Because they quickly become overwhelming to maintain, your Radio Equalizer has never been one to create a zillion different blog sites.
An exception is being made in this campaign season, however, as some of New England's biggest races turn nasty. Of particular importance: GOP Lt Gov Kerry Healey's battle against Democrat Deval Patrick for the governorship of Massachusetts.
Air America Finally Forced To Turn Over Charity $$$
Even as it fades into broadcast oblivion, Air America Radio still won't concede any ground on its sleazy charity funds raid. This is one stubborn operation, folks.
But it has been compelled to cough up the dough nonetheless, and the New York State Attorney General's office has now transferred the case to its criminal prosecutions bureau, the New York Times (!!) reports today.
For many months, Air America attorney Bill Schaap has controlled an (IOLA) escrow account for the purpose of repaying this money, with the DOI now having ordered at least some, if not all, of this dirty dough returned. Liberal "investors" funded the kitty, generally in $50,000 contributions.
The company, meanwhile, continues to foolishly insist that a different corporation ran Air America during the time of the scandal, which is true only in a technical, but not in any moral, or ethical sense. Yes, some of those behind the network at the time have long since left the building, but many others are still in the mix, or have departed just recently.
But the continued denials may be an attempt to avoid further legal liability. And even for those who weren't involved in the initial swindle, the subsequent Enron- like cover- up was just as disgusting.
Because the exact details of these new developments vary somewhat, let's do a quick rundown:
A Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx has received $250,000 from the leftleaning radio network Air America in the wake of a probe by the New York City Department of Investigation.
Last summer, as part of DOI's investigation into the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club regarding improper expenditures of city funds, the agency discovered that the club had transferred $875,000 to Air America in the period leading up to the network's launch in March 2004.
A co-founder of Air America, Evan Montvel Cohen, had simultaneously served as development director for the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. Mr. Cohen later told The New York Sun that he arranged the transfer of $875,000 to the radio network from the club.
Ownership of Air America has since changed hands, and last September the current owner, Piquant LLC, deposited $875,000 into an attorney-controlled escrow account to be released to Gloria Wise when the DOI authorized payment.
Yesterday, the DOI announced that it had asked Air America to release the money. A statement from DOI said that $625,000 would be returned to a variety of city agencies after Gloria Wise was found to have misused the funds. The remaining $250,000 has been returned to Gloria Wise for its operating expenses.
Gloria Wise has been badly damaged by the scandal: It has lost its city funding and its affiliation with Boys & Girls Club of America.
The club's new chief executive, Fred Lewis, told the Associated Press that the investigation will likely lead to criminal charges.
A Bronx charity will pay the city back $625,000 that had been intended for children and the elderly but was improperly lent to Air America Radio, a network known for its liberal programming and hosts like Al Franken.
The settlement, announced yesterday by the city’s Department of Investigation, is the latest but probably not the final chapter in an investigation that began last year.
The state attorney general’s office is continuing to look into the misuse of the funds, and the case has been transferred from its charities bureau to the criminal prosecutions bureau, two people close to the investigation said yesterday.
City investigators found that the charity, based in Co-op City and formerly known as the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, lent $875,000 to Air America Radio. At the city’s request, the network put the money into an escrow account while the investigation continued.
Now, $625,000 will be returned to the city and $250,000 will be turned over to the charity for its operations. The $625,000 recouped by the city includes $250,000 from the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Department for the Aging that the charity misused from 2001 to 2004 and $375,000 in overpayments from the Department of Education to a nursery and kindergarten run by the charity from 1997 to 2006.
“This is a somewhat shocking case,” said the commissioner of investigation, Rose Gill Hearn, who described the circumstances as “clearly unusual.” She said the recovery of the money was significant because “most of the time, people spend it and it’s dissipated.”
Ms. Gill Hearn said that the investigation into the charity involved “a copious analysis and forensic audit of their books and records.” In some instances, officials at the charity fabricated invoices for consulting services that never existed.
Until last year, Gloria Wise and an affiliated charity, Pathways for Youth, relied on the city for nearly 80 percent of their budgets. The city no longer has contracts with Gloria Wise.
NEW YORK -- A community center investigated after it gave $875,000 to the liberal radio network Air America has reached a financial settlement with the city over government funds mishandled by its former officers.
The city's Department of Investigation announced Wednesday that the Gloria Wise Community Center in the Bronx has repaid $625,000 it had received from city agencies for its youth programs and nursery school.
