Politico reports: "Obama calls Kanye 'jackass'"
ABC News's Terry Moran tweeted the comment. "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."
Apparently it was an off-the-record comment and Moran deleted the tweet not long after.
Jules Crittenden remarks:
Obama finally says something we can all agree with … Then does a grab back. Figures.
Too bad. Could have been a great bi-partisan civility reach-across uniter-not-adivider kind of move in these uncivil times.
And Allah at HotAir observes: "I knew he had his good points. What I don’t know is why he’d insist on keeping this off the record."
You can't have nice things.
Economic illiteracy among the journalistic class is hardly new. Journalists were usually the people with higher verbal than math scores on the SAT. (I speak from personal experience.)
Economic illiteracy among the political class is fairly widespread, too. I'd wager that four out of five congressmen of either political party, if asked, couldn't explain the law of supply and demand and would probably vote against it if they could.
But economic illiteracy among presidents is a much more consequential affliction.
The shape and scope of Barack Obama's economic illiteracy becomes more manifest with each passing day. Three examples from just the past week suggest the president and his team of economic advisers know little about the big plans they wish to foist upon the American public.
Obama visited Wall Street on Monday to mark the anniversary of Lehman Brothers' collapse with plans to enact sweeping new regulations over U.S. financial services.
"Under the Treasury reform blueprint," write the Wall Street Journal's editors today, "any financial company, whether a regulated bank or not, could be rescued or seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation if regulators believe it poses a systemic risk."
Much hinges on the term "systemic risk," but the president didn't elaborate much about that on Monday. Instead he hauled out a few hoary clichés from last Winter.
"We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses," Obama said. "Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall."
Obama's visit to Wall Street follows an announcement Friday that the United States would impose a 35 percent tariff hike on Chinese-made tires. Now, the tariff is a complicated issue. Phil Levy attempts to explain the nuances at Foreign Policy's Shadow Government blog. The bottom line, however, is that the tire tariff was a choice, not a necessity -- an act of protectionism, not of free trade.
Yet here's what President Obama had to say about the tire tariff on Monday: "Enforcing trade agreements is part and parcel of maintaining an open and free trading system."
That's true -- when a trading partner breaks an agreement, you enforce the rules. And the Chinese have not been good partners when it comes to intellectual property, for example. But the tire tariffs have more to do with appeasing unions and other special interests in the United States, not punishing Chinese malefactors abroad. Naturally, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization.
Now, I might feel less anxious about Obama's high-stakes gambits with China and other prominent trading partners -- including Japan and Mexico -- if he didn't say things that would make a freshman econ major blush.
In the middle of his address to Congress last week, Obama dropped this little stink bomb:
I've insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers, and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.
Profits aren't overhead and overhead isn't profits. Profits are what you're left with after overhead, salaries, benefits and taxes are paid. That's elementary economics -- so basic even a freelance journalist knows it.
(There are actually two stinkers in that passage. Perry Glanzner noticed and discusses the second one.)
Possible objections: That's just one gaffe! Bush made a million of them and gave us TARP and committed a million other sins, shredded the Bill of Rights, and all the rest of it. Yes, yes, that's fine. But Obama is president right now and it's his economy to ruin by virtue of his words and deed.
In fact, Obama's public displays of economic ignorance are extensive, if not particularly well documented. And they aren't always gaffes. Sometimes, Obama will speak in vague platitudes that suggest maybe he's just trying to B.S. his way through a economic policy discussion or making stuff up. From little slips like "profit and earning ratios" to howlers such as comparing the stock market to a "tracking poll," it's clear that the president is simply not in his element when it comes to questions of finance and economics.
Take a look at the transcript of the president's July 22 press conference. In his opening remarks, he says, "we passed a Recovery Act that has already saved jobs and created new ones." The administration predicted the $787 stimulus -- most of which has not been spent, by the way -- would hold unemployment at 8 percent. The official unemployment rate in August was 9.7 percent.
The point is, making economic predictions is tricky and making economic policies is trickier still. Having a president who doesn't know much about economics in the Oval Office wouldn't be so alarming if he had advisers who could check his worst impulses and correct his errors and temper his anti-market instincts. But instead Obama's surrounded by people, with the exceptions of Ben Bernanke and possibly Tim Geithner, who think and act just like him.
It's worth noting that the president's Wall Street audience gave him a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks Monday morning. Praise, like currency, can be easily inflated. Obama's job is to do no harm to the economy. So far his efforts, while expensive, have been of little help.
But the president can only get by on wit and ridiculous federal expansion for so long. For while those stockbrokers were cheering the president, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 23 points on sluggish trading. The market, it seems, is immune to the president's charms.
On this eighth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rasmussen reports 49 percent of Americans say most of their countrymen have forgotten the impact of the terrorist strikes that destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and scarred the Pennsylvania countryside. The other 51 percent either disagree with the pollster's proposition or simply aren't sure.
I think I would agree that most Americans have forgotten the impact of the attacks. There is no way to carry that burden or keep that horror fresh for eight years. Life goes on.
America's response to the attacks was in many respects not unlike its actions leading up to that bright Tuesday morning: too much and too little. Eight years later, we're debating the merits of an ongoing U.S. presence in Afghanistan, where the Taliban ruled and al Qaeda thrived like bacteria in a fresh petri dish. The presence of American and British troops has done little to curtail the resurging Taliban, which has found aid and comfort in neighboring Pakistan. And where in the world is Osama bin Laden?
Another indicator of the nation's health eight years on is the shameful fact that still no gleaming, majestic new tower stands at One World Trade Center Plaza. Ground zero of terror quickly became ground zero of politics and competing bureaucracies. One report said the new building may not be finished until 2018. And officials abandoned the name "Freedom Tower" awhile ago. Not practical to market, you understand.
Yet another indicator eight years after 9/11 may be gleaned from a line in President Obama's health care address to Congress on Sept. 9: "...the plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years -- less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars..." Mind you, this president has said he supports the Afghanistan war. Yet clearly he sees it -- as he has always seen Iraq -- as secondary or even tertiary to his more ambitious domestic policy agenda.
