, who hate all things white and southern and who have seized the presence of racism (real and imagined) as the source of evil in the body politic. No lie is too much, no threat of violence too far, no manipulation of the process too crude in the Battle Against the Bubbas.
This is why we have the weird opposition to McCain and Palin, almost identical to the trashing of Hillary, focusing on racism and social status to the exclusion of substance. It can work if you have already decided that the poor and working class as such are not worthy of political representation. Exactly in the way that the Republicans have tried to make urban black populations stand in for everyone below upper middle class, trying to sully programs for lower classes by forcing programs benefitting those classes into grotesque blackface, now the Democrats are coming at this group from the other side, whitewashing their own class bigotry with the specter of the KKK.
Josh Marshall (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
[A] link [in Somerby’s post] goes to this Marshall quote: “…I think deep down most reporters just have contempt for Al Gore. I don’t even think it’s dislike. It’s more like a disdain and contempt…And this was, you know, a year-and-a-half before the election, I think you could say this. This wasn’t something that happened because he ran a bad campaign. If he did, it was something that predated it.” Marshall here implies, but does not actually admit, his membership in that pack of Gore-haters. Hmmm. Contempt for Al Gore in the 2000 election. How well did that attitude work out for the country? Now Marshall — like others within the reportorial elite that once held Al Gore in such contempt — makes no secret for his love of all things Obama, and his hatred of all things Clinton.
History made the Gore-haters look foolish. History will have an even harsher judgment of the journalists and bloggers who demonized Hillary and gave us the cult of the Lightbringer.
You may not like Obama’s tax plan, but it’s not socialism (McClatchy)
ST. CHARLES, Mo. — “Make no mistake,” Republican activist John Hancock told a John McCain rally in this St. Louis suburb, “this campaign is a referendum on socialism.” Republicans have been pounding that theme in recent days, even though Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama doesn’t fit the definition of a socialist… Favoring higher tax rates for the wealthy than for the less fortunate isn’t socialism, and if it is, then the U.S. has been a socialist country for nearly a century, under both Democrats and Republicans… Socialism involves state ownership of the means of economic production and state-directed sharing of the wealth.
Now THAT’s reporting.
Big Labor Robocall: ‘John McCain Has Gotten Us Into This Economic Crisis’ (by Jake Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
The AFL-CIO’s “Working America” is running a robocall attacking Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in battleground states Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Talking Points Memo reports. “‘…John McCain has gotten us into this economic crisis. He supported sending our jobs overseas, and he supported getting rid of the rules for the fat cats on Wall Street. In the meantime, he has done nothing to help struggling families on Main Street. Now he wants to continue the same failed policies.’” John McCain has gotten us into this economic crisis? That’s so spurious I don’t even know where to start.
And that, too, is real reporting.
Palin to CNN: One part of USA not more patriotic than another (On Politics, USA Today)
CNN has released a transcript of Drew Griffin’s interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Asked about her recent comments about patriotic values in “the real America” and the “pro-America areas of this great nation,” she explained why she made them and apologized: “I do not want that misunderstood. When I go to these rallies, and we see the patriotism just shining through, these people’s faces and the Vietnam veterans wearing their hats so proudly, and they have tears in their eyes as we sing our national anthem and — it is so inspiring. And I say that this is true America. You get it, you understand how important it is that in the next four years we have a leader who will fight for you. I certainly don’t want that interpreted as one area being more patriotic or more American than another. If that’s the way it has come across, I apologize.”
RNC Launches Small Database of Small Donors (Capital Eye)
Looking for more ways to prove their party’s transparency and question Sen. Barack Obama’s commitment to full disclosure, the Republican National Committee launched a new website today with a searchable database of unitemized RNC donors from the time Sen. John McCain became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Unitemized donors-those individuals giving $200 or less-usually remain nameless, because federal fundraising laws do not require candidates to identify these contributors in their reports to the Federal Election Commission. Last June, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, along with seven other watchdog groups, requested that the McCain and Obama campaigns release more information about these small donors. The McCain campaign made some improvements to a database on its website, but the Obama campaign never responded to the request.
