Friday, August 06, 2004

Friday Cat Blogging (If Atrios can do it...)

Say hello to the newest member of the Leberson family, Puma

Escape From New York

The Republican National Convention is just three weeks away, and it promises to be the biggest political spectacle this country has seen in years. No, not because Arnold is speaking, or anything going on inside Madison Square Garden for that matter, but because of what will be taking place outside the convention. This year's RNC will be the scene of the largest political protest in the United States since the 1968 Chicago DNC riots.

For the first time in history, the Republican Party will hold its convention in New York City. Normally considered "enemy" territory for repubs, the choice was obvious for this administration that continues to capitalize on 9/11 for political gain. This transparent basis for choosing New York hasn't been lost on its citizens, either. Some activists and protestors have had this convention circled on their calendars for years, and early estimates have placed the total number of protestors at over one million.

Unlike Chicago in 1968, with thousands of random street protests and outbreaks of violence, this year's protest has seen unprecedented organization and planning. United for Peace & Justice is an organization formed in 2002 whose sole purpose is coordinating anti-Bush protests, in particular the 2004 RNC convention. Over 800 organizations around the US will be participating in the NYC protests, and the UPJ covers everything from securing city protest permits to scheduling bus trips into the city for protestors around the country.

But as the organization of protesting has gotten more advanced, this year's level of law enforcement has kept pace. Bushy is known to travel worldwide in so-called "security bubbles", sort of like travelling green zones. You'd better believe that New York City at the end of August is going to be one huge "bubble" (i.e. shitstorm). This may produce some of the least American imagery ever taken place inside the states: concrete roadblocks on downtown streets, police checkpoints to verify people's "papers", movable barricades supported with heavy weapons, bizarre police car "swarms", an estimated 40,000 police & law enforcement personnel - many with machine guns, helicoptors flying overhead. Lockdown. Full details (a must read!) ....

In addition, the police dept. has taken a lesson from the Department of Homeland Security, and issued its own type of "terror warnings" :
Such words are meant to encourage some sections of the protesters to "distance" themselves from more militant and confrontational forces--and to set up justification for police brutality against those who refuse to stay within the bound of allowable protest as defined by those in authority. Dropping such items into the media is an attempt by the authorities to set the terms in advance for police tactics like charging into protests--permitted or not--to "extract" and arrest demonstrators. The NYPD has specially trained squads--made up of nine cops each and led by a sergeant--to move into crowds of protesters and single out specific people for arrests.

Protestors now must apply for special permits to protest (many have been denied), and then are given isolated "freedom zones" (fenced-in city blocks, or "pits") that are miles away from the convention. Needless to say, many activists have taken to protesting the permits themselves. Here's a preliminary description of expected protest activites (expecting 1,000 arrests per day).....

What does it say about an administration, when it needs to shutdown and suppress the civil liberties of its people wherever it goes, all for the purpose of maintaining the "democratic process"? As well organized and thought out as both the protests and law enforcement are for this year's events, all the ingredients are there for something to go wrong. Angry protestors, paranoid law enforcement, vietnam-style divisive political beliefs, all taking place in the busiest city in the country (is there anything less settling for an American than seeing their own city being controlled by machine gun wielding troops?) . It will be interesting to see if all this gets as much news coverage as anything Arnold has to say.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Fuck You Lars

