Open Thread: Nice — Sandra Fluke Is Still Punishing Rush Limbaugh

Per Politico:

[T]here are signs that all is not well in the Limbaugh radio empire. Because even as his influence is sky high and his dominance at the top of talk radio remains unchallenged, as a business proposition, Limbaugh’s show is on shaky ground. In recent years, Limbaugh has been dropped by several of his long-time affiliates, including some very powerful ones: He’s gone from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles, for example, and has in many cases been moved onto smaller stations with much weaker signals that cover smaller areas.

Why? Because four years after Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” on air, spurring a major boycott movement, reams of advertisers still won’t touch him. He suffers from what talk radio consultant Holland Cooke calls a “scarlet letter among national brand advertisers.” And for someone who has said that “confiscatory ad rates” are a key pillar of his business, that spells trouble. (Limbaugh ignored multiple interview requests.)

Limbaugh’s extremely lucrative eight-year contract—estimated to be worth roughly $38 million a year—is up this summer. What will happen to “America’s Anchorman,” as Limbaugh quasi-ironically refers to himself, once the contract is up, is anybody’s guess. Because as he is learning, political power does not necessarily a stellar business make…



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Working Hard

dave c josephine

Per commentor Dave C:

I work from home. Josephine helps!

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Because I can: In the NYTImes, Elizabeth Word Gutting, “What My Mother Sees in Hillary”:

IN 1973, my mother’s first husband was killed in a car crash in downtown St. Louis. My brother, Jason, was nine months old. In swift succession, my mother lost the following things: the father of her first child; access to a credit card; her car insurance; and the ability to take out a loan. The first was terrible luck. The other things were taken from her because she was a single woman — with a son, to boot — it was the 1970s, and, as she put it, “you were not considered legitimate at that time unless you had a man in your life.”

Four decades later, my mom is looking forward to having the chance to vote, she hopes, for this country’s first female president. She and Hillary Clinton are a year apart in age. Though my mom’s experiences are so different from my own, they serve as a constant reminder to me of the work it’s taken for Mrs. Clinton to get where she is today, and the force of society’s attitudes about women, and their value, that she has been pushing against…

At a town hall a few months ago, a young man asked Mrs. Clinton why young people lacked enthusiasm for her.

She sounded a bit wounded, but she tried to explain what she’d been up against for so many years. Despite all the criticisms, she said, over the course of several decades in the public eye, all she could do was continue to stand her ground…

In the years when my mom was a single mother, people commented on her lifestyle with alarming frequency. Why wasn’t she living with her parents, they wanted to know. Wasn’t she worried that if she didn’t marry again soon, her son would grow up to be gay? Her landlord came over after her husband died, hemming and hawing, saying how sorry she was, but also that she was hoping my mom might move out to be closer to family, which would probably be better for everyone.

Well. My mother persevered. She smiled politely and bit her tongue and did what she had to do to survive those rough years…



Excellent Read: “It Is Hillary Clinton’s Destiny to Defeat Donald Trump”

Tom Junod, in Esquire“The modern, extremist right was pretty much invented in opposition to her (and her husband). Now it’s up to her (alone) to stop it”:

Of course, she sounded paranoid back when she first said it—participants in apocalyptic battles always sound paranoid when they first say they’re participants in apocalyptic battles. They sound especially paranoid when they answer a question in apocalyptic terms when the question was really about, well, blowjobs. This was a long time ago. This was back in 1998. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton was the First Lady. He’d offended people by being a resourceful rascal. She’d offended people by saying something about cookies. They’d both offended people by trying and failing to bring about universal health care and by trying (and sort of failing) to allow gays to serve openly in the military. They’d been under investigation for years for something they’d supposedly done in Arkansas when, really, everyone knew the investigation was about sex—and secrets. He’d been accused of rape in the nascent right-wing press; she’d been accused of murder; and now they were finally caught. He had a secret, indeed—he’d had sex with a young woman in the White House and he’d testified, under oath, that he hadn’t. He had sinned all right; he had sinned against her, his wife, so that now even she couldn’t defend him. But she did. And she defended him by inveighing against them—against the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