What's lost eight years after that terrible day is a clear sense of American purpose at home and abroad. I often turn to Angelo Codevilla for clarity on the subject of war. "We don't fight in order to change the way we live," he told Investor's Business Daily in December 2001. "We fight to not change the way we live and to be left alone. Nothing in our military operations promises that we will be left alone."
"The war on terrorism is becoming an occasion for changing the way America lives," he warned. "This should not be confused with victory. Indeed, it's the very opposite of victory."
What, then, does victory look like? Codevilla put it this way in a magnificent essay for the Claremont Review of Books published two months after 9/11:
Common sense says that victory means living without worry that some foreigners might kill us on behalf of their causes, but also without having to bow to domestic bureaucrats and cops, especially useless ones. It means not changing the tradition by which the government of the United States treats citizens as its masters rather than as potential enemies. Victory requires killing our enemies, or making them live in debilitating fear.
On this day, Americans remember the dead and the sacrifice so many thousands have made to vindicate our cause and our way of life. But Americans should remember, too, that we are nowhere near victory.
The New York Times mainstay casts his lot with the "enlightened" tyrants of Beijing in today's column. Key paragraph:
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
Jonah Goldberg replies:
So there you have it. If only America could drop its inefficient and antiquated system, designed in the age before globalization and modernity and, most damning of all, before the lantern of Thomas Friedman's intellect illuminated the land. If only enlightened experts could do the hard and necessary things that the new age requires, if only we could rely on these planners to set the ship of state right. Now, of course, there are "drawbacks" to such a system: crushing of dissidents with tanks, state control of reproduction, government control of the press and the internet. Omelets and broken eggs, as they say. More to the point, Friedman insists, these "drawbacks" pale in comparison to the system we have today here in America.
As it happens, Goldberg wrote a book about just this sort of thing.
Update: Read Kenneth Anderson's lengthy but thoughtful take at the Volokh Conspiracy:
Let me just say for the record that this is a monstrous column. When faced with American public defection from elite-preferred outcomes on certain policy issues that involve many difficult tradeoffs of the kind that democracies, with much jostling and argument, are supposed to work out among many different groups, Friedman extols the example of ... China's political system, because it's both enlightened and autocratic? Who among us knew?
The headline is funny, too: "Thomas Friedman, For One, Welcomes Our New Chinese Creditor Overlords"
In a follow-up post at the Daily Kos, Olbermann writes:
To clarify something I obviously didn't previously, I'm not talking about letting up on criticism of Lonesome Rhodes' work here. I am talking about calling off the Baker Street Irregulars -- while reserving the right to reactivate them. Trust me, I'm going after him tonight on the tweet to his masses that precipitated this, the "find out everything you can" about three Obama appointees.
Yay! A urination contest! With Arthur Conan Doyle references! As it turns out, it's really just about thin-skinned Olbermann sticking it to his former paymasters at News Corp:
In 2006 or 2007, Glenn Beck responded to something I said about him by going on his HLN show and ranting about me. He described how I write my show, how my research copy is delivered to me, and how the technical issues of handling and ordering questions are handled in my script. This came from a staffer or ex-staffer, directly or otherwise.
NewsCorp has been playing this game since I left its employ in 2001 mostly in Page Six of the New York Post (and 90% of what was printed hasn't even been true). The Post once printed my then street address, sent somebody over to terrify my neighbors, and mocked the fact that I (and Letterman, and Sumner Redstone, and others) had received fake anthrax, and that the police had ordered me to go to the hospital to make sure it was fake anthrax. Later the Post staked out my home, so a goober of theirs could shout insults at me about three-figure tax disagreements I'd had with the state of California seven years previously (which had been resolved five years previously)....
Blah blah blah blah blah... who gives a crap? Well, I only mention it because Olbermann offers a splendid opportunity to expound once again on the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Olbermann points to a post by David Carr, who asks:
What might Mr. Olbermann do if someone digs up dirt on his intended targets, who, like him, work in the infotainment industry and have been elected by no one? Once the game of oppo research on the press begins, it’s hard to tell where it might stop, no?
Olbermann's post is intended partly as a reply and a rationalization to Carr. Evidently, he sent a separate reply to Carr, who dutifully appended it to his blog post. Neither piece is persuasive. Does Olbermann not realize he sounds like a complete lunatic? Is he so blinded by his fanaticism? Does the sun rise in the east?
Here's the first, last and best profile I've ever read about Keith Olbermann. Although it appears in a generally sympathetic venue -- the New Yorker -- it pretty much tells you what kind of man he is. When Olbermann self-destructs on live TV in a few years, you'll know why.
My son Benjamin heard President Obama's speech at school this afternoon. Here is his after-action report, by way of a Q&A with your humble servant:
Me: So, Benjamin, you heard the president speak today. What did you think?
Benjamin: Mmmm. Naw.
Me: What do you mean? You didn't hear it or...?
Benjamin: I didn't like it.
Me: Why not?
Benjamin: Well, I couldn't really understand most of the words, and there was a lot of talking.
Me: So it was noisy? You couldn't hear the speech?
Benjamin: I couldn't hear it, and my neck started to hurt.
Me: Why did your neck hurt? Was it because you couldn't see?
Benjamin: No. It was because I've been holding up my neck all day! And I was bored.
Me: So was there anything about the speech you could hear that you thought was interesting or you actually liked?
Benjamin: No, I already said I didn't like it.
Me: Nothing at all?
Me: Did your teacher talk to your class about the speech after the president finished talking? Did she ask questions?
Benjamin: No, because it was almost the end of the day, near the bell.
Me: If you had a chance to hear the speech again, would you be interested?
Benjamin: What do you mean?
Me: I mean, if you could listen to it without noise or distractions...
Benjamin: Oh, no! No, no, no! Nooooo. Thaaaaank. Yooooooou.
And there you have it. Indoctrination failed.
Tunku Varadarajan's column at Forbes.com about some of the conservative response -- really, the preemptive reaction -- to President Obama's back-to-school speech today is pretty much spot-on.
