The popularity and impact of Glenn Beck

>> Saturday, September 26, 2009

TERRY GROSS: Why do you think Glenn Beck has become so popular and powerful?

DAVID WEIGEL: I think it's simple. The reason for Beck's popularity is that he tells the audience he's uncovering something. Shawn Hannity, I don't think is - he's not become much less popular, but he basically bashes liberals and says that Democrats are gross and Ted Kennedy's - the late Ted Kennedy was unappealing, and stuff you've heard on talk radio for years and years. Beck says, I've uncovered something; me or my investigator - have uncovered a video; we've uncovered a secret link; we've uncovered a document. And that's fascinating.

It's fascinating from the normal consumer of news's perspective. It's fascinating from the conspiracy theorist's perspective. I mean, no one else is giving you a chart showing you the 87 interlocking connections of the left-wing movements and Barack Obama. And I think that's exactly it; that's why he's become popular.
TERRY GROSS: What issues do you think Glenn Beck is having like, the biggest impact on?

Mr. WEIGEL: I think generally, he's shifted the window of discussion on presidential power and the Constitution. He's shifted the window on ACORN. ACORN's a good example because there were votes early in this year to defund ACORN, for ACORN - and this is dubiously constitutional - but the organization should not get any more funding because it had been indicted for voter fraud. And most Democrats voted against this. Glenn Beck pounded this relentlessly. He ran these undercover videos from conservative activists, and ACORN is now defunded.

I mean, on the constitutional issue in general, you've got a guy who's getting the best ratings on Fox, telling people every day about the Tree of Revolution, that Barack Obama is connected to ACORN, is connected to SEIU. All of this is rooted in the ideas of Saul Alinsky, who wanted to overthrow the government. I mean, if I could boil it down to political issues, it's ACORN and czars. But I think the influence has just to - been - to turn the national discourse from what it was nine months ago, when we were saying we're in real trouble; what can or should the government do to fix it, to are we on the road to fascism?

And I think he's really introduced that into the national discussion in a way that's probably not realistic.
The Washington Independent's David Weigel in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air

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Layer Cake

Not what I expected. Perhaps I've seen too many trailers for Guy Ritchie movies; although, I never have seen a Guy Ritchie movie. Go figure.

Always remember that one day all this drug monkey business will be legal. They won't leave it to people like me... not when they finally figure out how much money is to be made - not millions, fucking billions. Recreational drugs PLC - giving the people what they want... Good times today, Stupor tomorrow. But this is now, so until prohibition ends make hay whilst the sun shines.
Not in this country. Of course this movie just proves the insanity of the drug trade. The only thing it fuels is crime and addiction.

Great acting though. I did have to watch some moments with the subtitles on because the accents were so thick. I wasn't sure if what I heard was what they were actually saying. Just one of the benefits of dvds...

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When is he getting reincarnated?

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Ignorance is bliss!

Really can't emphasize the ignorance enough.

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What is "white culture?"

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

Curiously, I'd like to know. Oddly, Beck isn't witty enough to even reference the Stuff White People Like blog.

He's so full of shit it's a miracle his eyes aren't brown.

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Do they think women should just die after giving birth?

You'd really think it was so, occasionally.
At least there are a few women in the Senate who can knock down this nonsense.

Pwned.

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Hm. I'd never thought about this before...

Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ talks about ‘Cultures of Honor’ such as those found in Appalachia and Southern Ohio - which have their roots in the law-less Clan regions of 17th Century Scotland.

Cromwell couldn’t handle them, so he used them as Politico-Religio Pawns to populate Northern Ireland with Protestants around 1650 - they didn’t fit in there, either.

100 years later, they were still causing all kinds of trouble for the Crown in Ireland. However, rather than expend the effort to civilize them then, the King of England instead shipped thousands and thousands of them out to West Virginia and the Colonial South with the promise of land grants! How about that Kingly problem solving, huh?

In a Culture of Honor, a Jury will sometimes let a Murderer go - if they think the Victim “had it coming to him.”

Writing ‘Fed’ on the guy could be the killer’s way of saying, “Here’s all the evidence you need to know that he had it coming to him!”
commenter on Firedoglake, on a post regarding the "census worker" killing

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A few thoughts on the recent Census-worker killing

>> Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I made this comment on someone else's blog, and then realized I should really put it on my own.

Here it is, with some slight modifications:

One thing that wasn't mentioned in the news articles about this was that the guy was working on the American Community Survey (ACS). He wasn't doing work on the 2010 Census. (Not that it makes his killing any less excusable.)

The ACS was created after the 2000 Census so that the in-depth demographic questions would be answered on that survey rather than on the regular census. Also, it tracks demographic questions each year so that the US can find out what is happening to poverty rates, federal funding and such more quickly than waiting every 10 years for the census to be completed.