A majority of that money was a refund of overpayments the center received from the city's education department, but at least $250,000 were related to "improper expenditures," by executives, the Department of Investigation said.
Those expenses included pay bonuses and personal expenses by some Gloria Wise officials, said the department.
It declined to elaborate, citing an ongoing criminal probe by the New York Attorney General, but the center's newly installed chief executive, Fred Lewis, said some of the charity's money was used for home renovations and car payments.
Lewis said he expected the case to result in criminal charges, but not against any current administrators or staff.
The organization, which was stripped of its affiliation with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America last summer, has ousted its old board members and has a new personnel, he said.
Left-leaning bloggers and Air America hosts, meanwhile, have long tried to pretend this scandal didn't exist, even going as far as to attack us for "making up" the story. Others actually tried to blame it on a Republican plot, simply because Evan Cohen, a key player in this mess, once worked for the GOP governor of Guam. But he's as liberal as they come.
Network hosts, who thunder about the "Bush crime family" on a daily basis, have mostly avoided discussion of their own sleazy ca$h grab.
Meanwhile, via an internal source, it had come to our attention recently that some former and current Air America executives could face further questioning in the matter and were said to be very concerned about that possibility.
No matter how the company may try to spin this mess today, one thing is clear: it not only hasn't put the matter behind it, but the biggest fireworks are yet to come.
WASHINGTON -- Republicans will hold their 2008 presidential convention in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, choosing a location in the politically pivotal Midwest.
Party and state officials announced the selection Wednesday. The convention is slated for Sept. 1-4, 2008.
"This is fantastic news," Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "We're very, very pleased."
Losing out were New York City, Cleveland and a joint bid from Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla., other cities that had sought the convention.
The four-day event will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., a concert venue and the home of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild.
Democrats also had been considering holding their convention in the Twin Cities but the Republican announcement left Democrats with two competing cities to choose from _ New York and Denver.
By picking the Twin Cities for 2008, the GOP will ensure plenty of news coverage in media markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa _ all battleground states in the 2004 election and ones expected to be competitive in the next presidential race.
"The heartland of America," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. "Whoever wins those states is going to be the next president of the United States."
Minnesota had been seen by some as an unlikely host, with just 10 electoral votes and the nation's longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates.
MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out.
A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing.
An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann's pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup.
He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known. Olbermann had no comment.
What about a teddy bear? Did he ask for one of those?
For police, the toughest question may be in attempting to determine who is the bigger nutcase here: the sender, or the recipient?
Urgent note to media professionals: unless you know who sent it, don't open your mail!
UPDATE: "progressive" blogger Oliver Willis has some kind of beef with us about this story that isn't completely clear. To the Radio Equalizer, there's a difference: while KSCO is merely trying to keep its employees safe, we'd never put it past Olbermann and his lefty friends to try and score partisan points over such a story.
In fact, that's what Oliver is doing with this:
Right Wing Targets Keith Olbermann
The crazies are at it again, first it was the NY Times - now it's Olbermann
The powder turned out to be a dud, but that doesn't change much. The right-wing in America has once again chosen to try and silence that which they disagree with.
But is there any evidence the powder came from "the right wing"? KSCO may have been targeted by the same person, yet it is a conservative talk radio station.
Severin Loses Syndicated Show, "Returns" To Boston
After barely a year as a nationally- syndicated host, radio talker Jay Severin (real name: Jimmy Severino) has apparently lost his show and will "return home" to Boston to rejoin WTKK- FM in afternoon drive.
Boy, was that fast! We've never seen a national show bomb this quickly.
Details are still sketchy, including the exact fate of his CBS Radio talk show, but Severin's apologists were busy spinning the latest screw- up by the self- described "libertarian - libertine" (including insane assertions by his agent in the Boston Globetoday that Severin had "50 stations" and that CBS Radio didn't want to let him go).
Ratings, however, were said to be at rock- bottom and few stations ever really picked up the program.
On the flip side, Boston's media outlets, especially the papers, will rejoice at the idea of their favorite punching bag returning to local airwaves.
Normally, we're sympathetic to a talker's career setbacks, but Severin's creepy, sleazy and downright dishonest background has set him apart.
He's also had a long association with crusty morning curmudgeon Don Imus, who frequently had Severin on his show at one point.
For years, he had listeners believe he lived in Boston, until he was outed by the Boston Globe as a full- time resident of Sag Harbor, New York. Station officials swear he will move to the area this time, but it's hard to believe he will give up his spread in the Empire State.