Call me naïve, but I believe that Americans ought to accord their president a formal, ex officio respect, irrespective of party affiliation. He is, after all, the president of all of us (whether we like him or not), and it is unseemly that we should withhold civility from him on grounds of political disagreement. As things stand, no blow seems low enough, no criticism off limits, if the president happens to be from the other side. The pursuit of happiness has given way to the pursuit of picayune point-scoring. E Pluribus Unum ... Why do we still bother with that silly foreign phrase? Our great nation has become a Manichaean nation.
I might quibble a little with the phrasing of that second sentence ("...the president of us all..."), but the larger observation is entirely correct. Earlier in the piece, Varadarajan makes the rather obvious point that "Overheated sections of the right -- first the 'birthers,' now the 'speechers' -- are meting out to Obama precisely the sort of disrespectful treatment they execrated when it was directed by the left at President Bush."
To that I would only add that conservatives diminish our already tenuous position as a credible opposition when we overshoot like this. Objecting to the Department of Education lesson plans was an excellent fight to pick. Keeping the kids home from school today? That's just stupid.
As James Taranto observes in Tuesday's Best of the Web:
Under normal circumstances, some of the lines in the speech would merit some gentle mocking. ...Drudge amusingly bannered the president's instruction to WASH YOUR HANDS, or, as the speech puts it, "I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter."
But really, the conservatives are more deserving of mockery in this case. Is it really their position that children should have filthy hands?
I think for few, the answer would be yes. And so it's not just their hands that are dirty. Michelle Malkin and others are wiping the egg of their faces today, saying, "it's not the speech, it's the subtext."
Truth is, it's about picking battles wisely. Again: Hammering the Department of Education lesson plans was the right thing to do. It's possible that the ensuing outcry persuaded the White House to adopt a more moderate tone for Obama's remarks. That's entirely to the good.
I hate it when kids are used as political props or human shields. But my objections are minor compared with, say, our friend Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson, who on Saturday wrote: "(I)t's not a matter of parents all over the country being crazy. It's parents not trusting a president who has put together an eight month track record anyone with cognitive skills would deem as a cause for concern when it comes to their children." Sorry, but for most voters, the link between Obama's insane policy schemes, his extremist hires, and his speech urging kids to study hard and stay in school is not at all obvious. And when Malkin, Generalissimo, et. al., are forced to talk about "subtext," then it's clear they haven't made their case very well.
A very big part of the resistance to this speech is the double standard. And this is important, and not mere grousing. All conservatives know that there would not only be an opt-out if, say, President Bush the Younger had given this speech, but that it would (barely) have been shown at all in the first place.
The sensitivities of liberal parents would have been respected. Not just respected -- those sensitivities would have been dominant, blocking out coverage except for in a small fraction of schools.
On the other hand -- Obama.
Now, what the liberal/governmental establishment wants to tell us here is that we are second class citizens. We have some political rights, but not nearly the full panoply of rights enjoyed by liberals.
And we reject that.
We. Reject. That.
And we're not "crazy" or "stupid" to do so. We are simply tired of the liberal/bureaucratic establishment treating us like second-class citizens of no importance and no account, and of arrogantly treating us as children in constant need of their sage wisdom, lecturing, and hectoring.
Not having it.
I'm not having it, either. But I'm afraid it is grousing. And worse, it puts conservatives in the position of playing the victim over and over again. You are a second-class citizen only if you accept the premise. Liberal hectoring is as inevitable as the tides. So what? They hector. They poke and prod and advance their agendas. And we poke and prod and counter their agendas -- presumably with an agenda of our own.
I wrote last night that I would not prevent my 7-year-old from participating in his school's assembly today to hear the president's speech. I presume the problem isn't with the speech but with what the school's instructors choose to do with it. Moreover, I presume that my children will be exposed to a great deal of nonsense in the coming years -- much worse, certainly, than 20 minutes of banalities and clichés from a second-rate chief magistrate. But then so much of life is nonsense. My role as a father is to do everything I can to help my son and daughter distinguish between good sense and nonsense, legitimate and illegitimate, free and unfree, valuable and worthless, right and wrong, virtue and vice, good and evil.
Sometimes I overreact, so I know what overreaction looks like. We're falling into an obvious and foreseeable trap. "Anger is not a platform," I wrote after the election. "Saying 'Obama isn't my president' -- as some liberals insisted that President Bush was "selected, not elected" -- isn't persuasive. It's petulant. The job of the next four years is to check Obama's worst instincts and hold him accountable for his policies -- without anger or malice, but in the spirit of loyal opposition and cheerful patriotism."
That's even more true today than it was in November.
OK, that's actually old news, which is why I only have snarky jokes to make. Still, Media Matters' analysis that Fox showed only opponents of health reform in its town hall coverage would, I think, pose a challenge to serious conservatives. Doesn't a realistic view of the world -- and the ability to effectively counter your opponents arguments -- require depicting the existence of opposing views and understanding/representing them fairly?
I mean, I get it: "Liberal media" blah blah blah. But the angry opponents of health reform were certainly getting their air time on CNN and MSNBC the last month or so. On Fox, the opposition simply disappears when it's not being mocked.
No, there is nothing particularly objectionable about Barack Obama encouraging students to study hard, pay attention, and stay in school. The speech is pretty routine stuff -- nothing we haven't heard ten thousand times before. I could pick on a few details. But it's noteworthy mostly because of the source, a man who holds the highest office in the land and has a unique story to tell.
The problem with the president of the United States addressing the nation's schools is the precedent it sets and the habits it encourages. He's the commander-in-chief, not principal-in-chief or the chairman of the school board of America. And schools have always been a local concern, even as the federal government has steadily eroded state and local autonomy in education over the past four decades or so. There's a very real chance that the speech Barack Obama delivers on September 8 will become a post-Labor Day tradition, repeated by this president and his successors for years and decades to come. Obama friends, partisans, and critics have already pointed to the speeches that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush delivered to school kids back when. Like that's an excuse!