She sounded a little crazy. She sounded guilty of, at the very least, bad faith. Except that what she was saying turned out to be true—there really was an obscurely wealthy man, Richard Mellon Scaife, bankrolling the attacks against her and her husband; there really was a right-wing media spawned by structural changes overtaking the news business, and it had found, in the Clintons, the template for every story that was to follow. Her only error was a matter of language. She used the word vast to describe what she faced. It wasn’t vast, yet—

It is now. Nearly 30 years later, Richard Mellon Scaife has evolved into the Koch brothers, the then-fledgling right-wing media now claims the biggest and most powerful cable-news network among its ranks, and the money unleashed by the Citizens United decision has conjured a ring of super PACs organized specifically against her candidacy. The vast right-wing conspiracy is still here, and yet—and here’s the thing—so is she. The vast right-wing conspiracy has outlasted everybody but her. From the start, the attacks on her have had a tendency to resolve themselves in the most mundane terms—the Whitewater investigation turned out to be about a husband lying about infidelity; the Benghazi investigation turned out to be about, of all things, Sidney Blumenthal. But that doesn’t mean that both sides haven’t known the stakes all along. She’s always chosen to fight on metaphysical ground; she’s always defended herself cosmically because she’s been attacked cosmically, and so she’s lived to fight another day. But now that day is here. She helped create the modern right wing; the modern right wing helped create her; and now there is no place for them to go except at each other. The 2016 election is nothing less than the climactic event of the last three decades of American politics, and—it’s an amazing and scary thing to be able to write these words without irony—the future of the Free World lies in the balance…
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Simply Amazing

Black and White Teletubbies set to Joy Division.








Lest We Forget: “The Disaster of Richard Nixon”

There are pundits already lathering themselves up about how this is the most seriously dangerous inflection point in all of American history — which is, thankfully, untrue. It’s probably not even the most dangerous time in living memory, among other reasons because things have changed in response to earlier crises. In the New York Review of Books, Robert G. Kaiser reviews a new batch of Nixon studies:

Thanks to his gross abuses of presidential power symbolized by the Watergate scandal and to his own decision to record the details of his presidency on tape, Nixon seems destined to remain an object of fascination, amazement, scorn, and disgust for as long as historians pay attention to the American presidency. When the subject matter is their foreign policy, Nixon’s sidekick, Henry A. Kissinger, will be right there beside him…

Vietnam was the defining issue of Nixon’s presidency, as he knew it would be. Months before he became president, Nixon assured H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, his closest aide, that “I’m not going to end up like LBJ, Bob, holed up in the White House, afraid to show my face on the street. I’m going to stop that war. Fast.” Antiwar protesters had driven Lyndon Johnson into early retirement, which allowed Nixon to become president. Nixon played to the country’s war weariness in his 1968 campaign, implying that he had a plan to end the war.

But he had no plan. Ironically, even before he took office Nixon personally sabotaged an opportunity he might have had to avoid Johnson’s fate. The books under review suggest that this is one of the stories that will continue to stain Nixon’s reputation.

In late October 1968, when Johnson’s negotiators in Paris finally reached an agreement with North Vietnam to end American bombing and begin negotiations on a political settlement, Nixon took an enormous personal risk to derail the peace talks before they could begin. At the time, polls showed that Hubert H. Humphrey, Nixon’s Democratic opponent and Johnson’s vice-president, was rising fast—so fast that Nixon feared he might lose the presidency because of the peace deal. So he performed a dirty trick that foreshadowed many more to come.
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Open Thread: “This isn’t Kindergarten”

… If only because kindergarteners are expected to have achieved a higher degree of bladder control than most Congressional Repubs. From Buzzfeed, “Obama Says Republican Concerns About Trump Mean His Supreme Court Pick Should Get A Vote”:

President Obama told BuzzFeed News Monday that the GOP is “looking at a Republican nominee” — Donald Trump — “who many of them say isn’t qualified to be president much less appoint someone” to the Supreme Court. And that, he said, means his nominee should get a vote, which Republicans have vowed not to do.

