The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 February 2005

Should Bloggers Allow Comments?

Recently I've seen a number of bloggers discuss why they've yanked the comments sections from their sites. Some feel there's just no way to keep on top of the nasty and obscene posts left by a few hotheads.

One posted some of her hate mail for all to see and it was truly frightening. It looked like what talk show hosts get in their mailboxes sometimes. I was surprised things had progressed to that point. Bloggers, you have officially arrived!

Not only have I continued to maintain a comments section underneath each post, but I also don't require registration either. Anybody can add a comment. I have only removed obscene posts on a couple of occasions.

Why? I want readers to see what passes for debate on the other side these days. It demonstrates my points better than anything I could ever write myself.

WA: Stolen Race Finally Getting National Attention?

Finally, months later, the stolen Washington State governor's race seems to be getting the national attention it needs to keep the political momentum behind the objection alive.

What happens in a Chelan County, Wash., courtroom is one thing, equally important is public perception. Seattle's newspapers are busy making Gregoire appear to be legitimate, these pieces help to counter that effort.

While it has been an intermittent topic in conservative publications since November, with varying levels of understanding of the situation, it is often ignored by daily mainstream publications. is wonderful and widely read, but not enough by itself.

Does the New York Post qualify as mainstream? It's close enough. This is a boost for the cause, there is no doubt. The Post's editors do a good job getting to the essence of the problem with brevity. That's not easy to do and may be one reason why it hasn't had the national attention it requires.

Sometimes it seems to take twice as long for such stories of political intrigue to get the attention of eastern media outlets as would issues closer to home. Certainly you'll hear a lot more about the New Jersey governorship flaps than Washington State and yet they are both just as compelling.

Seattle is a distant outpost to these people and to a point that's understandable.

But it certainly means that Washington State activists need to be that much noisier to keep their issue at the forefront. It takes a national campaign to focus enough attention on the problem. It's easy for the RNC to forget about it as well if it isn't in the publications they read inside the Beltway.

Anyway, a big thanks to the New York Post for the editorial:

Count every vote?

That's what Angry Left Democrats have been demanding ever since the bitterly contested Florida presidential balloting in 2000 — and, more recently, the top-of-the-ticket jousting in Ohio.

The Angries had better be careful, though: Counting every vote may not work in their favor.

Take, for example, last year's hyper-contentious gubernatorial race in Washington state.

One would think that almost four months after Election Day, and seven weeks after a swearing-in ceremony, the true outcome of that contest would be clear.

It isn't.

The Washington governor's race is still very much in question.

Even though Democrat Christine Gregoire took the oath of office last month, a judge has decided to grant Republican Dino Rossi — the man declared the Election Day victor — a day in court.

Rossi is seeking to nullify the election based on suspicious voting tabulations, primarily in King County (which contains Seattle).

Rossi's initial 261-vote margin dropped to 42 following a state-required machine-run recount. In late December, following a Democratic Party-paid hand recount, Gregoire "won" by 129 votes.

Between the two recounts, King County "found" more than 700 ballots officials claim were wrongly rejected. They are included in the recount.

* The person in charge of King County ballot integrity, a Democratic political appointee, can't explain why there are 1,800 more votes "cast" than there are people who actually voted.

* More than 100 provisional ballots were tossed into the election machines before they were certified as legitimate.

* An estimated 1,109 convicted felons, — all ineligible to vote, — illegally cast ballots in the election. Of these, 884 were in heavily Democratic King County.

It will be several weeks before the case is heard, but if Rossi is successful, Gregoire would be forced to step down and a new election called.

(Tip from OrbusMax)

Anarchists Get Boston FBI Attention

Apparently Eugene and Seattle aren't the only towns facing problems with anarchists. Authorities in Boston say violent basketcases have now invaded Massachusetts as well.

Are they really new in the area, or were they just discovered by the FBI? They've existed in Washington, Oregon and California for a number of years, most famously taking part in Seattle's 1999 WTO riots.

I have my doubts that these groups suddenly discovered Boston as a place to cause trouble. Perhaps they were simply too far underground to be detected until now.

(Boston Herald)

FBI: Anarchists operating in Hub
Monday, February 28, 2005

ocal Joint Terrorist Task Force investigators are keeping close tabs on a group of anarchists hellbent on creating a classless society - using armed resistance if necessary, the Herald has learned.
Anarchist Black Cross Federation, an organization that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller calls an ``emerging revolutionary group,'' has active members in Boston who have distributed fliers against the war in Iraq, including one that reads: ``Synchronized bombing is a lie. But we can be more precise.''
The flier, released by Anarchist Black Cross Boston, goes on to list the address of Boston Police Headquarters in Roxbury, FBI headquarters in Government Center, the IRS building and a military recruiting center on Summer Street.
There is also a list of corporate sites, including Fidelity, the Gap, Niketown, and Raytheon's Waltham location.
``We are aware of this group, and the flier. The potential victims were notified,'' said FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcienkiewicz.
The group first garnered police attention last summer as Boston police prepared for the Democratic National Convention, said police department spokesman Sgt. Tom Sexton.

(Boston Herald Photo by Mark Garfinkel)

27 February 2005

MA: Blame Bushes For Mass. Image Problems

Many articles have been written this week about Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney's split personalities, the Yankee Republican in-state, the Red State conservative when he speaks outside of New England.

They do have a point that conservatives and liberals can agree on: that Romney can't be all things to all people. Romney needs to figure out soon which way he's headed- for another term, which is starting to look unlikely, or to make a presidential run. Republicans are already pushing Mass. native Andrew Card to get ready for the campaign trail.

Whether Romney is really harming the state's image by highlighting its blue state politics is up for debate. It's not the messenger's fault when many Americans don't like Massachusetts.

My eyes are again drawn to a strange allegation made twice recently, that the Bush family is somehow responsible for the serious image problem Massachusetts faces elsewhere in the country (in New England as much as anyplace).

Somehow, during the course of campaigns in 1988 and 2004, the Bush family single-handedly ruined the Bay State's reputation. Never mind the family's ties to the state.

Amazing how provincial this viewpoint truly appears! Think Ted Kennedy hasn't hurt the state's image?

How about John Kerry's own actions? Dukakis's own ineptitude? The crackdown on the Bush-supporting pizza place owner during the DNC convention last year in Boston, or a trillion other examples?

The Bush family didn't create animosity toward the Bay State, they merely took advantage of it for political purposes. It was fair game.

(Boston Globe)

Running against Massachusetts helped President George W. Bush and his father, both Texans, win White House races against Governor Michael S. Dukakis and US Senator John F. Kerry. But because Romney leads the state he is critiquing, his rhetoric is raising eyebrows at home, where politicians and business leaders alike are turning to him to help tackle issues such as healthcare and education and to revive the state's economy.

''Personally, I'm not excited about it. I don't think it helps. It reinforces the perception that we're a difficult place to do business," said Brian Gilmore of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, who said he was speaking for himself because his organization has not taken an official position on the governor's remarks. ''We have a perception problem in the national marketplace -- why add fuel to that?"

Now, as Romney heads into a reelection campaign for governor in 2006 and possibly a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, strategists say using the state as a foil won't be enough to win votes -- he will need to point to examples of successful leadership. Garrison Nelson, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, said Romney would need to impress presidential primary voters with his Massachusetts accomplishments, rather than explain that he fought valiant but unsuccessful fights with Democrats to cut income taxes or reinstitute the death penalty.

''If you say, 'I was governor, but I failed,' you don't have the track record to show you'll be a successful president," Nelson said.

On Beacon Hill, Romney has often argued that Massachusetts is out of step with the rest of the nation on issues such as same-sex marriage, welfare, capital punishment, and unemployment insurance. In recent weeks, he has taken that message on the road, poking fun at the Bay State in front of conservative audiences in Missouri, South Carolina, and Utah, and comparing himself to ''a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."