From a ratings standpoint, however, it's hard to fault WTKK for rehiring Severin: at one point, he was beating Howie Carr in the afternoon drive period. But station staffers may need to be decontaminated whenever they get within 10 feet of the guy.
In fact, Boston remains his only career success story. But he is badly damaged after these scandals and Carr regained a lot of momentum this year with a successful book release and his 60 Minutes interview.
Severin's afternoon exit also revealed major weaknesses in WTKK's overall lineup, with a troubled ratings picture and increasingly- forgotten local hosts. Initially a strong FM talker, it seems to have peaked some time ago.
Overall, it has relied too heavily on newspaper columnists and TV anchors, who often don't fit the news / talk hosting mold. The idea was to use people with "names" in the market, but an entertaining no- namer will beat marquee value any day of the week (just ask boring Al Franken).
Whether Severin regains his position as top afternoon drive talker won't be clear for some time, but until then, let's see if he can manage to stay out of trouble.
Haz-mat team investigating suspicious powder at KSCO
More than a half mile of Portola Drive is closed as the county hazardous materials team and officials from the county Environmental Health Department investigates the discovery of a white powdery substance, authorities said.
The white powder fell out of an envelope delivered to KSCO radio station building in legal-sized envelope with no return address around 1:15 p.m. today, a fire official said.
Three of the six station personnel in the building at the time were exposed to the powder, but no one has shown symptoms of exposure to a hazardous substance, authorities said.
Those personnel, the building and the surrounding area remain quarantined while officials determine if the white powder is dangerous.
Portola Drive is closed to all traffic between Cocroran Avenue and 21st Avenue, the Sheriff’s Office said. Only local traffic can access Portola Drive between 17th and 31st avenues, the Sheriff’s Office said.
(Read Jennifer Squires’ complete story in Tuesday’s Sentinel. Contact her at 429-2449 or email@example.com.)
Your Radio Equalizer worked as a talk host at KSCO in the early- to- mid nineties.
UPDATE: From the Sentinel, authorities still aren't sure about the substance, while station officials revealed they've recently had problems with an individual who's made threats of some kind. The full story is here.
After a moderately testy Massachusetts gubernatorial debate Monday evening that produced no clear winner, Bay State talk radio hosts will have a lot to chew on this week.
Former Clinton Administration extremist Deval Patrick and independent Christy Mihos took turns pounding GOP Lt Governor Kerry Healey, but she handled the attacks adequately, without losing her cool.
Mihos, a convenience store owner based on Cape Cod, made it clear why he was in the race: to help Democrat Deval Patrick get elected by siphoning votes away from Healey. Slipping in and out of a strange, Kennedy-esque accent, Mihos emphasized the (truly unimportant) fact that he is apparently the only native- born Bay Stater in the race.
But overall, he came across as angry and disgruntled, rather than as a cool- headed and effective potential leader. Former Acting Governor Jane Swift, a Republican, removed Mihos from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority at a time when he was correctly asking questions about the corrupt agency's shoddy business practices. Mihos seems to have projected that anger onto Healey in a way that seemed irrational.
Mihos performance grade: B- Minus (the anger was frankly overdone)
Green Party / Rainbow Coalition candidate Grace Ross came across surprisingly well, once the viewer could get past her socialist, neo- hippie "community activist" look. She correctly pointed out that all three of her opponents were essentially multi-millionaire elitists who are grossly out of touch with a state that has become too expensive for many of its residents.
Even if her views may be on the fringe (though she really didn't venture into that kind of territory), Ross wasn't afraid to join the fight and likely has sincere reasons for jumping into the race.
Ross Performance grade: B (because expectations were zero)
As for Healey, she remained calm and appealing under fire. Well- versed on the issues, she didn't trip up on any of the questions, maintaining a smooth delivery throughout.
But she would likely benefit from a few more debates (even if that seems counterintuitive), in order to show more passion, warmth and energy.
Why is she running? Tell us!
In addition, Healey needs to learn how to project her voice more, it's still a bit on the soft side, which made it easy for opponents to shout over her answers. Overall, a strong candidate, but a work in progress, with no time to spare.
Step it up now, Kerry.
Healey's grade: B (she didn't screw it up and that may be all that was necessary)
Patrick, a Howard Dean- likeextremist with a knack for generating enthusiasm amongst the blogosphere's biggest moonbats, gave the most disappointing performance, primarily because it's thought that he can do better.
