Reichert files pathetic Q4 fundraising results!

Rep. Dave Reichert’s year-end fundraising report just showed up on the FEC website, and man is it pathetic: only $236,612 net contributions for the quarter and $462,828 cash-on-hand at the end of the year. Compare that to Darcy Burner’s $339,495 for the quarter and $607,144 cash-on-hand, and you immediately understand why Reichert is so desperate to get a seat on the House Appropriations committee: trading earmarks for campaign contributions is his only chance of staying on a level playing field.

Two-term incumbents just simply don’t get out-raised, and certainly not by this margin. If he doesn’t turn things around and quick, the NRCC might just be better off cutting their losses and letting him sink or swim on his own.

The politics of political reporting

But enough about me for a moment; let’s talk about another Seattle media entity of interest to nearly as many people: The Seattle Times.

On his blog, Postman writes about a memo from Executive Editor David Boardman directing staff members to refrain from participating in the upcoming presidential caucus and primary, fearing that it might compromise the Federation’s profession’s prime directive: objectivity. Boardman worries that primary list is a public record, as is which party’s ballot one chooses, and that some jerk might look it up: “Count on The Stranger, the Weekly and the political blogs to do just that,” Boardman frets.

Huh. Actually, the thought never occurred to me. Thanks for the idea Dave. Boardman continues:

“In this age of sharply partisan talk shows and blogs, our credibility and impartiality are more precious than ever. They are the capital we have to carry us into the future, the qualities that most separate us from all of the other places readers and Web users can go for news and information.”

Um, actually, what most separates stodgy old media from all us “other places” is that we generally offer our audience a more compelling and entertaining read. If blogs and other online media continue to gain audience at the expense of newspapers, it certainly isn’t because we have some competitive advantage or marketing muscle. So perhaps, maybe, could it be that we simply provide a better product? And if so, wouldn’t the Times be better served by hiring themselves some edgy new columnists rather than trusting that “credibility and impartiality” will eventually win the day? (FYI, I know of a newly unemployed radio host who would jump at the opportunity for a regular column.)

In fact, since journalists do have opinions and partisan leanings, wouldn’t it be more honest to be up front about it and say “Yeah… I’m a Democrat” and then let readers understand your reporting within that context? I’m not saying journalists shouldn’t strive to be objective or impartial — there’s room for both traditional journalism and the advocacy kind that I practice — it’s just that it’s kinda disingenuous to imply that they actually are.

Just a thought.

Opportunity

Opportunity, opportunity/
This is your big opportunity

-Elvis Costello, Opportunity

goldykiro.jpg

I snapped this photo during one of my several guest appearances on “The David Goldstein Show.” I was a guest on his very first show. Tom Clendening took a chance on Goldy, and Goldy took a chance on me. For that, I am very thankful.

I’m a longtime radio nerd. I first listened to “The Bill Gallant Show,” which is still the best show on politics I’ve ever heard. I listened for a long time to “The Tom Leykis Show.” That is, until the retards at Entercom decided to change the format of the only FM talk station, “The Buzz.” “Leykis” killed in Seattle, and was the highest rated drive-time show, second only to Mariner’s games. While controversial, he had the most entertaining show on the radio. His feud with the P-I’s Susan Paytner is legendary: She’s yet to flash her boobs for charity.

Lastly, before “The Buzz” went country, they picked up a show from Washington D.C. called “The Don and Mike Show.” It was like nothing I had ever heard in Seattle’s lame media market. They are often described as a “morning show in the afternoon” because they’re funny and do goofy gags.

“The Buzz” eventually dropped D & M, and I’ve always been looking for a way to get a hold of the show. Spokane (you bastards!) have been getting the show for years. It’s, like, the one good thing I like about that place. When “Don and Mike” started podcasting their entrie show, I found it and started downloading it… only to learn that Don Gerronimo (The “Don” of “Don and Mike”) is retiring in only a few months.

