I have heard it said many times by announcers and commentators that in a football game, particularly professional football, that a holding penalty could be called on virtually every play. But of course it isn’t or a game would never be completed or nothing of consequence would happen.
I wonder if it’s a bit like that in politics. For our purposes, the officials would be the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, chaired by California Democrat Zoe Lofgren. Said committee is also known as the House Ethics Committee. No doubt there are members of Congress, past and present ( Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay,etc) who call it by other names. The committee is composed of 10 members, equally divided by party. Bet it’s not the committee of choice for many members.
The committee is very visible these days due to the “charges” brought against New York Democrat Charles Rangel and California Democrat Maxine Waters. From what I hear and read, the charges against Rep. Rangel are the more severe. In fact, the President has even implied that it would be a good thing if Mr Rangel just quietly stepped aside. Thus far, that has not happened although he did relinquish his position as Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Perhaps the negotiations are still ongoing between Mr Rangel’s representatives and those of the Committee. Meanwhile, he continues to be on the ballot for the fall elections. In fact, there is a big event scheduled for August 11, ostensibly to celebrate his 80th birthday, which actually was June 11. But the event’s real purpose is that of fund-raiser.
Generally, his name on the ballot was tantamount to re-election since he won in 2008 with about 80% of the vote. He actually has some challengers this time, one of whom has an interesting pedigree, one Adam Clayton Powell, IV.
Anyway, one last interesting piece of information. There are already people saying that the charges against both Rangel and Waters are racist and that the Republicans better not try to use this in the fall elections, an accusation of racism before the fact, I guess. One of the leading proponents of this is that paragon of journalistic objectivity, Keith Olbermann. So, Mr Olbermann, a question or two. Remember that the President has indicated resignation for Mr Rangel would probably be the best choice and also that one of the Ethics Committee members is Congressional Black Caucus member and my congressman, G K Butterfield.
I don’t necessarily believe the charges are racist in nature, but are based more in actions that perhaps were not the ideal. But we shall soon see, if the charges proceed further.
Of course you know that we are referring to the triumvirate of Williams, Couric and Sawyer. They anchor the “big” nightly newscasts at NBC, CBS and ABC. And, for all the wonderful things they do, they are each paid quite well. Their salaries range from the middle to upper seven figures on in to the comfortable eight figure level( Katieville, where Diane also resides) . Are they worth it to their respective networks? Hard to say, since the highest paid of the group the lowest ratings.
But, for whatever reason, they make the big bucks ( and so does Keith Olbermann and that really puzzles me) . However just a couple of days ago, ABC announced that it would be laying off a significant number of employees in its news division. Estimates range from 300-400. News President David Westin announced “a fundamental transformation that will ultimately affect every corner of the enterprise.” Also announced was a move toward greater use of free-lancers, that would save additional money.
Reading this brought me back to an idea I had some time back. Wonder why none of the big three have not offered to”give back” some of those millions to save the jobs of some of the little people. A couple of million or more considering what Diane and Katie make would save a bunch of jobs. Besides what a wonderful public relations coup it would be. And I am certain a catch slogan could br created to capitalize on the move. Something like, I don’t know, “CBS cares” ? What do you mean they already have that slogan? How can that be?
Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, the world is not going to end in 2012. It is going to end sooner. Tomorrow, Oprah Winfrey will announce that the 25 year run of her daily soap opera, gabfest, book club, spanner of careers, etc. will end in 2011. The actual date will probably will be revealed at that time. So, get out those crying towels and begin the lament. Daytime tv, nay broadcasting itself will never be the same.
Where, oh where, will the next Rachel Ray come from? Think Keith Olbermann could do daytime?
When I was somewhat younger, ok, a lot younger; I really enjoyed reading stories about Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox, Babe. Ole Paul was the ultimate man of the forest. Along with Babe and his mighty ax, he was a logger par excellence and there was virtually no obstacle he could not overcome.
Paul came along in the early 20th century and now, about a century later , we may have his 21st century counterpart. That individual would be the President’ s pay czar, Ken Feinberg. What has an apparently mild mannered man such as Mr Weinberg accomplished? Why, he is beginning a process of cutting the pay of overpaid, greedy financial executives.