More Than a Two-Person Race (FAIR)
While the major-party race for the White House has been the subject of broad media attention for more than a year, the corporate media have mostly ignored at least four substantial third-party and independent candidates for the presidency. Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr are both former congressmembers from the state of Georgia. Their presence in the White House race, along with independent candidate Ralph Nader and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, would seem to present an interesting counterpoint to the major-party race between Barack Obama and John McCain. While the corporate press has apparently decided that the differences between Obama and McCain are more or less the only political opinions worth exploring this election season, the third-party and independent candidates take positions on issues like drug war policy, Israel-Palestine, civil liberties and military intervention that differ markedly from the views of either major-party candidate.Obama to Appear on SNL on Weekend Before Election? (MollyGood)
In the wake of an awkward and unnecessary Sarah Palin appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, news comes that Lorne Michaels, who recently donated $4,600 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, may have coaxed the Illinois senator into appearing on SNL the Saturday before the election.
Bachmann: It’s All Chris Matthews’ Fault! ‘He Laid A Trap, And I Walked Into It’ (Think Progress)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is still on the defensive from an appearance last Friday on MSNBC’s Hardball, in which she called for the media to conduct a “penetrating exposé” into anti-American views of members of Congress. Speaking with the St. Cloud Times on Tuesday, Bachmann said she regretted suggesting that Barack Obama held “anti-American” views. Referencing Chris Matthews by name 12 times in a 6 minute interview, Bachmann portrayed herself as the victim of a clever ploy devised by the MSNBC host… Bachmann concluded the interview by circling back to where she began: “I didn’t bring the word choice up. That was Chris Matthews who brought the word choice up. Unfortunately, like I said, I walked into a trap.”
Click through to watch the video.
Time’s Joe Klein Banned From McCain’s Plane (Politico)
Time columnist Joe Klein, who’s been a forceful critic of the McCain campaign, has found himself without a seat on the McCain or Palin planes the past four months. In June, Klein was kept from boarding the McCain plane over what they said had been a security issue. More recently, when trying to fly on the Palin plane last week, the campaign’s response was he “couldn’t be accommodated at this time.”
Is Peggy Noonan the Best Columnist in America? (by Tunku Varadarajan, Forbes)
It says much for Rupert Murdoch’s instincts as a newspaperman that, soon after he started to run the Journal, Peggy Noonan’s column was plucked from the backwaters of the Weekend section and enthroned on the paper’s op-ed page. It is now the best op-ed column in America. Peggy is writing the prose of her life.
Has she stopped talking about magic dolphins?
Writer Lied Intentionally, Times Says (Gawker)
The New York Times ran a special editors’ note … accusing one of its freelancers of twisting the truth “to fit his theme, contrary to the Times’ standards of integrity.” The writer, Paul Burnham Finney, apparently distorted an American Psychological Association survey to reflect his article’s thesis that business travel and the Wall Street meltdown are stressing people out.
ACTION: Tell NBC to Replace Russert With a Woman (by Alegre)
NBC announced recently that they would name Tim Russert’s replacement as moderator of Meet the Press some time between next month’s elections and early December. Ya know who’s in the running? Chuck Todd and David Gregory. Why rock the boat when you can keep the moderator’s chair in the boys club by naming another white guy eh? Well there’s a new group in town and its sole focus is to lobby NBC to replace Russert with a woman and/or a person of color (DontLetNBCDisWomen.org). In case you haven’t noticed, all five of the Sunday morning talk shows are moderated by white males (Tom Brokaw, Bob Schieffer, George Stephanopoulos, Wolf Blitzer, and Chris Wallace). Not a woman or person of color in the club. Well this new effort aims to shake things up a bit.
I checked out the website and found this interesting factoid… “In 1947, journalist Martha Roundtree created ‘Meet the Press’ and served as the first moderator. She has been the only female moderator in the 60 year history of the program.”
Click through for information on taking action.
Eugene Jarecki on “The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril” (Democracy Now)
Election Day is two weeks away, and this year may see one of the highest voter turnouts in US history. But filmmaker and author Eugene Jarecki argues that while voting is essential, it is not enough. He writes, “Unless we see our vote as part of a commitment to involve ourselves consistently and unrelentingly in the political process, our vote is wasted. This is because the forces that have led us to this economic, military, and political precipice exert such awesome power over the mechanics of Washington that no single candidate or group of legislators, whatever their intentions, can possibly go up against them unless armed with an irrepressible public mandate.”