I have decided, much to the surprise of the parents, friends, etcetera, not to pursue a career in politics and instead pursue radio. Sitting in on Goldy’s show was fun, but political radio ain’t my thing. Goofball radio, here I come!

Tell ‘em you want live, local talk. Tell them NOW.

And here’s how:

Go to…

www.letterto710kiro.com

…and put your name on the open letter to the KIRO brass. Tell them what you think of their move to replace David Goldstein’s six hours of liberal talk with six hours of… I don’t even know what. Fucking “Meet The Press”? Fucking reruns?

If you give a shit about honest-to-God live and local radio that is unapologetically liberal, sign that letter.

If you think new local talent ought to have a shot in Seattle, sign the letter.

If you’re a conservative and you love telling Goldy how full of shit he is, sign the letter.

Even if KIRO is taking a pass on local liberal talk, let’s show other stations that this is something we want on the air.

UPDATE:
Andrew has a diary up on Daily Kos. Recommend it!

Thank you for your support

Let’s be honest, my comment threads are generally a sewer, and so it was with some surprise and great appreciation that I read the outpouring of support in the thread on the demise of my show on 710-KIRO. For the most part, even those on the other side expressed empathy, and some even professed to liking the show. I’ve received a number of donations via my PayPal and Amazon Honor System links, plus several emails suggesting I launch an online fundraiser. And I will launch a fundraiser, but not quite yet. Because first I want to ask you to support the work of one of my favorite bloggers, Dave Neiwert of Orcinus.

Dave is perhaps the granddaddy of local bloggers, and has played a critical role nationally in tracking the transmission of right-wing hate speech from the political fringe, through surrogates like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, and into the mainstream media. He has been a role model, mentor and friend to me and other local bloggers, and an invaluable resource to bloggers nationwide.

Bloggers like Dave and I invest an awful lot of time and passion bringing you the kind of news and analysis the corporate media is no longer willing or able to deliver — time and passion that could be spent doing, you know… paying work. We both need your support, but he’s the one with the active fund drive, so if you’re as big a fan of Orcinus as I am, please help him out however you can.

Blasphemy

On my trip back east last week, I mentioned that I was heading to Philadelphia’s Drinking Liberally with an old high school friend who’d worked in the mortgage industry for most of the past 10 years. We made it down there, met up with Atrios and the rest of their DL crew, and talked a bit about the Big Shitpile, among other things. Over the years, my friend was definitely in the minority as a Democrat in the mortgage industry. In the past, he’s told me stories about meetings where he could do nothing more than shake his head over how much the standard GOP talking points on economic issues were simply treated as a religion there – as a belief system that could not be questioned. He once told me of a conference where a speaker angrily protested against the idea of giving health care to the children of illegal immigrants, as if doing something like that will somehow unravel the delicate balance that keeps our economy going. My friend just got up and checked out the hotel bar.

As we chatted last Tuesday night at Tangiers, we also talked about Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” on CNBC. Networks like CNBC tend to adhere to the free market orthodoxies, and I’ve always assumed that Cramer follows along in that vein. But I shouldn’t have been so sure:

An impassioned and sometimes fiery Jim Cramer, the investing guru and host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” said Tuesday night that government deregulation was nothing short of a “covert attempt” to eliminate the federal government’s responsibilities to its citizens.

“Do not be fooled by the sirens of laissez faire,” he told a packed audience at Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts in the continuing national speakers series, “The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America.”

“Ever since the (President) Reagan era, our nation has been regressing and repealing years and years worth of safety net and equal economic justice in the name of discrediting and dismantling the federal government’s missions to help solve our nation’s collective domestic woes,” he said. “We call it deregulation … a covert attempt to eliminate the federal government’s domestic responsibilities.”

Before embarking on his talk, titled “The Capitalist Citizen and Democracy,” Cramer warned his audience to not be misled by the persona that hosts his popular CNBC program “Mad Money.”