Whomever this census worker was visiting had received a notice in the mail that they were selected for the ACS, received the original ACS form in the mail, didn't return it, received a second form three weeks after the original form, received phone calls in an attempt to gather the info over the phone, and then, in a final attempt, the census worker went out to this neighborhood. It's not like the census worker showed up in that neighborhood out of the blue. They knew in all likelihood that census person would be coming to their door.

And yes, killing a census worker, who is a federal employee, is punishable by the death penalty.

An anonymous (@ 4:20) commenter:

I went out to talk to her and she behaved very strangely, finally she said she was part of the new census and they'd been told to use GPS tracking devices (she showed hers to me, a little handheld thing) to get an exact GPS coordinates reading on every front door in the country. That's the only data she was collecting at this time.

Freaked me the hell out. Someone has an exact set of coordinates for my front door? Why? Why would this info be needed?
You can't see actual "coordinates" on the hand-held computer on the GPS function for those who were doing address canvassing for the 2010 census. GPS was represented graphically on a map.
"Why would this information be needed?"
To place you geographically within an area. The Census doesn't list the information it gathers and gives to states (for redistricting) and the federal government with your address on it. The Census geographically divides all states into "areas." Then those "areas" are divided into "blocks." Information submitted on the census forms and surveys is given out at the "area" level. (I'm not sure if it is given out at the "block" level.) Essentially, for example, those involved in state redistricting would see information on a map that told them X number of people live in area 100 and Y number of people live in area 101, etc.

In the past they used to do this with paper maps. The address canvassers in the year previous to the census would mark an address on the "block" or "area" map, which was a paper map, number it and assign that number to the address on the paper forms. What is now being done by computer isn't much different from what was done by hand.

The Census is not allowed by law to share anything about your personal information or residence. The same cannot be said for Google Maps, which already has a picture of your house online, and isn't accountable by federal law for making it easy to find you when someone types your address in the search field.

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Coal: The Phantom Energy Savior


Imagine the remaining reserves of oil and coal as a savings account. There’s a lot in the bank, but pretty soon income is going to decline and savings are going to get drawn down. The question before us is: how fast should we draw down our fossil savings, and what should we spend them on?

Spending on CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] poses a fateful opportunity cost. If scaling up renewables and efficiency (R&E) is difficult today, it will be doubly so when savings have been drained pursuing CCS infrastructure. According to the scenarios developed by Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute, massive CCS investment would at best delay an energy crash by a decade or two. I’m dubious of these kinds of scenario exercises, but it’s inarguable that after all that fossil energy is spent on CCS, it can’t be retrieved. There’s no do-over. If it doesn’t work out, the energy needed to build out R&E infrastructure will only be more expensive.

[...]

At minimum, a sustainable future requires the best possible understanding of available coal reserves and their likely cost. If “clean coal” turns out to be a phantom, chasing it will not only waste time, it may foreclose the only decent options we have left.

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She is the devil...

From Gossip Rocks:

Looking back at some of the old threads linked, I know exactly who to blame for most of the GR bannings....Jennifer fucking Aniston.
Face it, how many people were banned because of threads about her?

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What a gem

I mean asshole.

The slight outraged Beck, who got his revenge with what may rank as one of the cruelest bits in the history of morning radio. "A couple days after Kelly's wife, Terry, had a miscarriage, Beck called her live on the air and says, 'We hear you had a miscarriage,' " remembers Brad Miller, a former Y95 DJ and Clear Channel programmer. "When Terry said, 'Yes,' Beck proceeded to joke about how Bruce [Kelly] apparently can't do anything right -- about he can't even have a baby."

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You don't say...

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Still looking for a true liberal:

You know, I’m amused. I can’t tell you how many foreign leaders who are heads of center-right governments say to me, I don’t understand why people would call you socialist, in my country, you’d be considered a conservative.
President Barack Obama

(h/t Digby)