Limbaugh, pals get liberally thrashed

Attention, Rush Limbaugh and everyone else who thought that liberal talk radio couldn’t work: Portland is proving otherwise. At least if you believe the folks who measure listenership.
The spring Arbitron ratings show that KPOJ (620 AM), which carries the upstart Air America Network with Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, et al., has made huge strides since its March 30 launch.
In the important 25-54 age category, KPOJ ranks third in the Portland market with a 4.9 share (which means a 4.9 percent share of the listening audience). It’s ahead of all other AM stations and finished behind top-ranked country-music KUPL (98.7 FM) and No. 2-ranked adult rock station KINK (101. 9 FM).
In a three-month period, KPOJ went from 12,000 listeners to almost 80,000 listeners per week, with little promotion or marketing. Previously KPOJ had been airing golden oldies, drawing a 1 percent share.
With numbers like that, KPOJ’s success could very well spawn other stations featuring “progressive” talk in Portland and around the country where underperforming stations may be looking for a new format.
“There are a lot of stations out there that were just kind of watching and waiting to see what happened,” said KPOJ Program Director Tony Coles. “My guess is that for Air America and for Ed Schultz, the phones will be ringing off the hooks once stations see the Portland numbers.” Schultz, whose show can be heard on KPOJ from noon to 3 p.m., is syndicated through the Jones Radio Network rather than Air America.
Of the 16 stations around the country where Air America is featured, Portland is the biggest success story, showing the most substantial growth. It also was one of only a handful of stations that carried Air America from the beginning, when financial problems almost sunk the network in its first month.
In the midday period from10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Air America’s Al Franken and Schultz rank No. 1, leaving Limbaugh, KPAM’s (860 AM) Sean Hannity and KXL’s (750 AM) Lars Larson in their wake.
However, when measured by listeners ages 12-plus throughout the day, KPOJ is in 11th place overall with a 3.7 share. KEX (1190 AM) is in sixth place with a 4.2 share, and KXL is eighth with a 4 share.
The hour-to-hour breakdowns had not been released at press time, so it’s not yet known whether Franken actually beats Limbaugh head-to-head from 9 a.m. to noon.
KPOJ is owned by Clear Channel Communications, which also owns KEX, the home of Limbaugh. In the mornings — from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. — KPOJ ended up in ninth place in the 25-54 age group, ahead of No. 11 KEX, which took a serious hit from its sister station.
As long as we’re keeping track, the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. ratings indicate that Howard Stern on KUFO (101.1 FM) is No. 1 in the mornings among listeners 25-54, with a 7.6 share. He’s followed by KGON (92.3 FM),KUPL, KKCW (103.3 FM) and KWJJ (99.5 FM).
The Arbitron ratings are based on listener weekly diaries, and theories abound about how accurate — or inaccurate — they are. Some inside the industry speculate that fans of KPOJ and what it stands for are writing down in the Arbitron diaries more hours than they really tune in for.
But Arbitron is the only radio ratings game around, and advertisers have little else to go on.
“People have created their own bumper stickers and yard signs in support of the station,” says Mary Lou Gunn, market manager of Clear Channel Radio Portland.
For Air America, it’s still early in the game. To ensure its survival, the network must pick up stations in dozens of markets and needs to grow audience in places such as New York and Los Angeles. But in Portland, it’s on a definite roll.
Kerry's not a hero..........well that's WHAT I HEARD!

John McCain continues to be the most frustrating American politician to get a read on. Just when you want disregard him as a sellout for heading Bush's campaign in Arizona, he goes and pulls a stunt full of uncharacteristic integrity for a Republican and gives you hope for accountability in Washington.

"Swift Boat Veterans For Truth", a Republican funded 527 lie factory, just released a commercial denouncing John Kerry's vietnam heroics in several key swing states. Stating, among other things, that there was no direct gunfire when Kerry rescued his shipmate from the water. Yep. You read it right. Hold your horses Kerry - you've been EXPOSED!!! Better change your campaign strategy now! Seriously though, even if this account was true (and that's highly doubtful - SBVT includes no servicemen who were actually on Kerry's boat), it's absolutley deplorable the level of nitpicking of 30 year old events the Repubs feel inclined to do.

It was a war. Kerry won medals. Your guy didn't, because he didn't go. There's no room for spin here.

Thankfully, John McCain's sense of honor and ethics hasn't been totally beaten out of him by Karl Rove just yet; he called the ad dishonest and dishonorable, and directly challenged the White House to condemn the ad.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,'' McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.

Scotty McClellan, as usual, diverted the question and instead condemned the whole institution of 527 groups, particluarly the $62 million spent on attack ads against W from "shadowy groups" (Huh. Makes you wonder if the whole SBVT stunt was a way to bring stricter campaign finance reform back into the limelight, what with the incredible success and popularity of anti-Bush groups like You can read an incredible excercise on how to spin an issue in today's White House briefing.

Joe Conasson from Salon wrote:
"Arguments about the war in Vietnam seem destined to continue forever. For now, however, the lingering bitterness and ambiguity of those days provide smear material against an antiwar war hero with five medals on behalf of a privileged Guardsman with a dubious duty record. The president's Texas allies -- whose animus against his Democratic challenger dates back to the Nixon era -- are now deploying the same techniques and personnel they used to attack McCain's integrity four years ago. Bush's 'independent' supporters would apparently rather talk about the Vietnam quagmire than about his deadly incompetence in Iraq."

More interesting facts on the Swift Boat Veterans for Lies.

Bush's Brain

Waingroh's number one nemesis, the evil emperor Karl Rove, is now the subject of a documentary movie. Based on the book by the same name, Bush's Brain is slated to come out on August 27. You can see the trailer here.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Nice Strategery

Steve G reports on Bush's flawed strategy.