I've been blogging for over six years now, working 12-16 hour days for many of those years and I've loved almost every part of the gig. That is up until the last six months or so. My email Inbox has been insane for I'd say five years now. At times I must receive one every 20 seconds when it's a hectic news day. I have to turn that around because emails have been so valuable to me personally and to the site. Not only do I receive great tips from readers on things I may not have seen, I do get interview requests and transcripts sent from the various shows via email along with everything else you can imagine. I like to respond to my readers as much as possible, but with the volume of emails that's almost impossible now. Please keep sending them. I plan on doing some meditation on this issue over the holidays.
OK, in fairness, I don’t use communications in general the way the 20-somethings (or less!) Facebook is trying to cultivate do; even with actual friends, my messages are more along the lines of “are you free for dinner next Friday?” than “Hey, I’m around, wanna meet up?”
Still, at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy (after all, I am an old fuddy-duddy), there are very real virtues to old-fashioned email. You can convey a lot of information, if necessary — and it’s information that stays available in the archive. Plus, the lack of immediacy is, given the way I live, a virtue. In general, I can’t break what I’m doing to talk to you or text you; so an asynchronous form of communication, which I can respond to when convenient, is a huge advantage...read on
When you do email myself or anyone else at C&L, please make sure you have a good subject line. If it's in reference to a story published elswhere then please make sure you link to the article or video and include some of the text. I usually delete anything that only has a link with no explanation. How do you handle your Inbox? I understand my Inbox isn't normal. Are you leaving emails in the dust or just incorporating them into your vast reservoir of technological linkage tools?
On “This Week,” White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee, and two key Senators EXCLUSIVELY join interim anchor Jake Tapper to debate next week’s critical Senate vote on whether financial reform will move forward. Goolsbee defends the President’s plan, while Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) argues that the bill does not go far enough to keep banks from getting too big. Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) lays out what needs to be changed in order for the White House to gain Republican support.
Did you catch that? In addition to representing the White House plan for economic reform, they've asked on a fairly progressive Senator who argues that it's not progressive enough. Okay, it's not earth-shattering, but I do find it a step in the right direction and after four years of monitoring Sunday shows, this is the first time I remember them looking at an issue and considering a progressive point of view as a reasonable alternative. Contrast that with Meet the Press's David Gregory and his glib dismissal of any responsibility as the host to keep his guests honest in any way. Yup, I'm going to see This Week's actions as a positive change.
ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Chief White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Katty Kay, Andrew Sullivan, David Ignatius, Kelly O'Donnell. Topics: Does Obama Want A Fight On Wall Street Reform Or To Move On To Immigration? Is the Extreme Anti-Washington Rhetoric Seditious? Meter Questions: Should Republicans Issue A New Contract With America? YES: 11 NO: 1; Will President Obama Win Comprehensive Middle East Peace? YES: 3 No: 9.
CNN's "State of the Union" - Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - We discuss everything from Goldman Sachs to economic and political brawls in the US and abroad. First, Fareed has a candid conversation with Timothy Geithner, US Secretary of the Treasury. Then, we have a great panel featuring: Eliot Spitzer, Slate columnist and former NY governor and attorney general; Andrew Ross Sorkin, the chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for the New York Times and author of Too Big to Fail; Martin Wolf, Financial Times' chief economics commentator; and Amity Shlaes, Bloomberg columnist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"Fox News Sunday" - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of a bipartisan commission on debt.
In a Friday surprise, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford announced on his CQ Politics blog Trail Mix today that he is leaving the network.
"Three months short of my current contract," he wrote, "I sent the following to the boss, [MSNBC President] Phil Griffin: 'Phil, Just wanted to give you the heads up that my situation with MSNBC has become so unrewarding for me that I've decided to move on. — Craig'"
In an email, Crawford tells TVNewser, "This was a long time coming. I haven't felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and their hard turn toward point-of-view programming.
"So many of my booking calls lately have been for segments bashing Sarah Palin, for instance. I was boring myself, and surely the viewers.
"But no particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. I have a fine and rewarding home with the great folks at CQ-Roll Call. I enjoy blogging for them and doing our web videos.