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GOPmorrah

The party has been reduced to evangelical, white sections of the Deep South (like Joe Wilson’s district) and some depopulated areas of the midwest. For now, its capacity to hold national power has been shattered. I actually think the party could have been shattered by Al Gore’s victory in 2000 but with the SCOTUS installation of Bush and then 9-11, which electrified the right’s radical domestic agenda, we had to wait until the scandals of Tom DeLay’s Congress and then Sarah Palin to witness the shattering.
Normally I wouldn't believe this, but now that I've read "Why the GOP is Doomed" from the summer of 1998 I can see it.
Petraeus could only win as John McCain did, by holding on until Palin, Romney and Huckabee split the Christian right vote. But I doubt he has the political skills to run a viable campaign. He is a Princeton guy, even more out of touch with the modern know-nothing GOP than Bob Dole.
I never thought Gen. Petraeus would ever really be interested in running anyway.
Glenn Beck is Fox’s top-rated host and he has tapped into a huge wellspring of resentment. I could not quantify this amorphous movement’s power but I assert in my book that they have achieved unprecedented domination over the GOP, which is weaker than it has been in a generation as a result.
Interestingly, all of the people I spoke to at 9.12 seemed to have been instructed to say “We’re Americans!” instead of “we’re Republicans!” And many were (weirdly) disappointed that the GOP had not yet moved to topple Obama as it did during the impeachment of Clinton.
The Christian Dominionists can't understand why a theocracy hasn't been installed too.
Since the Christian right has been so successful leveraging personal crisis into political gain, a government healthcare plan that works for average Americans — including their followers — is a nightmare for the right. It will ameliorate the source of so many personal crises, healthcare costs, depriving the right’s crisis industry of a pool of potential converts.
There is, also, the Republican Party's general platform of FAIL.
The histrionics of 9.12 was a PR disaster for the GOP. Anyone not white, conservative and extremely irritable was turned off by what they saw. But Glenn Beck and Dick Armey don’t care about the GOP very much. They have their own agenda. And as I show in my book, the modern right-wing follower doesn’t care how he appears to mainstream secular society. He lusts for the euphoria of fervent political activity and needs the security of a community of like minded people from a similar cultural background.
It's all about money. Well, for Beck and Dick.
Authoritarian movements and societies function best when followers self-censor. Usually actual censorship of opinion and cracking down on dissent is not necessary until the movement begins coming apart. So naturally racists will deflect any accusation of their racism by shouting “You lie!” It was amazing to see so many signs at 9.12 defensively and preemptively declaring “It’s not about race!”
The signs were surprising.
Beck has advertised his conversion much as the evangelical Christians from my book have: He said he recovered from a massive personal crisis, namely cocaine and alcohol addiction, only through the wonder working power of God, or at least the Mormon God Elohim, who according to Mormon theology had sex with the virgin Mary. Beck is confirmation of my book’s central idea, that behind the right’s politics of resentment is a culture of personal crisis.
Whatever way he can con people into shilling their hard-earned money for his books 'n shit is all he really cares about.
However, I think the treatment of Eliot Spitzer’s affair compared to David Vitter’s was unbelievable, but it was encouraged by a fundamental difference between the parties. The power-mad GOP welcomed Vitter back into the Senate with a standing ovation with Spitzer was ousted by fellow Democrats. Later Roger Stone, the admitted swinger and famous Republican operative, revealed that Spitzer was the victim of a Wall Street-funded sting operation that he was a part of. Stone first learned of Spitzer’s affair through his own contacts in the Miami sexual underworld, so this Democratic scandal began through Republican connections to the world of swingers and leather dungeons.
Of course, Spitzer was going to crack down on Wall Street. They had to get him out or risk losing their giant ponzi scheme.
Romney has never drank a drop of alcohol and has been faithful to his wife of 30 some years, but he was never saved from himself, so the evangelical wing of the GOP has no means of relating to him. He doesn’t understand the role of crisis and confession in the Christian right, despite all of his desperate attempts to court the movement’s support. Beck on the other hand has sinful past to bawl about. So Beck rises while Romney constantly treads water.
Although some suspect Romney is the subject of Lainey's "The Other Woman Doesn't Work" blind item, so I don't know about that "faithful" thing...
Beck is a dry drunk who has transferred his addiction to drugs into frenetic behavior and an inflated sense of self-importance. Bush exhibited the same behavior. Michael Savage is another figure who struggled with insanity and can only function normally when ranting before a microphone.
Yeah, all three clearly reformed.
I hear Frank Luntz, the Republican propaganda consultant, is working on a new campaign for “restoring the American dream.” The Party will use the “American dream” as a code word for nostalgia for the white-dominated, patriarchal Christian America that exists in the right-wing imagination, and will identify Obama as the destroyer of that dream.
Ooh! More craziness to look forward to.
My book defines conservatism as a movement devoid of ideas or even ideology. It can only be defined by a sensibility or social psychology that values constant frenetic activity against evildoers and masochistic displays of power worship above anything else.
Must. Fight. Whigs. I mean zombies.
Will the GOP go the way of the Whigs? I was talking to Tucker Carlson a few months ago and he told me he’s no fan of the Christian right but there is no one else the GOP can rely on for votes. So they must rely on this radical movement that has driven the party outside the mainstream and prevented it from winning outside the South. Barring any major crisis (ie a terror attack) the GOP is heading for a catastrophic internal conflict.
—Author Max Blumenthal, in a Firedoglake chat regarding his book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party

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Dollhouse (season 1)

Just finished watching the last episode, "Epitaph One," last night. I also re-watched one of my favorite episodes, "A Spy in the House of Love." The series started really slow but really picked up midway.

