Good Night, and Good Luck

I got the news about Keith Olbmerann’s firing today in a rogue Tweet on my iPhone as I was at my day job, which is actually more of a night job. I messaged the news to Papa Bonk. So incensed was I that I constructed the previous entry on my iPhone and blogged it on the spot.

All during break time. Of course.

But. I have been steaming about it ever since and could not wait to get back to my home office here and hit the release valve. Not that the news is surprising, as Olbmermann seems to have a penchant for getting fired, and as there have been recent news stories about his scuffles with his newly adopted network.

What a stupid mess. What a stupid, incompetent mess. Which is sad because when Al brought on Keith, it seemed a master stroke, a move meant and initiated to quantify and solidify a cable station with heretofore a rather nebulous broadcast identity.

I’d never heard of Current until they got Keith. Had you?

And the move would have been to build the station around Keith and Countdown, to give the man everything he wanted that you could possibly achieve, to take the stupid brown M&Ms out of the bowl. Keith had the gravitas and the method by which to anchor that whole entire cable network. And his show was good, better, some argue, than in his waning days at MSNBC. I always enjoyed it when I got to sit down to watch. The show wasn’t lacking in quality, and Keith was showing up for work.

So, what. Keith is prickly? Is that the problem?

DUH. How many news stories have been written about Keith Olbermann being a huge pain in the ass to work with? Ya didn’t know this when you dialed his number in the first place, Mister Vice Preznit?

I am annoyed because this little network was just showing signs of being a decent liberal media bastion, sort of like the old Air America effort. And, just like that failure, this one is making the unbelievable step of axing its most valuable asset, the property that should be its anchor programming.

Eliot Spitzer, by the way, is an insulting choice as a replacement. He’s not a broadcaster. He’s not even a radio broadcaster. The least ya’ll could do is put someone in the slot who’s actually been a broadcaster for a while. Cenk has a show with Current; Stephanie Miller has a show with Current; neither of them is a scintilla of the broadcaster Keith is (sorry, Mama), but at least they don’t look into the camera like it’s their first prom date.

Ooooh, I’m annoyed at this one. Just for his initial Special Comment about Rumsfeld’s fascistic statements about Iraq, Olbermann should be holding court as head altakaka at Al Gore’s stupid network.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

Current TV: Firing Olbermann ‘Part of a Broad Strategy

Producers at Current TV say today’s firing of well-known and popular
liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann is part of a larger strategy: Irrelevance
and unwatchability.

Current insiders said Olbermann’s “Countdown” flew in the face of the
channel’s programming strategy, running long, drab shows about miserable
social issues halfway around the world, as well as programming showcasing
America’s drug trade, and bride trafficking. And “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“The big boss was becoming concerned that there was one hour per day when
people were actually watching the network,” said channel producer Lou
Grant. “There’d be meetings where Al [Gore] was like, what are we going to
do with this Olbermann and people actually watching us? The next thing you
know, we’ll be expected to sell advertising.”

Olbermann’s visibility also detracted from others of Current’s strategies:
To hire every former Air America Radio host to put them on TV while still
being annoying and unwatchable even to liberals who walk around frothing at
the mouth.

“Liberals were used to tuning in to Countdown for 8 p.m. for
years. It was a time-tested program with a guy who had consistently shown
that he could deliver the audience,” said another producer. “Liberals adore
Olbermann and remember him fondly as the lone broadcaster who first stood
up to the rogue tyranny of Don Rumsfeld and the Bush administration. Why in
hell would we want to have anything to do with that?”

Hoodie Hoodwink

It is too easy to become captivated by a thing such as the Treyvon Martin case and also to go after arguing about the wrong thing regarding it. That is where I am, unfortunately.

I had one of these stupid arguments with a kid at work, a kid who is fond of finding interesting tidbits on his RSS reader and sharing. Usually I shut my mouth and listen because this is a good kid who has helped me immensely on the job. But he started discussing how it turns out that Trevyvon wasn’t some mere vulnerable innocent, nay, in fact, the reason he was in that neighborhood in the first place is because he’d been suspended, because he had some tie to marijuana, and oh yeah, he attacked Zimmerman first, and everyone’s trying to make Zimmerman out to be a racist, and he’s really not, why, he’s even got a black friend…

This line paralyzed my better sense and had me yelling at the kid that I wouldn’t hear him defending George Zimmerman, not when Zimmerman was the one still breathing. As if the thing to do in this case is to take sides. As if there’s a side to take.