Local school officials are taking a cautious approach, as they are wont to do. My son's school district put out a robocall from the superintendent over the weekend informing parents that we could opt out of the speech if we so choose. Well, having read the speech, I don't think there is any harm in my 7-year-old son listening to the president. He's a second grader. My guess is he'll be bored to tears. (As Ann Althouse points out, "The kids will need to sit still for 2540 televised words.") I can't wait to ask him.
The Wall Street Journal editorializes on the Van Jones resignation in Tuesday's paper:
No President is responsible for all of the views of his appointees, but the rise and fall of Mr. Jones is one more warning that Mr. Obama can't succeed on his current course of governing from the left. He is running into political trouble not because his own message is unclear, or because his opposition is better organized. Mr. Obama is falling in the polls because last year he didn't tell the American people that the "change" they were asked to believe in included trillions of dollars in new spending, deferring to the most liberal Members of Congress, a government takeover of health care, and appointees with the views of Van Jones.
That dovetails nicely with the point I make in the latest Scripps-Howard column.
Regarding Zaius's observations about Peggy Noonan, I think the fixation on Jones is no longer useful. There's something to be said for continuing to pummel the Washington Post and the New York Times for their insipid and mendacious reporting, but Jones is out. He's an ex-Czar. There are plenty more czars to scrutinize. Noonan may have understated Jones's radicalism and the radicalism of the Obama administration. In general, however, I agree with the idea that this administration is young in office and unacquainted with the sort of resistance it has met since taking the reins in January. That's all.
Apart from a flirtation with radicalism (you have to hope it did not become a full, deep and continuing relationship), Jones, in February, thoughtfully attempted to capture the essence of the GOP in a speech in Berkeley, Calif. "Republicans are —," he explained.
You have to hope Van Jones didn't establish "a full, deep and continuing relationship" with Marxists? Seriously, Peggy? Have you read anything other than The New York Times, which couldn't bring itself to cover Van Jones? Hoping that Van Jones isn't an unreformed Marxist radical (and somehow not too far off the "mainstream") is like hoping Santa Claus is real. Noonan almost immediately afterward writes:
But Mr. Jones is not my concern.
With all due respect, Peggy, it should be your concern — you primary concern, especially as a former Reaganite. The trouble with Obama's "staffers and appointees" is not that they are "so young and relatively untried," it's that they have matured after years of marinating in the worst elements of hard-left Marxist academia and "activism." Van Jones is 40 and has quite a number of years of public activism behind him. Valerie Jarret, who is 52, praised Jones to the hills, and undoubtedly had a hand in recruiting him to the Obama administration. David Axelrod is 54. David Craig, the White House Counsel, is an old Clinton retread at the age of 64. And the president himself is 48. When do these leftists grow up and leave the socialist utopian politics of their college days behind?
To read the rest of this post, please click "Read more" below
Van Jones may be gone, but the coverage of his departure should not be soon forgotten. Ace of Spades points out the New York Times's lame, ambiguous and sloppy reporting on Jones's departure, specifically Jones's Truther affiliations:
If (the Times) had just quoted the highly-quotable language of the petition -- no Deciding, no Gatekeeping, just the actual words -- this misreading wouldn't be possible at all.
Mickey Kaus slices and dices the Times story, leaving little more than a coarse paste.
I had to read this Firedoglake post a couple of times before I realized that Jane Hamsher isn't actually saying what I thought she was saying -- namely, that nearly two out of five Democrats are (or were) Truthers. To my relief, I realized that she's merely dissembling:
Now (Jones has) been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 -- that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11.
Is that really what Jones "innocently" and ignorantly signed his name to? Here's the petition. Read it for yourself. It posits much, much more insidious stuff than simply claiming Bush "knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11."
In context, Hamsher is lamenting how the liberal establishment that feted Van Jones a year ago has abandoned him now in his hour of need. As it happens, Hamsher peddles this falsehood in the service of a larger and much more explosive truth: The left consists of a bunch of money-grubbing, power-infatuated sellouts:
I heard it over and over again -- if you wanted to criticize the White House on financial issues, your institutional funding would dry up instantly. The Obama campaign successfully telegraphed to donors that they should cut off Fund for America, which famously led to its demise.
It wasn't the last time something like that happened -- just ask those who were receiving institutional money who criticized the White House and saw their funding cut, at the specific request of liberal institutional leaders who now principally occupy their time by brown nosing friends and former co-workers in the White House.
And so the groups in the DC veal pen stay silent. They leadership gets gets bought off by cocktail parties at the White House while the interests of their members get sold out.
Yes, yes, I heard the same thing from some conservatives when Bush was president. But what's so weird about Hamsher's complaint, echoed by others among the "netroots," is that she wants these groups and the White House to go to the wall for an avowed Marxist, a 9/11 Truther, and an outspoken defender of cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal.
R.S. McCain observes the irony in the immolation of the left:
The astounding disproportion between the facts -- who Van Jones is and what got him in trouble -- and the Left's perception tells you a lot about the what's gone wrong in Hopeville. For all the recent uproar about Joseph Farah and "Birthers," it is the Democratic Party which suffers most from the influence of its extremist supporters.
Jane Hamsher, Alan Colmes, and Keith Olbermann apparently live inside an echo chamber where a man who was a leader of a Marxist outfit like STORM, and who subsequently signed a 9/11 Truther petition, is not legitimately controversial.
That's more or less right. (I disagree with McCain re: WorldNetDaily.) Hamsher, et. al., see Jones's resignation as a portent of capitulation on a range of "progressive" policy points, from health care to cap and trade and counterterrorism. "If you can't get it together to at least put out a statement of support for Van Jones and condemn the White House for using him as a sacrificial lamb to right wing extremists that will devour us all if left unchecked," Hamsher writes, "it's time to add 'proudly liberal only when it doesn't matter' to your logo and be done with it."
If sticking up for Van Jones is the litmus test for principled liberalism these days, then I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of liberals really do sit out next year's elections -- just not for the reasons Hamsher and her comrades think.
Well...this was to be expected:
Send Me Everything You Can Find About Glenn Beck
by Keith Olbermann
Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:14:03 AM PDT
I don't know why I've got this phrasing in my head, but: Find everything you can about Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes.