Clearly, more is expected of Patrick, yet he didn't deliver anything beyond Healey's level.
Since he didn't connect with the voters any better than Healey, he isn't likely to have increased his support level tonight. In fact, the Democrat stumbled on a couple of the answers, not something that would have been expected of Patrick before this debate.
What's especially sinister about Deval is his new move to the middle, after spending the primary season on the far left, where he truly resides. I'm not sure that voters are going to buy it.
Patrick's grade: C (because he's usually better in these settings)
As for the media,FOX News anchor Chris Wallace was brilliant as moderator, providing a first- class touch to the debate. He had clearly looked into the issues ahead of time and seemed well- prepared as a result. Wallace has had quite a week in the spotlight and he deserves our full support.
The post- debate wrap-up, however, overseen by the dim bulbs at FOX 25 / Boston, was all that could be expected from these notorious "news" buffoons.
For talk radio, the benefits of this race are many: topping the list is the fact that a busy and highly entertaining political year is now assured.
“Deval Patrick … said that conservative talk radio was an important factor in creating an atmosphere conducive to abhorrent behavior such as arson and bombing.”
Waves of Rancor: Tuning in the Radical Right, by Robert Hilliard
"I feel like we're reaping what we've sown. If you listen to talk radio, if you listen to some of the rhetoric in Congress . . . you can begin to see ways in which civic leadership in this country is not encouraging people to see their stake in each other's struggle." Deval Patrick on the possible cause of arsons of black churches, Washington Post (June 12, 1996)
According to the National Church Arson Task Force that Patrick co-chaired at the US Department of Justice: "Of the 670 incidents that we have investigated, 225 have involved African American churches, 163 of which are located in the southern United States.
Of the 308 persons arrested, 254 are white, 46 are African American, and eight are Hispanic. One hundred and nineteen people arrested were juveniles. Of the 106 suspects arrested for arsons at African American churches, 68 are white, 37 are African American and one is Hispanic. Of the 197 suspects arrested for arsons at non-African American houses of worship, 181 are white, nine are African American, and seven are Hispanic. Five of the white suspects were arrested for arsons at both African American and non-African American churches.
Bottom line: racial hatred of blacks by whites cannot be a primary cause of the church arsons because most of the attacked churches had white congregations, whites were far more likely to attack white churches than black churches, and blacks also attacked black churches in significant numbers.
For talk radio, the issue of church arsons is likely only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Patrick's questionable past.
ELSEWHERE:Trip wonders why the Clinton- Wallace clips have apparently been removed from YouTube.
Tucker Carlson, Al Franken, MSNBC, Janeane Garofalo
Venezuela? Never Heard Of The Place!
A couple of our old friends are busy keeping us entertained this weekend:
In one of his most bizarre interviews ever, Al Franken struggles to come up with answers to MSNBC host Tucker Carlson's most basic questions, including thoughts on Hugo Chavez's now- infamous unhinged visit to the US.
Only after extensive hand- holding during an oppressively lengthy segment did Al's mind begin to thaw. This guy's either very tired or just doesn't feel the need to take MSNBC seriously. It's the very definition of "phoning it in".
Take a look for yourself:
Note that Al isn't listed as an Air America Radio host at the bottom of the screen (what you do see, in red, was added by the YouTube uploader). When asked about the network, Franken sure didn't make a convincing case for its continuing operation.
Meanwhile, ex- Air America host Janeane Garofalo gives GQ a doozy for their October issue: does she actually find Bill O'Reilly attractive?
Janeane Garofalo shares this recollection: "Literally one moment before you go on, he comes and says hello, and it's like 'Oh, my God,' because he's six feet five, and I find that to be a turn-on -- my boyfriend at the time was six four.
So unfortunately, the first time I met Bill O'Reilly, it was an attractive thing. I guess I assumed he was a short guy, because he's so pugnacious. He still has the Napoleon complex while being six five -- that's what kind of an a--hole he is."
Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!
Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Media Matters, T-Warrior
'T-WARRIOR' VS ENEMIES
Is O'Reilly Playing His Critics For Fools?
*** Welcome Boston Globe readers ***
On the Enemies of O'Reilly front, it's been quite an entertaining week.
After an ABC- TV interview revealed that Bill refers to himself as "T- Warrior" (T = traditional), nothing was more predictable than the 100% probability that his lefty opponents would go bonkers.
Which begs the question: did Bill do this on purpose? More than that, is the top- rated O'Reilly Factor host frequently egging on his many detractors just for kicks?
