Category: Media

The GOP and the media don’t want you to know it, but it’s not over yet in Georgia

The winner of the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is…nobody! For congressional special elections, Georgia uses a two-round system in which all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, appear on the same ballot in the first round, and, if one candidate gets a majority of the first-round vote, that candidate wins, otherwise, a runoff election is held at a later date between the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation. No candidate received a first-round majority, although Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff came only a couple thousand votes short of an outright victory, and Ossoff will face Republican candidate Karen Handel in a June 20 runoff.

The narrative from the Republicans and the corporate media is that they believe that Handel is going to win the runoff easily. Trump is touting a “BIG “R” win” on Twitter, even though nobody has won the election yet, and the runoff election is two months away.

Let me tell you this: the election in the 6th District of Georgia has only begun, and there are a number of reasons why:

  • Most pre-election opinion polling had Ossoff projected to receive somewhere around 40-45% of the vote in the first round. Ossoff received roughly 48% of the vote in the first round, slightly outperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election performance in most precincts in the 6th District of Georgia.
  • Handel might be the worst candidate for the Republicans to have sent to the runoff. She ran as not enough of a Trump loyalist for the Trump loyalist crowd in the first round, and now she’s trying to run as a Trump loyalist in the runoff. Also, Handel was the person who nearly destroyed the Susan G. Komen Foundation over her opposition to reproductive rights.
  • Trump is very unpopular among some voters in the 6th District of Georgia who had voted strongly Republican prior to November of last year; most of these voters voted for Ossoff in the first round of the 6th District special election.
  • Trump may campaign for Handel at some point before the June 20 runoff.

If you live in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia, vote for Jon Ossoff on June 20.

One of the most right-wing newspapers in the entire country couldn’t find a single Betsy DeVos supporter in the education community

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post was originally written on Medium by the administrator of this blog and has been republished in full.


Above the fold on the front page of today’s issue of The News-Gazette, a Champaign, Illinois-based newspaper that covers the east-central part of Illinois and has a very right-wing reputation, was this story about how many in the public education community are opposed to the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the office of U.S. Secretary of Education.

In The News-Gazette’s attempt to find a DeVos supporter, they couldn’t find a single one in the educational community in East Central Illinois.

The strongest opposition to DeVos came obviously from teachers’ union leaders, although many in management (i.e., public school administrators) strongly opposed DeVos as well. Sheila Greenwood, the superintendent of schools in the Bement, Illinois public school system (covering southern portions of Piatt County, Illinois), said this about DeVos:

Bement Superintendent Sheila Greenwood was so appalled by how DeVos answered senators’ questions last month that she contacted her legislators, “begging them to put a stop to this insanity.”

“She couldn’t answer basic questions about schools, funding or assessment. She is uber-wealthy and has no experiences with public education because she lives like the 1 percent and knows nothing,” Greenwood said. “I think Trump will have his puppet and others will run the department.

Jeremy Darnell, the superintendent of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley public school system in Illinois (map of district here), said this about DeVos:

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Superintendent Jeremy Darnell was unimpressed with her hearing, as well, saying it was “very evident” she lacks understanding of current education issues.

[…]

“Votes should be cast on merit, preparation and the ability to effectively fill an essential role in our national government, not party line politics,” Darnell said. “All appointments should be considered for their ability to effectively advise our elected leadership. No leader can be a master at all so the essential need to surround yourself with experts in their field is more important today than ever.

The Bement and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school districts are located in some of the most Republican areas in all of Illinois, and voters in both school districts voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

The closest person that The News-Gazette could find to a DeVos supporter was Mr. Seth Miller, the superintendent of the public school system that I attended, the Westville Community Unit School District in Illinois. I’m paraphrasing, but Mr. Miller’s thoughts about DeVos were basically of the “give DeVos a chance if she’s confirmed” mentality without offering any explicit support of DeVos:

“We have the best educational system in the world. A leader who is committed to children, who need access to public education, would receive my support,” Miller said. “… Spirited debate with informed constituents helps make us a strong country — big enough and brave enough for diverse opinions. It is my hope that whoever is confirmed as the next secretary of education will help perpetuate this democratic ideal in our public school system.”