If They’re Too Big To Fail, They’re Too Big Period (by Robert Reich)
According to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, the biggest Wall Street banks now getting money from the government are just “too big to fail.” Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke uses a different euphemism – he calls them “systemically critical.” The point is that if any of them goes down, it could take the whole financial system with it. So we taxpayers have to keep them up. We’re hearing the same argument elsewhere in Washington for saving General Motors. It’s just “too big to fail.” So Congress is considering a bailout that would keep GM afloat and sweeten a merger between GM and Chrysler.
Pardon me for asking, but if a company is too big to fail, maybe – just maybe – it’s too big, period. We used to have public policies to prevent companies from getting too big. Does anyone remember antitrust laws? Somewhere along the line policymakers decided that antitrust would only be used where there was evidence a company had so much market power it could keep prices higher than otherwise.
Wal-mart: Scenes from the Economic Front Lines (by Paul Kedrosky, thanks to Economist’s View)
Wal-mart is like the Bureau of Economic Analyst of retail: It has all the data you wish you had about what’s going on in the economy, plus more — and it has it all in realtime. With that in mind, here are some alternately choice and concerning nuggets from a speech today by the company’s president in Los Angeles:
• Credit is declining as a form of payment at Wal-mart. It will be down double-digits this year, he said.
• Spending spikes around pay periods have become much more pronounced, implying that many Wal-mart shoppers are living check-to-check.
• For the first time the company is seeing a paycheck-related spike in purchases of baby formula, suggesting some real teetering out there.
In Sour Economy, Some Scale Back on Medications (New York Times)
As people respond to hard times by juggling the cost of necessities, drugs sometimes have to wait.
Homeless numbers ‘alarming’ (USA Today)
More families with children are becoming homeless as they face mounting economic pressures, including mortgage foreclosures, according to a USA TODAY survey of a dozen of the largest cities in the nation. Local authorities say the number of families seeking help has risen in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Washington.
Executive compensation rules in Bush + Reid + Pelosi + Obama + Paulson trillion dollar bailout completely toothless (by lambert at Corrente)
Bloomberg: “[Goldman Sachs executives Blankfein, Cohn, Winkelried and Viniar] are among the executives whose compensation will be subject to new Treasury-imposed standards, although none of these rules is likely to make a material difference to pay practices at Goldman. While the company won’t be able to take tax deductions on salaries exceeding $500,000, bonuses that make up the majority of Goldman executives’ pay won’t be affected.”… It’s really just theft, isn’t it? Open, outright, shameless theft. Right out there in broad daylight.
Merrill Lynch executive to get $10 million golden parachute as company slashes 500 jobs. (Think Progress)
Merrill Lynch executive vice president Peter Kraus “is likely to leave with more than $10 million in compensation” after the company was bought by Bank of America last month. “He isn’t affected by a provision in the government’s rescue plan that curbs executive compensation, a person familiar with the situation said,” the Wall Street Journal noted. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Merrill Lynch “plans to cut about 500 jobs in its trading division as Chief Executive Officer John Thain shrinks the workforce to gird for a recession.”
Fed would grant up to $540B to money market funds (AP)
WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday that it will provide up to $540 billion in financing to bolster the money market mutual fund industry, its latest effort to get credit flowing more freely again. The Fed’s new program, called the Money Market Investor Funding Facility, will be used to support a private-sector initiative designed to provide liquidity, or cash, to money market investors. The Fed plans to back purchases of short-term debt including certificates of deposit and commercial paper that expire in three months or less from money market mutual funds. The funds are large buyers of commercial paper and CDs, which historically are considered safe investments. However, the credit crisis, which took a turn for the worse last month, has put money market mutual funds under pressure as skittish investors demand withdrawals.
