Tag: CNN

STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

Advertisements

Bundy Family and militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, CNN isn’t reporting about it online

Ammon Bundy, the son of far-right anti-government crackpot Cliven Bundy, two of Ammon’s brothers, and far-right militiamen have taken over the administration building of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

As of 9:30 P.M. PST/11:30 P.M. CST, CNN.com, CNN’s website, has reported absolutely nothing about the right-wing militia taking over the Malheur NWR headquarters. There’s nothing on the front page about the takeover, and there’s nothing on the U.S. page about the takeover. In fact, the Wikipedia page on Malheur NWR was edited at 1:57 A.M. GMT/5:57 P.M. PST/7:57 CST to include a one-sentence reference to the Bundy/militia takeover.

This story is clearly of national importance, because right-wing terrorists and members of the Bundy family of right-wing extremists have responded to the legitimate conviction of two Oregon ranchers who set fire to federal land set aside for the protection of wildlife, not for ranching, by an armed takeover of the Malheur NWR headquarters.

Furthermore, some corporate media outlets are trying to claim that the Bundy/militia occupiers are non-violent protesters, when, in fact, Ammon Bundy has openly called for militia members to join the occupation and bring weapons with them. This is clearly not a non-violent protest, although I’ve heard no reports of shots fired or any other acts of violence at this time.

CNN has become an absolute joke of a news organization, and most other corporate media outlets are not much better.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

What if I had to introduce the candidates at the first Democratic presidential debate?

While nobody would hire a known Bernie Sanders supporter like me to publicly introduce the candidates at a Democratic presidential debate, if I had to do so for the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election, here’s what that would sound like:

Please note that I did not include an announcement for Lawrence Lessig, who was not invited to the debate by CNN despite being a Democratic presidential candidate (something I strongly disagree with), nor did I include an announcement for Joe Biden, who CNN will allow to appear at the debate if he wishes to do so (Biden is not expected to appear at the debate).

If you want to leave your thoughts about my announcing style (be honest!!!), feel free to do so in the comments section.

The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13th at 7:30 P.M. Central Daylight Time, and will be televised by CNN (obviously, I will not be at the debate, but I will be watching on television).

Bernie Sanders campaign offers Tulsi Gabbard a ticket to the Democratic presidential debate

The nearly-irrelevant Democratic National Committee (DNC) disinvited their own vice-chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), from tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debate over the fact that she wants more than six Democratic presidential debates:

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she was disinvited from the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Nevada after she appeared on television and called for more face-offs.

Ms. Gabbard confirmed on Sunday that her chief of staff received a message last Tuesday from the chief of staff to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the national committee, about her attendance at the debate. A day earlier, Ms. Gabbard had appeared on MSNBC and said there should be an increase beyond the current six sanctioned debates.

A person close to the committee who asked for anonymity to discuss internal discussions insisted, however, that Ms. Gabbard had not been disinvited. Instead, the person said, an aide to Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed a desire to keep the focus on the candidates as the debate approached, rather than on a “distraction” that could divide the party, and suggested that if Ms. Gabbard could not do that, she should reconsider going.

The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks that calling for more debates is a “distraction” proves that she is clearly out of touch with what most people in her party strongly believe…six presidential debates is simply not enough for the Democrats. Even worse, Wasserman Schultz is throwing her own party’s officials under the bus in a desperate attempt to remain at least somewhat politically relevant in this country.

Thankfully, Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a very interesting idea to get Gabbard in a spectator’s seat the debate:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), the Democratic National Committee vice chair who said she was disinvited to the first Democratic debate, might wind up attending the Tuesday night event as a guest of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Monday on CNN’s “New Day” that Gabbard could use a ticket from the Vermont senator’s campaign.
“If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call,” Weaver said, adding, “I think we have a couple; we can give her one.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s alienating allies and mismanagement of the DNC reminds me a lot of the mismanagement of the failed professional wresting promotion WCW circa 2000. In fact, near the end of WCW’s existence, some of WCW’s own wrestlers, most notably Scott Steiner (real name: Scott Rechsteiner), were publicly calling out WCW management for running the promotion in the ground:

Wasserman Schultz is trying to run the DNC like a bad professional wrestling promotion. That is most certainly not the way to run a political party, as the party risks losing voters, perhaps permanently, if Wasserman Schultz continues with her autocratic style of managing the Democratic Party.

