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The Difference Between Nixon and Obama News Reporting

The Atlantic offers an astute assessment of Richard Nixon’s media machine and how other presidents adopted or adapted the playbook. The story, one of many during the 40th anniversary year of resignation, is a must-read for journalists, particularly those covering politics.

I am a long-standing critic of the current administration’s aggressive, anti-media tactics. The Nixon and Obama White Houses share in common a general disregard for the Fourth Estate. Interference in the newsgathering process is commonplace and extends beyond the White House.
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It's Time to Fire Congress

Constitutionally, the American people have few options to immediately penalize their representatives in Congress who forced Federal shutdown and threaten the debt ceiling. Someone would want to. According to Gallup, Congress’ disapproval rating is 85 percent. An AP-GfK poll shows even greater dissatisfaction.

Public Policy Polling says that “Hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, dog poop, and cockroaches all might be a little bit gross, but they’re all more popular than Congress”. Sadly, however, Brett Logiurato, writing for Business Insider, is right. The low approval rating doesn’t matter. States elect individuals, whose ratings often are much higher, not the body electorate.
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Some Advice to the Washington Post's New Owner

Today, in the Guardian, former CIA analyst John Kiriakou accuses the Obama Administration of abusing the 1917 Espionage Act, claiming that “only 10 people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama”.

From Day One, the Obama Administration sought to plug any leaks. What’s said in the Oval Office stays in the Oval Office. That’s context for understanding the aggressive approach to whistleblowers. It’s philosophical. The current White House sees leaks as betrayals, so why not view whistleblowing as treason?
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Free Pussy Riot!

Punk rock roared across the globe as I started college in the late 1970s. Punkers protested their disco-loving, Baby Boomer siblings as much as “The Man”. UK punkers tapped into deep frustration among a younger population struggling for identity and future in face of global economic uncertainty.

Punk music then is much different than now. Then it was a lifestyle choice rooted in rebellion. Today, for bands like Green Day, punk, and all its garnishments, is fashionable. Mascara, colored hair, and tattoos are about fitting in to a larger, accepted social group. The real energy behind bands like the Sex Pistols is gone.
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Was MSNBC right to Suspend Keith Olbermann?

On Friday, Keith Olbermann essentially got the boot from MSNBC for making three undisclosed political contributions—or that’s how I interpret suspended without pay. The donations violated MSNBC policies designed to prevent any apparent (or even actual) conflict of interest. For someone who does cover politics (Hey, wasn’t that Keith headlining election-night coverage?), it’s not unreasonable that there be no apparent bias.
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Obama's Nuclear Summit Secrets

World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow…Reporters for foreign outlets, admitted for the first time to the White House press pool, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they’re cracked up to be…even the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, was more talkative with the press than Obama…The restrictions have become a common practice for the Obama White House.
Dan Milbank

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Did ’24’ Help Elect a President?

It’s a question I’ve pondered for some time, and I’m inclined to answer affirmative. The subliminal cultural impact of television is too easily overlooked, although the New York Times took a politically charged look in March 26 story “For ‘24,’ Terror Fight (and Series) Nears End“. The Times’ perspective is different than one I present here, but worth noting for what’s there and what is not.
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America's Health Insurance Cartels are the Problem

Two things that go oddly together: $20 and a quick physical. That’s what my daughter got yesterday so she could try out for the local high school volleyball team. The school recommended the doctor, who was fast, friendly, thorough and cheap. From watching the patients going in and out of the physician’s office, I observed that he provides a valuable service to San Diego’s uninsured.

The doctor’s visit got me to thinking, again, about what’s fundamentally wrong with America’s health-care system and why the Obama Administrations’ reform proposal can’t fix it. The problem and solution go oddly—and quite badly—together. Litigation, not legislation, is the solution.
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Yeah, I’m Angry

Family friends run a construction business. The husband, who is from Central America, sees a fair number of people looking to take advantage of Hispanic business owners and workers. The presumption is Hispanic means illegal immigrant. And if the, uh, American doesn’t pay, there’s nothing the illegal can do. In fact, there often are threats about turning in the Hispanic immigrant to US authorities.

Now, this man is legal. He has a green card and runs an honest business. But he witnesses plenty of discrimination against Hispanics and gets some of it, too. I mention this because, one, it really pisses me off and, two, there is this immigration debate raging on Capitol Hill. 
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