“This is not a ‘Mad Money’ show, nor is this the man you see at 6 and 11 on TV. This is who I really am. And I’m honored to be given a chance to say who I really am and to give you a talk that is heartfelt and is not about entertainment education or making friends and making money,” said Cramer.

Deregulation
He said that deregulation is the equivalent of saying that “private industry will do it better, that volunteers will do it better, that business if left unfettered will produce so many rich people that they will do it better than the government can.”

Even the best of the nation’s private enterprises, Cramer said, citing companies like Wells Fargo, Pepsi, United Technologies, Google, and Costco, can’t meet those demands.

“You, the next generation of corporate and government leaders, should know and understand the limits of what even the best of capitalism and the marketplace can do to promote the general welfare. As future citizen capitalists you must not embrace the unrequited love of the government of the United States for private enterprise,” he said. “Be wise enough to see that government regulation is a necessary evil.”

Atrios remarks:

Perhaps he should put some of those ideas out there a bit more prominently on his cable show.

I’m not a regular viewer of his show, but his remarks certainly betray the fact that he doesn’t say that stuff on his show because his views are seen as blasphemy within the world of economic cable news. And this trend is certainly parallel to the cable news orthodoxies that still write off those who are too stridently anti-war, even though those people have often been much more accurate in their analyses. Many people see Christianity, or more specifically Evangelicalism, as the religion at the heart of the Republican Party. It’s not, and it’s never really been. The religion at the heart of the Republican Party is the belief that government is at its most responsible when it takes responsibility for nothing and becomes a vessel for the empowerment of big business (even if that involves war). That is the orthodoxy that dare not be questioned. Many people today still buy into the lingering divide from the 60s which paints the counter-culture warrior as the irresponsible counterpart to the Cold Warrior, but today the roles are reversed. Those on the right who still see the current geopolitical reality as being a mirror image of those days are the irresponsible ones, unable to come to grips with the fact that the new orthodoxies that arose in the 80s as America de-regulated and became the sole superpower were not an excuse for us to be absolved of any and all responsibility. And this failure has left us with a number of very big problems that the next President will have to fix.

Righties Rejoice!

710-KIRO has canceled my show “for budgetary reasons.” I’m not exactly sure about all the changes to the weekend schedule (I just talked to Bryan Styble, and he too got the ax,) but apparently syndication and reruns better fit the station’s current business model than live, local talk. Ah well.

Coming off a fall book where 710-KIRO weekends placed number three in the market, and a several month streak of jam-packed spot loads, I’d say the weekend shakeup was a bit of a surprise… that is, if Frank Shiers recent fate hadn’t been the handwriting on the wall. Over the past 14 months 710-KIRO has now shed itself of at least 38 44 hours a week of live local programming, and the salaries that go with it. It’s a trend that has been repeated at radio stations throughout the state, and I can’t say it’s one that ultimately better serves the community. For example, I had Gov. Chris Gregoire booked for a half hour this coming Saturday night — where are weekend listeners going to find local programming like that?

Obviously I’m deeply disappointed. I really enjoyed doing the show, and the sudden loss of it leaves me in pretty deep financial doo-doo. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my audience and thank them for listening, but apparently, that’s not how it works in this business. That said, I remain thankful to 710-KIRO for giving me an opportunity I should have had no expectation of receiving. Special thanks go to former Programming Director Tom Clendening for taking a gamble on me, and to my board operator Chris Powell, who has so generously given of his time to serve as an unpaid, acting producer. It was really great working with (almost) everybody at station. And of course, thanks to everybody for listening.

So go ahead trolls… have at it. You’ve been waiting for the day to rub my face in it, and that day is finally here. Just remember that as you gloat, you’re also talking about a real person with a mortgage to pay and a child to feed, who has sacrificed the better part of the past four years to trying to make a difference, however much you disagree with me on the issues. And, remember that we didn’t just lose a local liberal show… we lost another local show, and that can’t be a positive thing for anybody but the most vindictive amongst you.