Having seen video clips of the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, it is clear to me that, if confirmed, DeVos would be a downright horrible Education Secretary.

Peter Roskam is afraid of his constituents

The resistance has officially come to the Chicago suburbs:

The protests earlier today against Congressman Peter Roskam of our state’s 6th Congressional District were in response to Roskam’s congressional staffers canceling a constituent meeting because he’s afraid of being held accountable the media:

Rep. Peter Roskam’s (R-IL) office cancelled a meeting with constituents about Obamacare on Wednesday when a staffer for the congressman learned that a reporter was present, according to the Aurora Beacon-News.

Constituent Sandra Alexander told the Beacon-News that she arranged the meeting about the Affordable Care Act with Roskam’s staff ahead of time and informed them that she would be bringing along a small group.

But staffers cancelled the meeting before it could begin, ostensibly because there were members of the media present

Even though Roskam’s district was gerrymandered for him thanks to Mike Madigan and his cronies, there is a huge opportunity for a Democratic candidate to run against Roskam and possibly ride a wave of left-wing backlash towards the Donald Trump-era Republican Party all the way to a congressional victory.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Donald Trump videotaped making pro-sexual assault comments in 2005

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a description of part of a lewd conversation and information about a presidential candidate bragging about sexual assault. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


David Fahrenthold (link is to Twitter page) of The Washington Post has done some great investigative work on Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Until earlier today, Fahrenthold has focused primarily on Donald Trump’s corrupt uses of his personal foundation.

However, Fahrenthold has now turned his attention to something that Trump did that was even more sinister than the corrupt dealings of the Trump Foundation.

Fahrenthold got his hands on a 2005 tape of Trump having a conversation with then-Access Hollywood host (now co-host of NBC’s Today show) Billy Bush, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Here is just a small sample of the lewd conversation:

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the (female genitalia),” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

Trump actually used a five-letter word beginning with the letter “p”, not “female genitalia”, in the actual conversation.

That conversation is a textbook example of how pervasive rape culture is in America. Donald Trump, in a videotaped conversation with a member of the media, bragged about sexual assault on camera and bragged about how famous people, such as himself, can get away with it. The truth of the matter is that no person in this country is above the law’s commands, and that kissing another person, grabbing another person’s genitals, sexual intercourse with another person, etc., without the other person’s consent is sexual assault, which is a criminal offense in every U.S. jurisdiction. Billy Bush is just as guilty of aiding and abetting rape culture as Trump is, because he goaded Trump into making degrading comments about women. NBC should fire him immediately from his current job.

I don’t have a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, or a niece, but, if I had a wife, a girlfriend, sister(s), daughter(s), or niece(s), I would not let them anywhere near Donald Trump.

51% of Democrats foolishly trust the pro-Trump corporate media

Despite the corporate media trying to rig the presidential election for Republican nominee Donald Trump by giving Trump a huge amount of free air time, a narrow majority of Democrats trust the corporate media, per a recent Gallup poll:

To put that another way, 51% of Democrats are nearly as moronic as Trump is.

Did a CBS News reporter post false information about Hillary on Twitter?

Yesterday afternoon, Hannah Chanpong, a reporter for CBS News who has been assigned to cover the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign for the network, posted a tweet, which has since been deleted by Chanpong, tweeted that “sources inside (the Clinton campaign)” were claiming that there were “worries” that Hillary may “drop out” of the presidential race. A screengrab of the now-deleted tweet from Chanpong is available here:

Whether one is a small-time blogger who doesn’t hide his or her political ideology from anyone or a journalist for a major news organization who tries to report the news and be as non-biased as possible, one thing is a constant: one is expected to be honest. It appears to me that, more than likely, A) either Chanpong was pulling “sources” out of her rear end or B) somebody within the Clinton campaign was not being honest towards Chanpong. I’m inclined to believe that the correct answer is more likely to be A) than B), but I’m not going to give a definitive answer.

