Thursday, January 28


I just switched to WWRL to listen to Stephanie and heard a promo for Jack Rice. He's in drive time? 3-6 pm?? Montel Williams has gone poof?! Whoo hoo! I like Jack Rice!
So I went to their website.
Now tell me that's not a dog's dinner!
Montel's still on the schedule. But today - Jack Rice!
And there's Rachel Maddow despite her signing off permanently. And Richard Greene is back...? Huh?

Tuesday, January 26


A small but passionate group of people who open emails from assembled in midday today on Third Avenue in support of health care reform.

The site chosen was the street outside of Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s district office. The Congresswoman did stop to address the crowd briefly before she left for Washington, expressing her desire to get health care reform done. The most concrete thing we learned is that she’ll go along with Speaker Pelosi.

What I got out of some discussion among the rally-ers is that there’s some dissension over what is to be done about health care reform. Some said “pass the Senate bill.” Others (not just me) said “pass a good bill.” Some thought the Senate bill could be passed and fixed later. Many of us thought that would not happen.

Mostly I think we all agreed that we are frustrated. Some are angry. I expressed my impatience with the futile efforts at bipartisanship with the obstructionist Republicans. “If the President reaches out to the GOP again tomorrow night, I will puke!” I said. But this one woman, the only one I encountered today with this sentiment exclaimed, “Oh, I hope the President does reach out to them. I hope that he keeps on reaching out to them and maybe one day they’ll see that they need to agree.”

I was incredulous. “We don’t have a coalition! We are the majority! Screw bipartisanship! Let them filibuster! Stand up to the bullies! Stop cowering in the corner asking their permission!”
But I was just warming to my themes. I became quite animated in my remarks while the Representative was exchanging thoughts with the group.

“We need more LBJ and less Gandhi!” I cried, tapping my long-ago acting training, projecting over the sound of traffic. That one drew a hearty laugh.

“On the subject of bipartisanship, please tell your fellow Democrats, you can’t cha cha with someone who is trying to trip you!” Ah, the Congresswoman liked that one and said so.

I wish I could remember everything I said. Much of it things I’ve probably said in this blog. I especially would love to know which of my statements drew the only applause from the crowd. I’m proud of that.

One woman did say she wished I’d run for office. “I would never ever get elected,” I said. Nor would I want to frankly.

Many seemed to think there were only two options when it came to reform: walk away or pass the Senate bill, as is. Both disastrous, I said, urging them here to read Dr. Dean’s third, better way. (Summarized and blogged earlier.)

Rep. Maloney’s off-the-cuff remarks.

The rally was short but I said a lot. It was enormously therapeutic. Now if it were only useful.


What was one of the worst features of the Bush Administration? Wow, so many to choose from. But how about the Right Wing Echo Machine which never, regardless of the crap they pulled, criticized Bush when he deserved it?

So now, when we progressive Democrats oppose positions that this White House takes, we’re the ones being criticized! I hear callers to Stephanie Miller’s show complaining about fellow Dems. We “need to get behind this President!” We shouldn’t be a “circular firing squad.” He’s “herding cats.” The President “inherited this mess and he’s only been in office for a year!” He wasn’t given “a magic wand to make it all better.” We’re “childish and immature” because things “aren’t exactly as we wanted them.”

I see. When I was critical of Bush because I thought he was wrong, that was “unpatriotic to do so in wartime” if you listened to Republicans, but it was okay with Democrats. But now when the Republicans criticize every single little thing that Obama does, my objecting to some positions or actions of the White House, I’m siding with the Republicans.

No, I’m not. Republicans criticize the President indiscriminately. There is nothing, I mean nothing, he can do to please them. They have a strategic position: obstruction. Just say no. No to Olympics-getting. No to Nobel honors. No to improving our status in the world. No, no, no.
And so far it’s working far too well. Where’s health care? Mired in the Senate where the White House gave its power to Max Baucus who shared it equally with 3 Republicans (the idiotic Gang of Six) who pretended to negotiate as a stall. And watered down in a snipe hunt for one Republican, resulting in a flaming pile of poo (See earlier posts.) that doesn’t achieve reform and turned off people like me.

We are disappointed and critical because we want the President and the Democrats to be strong the way Bush was with his horrendous, country-killing agenda. Did Bush care he didn’t have a super-majority when he wanted to cut taxes for the super-rich, not once but twice? No! He just got it done.

Did Bush care about lying us into an unnecessary war with a nation that didn’t threaten us? No. He want to invade Iraq and was looking for a pretext. And he didn’t care if he took a surplus and turned it into an enormous deficit.

He got all his crap done. All but privatizing Social Security. That was a bridge too far, thank God. And he didn’t care about Democratic opposition or even the public’s opinion. They just got it done.