WA: McKenna a Refreshing Change as AG

Today's Seattle Times features a David Ammons piece that finally gives needed attention to a race overshadowed by the enormous attention given to the stolen governor's race in Washington State: that of attorney general.

Quietly, but effectively, Republican Rob McKenna has taken the reins from incompetent tyrant Governor-For-Now Christine Gregoire, whose infamous ineptitude as AG cost the state millions.

McKenna, an intellectual heavyweight and hard worker on the King County Council, brings experience and expertise badly needed in that office.

One issue of contention, however: he's making few staff changes in the department. While I know for a fact, first hand, that some really suffered under Gregoire and couldn't wait to see her leave, there is also some housecleaning to do. I hope McKenna will adopt more of a reformist attitude in coming months.

(David Ammons-AP-Seattle Times)

McKenna is the kid in a candy store. The agency has 20,000 cases going at any one time, from the mundane, such as adopting obscure regulations, to the high-profile, such as the challenge to the 2004 governor's election.

McKenna notes happily that partisanship has little to do with it. He finds himself, for instance, defending the election of the Democratic governor and the actions of the Republican secretary of state.

Gregoire herself was hired and mentored by two Republican attorneys general, and McKenna is keeping virtually all of Gregoire's team. There's no housecleaning just because the party label has changed.

The office serves as legal adviser to every agency — a shotgun marriage, McKenna wryly acknowledges — and has assistants imbedded in the departments. Some agencies are so big and complicated that they have their own AG units — Social and Health Services, Ecology, and Labor & Industries, for instance.

"The ethos in the office is to provide the most professional, unbiased legal advice possible," he says. "That helps us avoid partisan entanglements."

He's generally complimentary of Gregoire's tenure, but notes that a missed $18 million appeal and a subsequent backlash caused a "siege mentality" that he's trying to ease.

He's putting his own stamp on the office. His signature issue, which has drawn rave reviews from the state's newspaper editorial pages, is championing open meetings and easier access to public records.

He says his zeal for the issue reflects his view that government tends to run amok without checks and balances.

"I believe one of the most effective checks on government is openness and transparency. The ability of the public and the media to have access to information is key to preventing abuses and keeping our system as clean as possible."

McKenna also wants to expand the consumer-protection division, particularly in emerging areas such as cybercrime and identity theft.

He's also hoping to help the state greatly reduce its exposure to liability. The state is paying out about $150 million in settlements every two years, and is spending a like amount on negotiating and litigating.

ME: Hollywood Clods Hatch Plan to Ruin Maine

Today's Boston Globe has an in-depth article about the economic and political schism between northern and southern Maine.

Northern Maine, defined as everything above Bangor, has a declining population and economic uncertainty, while the southern portion is derided as "Northern Massachusetts" by locals.

In comes a notorious group of Hollywood clods to the rescue.

Under the guise of economic development they want to trick the state into surrendering a huge expanse in the north for a new national park. Making grand claims of thousands of new jobs for northern residents and higher incomes as well, they somehow think locals are easily fooled.

(Boston Globe)

''Every governor has made it a major program to improve the economic development of northern Maine," said Galen Rose, the acting state economist. ''I despair of ever finding anything that will bring the north economic equivalence with that of south . . . What's caused the situation are things much bigger than us. Worldwide changes, technological changes. So finding solutions is extremely difficult."

One group that says it has an answer is RESTORE: The North Woods. The conservation organization, based in Concord, Mass., has been pushing for the creation of a national park that would cover 3.2 million acres across a western swath of northern Maine, an area larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks combined.

The group, whose advisory board includes Hollywood stars Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, and Robert Redford, argues that the park would bring renewed economic vitality to northern Maine. They point to a study, commissioned by RESTORE and conducted by Thomas Power, chairman of the University of Montana economics department, which found that the park would create about 6,000 new jobs. Citing the experience of communities near existing national parks, such as Maine's Acadia National Park, the study suggests that the area's average income would probably increase.

MA: Globe Ready to Cancel "Mallard Fillmore"

Obnoxious liberals are crowing about the Boston Globe's likely upcoming decision to cancel a rare offsetting voice in the paper, the Mallard Fillmore comic strip.

The already exceptionally slanted New York Times outpost has utilised their "ombudsman" (read: liberal apologist) to break the news to readers.

Jeff Jacoby, watch your back.

Reactions so far from open-minded Globe-reading liberals has been predictable:

(Boston Globe- Letters)

I DISAGREE with ombudsman Christine Chinlund about "Mallard Fillmore" ("Much ado about a duck," op ed, Feb. 21). Since the Bush administration uses obfuscation and doublespeak to explain itself, Bruce Tinsley's strip is the only voice in print that actually tells us what the real conservative agenda is. It consists of dirty water and air, no help for the needy, medical insurance only for the rich, a gift to corporate America of the National Park system to mine and pollute, ridicule of any viewpoint other than its own, insistence on Calvin Coolidge's belief that what's good for business is good for America, and a relentless assault on the Social Security insurance protection for our elders.

26 February 2005

WA: Nice Poll, But Point Missed

Should Dino Rossi run for Washington Senator Maria Cantwell's seat in 2006? Could he be elected? Yes. Is this missing the point? Yes again.

Courtesy of OrbusMax is a new poll taken by Rasmussen showing 2004 gubernatorial candidate Rossi winning in a head-to-head match-up, 47%-44%.

The same survey shows Rossi with higher positive ratings than either Cantwell or Governor-For-Now Christine Gregoire.

Two issues are apparent here: first, Cantwell is in very big trouble as the incumbent should have much better numbers at this point in the term (and this close to the 2006 election). Cantwell has consistently been less popular than Patty Murray, who coasted to reelection in 2004 against Rep. George Nethercutt, after the latter ran a lousy campaign.

Second, doesn't this survey miss the point? Washington voters intended for Dino Rossi to be their next governor. Tyrant Christine Gregoire used a variety of tactics with help from friends in the right places to take that away from him. Rossi has governor written all over him and the US Senate is a whole different ballgame.

Rossi needs to continue this fight, not get distracted by another campaign. Hopefully there will be a new gubernatorial election ordered for this year which Rossi will win by 5-10 points or more. Only 42% of Washington voters believe Gregoire won the election fair and square, according to the same survey. Wow! That does not bode well for Gov.-For-Now Gregoire.

What the poll really shows is that Cantwell is in deep doo-doo, so the GOP should be lining up a credible candidate and kicking off fundraising efforts, now. Cantwell just never caught on because she has trouble relating to people for reasons unknown. She's even managed to alienate the liberal Seattle media over the years, a tall order for a Democrat.


Friday February 25, 2005--Dino Rossi, the man who narrowly lost the race to be Washington's Governor last November, holds a slight lead over incumbent Senator Maria Cantwell in a hypothetical Election 2006 match-up.

Rossi attracts 47% of the vote to Cantwell's 44%
in a survey of 500 Likely Voters conducted February 22, 2005. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Rossi leads by 7 points among men and trails by 1 among women.

A Republican victory in the "Blue State" of Washington would go against the recent trend of Senate elections matching up with the state's Presidential preference.

Overall, Rossi is viewed favorably by 55% of Washington's voters. Cantwell is viewed favorably by 54%.

Governor Christine Gregoire is viewed favorably by 50%, although just 42% believe she legitimately won last November's election. Forty-four percent (44%) believe Rossi was the real winner while 15% don't know who won.

24 February 2005

WA: Seattle P-I Still Losing Readers

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer just can't seem to stop bleeding readership these days.

While stubbornly holding on to ever more leftist and partisan stances on every issue, readers vote with their feet, saying good riddance to the rag.