Estimates for credit swaps as high as $62 trillion (Seattle Times, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
NEW YORK — One festering problem that led to the financial meltdown hasn’t been addressed yet: credit-default swaps. The swaps — which were intended either as insurance on debt or side bets, depending on the buyer — are completely unregulated, prone to sloppy documentation and traded without a central clearinghouse. Sound bad? Here’s worse: No one knows how big the market is. Estimates range as high as $62 trillion.
Fearing a Drought of Aid (Washington Post)
President Bush, who has made international aid a cornerstone of his foreign policy, warned yesterday against cutting U.S. assistance to impoverished nations in the midst of the financial turmoil sweeping Wall Street and Main Street, arguing that doing so would undermine America’s economy, national security and moral authority.
Official Portraits Draw Skeptical Gaze (Washington Post )
Cost to Taxpayers Varies but Can Reach Nearly $50,000
Protester attempts citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove in San Francisco. (Think Progress)
During an event in San Francisco Tuesday morning, a protester tried to “smack handcuffs on Karl Rove, but Rove slapped back, and the woman was taken off stage.”… When Rove complained of negative campaign tactics by Democrats, his co-panelist — former Sen. Majority Leader George Mitchell — quipped, “I have to say, I feel like Dorothy in the Land of Oz hearing you lecture about negative campaigns by others.”
Click through to watch the video.
San Francisco weighs decriminalizing prostitution (AP)
n this live-and-let-live town, where medical marijuana clubs do business next to grocery stores and an annual fair celebrates sadomasochism, prostitutes could soon walk the streets without fear of arrest. San Francisco would become the first major U.S. city to decriminalize prostitution if voters next month approve Proposition K—a measure that forbids local authorities from investigating, arresting or prosecuting anyone for selling sex.
Media Matters for America headlines
Post-Partisan Reflection: Has the Election Changed the Way We Receive News?
The saga of Hillary, Obama, Palin, and McCain has been a boon to news and political Web sites, which have seen audience numbers balloon as the 2008 presidential election has unfolded. What happens after America’s favorite obsession is satisfied on Nov. 4? While a drop-off is expected, many publishers say this period of intense interest has likely converted many to online-news junkie status for good.
Accused Guns ’N Roses leaker pleads guilty
A blogger accused of leaking songs from the long-delayed Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” has pleaded not guilty to violating federal copyright laws.
Death Of Old Media Exaggerated, They Have At Least Five Years Left (Paid Content)
Not the ringingest of endorsements from PriceWaterhouseCoopers: traditional media are not dead yet… because their consumers are not dead yet. Analyst Marcel Fenez (via Press Gazette): “One of the things we need to get into context here is that traditional media isn’t dead yet and won’t be for the next five years. It’s very important to think why. The over-50s are helping to sustain traditional media, and also in many of the emerging markets there is still plenty of room for traditional media. The death of traditional media is exaggerated, at least in a five-year context.” So media forecasting becomes mortality prediction. On that basis, assuming advances in healthcare continue to extend human lifespans, “traditional” media may even be around for more than five years. Although digital ad spend will grow 11 times faster than print up to 2012, it will still only be 10 percent that in newspapers, Fenez said.
MediaNews CEO Singleton: Consolidating Newsrooms, Outsourcing Could Equal Survival (Paid Content)
MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton told the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Monday that his company is exploring outsourcing almost across the board, including the possibility of a single news desk for the company that could be offshore. But, according to the AP, he said no decisions have been made yet about moving editorial functions overseas although most of the pre-production for the California papers is done in India. That move cut costs by 65 percent. He said local editors would maintain control and no page would go to press sans local approval. Singleton, who is also chairman of the AP board, also “talked about outsourcing delivery of newspapers, relying more intensely on syndicates for non-local news, and moving circulation call centers offshore.”
InsightAnalytical on MediaNews Group: “According to their site, … ‘Our corporate mission is to be the leading provider of local news, information and services in our strategically located markets by continually expanding and leveraging our news gathering resources.’ ‘Leveraging,’ at least here in southern NM, seems to mean cookie-cutter content with a smattering of local stories and press releases about clubs and entertainment listings.”