"Perhaps I'm not cut out to be a cable cowboy anymore, dunno. Prefer remaining independent and do my own thing for any channel, including MSNBC, that books me. After a dozen years with one channel, I'd rather play the field for a while."
In the interest of disclosure, I have spoken with Craig in the past--as we set up his book chat last year--and I've communicated with him via Facebook on this as well. I like Craig as a person, and I can certainly understand a level of frustration if the only subject for which he's invited is Palin. However, I don't know if that's the whole truth. In the comment section of his blog, he revealed some more:
i simply could not any longer endure being a cartoon player for lefty games, just gotta move on to higher ground even if there's no oxygen
Lefty games? Oh dear. I asked Craig to explain what that meant, but he refused. In fairness to Craig, since his appearances were basically with Countdown, I don't think that anyone will argue there isn't a lefty slant, but games? It's a troubling characterization. Craig commented again:
i have never and never will forgive Chris [Matthews] for calling me a racist after the West Virginia primary (the last time I will ever go on air with him). Probably should have resigned then and there, but better late than never.
I haven’t felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and the hard turn toward point-of-view programming. No particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. As far as Chris is concerned, on Morning Joe after the West Virginia primary he accused me of always defending Clinton and what he claimed to be her racially motivated campaigning. That’s the problem. Trying to be fair became seen as bias in the new thinking over there. But I do wish my many pals at MSNBC nothing but good things.
The truth is, there were times that the anti-Hillary coverage got to me, and I wasn't a Hillary-supporter. But that was over a year ago, and claims of loyalty aside, leaving with bad blood three months shy of your contract ending seems to be a strong statement to make for transgressions more than a year old. Now, I'd like to think that Craig was taking a principled stand against "point of view" programming, but as Mediaite points out, Crawford announced he was going from the frying pan into the fire:
Crawford says on his blog he will be on Fox & Friends as a guest on Monday, although FNC says he won’t be. He also writes in the comments that he is a “free agent.”
Update: Crawford took down the F&F booking info shortly after publication.
Oy. F&F isn't point of view programming, Craig? C'mon now. Clearly the free agent thing had Crawford thinking, because later on Facebook and Twitter he asked what people thought of CNN's Rick Sanchez as a possible new "anchor buddy". I admit, I wasn't too complimentary.
I do think that collectively we're reaching a form of critical mass on being tired of opinion media masquerading as journalism. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that needs their pre-conceived notions reinforced, but by and large, Americans don't trust "journalists" any more, with reason. And this stand of Crawford's--as contradictory as it appears on its face--may be another crack in the dam.
A C&Ler named mc sent in this very good e-mail about the causes of the financial meltdown we've just witnessed and the people who helped cause it.
I have almost 40 years of experience as a retail banker and financial services provider. I opened, managed and served as country head in Spain, Korea, Canada and the US. I would like to contribute comments and blogs.
It is not so difficult to find the people who should be held accountable for the financial meltdown of 2009. It seems, however, from 2001 until the present day nobody tries to find anyone responsible for anything.
There are 2 people in government that bear the bulk of the responsibility for our financial meltdown as well as the presidents of all banks that participated in the approval of mortgages with substandard credit criteria and the packaging and selling of such mortgages as asset backed securities. Additionally, all of these banks had, or should have had, senior risk asset management committees who were equally responsible. In each case they understood the risks and didn’t care as long they increased compensation for themselves and their company
As for the politicians, 2 of them bear the primary responsibility of these bankrupting financial policies. We need look no further than John McCain’s financial advisor Phil Gramm. Gramm, on Dec. 15, 2000, snuck into a congressional bill an act which prevents the government from regulating investment banks’ credit swaps. Gramm is the one who called Americans whiners and told us that the crisis was in our heads. McCain considered him for the position of Secretary of the Treasury.
Equally responsible for our economic crises was the SEC chairman (Christopher Cox), who changed a key regulation in 2004. Under pressure from those who wanted to please their campaign contributing Wall Street buddies the SEC approved a measure that let investment banks lend out 30 times the amount of capital they had backing up their loans. Before 2004 they could only lend out 12 times the amount of capital.
