Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jon Stewart & McCain; Stewart's Best Republican Interview Ever

Time was that I cringed whenever Jon Stewart booked a right-winger for an interview. To his credit, Jon works hard to keep his interviews civil and congenial. In the past, however, that meant throwing too many polite, soft pitches and letting the right-winger control the segment.

That was then. This is now. Stewart has a found a voice that remains civil and congenial, but now adds tough and challenging. He follows up. He follows through. He doesn't take crap, pap, or talking points. And he does it all with humor. It's masterful.

As for McCain, like Uncle Junior on the latest episode of the Sopranos, the Senator managed to come out of his recent fog and lethargy to show us flashes of the sharp and feisty ad libber he used to be. He still can't get anything past Stewart.

Watch this through to the end. It has a wow finish.

Mickelehs' Take: The good news is that both men were at the top of their games. The better news is that Stewart still decked the old man. Civilly and Congenially.

(Tags: , , , , , , , , )

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Did Bush Okay Firing Iglesias? (Albuquerque Journal)

In October, the Justice Department had a list of U.S. Attorneys to fire. David Iglesias was not on the list. The November 15th version of that list included Iglesias. How'd that happen?

Josh Marshall points to a Mike Gallagher article in this morning's Albuquerque Journal that indicates Bush personally okayed the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Iglesias, you remember, was the one who testified about the phone call he had from Sen. Pete Domenici asking whether he'd be filing an indictment of New Mexico's Democratic Attorney General before the election:
“I gave an answer to the effect of I didn't think so.

“He said, ‘I’m very sorry to hear that,’ and the line went dead, the telephone line went dead. I thought to myself, did he just hang up on me?

“He didn't call back; I didn't call back. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something bad had happened, and within six weeks I got a call from Mike Battle saying that it was time for me to move on.”
What does Gallagher add to the story? Two phone calls: Domenici called Rove after the election and asked him to take the firing request directly to Bush. Subsequently, Bush and Domenici had a direct conversation on the subject.

Mickeleh's Take: How does Gallagher know this? Looks like someone in the senator's office is talking. "The Journal confirmed the sequence of events through a variety of sources familiar with the firing of Iglesias, including sources close to Domenici. The senator's office declined comment." I wonder if this will come up during Tuesday's Gonazles testimony.

(Tags: , , , , , )

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Should Dems Boycott Fox News?

Twice now, the Democrats have managed to avoid airing their presidential nominating debates on Fox "News", on the grounds that Fox is little more than a propaganda arm of the Republican right disguised as a news network.

The discussion now, raised by John Aravosis after Obama sat for an Fox "News" interview, is whether prominent Democrats should escalate to giving Fox a total and global cold shoulder. No interviews, no nothin.

Mickeleh's Take: Isn't this the Bush position with regard to talking to Syria? Hmmm

(Tags: , , , , )

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why the Pelosi Trip is Getting So Much Negative Press

Devilstower on Kos finds the positive in all of the negative coverage that MSM is lavishing on Pelosi's visit to Syria. (Spoiler: it's a sign that the old applause lines aren't working anymore.)

Mickeleh's Take: Boy are they not working. How not working are they? Bush doing a medley of his greatest hits in front of the usual military audience got nothin' but crickets. Not one interruption for applause.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Q1 Fundraising: Hillary Loses Her Strongest Asset

With the reporting of Q1 fundraising in the race for the presidential nomination, Sen. Hilary Clinton lost her strongest asset: the aura of inevitability. Clinton's campaign has been running on two levels. Up top is a long list of positions, policies, events, experience, networks (hers and his), and, of course, her gender. Beneath it all was one simple, intimidating message: Hilary is unstoppable, so you're better off betting with her than against her. It's that subtextual message that's helped drive her numbers--both polling and fund-raising. She was IBM of the 60's--risky to bet agains

Obama brought excitement, charisma, youth but eventually, he'd be steamrollered by the inevitable Clinton momentum.

That story ended at the midnight boundary between March 31st and April 1st when Q1 fundraising came to an end.

Clinton's campaign announced a very impressive number: $26 million. Far more than anyone had ever raised this early in any presidential campaign.

This morning Obama's campaign announced numbers that trashed Clinton's. As a total, he announced $25 million, which on the face of it is close enough to derail the Clinton engine of inevitability. But behind those numbers, he trounced Clinton. Her money came from 50,000 donors. His money came from 100,000. Oops.