To my surprise, I like all of the characters on the show. I think the credit definitely goes to the actors. They've cast such good ones. I adore Harry Lennix as Boyd. Adelle DeWitt was much more likable at the end of the season; I hated her in the beginning.

But Enver Gjokaj as Victor is my absolute favorite. He's like a much better looking Orlando Bloom and a hell of a much better actor. He's absolutely fantastic! In the first episode, where he was playing Lubov, with a Russian accent, I thought that might have been his natural accent since his name isn't English and I didn't know anything about him. Nope. He's just the master of accents on the show. He is the best "doll" or "active" in the house. All of his imprint characters are completely different. His "natural" personality is completely different from his "doll-state." He is the reason why "A Spy in the House of Love" was on of my favorite episodes. I think my jaw almost dropped when he busted out the British accent with a completely different twinkle in his eye than the "Lubov" character. And when he did his rendition of "Dominic" in the "Briar Rose" episode, he just cemented my opinion of him as the best "doll" on the show.

The biggest flaw on the show is its lead, Eliza Dushku. She's not a gaping flaw, but she's almost always outshined by the other actors. She's uneven and has consistency problems. She was excellent in the "Haunted" episode playing a now-deceased woman searching for her killer. But her other "imprints" aren't carried through with as much conviction as say November's Mellie or Sierra's spies. She is really likable as the lead but lacks some depth. I really think she has the potential to do better. It's like she's almost been hampered by being a child actor and gotten stuck in development hell. As I was re-watching some episodes, I remembered that Carrie Fisher had taken some kind of pantomiming class in between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and it really helped her become a better actress. Dushku could really benefit from more training because it often looks more like she's just doing a character rather than acting out the character.

But back to the series itself. I enjoyed the "last" episode, "Epitaph One," on the dvd, particularly when seeing possible futures of the regular characters. But the apocalyptic atmosphere I could do without. It's so trite. Can Joss Whedon not think beyond apocalypse situations? I didn't watch Firefly, but the world-facing-apocalyptic events were standard on Buffy and Angel. It'd be really nice to see something new.

Looking forward to this Friday's premiere of season 2.

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The GOP's "Southern Strategy" or How to Permanently FAIL in national politics

From June 1998:

The Republican Party is increasingly a party of the South and the mountains. There is a big problem with having a southern, as opposed to a midwestern or a California, base. Southern interests diverge from those of the rest of the country, and the southern presence in the Republican Party has passed the “tipping point” and begun to alienate voters from other regions.

The most profound clash between the South and everyone else, of course, is a cultural one. It arises from the southern tradition of putting values—particularly Christian values—at the center of politics. This is not the same as saying that the Republican Party is “too far right”; Americans consistently tell pollsters that they are conservative on values issues. It is, rather, that the Republicans have narrowly defined values as the folkways of one regional subculture and have urged their imposition on the rest of the country. Again, the nonsoutherners who object to this style of politics may be just as conservative as those who practice it. But they are put off to see that “traditional” values are now defined by the majority party as the values of the U-Haul-renting denizens of two-year-old churches and three-year-old shopping malls.
—Christopher Caldwell, "Why the GOP is Doomed." Adapted from the Atlantic Monthly, June 1998, from an article entitled “The Southern Captivity of the GOP.”

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Fake-à-la Ferocity travels to Kenya

>> Monday, September 21, 2009

That's quite the jutting collar bone there. Angie Jo looks like she needs to start eating a few bowls of lobster bisque daily. Or just stop choosing the smack over food.

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I refuse to believe this until it's proven

See my intro on how Eisenhower destroyed McCarthy by releasing damaging files about him to the press. Obama needs to be at least as aggressive about his opponents and I have heard through a pretty knowledgable source that he’s tasked a few oppo researchers with going after Beck.
Author Max Blumenthal

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Jennifer Aniston is Going to Die Alone Weekly

>> Sunday, September 20, 2009


Brilliant. I'm really sick of the poor Jen routine. Her publicist needs to find a new meme. The date-&-dump scheme was so over three years ago.

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Who's Paying to Kill Health Reform

Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to large US health-insurance companies: +87%

Percentage change in the profits of the top ten insurance companies: +428%

Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills has health insurance: 7 in 10
Harper’s Index, September 2009

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About Harry "Milquetoast" Reid

[O]ne of the funniest things that I think hasn’t gotten much attention is the fact that Harry Reid is depicted in “Casino.” He’s the guy who forces Ace Rothstein to accept some relative as a slots manager. Look it up in Pileggi’s book. Reid was the Clark County Commissioner. All sorts of fun Vegas stories around HR.
Matt Taibbi, in a firedoglake chat regarding his health care article in Rolling Stone

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