As for my readers and listeners, I’m not giving up on the dream of local liberal talk, and neither should you. So if you ever thought about lobbying AM-1090 to put a local host on the air, now might not be a bad time to start.

UPDATE:
Word is that they’ve snuffed Carl Jeffers as well, though I’m no longer privy to company emails, so I can’t confirm. (UPDATE: confirmed.)

Great news for Mike Gravel…

Now that John Edwards has quit the race for the Democratic nomination, the big question on everybody’s minds is where will his supporters go, Clinton or Obama? But without a doubt the big winner from Edwards withdrawal is Mike Gravel, who now stands to double or even triple his current delegate count. (Do the math.)

As for where this particular Edwards supporter goes… well… I don’t yet know. I’ve never bought in to the “Hillary can’t win” meme, but I do believe that Obama matches up better against John McCain, and will be better for down ticket candidates like Darcy Burner. And I’m torn between Clinton’s hard-edged political savvy, versus Obama’s potential as a transformational leader. They’re both qualified and I believe they’d both make a good president. And they both appear to be smarter than me, one of the only litmus tests beyond party identification I absolutely apply to presidential candidates.

If you too were an Edwards supporter, I’d love to hear from you in the comment threads as to who you plan to caucus for a week from Saturday.

Sonics win ‘changes nothing’ in record-breaking goal

The Sonics’ record-breaking loss skein came to an end at 14 games last night, but the team is far from daunted in its pursuit of a season to forget.

“One successful night against the reigning world champion Spurs does not a season make,” said Sonics coach P.J. Carlossesmore. “I told the guys afterward that this is a wakeup call. We still have more than a third of our remaining games to become the worst team in franchise history.”

Leading rookie forward Kevin Durcant, who sank the winning shot in an 88-85 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, said the team “understands that last night is just one game. It doesn’t overshadow all that we’ve been unable to accomplish so far. We can still hang our heads low.”

Owner Clay Biteit said the win “is just a bump on the road” toward a record-losing season and hopes the team “will revert to form” in upcoming games. He said the Sonics “can look to the Miami Dolphins for inspiration. They didn’t let the one win against the Ravens keep them from losing all the rest.”

“I’ve told everyone from top management on down that this team has two goals for the 2007-8 season,” Biteit said. “The first is to get the No. 1 draft pick so Oklahoma City will welcome us with open arms. The second is to play so badly that Seattle can’t get rid of the team quick enough.

“One night’s lack of losing effort isn’t going to deter us from chasing our dreams.”

Carlossesmore pointed toward the remaining season schedule as “reason to believe we can pull this off. We’re playing mostly division winners and have three brutal road trips the final two months of the season. With a little luck, we won’t win a single game.”

The Sonics win ironically coincided with a federal judge’s setting June 16 as the trial date for the city’s suit to stop the Sonics from leaving Seattle.

“It was a case of unfortunate timing that we had to win a game on the same day as the announcement,” Biteit conceded. “But by June we should stink so bad the city will drop its legal efforts and say good riddance.”

Seattle Mayor Plug Nickels said the city “will continue to vigorously pursue its case” to force the Sonics to stay.

“The worse the Sonics play, the harder we will fight to keep them,” the mayor said. “After all, we have a lot of pride here in Seattle.”

Drinking Liberally

Join us tonight for a fun-filled evening of politics under the influence at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.

Some of us will be there early to watch coverage of the Florida primary election. The early results show it too close to call between Sen. John McCain and Gov. Willard Mitt Romney. Either way, tonight’s theme song will be War Pigs by Deep Purple.

Perhaps we will make a drinking game out of Mayor 9iu11iani’s concession speech.

Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.

Is Rudy Giuliani the Max Bialystock of Politics?