The process as I understand is beginning with top executives for those financial institutions that received government bail out money, some of whom did not even want it to begin with. Reportedly, pay of some execs will be cut as much as 90%. Surveys have indicated a somewhat substantial populist sentiment for such action. Nail the greedy profiteers etc.
But, listen to some comments the President made after referring to Feinberg’s initial eforts….”But more work needs to be done, which is why I urge the Senate to pass legislation that will give company shareholders a voice on the pay packages awarded to their executives.”
Now, Rush’s take on this is that the government is just beginning its effort to control pay levels. He is of the opinion that other companies will also come under the government’s purview. Backing this up is a story in the New York Times that Fed Chairman Bernanke and friends will review the compensation at all banks, whether or not they received bailout funds. Of course, the Times likes this. Methinks they should not cheer too much, too soon.
Obviously there are people and companies and industries that all of us think make too much money. for openers, my list would include David Letterman and Keith Olbermann and probably a lot of athletes and actors and actresses. Do I want the government to control what they make? Shucks, no!!
Follow along with me a bit and see if I am just being paranoid. Ok, the feds are dealing with financial institutions now and are attempting to broaden that reach. Wonder what kind of detail is in the bill? What execs are covered, how much influence do stockholders get, etc. Now, try this thought . it is not a very large step to instituting pay controls of some sort specifically on firms that get government contracts or receive federal monies. That could cover an extraordinarily large group there and could easily be justified in a populist sense. Why, we are just being good stewards of the taxpyer’s money.
Funny thought. The administration wants to increase taxes on the higher wage earners. Better be careful cutting their pay, may backfire there.
Is all this the beginning of wage controls. but im a different guise?
It seems that the battle has ben joined, so to speak. On one side, we have the Fox News Channel and on the other, the Obama White House. There is an interesting cast of characters as well as several interesting observers.
Ms Dunn is the point person for the White House and went on rival CNN on Sunday to launch a few broadsides. She told CNN’S Howard Kurtz that “ let’s not pretend that Fox is a News Network the way CNN is.” That’s a good line to start the assault. But there was more. She said that the way we( presumably the Administration) view Fox is as a wing of the Republican Party . What was almost hysterically funny is a promo that ran during her interview. It was publicizing Anderson Cooper 360 and here is what it said. A woman’s voice says , “I’m a lifelong Democrat and that’s why I watch Anderson Cooper.” The promo continued that Cooper is a person that can be counted on to hold “right-wing” conservatives accountable. Interesting slant on objectivity, is it not?
Ms Dunn serves officially as White House Communications Director and unofficially as the head of the Call ‘Em Out Patrol, aiming to counter what the White House considers wrong or erroneous reporting.
Outside observers from both political persuasions say that the battle the White House has enjoined is not necessarily a wise one. David Gergen, who worked in the Clinton Administration said it is a risky strategy and can easily backfire. Tony Blankley, a former press secretary for Newt Gingrich, agreed, saying that it was his experience that going after a new organization is always a losing proposition. A non partisan observer from Politico, Nia Malika Henderson opined that the administration’s approach would tend to only benefit Fox.
Even the president himself engages in the battle. On September 20, he appeared on five new shows, declining to appear on Fox’s Chris Wallace show. On Sunday, Dunn admitted tat it was a sort of payback. Just last week, Press Secretary Gibbs said Obama would not be on Fox until some time in 2010. Just a few months ago the President told CNBC’S John Harwood that there was one television station entirely devoted to attacking the administration. Bet it wasn’t ESPN to which he was referring.
This all brings to mind a couple of things. One is a quote by Bill Clinton, “Never pick a fight with people who by ink by the barrel.” And what Republican president had a paranoia with the press? Does the name Richard Nixon sound familiar? He would recognize the Obama approach and probably advise even stronger tactics.
One word to Anita Dunn and her folks, check out the ratings for any Fox News show-O’Reilly, Beck, etc and compare to Cooper, Olbermann, etc. The results may be worth your review.