No, even now, I refuse to go all caps. [How kind -Ed.]
No, sending me links to the last two Countdowns with my own de-constructions of his biblical vision quality Communist/Fascist/Socialist/Zimbalist art at Rockefeller Center (where, curiously, he works, Comrade) doesn't count. Nor does sending me links to specious inappropriate point-underscoring prove-you're-innocent made-up rumors.
Tuesday we will expand this to the television audience and have a dedicated email address to accept leads, tips, contacts, on Beck, his radio producer Burguiere, and the chief of his tv enablers, Ailes (even though Ailes' power was desperately undercut when he failed to pull off his phony "truce" push).
This becomes necessary after this in order to prove various cliches about goose and gander, and to remind everybody to walk softly and carry a big popsicle, and most particularly to save this nation from the Oligarhy of The Stupid.
I keep wondering if somewhere somebody named Ollie Garhey thinks he's in charge now. Or, even more entertainingly and societally satisfying, if somebody named Ali Garhi does.
Despite the worn-out snark above, I am in earnest here.
The wacky Glenn Beck is a big-time media personality more than capable of holding his own against the likes of Keith "Sports Guy" Olbermann. So I assume he has prepared for what's coming.
To read the rest of this post, please click "Read more" below
Via Gateway Pundit comes this learned discussion on NBC's Meet the Press about the Internet's role in Van Jones's downfall. I don't know how long that video is going to last, so here is a transcript of Tom Friedman and Tom Brokaw sharing their wisdom with host David Gregory:
To read the rest of this post, please click "Read more" below
Here are two interesting aspects surrounding the departure of Green Jobs "Czar" Van Jones* from the White House this weekend.
As Mickey Kaus observes: "I've been waiting for the day when a prominent pol resigns and for print MSM readers it appears to be out-of-the-blue, though everyone on the Web knows the whole story. But for WaPo's Franke-Ruta and Kornblut, this would be that case."
Here is a clear instance of the Washington Post and the New York Times getting caught flatfooted because the newsroom high-brows didn't want to give that wacky Glenn Beck and the righty blogs the satisfaction. (I like Jonah Goldberg's quip at the Corner: "The New York Times mentions Van Jones. It's a good method. You can save a lot of money covering news stories only at the end.")
To read the rest of this post, please click "Read more" below.
And, I think you will agree by the end, this goose is thoroughly cooked:
(Hat tip: Crywalt via the Incomparable e-mail list)
Not that you'd know if you depend on The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times or the nightly newscasts of ABC, CBS, or NBC — but Van Jones, Obama's hand-picked "Green Jobs Czar," resigned Saturday night. The release came on Labor Day weekend, just before midnight Eastern Time on Saturday. Typical, in all ways.
If you want to know why Van Jones resigned, just Google him. I'm as lazy as a network anchor and MSM newspaper reporter and won't bother filling in the details. Short version: The 9/11 Truther legacy of Jones was barely the half of his wackiness.
But I post on this only to share parts of his exit statement:
On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.
I have been inundated with calls — from across the political spectrum — urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.
Dude (and I can address a fellow Californian like that), you are a "truther." That is not a smear. That's fact. You are a Marxist. That is also a fact. You have stated, publicly, that "white" polluters are poisoning black folks — on purpose. And there's even more crazy stuff you've said, on tape. Them facts are not "smears." In English, that's called the "public record." And how wide is that "political spectrum" from which you've discovered people motivated enough to place personal phone calls to you — assuming they even knew you were in trouble, not likely if they only follow the MSM?
I said when the whole Van Jones flap erupted several days ago: The 9/11 Truther stuff is the least of it. What matters is that Obama — and his most-trusted advisor, Valerie Jarrett — thought it'd be a great way to advance their agenda if they could sneak an avowed Marxist past the goalie.
Van Jones slipping back into the hard-left warrens is the good news. The bad news: There's a lot more where Van Jones came from already ensconced in our government.
... literally. This is old news now, as the cyber-crow flies, but a senior citizen at a pro-Obama health care rally in normally placid Thousand Oaks, CA (a posh suburb north of of Los Angeles in generally Republican Ventura County) had part of his his pinkie bitten off by a MoveOn.org nut job who is apparently a big fan of Hannibal the Cannibal.
The kicker: The poor guy was not even part of the counter-demonstrators who showed up to heroically (at least it used to be heroic to liberals) present an opposing view. William Rice was just passing by and stumbled into an unfortunate event.
"I didn't go out to demonstrate my beliefs, I happened to be driving by and I stopped to ask people what their purpose was," Rice, 65, said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I had no signs, I was not part of the demonstration."
No matter, he was deformed. Apparently, the monster who bit it clean off did not have the decency to hand it over — a la Bruce Lee when he reaches into your chest, pulls out your heart, and shows it to you. Rice didn't tell reporters what side of the debate he prefers, but did add that rally "very scary." Ya think?!
Ventura County sheriff's spokesman Eric Buschow said a confrontation erupted after the biter crossed from the MoveOn.org side of the street to the counterprotest, where Rice was standing.
So ... counterprotesters were keeping their distance, and the MoveOn.org thug decided to escalate matters.
A loud scuffle ensued, punches were thrown, and the tip of Rice's finger was bitten off, Buschow said. The biter fled before authorities arrived. He could face felony mayhem charges.
Not to mention practicing the services of a butcher without a proper state license. In California, that's probably the more serious offense. Rice seems like a pretty tough and admirable fellow. Asked if his attacker had a "conversation" with him about health care, Rice replied yes: "If you want to call him screaming in my face that I'm an idiot a conversation."
For the record, MoveOn.org spokeswoman Ilyse Hogue said in a written statement that the incident is a "regrettable act of violence" but the group had few facts about the situation. Well done. It would be imprudent to comment further. Maybe Rice had it coming to him, just like Kenneth Gladney, who got the union thug treatment for daring to be a black man trying to make a buck by selling tiny "Don't Tread On Me" flags at a St. Louis town hall meeting.