After all, they sure are easy to manipulate!
In this case, Bill gave them enough to feast upon for months, especially with his assertion that he is among several FOX personalities considered to be al-Qaeda targets. But why wouldn't O'Reilly, or any other high- profile major media voice critical of the terrorist organization, be an obvious hit for these thugs? It sure would make a splash.
As for "T- Warrior", it's no goofier than the Radio Equalizer, is it? Or, for that matter, any other radio or TV handle (nickname) that one might develop?
But your Radio Equalizer still can't get past the idea that most of this was fed to ABC just to get the usual suspects worked up into a frenzy. And sure enough, it worked!
"I write about all these guys in the book. And Cronkite, to me, was a surprise because I grew up watching him," he said.
"I thought he was fair. And then he comes out of the closet as this real radical left guy. And I am going, 'Whoa, Walter, where have you been all these years?'"
If it weren't for the media, O'Reilly says, there would be no ongoing debates over gay marriage or references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
According to O'Reilly, the media have created these controversies and Americans are overwhelmingly against gay marriage and support mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"The media is really the balancing agent here between the 20 percent of Americans who are secular progressives, and about 60 percent who are traditionalists," O'Reilly said.
"I gotta expose it."
When asked whether he supported a particular political party, O'Reilly said, "I vote all over the map." But he says he feels sorry for President Bush.
"Bush found himself in a position that nobody can anticipate," O'Reilly said. "And [he] has made a lot of mistakes. Now, the American public, I think, has lost confidence in the president. And that's a terrible place to be."
Walters asked O'Reilly about his thoughts on the possibility of New York junior Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton running for president in 2008.
"My problem with Senator Clinton is, that she doesn't answer questions," he said.
O'Reilly says he's asked her key questions like, "What would you do in Iraq? What would you do with al Qaeda?"
Currently, he said, she does not give a clear answer for those questions.
"If you don't answer the questions, I am against you," he said.
Bill O'Reilly's enemies list, available in hardback for $26
"My goal," Bill O'Reilly writes in the introduction to his latest book, Culture Warrior, which is published by Random House's Broadway Books imprint and will go on sale September 25, "is to expose and defeat people who have the power to do you great harm. My weapons will be facts and superior analysis based on those facts" (Page 5).
But if "facts" and "superior analysis" are what readers are after, they may want to look elsewhere. Media Matters for America's review of Culture Warrior shows the book to be replete with factual errors, rank hypocrisy, and ad hominem attacks directed at anyone who has crossed swords with O'Reilly.
O'Reilly recently claimed to have thwarted an attempt by Media Matters to review Culture Warrior prior to its release. On the September 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, he noted that his publisher had refused a request to provide an advance copy to "a guy who writes for the left-wing smear site Media Matters." "Nice try," O'Reilly said, "no book." Nice try, Mr. O'Reilly.
The book purports to "expose the secular-progressive movement in our country for exactly what it is, to explain why it is so harmful for America, and to identify the movement's top leaders" (Page 7). What qualifies someone as a member of the secular-progressive (or "S-P" in his book) conspiracy? It may be an obscure professor who said something O'Reilly considers unpatriotic or a judge who gave an offender a light sentence. While O'Reilly claims to be an independent who stands apart from the conservative movement, conservatives are almost never the target of his ire. In addition to liberals and Democrats, he lashes out at numerous news organizations and journalists such as Tom Brokaw and Walter Cronkite. In other cases, all it takes is that someone criticized O'Reilly, which places people like actor/director George Clooney and Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin on the side of the sinister "S-Ps".
But O'Reilly puts a few individuals and organizations at the center of the conspiracy. At the top is financier George Soros, whom O'Reilly describes as "public enemy number one." (The FBI's collection of terrorists, drug dealers, and cop-killers apparently has nothing on someone who donates money to liberal organizations. Sorry, Osama.) Close behind is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), about which O'Reilly writes, "American culture, in my opinion, has deteriorated drastically in large part because the ACLU, thanks to its enormous power, gets a free pass from most of the media" (Page 27). (See the "enemies list" below for a comprehensive roster of those O'Reilly attacks in the book.)
"I will try to avoid cheap shots and vindictiveness." Mission not so accomplished:
"He [Al Franken] was just another rabid show business liberal with a mean streak."
"... the guy [Franken] is an accomplished smear merchant."
"I can say this with absolute certainty: The man [Franken] is truly a loathsome individual."