So how frustrating is it to us on the Left to have, at long last, both Houses of Congress with bigger majorities, and the White House only to see the Democrats continue to act as if the Republicans are still in charge?

It’s excruciating!

Polls showed that health care reform (that is, real reform with a strong public option) is still popular. The flaming pile of poo the Senate excreted is not. The Right Wing then says “the American public has rejected health care reform” conflating real reform with the imposter.

That’s a lie.

And since SenatorFold got elected up in Massachusetts, the drums have only gotten louder. And what has been the response? “Be bolder! Grow a pair!” is heard from progressives.
So what do the White House, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and other Dems do? Cry “scale back, slow down, take a breather.”

Wait! Where have I heard that before? Oh, I know! From the GOP! “Let’s have a do-over!” they say.

Well, I’d like a do-over, too, but it’s to start with single-payer. They want a do-over as a further delay to kill it.

One Right Winger with a microphone: “The American public doesn’t want a left wing president.”
The American public doesn’t have a left wing president. Right now we have a Democratic president heading right.

He appears to be listening to the Republicans who WANT HIM TO FAIL rather than listening to voters like me and a gazillion bloggers who WANT HIM TO SUCCEED.

How does that make sense? Take the advice of people who wish you ill rather than your friends? And what about one of the most basic rules of politics: reward your friends, punish your enemies. It’s the opposite with this Administration.

It’s that damn GPS the GOP gave him. It’s wrong all the time. Mr. President, Democrats, either see which way the GOP GPS tells you to go and go in the opposite.

Or else turn the damn thing off.


Manhattan is blue. Deep, deep blue. It’s one of the reasons I love living here. An overheard remark like “Cheney should be in jail!” gets a “yes!” and a knowing smile not a glare. The wingnut in the Palin 2012 walking his dog in Central Park is a rarity to be stared at. That guy always wears provocative idiotic political statements. I think he’s spoiling for an argument. But I digress.

Here’s my point. In a place where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a Democrat, you’d think we’d have hot and cold running progressive talk radio, wouldn’t you?

We’ve got two – count ‘em – two right wing stations (both 24/7.) And only one lame-ass pathetic purportedly liberal talk radio station WWRL at the top of the AM dial with a weak signal. At one time we had Air America and I was able to listen to Al Franken’s extremely entertaining and informative show every day. But then Al went on to do something else. Air America, which has become synonymous with “progressive talk” and was the whipping boy of the right, may have been good on the air, it never worked on paper. As I heard someone say about it, “Radio should be run like a business, not a cause.” Indeed.

The right wing was gleeful at Air America’s demise last week as if that proved or meant that progressive talk went to the grave with it. Hardly. There are lots and lots of good liberal talkers all over the country. They just happen to be hard to find in New York City.
There’s Stephanie Miller who combines humor with information, Bill Press who’s in DC, Ed Schultz a passionate man of the people out of the Midwest, Norman Goldman Ed’s sub and “senior legal analyst” now with his own show out of LA, Thom Hartman, Shannyn Moore in Alaska, Nicole Sanders, and Randi Rhodes among others.

And what is WWRL’s line up? Beginning the broadcast day at 6 am is Errol Louis, a Daily News columnist. He’s a smart guy, good on the issues but his focus tends to be local and I prefer a more national orientation so I find him less than compelling. (Instead I prefer Bill Press whose show I can get on my transistor – yes, the kind you would put under your pillow when you were supposed to be sleeping and your parents couldn’t hear it still exists – for an hour or so from Buffalo’s station. When the signal turns to static I turn to the internet. God bless the internet where all the good talk can be found.)

At 9 am, while WWRL has two hours of blather about vitamins, I go from Bill to Stephanie’s show thanks to WCPT (Chicago’s Progressive Talk) which streams online. Her addictive show is very smart – like Bill Press, Steph gets good & interesting interviewees – and it’s also hilarious. In fact, as we learned yesterday, it’s Lily Tomlin’s favorite radio show. At 11 am, WWRL picks up Steph’s last hour and I go back to my transistor, liberated from the PC.

At noon it’s Ed Schultz. He’s the reason I got through the whole health care reform battle with my sanity and my radio. Big Eddie is just great. He’s all about the middle class, the worker, the people and American products.

At 3, WRL used to air Ron Kuby, the super-smart former partner of William Kunstler, whose politics are further left than mine. But he grew on me. Turns out Kuby’s got a good sense of humor and I enjoyed his show until Caroline Kennedy’s possible nomination to the Senate last year. Kuby hates royalty and she is just an American princess to him. But it became tiresome and I stopped listening. Apparently others did too. And that’s why he was gone, I guess, and in his place now, Montel Williams. His slogan is “not left or right.” Hey, WWRL, I want left! Bozos! I don’t listen to this show. It’s recorded in the morning and by 3 it’s old news. Matter has changed during the day which it is wont to do but Montel’s chatter doesn’t.