A solution to the banking meltdown that would prevent it from happening again would be:
1) Reinstate the regulation of CDSs and CDOs by the SEC (assumes increasing head count & improving the quality of staff).
2) Reinstate the 12 to 1 leverage ratio.
3) Require increased capital by product where the riskier assets require more capital reserves
4) Create a regulation that requires each sale of packaged assets by a bank or investment broker to provide some percentage of recourse to the purchaser.
5) Make the board of directors have fiduciary responsibly to stock holders and face fines and civil charges
There are others that share a lot of the blame too, like Bernanke, and no doubt he could name them too. But this is right on: The conservative mania for deregulation -- they like to call it "small government" -- is the root cause of our economic meltdown.
And Sarah and the Tea Partiers are still trying to sell us on the idea that more of the same is what we need. Because, you know, a nice PCB cocktail topped off with a cigar is just what you need to cure cancer.
If you want to see who the real corporatists are then wait until they are put to the test over the Citizen's United ruling. Conservatives have been trying to destroy any type of campaign finance reforms and what this ruling means is that corporations will be allowed to blackmail any candidate just by threatening to spend gobs of money against them if they vote the wrong way.
"The president is having his listening sessions, right?" Grijalva asked rhetorically. "After all we've been through at some point the administration can not be neutral players in this process."
Noting that the President stands foursquare behind the Senate's proposal to tax so-called "Cadillac" insurance policies to raise money, Grijalva put it to him to weigh in on some of the House's priorities. "How do you weigh in on a national exchange? How do you weigh in on a public option? How do you weigh in on the anti-trust exemption?"
The public option is a non-starter at this point, and House leaders, progressives, and key chairmen are pushing the White House to support other priorities, including organizing insurance exchanges at a national level, moving the implementation date for major reforms forward by one year, and, at least, diminishing the impact of the Cadillac tax.
"Watching the fight is not enough," Grijalva said. "The pressure shifts to the White House now."
I continue to feel that the House language provides better solutions to a wide range of problems with our health care system, especially regarding the public option and the creation of a national insurance exchange. Those and many other unresolved issues, including affordability mechanisms and insurance company oversight, will be discussed thoroughly over the next few weeks. As those conversations take place, I look forward to promoting the same publicly supported, money-saving progressive agenda that I have championed since this process began.”
The attached list of policy priorities was recently sent to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the White House.
I think the bill is not all that certain to pass at this point.
We've got great news to report about our campaign shaming Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for taking $700,000 from the defense industry and Chamber of Commerce and then siding with them against rape victims and his constituents. Thousands of people have signed our national expression of outrage and told their friends to sign -- and the national and local media are reporting on our campaign!
Reform group Change Congress launched a campaign yesterday to shame Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., for voting against legislation that would help ensure victims of rape have the right to bring their case to court. The government reform group hit cyberspace with an email asking people to sign a 'national expression of outrage.' Citing $700,000 in campaign contributions from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the defense industry, Change Congress accused Burr of putting special interests before rape victims.
The more signatures we get, the more the media will report on his campaign. We need to keep publicly shaming these politicians one by one until Congress realizes it's time to replace special-interest-funded elections with citizen-funded elections.
Until they do, Americans will continue to ask: Did you vote that way because it made good sense, or because it raised special-interest campaign dollars?
The Yes on 1 campaign just issued a "red alert" last night, raising their ad buy by $25,000 today.
I'm here in the No on 1 campaign boiler room (nerve center) and our coffers are dry after having invested in a field campaign to protect marriage equality second to none. We need to raise $50k on ActBlue today to counter their ad buy and expand our online ad buy to match their expansion. Jesse Connolly the No on 1 campaign manager just sent out an email to their list about it:
I wasn't going to come to you to ask for money again. We've asked so much, and you've dug deep and really come through.
Honestly, I wouldn't take my time away from managing our Get Out The Vote operation to send this email if it wasn't really important.
With the money we have now, we simply can't counter their arguments on TV.