It's hard to see what's gone on here and not imagine the enormous hue and cry that would be wafting from the MSM and the left if an opponent of Obamacare had not just assaulted a supporter — but bit off a digit. For Pete's sake, citizens showing up at town halls to (gasp!) raise their voices a little bit at the likes of Arlen Specter and John Dingell was portrayed in the MSM as if they were part of a beer hall putsch. People who legally show up at a rally with a firearm are portrayed as the return of the dangerous white-supremacist right-wing militia. And if MSNBC has to crop the video to hide the fact that their glaring example is a black guy, so be it.
Joel, who I like to call our house liberal (as well as a friend), baited me into posting this today with an email. I'd been too busy with paying work to get to it until now. And there are many jokes to be made of this incident, but I'm not really in a joking mood. I wonder what Rachael Maddow and Keith Olbermann — who have had a lot of fun joking about "teabaggers" — have to say about this now. Is even this funny? No. Which is why they will ignore it.
One of the things about the whole scene that has unfolded in the last several months — among many — has been the reflex of liberals who once championed spirited dissent to deride those who do it now. Yes, I've made good sport of the losers who made opposition to the Iraq War into an excuse to engage in bizarro public puppet shows. And I've decried the anarchists and losers who show up at ever G-20 summit to destroy the unfortunate city in which it is held. But if we're keeping score: Right-leaning protesters are not into violence, by and large. Yet obnoxious disruption, and even violence, has long been a key chapter in the left's playbook to bring about "change." And it's ignored. Constantly. To draw attention to violent leftists would do damage to the cause.
Seriously, can you imagine the public outrage — from all sides — if a group of Evangelical Christians went to a rally in support of gay marriage, and beat up one of the people there to sell buttons in opposition to California's Prop 8? Can you imagine if a right-winger went to a MoveOn.org rally, screamed at a senior citizen, started a fight, and then bit his damn finger off? I can.
Unfortunately, I'm not seeing the opposite — the reality — reflected in our media or our culture. That's pretty dammed depressing.
Newspapers are struggling over how to make up for lost revenue online. Pay walls are folly, certain doom. Some publishers are weighing a membership model. John Temple has written a bit about the idea, which he endorses. Here is what Jeff Jarvis has to say:
It’s not enough to let people give you money and promote you. Now you have to invite them to have a real and meaningful role in what you do, even a sense – if not a stake – of ownership and, consequently, control.
There's more, but I think that's about right. As I noted in the earlier post about my adventures with the Sacramento Bee, the challenge facing most newspapers is to demystify what it is they do for readers. Editorial pages are well suited for the job, and would be the ideal place to start giving readers that "real and meaningful role" Jarvis discusses.
The Sacramento Bee named its new editorial page editor on Friday, after a long and fairly exhaustive national search. In the end, the newspaper elected to promote from within. Stuart Leavenworth has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. He joined the Bee in 1999 and has been an editorial writer since 2004. He also knows his way around a kitchen, having spent the past five months or so as a chef's apprentice at Oakland's Oliveto restaurant.
What makes this story of particular interest is a detail that didn't appear in the news. There were two runners up for the job. One was (and, no doubt to his disappointment, remains) the editorial page editor of a well-known midwestern daily paper with more than 25 years in the business and numerous honors on his resumé, including lofty positions at major professional organizations.
And the other was... me.
Just how did a blogger and freelance writer with 15 years of professional experience, including just six years working for daily newspapers full time, manage to make the final three vying for a prestigious editorial page gig? How did I survive several cuts among a group of dozens of candidates with burnished credentials and j-school degrees? And how the hell did a conservative manage to get past security, let alone land an interview, for a such a job at a prominent left-leaning newspaper?
Simple. They asked.
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In key respects, the late Edward Kennedy's political legacy stands in stark contrast to the legacy of Ronald Reagan. But historians and eulogists won't speak of a "Kennedy Revolution" when they assess the Massuchusetts senator's life and career. The Reagan Revolution, however, remains very much at the forefront of people's minds at the beginning of the Age of Obama.
What was the Reagan revolution anyway? How revolutionary was it? And what should those who wish to emulate Reagan today learn and apply from Reagan’s story? To answer these questions it is necessary, first, to understand the unity of Reagan’s statecraft, and second, to appreciate the way Reagan perceived his statecraft in constitutional terms.
Understanding the unity of Reagan’s domestic and foreign statecraft is not easy, partly because the domestic side is much more complicated; it lacks the personal drama of the Cold War against the Evil Empire. Reagan never stood in front of the Federal Trade Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency and said, “Mr. Regulator — tear down this rule!” But he figuratively had this attitude. One revealing diary entry from 1986 reads: “The villain in the case is the Fed. Drug Administration [he meant the Food and Drug Administration], and they are a villain.”
Reagan’s statecraft, at home and abroad, should be seen as a unity for one crucial reason: He saw it as a unity. Lincoln once wrote that all nations have a central idea from which all its minor thoughts radiate. The same can be said of leading statesmen. Reagan’s central idea can be summarized as the view that unlimited government is inimical to liberty, both in its vicious forms, such as Communism or socialism, and in its supposedly benign forms, such as bureaucracy.
The point is: The same principles that animated Reagan’s Cold War statecraft also directed his domestic-policy vision.
Hayward goes on to explore how Reagan exercised his particular brand of statecraft, with special attention to where the 40th president fell short.
"If I seem to emphasize the negative aspects of the Reagan years," Hayward writes, "it is only because I grow tired and impatient with the most common form of Reagan nostalgia today, which is more reminiscent of his 'morning in America' campaign of 1984 than of his much sharper and purposeful campaign of 1980. Reagan deserves better than that."
It's a long piece, but well worth reading as an introduction to the book's central arguments.
Here's Jonathan Chait today, wringing his hands over the right-wing crazies befouling the health care debate: "What we are witnessing is the convergence of the mainstream Republican culture with the right-wing political subculture..." etc., etc., blah blah blah.