According to some, both in the media and in government, indeed we are. Om of the latest to opine is Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The Secretary made his comments to the Columbus, Oh. Dispatch newspaper in response to criticism of the President making 5 appearance on Sunday news shows this past week. He said”trash talk” on conservative talk radio and tv shows( hint: Limbaugh and Beck although he did not name anyone).He said that the nation’s ability to solve its big problems is being impeded.
“‘He( Obama) can’t even compete with all this stuff that people are saying about him, so the idea that he did five interviews Sunday, that’s just miniscule compared to the kind of trash talk that goes on all week prior to that.”
“All of this background, all of this trash talk in the background, it does not contribute to civil discourse…”
Now , pay close attention to this next response and see what comes to mind( Does the term Fairness Doctrine sound familiar?). He was asked if he could envision any changes in the media that might reverse this trend of incivility.His response,”In a word, no.Unless the people decide…to shut it off, to turn it off.” Inadvertently, he mat have said more than he intended. If people don’t want to hear or watch Limbaugh or Beck, et. al, they can watch Olbermann or Maddow or Cooper or listen to Air America. Apparently, th have not made that choice , in significant numbers, at least to this point.
One other thought. What level of discourse is acceptable and who decides. Perhaps Mr LaHood should check out some of the criticism that Lincoln faced and see how civil that was.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D, Ca has had an interesting few days. Earlier in the week she was asked about the Senate vote to defund ACORN. Said she had no clue , knew nothing about it. Today, she said that House action would be under the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee. Kinda fancy no comment it seems. Beside she went on to say all of the folks at ACORN aren’t the problem.
Now, today in her weekly press conference, she got emotional. Her comments compare the rhetoric and political climate in the country today to that of San Francisco in the late 70′s when gay activist Harvey Milk was killed. She says further that if some of the current rhetoric incites violence that those who spoke in such a way are responsible. While speaking Ms Pelosi choked up and became teary. Is her emotion genuine, hard to say about that. Her political career sorta got jump started after Milk’s murder and she probably was acquainted with him.
What disturbs me some is her implication that if the rhetoric is not toned down, there could be violence. True, she named no names or groups but if pressed, I feel certain that we all know which end of the political spectrum to which she is referring. Is there angry rhetoric on the conservative that could be toned down? Sure. Is there rhetoric on the non conservative that needs to curb its enthusiasm(using the Speaker’s phrase) ? Yes again. In case no names come to mind, try Olbermann, Rep Pete Stark, D. Ca, and maybe even Madame Speaker who used the Nazi designation in describing protesters.
Again, this is what the thought to which I return. I will use a quote from Hilary Clinton that is on the front page of one of my fellow bloggers;WarrantOneGirl. Remember this is from Hilary Clinton and was uttered during the Bush Administration.
“I am sick and tired of people who call you unpatriotic if you debate this administration’s policies. we are Americans and we have the right to participate and debate any administration.”
This quote as applied to today reminds me of something I witnessed as a child. My father keep some chickens in a back lot. In the evening they would flock back to an old tree to spend the night. You could call it returning home to roost. I feel certain that having lived in the largely rural state of Arkansas for a time, Secretary Clinton would grasp the analogy.
(If you are interested, YouTube has the referenced video of the Speaker’s comments . Just type in pelosi violence .)
The veep is in Iraq once again, his 3rd trip this year. We can only hope he says something really Bidenesque that will make the news. But the real reason to mention his trip is to compare it to a trip made by his predecessor, Dick(Darth Vader) Cheney. Today, while Biden was in Baghdad, there was a mortar attack in the Green Zone, not far from where Biden and his traveling party were. Fortunately, no one was injured. Just a few years ago, while Cheney was in Afghanistan there was an attack actually aimed at killing him while he was there. There were comments on Huff Po lamenting its failure. These comments were removed. So, then we had comic genius Bill Maher complain about that action. He went on to say that the world would be a safer place if Cheney had been assassinated .