I’ve found exactly one person who is defending Wasserman Schultz online, and this person, who is a member of the progressive website DailyKos, is using racist language to attack Bernie Sanders and his supporters:

The only people who have a problem with Wasserman-Schultz are Sanders supporters, and he’s not even a Democrat. Why would the Democrats get rid of a Democratic Party chairwoman because of the wishes of a non-Democrat and his all-white, all-upper-middle-class supporters? Wasserman-Schultz is the chairwoman of the entire party, and that includes African-Americans and Hispanics who by vast majorities support Hillary. We can’t cater to the white upper-middle-class here just because they yell louder and post more frequently on online blogs.

When Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s own supporters are race-baiting and spreading blatant lies about Bernie Sanders and his campaign (for starters, Bernie Sanders has many black, Hispanic, and poor supporters, and Sanders is a Democrat by virtue of his membership in the Senate Democratic caucus), it’s time for her to step down from the DNC chair.

Game Show Review: 500 Questions

ABC has aired the first episode of a seven-part game show miniseries called 500 Questions, in which a single contestant tries to answer 500 trivia questions correctly for cash. Six more episodes are scheduled to air over most ABC affiliates; the next episode is scheduled to air tonight at 8 P.M. Eastern/7 P.M. Central, with the remaining episodes scheduled to air this coming Friday and Monday through Thursday next week. Check your local listings for air dates and times.

The show’s gameplay involves a single contestant, a challenger, and trivia questions. A single game consists of 10 rounds, with a total of 50 questions per round. In each round, ten categories of questions are used, with five questions per category. Should the contestant complete all ten rounds by answering 500 questions, the contestant wins the game. Should, at any point in the game, the contestant give three consecutive incorrect answers, the game ends, the contestant is eliminated, and the challenger becomes the new contestant. Should the contestant answer the 50th question in a round correctly, the challenger is eliminated and is replaced by a new challenger. Usually, the contestant picks which category will be used for a particular question, with one exception: When the contestant has given two consecutive incorrect answers, the challenger picks the category. The host of the show is Richard Quest, who hosts a business news program on CNN International and occasionally appears on some programs on the U.S. version of CNN.

There are four different types of question formats that are used on 500 Questions:

  • Regular – For regular questions, the contestant has ten seconds to give a single correct answer to a trivia question. Should the contestant’s first answer be correct, the contestant banks $1,000, except for the 25th and (presumably) 50th questions of each round, where the contestant wins $5,000 that is his/hers to keep, no matter what. Should the contestant give the correct answer within the ten-second time limit, the contestant is credited with a correct answer, but doesn’t bank any money. Should the contestant fail to give the correct answer within ten seconds, the contestant is credited with a wrong answer.
  • Battle – For battle questions, the contestant and the challenger go back and forth providing answers to a question with multiple correct answers. When it’s his or her turn, each player has five seconds to give a correct answer. Should all of the correct answers be given, or should the challenger give a wrong answer, the contestant is credited with a correct answer and banks $1,000. Should the contestant either give a wrong answer or fail to give an answer within five seconds on his/her turn, the contestant is credited with a wrong answer.
  • Top 10 – For top 10 questions, either the contestant or the challenger has to provide five correct answers to a question, with a 15-second time limit and a maximum of ten answer attempts. The contestant can either play the question or pass the question to the challenger. Should the contestant opt to play the question gives five correct answers without running out of time or answer attempts, the contestant is credited with a correct answer and banks $1,000. Should the contestant opt to pass the question, and the challenger runs out of time or answer attempts before giving five correct answers, the contestant is credited with a correct answer and banks $1,000. Should the contestant play the question and run out of time or answer attempts before giving five correct answers, the contestant is credited with a wrong answer. Should the contestant pass the question, and the challenger gives five correct answers without running out of time or answer attempts, the contestant is credited with a wrong answer.
  • Triple Threat – For triple threat questions, the contestant has to provide three correct answers to a question, with a ten-second time limit. Should the contestant give three correct answers within the 10-second time limit, the contestant banks $3,000 and is credited with a correct answer. Should the contestant run out of time before giving three correct answers, the contestant is credited with a wrong answer.

Since the contestant on the first episode didn’t reach the 50th question before the end of the episode, I don’t know if the contestant wins the money he/she has banked for giving a correct answer on the 50th question and starts winning money for each question after the 50th question, or if the contestant wins the money he/she has banked for a correct answer on the 50th question of each round.

Below the line break is my review of 500 Questions.