From a high several years ago at a level nearly tied with the Seattle Times at around 200,000 each, the P-I has now fallen to just 145,964 in the latest reporting period. The Times, meanwhile, has grown to 231,000.

The gains for the Times haven't helped the bottom line, however, the Times has announced another ugly round of layoffs, affecting 99 staffers.

(Oregon Live)

The Times is owned by the Blethen family of Seattle, with a 49.5 percent share held by Knight Ridder. Under the JOA, The Times handles printing, distribution and advertising at both papers in exchange for 60 percent of the joint revenues.

As of November, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said the Seattle Times reported a Monday-Friday circulation of 231,051, while the P-I reported weekday circulation of 145,964.

MA: Open Season on Media With More Suits

Yet another suit filed against a Boston-area media concern by someone claiming to be defamed. This time it's against, of all places, Fox 25, known for their light and fluffy news coverage.

Hard to believe a story with this kind of substance ever made the cut with all of the important traffic accidents, warehouse fires and endless sports stories that fill each newscast.

At the rate things are going these suits are going to quash any hope that real news will ever be covered again on television, radio or in the print media. In particular this type of suit is designed to cut down on reporting about suspected terrorists.

The problem with these actions is that you end up repeating the charges against you. Few remember the original story but now there you are in every media outlet in town refreshing their memories. The key for Fox 25 will be to prove somehow that their report had merit and/or that he is a public person or figure.

(Boston Herald)

A leader of the Islamic Society of Boston filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday against WFXT-Fox 25 News because the station broadcast a report saying he is a member of a terrorist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, a psychiatrist and chairman of the board of directors of the ISB, denies he is a member of the terrorist group. His lawsuit, which is asking for at least $4 million, claims Fox erroneously based its November 2004 report on a ``sole source,'' Dr. Ahmed Elkadi, who allegedly was president of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States between 1985 and 1995.

Abou-Allaban's lawsuit charges that Elkadi was severely impaired with dementia - resulting from cerebral infarctions and a hemorrhage - at the time of his interview with the Fox network local affiliate.

Attorney Harvey Schwartz, representing Abou-Allaban, said, ``For a Muslim American, this is a nightmare. The stereotype is already that you're a terrorist. And here they are on TV saying you're a terrorist.''

Station spokeswoman Maggie Hennessey-Nees said Fox-25 had no comment on the lawsuit yesterday.

WA: GOP Should Hold Off on Releasing Names

The Washington State GOP is right to withhold the names of felons, dead people and double-voters until they are compelled to do so by the court.

It's critical they ignore the Democrats, along with their friends at the Seattle papers, who would love to get their grubby paws on the list early. The sooner they get the names, the earlier they can start their campaign to discredit them.

If they can create enough doubt in advance, they can create an atmosphere that undermines the GOP's credibility, regardless of what the truth entails.

The papers are no more trustworthy than the party, it's clear they share an agenda with the WA Dems. The Seattle Times at least investigates allegations, but often slants coverage to the benefit of Gregoire (examples are frequently noted on this blog as they occur).

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's approach is to be dismissive of the challenge. They'll cover developments, but poorly and without depth. Partisan bias is so out-of-hand at the P-I they can't even see straight.

(Seattle Times)

Democratic Party attorney David McDonald said he thinks the list of felons will have to be made public before a trial begins. "It's just kind of ridiculous when you stop and think of potentially setting aside an election for the most important office in the state on the basis of secret testimony the public will never hear," McDonald said. "It seems to me it's public information."

He said he was told the documents Republicans turned over to the Democratic attorneys do not include a list that compiles the names of the alleged felon voters. The documents were being copied yesterday and McDonald had not seen them.

Korrell, though, said it will be "exceptionally easy" to find the names in the documents.
McDonald said Democrats will research the names to make sure "this person voted and is not lawfully entitled to vote."

The felon voters are among about 11,000 records Republicans shared with Democrats to buttress their claim that the governor's election should be invalidated.

In addition to the felon voters, the party found 45 votes cast in the names of dead people, 10 instances of double-voting and five votes cast by people who also voted in another state. "Given the large number of illegal votes, it's likely they affected the outcome of the election" and should force a revote, Korrell said.

Bridges has not said whether Rossi will have to show who each of the felons voted for. That's what attorneys for the Democratic Party say is the standard required by state law.

Wouldn't that standard be impossible to meet if that's what the judge imposes? Obviously it's a secret ballot. Even interviewing voters does not prove how they voted, they could very well give false answers. This means if the Dems are correct no election in the state could ever be successfully challenged in court.

23 February 2005

CA: Arnold's New Secretary of State Faces Hell in Courtroom

Nothing could be better for Republicans than the news former State Senator Bruce McPherson has been named by Arnold S. as California Secretary of State. This appointment comes after sleazy San Francisco Democrat Kevin Shelley was driven from office in a major scandal.

To those of us who know McPherson, we understand it couldn't happen to a nicer or more deserving person. And for once the news from Santa Cruz is something positive rather than embarrassing.

I'll never forget working on his first campaign in 1993, the impossible was achieved as McPherson beat one of the worst "progressive" Democrat tyrants in the state, Gary Patton, to win the state assembly seat. This is an overwhelmingly Democrat district.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, thought Bruce could win the campaign. I will never forget election night as the Patton headquarters, which normally would have been in party mode, was deserted as soon as the election results came in.

Top Dem officials in Sacramento, including Bill Press, were in shock that a Republican could take Santa Cruz.

That campaign is where I got my start in talk radio as well, after a night functioning as McPherson's stand-in at a candidate's debate (he was booked for two events at the same time by mistake).

Sadly, however, the McPherson family is still dealing with the daily hell of the aftermath of the cold-blooded murder of their son, Hunter, on a San Francisco street in 2001. The trial of one of the defendants in the street mugging-turned-killing is underway and it must be horrible to hear this creep make excuses.

I interviewed McPherson several times last year for radio programs in Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth and even at that point he would only address the murder off the air. I can't imagine, nor can anyone, what this must be like to endure every single day.

(Santa Cruz Sentinel- Cathy Redfern)

Terrell, 21, of San Francisco, is facing murder and robbery charges for the Nov. 17, 2001, shooting of McPherson, a Harbor High graduate and son of secretary of state-designate and former state Sen. Bruce McPherson of Santa Cruz. McPherson, 27, was shot in the chest after refusing to give up his wallet as he and his girlfriend walked on Mariposa Street, in what prosecutor Harry Dorfman called "a city dweller’s nightmare."

Terrell and a friend, Dwayne Reed, robbed three couples that night, Dorfman says. They were high on Ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol. But Terrell told jurors he passed out in Reed’s car and does not remember what happened. Terrell said he never questioned Reed on specifics after Reed woke him up and said he had shot a man.

Terrell’s attorney claims Reed committed the slaying and pinned it on Terrell.

Yet Terrell told his mother in a phone call secretly taped by police that he killed "the senator’s son." He said the gun discharged after McPherson grabbed for it. Later, he said he did not remember the shooting, but believed he did it because Reed told him he did and because detectives told him he had been identified.

Malkin Exposes Air Marshal Tomfoolery

Another example of what blogs can accomplish as Michelle Malkin exposes, complete with exclusive photo, wasteful antics at the Federal Air Marshals Service. Great work Michelle!

WA: Felon Vote Count 1108 and Rising

Dino Rossi and the WA GOP are making sure the stolen election stays in the headlines as the legal challenge pushes forward. Most of these ex-cons illegally voted in King County:

(AP Via KATU-TV Portland)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Republicans say they have so far identified one-thousand-108 felons who allegedly voted illegally in Washington's general election last November.

Dino Rossi, the failed Republican candidate for governor, is challenging in court the election of Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire, who one by just 129 votes after three counts of near three million ballots.

Rossi says illegal votes and election workers' errors tainted the election results. He's pushing for a new election.