But wait, there's more: Clinton hasn't announced how much of the $26 million is earmarked for the primary, vs the general election, but it's likely that she called on her biggest donors to give to both campaigns so as to front-load her totals and underscore the "can't lose" message. Obama has $23.5 million for the primary, which observers suspect is far more than Clinton.

But wait there's more: If Clinton's donors have maxed out their legal contributions ($2300 for the primary and another $2300 for the general), she won't be able to call on them for Q2. Obama has lots of headroom among his current donor pool and growing momentum to pull in new donors -- including, some of Clinton's, who might be thinking about hedging their bets.

The Phil de Vellis video mashup of Hillary and 1984 was not only resonant, but prophetic. Clinton is still a formidable competitor in this race with a strong network, but she's no longer the inevitable winner. That changes the narrative profoundly.

Mickeleh's Take: Now playing at my inner cineplex: Dialog from Lawrence of Arabia.

Nothing is written.

(Tags: , , , , , )

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's the Broadcasters Who Bought and Paid for That "Independent" Study Opposing XM-Sirius Merger

The headlines all talk about an independent analysis by the respected and influential Carmel Group making a strong case against the proposed merger of XM and Sirius. It's the body copy that tells you who commissioned and paid for this "independent" study: the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters)--you know, terrestrial radio.

I wonder what that contract looked like? What did the folks from the NAB ask for? "Hey, Carmel Group, could you figure out if this merger is a good idea or not? Let us know either way." Hmmm. You don't suppose there was any wink-wink, nudge-nudge about what that report was supposed to "discover," do you?

Mickeleh's Take: I'm not talking about whether the merger is a good or bad idea--or neutral. I'm questioning the coverage. Shouldn't the headlines say "NAB's Case Against Satellite Butressed By A Commissioned Study?" Should the lede be "The National Association of Broadcasters paid the Carmel Group to..." Oh, wait. That's the press, I'm talking about. AKA, the steno pool.

More on Techmeme

(Tags: , , , , )

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dave Winer: The 10-year Anniversary That Almost Wasn't

Oops. This post was meant for my other blog, Mickeleh's Take.

Last year, April Fool's day fell on March 13. On that day, Dave Winer posted on why he would stop blogging. Thank goodness he thought better of that and Scripting News persists. Yesterday, it passed its tenth anniversary. Mazel Tov.

Mickeleh's Take: Dave earned my eternal gratitude for writing Think Tank and More. He could have stopped there. But he didn't and he still hasn't. Consider that for most of his career he's worked as an individual or as leader of very small companies, yet he has done more to shape what I and many others do on the net on a daily basis than most of the giants. Thank you for being a hero not only to me, but to scads of my other heroes. Keep the fires lit. And keep holding everyone's feet to them.

(Tags: , , , , , )

Our Side Gets Great Words Too: "Bridge to Nowhere"

The right does not have a monopoly on powerful phrase-making. Bill Adair in the St. Petersburg Times tells the story behind three little words that helped the Dems retake congress, "Bridge to Nowhere." Thank you to Keith Ashdown of CREW who coined the phrase. Got any more where that came from?

Mickeleh's Take: George Lakoff, Jeffrey Feldman, and Geoffrey Nunberg, your lessons are sinking in.

John McCain's Having a Very Bad, Bad Year

McCain Caught Napping at State of the Union

We knew it was over for McCain on the night of the State of the Union. The camera cut away to this shot of him nodding off. But he chose to play out the charade of his quest for the presidency with one fiasco after another. He flubbed his Meet the Press shot and his Letterman shot and and and.

The latest McCain fiasco came when he set about to prove his assertion last week that--thanks to the Bush-McCain winning strategies--there are now neighborhoods in Baghdad where it's safe to stroll. And so he flew over to stroll, safely (accompanied by 100 U.S. soldiers on the ground with five helicopters overhead and wearing a bullet-proof vest over his shirt. Think Progress has the video.

More reality (from Newsweek): "Agence France Presse on Sunday quoted an Iraqi official who reported a 15 percent increase in violence across Iraq in March. According to their tally, 2,078 civilians, cops and soldiers were killed last month, 272 more fatalities than in February." Juan Cole has more of the grim details and a well-grounded assessment of McCain's descent from straight shooter to "playing illusionist with the lives of our troops."

Mickeleh's Take
: John, rent Requiem for a Heavyweight.