Dissent Magazine - Online Features - Obama and the Media -

The Fox News channel is often described as a cable news station. On occasion, the word “conservative” or “biased” is attached to that description. But few dispute the journalistic orientation of the overall enterprise. This is a mistake. Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead, it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And because Fox manages to earn over a half a billion dollars a year, according to 2009 figures, in doing so, it functions as the equivalent of a political perpetual motion machine.

With both eyes

Robert Reich (American Competitiveness, and the President's New Relationship with American Business)

Whenever you hear a business executive or politician use the term “American competitiveness,” watch your wallet.

And there's more...

Da Game

Fan stories enrich Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry - ESPN


Charlie from Wisconsin: "Getting rough out there"

Two boys are playing hockey on a pond in a Chicago park when one of the boys is suddenly attacked by a crazed Rottweiler. 
Thinking quickly, the other boy takes his hockey stick, shoves it under the dog's collar, twists it and breaks the dog's neck, saving his friend.
A reporter is standing by, sees the incident, and rushes over to interview the boy.
"Young Cub Fan Saves Friend from Vicious Animal" he starts writing in his notebook.
"But I'm not a Cub Fan", the little boy replies. "Sorry but since we're in Chicago , I just assumed you were", says the reporter and starts writing again.
"Sox Fan Rescues Friend from Horrific Attack," he writes in his notebook. "But I'm not a Sox Fan either," the little boy replies."Sorry but since we're in Chicago , ' I just assumed you were," says the reporter and starts writing again. 
"Bears Fan Rescues Friend from Horrific Attack," he writes in his notebook. "I'm not a Bears Fan either," says the boy. 
"Oh... I assumed everyone in Chicago was either for the Cubs, Sox or Bears. What team do you root for?" the reporter asked. "I'm a Packers fan," the boy replies. 
The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes... 
"Little Bastard from Wisconsin Kills Beloved Family Pet"


Cello day!

One of the most fantastically wonderful things about the internet is that I can use it to listen to Chicago classical radio station WFMT, which means that after reading about all the aggravated mopery and unadulterated evil that besets the world I can tune in to FMT and find out today is cello day.


Arizona health care

Arizona budget: Mentally ill may lose health benefits

Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to roll back state Medicaid coverage would leave thousands of Arizona's most mentally fragile without health care.

An estimated 5,200 people diagnosed with a serious mental illness and thousands more who qualify for other behavioral-health services would be among 280,000 childless adults losing health-care coverage under the governor's plan.



Emphasis mine

State Bankruptcy Option Is Sought, Quietly - NYTimes.com

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.

Onion News

And really, you do not want to hear what they are planning to try next

Ads coming to bathroom mirrors at O’Hare | Chicago Breaking Business

Just when you thought it was safe to wash your hands and check for things between your teeth in peace, an offshoot of Clear Channel Communications Inc. has found a way to serve up advertising in the bathroom mirror.

I love it!

AT&T asks top court to recognize its ‘personal privacy’ | Raw Story

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on a case between AT&T and the Federal Communications Commission, revisiting the legal concept of “corporate personhood” last strengthened under the court’s Citizens United ruling on corporate campaign spending....

The case before the court focuses on whether AT&T, a corporation, can stop government agencies from releasing information obtained for law enforcement purposes by claiming such disclosures would violate the company’s “personal privacy.”

Dude, this is wonderful. What I want to know now is, can a corporation be arrested and put in solitary confinement? Or sent to Gitmo? Or yeah, somebody's already raised this question, can I marry one? (I might even consider marrying one in solitary confinement if I get half the property.)

Also, what is this personal privacy right of which they speak? Would that be the one where AT&T helps the Feds listen in on my calls? 


Luckily for Cheeseheads...

Frigid temperatures to chill upper Midwest - Yahoo! News

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The upper Midwest will see unusually frigid temperatures Thursday night, with the mercury going as low as 20 below zero in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Iowa, forecasters said.

...they can come on down to Soldier Field on Sunday and get warmed up. 

The Chicago Bears - Green Bay Packers rivalry is the longest in professional football, 182 games since November, 1921. The last (and only) time the two teams have played in post-season was in 1941, a game which the Bears, naturally, won. 

According to Wikipedia:

Chicago currently leads the all-time series, 92–83–6, but the inclusion of Green Bay's 12-5 pre-season advantage would reduce Chicago's edge to 97-95-6.

According to Barack Obama:

...the Chicago Bears [will] beat the Green Bay Packers 20-17

And we would certainly not accuse him of just making stuff up.