George Zimmerman should be awaiting trial, and it’s disgusting, and I think a little bit terrifying, that he isn’t. That’s the issue. When you unload a pistol into a person, you should be brought up on charges and jailed, not cake walked around at the local police station and sent home with a pat on your ass. This is regardless of if Treyvon had ever smoked any sort of substance, of what his academic status was, or even of if he had tried to clock George Zimmerman, which it now looks like that story is being revealed as a bunch of hooey anyway.

A known crazy person and self-styled crime fighter who was known by the police to make overly frequent reports to them during his outings as a “neighborhood watch” volunteer witnessed a black guy walking down the street in a gated community and assumed the worst. That we know from the audio of the 911 call. He was told not to pursue, and he did anyway; again, we know that from the 911 call. We know that he was carrying a gun, something you are not supposed to do if you are carrying out a “neighborhood watch.” We know that he fired his gun into Treyvon Martin, and now, we know that one of the police officers on the case probably lied on the police report because we know from the video that Zimmerman was not covered in blood, was not holding a hand to his nose to stop the bleeding, did not seem disoriented from the barrage of blows to his head, did not have any signs of a developing shiner, that he was not injured hardly at all, even though the police report sez he was really fucked up.

Somebody in that police station tried to cover for Zimmerman, and the prosecutor helped by not bringing charges even though the investigating officer wanted at least a manslaughter charge brought. That is the issue. This isn’t about Zimmerman v. Martin. It’s about a refurbished criminal justice system under which a person could shoot you or me to death and then simply walk away.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty scary.

John Nichols Sheds Light on the Castle Doctrine Laws

Just got home from my day job and was listening to the rerun of the Thom Hartmann Show. He had Nation journalist John Nichols on. And Nichols really connected the dots for me on the “stand your ground” kind of laws we discussed recently.

You know who works behind the scenes to get these laws passed? The American Legislative Exchange Council. And, do you know who was corporate co-chair of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force when ALEC was drafting its model legislation? Wal-Mart.

Guess who sells more guns than anyone in America?

Now. Selling guns could prove to be a tremendous legal liability, don’t you think?

Unless, of course, there are laws on the books that absolve the shooter on the basis of self-defense and expand the net of that legal defense.

Most times, you can draw the line from the confounding issue that doesn’t seem to make any damned sense right on back to a sleazy corporation trying to save a few bucks. Can’t ya?

More about this from prwatch.org…

A High-Tech Lynching

Let’s call the murder of Treyvon Martin what it is. That guy was lynched.

If he had been a white guy, he would have gotten to finish his package of candy.

Had he been a white guy, George Zimmerman wouldn’t have thought twice about him walking around after dark in a gated community.

Treyvon was singled out and targeted for one reason: He was black and therefore ostensibly out-of-place in an environ of the privileged and affluent.

And the Stand Your Ground law, on the books in Florida and 20 other states, is precisely what led to, in fact, what may actually have permitted the lynching of Treyvon Martin.

What the “Stand Your Ground” law does is permits police to make the call on the scene as to whether or not a murder such as this one was committed in self-defense or not.

The Florida law goes further: It “…grants immunity from prosecution or arrest to suspects who successfully invoke the ‘stand your ground’ claim. And if a suspect is arrested and charged, a judge can throw out the case well before trial based on a self-defense claim.”

The law is a travesty. And, it’s downright dangerous. Here’s a bit of common sense for Florida legislators: If you are found standing over a corpse with a bloody hole in its chest and you’re holding a warm gun, YOU SHOULD BE ARRESTED.

No doubt about it: The “stand your ground” law in Florida encourage George Zimmerman to perpetrate what I would call an actual “high tech lynching.” And if he hasn’t fled the country by now, he’s an idiot. The dude’s probably going to get away with his lynching, too.

Three Out Of Four Republigoat Candidates Agree…and So Do We

It’s time to get the hell out of Afghanistan.

The latest events do nothing more to throw a spotlight upon this idea and to put it into the headlines. A U.S. Army sergeant (allegedly) walks off his base in southern Afghanistan and kills 16 Afghan civilians, many of them children. A Koran is burned. The crazy and the incompetent anecdotes here do not help the effort.

Especially the brutal story of these shootings. This detail:

The Army staff sergeant accused in the incident was treated for traumatic brain injury suffered in a vehicle rollover in 2010 during a previous deployment in Iraq, a U.S. official said. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was premature to state whether there was any link between the brain injury and Sunday’s shootings.

is reminiscent of the utter incompetence of the Bush administration through the Iraq war. Why was this soldier in country? Why are we still, apparently, over-deploying our troops?

The elder Bonk and I especially find Gingrich’s perspective on the issue rather interesting. Frankly:

We need to understand that our being in the middle of countries like Afghanistan is probably counterproductive. We’re not prepared to be ruthless enough to force them to change. And yet we are clearly an alien presence.

