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This Is What Murdochracy Looks Like


Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, March 8, 2007


NewsHound: An aggressive or energetic journalist



A Fox NewsHound: A barking, drooling journalist with it's snout firmly implanted in a member of the Republican party's ass

-Guess Who

Not Gonna Go - Not Gonna Do It

Good for him. Former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will be the first one on the "Fox Sux" bandwagon with his decision to not appear on their Democratic presidential candidate debate. Maybe he heard a rumor that Ann Coulter was going to be the moderator and he felt that being called a "faggot", again, wasn't in his best interests.

It should be noted that only a fraction of American voters actually vote in either primary. According to USAToday, just 20-30 percent of party registered voters actually shoe up on primary day and no state cracks the 40 percent mark. So the question is this: Just what would any of the Democratic presidential candidate have to gain by appearing on a Fox-run debate?

There is no doubt that Fox' Republican presidential candidate debate will result in many members of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party faithful who vote in primaries will be watching. But a Democratic debate on the Fox News Channel will only result in the dismantling of the candidates who will appear. If Senator Barack Obama (DEMOCRAT-IL) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (DEMOCRAT-NY) also refuse to appear, while the less known Democratic candidate appear, the debate will be viewed as nothing but a joke. If any of the three do give in and appear, they are pandering to an electorate which they don't have a chance of winning in November 2008.

Just who do you think will be doing the critiquing, post-debate, on Fox anyway? Imagine Chris Wallace hosting a "star" panel which includes Coulter, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume and one of their "liberals" like Alan Colmes. Fair and balanced my ass.

The debate will be co-hosted by the Nevada Democratic party, and Edwards campaign stated tat their decision was based on Fox News' participation. They did, however, cite other scheduling problems as well. It would behoove the Nevada Democrats to drop Fox as a partner in this endeavor.

Fox News Channel is a "mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel."
-MoveOn.org, after collecting more than 260,000 signatures in an attempt to bring the Nevada Dems to their senses

Even the big-red-wigs at Fox News realize that Edwards not showing up will be a problem. The former US Senator from North Carolina is one of the three front-runners for the Dem nod. His not being there, if the other two show up, may hurt him in the short run and offer the "star panel" an opening to blast him post-debate. Still, it's the right decision and it brings forth the obvious - that the "Fair and Balanced Network" is neither.

"unfortunate that Sen. Edwards has decided to abandon an opportunity to reach the largest mainstream cable news audience in America,"
-Fox News Channel vice president of news David Rhodes

It's unfortunate for Fox News. because they lose out on the legitimacy of what could have been an important moment in this election. Fox News ought to drop out instead.

In the end, I believe that no matter how much noise Fox makes about Edwards not appearing, as long as the other news organizations don't join in, it will all end up sounding like sour grapes.

Stick to your guns, Senator Edwards. You're on the right - er, correct - side here.

-Noah Greenberg

Mandated Insurance Is Not The Answer

I came across this health care story told by Robert Pear in the NYT:

Ms. Readling, a 50-year-old real estate agent, is one of nearly 47 million people in America with no health insurance.
Increasingly, the problem affects middle-class people like Ms. Readling, who said she made about $60,000 last year. As an independent contractor, like many real estate agents, Ms. Readling does not receive health benefits from an employer. She tried to buy a policy in the individual insurance market, but - having had cancer - could not obtain coverage, except at a price exceeding $27,000 a year, which was more than she could pay.

The proponents of mandated health insurance have no answers for Ms. Reading.
Clearly, she can't afford a $27,000 premium. How does mandating health insurance bring prices down when insurance companies can charge whatever they want? Once we are all on our own, where is the protection from being ripped off by the insurance companies? We would even lose the minimal protection of group insurance rates where large buyers (businesses) have bargaining power.