Ok, now that is the set up for this next. Keith Olbermann had columnist Dan Savage on his show on September 1. Savage said that the Michele Bachmann’s and the Glenn Beck’s of the world were or are , consciously or subconsciously trying to get the President killed. How are they doing this? Their strong opposition to Obamacare, including talk of death panels and the like. Their comments I guess are actually attempting to incite someone into killing the President. Now, what is one to do if they are opposed to the President’s healthcare proposals? Is opposition verboten ? Seems that way, does it not.
FYI, About all I will add about Mr Savage is that he is a columnist for the Seattle Stranger.
I had a really difficult time coming up with a suitable title, but I think I hit the jackpot with the one shown. How else to describe what could be the most powerful group of media personalities ever(? ) to have a common background. Not that there is anything common about this group. There are television shows ,( the Oprah herself, Dr Phil,Rachel Ray and the newest Dr Mehmet Oz) , magazines(The Oprah and Rachel Ray) and the list goes on.
Yep and you thought I meant another name beginning with O. Shame on you, although they do have Chicago in common. The width and depth of this media empire is staggering in its success and influence. But, just to cover the bases, allow me to list the names:
- Oprah Winfrey
- Bob Greene- fitness guru
- Dr Phil McGraw
- Rachel Ray
- Dr Mehmet Oz
- The Doctors- a Dr Phil spin off
Arguably, this is the most successful group of spin-offs ever. That would be the case even if you only counted the tv shows. But, of course, there are the magazines and books etc that ratchet up the success factor.
More numbers? Oh, alright. Oprah made $275 million last year from tv and Dr Phil made around $80 million. She led the media list and he was in the top 15. Magazine sales show The Oprah magazine with 2.4 million copies sold in 2008, ranking#27 and Everyday With Rachel Ray at 1.8 million copies, ranking#48.
Harpo Films produces award winning and highly rated shows for television and theatres. Oprah’s Book Club of course does wonders for those authors whose books she endorses. But, by doing so, she is also promoting reading itself, which is a great by-product.
And, there is OWN, a great acronym. It stands for the Oprah Winfrey Network. Although struggling to get going, launch date pushed to mid 2010, its pedigree suggests it will do well.
With all these things going for her is it any wonder that Ms Winfrey wasn’t interested in my proposed cabinet position as Secretary of Flash and Dash. It would have been a step down, for sure. But, in looking at that list again, Keith Olbermann still looks good as Secretary of Ranting and Raving since the job is still unfilled.(See post of 11/15/2008)
Today’s Wall Street Journal speaks about the Obama Administration’s intentions regarding levels of pay for some bank employees. Public sentiment is probably on the side on the Obama folks to a degree, considering the bailout handouts. We give you money, we set your pay, right?
Well, try this one on for size. How about bank loan officers who may be paid by production. Instead of paying for quantity, pay them for quality. Good idea, maybe. But if and when government does it by mandate, that is an entirely different issue. They have or will have, close to control of the autombile industry( see Chrsyley advertising budget, elimination of 800 dealerships, etc) and no telling what may come of that. How about the Obamamobile brought to by Government(uh General) Motors?
So, I started thinking. What is another industry whose pay needs some control? How about the media? Keith Olbermann just got a $3.5 million dollar raise(can that be right?) and works for MSNBC which is owned by General Electric. I’m sure they got bailout money. That would be a good start. Perhaps, algore could take a paycut for the environment. Who pays him anyway? Mother Earth?
Now, how about Obama’s Holloywood buddies. I’m sure that if sat down with them, perhaps with some assistance from Rahm Emanuel, they could helpp the left coast folks see the light. Imagine the headlines. Hanks, Spielberg, Penn, Jolie-Pitt , Leno, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, et. al donate pay for next movie and take voluntary pay cuts for next year. Money will go to, oh I don’t know, Obama and the boys will figure it out.
That sounds better to me than Eminem and Jimmy Kimmel teaming up to fly 200 laid off auto workers to Los Angeles to see Eminem’s appearance on the Kimmel show. Oh and they will also show them a good time. Sad to say, when they return home, they will still be laid off auto workers. Maybe they should just buy some cars.
But at least Eminem is being loyal to his home of Detroit. Wonder what kind of car he drives though?
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