AP Insurrection Grows
What had been a minor newspaper rebellion against the AP suddenly grew much more serious last week, when the Tribune Company, one of the largest newspaper chains, said on Thursday that it would drop out of the association, followed by The Columbus Dispatch’s announcement of the same. A handful of papers have made the same move over the last few months, but with the exception of The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, they were relatively small.
WSJ Circ Flat, But That’s Fine
Next Monday, The Wall Street Journal, now under Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., will report that its daily circulation based on a Monday through Friday average for the six months ending September 2008 will be flat. However, that is a lot to be positive about when the industry’s overall numbers are broken out.
Controversial Magazine-Sharing Site Mygazines Folds
Just weeks after settling a lawsuit with dozens of publishers, Mygazines, the controversial Web site that allowed users to share digital copies of hundreds of magazines, has closed. According to a note posted on the Mygazines homepage, “monetary reasons” and “the state of the global economy” caused the site’s collapse. “We simply ran out of funds to support the daily operations.”
Radio Gaining Audience — But Not Ad Revenue
Radio is gaining audience, according to a new study, but more listeners are not doing much to boost radio’s fortunes. Industry revenue has been largely flat to down in the past five years due to the gradual migration of listeners to MP3 players and online radio — not to mention advertisers’ simultaneous migration to other niche media such as cable TV, web portals and, to a smaller extent, satellite radio.
Universal Studios Discusses Sale of a Film Unit
Universal Studios is in advanced talks to sell one of its two specialty film labels to Relativity Media, a private production and financing company.
Rather wouldn’t be surprised to see a network dump the evening news
“I’m not predicting it, but I would not be surprised to see one or more of the major over-the-airways networks do away with evening news as we know it,” says Dan Rather. “Having said that I believe someone, at least some one, will stay in that business.”
Crisis Makes Suze Orman a Star
The financial crisis is sinking stocks around the globe, but it’s raising Suze Orman’s stock on Madison Avenue. And her sudden stardom is raising some eyebrows. At a time when the public is frightened, and hungry for help with personal finances, Orman is the best-known personal-finance adviser out there.
‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Decline for Fourth Week
Rash Report: Maybe NBC Should Consider Putting Sarah Palin in the Booth
Tom Group, NBA Partner On Chinese Web Sites; Free Live Games Online Daily During Regular Season (Paid Content)
The NBA’s digital reach in China is getting a Yao Ming-sized boost from a new deal with Tom Group. The multi-year pact between NBA China and Tom Group means expanded content for NBA.com/China, NBA.com/Taiwan and NBA.com/Hongkong. The China and HongKong siteswill show a live NBA game every day of the regular season—free, with play-by-play in Chinese. Other aspects include live halftime highlights in real time; social network features; personalization; and—a first for Asia—a live daily half-hour highlight show produced by Tom for all three sites and as a prime-time show on CETV. Tom claims 100 million users, 200 million wireless users and 70 million TOM-Skype users
Telemundo, Televisa Ink Digital Distribution Deal in Mexico; Univision Still Outside Looking In (Paid Content)
Televisa can now distribute original programs from NBCU’s Telemundo across all of its digital and wireless platforms in Mexico: the heavily-trafficked esmas.com.mx entertainment portal, streaming video and VOD Websites, as well as its Esmas Movil mobile content platform, Variety reports. The deal fleshes out a strategic partnership the two companies announced in March, which let Televisa port Telemundo’s shows to its on-air channel Canal 9. But it also leaves estranged Televisa partner Univision on the outside looking in yet again, as the NY-based Spanish media giant lost the broadcasting rights to (and the resulting ad revenue from) a series of Mexico’s premiere soccer games in September. Televisa gave Telemundo the rights when the contract expired. The bad blood between the two companies will likely come to a head in January, when their long-standing legal battle over royalties and a 25-year-long contract that Televisa wants out of actually goes to court.
Oprah Goes Bilingual
Chicago-based Harpo Productions says The Oprah Winfrey Show is being made available in Spanish through Secondary Audio Programming and closed captioning. The Spanish-language offerings launched Monday in the country’s six largest Hispanic TV markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, and Dallas. More cities are expected to be added this season.
