28 October, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

ABC has priorities:

ABC, which is the only one of the networks that won't air Barack Obama's unusual 30-minute special during prime-time tomorrow, has taken a bit of a swipe at Obama and told its viewers not to watch Obama's appearance.


"Wednesday, America, you have a choice," ABC's ad says. "Get political with the other networks, or enjoy the Emmy-winning drama full of surprising revelations: ABC's `Pushing Daisies."

At the mention of getting "political with the other networks" someone intercedes with an expression of disgust: "Please."

ABC lost its chance to air Obama's special tomorrow because it delayed too long in answering the Obama campaign's request to buy the air time.

So. Let me get this straight. ABC thinks a fucking TV show is more important than Americans being politically informed. That's responsible journalism, that is.

Maybe they should have a little chat with Republican Governor Charlie Frist, who understands what it means to do the right thing:

I have some friends and family in Florida -- I'm a Miami native -- and I've heard quite a few stories about extraordinary lines in order to vote. One guy I know waited in line for literally three hours -- in the middle of a weekday, when one might assume the lines would be

To his credit, the governor is actually going to help those who want to participate in the process.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday extended early voting hours across Florida to 12 hours a day.

The executive order comes after record early voting turnout has contributed to
long lines at polling sites.

Current Florida law allows for early voting to be conducted eight hours a day each weekday and for a total of eight hours during the weekends.

With Crist's order, early voting sites will be open the rest of this week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be open a total of 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday, the last day of early voting.

Immediately after signing the order, which declares a state of emergency, Crist told reporters, ''It's not a political decision. It's a people decision.''

Given the recent trend -- most of the early Floridian voters have been Democrats -- the decision doesn't do McCain any favors, which makes Crist's decision all the more honorable.

Or these call center workers in Indiana:

But this week, McCain's anti-Obama attacks prompted a very different kind of backlash, when at least three dozen workers at an Indiana telemarketing call center chose to walk off the job rather than read a McCain campaign script.

Nina Williams, a stay-at-home mom in Lake County, Indiana, tells us that her daughter recently called her from her job at the center, upset that she had been asked to read a script attacking Obama for being "dangerously weak on crime," "coddling criminals," and for voting against "protecting children from danger."

Williams' daughter told her that up to 40 of her co-workers had refused to read the script, and had left the call center after supervisors told them that they would have to either read the call or leave, Williams says. The call center is called Americall, and it's located in Hobart, IN.

"They walked out," Williams says of her daughter and her co-workers, adding that they weren't fired but willingly sacrificed pay rather than read the lines. "They were told [by supervisors], `If you all leave, you're not gonna get paid for the rest of the day."

The daughter, who wanted her name withheld fearing retribution from her employer, confirmed the story to us. "It was like at least 40 people," the daughter said. "People thought the script was nasty and they didn't wanna read it."

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that "at least 30" workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.

"We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger," this worker said. "I wouldn't do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting."

For these call-center employees, they weren't just demonstrating character by taking a stand, they were also making a personal sacrifice -- by refusing to read McCain's vile script, these workers gave up a day's pay.

Those folks know what responsible citizenship is. And it's not telling an audience of millions to blow off politics for pop culture.

Moving on to the "reaping what you sow" category, Faux News is discovering that their ill-informed viewers are too extreme even for them:

Today, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher hit the campaign trail on behalf of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the first time, joining former Bush OMB Director Rob Portman on a GOP bus
tour through Ohio. Stopping at a flag store, Wurzelbacher twice agreed with a questioner who said that “a vote for Obama is a vote for the death to Israel.”

Fox News brought Wurzelbacher on to discuss his claims, but despite host Shepard Smith’s best efforts, Wurzelbacher refused to explain why he agreed with the nonsensical claim:

SMITH: Joe, do you know Barack Obama’s positions on Israel?

WURZELBACHER: Listen, I know you wanna really get some answers on this one, I’m just not gonna help you out here, Shepherd. Let people go out and find, that’s what I’ve been telling people. […] Listen, you don’t want my opinion on foreign policy. I know just enough probably to be dangerous.

SMITH: Yeah, well that’s what I was kinda wondering.


Wurzelbacher’s unfounded claims — backed by McCain — were clearly too much even for a Fox News host. Smith grew increasingly exasperated during the interview, and forcefully clarified that Obama is committed to a strong friendship with Israel. At the end, Smith called the whole
thing “frightening.”

Yes, Mr. Smith, it is indeed frightening. You and your network bear a lot of the responsibility for creating such ill-informed, over-the-top, fearmongering citizens. Your most favoritest candidate McCain has fed this crap to these people, and you've been happy to feed them more. Not pretty when it comes back at you, is it?

McCain is going to be learning this lesson to his sorrow here in the not-too-distant future. The whirlwind's already begun:

The internal fight among McCain and Palin staffers got a little more intense over the weekend, when a McCain adviser told CNN, "She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.... Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all

Today, the blame game got even uglier. The Politico's Mike Allen reports:

In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless "diva" description, calling her "a whack job."

I suppose we'll be hearing even more of this in the coming days, with McCain/Bush loyalists holding Palin responsible for practically all of the campaign's difficulties.

And, as Steve goes on to point out: this could very well be true. But they, ultimately, are the ones who bear the responsibility for choosing this "whack job" in the first place.

When you create a frothing mob of dramatically misinformed fundies, when you have to rely on that base to elect you, and you have to choose a "whack job" to pander to them, what happens next is nobody's fault but your own.

Not that the far-right Republicons will ever admit that. They're too enamored of the blame game to start playing mea culpa any time soon.

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