Republicans say it's enough to show that the number of illegally cast ballots is greater than the 129-vote margin of victory.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times continues its quest to try to legitimize Christine Gregoire's rule, with a report on a day in her gubernatorial life:

(Seattle Times- Ralph Thomas)

OLYMPIA — One of the tricks to being governor, it seems, is learning how to say no without really saying no, and learning how to say yes without really saying yes.

There were few definitive nos or yeses last week when Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire allowed The Seattle Times to follow her around for a day.

During one appearance, for instance, Seattle City Councilwoman Jean Godden asked the governor if she'd support strict California-style emissions standards for cars.

"I'm favorably inclined to the bill," Gregoire responded.

21 February 2005

Larry Summers's Loudest Critic in Sleazy UC Pay Package Scandal


UCSC Chancellor Denton Has Her Own Baggage

*** June 25, 2006 Note: the Radio Equalizer is sorry to hear of Chancellor Denton's passing, after a suicide plunge from a San Francisco highrise. Please check our main page for the latest. A March 2005 update is found here.***

Do you know the difference between ideological debate and scandal?

Apparently, campus liberals don't. They've been busy skewering Harvard University President Larry Summers for more than five weeks over a warped misinterpretation of comments he made on gender and science at an economics conference.

Rather than wait for the facts to emerge in transcript form, fringe campus feminists and other PC faculty members went on an emotional rampage, complaining of physical illness and demanding Summers be fired.

One of his loudest detractors, Denice Dee Denton (often also written as "Denise"), is the incoming chancellor at University of California-Santa Cruz. This is a tale of two university heads, one politically correct and the other not.

Denton, an outspoken lesbian feminist lured away from Seattle's scandal-plagued University of Washington, has good reason to want attention focused on Summers: her new sweetheart UC employment contract reeks of nepotism and special rights. Those screaming about Summers have nothing to say about the sleaze surrounding Denton.

I'm not terribly surprised, as a graduate of UCSC's Cowell College and having been raised in Santa Cruz as well. Radical movements there began to degenerate into this type of corruption years ago. It's merely getting bolder, more overt and expensive for taxpayers. UCSC has long been a fringe-left hotbed of extremism.

How the two intertwined and parallel stories have played out so far speaks volumes about what really matters to the left and media.

Summers spoke January 14 and the transcript published February 18 in the Boston Globe shows he never used the term "innate ability" to describe roadblocks for women in science and engineering, as feminists contend.

Instead, Summers used a variety of softer terms that pointed to parental, cultural and physical differences which might account for distinct interest levels and achievements between genders. It was intended to reflect the research of Steven Pinker as a basis for dialogue.

The point was to get a provocative discussion underway, not to strongly assert a particular viewpoint. Where Summers miscalculated is in believing Harvard faculty members are interested in debate. Arrogance long ago superseded such trivial concerns.

What sparked Denton's involvement? Simple- she was in the audience and took Summers to task. Fine, that's what he wanted, but if she was in fact there, didn't she know he didn't actually say women lacked an innate ability to excel in these fields? Instead of shedding light on the truth, Denton helped fuel the misplaced fire.

On January 21, an
AP story with substantial contributions from the Santa Cruz Sentinel's Jondi Gumz appeared, detailing Denton's sleazy pay package, that included a $275,000 annual salary plus $68,000 for moving expenses from Seattle (less than 1000 miles from Santa Cruz). One joke circulating in Santa Cruz was that perhaps they were going to scoop up her Seattle home and place it on a barge bound for Monterey Bay.

What made the Sentinel report explosive was the revelation that Denton's longtime partner Gretchen Kalonji was
also hired by the UC system as part of the former's employment offer, in the same closed session meeting. Kalonji, supposedly an expert on international education, accepted a $192,000 per year deal with-- are you sitting down-- a $50,000 moving allowance of her own.

Wait a second-- weren't these two longtime partners from the same Seattle household? Why two enormous moving allowances?

Denton, Kalonji and eccentric former UCSC Chancellor M R C Greenwood, dismissed criticism leveled at the two with a variety of excuses mostly pointing to their supposed experience and qualifications. Kalonji claimed she needed some of the moving money to set up a home base near her office in Oakland, two hours from Santa Cruz. Nepotism? That doesn't apply here.

The hypocrisy is obvious: lesbians want their partnerships recognized, including as "marriages" but then turn around and dismiss obvious nepotism allegations?

All of the benefits but none of the unpleasant responsibilities, how convenient is that?

This is what conservatives mean when they maintain gays and lesbians want special, not equal, rights at home and work. Here's the evidence to show that pesky liberal next time you're challenged on what "special rights" means.

Most telling is what has occurred since. While Summers has faced a growing firestorm so hot that even the liberal Boston Globe felt the need to cool it down a bit with an editorial, Denton saw her story blow over, once UCSC's PR department took over media management.

But Gumz did write a January 30 follow-up for the Sentinel that properly explored more of the criticisms concerning Denton and Kalonji.

Interestingly, this abuse of public funds was so bad that even UC public employee unions objected, as did longtime socialist Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin, also a UCSC faculty member. Not even that could put the brakes on this rotten deal.

In Cambridge, liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz backed Summers, telling the Boston Globe that "professors who are afraid to challenge him are guilty of cowardice."

Now, the Globe's coverage has shifted to speculation about whether Summers can survive as university president, while at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the university reporting beat reverts back to rewrites of mundane campus press releases.

Remember, in the warped world of campus liberalism, lesbian nepotism is okay, but not open debate of controversial positions on academic research.

WA: Howard Dean a GOP Threat?

You've got to hand it to Reed Davis, former senatorial candidate from Washington State, he's certainly not afraid to give his own side a kick in the pants when needed.

Will anyone listen? Probably not, no more than they took my first-hand warning about Harry Reid to heart.

Is Howard Dean a potential menace? Davis gives three big reasons why and backs them up with details.

I like Davis's take here because it's clear Republicans are already becoming very complacent about their majority status. As usual, conservatives underestimate how hard the left will work to regain power. Ignore at your peril:

(Seattle Times)

NOW that Howard Dean has ascended to the chairmanship of the Democrat National Committee, Republicans are high-fiving one another with such mad glee that you'd think Democrats had just nominated Dennis Kucinich to run in 2008. The GOP needs to sit back down, recork the champagne and get back to work. Whether they know it or not, Republicans need to understand that Dean spells trouble for the Republican Party. Big trouble.

Republicans may think that the nomination of Dean is hysterically funny — a scream, in fact, as George Will recently put it — but they are deluding themselves if they think Dean is nothing more than a wild-eyed ideologue with a temper and a cult following.

Dean brings three talents to the chairmanship that can potentially sink not just a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 but the Republican-controlled House and maybe even the Senate well before then.

First, he's a fund-raiser par excellence. Lest we Republicans forget, not only did Howard Dean set records for fund raising, he set them in one of the most imaginative, difficult and unorthodox ways imaginable — namely, through the Internet. And remember, he set those records not by initially tapping the big-money crowd but by combing through the grass roots for nickels and dimes.

Boxer Who?

Isn't this funny: all the stupid political stunts in the world can't make people aware of Barbara Boxer!

Forty percent in a new survey of potential female presidential candidates had never heard of the Queen of Marin County Flaky White Liberals.

Music to Hillary's ears has got to be poll results showing 53% feeling she should run. Forty-two percent felt Condi Rice should give it a go. Both had relatively high negative ratings as well.

Rice is better positioned for '08: not everyone has a firm, inflexible opinion of her yet. As Secretary of State she will have an opportunity to be more high profile and win over potential swing voters.

Hillary, however, is stuck. Everyone knows her, you either like her or you don't. All the money in the world isn't going to change that more than a point or two.