BBC Unveils Regional Shakeup
The BBC has announced a radical blueprint that involves shifting the production of many of its flagship shows outside London. The plan, which has led to uproar in certain sections of the U.K. media but is supported by independent producers’ lobby group Pact, is part of the pubcaster’s strategy to make half of network TV shows beyond London by 2016.
Telemundo to Cut 5% of Jobs
NBC Universal’s Spanish-language television division, Telemundo, is whittling its workforce by 5%, cutting at least 85 jobs amid a slowdown in advertising. “The broadcast business is being challenged,” Telemundo President Don Browne said Thursday. “We are proactively and strategically making some adjustments to protect the larger company so that we can weather this period.”
Disney Emerges a Winner (by Jon Fine, BusinessWeek)
While this slow media environment is likely mere rehearsal for what looms, Disney appears to be a good bet for stability. Ultimately, its trump cards are pretty prosaic: The company is less dependent on advertising, and it sold off a newspaper division in 1997. In times like these, strategic brilliance doesn’t drive stock prices. Avoiding anything radioactive does.
Watercooler Teams Up With Hulu to Broadcast Top TV Shows on TVLoop (Mashable)
Known for bringing us the “Addicted to the [TV Show Name]” applications on sites like Facebook, Watercooler is branching out in its partnership with Hulu to bring us our favorite television shows via TVLoop. This partnership will enable you to view 40 top shows with Hulu’s standard full-screen, high quality viewing experience. It also uses the social aspects of TVLoop to connect users who watch the same shows. Social television – what could be better? Many episodes of shows like ER and One Tree Hill will have full length versions available. Some will only be available in clip format, like Friends and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
CBS Interactive Hopes To Gather TV Viewers And Web Users In ‘Social Viewing Rooms’ (Paid Content)
While the data on how many viewers are watching TV and surfing the web simultaneously has been a little thin the past few years, CBS Interactive feels it has little to lose with a new service that aims to capture those viewers doing both. Its new Social Viewing Room service will encourage users to watch shows on TV, find like-minded fans and participate in chats around a particular program… If the Social Viewing Room attracts enough participants, CBS expects to expand the model to such other CBS Corp. divisions, such as the CW and Showtime.
Fox Creates Mobile Group After Buying Jamba Stake; Will Launch U.S. Brand (Paid Content)
News Corp is overhauling its mobile operations after paying VeriSign $200 million for its remaining 49 percent state in Jamba, the mobile content company. This marks the end to the company’s whirlwind history, which succeeded with the rise of ringtones, only to struggle as it faced controversies over billing practices and waning ringtone sales. Going forward, the company known as Jamba will be gone, but the brand will continue under the newly formed Fox Mobile Group, which will be led by Jamba’s CEO Mauro Montanaro. Under the new leadership and business structure, the group will enter its next phase, which includes significant investments by launching a new mobile brand in the U.S. and by opening up a new studio to create made-for-mobile content.
Facebook Pushes Into the Music Biz
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is plotting a possible push into the digital-music business in the wake of MySpace’s launch of MySpace Music last month. The surging social-networking giant is talking to a number of song-streaming services and music community sites, including Rhapsody.com, iMeem.com, iLike.com, and Lala.com, about an outsourcing deal that would more deeply integrate their music experience into Facebook.
Glam Media Finds Its Male Side, Launches Brash.com (Paid Content)
After offering a hint about its plans last month, female-centric Glam Media has released Brash, its new male-focused lifestyle and entertainment online hub. Brash is being targeted to men 18-49 years old and is beginning life with more than 25 sites including ArtistDirect, DigitalTrends.com, Squidoo and SpirlFrog. Samir Arora, Glam’s CEO, claims that the Brash network has more then 10 million uniques at launch. The network is comprised of five channels: Men’s Lifestyle (Style, Fitness, Travel, Food & Drink), Entertainment (Music, Movies, TV, Games), Tech (Audio, Gadgets, PC & Macs), Auto (Luxury, Sport, SUV, and Sedans) and News (World, US, Politics & Tech). In addition to the site network, Glam has also created BrashTV, a DRM-protected, video distribution platform built on GlamTV.
