Tag Archives: Congress

The Digital Divide

television-with-antenna

 

With the looming Feb. 17 analog-to-digital conversion deadline for television sets just a month away, an estimated 19 million Americans are still going it old school, according to former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairmen William Kennard and Michael Powell. In a New York Times op-ed published over the weekend, they argued that the bulk of those who have yet to convert their sets are minority, low-income or elderly people and the Federal government’s $1.3 billion plan to aid Americans in the upgrading process is poised for failure. An insufficient amount of funds were allocated for the $40 federal stipends designed to assist low-income consumers with the conversion, and a convoluted application process means none of those remaining 19 million will qualify for the coupon before the deadline. In addition, it’s suggested that manufacturers of the digital conversion boxes produced anywhere between 4 to 31 million to few. President Obama has called upon Congress to delay the conversion and the networks seem receptive to a delay. The only major anti-delay advocate appears to be current FCC chairman (and Bush appointee) Kevin Martin but MediaMyopic wouldn’t exactly call the pro-consolidation Republican a voice of moral reason. C’mon Congress, seems like a no-brainer to us.

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Sweet Caroline the Leftist Palin?

Caroline Kennedy’s announcement of her interest in filling the New York Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton has opened up a Pandora’s Box of political scrutiny with her biggest criticisms strikingly similar to what the public heard about Sarah Palin, after McCain named the unknown gun-toting mom his vice presidential nominee. According to the critics, Kennedy is a princess who has never worked a 9-to-5 job. Despite hailing from the country’s most prominent political family, the pundits say she lacks experience and has peculiarly avoided the media during Governor David Paterson’s appointment process. Hmmmm, an inexperienced female political office seeker hidden from view? This does sound familiar.  After finally agreeing to talk shop with The New York Times, the paper deemed her vague and elusive. What’s more, she admitted that she seldom votes. While she stopped short of saying she doesn’t know what a senator does — perhaps learning that from the folksy Wasilla gal (wink, wink) — it was far from the entrance to the political stage that her supporters had hoped for. Unfair as it is, women are held to an even greater degree of vetting before taking political office (though, you’d never learn that from McCain); clearly defined goals, visions and voting records must be identified prior to pitching your case. We’d never put you on the same page as Palin but you have not learned from her mistakes either.

The Death Of The Fourth Estate

For those of you, like myself, who have been skeptical of the soft Iraq war coverage of the last few years have had their worst fears confirmed. This week The New York Times revealed an extensive covert plot from the Pentagon that involved deploying close to 100 pseudo political ‘pundits’ with scripted pro-war propaganda aimed at controlling public opinion. And we’re not just talking about Fox News. The Times reports that these ‘pundits,’ or as the White House calls them, “message force multipliers,” infiltrated Fox, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC and MSNBC news programs. These pundits were recruited by the Bush Administration to disseminate misleading war information and false praises of the U.S. war effort. The result is Bush’s most duplicitous breach of public trust since taking office. Gone is the watchdog role of the media, the Fourth Estate designed to safeguard our democratic virtues and keep public officials honest. If this violation of federal law, which prohibits government sanctioned covert propaganda, doesn’t warrant impeachment, then clearly the system is broken. If you care about safeguarding the integrity of information flow, act now and tell Congress that this is unacceptable.

Media Ignores Impeachment Initiatives

Talks are back on the table for a solid base of Democrats on Capitol Hill interested in putting an abrupt end to the eight years of chicanery known as the Bush-Cheney administration. But chances are you haven’t read anything about it. Mainstream media remains mum on the impeachment issue — an issue initially brought forth by Dennis Kucinich last spring. Perhaps it’s because do-nothing Pelosi fears the divisiveness of the matter. Wake up! The country has been polarized since the Civil War. Why pussyfoot around political issues that matter, simply to avoid discourse and debate? Manipulating the public to endorse a war unrelated to terrorism is far more detrimental to the country’s integrity than infidelity — a private matter that voting citizens should have never been exposed to. Where’s the Democrats’ version of Ken Star?

Tax Breaking the Bank

I must preface this post by crediting a friend of mine, Scott Hagerman, as the brainchild. He offered to write the rant himself but, like most liberals, lacked the follow through. Hagerman’s absolutely right when he says he smells a rat with Washington’s $160 billion stimulus package poised for approval in the Senate, after sailing through the House. I appreciate the $500-600 ‘tax rebate’ the plan provides me but I don’t appreciate politicians passing this under the guise of ailing a weak economy. It’s a pre-election bribe championed by none other than President Bush. Speaking at a New York real estate event earlier this week, Peter Linneman, chief economist at NAI Global, called the stimulus package political propaganda. “The tax rebates are laughable. First of all, they don’t even go to the people who pay taxes,” he continued. And he’s partially right – many of these rebates may fall in the hands of senior citizens and the unemployed, which I don’t have a problem with but renders the ‘tax rebate’ title inaccurate. Thank you Capitol Hill for contributing to my vacation fund but it’s not enough to buy my vote. In the words of Linneman: “I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican. I observe both parties as the scum that they are.”