I’ve never personally known Hillary, in fact, I’ve never met Hillary in person. However, Hillary has been in the national public eye for nearly my entire lifetime, and I have never known Hillary to be the kind of person to simply abandon something, whether it be a political campaign or anything else. Hillary would never, ever dedicate herself to something, only to turn around and abandon everything for no real reason.

At the very least, CBS should launch some kind of internal investigation to determine whether or not Hannah Chanpong was using her Twitter page to simply spread rumors. If she was simply spreading a rumor (which, at this time, can’t be substantiated either way), then that’s something that would be expected of a third-grader on an elementary school playground, not someone who works for a major news organization.

How NBC can make its future Olympic coverage better, instead of bashing millennials

During American television coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, NBC and its affiliated cable networks (particularly NBC itself) produced an awful broadcast of the most significant international multi-sport event in the world. Even though Rio is only two hours ahead of U.S. Central Daylight Time during the month of August, the opening and closing ceremonies were broadcast on a tape delay (and heavily edited to remove some portions of both ceremonies), many events, even some popular events with popular athletes, were broadcast on a tape delay, if not pre-empted completely, many sports (such as rugby sevens and wrestling) did not have a single medal-earning event broadcast on over-the-air television, and, in some instances, NBC announcers acted in a sexist manner when talking about female athletes (notable examples of this include NBC swimming announcer Dan Hicks crediting the husband of the swimmer for a female Hungarian swimmer winning gold in the women’s 400m individual medley and one of the Golf Channel announcers referring to female American golfer Stacy Lewis as “grumpy”). Long story short, NBC did nearly everything to alienate millennials and feminists during the Olympics.

Instead of outlining plans to improve NBC’s coverage to adapt to modern society (many Americans found it easier to get Olympic results via Twitter and other social media websites than watching actual television coverage of the Games; in fact, #Rio2016 is still a trending hashtag on Twitter, even more than a week after the closing ceremony), NBC/Comcast executives are simply blaming millennials for the Olympic coverage’s low ratings.

While I enjoyed watching the Olympics this year, here are some of my complaints about the Olympic coverage on NBC and its affiliated cable networks (I’m not considering factors that are completely out of NBC’s control, such as weather delays/event postponements and the quality of the world feeds that Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) provides to each country’s Olympic broadcast rights-holder):

Too much volleyball on network television!

If it weren’t for NBC providing quite a bit of time covering sports like track and field and swimming and NBC’s affiliated cable channels airing many other sports, American television viewers would think that the Summer Olympics were nothing more than a couple of indoor and beach volleyball tournaments, since volleyball (both indoor and beach), compromised a large amount of NBC’s over-the-air coverage of the games. The Olympics should be treated as the multi-sport event that it is, not as a glorified tournament for a single sport.

Too few medal events on network television!

In a surprisingly large number of Olympic sports that were part of the 2016 summer program, not a single medal-earning event aired on the over-the-air NBC network. Among the sports that were, to my knowledge, not seen on American English-language over-the-air television include tennis (although cable channel Bravo acted as a de facto Olympic tennis channel during the Games), rugby sevens (which bounced around between several different cable channels to the point of confusing American rugby fans), judo, taekwondo (I don’t recall any English-language television broadcast of taekwondo in the U.S. during the games), wrestling, boxing, badminton, table tennis, modern pentathlon, soccer (probably the most popular Olympic sport not broadcast over-the-air in the U.S.) and sailing (I also don’t recall any English-language television broadcast of sailing in the U.S. during the games).

Too much tape-delaying!

Tape-delaying the opening and closing ceremonies is a slap to the face to American television viewers. Also, even some of the more popular Olympic sports here in the U.S., such as gymnastics and diving, got the ol’ Memorex treatment from NBC.

