David Kirkpatrick

August 2, 2009

Television scourge part two — cable news

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:57 pm

It’s barely news and it’s barely opinion. It is, however, quite spintastic and rubber-stamped, signed, sealed and delivered by big money interests. And those interests don’t involve education or enlightenment. It’s saying a lot for the state of television news when a comedian — Jon Stewart — polls as America’s most trusted newsman.

And then there’s this playground mudfight:

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

November 4, 2008

Palin voted for … ???

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:30 pm

Watching CNN from a hospital room earlier today I caught the interview with Sarah Palin where she refused to say who she voted for citing her “right to privacy.”

Who wants to bet she wrote herself in as president and had to cover after getting called on the move. She’s dumb enough to do it and certainly dumb (and sheltered enough) to not think someone might ask who she voted for. And to be fair, too principled in grade-school ethics to not do the smart thing and just lie.

Update — The dangers of blogging from memory and from a low concentration situation. She was referring to whether she voted for Ted Stevens, or not. I like my version, and the version in the comments, much better. But hey, I’m only adding one little lie to her entire litany of demonstrable falsehoods.

Heh. If she’s the future of the GOP, the GOP is more doomed than even I could have imagined. Palin the anti-intellectual may become Bush 43’s spiritual heir. The “big L” Libertarian party is just too kooky, but a third-way that combines fiscal conservatism with social moderation and a powerful sense of civil liberties could resign the possibly coming GOP of religious nuts and fiscal idiots to the sidelines forever.

Maybe Gimp Outta Power could be new expansion of the acronym.

September 22, 2008

Just say no to government bailouts

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:03 pm

Here’s a CNNMoney.com article  on some of the righfully angry public response to Bush 43’s little $700M-plus — udpate: pardon my error, but the figure is $700 BILLION — exercise in corporate socialism.

And this administration still claims to be Republican.

From the link:

“NO NO NO. Not just no, but HELL NO,” writes Richard, a reader from Anchorage, Alaska.

“This is robbery pure and simple,” Anna from Denver posted on CNNMoney.com’s TalkBack blog this weekend.

“It’s our money! Let these companies die,” added Claudio from Plainville, Conn.

After President Bush petitioned Congress Saturday for the authority to spend up to $700 billion to to bail out a financial industry on the verge of collapse, he said the high price tag was not only justified, but essential.

“It is a big package because it’s a big problem,” Bush told reporters at a news conference. “The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package.”

But when asked what they thought of the government’s proposal, most readers gave an overwhelming thumbs down.

July 26, 2008

The TSA is a joke

The boondoggle of a national agency that is the Transportation Security Agency, a part of that larger waste of government funds, the Department of Homeland Security, is proving to be quite inept at doing anything but waste the time of, and harass, US travelers.

Now don’t get me wrong, changes needed to be made after 9/11, but there was no reason not to work within the existing framework and effect a solution.

The concept of “homeland security” all sitting under one roof, so to speak, and working hand-in-hand sounded great, but like most bureaucracies, in practice it’s incompetent and a colossal waste of taxpayers money. If this agency had been created under a Democratic administration the GOP would be howling. Since it appeared under the pen and auspices of the Bush 43 regime, GOPers are silent and this is one more reason honest conservatives are ready to bust the party up for its own good.

I’ve blogged about problems with the TSA and Homeland Security (notably here and here) thanks to the careful attention the good people at the Cato Institute pay to this issue.

And then I find this story:

Last spring, shortly after airing a news report that embarrassed the TSAand the Federal Air Marshal Service, CNN’s investigative reporter Drew Griffin was suddenly placed on the TSA’s terrorist watch list. Last week, CNN ran a follow-up piece. Anderson Cooper interviewed Griffin — a reporter who had suddenly moved from telling an important story to being part of it.

The day after the Cooper-Griffin exchange, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) formally called for a probe into the TSA’s seemingly vengeful act. Jackson Lee asked DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff the following:

“My question is why would Drew Griffin’s name come on the watch list, post-his investigation of TSA?” Jackson Lee said.

“What is the basis of this sudden recognition that Drew Griffin is a terrorist? Are we targeting people because of their critique or criticism?”

Chertoff hedged, saying it was not his “understanding the reporter was put on [the list]” but that Griffin may share a name with someone put on the list.

