Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally To Restore Sanity Causes a Mainstream Media Meltdown

The Rally To Restore Sanity Causes a Mainstream Media Meltdown
Jon Stewart managed to do something with his Rally to Restore Sanity that hasn’t been done in a long time. He confused the mainstream media to the point of a near collective nervous breakdown. The media couldn’t figure out what this rally was about, and it was only when Stewart explained it to them that they realized that it was about them.
Here are CNN’s TJ Holmes and Kate Bolduan trying to describe the rally:
Holmes introduced Bolduan by saying, “Washington D.C. is gearing up for… something right now, and asked what is this thing?” Bolduan set a tone by trying to put this into the political box, only to leave confused. She said, “It seems that the rally and the people attending here are a little harder to define than many of the other rallies that we’ve covered.” She tried to tie it to the 2010 election only to have attendees tell her that this isn’t about the election.
A report on NBC’s Today show echoed the what is this thing question and called the rally and intersection of politics and entertainment:
Visit for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy
Over at Fox News, they asked people if this was a political statement, people said no, and Fox continued to shade the rally as a pro-liberal pro-Obama event:
The media just didn’t get it. In fact, the whole point of the rally eluded them until Jon Stewart told them during his speech to close the event. Stewart explained that the media themselves were part of the point of the rally. Cable news’ approach is part of the problem, “But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. “
He continued, “If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker and perhaps eczema.”
Television news was paralyzed and confused when they had to cover an event that did not fit into their polarized partisan model. The idea that a rally would be held that wasn’t about politics or supporting a particular candidate or party left them stunned. They were equally dumbfounded by the idea that hundreds of thousands of Americans would show up to an event that had no political motive. They couldn’t figure it.
The corporate media didn’t expect anyone to catch on to their role as the dissemination system for partisan polarization. The media may not be to blame for the partisan divisions in our country, but they definitely help to spread and reinforce them by tilting their coverage towards conflict and sensationalism, while completely neglecting information and rational discussion. I think this rally was reflection of the extremist fatigue that most people feel. People want to feel good and like they can come together for something.
On this one day regular people wanted to show that media may be broken, but America isn’t. The American people came calling today, and their message was loud and clear. They not only want their country back, but they want their sanity back as well. What the media could not figure out was that Jon Stewart had a message that was bigger than politics. His message was that America is fine. It is our media and hyper partisanship that is broken, and Stewart advocated for everyone to work together to solve our problems. The media won’t like it, but this rally was about how great America can be, and how much of a problem they have become.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Christine O'Donnell: "Where in the Constitution is the Separation of Church and State?"

Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell today challenged her Democratic opponent Chris Coons on his statement that the Constitution disallowed the integration of religion into the federal government, asking, "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"
The exchange, which prompted laughs from the studio audience, came during a debate this morning at Delaware's Widener School of Law, which was aired by WDEL radio. 
In a discussion over the whether or not public schools should be allowed to integrate religion-based ideas into science curricula, O'Donnell argued that local school districts should have the choice to teach intelligent design if they choose. 
When asked point blank by Coons if she believed in evolution, however, O'Donnell reiterated that her personal beliefs were not germane.  "What I think about the theory of evolution is irrelevant," she emphasized, adding later that the school of thought was "not a fact but a theory." 
Coons said that creationism, which he considers "a religious doctrine," should not be taught in public schools due to the Constitution's First Amendment.  He argued that it explicitly enumerates the separation of church and state. 
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
"Government shall make no establishment of religion," Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.")
"That's in the First Amendment...?" O'Donnell responded.  
Also during the debate, O'Donnell stumbled when asked whether or not she would repeal the 14th, 16th, or 17th Amendments if elected.
"The 17th Amendment I would not repeal," she said, before asking the questioner to define the 14th and 16th amendments, adding: "I'm sorry, I didn't bring my Constitution with me."
Christine O'Donnell Tries to Leave Past Behind in Debate
Christine O'Donnell's Video Mashup
Christine O'Donnell: My Views on Evolution are "Irrelevant"
Christine O'Donnell TV Ad: "I'm Not a Witch...I'm You"
The 16th Amendment allows Congress to raise taxes without apportioning them among the states or tying the taxation to Census results. The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States. The 17th Amendment established direct election by popular vote of two U.S. Senators to each state .
Earlier in the debate, O'Donnell accused Coons of constitutional ignorance, saying that "perhaps they didn't teach you Constitutional law at Yale Divinity School." 
O'Donnell's campaign later defended her comments about the First Amendment in a statement, arguing that she "was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts." 
"She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution," said O'Donnell's campaign manager, Matt Moran. "It was in fact Chris Coons who demonstrated his ignorance of our country's founding documents when he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment." 