Here was Jonathan Chait in 2003 (The New Republic's archive is hosed; the link is to some guy's e-mail archive, of all things): "I hate George W. Bush. There, I said it," followed by several hundred words of Chait arguing for, as the New Republic's editors put it, "a rational basis for the deep hatred many liberals feel for President Bush."
In sum: Bush hatred: Rational. Opposition to Obamacare: Crazy talk. Atrios was right. Our discourse really is stupid.
(Hat tip: Victor Davis Hanson at the Corner.)
It's hard to get anybody who doesn't work for Rupert Murdoch to praise the man -- especially if the person doing the praising is a die-hard liberal. Yet the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten says Murdoch will be the "savior" of the newspaper industry by leading the way for papers to charge for online content.
Congress, Rutten writes, needs to exempt newspapers from anti-trust laws so that they can collude to start charging their online audience:
Murdoch's Wall Street Journal already does so, but the Australian-born media magnate understands that what's required for serious -- which is to say expensive-to-produce -- journalism to survive is that all the quality English-language papers and news sites agree to charge for Web access and then mercilessly sue anyone who makes more than fair use of their work without paying a fee. For such a scheme to work, the papers' owners need to agree on when to act and what to charge. (Murdoch and his digital strategist, Jonathan Miller, believe the Journal's existing website model offers a place for what the latter calls "premium" journalism.)
This suggests to me that Rutten and Murdoch -- and Brian Tierney of Philadelphia Newspapers, it should be noted -- fundamentally misunderstand the new media marketplace. These newspaper guys seem to believe that they're competing against themselves, that people are (and will continue to) get their news from newspapers and newspaper-backed websites. And that's not necessarily the case.
Because newspapers' online competition isn't just other newspaper websites. It's websites of news-oriented radio stations. And TV stations. It would be one thing if those websites simply offered archived audio and video, but they don't. They -- like newspaper sites -- offer text, as well.
And I don't think radio stations are going to start charging for access to their websites.
The comeback from newspaper advocates is likely to be that radio and TV stations rip them off. (There's long been griping about the "rip and read" practice of radio broadcasters reading, essentially, news directly from the paper.) But here's a question for them: Do you think your audience is likely to care? If they have a choice between paying for original journalism and getting the ripoff for free, which are they likely to choose?
The newspaper folks will counter, rightly, that they can provide more in-depth coverage than their broadcast competition, even online. But anybody who has spent time above the reporter level in the media industry has seen readership studies showing that most readers get -- at most -- a headline and a few paragraphs of a story before moving onto the next page. (That's one reason why the Philly papers both have the "At A Glance" page summing up the paper.) If that's the case, will most readers notice or care if they're getting the "At A Glance" version from a radio station's website if they can get it for free?
And it's not even necessarily the case that you'll get cut-rate journalism from Radio and TV sites. NPR.org has revamped itself to provide a more complete reading experience -- is anybody going to make the (nonideological) case that National Public Radio doesn't offer good or in-depth reporting? Not convincingly.
Hey, I love newspapers. Spent my adult life working for them. I don't want to see them go away -- and for reasons more complex than the fact that I don't know what else I'd do to earn money. But if newspapers step back and recognize that they're not the only news organizations providing text-based news and information online, they'll realize their job is bigger than getting together with other newspapers to start charging. They're not just competing against themselves.
Another issue that arises tangentially during this week's podcast is the matter of big government versus big business. Joel raised the objection that many Republicans are so critical of big government but all too willing to put their confidence in big business.
Joel has a point. I've said for many years that the conservative argument with big government has more to do with the adjective than the noun. Government is a necessary evil because, as Madison instructs, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." But it's precisely because government is a human project that it must be constrained. Madison continues: "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
In principle, the conservative critique of government can (and should) apply to business, if not for the same then for similar reasons.
Christopher Caldwell writes in Saturday's Financial Times about "blind faith in bigness" -- government and business.
"We have lost the sense that big institutions can be a problem even when they are not failing," Caldwell writes. "Managing bigness is always a problem because big companies, big (organizations), big political units, tend to narrow the individual initiative of those who belong to them."
Caldwell notes that a tension between smallness and bigness in institutions is nothing new. He pegs his argument to E.F. Schumacher's 1973 opus, Small is Beautiful, which elaborated on to negotiate the "contradictory imperatives" of freedom and order in building and maintaining institutions. What's happened since Schumacher wrote his book is that business and government may still be big and unwieldy, but they've also gotten better at doing certain things with fewer people and resources -- the sorts of things that Madison and the framers of the Constitution worried would be destructive of liberty.
Caldwell concludes: "The tendency towards consolidation more often finds expression through a blind faith in 'humanity' or 'regulation' than through a blind faith in General Motors. But it is the same impulse, and the dangers of bigness are still present."
Charles Krauthammer's column in the Washington Post on Friday is about as sensible a take as I've read on the controversy over end-of-life decision making in the health care debate. He writes:
Except for the demented orphan, the living will is quite beside the point. The one time it really is essential is if you think your fractious family will be only too happy to hasten your demise to get your money. That's what the law is good at -- protecting you from murder and theft. But that is a far cry from assuring a peaceful and willed death, which is what most people imagine living wills are about.
So why get Medicare to pay the doctor to do the counseling? Because we know that if this white-coated authority whose chosen vocation is curing and healing is the one opening your mind to hospice and palliative care, we've nudged you ever so slightly toward letting go.
It's not an outrage. It's surely not a death panel. But it is subtle pressure applied by society through your doctor. And when you include it in a health-care reform whose major objective is to bend the cost curve downward, you have to be a fool or a knave to deny that it's intended to gently point the patient in a certain direction, toward the corner of the sickroom where stands a ghostly figure, scythe in hand, offering release.
I think Krauthammer underestimates the long-term effects a "public-option" dominated health care system will have on those decisions -- not a death panel, perhaps, but pressure surely not at all subtle. I tried to make a similar point, albeit less artfully, at Joel's blog the other day (it's the sixth comment):
If one of the goals of health care reform is to reduce costs and if end-of-life care is a huge cost driver, then what is the public policy solution other than to mandate restrictions? Families are forced to make these pull-the-plug decisions every day without the added pressure of weighing whether their decisions advance or undermine the public good.