New Online Magazine Edited by R.U. Sirius Debuts
Humanity Plus (formerly the World Transhumanist Association) — in collaboration with former Mondo 2000 editor RU Sirius — is pleased to present h+. A web-based quarterly magazine, h+covers the scientific, technological, and cultural developments that are challenging and overcoming human limitations.
MySpace Misses in China
Rupert Murdoch hasn’t enjoyed much success in China. That’s why expectations were so high for the launch of MySpace in China. Unlike the movie and TV industries, the Chinese Internet business is open to foreign investment. But Murdoch’s bad China luck isn’t changing, though: MySpace China doesn’t have much to show for its effort.
Yahoo Changing Its Homepage Gradually
A few weeks ago, Yahoo began what may be its biggest overhaul of its home page. But the job of revamping the Web’s most visited portal page is fraught with risk. If even a small fraction of Yahoo’s audience doesn’t like the changes, the company could lose millions of users and millions of dollars in advertising. So Yahoo is introducing changes in small stages and to small segments of its audience.
Craigslist’s Red Light District Gets Mapped (by Paul Glazowski at Mashable)
We don’t frequently pay mind to the world of adult-natured business on the Web. Only on occasion will we see what’s going on in “that part” of the networked world. For instance, sites like Zivity and AdultStumble have crossed our desk for brief moments in the past, and we’ve said as much. You know where this is going. We were made privy today to a little mashup called hookupmaps. In short, it’s Craigslist (the 18-and-over part) meets Google Maps. And while the place may not behoove us to immediately toss out the NSFW item, the flag will need to fly soon enough. Once you begin browsing around, really. If you being browsing.
Lala.com gives digital music another try
LOS ANGELES (AP) – First a CD-trading site, then a free Web-based music browser, lala.com is being born again. The site is relaunching Tuesday as a hybrid, offering the digital download functionality of iTunes and the free music streaming of MySpace Music without the ads.
A Modest Proposal: Make Money From Your Content
Hyper-distribution has become for some such an article of faith in the digital ecosystem that it sometimes seems impolite to ask the big monetization question. How do we make money from being so free and loose with our content? Ads sold by the original publisher are themselves embedded in the media wherever they go (Hulu, etc.). But in most cases, the monetization of hyper-distributed content is more an article of faith than reality.
AP’s Mobile News Network Comes To BlackBerry (Mashable)
Associated Press has launched its Mobile News Network, a multimedia news portal designed for use on mobile devices back in May. Now, they’ve launched a client application optimized for BlackBerry smart phones, available for download over at bb.apnews.com… Mobile News Network application works on BlackBerry Curve, Pearl, and even the new Bold and Flip. It’s no wonder that BlackBerry, the favorite device of your typical business user, was the first device after the iPhone to receive a customized application version of the mobile news portal. iPhone users can find their MNN app in the App Store, while everyone else interested should simply point their mobile web browser to www.apnews.com.
All the Celebrities You Want, on Your Cellphone
The cellphone has become the latest medium to feed the appetite for up-to-the-second celebrity gossip.
CBS Tries Out a New Recipe for Unilever
As television viewers increasingly zap through ads and watch shows online, media companies have been scrambling to come up with more creative ways for companies to advertise on network TV. CBS’s latest answer is an ad partnership with Unilever’s Bertolli Italian-food brand that seeks to blend advertising and entertainment in a new campaign.
Google Begins UK Gambling Ads After Self-Imposed Four-Year Ban (Paid Content)
After posting better-than-expected Q3 results, Google could be in line for a revenue jackpot after allowing gambling adverts in the UK from today in its search results for the first time since a self-imposed ban in 2004. Google’s industry leader for entertainment and media James Cashmore told FT.com he hoped that change would “enhance the search experience for users and help advertisers connect with interested consumers” Of course, It will also make a shed-load of money—as much as £100 million extra in ad revenue by the FT’s estimate.
S&P Bearish on Print Ads
Add Standard & Poor’s to the growing list of industry watchers down on print advertising, at least for now. S&P expects magazine ad pages to decline through the end of 2008, with “minimal benefit from election-year activity,” it said, adding, “The sector will face continued ad rate challenges, especially given pressure on circulation levels that publishers guarantee to advertisers.”
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