Rudy Giuliani’s stunningly stupid “Florida Strategy” has been the subject of speculation and the butt of jokes for months — a strategic failure of historic proportions that has instantly become a classic case study in how not to run a presidential campaign. It is fitting that a man whose national profile was forged in disaster has run one of the most disastrous campaigns of all time, frittering away his apparent frontrunner status in only a matter of weeks.

But could Giuliani and his high-paid strategists really have been that stupid? Or, is it possible that the Florida Strategy has actually worked exactly as planned?

While the rest of the presidential field were trudging through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, trading rhinoviruses with voters in diners and VFW halls throughout the heartland, Giuliani and his team were leisurely soaking up the rays in sunny Florida, making a few appearances, playing a little golf, and all the while laying claim to the Sunshine State’s winner-take-all primary. While Romney, McCain and Huckabee were emptying their campaign coffers duking it out in Nevada and Michigan and South Carolina, Giuliani apparently spent his $50 million-plus campaign war chest on what…? Sunscreen and greens fees? Two percent of the vote, and a single national delegate? According to media reports the Giuliani campaign is so broke his top staffers have foregone their salaries, raising questions of how he could have spent so much money for such poor results? But perhaps the better question might be, did he actually spend the money at all?

Think about it. Giuliani may be arrogant and vindictive and ethically challenged, but nobody’s ever accused the man of being stupid, so perhaps he and his advisers knew all along that he didn’t stand a chance on the national stage once Americans really got to know him. But just because he couldn’t win the White House didn’t mean he couldn’t make a little scratch on the side, and taking a lesson from Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’ legendary The Producers, perhaps Giuliani realized he could make a helluva lot more money from a presidential flop than he ever could from a respectable run?

How would the scam work? Simple. Raise tens of millions of dollars while you’re riding high in the national polls, but stay out of the expensive media wars in the early primaries to “focus on Florida.” Then when your Florida strategy inevitably fails, you bow out of the race, having spent all your cash on high-priced “consultants” for, well, who knows what? Once out of the national spotlight, Giuliani and his “consultants” just split the loot and fly off to Rio, just in time for Carnival.

Sure, Bialystock and Bloom are fictional characters, but then, in many ways, so is “America’s Mayor.” And while it may seem a fantastical fit of Truther-worthy paranoia to suggest that the entire Giuliani campaign was never anything more than an elaborate con, well… it’s as reasonable an explanation for Giuliani’s mind-numbingly idiotic Florida Strategy as anything else we’ve heard thus far.

Maxine for President!

maxine.jpgEntirely devoid of compelling candidates or, you know, ideas, the GOP just sent out a fundraising email offering a free, plush toy elephant with every $35 donation. The email reads in part:

“Meet Maxine, the newest member of the Republican National Committee.

Embroidered with the official logo of the RNC, Maxine proudly shows off her allegiance to the Republican Party’s principles of lower taxes, a strong national defense, limited government and personal responsibility.”

And judging from the state of the GOP these days, it looks like Maxine is the member of the RNC who is making most of the day to day decisions.

My inbox is inundated with Democratic and progressive fundraising emails talking about ending the war in Iraq, combating climate change, protecting our privacy and personal freedoms, promoting health care security and economic justice, and touting the qualities of various candidates. But the Republicans, they’ve been reduced to hawking toy elephants.

Hmm. I wonder if these toys, like the GOP’s consumer protection policies, are made in China?

Open Thread with Random Links

Apparently, Jonah Goldberg has some difficulty figuring out when people are making fun of him.

How bad is the economy in Michigan? Despite having the best record in the NHL, the Red Wings have only sold out a handful of games this year. They had an 11 year long sellout streak that only ended in 2007.

Frustrated with the slow pace of Bush’s efforts to bring freedom to the Middle East, people in Gaza took matters into their own hands this week.

Mexico is still a mess.

The term libertarian is now one step closer to having no definition at all.