NBC’s imperialist attitude towards the Games

NBC thinks that, because they spent a bunch of money to secure U.S. Olympic broadcasting rights until the Games of the XXXV Olympiad of 2032 (host city to be determined), they can single-handedly control every single thing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organizers of a particular Olympic Games does. A notable example of this was when NBC tried to bully the Rio Olympic organizers into conducing the Parade of Nations (which occurs during the opening ceremony) with the countries entering in English alphabetical order, despite the fact that the host country, Brazil, is a predominantly Portuguese-speaking country (the Portuguese-language name for the United States begins with the letter “E”, not the letter “U” like it does in English), and English is not a commonly-spoken language in Brazil. The Olympic organizers rejected that idea almost immediately, and NBC insulted American viewers by claiming that many American viewers simply change the channel or turn off the TV once the U.S. Olympic team enters the site of the opening ceremony during the Parade of Nations.

Here’s some of my suggestions to NBC for how to improve their Olympic coverage:

Air as many medal-earning events on the NBC over-the-air network either live in their entirety, live-but-joined in progress, or on as short of a tape delay as practically possible

Instead of structuring the NBC over-the-air Olympic broadcast schedule around the schedules of local NBC affiliates or to avoid airing Olympic events in the U.S. overnight hours, NBC should schedule 15 straight hours of Olympic coverage on most days in a time block corresponding to an 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. time block in the host city’s local time. Exceptions to this are any pre-opening ceremony prelims (which would be aired on NBCSN), and the days of the opening and closing ceremonies (opening and closing ceremonies would be aired live on NBC, regardless of time of day; during day of closing ceremony, coverage of the final medal-earning events would run until the conclusion of final medal event). If NBC were to use this broadcast pattern for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the NBC live broadcast window would run from 5 P.M. on one day to 8 A.M. the next day U.S. Central Standard Time. This would allow 9 hours per day for NBC affiliates to air a 30-minute local newscast, a 30-minute NBC network newscast, FCC-mandated educational programming (3 hours-per-week mandate), and three hours of tape-delayed NBC Olympic highlights. Assuming that the children’s programming is aired in a late-morning slot in 90-minute blocks on both weekend days, that would leave no fewer than four and a half hours for affiliates to air syndicated programming and/or additional local newscasts (six hours on weekdays). Airing the FCC-mandated educational programming in an approved time slot (sometime between 7 A.M. and 10 P.M.) would be a challenge if an American host city or another country that was one hour ahead of part of the United States, and would probably require the FCC and/or Congress to grant every NBC affiliate in the country a temporary waiver to the E/I rule that would only apply during the Olympics. In the absence of such a waiver, scheduling either a single 13 1/2-hour live block of two days of the week, a single 14-hour live block on three days of the week, or adopting a split time block arrangement of some kind, with educational programming inserted between blocks of network Olympic coverage.

Most importantly, gold medal-earning events would be prioritized, regardless of sport, and at least one gold medal-earning event in every Olympic sport and discipline contested in a particular year would be televised on over-the-air television. Secondary priority would be given to events that are not gold medal-earning events, but events where silver and/or bronze medals are at stake. No preliminary events would air on over-the-air television.

Prioritize actual sporting events over interviews, documentary-style feature segments, etc.

Leave the interviews and documentary-style feature segments to either the over-the-air highlights show or, if filler material between medal events is needed, during the 15-hour over-the-air live block between medal events. Also, interviews and feature segments should be no more than 5 minutes in length.

Use NBCSN to air any medal events that can’t be aired on NBC

NBC’s primary cable television outlet for sports broadcasting is, indisputably, NBCSN, so, if there’s Olympic events being played, NBCSN should be on-air and, if practically possible, live with either a medal-earning event that NBC is unable to air or a featured preliminary event. NBCSN is a cable channel, not an over-the-air channel, so it isn’t bound by FCC regulations on educational programming.