Portraits From a Job-Starved City - Rockford, Ill. - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com

Few American cities have suffered as acutely as Rockford, Ill., where unemployment reached nearly 16 percent last summer. A photographic tour (with audio interviews) through its stores, factories and offices.

But does China have Jersey Shore? We think not.

Robert Reich (The Real Economic Lesson China Could Teach Us)

Here’s the real story. China has a national economic strategy designed to make it, and its people, the economic powerhouse of the future....

The United States doesn’t have a national economic strategy. Instead, we have global corporations that happen to be headquartered here....


One step at a time

I went out this morning to put my trash by the curb - ice everywhere. There was a woman walking by all bundled up (it's about 23º - cold, but certainly doable) and wearing a backpack. "Be careful walking today, it's very slippery," I said. "Yeah," she said, "one step at a time."

Which is undoubtedly the best advice I'll hear all day.


One more with the berries

Posted by Picasa

Buy stuff in cans

(I'm not naming any names, but check your inbox.)

We had a big ice storm last night, on top of the morning snow. So suddenly we have gone from having a cold, snowy, but perfectly acceptable winter to an enormous mess, and according to the weather oracles there is a whole parade of more storms marching toward us, first one due on Friday and then right on into February. 

Don't get me started on the subject of winter in Massachusetts (but here's a hint: can you spell "sucks"?).



A bad week turns pretty good

My afternoon class, the one that involved trekking over the horizon in a city bus in the middle of an ice storm, got canceled. Also doing it again tomorrow did. And at least half of the little gig got canceled, which left me with just one class this morning, and again on Thursday and Friday afternoons. A pretty easy week. Which is good.

We had about four inches of fresh snow on the ground by late morning, whereupon - just before noon - we downgraded to sleet. Or maybe it was some sort of freezy, slushy fog. Or something. Hard to tell. The forecast calls for flat-out ice this afternoon, just possibly topped off by rain. All in all a Massachusetts winter day. Evil.

Schools were closed, of course. That's because the busses that bring the kids to school can't run. And in a community like this, when the schools are closed a lot of people miss work because they have nobody to care for their children. Most of the stores downtown, I'm told (I haven't been there myself yet) are closed. Where I work was open and we had a pile of customers. 

We won't really know the damage until tomorrow. But if we do wind up with a lot of ice it'll be there for a long, long time.

Palin (Sorry)

From our Midwest bureau:

Wow. She should try to get control of those pesky pronouns.

“In a situation like we have just faced in these last eight days of being falsely accused of being an accessory to murder, I and others need make sure that we too are shedding light on truth so a lie cannot continue to live,” Ms. Palin said. “If a lie does live, then of course your career is over and your reputation is thrashed and you will be ineffective in what we intend to do.”

A great way to start the day

AccuWeather.com - Greenfield, MA Weather Details: Local Greenfield Weather Forecast

Snow, then ice; freezing fog


Primary goals

After $1b spent, Pentagon shifts strategy on bioterror threats - The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is scaling back one of its largest efforts to develop treatments for troops and civilians infected in a germ warfare attack after a $1 billion, five-year program fell short of its primary goal.

The primary goal in this case was to find a, you know, defense. Against said bioterror threats. So "falling short of its primary goal" is, pretty much, just plain failing, with a billion dollars worth of nice tacked on.



All that great stuff we've been using to bomb wedding parties in Pakistan is coming soon to a police department near you

Utah city may use blimp as anti-crime spy in the sky - Yahoo! News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Reuters) – A proposed unmanned floating airship surveillance system is being hailed by city officials in Ogden, Utah as one way to fight crime in its neighborhoods.

"We believe it will be a deterrent to crime when it is out and about and will help us solve crimes more quickly when they do occur," Ogden City Mayor Matthew Godfrey told Reuters.

The airship entails military technology now available to local law enforcement, he said. 

[Emphasis mine.]

So if you're planning on getting married, do it quick (and run).

We are overjoyed

JPMorgan Chase's Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises to $4.8 Billion - NYTimes.com

JPMorgan Chase kicked off the banking industry’s earnings season on Friday with news that its profits surged 48 percent last year amid signs that consumers and businesses had slowly regained their balance in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The accurate word for this is "bribery"

What Corruption Looks Like: 87% Of Congressional Reps Supporting Comcast/NBC Merger Got Money From Comcast | Techdirt



Photo abstract: Phil Compton

You weren't really expecting otherwise, were you?

Ellen Brown: The Fed Has Spoken: No Bailout for Main Street

On January 7, according to the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed had ruled out a central bank bailout of state and local governments. ...

So much for the proposal of President Barack Obama, reported in Reuters a year ago, to have the Fed buy municipal bonds to cut the heavy borrowing costs of cash-strapped cities and states.