Archive for September 13th, 2006

Okay, folks, I’ve mentioned it before, but David Brancaccio’s NOW was in Missoula interviewing me for a segment on Jon Tester and netroots activism. Originally it was scheduled to air on September 22, but it’s moved up a week.

That’s right, the show is now airing on Friday, September 15, on your local PBS affiliate. It airs at 9pm in Missoula, but may vary based on location.

Today I got a promo from NOW about the show:

Left-leaning political bloggers are determined to demonstrate their real world influence in the upcoming mid-term elections. But will they finally make political headway, or just more hype? On Friday September 15, at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW visits a major political blogging convention and examines the candidacy of surprising U.S. Senate primary winner John Tester of Montana to find out. Much of Tester’s success has been attributed to bloggers both in his state and outside of it.

“You have a couple million people reading liberal blogs…and they’re looking for ways to get involved. And they’re looking for ways to participate and take hold of their own democracy. And that is powerful,” says Markos Moulitsas, founder of one of the Internet’s most popular blogs, to NOW.

NOW meets the real people behind some of the Internet’s most opinionated and widely read liberal blogs to find out if they can really move the political needle. Next time on NOW.

Heh. I guess I’m one of the real people.

So the news is in, the trio of libertarian social experiments – initiatives 97, 98, and 154 – have been struck from the ballot by a Great Falls judge.

Sandefur agreed, writing that the signature gathering process “was permeated by fraud and procedural non-compliance perpetrated by paid, out of state, migrant signature gatherers” paid for the initiative backers.

Please don’t start in on how we should let the voters vote on the legislation – part of the democratic process for initiatives is that they should have enough popular support in the state so that citizens will actually gather signatures, and other citizens, once duly informed of the initiatives’ intent, will sign petitions. That way the true dogs won’t make the ballot.

Instead what happened was that a single man threw millions of his own money at signature-gathering companies that hired professionals to collect names while deceiving voters about the content of the petitions they were signing. This was not a grass-roots movement. It was an ideological experiment paid for by an extremist and cloaked in the garb of a true citizens’ movement.

If you’re interested in any of these initiatives, well, there’s another election in a couple of years. Start your own organization, round up your own volunteers, and go to! Get your proposal on the ballot. I’ll applaud your efforts as I skewer your dogma.

In the meantime…

Don’t let the door hit you on the *ss on the way out, Howie.


Terrible trio of ballot initiatives struck down by court! Excellent news. If you’re a supporter, you know what to do, collect signatures legally. If enough people believe in them, you’ll get it on the ballot.

Karl Rove to stump for Senator Sunshine — behind closed doors.

Cece-in-MT on CI-98.

Know your rights; FEC’s rules on political activity and blogging, among other things.

Western Democrat on the importance of CO 6. Hint, it has to do with Tom Tancredo’s paleo-conservative hate mongering.

Why Democrats are in a position to run on security and national defense. Seize the opportunity, folks!

How to rig an election.

Chertoff’s claims that security can’t be improved without bankrupting the country is, as usual with Bush administration officials, pure hogwash.

Dana Milbank notes that Treason Season has begun.

Recent remarks show that Bush believes he’s on a religious crusade. Help! Stop the ride! I want to get off!

And it’s not just the President; loony Republicans want to suspend habeus corpus for suspect aliens and “enemy combatants,” which means no trial or recourse for petitioning their captors. Yale professor Bruce Ackerman weighs in: “Terrorism is a grave threat, and it may well require recalibration of the balance between security and freedom. But this should be done through democratic deliberation and debate, not by presidential war-making against fellow citizens.”

Digby on the obsession of Baby Boomers to match the exploits of their fathers, “Pimping the Greatest Generation.”

Dave Neiwert on how the Republicans are projecting facism. Fascinating read. I plan to riff off this later…

The WaPo mulls over Bush’s place in history.

Steven Colbert on ABC’s 9/11 mini-series: “Just because it’s utterly invented doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

Jon Stewart on Bush’s 9/11 remarks: “Say what you will about his Presidency, but after that speech, it is now fifteen minutes shorter.”

Tucker Carlson…er…dances.

The media coverage of the Hamilton debate was…okay.

Honestly I was tempted to say p*ss poor. Certainly there were major parts of the coverage that was p*ss poor, but I do have to credit the newspapers and television segments with printing or running the best or most important points made by the candidates on most, if not all, of the issues.

Of course, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

Now for the p*ss poor parts, which are easier and more fun to write about. Let’s take a look at Montana’s CBS affiliate KPAX coverage of the debate (KPAX also has the video of the entire debate available, too) — a three-minute clip. There’s the first problem. The second is that the clip provides no context. To wit, starting at the 2:02 mark:

However, a question on money and politics drew a spirited response from both the candidates and the crowd.

(Tester) I will tell you right now, we’ve got the best government money can buy. (Laughter and applause.) And it starts early. I mean, it’s arguable we’ll be spending about twenty million bucks between the two of us, probably more than that, to be elected to the United States Senate. That’s way out of line.

(Burns) What is this little…slush fund? Called a constituency fund? No accountability. You don’t have to report where you got the money, you don’t have to report where you got it. What about a foreign trip. Unreported! I believe in light bulbs and sunshine. You know everything about me because it’s out there. It’s on my website!

That’s it for coverage on ethics. No mention of Abramoff by Tester. No sign of Tester’s best line of the night, when he answers the unfounded and untrue charges levied by Burns, when Jon ticked off the trips Conrad took and who paid for them and Burns’ response to the Great Falls Tribune when asked about them: “It’s none of your god-d*mned business.”

But the worst thing about this clip is that no explanation was made of Tester’s and Burns’ charges, no context was given. And I’m not talking about quotes from each camps about Abramoff and Jon’s trade trip to Tainwan, I’m talking facts. Facts! Clear the record, explain the charges, weigh the validity of each!

The voters have the right to know.

I’m doing my d*mndest here on 4&20 blackbirds, but I get only a couple hundred visitors a day. KPAX has…how many viewers?

All I’m asking is that you inform them, so that when they approach the ballot box, they can make an informed decision. Or at least post my URL at the end of the segment! I’ll do it, I’ll inform the voters for you! You can show “Dukes of Hazard” re-runs and print your ticky-tack columns about Notre Dame football and alien sightings, I’ll handle the important stuff…

Update: Well, well! It looks like some media sources researched Burns’ charges and found them without merit. That’s a good beginning!

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