I frankly don’t know what the mission in Afghanistan is anymore. We shot Osama bin Gotten right in the head. Bring out the big banner and fly Obama onto the carrier. Mission accomplished. And, as Gingrich so correctly stated, unless we’re willing or even remotely able to whip the Taliban-tendencies out of an entire culture, unless our mission is to embark on a new crusade (which, duh, I don’t think we ought do), then every day spent there is a waste of resources and lives.

Funny. This war once seemed to be the reasonable one. Now it’s just muddy as hell. What the hell are we doing there again?

Obama has deflected comparisons of this incident to My Lai. But the comparison is going to be made. And frankly, it doesn’t seem to me to be that off. Human beings are generally reared with an instinct and a basic moral system that requires with every inch of their being that they not murder one another. Then you take a guy and you teach him how to kill people, and then you drop him into a foreign land, and you say, you get to kill those people, but not those people. Even though, sometimes, some of those people might be using some of those other people to kill you. And you don’t expect that at least one of those fellas is gonna wander off and pursue it a bit more recreationally?

Thing is, at this point, things can only get worse in Afghanistan. We burned a Koran. Oops. Sorry about that. One of our guys really was a baby killer. Oops. Yo. These are not people who suffer fools lightly. There have already been car bombings and shit over there.

How long until they make their way over here?

Find a way to save face and get out. Or, even more interestingly, just come out and declare the fucking thing over and done and start pulling out the tanks. No reason necessary, no need to save face. This wasn’t your war to start with, President Obama. You accepted the deed and all its liens in what I consider to be a raw deal: I have to end Iraq, so I’ll use boosting presence in Afghanistan as a way to achieve that politically.

But when you killed that bin Larden dude? That was the time to make like George Costanza and leave on a high note.

I’m just concerned the President is gonna start looking a little bit like Lyndon Johnson. Which would be weird. But sticking with Afghanistan may not just be bad policy.

It might also be the deal that seals the Obama Presidency at one term.

This shit can turn on a dime boss. Get out.

Faith Aloud

You gotta know about one of my favorite places on the Internet.

It’s called Faith Aloud. Here we go:

As people of religious faith and conviction / Faith Aloud supports reproductive justice for every person. / Because we have faith in women / we support all pregnancy options.

A friend of mine recently got published there. And the result is something very special.

It is a tribute to her best friend, who died. He was a dedicated advocate for choice. She remains at her wit’s end about his passing. My hope is that her ability to memorialize him so eloquently gives her peace.

So go read it. It is a powerful piece. And God bless you Ryan.

What It’s Not About

I hate having to write about Rush Limbaugh.

He’s one of those who should not have ink spilled on his behalf and whose primary purpose is actually to have people pay attention to him. It’s kind of like when Osama bin Laden attacked these Untied States hoping that we would go berzerkers and do something entirely foolish and put ourselves on the road to bankruptcy, and then that’s exactly what we did.

Rush Limbaugh wants us to talk about him. And I don’t think it’s because he thinks he’s all that or because he’s merely a psychopath. I think it’s strategery. Because if we’re talking about Rush Limbaugh, then we’re not talking about Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. It gives those boys a breather, which they could probably use right now as they prepare for a humongous electoral event.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to write here because Rush’s suppositions regarding @SandraFluke (yes, you can follow her on Twitter) were just so damned bizarre, and his “apology” was written to allow these bizarre assertions to linger.

However, I think it’s vital to note that Limbaugh’s portrayal of Fluke’s testimony is wholly inaccurate, and that his ignorance, whether feigned or actual, speaks to the broader problem about the issue.

Because in order to actually understand this issue or at least to be intellectually honest about it, you must forget that what we’re talking about has anything to do with human sexuality. It plays a role, certainly, but in reality it’s not what all the furor is or should be about. What we’re talking about; what Fluke was talking about, is about access to healh care, not about bow-chika-bow-wow. Even Rush’s “apology” didn’t seem to understand this.

You cannot divorce contraception and women’s health care. I cannot tell you how many women I’ve known who started on “the pill” long before even smooching a boy was a possibility. They started on it because otherwise, they’d have to spend a week out of the month curled up on the floor in agony. Contraception is medical treatment. As is abortion. Unfortunately, opinion leaders like rush treat it like only so much punani politics.

Dear Lush Rimbaugh: This is not about sexual intercourse. It has nothing to do with sexual intercourse. It is about access to medical care and the fact that boneheaded thinking like yours impedes access to it. That’s what it’s about. One can hope that Fluke’s remarkable grace and Limbaugh’s utter bufoonery can help to elevate the notion.