President Obama recognizes it’s an issue and had done everything in his power to talk around it. Again, Obama said in his interview with the New York Times: “And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance.” Not determinative, but operating with the goal of reducing a huge chunk of health care spending. Suddenly, we’re not really talking about counseling people to get living wills anymore, are we? No way that could go wrong…
"Mandate restrictions" sounds harsh, doesn't it? Well, it isn't difficult to foresee a time when "hospice" and "palliative" care become the routine treatments based on some actual table produced by the sort of independent commission Obama has discussed in the past. The point isn't that Obama or some federal bureaucrat is going to "pull the plug on grandma." The point is that we are going to create a system of incentives and disincentives that make pulling the plug a decision of first resort.
Incidentally, Krauthammer writes at the top of his column:
Let's see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling.
We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room. I've got nothing against her. She's a remarkable political talent. But there are no "death panels" in the Democratic health-care bills, and to say that there are is to debase the debate.
That, of course, elicited a predictable response from these fanatics. I harbor no particular ill-will for Palin. I've written nice things about her and I've written skeptical things about her. I most likely wouldn't vote for her in the next presidential primary, but think she gets a bad rap from her critics. Too bad her supporters aren't much better.
It is now something of a cliché within certain circles that whenever Barack Obama begins a sentence with the words "Let me be clear..." or "As I have said before..." you can be sure he either hasn't said it before, or he's trying to obscure the truth.
Well, as clichés go, if the shoe fits...
Still, you cannot help but admire (almost) the audacity with which Obama contradicts his previous statements. Take this whopper from the president's interview Thursday morning at the White House with talk show host Michael Smerconish:
As far as health care goes, I've consistently said I would love the private marketplace to be handling this without any government intervention. The problem is it's not working. ...
So all we've said is let's keep the private system intact, but let's make sure that people who right now can't get health insurance -- about 46 million -- that they're able to buy into the market.
Of course, that is most certainly not what Obama has "consistently said." Prior to his election, he "consistently said" the exact opposite. Here, for the 1,344,287th time, is Obama's statement on the subject from 2003, which he repeated off and on until late 2007:
I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14% of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.
Now, it would be one thing if Obama simply said, "I changed my mind," or "Ideally, I would prefer a single-payer system, but the political reality is the American people don't want it." At least he would be honest.
Instead, like Delbert Grady flattering Jack Torrance into doing his dirty work, Obama insists that he's always been in favor of the private health care market and opposed to single-payer. It's crazy, and demonstrably false. But Obama keeps saying it and about half of the country keeps believing him.
I'm telling you, man, F. Scott Fitzgerald didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Think of all the public humiliations, the tabloid exposés, the hasty resignations, the sob stories, jailhouse confessions and religious conversions, the book deals and Lifetime movies of the week. Think of the embarrassing affairs, the arrests, the courtroom dramas played out on television. Think of Richard Nixon!
Think of all those things... then wipe that schadenfreude off your face. Life "ruined"? No "second acts"? Nobody believes that anymore. Nobody could possibly believe that anymore. And to anyone who does, I offer this Mt. Everest of evidence, the first and last word on the possibility of redemption and the total extinction of any antiquated notion that one's public disgrace is insurmountable, unforgettable and unforgivable.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jayson Blair, life coach.
I was kind of avoiding this discussion because, well, my position is as likely as not to be misunderstood. But, dammit, citizens should be able to carry around loaded firearms and not even raise an eyebrow, much less cause full-blown media apoplexy.
Matt Welch discusses the freakout at Reason.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, which like most newspapers is struggling to survive and retool in a hostile economic climate, announced 112 newsroom layoffs on Wednesday. Ho-hum, things are tough all over, right? Well, yes, if you say so. But what's notable about the story are some of the names appearing on the axe-list, including Editorial Page Editor Bob Kittle and Opinion Editor Bernie Jones.
Now, I know next to nothing about the internal dynamics at the Union-Tribune, other than what I've read. The private equity firm that owns the paper has been cutting relentlessly since it purchased the Union-Tribune in May. I can say that I've worked with Jones a couple of times when I've had an op-ed appear in the U-T. Good guy. He has the distinction of being the only editor in my career to ever ask me to lengthen an op-ed piece. I don't know Kittle at all, except by reputation. Not surprisingly, Kittle's departure is being greeted with plenty of glee in some quarters.
That's fine. But I do "question the timing."
Recall my item from May about the president of Los Angeles police union demanding the firing of the Union-Tribune's editorial staff:
The Los Angeles Police Protective League -- the police union -- wants the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune summarily dismissed. Well, that's nice. Why would the union bosses make such a demand? On what basis could they make such a demand?
As it turns out, the San Diego Union-Tribune was purchased recently (from the Copley family) by a private-equity firm called Platinum Equity. According to the Times story, "Platinum relies on a $30-million investment from the pension fund of Los Angeles police officers and fire fighters, along with large sums from other public-employee pension systems around the state, to help fund its acquisitions of companies."
So the L.A. police union is, in a way, part owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune. And because the Union-Tribune's editorial line is critical of the rapacious behaviors of public-employee unions, the police union wants the editorial line to change.
"Since the very public employees they continually criticize are now their owners, we strongly believe that those who currently run the editorial pages should be replaced," wrote League President Paul M. Weber wrote in a March 26 letter to Platinum CEO Tom Gores.
Platinum sounds disinclined toward ousting the editorial writers, but who knows? Platinum is in the newspaper business for the money, not the honor of running San Diego's outpost of a foundering medium.
It could be that Kittle and Jones made sense to cut from a purely bloodless, cost-savings perspective: They'd both been there a long time and undoubtedly pulled down nice six-figure salaries with commensurate benefits. But in addition to cutting payroll, Platinum now has an opportunity to reshape the tone and content of a solidly conservative editorial page and thereby placate a powerful group of investors.
I haven't seen any reporting on whether the Police Protective League's demands played any role in management's decision to sack Kittle and Jones, but it would be nice if somebody at one of San Diego's enterprising alt news outlets would ask.