Format

The format of the show is going to receive low marks from me, for one simple reason: There’s only seven scheduled episodes, and the contestant on the first episode isn’t currently on track to answer 500 questions before the end of the seventh episode. In fact, the first of ten rounds was still in progress at the end of the first episode! However, there are a couple of good things about the show’s format: First, the questions are difficult, as one would expect from a primetime quiz show, but not ridiculously difficult. Second, there’s no lifelines or multiple choice answers to make things easier for the contestant. I’ll give the format a 4 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Host

The host of the show is Richard Quest, who, to my knowledge, has no prior experience hosting a game show and has spent most, if not all, of his broadcasting career in cable news. However, Quest is a surprisingly good game show host, having not made any mistakes that I noticed on the first episode and having conducted himself in an engaging, professional manner. One issue I do have with Quest is that he’s not that great at explaining the rules of the game, although he didn’t explain anything incorrectly on the first episode that I noticed. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Quest is considered as a possible host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! when Alex Trebek decides to retire, probably in 2018. I’ll give Quest a 8 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Set

The show’s set is very dark, even by the standards of a primetime quiz show, although I didn’t have any difficulty reading most of the graphics that were displayed in the studio. The only studio graphics that I had trouble reading were the category labels, as the font for them is too crunched down for me to see without my eyeglasses. I’ll give the show’s set a 5 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Conclusion

On a scale of 0 to 30, 500 Questions earns a score of 17. While the show’s format is overly long and is filmed in a very dark studio, the show’s host and questions with just the right difficulty make it worth the seven episodes the series is scheduled for.

Aaron Camp, Executive Producer

If I were the executive producer of this show, I would completely reformat the show, rename the show, and hope that the show would get at least a 13-week run on a major network, probably in primetime. Here’s how I would format the show:

  • The show would be renamed 50 Questions.
  • Money banked would be won for every tenth question answered correctly.
  • Battle questions and top 10 questions would be worth $2,000.
  • Ten consecutive correct answers by the contestant would eliminate the challenger.
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire?-style fast finger segment, but with typed answers instead of multiple-choice answers, would be used to select contestants and challengers.
  • 50 questions answered correctly without three consecutive wrong answers would result in the contestant winning the game.
  • The set would be nowhere near as dark.
  • The grand prize for winning the game would consist of, in addition to the money won by correct answers during the game, a jackpot consisting of a luxury or sports car, a few other nice prizes (such as trips, boats, trailers, rooms of furniture, full set of kitchen appliances, etc.), and a very large amount of cash, with any unearned cash that was banked being added to the jackpot each time a contestant fails to outright win the game.

While I don’t think that 500 Questions is going to last more than the seven episodes it’s currently scheduled for, it’s an interesting game show.

John Kasich is nothing like Elizabeth Warren

John Kasich, the virulently anti-middle class Republican who happens to also be the Governor of Ohio and a possible presidential candidate, went on CNN’s State of the Union political talk show and did two things that set me off. First, he bragged about being a part of the late 2000’s financial meltdown that destroyed this country’s economy (Kasich was the managing director of the Columbus, Ohio office of the Lehman Brothers investment bank until Lehman Brothers went bust). Second, he claimed that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a staunch supporter of protecting consumers and a staunch opponent of “too big to fail” financial institutions, is like him.

You can watch Kasich’s remarks here.

While Warren has zero interest in running for president, there is a night-and-day difference between John Kasich and Elizabeth Warren.

John Kasich has a decades-long track record of opposing labor unions, workers, the middle class, economic strength, and common sense. As a U.S. Representative, Kasich built a very conservative voting record, including demonizing welfare recipients and helping to enact Bill Clinton’s plan to gut the social safety net in this country. As a businessman, Kasich ran the Lehman Brothers office in Ohio’s largest city until Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the American economy began to collapse. As Governor of Ohio, Kasich tried to bust Ohio’s public employee unions, but Ohioans firmly rejected his anti-worker and anti-middle class policies at the ballot.

Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, is a champion of the middle class, economic strength, and common sense. Warren, who is the Paul Wellstone of our generation, has fought for more regulations on our nation’s financial institutions in an attempt to prevent another economic collapse like the Great Recession. Warren understands how income inequality, in which the wealthiest few percent of people in this country have the vast majority of the country’s wealth, is hurting our economy and destroying what little of our country’s middle class remains. Warren has also stood up to members of both major parties in this country in opposition to free-trade deals that undermine our nation’s sovereignty, such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

John Kasich is nothing like Elizabeth Warren, and he should quit trying to take credit for Warren’s work to make America a better place to live.