"To borrow National Review columnist Mona Charen's description, Al Franken is a 'useful idiot.' [...] He, along with New York Times columnist Frank Rich, is their chief character assassin."
"A guy like Franken you can impale. Nobody's gonna feel sorry for an individual of that low caliber."
Gee, guys, this "review" is so long, you've just about written your own book! Besides, is Franken still worth defending? Isn't it getting pretty hard to do?
Sure enough, MSNBC's obsessed Keith Olbermann couldn't resist tearing into this, taking as many cheap shots as he could:
The loofah-loving Fox News host is raising plenty of eyebrows around the office after telling Barbara Walters in an interview with ABC's 20/20 that, "the FBI came in and warned me and a few other people at Fox News that Al Qaeda had us on a death list." O'Reilly describes the experience—as well as other violent threats he says he's received from various "kooks"—as "disconcerting."
But the reaction from some of his colleagues sounds more like disbelief. "I've never heard that before," says a correspondent for Fox News, who added that neither he nor anyone he's spoken to at the network has been warned by the FBI. "I do know the government has warned Fox about threats in the past, but I don't think they involved specific people."
A high-level exec at another cable news channel was less circumspect. "That sounds like absolute bulls**t to me—it's typical O'Reilly," he says. "We've never received any similar warnings from the FBI or any other government agency, and we've done plenty of reporting to piss off Bin Laden."
As Bill's many enemies continue to go nuts, we'll be hearing about this for months. Thanks to O'Reilly, they've got enough fuel to get through the upcoming winter.
But is T- Warrior again having the last laugh?
ELSEWHERE: Mike Anderson has the real truth on the new feminist talk radio network founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem.
Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!
After today's show, there's simply no other way to describe our friend Stuart Smalley. Yet again, while major news was breaking, Al Franken buried his head in the sand and continued with his usual boring guests and commentary:
Broadcasting live from the Frankenwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, The Al Franken Show on Thursday will speak to these great guests:
(12:50) David Sirota, co-chair of the Progressive States Network, blogger, and the author of “Hostile Takeover: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government – and How We Take It Back.”
(1:00) Jim Wallis, editor and founder of the liberal evangelical magazine Sojourners. He's also the author of "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It."
(1:30) Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, and a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He'll talk about the fight between the administration and Congress over torture and the use of military tribunals for terrorist suspects. and
(2:00) Tom Oliphant, our Thursday regular. He's the author of Praying for Gil Hodges, and a former columnist for the Boston Globe.
The Al Franken Show.
This isn't about whether or not Franken agrees with your Radio Equalizer on the issues, he shouldn't, as he was hired to dispense leftist viewpoints. Let's make that clear up front.
Instead, Al's fatal flaw is that he avoids important breaking issues at key times. That makes him an inept talk show host.
Never mind that nearly everyone else, left and right alike, was focused on Hugo Chavez's angry outbursts and denunciations of President Bush while on American soil. Instead, on Franken's show today, it was Tom Oliphant's dry, boring ramblings about legislation he doesn't support.
Al, NPR is more interesting than your show!
Frankly, it doesn't matter if Franken spent ten or twenty minutes talking about Chavez today, it should have been every minute of all three hours of his show. If an Air America listener tuned in at 2pm today, he or she should have been hearing about nothing but Hugo, Hugo and more Hugo.
Whether he agreed with Hugo's statements or not, it was today's number one single and not to be avoided by any host hoping to remain on the air.
Using the same dreadful guests repeatedly, as though he's afraid of airtime without them, Franken is frequently able to avoid delving into the big issues.
Liberals may scream about Rush Limbaugh, but the key to his success has been the fact that you can count on him to jump all over major topics as soon as they hit the headlines, at lightning speed.
It's nice that Billy ($625,000 per annum plus lunch expenses) Kimball can book the same handful of guests every week, but your friendly Radio Equalizer can help you today for free, Mr Franken!
Here's your free show prep, take any position you like, we don't care:
Chavez says Bush 'alcoholic' and 'sick man' Published: 9/21/2006
(Turkish Press) NEW YORK - Vene- zuela's President Hugo Chavez launched a new personal attack against President George W. Bush on Thursday, calling the US leader an "alcoholic" and a "sick man" during a tour of the New York district of Harlem.
Speaking while walking in a Harlem street, Chavez told a group of passers-by: "Bush is an alcoholic, a sick man with a lot of hang-ups."