CNBC, USA, and, if needed, MSNBC, Bravo, and Golf Channel can serve as dedicated channels for some of the more popular Olympic sports

In recent Summer Olympiads, Bravo has served as a de facto Olympic tennis channel and Golf Channel aired the 2016 Olympic golf events in their entirety. MSNBC could serve as a dedicated Olympic gymnastics channel during the Summer Olympics, CNBC could serve as a dedicated track-and-field channel during the Summer Olympics and a dedicated ice hockey channel during the Winter Olympics, and USA could serve as a dedicated swimming channel during the Summer Olympics and a dedicated curling channel during the Winter Olympics. Any non-Olympic sporting events (such as NASCAR and English Premier League soccer) could be aired on The Weather Channel commercial-free (although 2-to-3-minute weather updates by The Weather Channel’s on-air personnel would be inserted where commercials ordinarily would be inserted).

Give each sport at least one dedicated cable channel during the Olympics, so that those with a cable or satellite television package that includes NBCSN and a willing cable or satellite provider would be able to watch the Olympics a la carte, with every event televised live and in its entirety

NBC offers cable and satellite providers stand-alone Olympic soccer and basketball channels during the Summer Olympics, so why not do so for every other Summer Olympic sport and every Winter Olympic sport during the Games? One channel could be devoted to ceremonies (opening ceremony, closing ceremony, medal ceremonies, gymnastics gala in the summer, and figure skating gala in the winter), and each Olympic sport and discipline contested in a particular season would get as many channels dedicated to it as needed in order to air every single Olympic event live and in its entirety, even if there’s delays or postponements forcing schedule changes and/or it means effectively simulcasting NBC or an affiliated cable channel

Limit commercials to no more than four minutes per hour

If CBS can air 56 minutes of golf per hour during The Masters, than NBC and its affiliated broadcasting platforms should be able to air 56 minutes of sporting competition per hour for a much larger sporting event.

Respect the Olympics and the athletes who participate in it

Even if NBC were to air only thirty minutes of black-and-white film coverage of a future Summer or Winter Games roughly 18 months after the conclusion of the Games, they should at least have their on-air personnel respect the Games and the athletes who participate in the Games, who come from many different countries and backgrounds.

 

San Jose Mercury News can’t say the name Simone Manuel

Make no mistake about it, Simone Manuel became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in the sport of swimming when she won the women’s 100 meter (109.3613 yard) freestyle swimming event at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were actually two gold medalists in the event, as Manuel tied Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal position. In Olympic swimming, a tie occurs when two or more swimmers post the same time, measured to hundredths of a second. When a tie occurs in Olympic swimming for a medal position, all tied competitors receive a medal of the same color (gold for a tie for first, silver for a tie for second, and bronze for a tie for third).

However, The Mercury News, a newspaper covering the San Jose, California area, used this headline to document Manuel’s historic victory:

Not only is that headline factually incorrect, it’s racist and sexist. First off, Manuel and Michael Phelps never shared an Olympic podium, as men and women compete in swimming events. In fact, the only Olympic sport (summer or winter) in which there are not separate competitions for men and women is equestrian (although a few Olympic sports, such as tennis (summer) and curling (winter, starting in 2018) have events featuring mixed-gender teams competing against each other, and modern pentathlon, of which equestrian is one of the five component sports, has separate men’s and women’s competitions). Secondly, The Mercury News was unwilling to use the name of a black woman who won the event in its headline, but had no problem using the name of a white man who wasn’t eligible to compete in the event in its headline.

The corporate media isn’t willing to say any part of her name, but I am more than willing to say the full name of my favorite Olympic champion of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad so far: Simone Ashley Manuel.

Why I can no longer support Alan Grayson

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) physically assaulted Edward-Issac Dovere, a reporter for POLITICO, at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia earlier today.