Which is almost impossible to believe. Unless you are willing to accept that someone else coincidentally named Drew Griffin was discovered to be a terrorist almost seven years after 9/11 but within a week or two of CNN’s March 2008 air date.

To anyone who isn’t trying to finger-plug the sieve in the aviation security wall called TSA, the answer to Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee’s question is quite clearly “yes.” The TSA does target people who critique or criticize the TSA.

And this is what Griffin worked on to cause his “problem” with the TSA. A story covering Jeffrey Denning, a former Dallas SWAT team member and former Federal Air Marshal who detained a man legitimately on the terrorist list and after trying to get higher-ups in the Homeland Security chain to come and process the potential terrorist found the end result very discouraging:

Surely, now that alarm bells have been sounded inside the uppermost echelons of six U.S. federal agencies — DHS, TSA, FAMS, ICE, JTTF, FBI — and with a match hit on a terrorist watch list, Anwar Al-XXXXX would be under intense scrutiny and taken in for further questioning. At least in theory he would be.

Unfortunately, that proved to be only theory.

Denning explained what happened next: “They [i.e., DHS/JTTF and the airport police] couldn’t get an ICE agent to the scene so I was asked to examine [Al-XXXXX’s] travel documents. This struck me as odd because I have no training in examining travel documents. None of the Federal Air Marshals have received training that I’m aware of. Finally word came back from the MOC [Mission Operations Control]. They said, ‘we’ve been waiting on the FBI. We can’t get them to verify. Let him go.’”

Denning followed orders.

Watching Anwar Al-XXXXX pick up his bag and disappear into the throngs of travelers at Reagan National Airport, Denning told me that he thought to himself, “I seriously hope this guy doesn’t show up on the evening news.”

Anwar Al-XXXXX did not show up on the evening news. But Jeffrey Denning did. Last week, CNN aired a three-part piece in print, on TV, and on its blog that focuses on Denning’s witch-hunt-like plight.

April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:16 pm

Finally, the dry spell is over and Pennsylvania has voted.

All numbers from CNN.com and CNN.

Earlier with 15% reporting the state was already called for Clinton holding a six point lead 53-47. Penn is a state Clinton needs to win by double digits to truly remain viable. Doesn’t mean there’s any chance of her dropping out without that margin, but a nine-point, or less, win is essentially a loss.

Update 9:20 pm — 61 percent in, Clinton leads by eight points 54% to Obama’s 46%. If this differential holds he’ll have erased about twelve points off his deficit in Penn in around two months. Clinton lead by a solid 20 percent before the Texas and Ohio vote in early March.

Update 9:50 pm — 79% in, Clinton reaches the double digit threshold 55-45. According to CNN exit polling suggested something tighter than eight points. Looks more movement is possible, or the exit polls were off as usual.

Update 10:15 pm — 87 % in, holding at 55-45 for Clinton.

Over at the GOP vote, there’s still some anti-McCain protest voting going on. Ron Paul has 16% and Mike Huckabee 12% of the vote.

This’ll be the last update unless the Democratic numbers significantly move one direction or the other.

January 18, 2008

James Fallows on Chinese US investment

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:12 pm

James Fallows has an excellent article titled “The $1.4 Trillion Question” in the January/February 2008 Atlantic. He covers the controversial subject of China’s investment in the United States, particularly in T-bills.

He also blogs at the Atlantic’s website and posted a follow-up to the story here. This post is titled “The $1.53 Trillion Question” to reflect the increase in China’s foreign holdings between the time he authored the magazine article and when the issue hit the stands.

China is now investing about $1 billion each day and if that trend continues one fact in the article would substantially change. He wrote China’s US investment is the equivalent of each American borrowing $4000 from the Asian nation. The revised figure, according to Fallows, means, ” … on average, each American would not have borrowed about $4,000 from China; the figure would be closing in on $6,000.”

On the whole this shouldn’t be a great concern because as many economic analysts have opined, clearly China has a very vested (or should it be invested) interest in the stability of the US dollar and economy.

On the other hand, Chinese politics are extremely opaque throwing a great deal of uncertainty over any future. And the article notes the Chinese do pay attention to our government and media. Fallows goes on to cite an example of Lou Dobbs on CNN criticizing “Communist China” and Chinese officials being “shellshocked” their investment in the US might be resented.

I recommend reading both Fallows’ blog post and the entire article for a thorough rundown of this issue and its implications.