The Republican Party is a party of scammers

Media Matters for America (MMfA), a progressive media watchdog group, published this piece showing how ridiculously infected with scams and scammers the Republican Party and the conservative movement in this country are. Among the scams promoted by Republicans and conservatives include, but are not limited to, reverse mortgages, quack doctors, conspiracy theories, fraudulent financial schemes, worthless stocks, and political organizations that exist solely or primarily to pay political consultants.

MMfA cited 11 examples from the past two and a half years of Republicans and conservatives scamming fellow Republicans and conservatives:

  • Mike Huckabee sold out his fans to a quack doctor, conspiracy theorists, and financial fraudsters.
  • Conservative media such as Erick Erickson’s RedState, Dick Morris, Newsmax, Townhall, and Human Events have pushed paid promotions for dubious marijuana stocks.
  • Tea party scammers have been aided by media outlets like CNN and Fox News, which, in the words of one of the shady groups in question, have given the tea partiers “great television news coverage” to promote their efforts.
  • Subscribers to CNN analyst Newt Gingrich’s email list have received supposed insider information about cancer “cures,” the Illuminati, “Obama’s ‘Secret Mistress,'” a “weird” Social Security “trick,” and Fort Knox being “empty.”
  • Five conservative outlets promoted a quack doc touting dubious Alzheimer’s disease cures.
  • Conservative media sold out their followers to a disgraced financial firm, Stansberry & Associates.
  • Fox News contributor Wayne Rogers acted as a “paid TV spokesperson” for a company pitching reverse mortgages to senior citizens. Fox had previously reported that “there’s a lot of evidence” that reverse mortgages are “predatory loans.”
  • Tobin Smith, the dubious stock pitchman fired from Fox News.
  • Fox analyst Charles Payne was paid to push now worthless stocks.
  • The Dick Morris/Newsmax super PAC boondoggle.
  • Right-wing media helped “scam PACs” raise money from their readers.

Click on every one of those links above, as they go into detail about how Republicans and conservatives scam their own kind of people. The Republican Party is absolutely rife with all kinds of scams and scammers, and the scary thing about that is that the corporate media in this country helps promote right-wing scams.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh publicly calls for terrorists to behead members of the media

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, who represented a district in the Chicago suburbs for only one term before losing re-election in the November 2012 elections after voters found out how much of a nutjob he is, took to Twitter and publicly called for Islamic fundamentalists to behead CNN and MSNBC employees:

In case you’re wondering what cartoons Walsh is referring to, he’s referring to the cartoons published by the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo which depict the Prophet Muhammad. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are considered offensive by Muslims.

That kind of rhetoric by Joe Walsh is highly unacceptable. What Walsh did was cheer terrorists who want to destroy the United States of America and take away our freedoms and rights. While I’m not a big fan of the corporate news media in this country, publicly cheering for members of the media to be beheaded by Islamic fundamentalists like the ones who are members of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram has no place whatsoever in our country’s discourse.

Walsh is a disgrace to the people he represented for two years, this state, and this country. I’m glad he’s no longer in Congress.

Corporate media hack Don Lemon asks a ridiculously stupid question once again

CNN anchor and corporate media hack Don Lemon asked yet another ridiculously stupid question. This time, he asked Arsalan Iftikhar, an editor of The Islamic Monthly and a human rights lawyer, if he supported the Islamic fundamentalist terror group ISIS in a televised interview:

Here’s the transcript of the relevant part of the interview:

Don Lemon: Again, in August, 16 percent of French citizens support ISIS. Would you describe those who support ISIS as Islamic extremists? Do you support ISIS?

Arsalan Iftikhar: Wait, did you just ask if I support ISIS? I just answered your question. I said that obviously these 16 percent of people support the ideology, but again, I don’t think that would necessarily extrapolate to the killing of innocent people.

Iftikhar publicly stated earlier in the interview that he was “shocked and appalled” by the attack on the Paris, France-based satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and condemned the attacks as “something that is against any normative teaching of Islam or any religious teaching” and “a crime against humanity and an act of mass murder”. It’s absolutely clear from Iftikhar’s thoughts and remarks about the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters that Iftikhar does not support terrorism, whether it be from ISIS, al-Qaeda, or any other group or individual.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Lemon has asked a downright asinine question to a guest he was interviewing on national television. Just a couple of months ago, Lemon asked Joan Tarshis, one of over two dozen women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault, about why she didn’t bite Cosby’s dick off. Don Lemon is one of many reasons why CNN has gone from a well-respected institution of journalism to total garbage over the past several years.