You and I have both invested a lot in this campaign. I won't-- I can't-- let them win this because we couldn't come up with the last $25,000 $50,000 in the final 36 hours.
We can't let Yes on 1 win the airtime war with their misleading, and factually inaccurate ads.
We can't let Yes on 1 lie to Maine voters about schools and teachers and children and same-sex couples in Maine.
We need to stand up and match every one of their lies with an ad of our own, that explains that marriage equality won't do anything to families but protect all of them.
And I need you to help. Can you come through one last time and give what you can to help us finish this campaign with a win?
Not much more I can add to that. We wouldn't be asking if we didn't really need it. I would be writing a "please help us make calls" blog post and we would be sending GOTV emails, not asking you for money.
I know the Blue America community has dug deep, but can you do it once again? We are 0-30 on marriage equality races. We can win this one, but we need your help.
Sen. "I need 60 votes to do anything" Reid has lost the confidence of enough of us over his weak leadership that Progressive Change has decided to run ads letting Harry know that he better show some spine, or be prepared to be voted out. From the email going out to PCCC's membership:
Senate Majority Leader Reid is brokering a health care bill this week. But he seems ready to cave to a few corporate Democrats who want to kill a public health insurance option. We can't let that happen.
Our ad features one of Harry Reid's constituents, Nevada nurse Lee Slaughter. She has seen insurance companies cut off care to patients in need -- and says that in 2010, she will vote on only one issue: "I'm watching to see if Harry Reid is strong and effective enough as a leader to pass a public option into law."
We know that Sen. Reid is concerned about his election next year. Polls show him trailing Republicans, and he's already running campaign ads. Our ad will remind him that for many voters back home, the public option is a make-or-break issue. Voters want Reid to fight for the public option and win -- not cave.
Keith Olbermann reports that Reid is "pushing back against progressives" and "setting expectations low." That's unacceptable. The public overwhelmingly wants the public option. Democrats control the government, with a huge 60-seat Senate majority.
This week is critical. We need Harry Reid to be a strong and effective leader right now. It has never been more important.
I was appalled at the question. I've put on 50 pounds in two years of inactivity as a result of my (until recently undiagnosed) ankle injury and the last thing I need is someone charging me more money for it.
As policy, this is an especially uninformed and insensitive position because every study shows that rural and inner-city residents (who have the highest obesity rates) actually have little access to affordable, healthy food. (And that's not even touching the research showing that the chemicals in foods have all kinds of harmful effects on your body that encourage weight retention.)
So if people could educate themselves about these issues, we won't have to waste time on discussing what amount to punitive measures:
Get in shape or pay a price.
That's a message more Americans could hear if health-care reform provisions passed by the Senate finance and health committees become law. By more than doubling the maximum penalties that companies can apply to employees who flunk medical evaluations, the legislation could put workers under intense financial pressure to lose weight, stop smoking or even lower their cholesterol.
The bipartisan initiative, largely eclipsed in the health-care debate, builds on a trend that is in play among some corporations and that more workers will see in the benefits packages they bring home during this fall's open enrollment. Some employers offer lower premiums to workers who complete personal health assessments; others limit coverage for smokers.
The current legislative effort would take the trend a step further. It is backed by major employer groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. It is opposed by labor unions and organizations devoted to combating serious illnesses, such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association.
Critics say employers could use the rewards and penalties to drive some workers out of their health plans.
President Obama and members of Congress have said they are trying to create a system in which no one can be denied coverage or charged higher premiums based on their health status. The insurance lobby has said it shares that goal. However, so-called wellness incentives could introduce a colossal loophole. In effect, they would permit insurers and employers to make coverage less affordable for people exhibiting risk factors for problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
"Everybody said that we're going to be ending discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But this is, in effect, discrimination again based on preexisting conditions," said Ann Kempski of the Service Employees International Union.
The legislation would make exceptions for people who have medical reasons for not meeting targets.
Supporters say economic incentives can prompt workers to make healthier choices, thereby reducing medical expenses. The aim is to "focus on wellness and prevention rather than just disease and treatment," said John J. Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable.