December 3, 2007

Grab bag

Too busy to do a full post, so here's some recent items in the news. Chime in if you have any feelings about any of them.

Rudy Giuliani deals with terrorist harboring pals. (What would Republicans do if it were revealed that Clinton was making millions knowingly dealing with sheiks who harbored al Queda leaders?)

Rudy romps with a woman not his wife in the posh Hamptons and bills security cost to city agencies. (again, can you IMAGINE if Clinton did anything like that? Instead, this is the guy that Pat Robertson endorses for President!)

Trent Lott bails out just ahead of lobbying reform that would make him wait two years before cashing in.

Huckabee surging in polls. Many voters flocking to anti-Iraq "war" libertarian Ron Paul,feeling he's the only "real" Republican running. Paul is still holding on to a boost after raising millions almost overnight.

The corporate shill heading the FCC is trying to ramrod through further media conglomeration, allowing corporations to own both newspapers and TV stations in the same market, only allowing a week for public comment.

Old Henry Hyde died. Remembered for being a pompous boob leading the House impeachment "managers", invoking all the dead soldiers of WWII and solemnly saying that if they didn't impeach Clinton, the nation would crumble and collapse. Shortly after, Henry made a name for himself when it was revealed that he'd had an affair with a married woman which broke up her marriage. Hyde then dismissed the entire sordid mess as a "youthful indescretion". Hyde was in his mid-40's at the time and cheating on his wife as well. Swell guy.

The depressingly boring and embarassing mess in Springfield continues unabated.

The latest, for those of you scoring at home, is that Mayor Daley and the Chicago boys wanted the lege to sign over some big money to keep the Chicago Transit system from shutting down due to lack of funds. These funds aren't available because the lege still hasn't passed a capital budget. The senate has passed one, but the House still hasn't.

Without getting too far into the weeds, it's a battle between three primary figures, none of which is covering themselves with glory, Governor Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones, and House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Blago just called the 17th special session of the legislature to try to deal with this mess. (it's past the point of rationality already.)

While Speaker Madigan thinks the CTA should get their needed bailout. A coalition of downstate legislators headed by Sen. John Sullivan, of Quincy decided to attempt to play hardball to shake things loose and get the capital budget passed and finally get all the stuff for downstate that it contains. Sullivan you may recall was prominently mentioned as a possible candidate to fill Lane Evan's position as U.S. Rep.

If you're still following, it seems that this coalition, long suffering from the power of the Chicago crowd and feeling slighted when it comes to funding, has decided to try to use the CTA as a level to force the passage of a capital budget which contains funds for dozens of local projects throughout the downstate area such as infrastructure projects like bridges, etc. and various other things, such as the WIU project in Moline whose fate has been swinging in the breeze awaiting whether the state leaders can somehow get over their personal grudges long enough to pass the damn budget.

So Sen. Sullivan and his coalition told the leaders that the only way the CTA could get it's emergency funds was if it were coupled with passage of the capital budget and it's long awaited funding for downstate projects.

I get drowsy trying to read reports about this, and frankly, I don't know where things stand at the moment. Anyone who knows or cares is free to bring us up to date. But PLEASE, just state the facts and avoid trying to make it look as if one person is single-handedly saving the day, or another is single-handedly bringing the entire state crashing down. (spare us the hype.)

And it's a bit old, but very important. Little Scotty McClellan, Bush's former press flack, has come out and stated clearly that Bush himself, along with Rove, Cheney, and chief of staff what's his name, were all involved in sending him out to lie to the country and the world by catagorically denying that Rove or Cheney had anything to do with the outing of incredibly beautiful CIA agent Valerie Plame. ( you can keep Ann Coulter and her Adam's apple.)

Anything else you want to add to the list, feel free.

That'll be a little something for you to chew on while I get ready to go feel the warm sand between my toes somewhere in a more agreeable latitude.


At 12/03/2007 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to keep the pressure on the House members to make sure that they get the Capital budget passed.