(Albany Times-Union, Eric Duggan)

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A majority of Americans say the country is ready to elect a woman as president in 2008 -- and even more said they would vote for one.

The candidate's portrait as painted by 1,125 registered voters in a nationwide Hearst Newspapers/Siena College poll shows that she's likely a Democrat and is viewed as being at least as capable as a man on foreign policy. She's stronger on health care and education, but somewhat weaker as commander in chief of the military.

The poll listed four prominent women -- Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- and asked whether any of them should run for president.

Clinton was the clear front-runner with 53 percent of those polled, including half of the men and 26 percent of the Republicans, saying she should run. The telephone poll was done Feb. 10-16, surveyed 1,125 registered voters and covered all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of the total, 39 percent were registered Democrats, 30 percent were registered Republicans and 3 percent were from other parties. The rest, 28 percent, were not affiliated with any party.

Following Clinton was Rice, who first captured the national spotlight as President Bush's national security adviser. Forty-two percent of respondents said she should run in 2008, including 30 percent of Democrats.

Although only 49 percent of Republicans said the United States would be ready for a female president in 2008, 58 percent said they would vote for Rice. Rice, however, had almost as many people saying she should not run -- 41 percent compared with 42 percent. Clinton had 37 percent saying she shouldn't run.

Boxer had 13 percent of voters saying she should run, but nearly 40 percent said they didn't know who she is.

20 February 2005

Hunter S Thompson

Apparently I'm not the only one up late writing tonight: Michelle Malkin has the news on Hunter S Thompson's passing.

In radio this quote is commonly attributed to Thompson:

"The radio business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

As it turns out, it's part of an urban legend, Thompson was actually speaking of the television industry but others adopted and adapted it to suit their needs. The last sentence about the "negative side" was not his at all.

Many people in radio feel the quote is especially accurate in depicting the industry and would be shocked to learn it's a distortion of Thompson's actual words.

With Friends Like These

Whether it's politics, broadcasting, finance, or any other field, there are always snakes in the grass. Sometimes they're in the places you least expect.

The Bush family is known for the high value it places on loyalty and trust. Sadly, however, no one is able to correctly assess another's character 100% of the time.

President Bush found this out the hard way today as a former aide to his father pulled a Jim McDermott, releasing secret tape recordings to reporters of W's private moments.

Yet again the New York Times shows how shameless it is when it comes to exposing private conversations of Republican public officials. In the McDermott case, a tape of illegally intercepted mobile calls featuring top Congressional Republican leaders was leaked to the extremist Seattle congressman, who in turn gave it to the Times.

If the Times were to receive a similar tape featuring Democrats, would it publish the details or keep it under wraps? Do I really need to ask this question?

Did Wead violate any laws? What are his motives (see below for update)? Was he paid by the New York Times for the recordings?


NEW YORK -- Private conversations with George W. Bush secretly taped by an old friend before he was elected president foreshadow some of his political strategies and appear to reveal that he acknowledged using marijuana, The New York Times reported yesterday.

The conversations were recorded by Doug Wead, a former aide to Bush's father, beginning in 1998, when Bush was weighing a presidential bid, until just before the Republican National Convention in 2000, the Times said in a story posted on its website.

On one tape, Bush explains that he told one prominent evangelical that he would not "kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Bush also criticizes then-Vice President Al Gore for admitting marijuana use and explains why he would not do the same.

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried." According to the article, Wead played 12 of the tapes to a Times reporter. He said he recorded them because he viewed Bush as a historic figure.

The White House did not deny the authenticity of the tapes. "The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, referring to Bush.

UPDATE: ABC reporting Wead never intended for tapes to become public, blames his publisher:

Feb. 20, 2005 - The friend of the Bush family who secretly recorded nine hours of conversations with George W. Bush says he never intended for the tapes to become public but felt he had a duty to accurately represent a man who he believed would one day become president.

Doug Wead, the author of the new book "The Raising of a President," surreptitiously recorded his conversations with Bush beginning in 1998, when Bush was governor of Texas and considering a run for president.

Wead, who has written extensively about other first families, including the Kennedys and the Roosevelts, believed Bush would become a "pivotal figure in history."

"I had a choice to either write propaganda about the Bushes or write accurately and fairly based on what I knew," said Wead in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America."

Wead said his publisher insisted on listening to the tapes to confirm anonymous sources cited in the book. The New York Times then got wind of the tapes, and from there, it "all became unraveled," Wead said.

Wead played about a dozen tapes to a reporter from the Times over the past several weeks, and the paper confirmed their authenticity with an audio expert, according to an article in the paper today.

Do the last two paragraphs conflict? Why was Wead compelled to play the tapes for the New York Times? There's a difference between varifying the materials for your publisher and leaking them to a reporter. Wasn't this clearly done to sell more books?

Mass Roundup (of Common Sense)

At MassRight, the Eason Jordan and Larry Summers flaps are compared:

Unlike Jordan's Davos faux pas, Summers' comments have been released to the public. The cad.

I wonder which particular item Professor Hopkins was "sickened" by...almost every single assertion Summers made, as well as several minutes worth of prefatory remarks, were equivocated ad nauseam - certainly a depth and breadth of equivocation that exceeds what any person of normal intelligence would require on the topic. Then again, he was giving the speech to academics. But I repeat myself.

Bruce at mASS BACKWARDS compares and contrasts what happens when attackers invade your home in Louisiana as opposed to Massachusetts.

At CapeCodToday, towns look to up their spending, and the enormous metropolis of Falmouth has 10, count 'em, 10 town employees clearing more than $100k per annum. Nice work if you can get it.

WA: Latest Blog Roundup

At Josef's Public Journal, the battle over where to saw Washington State in half is heating up again:

Okay, I need a break from unscrambling Dean Logan and I believe somebody needs to blog about SJM 8009, namely the legal framework to initiate the divorce of Washington State.

Personally, if we can add Skagit County and potentially Snohomish County, I say, "sure. Why not?"

Let me first note the State Senate Democrat and the State Senate Republican news releases. State Senator Adam Kline (Dem.) says, “Why should the western half continue to subsidize the east? We could use that money right here for job creation, education and health care.” Well, I want the numbers because I tend to support that view. Oh and I want Skagit County in this new state.

State Senator Joyce Mulliken (Deputy Republican Whip - 13th Legislative District, Central Eastern Washington) said in hers, “The political, economic and social demographics of our state, from west to east, are become more and more diverse”

At Rosenblog, Matt finds it hard to support left-wing music, especially from my hometown of Santa Cruz:

I wanted to have something nice to say about Santa Cruz, really I did. Especially after all the OTHER things I've said about the home of the fighting Banana Slugs. (For example here, here, and here).

So when I saw this accolade to the re-formed 80s band from Santa Cruz named Camper Van Beethoven, the pump was primed.

After all, I've got about a half-dozen of their albums. Even after the debut album, with "Take The Skinheads Bowling," it was one smart-alecky, highly musical morsel after another. Oodles of stringed instruments played really well, intriguing arrangements, and attitude.

Well, it may all still be there. Sounds like it is, actually. Especially the attitude. Only some of MY attitudes have changed. I'm not sure I'm about to rush out and get their latest CD.

(By the way, Matt, we were once very proud of the Campers and I don't remember any political associations at the time. But everything is about politics in 2005.)

Timothy Goddard updates Snohomish County politics and where US Senator Maria Cantwell looks to be kicking off her 2006 re-election campaign:

Now, it may well be that Cantwell’s “Arrest Meth Act” is a good one (though I’m skeptical of anything that simply pledges to spend more money to fix things). And Snohomish County certainly has a meth problem. But doesn’t it seem just a wee bit convenient that Reardon is latching onto this legislation so quickly after being challenged by a world renown meth fighter?