Excellence in Broadcasting

Excellence in Broadcasting

Thursday, October 28, 2010

History of Noah Seifullah's ties to developer Jack Buchanan Jr., Rep. Robert Dean

History of Noah Seifullah's ties to developer Jack Buchanan Jr., Rep. Robert Dean

History of Noah Seifullah's ties to developer Jack Buchanan Jr., Rep. Robert Dean

Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 9:55 AM     Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 4:43 PM
buchanan Seifullah.jpgDeveloper Jack Buchanan Jr., left and Noah Seifullah in 2005 pitched a $55 million downtown project that required a $20 million investment by the city.
More recently, Seifullah in 2008 worked in conjunction with Buchanan to secure tax breaks for redevelopment of the former Imperial Metals property, 801-803 Ionia Ave. NW.
The city paid $1.8 million for a parking lot next to the aging factory, which is to be converted to office condos by Buchanan's firm. Though the 75-space parking lot was recently finished, there has been little progress on the vacant building.
Seifullah helped negotiate terms on behalf of Buchanan's company, according to copies of emails on record with the city. In exchanges with deputy City Manager Eric DeLong in 2008, Seifullah characterizes Buchanan's Irish Twins III as "our investment group."
Buchanan spokesman Jeff Lambert said Seifullah only "advocated as a friend or potential partner" in the project. He said Seifullah is not a "business partner" and has never been paid by Buchanan.
The same year, Buchanan and Seifullah also made a failed bid to acquire the former Iroquois Middle School for conversion into senior housing.
In December, they were among those who spoke to a House committee in favor of a bill Dean sponsored to modify brownfield tax credit laws.
The legislation would allow credits to be claimed to cover costs of relocating schools for redevelopment purposes. That bill has not moved out of committee.

UPDATE:  They all went to jail except Noah Seifullah

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Corporate campaign ads haven't followed Supreme Court's prediction

Corporate campaign ads haven't followed Supreme Court's prediction

Companies and unions have been able to avoid the transparency called for in the court's landmark ruling. Spending on next week's midterm election has been exorbitant

Chart: Money flowing into midterm campaignsChart: Money flowing into midterm campaigns

Reporting from Washington — The Supreme Court sent a wave of corporate and union money flooding into campaign ads this year, but it did so with the promise that the public would know — almost instantly — who was paying for them.
"With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in January. "This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."

But Kennedy and the high court majority were wrong. Because of loopholes in tax laws and a weak enforcement policy at the Federal Election Commission, corporations and wealthy donors have been able to spend huge sums on campaign ads, confident the public will not know who they are, election law experts say.

Corporate donors have been able to hide their contributions despite the opposition of shareholders and customers — the very groups cited by Kennedy.

By an overwhelming margin, shareholders say they don't want their companies devoting money to political ads. Customers are also easily angered by corporate political stands. In a recent case, Target Corp.'s chief executive was forced to apologize after it was revealed the company had donated $150,000 to the campaign of a Republican candidate in Minnesota who opposed gay rights. The retail chain faced a possible boycott led by gay rights activists.

"The biggest change this year is that it is no longer possible to identify the individuals who are responsible for funding election communications," said Karl J. Sandstrom, a former FEC commissioner who advises Democrats on election law.

He called Kennedy's opinion naive and said it reflected a "very uninformed view of how disclosure works."

The high court ruling also has helped fuel the rise of several nonprofit political action groups, such as Republican strategist Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, that have poured millions into an election season that is quickly reaching exorbitant spending levels.

Business groups, unions and interest groups had spent $266 million as of Tuesday, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including at least $128 million by groups that are not required to publicly disclose their donors. Some have said outside spending by conservative groups alone could reach $400 million this year.