At 12/03/2007 9:05 AM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

There is a lot of great blogging material about Huckabee. (Have you heard what he said about what convinces him that Jesus supports the death penalty?) But I think it is a good idea for the progressive bloggers to hold off in hopes that he wins the nomination. Then we can use all that material. That would be great!

At 12/03/2007 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But PLEASE, just state the facts and avoid trying to make it look as if one person is single-handedly saving the day, or another is single-handedly bringing the entire state crashing down. (spare us the hype.)"


At 12/03/2007 9:59 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dave, so true.

Huckabee, at least for me, fits in with Republicans like John McCain and Pat Buchanon. I try to like them, and find things about them that I like often. I also find myself agreeing with them strongly on how they characterize some of the problems facing the country.

But then each of them manages to suddenly swerve off into the ozone and say the most idiotic and out-to-lunch things. It's really frustrating. I try to like them, but then they confirm that they live in that state of denial and false reality generated by the right wing, or the always popular bizarre and inappropriate statements about faith and government, and it wrecks things.

At 12/03/2007 10:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Huck, so far so good! Hope we didn't jinx it.

At 12/04/2007 9:17 AM, Anonymous yinn said...

Just want to add that we in the 14th think that Denny Hastert resigned for the same reason as Lott. Now we have a confusing set of special elections to deal with.

At 12/04/2007 7:03 PM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope, relating to the FCC item: The Commission just gave the Chicago Tribune a waiver for ownership of WGN (although Sam Zell will be owning the Trib). In other words, it won't have to sell the station.

I agree that Commissioner Martin is an idiot and probably has no broadcast knowledge. While (I think) you seem to be against the idea of newspapers owning TV stations, that practice has been going on for years, although former rules of the FCC forbade this. Examples... WTMJ (The Milwaukee Journal), WGN (Chicago Tribune), WFLD (Chicago Sun-Times) and even locally at one time, WHBF which was owned by the Potter family, publishers of the RI Argus. Usually the ownership was in the form of a family or corporate trust, but it was cross ownership none the less.

Over the years, the FCC has loosened up way too much on the rules of operating and owning stations. However, stations like WGN still served a broad audience in the truest sense of the "public trust," a term that was used for years in licensing stations. And with all the other media outlets in cities like Chicago, I truly doubt that one station could have any undue influence over a large cross section of the populace.

My disagreement with the FCC is over rules that have been relaxed regarding programming, local stations serving local communities, personnel on-duty and various other issues that the FCC used to enforce, but no longer seems to care about.

Martin is a shill, just like Commissioner Powell before him... the guy who let giants like Viacom and Clear Channel gobble up hundreds of stations and decimate local radio. Now that is the real issue.

At 12/04/2007 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After losing several endorsements to newcomer Jerry Lack, Mike Boland has finally nailed one down.

Earlier today the AFL-CIO endorsed Boland.

If Boland is able to secure the endorsement of AFSCME and the QC Building Trades, he (Boland) will have successfully wrapped up three of the regions most important labor endorsements.

While local Democrats are endorsing Lack, special interest groups appear prepared to once again bail out Boland.

With political insiders labeling the Lack/Boland "a barn burner" look for other special interest groups to interject themselves in the middle of this Democrat free-for-all.

At 12/05/2007 8:46 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Except apparently "Coach" didn't wait until he was out of congress to cash in, what with that big land deal he slid into just before getting some pork barrel funding for an interstate highway that was (surprise) routed right next to his property.

At 12/05/2007 9:02 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Excellent observations. Thanks for contributing that.

I also believe that this rampant consolodation results in infinitely poorer programing and a race to the bottom as far as the junk, trash, and soft porn they've ended up peddling as programing. Of course Fox is the worst offender, but others aren't much better. The amount of purient shows featuring violence (all the real life cop shows, shows that do nothing but highlight accidents, high speed chases, fights, and on and on) is not good news.

Then of course you have the truly destructive result of concentrating the power over just what is decided is the news... just what these corporations and those that run them decide to feed the public.