There’s a press conference happening right now in Everett, with Democrats Rick Larsen (2nd District Congressman), Cantwell and Reardon. I didn’t get the press release soon enough to be able to attend, so I won’t be able to ask about this remarkably coincidental timing. I hope someone else will, but I don’t hold out much hope.

Sunbreak City discusses the latest Muslim fashions in Seattle's South End areas:

Just stepping outside my door (I live near MLK and South Graham) a number of unwritten stories occur to me. The neighborhood is incredibly dynamic: the old poor people’s housing has been knocked down to make way for light rail; some have been replaced with
attractive single family units that look like real houses (as opposed to community college annex classrooms).

Who is moving in here? How much do the units cost?

There is a huge Vietnamese grocery store on MLK on the scale of Safeway called Viet Wah which features a huge tub of dying blinking frogs and both live and dead eels among other cool things. Food writers have to get over there to see another world of ingredients - along with the isle - college kid alert - dedicated to a thousand different kinds of Top Ramen.

Moving over to the Rainier Avenue side, there are many hundreds of Muslims
who live in the neighborhood. I see women in full burkha every day going to worship at the mosque on Rainier about a mile from our place.

We have teenage foster boys and one of our boys joined the mosque last year. He came home with a prayer rug and a tape of Arabic prayers. He stopped being a Muslim but still hung out with a few young guys who ran a restaurant and a barber shop.

I visited them one evening last summer and saw that they were running a video explaining why Israel shouldn’t exist. They guys ended up getting detained by the FBI last November. There was only a short newsblip about this and no follow up. My informant tells me that two guys were released and one guy has been detained.

Finally, at Roy, WA, a legislative round-up:

On the Socialist Rainwater Collection Bill
The Dems are trying to establish regulatory power over rain and charge a fee for the collection of it. It is to be inserted in the public domain statutes, RCW title 90 water rights- environment RCW 90.03.250. This means that when some judge looks at it, it may be considered that the State has the right to control what happens to rainwater in the interest of environmental protection. It does not belong to you or God. It belongs to the state.

19 February 2005

MA: Herald Vows Court Battle Over Libel Case

As expected, the Boston Herald is gearing up for war after their libel case loss yesterday. They'd better win or journalism will be in big, big trouble. Imagine the inability to criticize the professional conduct of a judge and you see what a chilling effect this case will have.

(Boston Herald)

A jury yesterday found that the Boston Herald libeled Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy in a series of stories dating back to 2002, and ordered the paper to pay damages of $2.1 million.

Herald Publisher Patrick J. Purcell immediately vowed to appeal the verdict, which came after a month-long trial and nearly a week of deliberation.

``We'd like to thank the jury for their diligence on this very complicated case,'' Purcell said.

``However, we believe the First Amendment allows news organizations to provide uninhibited coverage of government and public figures, and we will continue to cover them vigorously.''

WA: Why is State Government in the Liquor Business?

Forget the somehow radical idea of actually privatising liquor sales in Washington State, under the Gregoire regime there's no such consideration.

State-run liquor stores are a throwback to another era, one Washington refuses to leave behind for modern times. Democrats crow about how the stores contribute to state coffers, but does this really end the argument?

With still-regulated, monitored private outlets, taxes would continue to be collected on items and overall businesses.

How many sales are lost to adjacent states and provinces under the current system? British Columbia has loosened up regulations recently and the world didn't come to end.

Limited Sunday sales are apparently a radical step for Washington's Dems, who employ a strange combination of puritanical socialism unknown anywhere else outside of perhaps Sweden.

(Seattle Times)

OLYMPIA — The last time you could legally buy a bottle of whiskey on a Sunday in Washington, streets were covered in wood planks and gold miners were yet to be lured to the Klondike.

That could change as soon as September, if Senate Bill 5487 and its companion House Bill 1379 make it through the state Legislature.

Lawmakers looking for new sources of money are considering doing away with the ban on Sunday liquor sales. A bill proposed in the state Senate would allow 20 of the biggest-selling state liquor stores to keep their doors open seven days a week.

The bill's advocates said the extra day of sales would bring in an estimated $5.9 million for the state in its first two years. "It is an opportunity for the state to better serve its citizens," said state Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. "It also does help with our revenue situation."

18 February 2005

WA: Let's Pick on Wal-Mart!

Now that Dems are in complete control of Olympia, their sights are set on the ultimate menace: Wal-Mart.

Not wanting to miss out on a fad, WA Dems have crafted legislation to pick on the retailing giant. What kind of message does it send to other companies about Washington State's business climate? It's not as though the state can afford to chase any more firms away.

(Seattle Times)

Three Wal-Mart executives from the chain's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters arrived in Olympia yesterday to try to fend off legislation that would force large companies to pay for health insurance.

Both the state House and state Senate are considering a measure that would require employers with 50 or more workers to provide health coverage for all employees or pay an equivalent fee into the state's Basic Health Plan.

Dozens of people, including the Wal-Mart executives and vocal union supporters, packed a House hearing room yesterday to debate the issue. The Senate held a similar hearing.

Wal-Mart is regularly singled out as an example of a large employer that could provide better health-care coverage, a characterization the company calls unfair.

The Health Care Responsibility Act, which has become known in Olympia as "pay or play" and the "Wal-Mart bill," is backed by patient advocates and opposed by business associations. Key Democrats support the measure but face tough opposition from lawmakers wary of imposing new business taxes.

Boston Herald Loses Important Libel Case

It's hard to believe this judge could prevail, as the US Supreme Court has ruled and upheld in so many cases since New York Times v. Sullivan in the 1960's, that you must prove malicious intent, not merely make an error or even a false statement, against a public figure in order to win a libel case.

The standard is set very high to protect critics of public persons.

I would only assume the Boston Herald will be appealing this case. In the meantime, it certainly is damaging to media critics (or even reporters in this case) commenting on public figures in the administration of their duties.

The bad guys win a battle here in a war that seemed to end decades ago.


BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Herald was ordered Friday to pay $2.1 million for libeling a Superior Court judge in articles that portrayed him as lenient toward defendants and quoted him making insensitive comments about a 14-year-old rape victim.

In a case closely watched by the media and legal communities, a jury deliberated for more than 20 hours over five days before finding that the newspaper and reporter David Wedge were guilty of libeling Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy.

Murphy claimed Wedge misquoted him as telling lawyers involved in the case about the teenage rape victim: "Tell her to get over it."

17 February 2005

Jeff Gannon + Eason Jordan= Liberal Media Hypocrisy

For the last several days I've been analyzing the impact of blogging on the liberal media and the probable backlash over Eason Jordan's ousting from CNN (see posts below).

If conservative bloggers supposedly got "carried away" calling for Jordan's head on a platter over remarks that US troops were targeting journalists, then what do you call what their liberal counterparts have done to Jeff Gannon and Talon News?

I've had some personal dealings with Talon News which I'll get into in a moment.

For the life of me, I still can't figure out what the media thinks is the story behind "Jeff Gannon" and his temporary White House press passes. It was the subject of a lengthy Anderson "Vanderbilt" Cooper slanted CNN segment just this evening.

But where's the scandal?

At least with Jordan, there is evidence that he actually said something strange, with Gannon, there are nothing but still-unproven allegations.

So he used a pen name. Big deal- many, many people in the media do this throughout their entire careers without ever disclosing their true identities. It's commonplace on television and radio but also occurs in print journalism for a variety of reasons.

One is when there is a known name conflict with another reporter or other type of journalist. Sometimes, it's for safety reasons or quite frankly, you just don't like your given name very much.

Second, the allegation is that "Gannon" is nothing but a shill for the GOP. The problem here is that Gannon, Talon News and sister site GOPUSA, never made any bones about the fact that they are part of a conservative-leaning operation. There was never a claim that they represented unbiased journalism.