Obama’s comments came during a live interview with BuzzFeed News Legal Editor Chris Geidner from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

“it seems to me [Republicans would] be better off going ahead and giving a hearing and a vote to somebody that they themselves in the past have said is well-qualified, is fair, and to treat the Supreme Court with the seriousness and the sense that it’s beyond politics,” Obama said. “Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, precisely because you have a number of Republicans who have said that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows you why you don’t want to politicize a Supreme Court appointment.”

The issue, Obama said, is that some members of the GOP “are on record saying this is a very well qualified candidate.”

“In that circumstance it is up to them, in terms of their constitutional obligation, to have a hearing and have a vote,” he said. “Now here’s the good news. Originally they said they wouldn’t even meet with the guy. And they heard from a lot of their constituents that said well, this isn’t kindergarten; just because you’re not happy with what’s happened, you don’t do your job.”

“My hope is that the closer we get to the summer, and the more pressure that viewers are putting on senators just to do their job, and to give the guy a hearing, give him a vote, then more and more Republican senators will recognize that the position they’re taking is not tenable,” he said…

When asked why Obama didn’t nominate someone who is not a straight, white man, he said, “I never think about it in terms of ‘this seat is for a Hispanic man, and this seat is for a gay black woman,’ that’s not how I think.” He added he nominated people who are “extremely well qualified.”

“Judge Garland was the perfect candidate for this moment for this seat,” he said. “You’re looking for a judge who will play it straight and apply the law.”…

Seriously, it’s a good interview with a sterling President. Who shows up at approximately the 4min mark on the clip below, if Geidner’s understandable pre-show anxiety is too much for you:



What’s Going On Down in West Virginny

Here’s a really interesting piece on what’s going on in WV with the results of the recent election:

On Twitter last night, people who have never been near Appalachia, emboldened by the sense that We Are All Nate Silvers Now, fought over exit polls showing that many Sanders voters said they would support Trump over Clinton in the fall. Some said they would support Trump over Sanders, and some Clinton voters also said they’d be voting Trump. The exasperation of poll-readers is understandable. This tells us nothing, they say, except that West Virginia is being West Virginia again.

I haven’t lived in West Virginia for a long time, and I haven’t become a certified expert in my time away, but this is what I recall from the county where I grew up. It is, of course, my own impression, and although I offer it to make larger suggestions about the meaning of the primary results, in the end it is just my sense of the place. It is proffer, not pronouncement.

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A generally suspicious and pissed-off attitude toward politics generally is not hard to understand in West Virginia, and is a more plausible explanation for the ideological see-sawing of the exit polls than any grand strategy. Nearly a third of Democratic primary voters said they had a family member in the coal industry. Coal workers have been in an impossible situation for years. Mining employment has fallen from over 120,000 at its 1950s peak to between 20,000 and 25,000; union membership has fallen sharply; and miners, whose culture has historically involved giving the finger to the company, have been widely convinced that environmental policies from the Obama administration are to blame. Meanwhile the company bosses, whom no miner loves, have aggressively bought political influence, including a state supreme court judge so blatantly funded and elected to reverse a ruling against Massey Coal that the U.S. Supreme Court ordered him off the case. The repugnant Don Blankenship, dictatorial head of Massey when its safety-flouting practices killed 29 miners in the 2010 Big Branch explosion, was recently sentenced to one year in prison – a political victory for the ambitious federal prosecutor who put him there, but a modest sentence for what was arguably mass manslaughter. Miners have watched their industry and unions dying as mountaintop removal wrecks their landscape on the way out. Everything Bernie Sanders says about a rigged economy and political system is matter-of-fact in their experience, and so is much of what Donald Trump says on the same themes. If you want to run a grievance-based campaign, well, there are plenty of grievances here. The fact that one of those campaigns is fraudulent does not make the grievances it is exploiting any less acute.

As the kids say, read the whole thing. I’d bookmark that site.