It seems apparent that the country as a whole and most Americans are pitifully ignorant of issues that affect their lives and what's really going on both domestically and internationally. It doesn't take long to notice that we're being fed a constant stream of alarmist crap and tabloid garbage and one has to search long and hard to find any true, objective, investigative or informative reporting.

Part of this is due to economics (trash is cheaper to produce) and part of it due to image over substance (TV reporters in large part are just plain lazy and inept.)

There's a ton of further negative impacts as well which all can be largely traced back to the abandonment of news as a vital civic and public duty in exchange for the public allowing these corporations to use OUR airwaves for profit, and as you note, the rampant disregard for that entire notion which began around the Reagan era and has only gotten worse.

Now we get some creepy reporter who does a show based on luring unsuspecting guys into meeting with what they think are underage girls, and they make it into a damn series, as if it's enterainment.

Not to sound like an old crank, but where are the "All in the Family"s or anything like that, or for that matter, even a decent drama series that doesn't revolve around some people blasting away with guns every 10 seconds?

As to the newspaper/TV ownership deal, I believe that what the FCC is proposing to allow is ONE COMPANY to own the ONLY newspaper and TV station in a market.

I think it was usually allowed in cases such as WGN and WHBF because there was other competition at least.

And then there's radio, which is going through similar consolodation, with the result of the near total extinction of ANY local programing from these stations whatsoever.

It's truly a huge subject, and people have had about enough of the very media giants who are supposed to be regulated actually running the FCC and getting everything they want.

It simply is not serving the public interest to allow the news we receive and the discourse of the country to be controlled by a relative handful of mega-corporations.

At 12/06/2007 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This could be a weekly blog, as you are unable to keep up with comments and breaking news?

At 12/07/2007 2:11 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Wow.. it could even be an every 5 1/2 day blog. Or an every 12 day blog.

YOU could start a blog and have it be an every 4 hours blog. Then you could read it and just love it. Of course, you couldn't find anything interesting to post that often, but that doesn't stop others.

The fact is that this blog doesn't operate according to individual reader's dictates or whims.

You don't pay a damn cent for this, yet that doesn't stop the gripes and bitches, amazingly.

You must be the type that if a neighbor kid was kind enough to mow your yard every week for NOTHING, you'd go out and rag on him because you'd like him to do it every 3 days.


And I DO keep up with comments. I read and moderate them daily. I should say rather that I keep up with intelligent and on topic comments. I don't bother with the rest, such as yours.

Rest assured that if you ever had anything remotely intelligent and interesting to say about any topic posted here, it would be published.

Don't confuse your every brain dropping not appearing here with my not keeping up with comments.


As to keeping up with current news...

There's tons of stuff I could cover. But on the national side, there's so much amazingly incompetent, lying, bizarre stuff coming out on an almost daily basis that I don't know I'd do it justice.

Bear in mind as well that when I DO post on current news, I routinely get berated for doing just that, and accused of doing nothing but cutting and pasting news from other sources.

Face it. The folks that comment here are only interested in busting my ballsl, and sadly, those who do have something worthwhile to say, don't bother.

Let us know when you get your blog up and running. I'm sure it will be great.

At 12/07/2007 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is our bog, not yours.

At 12/07/2007 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is about your blog Doep. Why do you always want it to be about other people not having blogs.
If you have a blog then it is your responsability to take care of it.

At 12/07/2007 5:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thing 1 .... dream on.

Thing 2 .... I do take responsibility for it. If I don't choose to do it exactly the way you demand, well..... TFB, and I mean that sincerely.

You haven't contributed as much as a dime. So what responsibility do I have to you again?

At 12/08/2007 10:19 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Here's something to add to the list of facts: December 7th marks one more day that Barack Obama is Missing in Action , another day he has NOT spent on the job working for the people of Illinois. Instead, he's gallevanting around Iowa with Oprah, promoting himself for President.

At least Bob Dole had the decency to resign his Senate seat.


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