6 pm. Time for Ron Reagan, pretty good show. But I’m back home and free to choose between Nor-Man Gold-Man online or The Ed Show on MSNBC.

After Ron Reagan, WRL actually has Al Sharpton on. I cannot stand this man. And while I sometimes agree with his politics, I can never forgive him for his part in the Tawana Brawley hoax. To me he was, and always will be, an opportunist. Peh!

At 10 comes Alan Colmes. Perhaps because of his long stint under the thumb of Sean Hannity on Faux News, Alan seems to attract more than the usual number of wing nuts. Oh, sure, Steph has her “right wing love muffins” who regularly phone in and serve as her cat toys. And Ed takes calls from Conservatives, some to spew talking points which never get far with Ed, and some to actually debate. And that’s fine. Alan gets the tin foil hat crowd. It’s scary. But sometimes funny.
On the other hand, Alan has some strange positions. Last night, for example, he opined that the recent radical, outrageous Citizens United corporate coup by the Right Wing Justices of the Supreme Court is “not the end of democracy.” Apparently he is unconcerned by AlQaida, Inc.’s potential as the owner of a big chunk of Congress. This decision was a bigger threat to our republic than anything since World War II. Alan makes me glad I fall asleep fairly early.

Waking up in the middle of the night was how I discovered the show WRL broadcasts live from 1 -4 am. Out of LA is Phil Hendrie and it is horrible. He says, “Man” like kids say “Dude” and ain’t and “don’t” instead of “doesn’t.” He’s an ersatz hipster. Hendrie features fake interviews with fake callers with stupid positions (like the mother who still breast-feeds her kids and they’re in high school. Or the man who favors banning sunglasses-wearing by men at the beach to curb covert ogling) which provoke unwitting and fairly witless listeners to phone in and be pranked.
It’s stupid. Unfunny. Unlistenable. Worthless. This is not progressive talk. It’s a waste of time.

At 4 am, until recently we had Richard Greene and his Clout, promoting all sorts of progressive issues. Richard had been confined to one hour which could be frustrating when an interview would obviously be continued only not on our air. Room had to be made for “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 5 am. Less a radio show than replays of segments from her MSNBC show of the night before, this program made me think of the Monty Python “Contractual Obligation Album.” And I didn’t mind it. I kinda liked it as I was making the bed and brewing coffee. But talk radio? No. Progressive, no. And no longer. It ended last week with Air America which had given Rachel her start.

But this morning instead of Richard, WRL had another vitamin show. Pathetic!
So that’s the day in New York liberal talk radio. Slim pickings. Four hours out of 24 are appealing to me, a liberal talk junkie. It’s ridiculous that a city with as many progressive people as we have doesn’t have the liberal equivalent of WABC.

Friday, January 22


Today I feel, as the Brits say, like the last day of a wet week what with the continuing horror of Haiti, the election of a rightwinger to Teddy Kennedy’s seat, and the outrageous, disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision yesterday, and now to put a cap on it, Bill Press has disappointed me.

This morning I heard him talking about the health care reform issue. He and I agree that it would be a disaster for Democrats to just walk away and get nothing done. Then he said, “Howard Dean said yesterday on this show that the House should just pass the Senate bill.” I nearly dropped my coffee mug.

What?? That’s not what he said. He said the opposite, as a matter of fact. And I know that because I took notes, summarized it and blogged it. Then I tweeted that I had posted a summary of his excellent remarks. I KNOW what I heard.

So I phoned the Bill Press Show. The call screener asked what I wanted to say.

“Did Bill Press just say Howard Dean said the House should pass the Senate bill?” Yes. No, he didn’t! He said the opposite. That it was “insane” to pass a bill with insurance reform mixed in with insurance company giveaways. I heard him say something to someone else in the room. He came back to continue to disagree with me.

“I heard it! In fact, I took notes and blogged a summary!” I protested, my voice probably rising.

And so I went on with more of the details of Howard Dean’s remarks which were fresh in my mind having written them up (thank you, blog!) My details should have been convincing.
But they weren’t. The screener told me that I hadn’t heard what I heard, noted, summarized and blogged. And so Bill Press and his listeners didn’t get to hear someone correcting him on the air.

I know I am right. Maybe if I hadn’t blogged it I could say maybe I’m remembering wrong. But I am not. THEY have a podcast. THEY have a recording.

So here is my challenge to Bill Press, who I have long thought is a smart straight-shooter with intellectual honesty: Listen to the Howard Dean interview from yesterday over the weekend.

That will settle it because I know what I heard him say.