What's the difference between a slanted question from Gannon and one from a liberal partisan from CNN anyway? Since when are the network guys unbiased? They threw lots of softballs during the Clinton Administration.

I had never heard of Talon News until almost a year ago, when one of their reporters covered an incident that occurred at KIRO, my previous talk radio employer.

One of my co-workers, a late-night talk show host named Mike Webb, said on the air that President Bush was guilty of war crimes and as a result should be put to death. Listeners complained, and apparently even produced tapes of the program, but management at the time covered up the incident.

A few listeners in particular, apparently unable or uninterested in having the Seattle-area media cover the story, contacted South Carolina-based Talon News reporter Jimmy Moore, who wrote a story.

Several subsequent pieces were written for Talon by Moore after Webb denied making the statement and used vulgar remarks to describe the agency and reporter. Management continued to back Webb while listeners contacted the US Secret Service.

At this point, tapes of the show in question began to circulate in the KIRO newsroom and I was able to hear the comments in question. I felt a little behind the curve as a big story was unfolding right under my nose, but I was not a listener to Webb's program.

I was impressed by the accuracy of Talon's coverage on the story. In examining their contentions, it was clear they were exceptionally careful in ensuring that their facts were correct, even before Webb threatened a lawsuit against them. They quoted Webb verbatim and in context.

My second encounter with Talon was in September 2004, after my termination over the Dan Rather on-air comments. I was interviewed by dozens of agencies, stations and others (to this day I'm sure who all of them were, it was a whirlwind). Talon stood out in that they insisted that all of their ducks be in a row before running the story. In fact they were the last news agency to publish a piece about my controversy. It was with the same attention to accuracy I had observed earlier in the year.

Yet on CNN tonight, Anderson Cooper was downright reckless in tossing rumors-as-fact into the mix with his interviewee, Howard Kurtz. One was that a photo of a male escort online looked like Gannon. Was Gannon therefore a prostitute? Second, that Gannon ran online porn sites, or did he simply register their names?

Cooper was shameless.

I don't want to hear any more nonsense about conservative bloggers and Eason Jordan after the disregard for ethical standards we have seen from the left on the Jeff Gannon story. CNN, MSNBC, Court TV and others have been quite happy to report rumors from liberal bloggers as fact.

What a double standard. What else do you expect from these people?

16 February 2005

Why Blogging Will Be Bigger Than Talk Radio

I've been writing about the quick success bloggers have experienced and the potential pitfalls ahead as the other side fights back.

Ultimately, however, this will be but a nasty, short-term bump in the road for a medium with an astounding amount of promise and potential.

In fact, I see blogging as potentially having far more impact on society than talk radio ever has, or will. Having been in both worlds my perspective is a bit unique.

What's the difference? Bloggers work as team, while talk show hosts generally work at odds with one another. Partly it's a result of available space: talk show slots are few and far between and there's always someone trying to take your job away from you.

This leads to paranoia and a sense that somebody's going to eat your lunch if you're not careful. It doesn't lend itself to teamwork. Playing the game this way unfortunately seems to be mandatory for survival.

On the other hand there's always room for another blogger. It's a supportive, fresh and energetic community of team players. I'm amazed at the warm reception I've received from others so far and have been very happy to reciprocate.

Beyond that, there's an ongoing effort to add bits and pieces of information to what others have begun. In this sense the collective offers the whole story in addition to necessary checks and balances.

Also key is the fact that while the blogosphere grows sharply, talk radio is scaling back, quickly. The amount of time each day devoted to local programming has shrunk to little or none of the broadcast schedule. It represents a huge drop from ten years ago.

When I started in talk radio in 1993, even smaller cities had local hosts, sometimes several on a station. Now syndication is taking over even in New York City.

These national shows are distributed at no cost to stations. They deprive local communities of chances to take on city hall, county and state government.

Only a handful of the syndicated shows are really airworthy, the rest are mostly garbage. You get what you pay for! Local shows, by the way, have more revenue potential but at the cost of a salary.

In the meantime, bloggers fill the gap where talk radio left off. Sound Politics is the best example today of what can be accomplished at the local level. Despite a regional focus it is one of the world's largest blog sites. What a feat!

The sky's the limit from here on this exceptionally promising medium.

15 February 2005

Bloggers: Are You Ready For War?

Previously I warned that bloggers had better prepare themselves for 2005: the year the media establishment fights back.

It's time to sound the alarm louder than ever, now that the Pajama Team has scored its biggest victory yet: ousting Eason Jordan from CNN after his strange comments about US troops in Iraq, targeting journalists for extinction.

There's just no way without the efforts of dozens of bloggers such as Michelle Malkin and many others that Jordan would have left the network. Yes, his duties had been sharply reduced over a year ago and he no longer had day-to-day newsroom oversight.

And it wasn't the first strange outburst from Jordan. I have him to thank for three hours of loaded radio call-in lines one day, after he admitted CNN gave Saddam a free pass from criticism, in exchange for access to Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board yesterday strangely took the old media's side, essentially contending that bloggers had become rather a bit carried away on the Jordan story. They claimed it was really just an inappropriate off-handed comment that didn't warrant termination or resignation.

When even the WSJ is getting nervous, after several years of championing bloggers at, it's clear the medium has arrived.

And with that, I will warn again, it will get ugly this year. Get ready, bloggers, you've had fast success and this will be your true test.

How do I know? Because I've been there, done that and seen what happens when they fight back.

Talk radio really began to be taken seriously by the news media several years after catching on with large numbers of listeners. November 1994 was the turning point when the old guard woke up from their long slumber and took notice.

I'll never forget how fast things changed after that election: suddenly we were the hot-heads, Rush-clones, gun-nuts, every name in the book. The news media focused on a few extreme comments made by a handful of hosts and attached them to all of us.

At the station I was with at the time, KSCO in Monterey Bay, California, we had a low-rated late night host named Dave Alan who frequently went into raving conspiracy mode. After the Oklahoma City bombing, he claimed on- air that black helicopters had been seen near the building just before the attack, along with other similar rantings.

Almost instantly, San Francisco TV stations (two hours away) began to cover his comments extensively in their newscasts. Never mind that the Monterey Bay was not part of their market area so they didn't normally cover stories there.

From there, the story went national, and Alan was seen on a number of programs. Always, the story angle was on the extreme rhetoric coming from that scary new medium, talk radio.

In addition, on-ar comments made by G. Gordon Liddy about self-defense were warped and twisted into an assertion he said federal agents should be assassinated.

We didn't know what was hitting us at the time because we were too new at the game. Many hosts had little or no previous media experience. We were all made to be guilty by association.

This is exactly the situation bloggers are in now. Some have journalism or talk radio backgrounds, most do not. The media establishment may have overlooked the Dan Rather success, partly because Rather still anchors the nightly news at CBS, but with Eason Jordan a line has been crossed.

And there's no turning back now, get ready for your trial-by-fire.

MA: Who Worries About Paul Shanley?

I would love to see these "inmate advocates" have a fraction of the concern for crime victims that they've shown for scum like defrocked former priest/ child predator Paul Shanley:

(Boston Herald)

BOSTON - As defrocked priest Paul Shanley faces sentencing on child rape charges, inmate advocates are worried that sending him to prison could amount to a death sentence for a man who was at the center of the Boston Archdiocese clergy sex abuse scandal.

After all, it was another key figure in the scandal - former priest John Geoghan - who was strangled and beaten to death in prison in 2003, a year after he was convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy. A fellow inmate later told investigators he killed Geoghan ``to save the children.''

Now, some are worried that Shanley could be the next mark for an inmate either angry about the scandal or the nature of the allegations.

``He's so high-profile that that puts a big target on his back,'' said James Pingeon, an attorney at Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, a group that provides civil legal services to inmates. ``We feel concerned. Obviously he's a vulnerable person because of his notoriety and his age.''