The Public Campaign Action Fund, a group that advocates for public financing of campaigns, issued a report Tuesday predicting that House candidates alone could spend as much as $1.5 billion by the end of the campaign.

This year's election marks the first time in 100 years that corporations and unions are free to spend their money on election ads. In the past, both companies and unions could encourage their employees or members to give money to political action committees, which in turn could pay for election ads.

But in January, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, struck down the legal ban on the use of corporate and union funds for direct election ads. In Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the justices said that corporations had the same right to free speech as individuals, and for that reason the government could not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates.

In the same decision, however, an 8-1 majority upheld the disclosure laws as vital to democracy. That part of the ruling has gone largely ignored.

The reasons, said Tara Malloy, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, are "weaknesses in the tax law, radical under-enforcement by the FEC and the failure of Congress" to enact a new disclosure law.

Under the tax code, nonprofit groups can register as "social welfare" or other organizations, meaning they can spend money on campaign ads without having their name disclosed as long as their primary activity is not political. In a little-noticed opinion in August, a divided FEC took the view that big donors who fund ad campaigns need not be disclosed unless the donor gave the money for a "particular advertisement."

That is "an impossible-to-meet standard," said former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter, counsel for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, saying that almost any contributor can remain anonymous.

Of course, some donors are happy to take credit for their political spending. In recent weeks, union leaders and officials of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have boasted about how much they are spending.

But in many cases, anonymity is a way for donors to avoid backlash — and any unseemly appearances that they are trying to sway an election with big money.

Anonymity also provides protection to some corporate officials who might fear backing the wrong candidate. For example, if a company spent a large sum on ads urging the defeat of a powerful senator, it would have made an enemy if the senator won reelection.

Last week, Public Citizen and several other liberal advocacy groups complained to the FEC and accused the new political committees of evading the law.

The public needs "to know which corporations and billionaires are behind the attack ads now polluting our airwaves," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

But Bradley A. Smith, another former FEC chairman and a leading conservative foe of many of the campaign finance laws, said such disclosure was unnecessary.

"Voters do know who is funding the ads — every single one of them," he said.

Smith said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce discloses its spending on election ads, as does Rove's group, even if they do not specifically disclose their donors.

"Is there anybody who doesn't know where the chamber is coming from?" he asked. "None of this troubles me in the least."

Kim Geiger in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First Marijuana TV Ad

And it's political, too!

12:30 PM CT – Live – Michele Bachmann and Tarryl Clark Debate in St. Cloud

12:30 PM CT – Live – Michele Bachmann and Tarryl Clark Debate in St. Cloud

Just seven days separate us from the midterm elections, and at long last, we’ll get to watch Democratic-Farm-Labor (DFL) challenger Tarryl Clark (and Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson) take the fight to Tea Party-backed incumbent Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District hopefuls will debate today at 12:30 p.m. in St. Cloud.

Watch live streaming video from theuptake at

Rachel Maddow: Sharron Angle Ad 'The Most Overtly Racist' Of 2010 (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow: Sharron Angle Ad 'The Most Overtly Racist' Of 2010 (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow sharply criticized Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Sunday, saying that the Nevada Republican aired the "most overtly racist ad of this campaign season."
Speaking on "Meet the Press," Maddow excoriated the spot for "showing a group of white college students being menaced by some tough-looking Latinos." Earlier in October, Angle aired an ad called "Thanks, Pal," which many felt went too far. Fox 5 in Las Vegas described the commercial:
Sharron Angle's latest attack against Senate opponent Harry Reid features a group of white graduates celebrating and posing for pictures, presumably leaving high school for higher education.

That image is followed by a photo of three scowling Hispanic men, whom the ad suggests are trying to seize preferred college tuition rates from the students. A banner proclaiming the men "illegal aliens" accompanies the photo.
The ad, which ThinkProgress called "racially tinged," has since been removed from YouTube. Buttwo other ads that unfavorably portray undocumented workers remain, including one that Anglestruggled to defend while speaking with Nevadans earlier in the month.
Maddow also criticized Angle for "saying conservatives should be expected to use guns to try to get what they want if they don't get what they want from the election." Those remarks, which Angle referred to as "Second Amendment remedies," surfaced in June.