I don’t know why Bill has chosen to remember Dean’s words in a way that is opposite to what Dean said. I also know from regular listening that Bill, like me, thinks the Senate bill is horrible. But I’ve also heard him go to the position of “it’s better than nothing.” So is Bill Press’s memory conforming to his own position? Is that why he misrepresented Dr. Dean?

Inquiring listeners want to know.

Here’s what I am going to do with my annoyance (outrage is too strong) at this: I’m going to write to Bill and Dr. Dean and post this on my blog. And then I will spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. God bless the internet and keep it free!

Thursday, January 21


Howard Dean on Bill Press Show this morning made sense as usual. I’ll paraphrase what he proposed (from my notes) here because it’s too much for 140 characters.

Dean said that Democrats should not walk away from health care reform. That looks weak. And weak is what they have been looking all year.

On the other hand, they can’t pass the Senate bill (the House won’t go for it) and the good things in it (the insurance reform) is mixed in with insurance cartel giveaways.
Instead of those two unpalatable options, he recommends a three part plan:

1. Expand Medicaid and Medicare (down to 55) through reconciliation. It’s not perfect but a big step forward and could take effect within months of passage.

2. Put the insurance reforms (outlawing pre-existing conditions, strictures on premiums to women, older people, recission, keeping kids on until 26) into a bill and MAKE THE GOP VOTE. If they vote against these popular items, make them pay.

3. Recognize that Senate bill if passed does not have benefits until 2013 while putting all the bad stuff out to the public to be defended by Dems for 3 election cycles. That is “insane.” He said.

This is me now. Clearly the Tuesday results underlines his last point. A listener sent in the question: Will you come back and lead the DNC again? Dean laughed that suggestion off, but man, I wish he would!

Asked if he would convey his ideas to Pelosi, Reid and the White House, Dean said that the listeners need to.

But they aren’t listening to us, Dr. Dean! And they aren’t even listening to the real message of Tuesday. They had a house fall on them and they’re still blabbering about bipartisanship and passing the Senate bill.


Wednesday, January 20


1. Time to try harder at bipartisanship. NO, THAT WAS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS!

2. Give up on health care reform. NO! REAL REFORM IS STILL POPULAR!

3. Become even wussier. NO! TIME TO GROW A PAIR, YOU WEENIES!

4. Rush to the Right. NO! TAKE A HARD LEFT!

Listen to
Howard Dean
Arianna Huffington
Ed Schultz


Now that the Commonwealth has seen fit to replace the Lion of the Senate with a centerfold, what can we learn from this debacle?

1. No candidate should ever confuse a primary with a coronation. While Martha Coakley ran a horrible campaign, that’s not the end of it.

2. Voters are angry because they see Main Street ignored while Wall Street and other special interests are throwing parties and cashing obscene bonus checks.

3. The health care reform battle was bungled from the get-go. (See all my previous posts.) The Democrats were put into power to get real reform done. Real reform is still popular. The public clearly said it wanted the public option. The White House ignored this sentiment in favor of doing deals with the insurance cartel and big Pharma, allowing the Gang of Six and other Conservadems to control the process and water the bill down and down. The Reid bill is a flaming pile of poo and no amount of oratory will convince me it’s a yummy chocolate flambĂ©.

4. The disaffection of independents and the progressive base is a reaction to the Dem’s lack of cojones despite having a majority. And their time wasting with the idiotic and futile pursuit of “bipartisanship." (It’s foolish to try to cha cha with someone who is trying to trip you, Mr. President.) We saw the Republicans’ fewer numbers stick together and ram through their crappy, country-destroying right wing agenda. We elect the “super majority” (which believe me, isn’t super at all) and get a year of revolting sausage making. Why is the traitorous Joe Lieberman still in the caucus and still in the Homeland Security Committee chair? Why couldn’t the President channel a little LBJ and work over the Conservadems to get it done? And most of all, why on earth did the White House ever think that getting one freaking Republican on board was worth throwing all progressive ideals over the side?

5. How SenatorFold Brown campaigned against the not-yet-passed health care reform bill will be the blueprint for the rest of the GOP to attack the Democrats if they turn this turd into law. It’s ironic that the SenatorFold voted in favor of HCR for Massachusetts. But they didn’t put in a public option either. And so it’s rather like the crap in Congress. No wonder it was such an easy target. This loss will be repeated in November unless the Democrats make the course correction recommended by Arianna Huffington last night. She’s right. There’s still time.

6. If this wake up call only sends Democrats scrambling to the center, then buckle up, folks. The Democrats are in for a whole bunch of other bad election nights.

7. Will the White House PLEASE listen to Howard Dean? Doesn’t the man who crafted the fifty-state strategy deserve the audience?
As you can see in my previous posts, I warned the White House. Will they listen now?