"He walks like John Wayne," declared the left-wing Venezuelan leader. "He doesn't know anything about politics, he got there because of Daddy." Bush's father, George Bush, was also a US president.
In a controversial speech before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Chavez called Bush "the devil" and "a tyrant."
Leading Bush critic at home calls Chavez a "thug" Sep 21, 12:43 PM (ET)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of President George W. Bush's fiercest political opponents at home took his side on Thursday, calling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a "thug" for his remark that Bush is like the devil.
"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference, referring to Chavez' comments in a U.N. General Assembly speech on Wednesday.
"Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations," said Pelosi, a frequent Bush critic. "He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."
Simon Bolivar led the fight for independence against Spanish rule in several South American countries in the early 19th century and is cited by Chavez as a political model.
Chavez, a vociferous critic of Bush and the United States, has allied himself with U.S. opponents Cuba and Iran and has led a resurgence of left-wing populism in Latin America.
"The devil himself is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Right here," Chavez said as he stood at the U.N. podium where Bush spoke the day before.
REP. RANGEL BLASTS CHAVEZ: DON'T ATTACK MY PRESIDENT
RANGEL: AN ATTACK ON BUSH IS AN ATTACK ON ALL AMERICANS...
'You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president, do not come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State'...
Al, if you can't figure this out, then it's simply time to hand over your headphones to some other "progressive" who can. Next time, dump the boring guests and talk only about the day's huge breaking story.
That advice is free and we don't even expect the network to pick up our lunch tab!
ALSO: Randi Rhodes really isn't any better, so far mentioning Chavez only in passing and as a way to bash Chris Matthews for not getting Hugo's sulfur "joke".
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During Performance, Worcester Wannabe Out Of His League
Removing any doubt as to his chronically childish nature, Air America Radio host Sam Seder had his head handed to him during a stage performance Monday evening, according to the New York Daily News.
Organized as a special Hollywood star- infested reading of "All The President's Men" to benefit a local charity, Seder, who was somehow chosen as the event's emcee, used the occasion to bash reporter Bob Woodward for apparently not being sufficiently anti-Bush in his coverage.
But that ticked off performer (and famous Woodward journalistic partner) Carl Bernstein, according to Lloyd Grove:
Bernstein jumps down emcee's Deep Throat
Don't even think about trashing Bob Woodward when Carl Bernstein's around.
He'll blow you out of the water.
Former Washington Post reporter Bernstein - a featured player at Monday night's celeb-glutted dramatic reading of "All the President's Men" to raise money for the Naked Angels Theater Company - brought the show to a crashing halt after emcee Sam Seder, a host on the financially bankrupt Air America radio network, ranted about Bernstein's fellow Watergate sleuth.
"It's appropriate that Bob Woodward isn't here tonight," Seder sniped from the stage at Skylight Studios before slamming the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, and the news media in general, for allegedly being soft on the Bush White House.
"How could you? How could you?" Seder demanded, as Billy Crudup, Blythe Danner, Sam Waterston and other cast members waited for him to finish.
But Bernstein was having none of it.
With the performance of William Goldman's Oscar-winning screenplay well under way, Bernstein delayed his first line (as metropolitan editor Harry Rosenfeld) to announce: "I take vigorous exception to what was just said about my friend and colleague Bob Woodward."
Calling Seder's remarks "wholly inappropriate," Bernstein said: "Most of what we know about the Bush White House comes from Bob Woodward's reporting." As for the unraveling of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon's presidency, "We wouldn't even be here tonight if it weren't for Bob Woodward."
The crowd gave Bernstein a rousing ovation.
Yesterday Woodward, still an editor at The Post more than 30 years after Watergate, told me: "I appreciate Carl's remarks, but I also understand the passions that blind people, quite frankly, when they want certain political outcomes. And reporters have to stick to what happens and what they can find out."
Woodward's latest book about President Bush - which I hear will be a searing investigation of mismanagement in Iraq - will be out in a couple of weeks.
Sam's history of childish antics is well- known to Radio Equalizer readers. For background on Janeane Garofalo's former on- air partner, see thesepreviouspieces.
Here's Seder during a recent guest visit with MSNBC's Tucker Carlson:
We don't know how Seder's ego managed to get quite this big, but it's nice to see somebody finally willing to put him in his place.
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Patrick's Dem Primary Win Is Golden For Talk Radio
A hotly- contested, three- way Democrat Party gubernatorial primary in Massachusetts has provided New England- based talk radio hosts with a great deal of fodder in recent weeks.