Earlier this year, I endorsed Alan Grayson for the U.S. Senate seat that is up for election this year in Florida, and in 2014, I included Grayson on my bucket list of political figures that I’d like to meet in person. However, I am officially pulling my endorsement from Grayson, and, if I were to write an updated bucket list of elected officials and/or other political figures that I’d like to meet in person, Grayson’s name would be nowhere to be found on such a list.

It is a known fact that Lolita Grayson, Alan Grayson’s ex-wife, has repeatedly accused Alan Grayson of abusing her. Now, we have documented footage of Grayson abusing a member of the press. I will admit that I have given Alan Grayson too much of a benefit of the doubt when it comes to the domestic abuse allegations that his ex-wife has leveled against him. However, I cannot reasonably give Alan Grayson the benefit of the doubt any longer when it comes to his track record of abusing others. The Alan Grayson that is currently on the campaign trail is not the highly-effective progressive and the most electrifying man in American politics that I have long admired Grayson as. Instead, the Alan Grayson that is currently on the campaign trail is a thin-skinned bully and an abuser who doesn’t electrify any reasonable person.

Physical abuse of any kind should NEVER be tolerated. In fact, I call on the U.S. House of Representatives to begin expulsion proceedings against Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida.

Rebecca Bradley: Neglecting her duty and saying that LGBT people should get AIDS

Scott Walker-appointed Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of America’s worst judges.

First off, Bradley is completely neglecting her duties as a state supreme court justice. In one instance, Bradley left the state supreme court chamber while the court was hearing oral arguments in a case before Wisconsin’s highest court to attend an event hosted by a right-wing political organization:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley cut out of oral arguments last week so she could give a political speech to the state’s chamber of commerce — a group that has spent heavily in the past backing conservative candidates.

Bradley refused an interview request, but a spokeswoman for her argued it was routine for justices to leave arguments early. So far, her campaign has not been able to cite an instance of another justice stepping out of arguments for campaign reasons.

[…]

(Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine) Geske, who served on the court from 1993 to 1998, said (to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) justices rarely left arguments early while she was on the bench.

If a justice leaves a state supreme court chamber, it better be for a good reason, such as illness, illness or death in the family, or something along those lines. What Rebecca Bradley did was the moral equivalent of a child staying home from school so that the child could play in the sandbox at home. If the people of Wisconsin don’t tolerate schoolchildren being truant from school, they shouldn’t re-elect a truant state supreme court justice.

Earlier today, the progressive group One Wisconsin Now uncovered multiple newspaper columns that Bradley wrote for the Marquette Tribune, a Marquette University student newspaper, in which Bradley, among other things, referred to LGBT people as “queers” and claimed that people who contract AIDS are effectively committing suicide:

Newly appointed state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley in student newspaper columns 24 years ago said she had no sympathy for AIDS patients because they had effectively chosen to kill themselves, called gays “queers” and said Americans were “either totally stupid or entirely evil” for electing President Bill Clinton.

In one column, she wrote people were better off getting AIDS than cancer because it would get more funding.

“How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments,” she wrote.

You can read more about the Bradley columns here.

The truth of the matter is that not all people who are affected by HIV and AIDS are homosexual, in fact, former NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, who was heterosexual, died as a result of AIDS three years before Bradley wrote those columns. Furthermore, hurling hate speech at LGBT people is a form of bigotry, and that is absolutely unacceptable. Regarding her remarks about Bill Clinton, claiming that Clinton burned the American flag is, to my knowledge, absolutely false.

Bradley’s remarks about LGBT people in 1992 are eerily similar to homophobic remarks that Michael Savage made on an MSNBC program in 2003:

If MSNBC could fire Michael Savage for making homophobic remarks about a prank phone caller, then the people of Wisconsin should fire Rebecca Bradley for making homophobic remarks about LGBT people. The people of Wisconsin will have that opportunity on April 5, and Bradley’s opponent is JoAnne Kloppenburg.