Paul Shanley, vulnerable? Maybe that's the best sign yet there's justice in this world. No doubt his many victims feel that way to this day.

UPDATE 11.36: Shanley sentenced to 12-15 years by Mass. judge. He will likely die in prison where he belongs.

14 February 2005

WA: "Long Overdue"

Andy Warhol might have changed his theory about each person getting 15 minutes of fame if he'd been around to encounter Mary Kay and Villi. For the better part of a decade, these two have never been far from the headlines.

And what a cash cow they've become for the media. News too dry, dull, political? There's always room for one more retelling of the Mary Kay story.

Sure enough, now a wedding turns out to be "long overdue" for the pair:

(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Mary K. Letourneau, the former Burien elementary school teacher who had an illegal intimate relationship with one of her sixth-grade students, plans to wed the man she was convicted of raping.

Letourneau, 43, and Vili Fualaau, 22, plan to wed April 16, according to an online bridal registry.

"It's been long overdue," said Noel Soriano, a longtime friend of the family who confirmed yesterday that they will marry this spring. "It's going to be fabulous, seeing them get hitched finally."

Yes, always nice to see a child rapist marry her victim.

WA: Reed Off the Hook?

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed is now off the hook as there will be no continuing recall effort against the Republican. That is unless the decision is successfully appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The effort to remove him comes primarily from fellow Republicans, who feel Reed sided with Democrats one too many times during the contested 2004 gubernatorial election.

The real issue is not whether a recall election ever sees the light of day, but if backers have succeeded in proving their point, that Reed has been unfairly accommodating to the corrupt Democrats in Washington State.

I'd say they've accomplished that. Whether Reed gets the message is not clear.

(Seattle Times)

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County Superior Court judge today rejected an attempt to recall Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Martin Ringhofer of Soap Lake, and Linda Jordan of Seattle filed a petition recently seeking to recall Reed.
They argued in the petition that Reed committed "misfeasance or malfeasance" during the election in part because he certified results for the governor's race even though it was an election "he knew was wrought with violations of election laws and regulations."

Jordan argued Reed should not have certified the results. "It is clear to us Mr. Reed knowingly failed to perform his duty," she said.

State law requires a court review to determine if charges against an elected official are serious enough to warrant a recall effort. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Even said Reed would have had to do something "very, very wrong and do it knowingly" for the recall to move forward.

12 February 2005

Blue States Attacked By Bush Budget?

Is there really an official policy underway to punish "blue" states in the new proposed federal budget?

Interesting that the "blue" media felt the need to see if there was a way to explore this. Of course they find the "outcome" they were seeking!

The problem is that is sounds like more "sore loser" whining from the media, even the Dems interviewed are a little reluctant to embrace this conspiracy theory.

(Boston Globe)

With the proposal to eliminate or reduce funding for home-heating assistance, the Northeast would be especially hard hit by the president's budget-cutting, said Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey.

''People will ask me whether I think it's political or not," Corzine said. ''I think it's just the philosophy of this administration not to have the government involved."

Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat, said that while the budget may not have been designed to hurt Democratic-leaning ''blue" states, ''they can do it without trying," because many of the budget cuts tend to hit urbanized areas. ''It's not just red state/blue state, but blue communities within the red states," he said. ''Their ideology reflects that."

Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, said much of the trend is due to demographics. ''It's not a reflection of any political decision, by and large, because these tend to be mandatory [funding] programs," such as Medicaid, he said. Kolton and independent budget analysts also noted that the funding projections do not include Bush's proposed cuts in farm assistance, a highly controversial idea that -- if approved by Congress -- would probably hit rural, Republican-voting states with large grain farms the hardest.

MA: Reilly Panders on Gay Marriage

This reminds me so much of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, traditionally a moderate, who moved to the extreme on gay marriage to shore up liberal credentials.

Here we have Tom Reilly, a near-certain candidate for Massachusetts governor, pandering to the same fringe constituency to fire up his base for next year's contest.

No doubt this will boost fundraising in Cambridge and other sticky areas where full conformity will be expected. Obviously Reilly isn't wasting time, he wants to please them now before somebody else moves in and grabs the dough.

(Boston Globe)

After playing a key role in the efforts to fight legalization of gay marriage a year ago, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said yesterday that he now favors allowing legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and that he will oppose any efforts to ban them.

In an interview yesterday, Reilly, an unannounced Democratic candidate for governor, struck a tone that is far different from the public posture he held for several years. Reilly said he was ''moved" by the same-sex marriages that took place after gay marriage was legalized May 17, and added that he would vote against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage if it reaches the 2006 state ballot.

''Once rights are given, they should not be taken away," Reilly said.
Reilly would not take a position on whether a proposed constitutional amendment should go before the ballot, saying he defers to the Legislature to make that decision. He also said he still holds a personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Some of Reilly's supporters say he has evolved since a year ago, when he supported civil unions but opposed gay marriage. He insisted that his role as attorney general has been to enforce the law and that he has been consistent since March in saying that he would not favor taking away marriage rights once they were granted.

Dems 2005= Labour 1980's?

Isn't it interesting to watch history repeat itself?

The Dems in 2005 bring to mind Britain's Labour Party in the eighties and nineties. Regardless of public opposition to the Tory rule under Thatcher and Major, Labour just kept self-destructing by moving farther left.

Only when Tony Blair took on the socialist backbenchers and borrowed quite a lot from Thatcher's political and ideological playbook did Labour reverse its fortunes.

While the Dems make silly claims about a close 2004 election result, they also believe Howard Dean is the answer. It's the best news the GOP has had since the successful Iraqi election day.

Is there any sensible reason to pick Dean? Only one: his ability to fire up the extreme radical party base and the resulting superior fundraising that brings to their coffers.

The problem is that Dean takes huge groups of moderate and independent voters away, handing them to the GOP on a silver platter.

(Washington Post via Seattle Times)

WASHINGTON — Two questions swirled around the Democrats as their national committee assembled this week to select a new party chairman: Can Howard Dean cure what ails the party, or is Dean symptomatic of why those ailments may be so difficult to cure?

The former Vermont governor is poised to claim the party chairmanship today. His victory represents a personal triumph one year after his presidential campaign was in ashes and symbolizes the strength of the party's revitalized grass roots in the aftermath of John Kerry's loss to President Bush in November.

But for a party grappling with the question of how it can become more competitive in the red states of the South, Midwest and Mountain West, the decision to elect as its chairman a confrontational New Englander with a liberal identity and a penchant for making controversial statements sends a message in the view of some Democrats that little has been learned from the losses in 2004.

11 February 2005

MA: Better Late Than Never

I doubt this will satisfy very many parishoners, who've seen the church move at a snail's pace for far too long, but it least shows they're willing to eventually take action against the abusers.

Why there aren't more criminal prosecutions remains a point of debate:

(Boston Herald)

BOSTON - Four priests accused of sexually abusing children have been defrocked by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese announced Friday.

Robert D. Fay, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard Lane and Robert Ward are ``no longer in the clerical state,'' meaning they can no longer function as priests and will no longer receive any financial support from the Boston Archdiocese.

Iguabita was convicted in June 2003 of raping a 15-year-old girl while he was assigned to a church in Haverhill in 2000. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison.

Lane was accused by at least 17 men of abusing them as children. Some of the alleged abuse took place at the Alpha Omega House for troubled youth in Littleton, a facility he founded and directed in the 1970s. Lane retired in 1999, but remained a priest.

Fay was accused of molesting a Melrose teenager in the 1970s at a New Hampshire home, according to a lawsuit included in Fay's archdiocese personnel file. He denied the allegations.

Ward was suspended by the archdiocese in February 2002 after it received a single allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor. Ward had previously had several church assignments and later worked in the archdiocese's development office.

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