Now, with the Howard Dean / Ned Lamont- like Deval Patrick emerging as the winner of this bruising contest, topic- hungry Bay State news- talk radio looks to have gained a serious shot in the arm. And with ratings sagging based on fresh Boston results released late Tuesday, it can't come a moment too soon. All that's needed now is a Dean- like scream from Deval to use as an on- air sound effect.
The other clear winners: major broadcast firms with local outlets, who've seen a tremendous advertising surge fill television and radio airwaves in recent weeks.
With by far the most liberal of the three candidates winning this contest, alarm is sure to follow in more mainstream Democrat party factions. Patrick soundly beat two well- financed competitors, Attorney General Tom Reilly (an initially strong candidate who blew early leads through epic bouts of stupidity) and venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli (who, through ties to the George Soros- backed Democracy Alliance, has funded the financially- troubled Air America Radio in the past).
Here's a Hotline pre- primary assessment of the race:
Patrick will now take on Republican Lt Governor Kerry Healey in what will be the political fight of a lifetime. Healey, a wealthy businesswoman who has just recently begun to demonstrate her independence from Mitt Romney, hopes to continue the twenty- year trend of Republicans in the position. The last Democrat elected governor in the Bay State was Michael Dukakis.
Oddly, however, Healey entered the nasty political fray between Democrats, running early attack ads against Gabrieli. Did she assume he was the front- runner, or was Patrick's victory in fact the desired outcome? According to the Boston Globe, Healey's campaign thought Gabrieli would be tougher to define, while Patrick and Reilly were easy to paint as hard- core liberals.
While Healey does appear to be a strong candidate, she has so far failed to seal the deal with voters, not revealing the fire in her belly that compels one to run for governor. When will the passion emerge? Hurry, the clock is ticking!
On the other hand, Patrick represents a potential disaster for Massachusetts at the worst possible time. With the state's population on the decline and young people forced to leave for greener pastures due to high taxes and a slow economy, Patrick's policies would only serve to speed up this already alarming trend.
A former Clinton Administration elitist currently building an enormous mansion in the western part of the state, Patrick is in complete denial regarding the many huge problems that threaten the commonwealth. He has opposed reducing the state income tax rate to 5%, which was the will of the voters in 2000, but quickly circumvented by a shameless legislature.
Patrick's sadly delusional mindset essentially maintains that Democrats have created a blue- state paradise in Massachusetts, a potential model for the rest of the country. How many Bay Staters share that kind of view is open to question and the other two Dems in the race had instead adopted reform- focused campaigns.
Expect the national media to portray Patrick as the second coming of Barack Osama- Obama (don't blame us, it was Ted Kennedy who got them confused). And Deval's Dean- like supporters can be expected to paint as racist anybody who dares to criticize their man.
From this point forward, Bay State- based talk radio outlets will not only have their own version of Connecticut's Ned Lamont to pick apart, but also get the added bonus of Healey's so- far questionable campaign to critique.
For local talk hosts, it's a can't- lose scenario.
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Greenstone Media, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, NAB Convention
WHAT WOMEN WANT?
Steinem To Teach Radio Pigs A Lesson
Gloria Steinem has just made the best case ever for radio industry convention non- attendance!
How, you wonder? By giving a "special address" at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Dallas tomorrow, the longtime feminist is planning to stick it to the misogynists who run the radio business.
The session topic: "Talk That Women Really Want".
Given that attending a NAB convention can easily set one back as much as $2000, between fees, food, drinks (!!), hotels and transportation, who wants to pay good money to hear Gloria pretend that women are begging for her new feminist talk radio network?
Never mind that there are already a number of talk shows that appeal to women, including some hosted by (yikes!) men. And that a number of female talk hosts have been able to succeed just fine without her movement's help, including Dr Laura Schlessinger, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Tammy Bruce and a number of others at the local level, such as Melanie Morgan in San Francisco.
Even worse for Gloria & Friends (which include Jane Fonda, Rosie O'Donnell, Billie Jean King and others), Rush Limbaugh (gasp!) has quite a few female listeners.
In her eyes, none of this has ever happened.
Instead, the radio world is being introduced to the female gender for the first time, simply because Ms Steinem has chosen to impart her wisdom to this year's attendees. Never mind that her broadcast background pretty much doesn't exist.
Here she is discussing the network with Bill Maher recently:
So, to those attending the NAB this year, be sure you don't miss this crucial tongue- lashing session from one of feminism's true icons. Radio will never be the same.