Mandated insurance is a lazy answer that avoids confronting the reality that insurance companies add nothing but cost. We need a system that controls costs and does not deprive people of necessary care. We need a single payer system now.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

Playing School In Katrina's Wake

Leigh Dingerson is the education team leader for Washington, D.C. based social justice nonprofit Center for Community Change . The Center recently published “Dismantling a Community,” that chronicles the transformation of the New Orleans Public schools system.

President George Bush traveled to New Orleans last week. Coincidentally, I was there at the same time. But like a tourist who just visits the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, the president missed the full story by only stopping in on one of the new, well-resourced charter schools in the city.

While much of New Orleans’ recovery was mired in post-Katrina red tape, anti-government advocates and for-profit education corporations, the Bush Administration rushed in to transform the New Orleans public school system into a market-driven smorgasbord.

**** RJS ***
Neil Bush's business is education software. Proving that he will leave no cronies behind. Katrina recovery money was earmarked to purchase Neil Bush's product:


Hey Neil, is your motto "buy my product" ?

In the 18 months since Hurricane Katrina, the infrastructure of the New Orleans public schools has been systematically dismantled and a new tangle of independently operated educational experiments has been erected in its place. This new structure has taken away community control and community ownership of all but a handful of schools. Instead, independent charter management organizations—virtually all from outside the state—are now running 60 percent of New Orleans schools.

**** RJS ****
The Republicans real goal is to destroy public education.

There are no more neighborhood boundaries. In a market-based model, parents are considered “customers.” And they’re supposed to “choose” where to send their kids to school. But since every one of the charter schools was filled to capacity last spring, hundreds of parents have no choice at all for their kids. Families now returning to New Orleans are bringing 15 to 75 kids per day. Hundreds of kids with disabilities (who are often turned away from charter schools) are being placed in the under-resourced and over-burdened state-run Recovery School District. It’s their only choice.

**** RJS ****
Republicans don't care about choice but they do care about profits.

This Balkanized school system is not closing a gap. It’s opening a chasm. This week, at Frederick Douglass High School (a state-run school), I read students the text of an advertisement for New Orleans teachers that was posted in CareerBuilders.com. The ad read: “Certified teachers will teach in the city's charter schools. Uncertified teachers will teach in the Recovery School District.” One student, a senior at Douglass, jerked her head up at this line. “What?” she asked. Then she just shook her head, hung it down and muttered, “It's like we’re experiments."
**** RJS ***
Experiments indeed!

The Bush Administration was instrumental in creating this new chasm between the “haves” and the “have nots” in New Orleans. Rather than create the world-class public schools that all New Orleans kids have deserved for so long, the Bush Administration invested in an ideological experiment to make a pro-privatization, anti-public education statement.

Mr. Bush didn’t talk to the astute and articulate students at Frederick Douglass when he visited the Crescent City last week. They might have taught him something about experimenting with children’s futures. The Mardi Gras beads still sparkle in the streets, Mr. President, but you have to get out of the tourist district.
**** RJS ***
Bush has some nerve showing his ugly puss in New Orleans. He got out of town real quick.

-Forwarded from tompaine.com by Leigh Dingerson and commented by Robert Scardapane (RJS)

The Mouths of Babes (Soldiers)

I had a nice chat with a group of students yesterday.

Two things emerged from this conversation. A young man who has just returned from infantry duty in Iraq, complained that he felt the current rules of engagement are too constraining to achieve victory over the insurgents.

He cited as an example of the constraints American forces are subjected to an order to throw water bottles at the ring leaders if patrols encounter civilian demonstrations against them.

Whether or not this young man's military assessment of the occupation is correct, it is clear that Coalition forces are not controlling their operations on the streets of Baghdad.

The second observation is that these kids, who were in Middle school when the 9/11 attacks occurred do not share our passion over the issues of security and invasion. In a large sense this issue is passé.

I have the feeling that the general public is also losing interest in the war.

The WRAMC disaster will blow away the last vestiges of Bush's prestige and the war will fade as the campaign progresses.

-Robert Chapman

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-Noah Greenberg