Posts Tagged ‘Keith Olbermann’



Grabbag: Big Ideas, Bad Ideas, Burton Ideas

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

One of the coolest new campaign tools we’ve ever seen was developed recently by 32-year-old Crystal Martin, a marketing consultant in Yuba City, who thought up and produced an audio mailer for Democrat Jim Reed of Redding, who is running against U.S. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Chico).

It’s an audio mailer — like those greeting cards you can get with recorded songs and voices — that recounts how Herger said “Amen, God bless you, now that’s a great American,” after a man stood up at one of his town hall meetings in Redding and declared himself a “proud right-wing terrorist.”

You can see the mailer here and listen to the pitch — mostly in Reed’s voice. But the mailer also includes a recording of  Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” who labeled Herger the “Worst Person in the World.”

Having raised very little money, Reed’s initial mailing was just 2,500. But the mailers generated attention, in the Redding Record Searchlight and on Daily Kos, after a writer for the blog got one in the mail and immediately wrote it up.

Martin, a graduate of UC Davis, said she came up with the idea at her daughter Lorelai’s fourth birthday party when the little girl threw away other birthday cards and was only interested in the one that had audio. “I had an epiphany,” Martin said. If she could do that for clients, people might actually listen to what they had to say.

So she searched until she found a company that could produce the voice chip in bulk and made it happen — for about $1.50 per mailer. The idea was so hot, she’s already picked up jobs from AARP and from a big conservation group.

Martin’s consulting business is Smart Marketing and her new venture is Mailpow, which also now has a system for recording individual voices which can then be sent to legislators, voters or whomever. Calbuzz is impressed.

Keeping score: We have great respect for Joel Fox, keeper of the Prop. 13 flame, even if we often disagree with him on policy matters, but his attempt to trumpet a third-rate poll, purportedly showing Meg Whitman 17 points ahead of Steve Poizner in the GOP primary, is utterly lame.

The survey is sponsored by Fox’s own Small Business Action Committee, and with him and his Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association cronies strongly backing eMeg, the poll has zero credibility.

Its fanfare release was no doubt aimed at changing the campaign narrative showing Poizner closing fast on Whitman, but if the new PPIC poll, scheduled to be made public tonight, confirms that the GOP race is close, Fox’s move will look just plain silly.

As the outfit most afflicted with OCD about public opinion research methodology, Calbuzz is pleased to see that no one in and around the Rough and Tumble orbit bit on the Fox poll, except for radio talk show host and blogger Eric Hogue, who’s in the tank for Whitman anyway.

On the other hand, we totally agree with Hogue’s argument that Poizner’s dumb attack on eMeg over pornography is beyond the pale.

Putting aside the constitutional issues, the move not only looks desperate but also is likely to backfire: Whitman’s connection to porn being peddled on eBay is tangential at best, and raising the subject three weeks out from the election makes Poizner, not her, the one who seems sleazy.

As for Whitman’s new big idea, convening a statewide “grand jury” to investigate alleged waste, fraud and abuse in government spending: Really?  Brother Lucas over at California’s Capitol reported out this dog with fleas, and said most of what needed to be said to put it to rest.

Except for one item: As far as Calbuzz can tell, the governor doesn’t have the power to convene a grand jury. We asked Whitman’s campaign to tell us what authority would allow it and spokesman Tucker Bounds told us: “Meg would pursue legislation to create the Statewide Grand Jury on Fraud, Waste and Abuse.” Oh. So she wouldn’t have the power to do what she’s proposing unless the Democrats gave it to her? Right.

Shooting at lifeboats: Although Governor Schwarzmuscle’s abrupt withdrawal of support for the Tranquillon Ridge oil project off  Santa Barbara effectively killed the project, a just released analysis by the State Lands Commission suggests the proposal probably wouldn’t have won approval in any case.

The study, sent by Executive Officer Paul Thayer to the three members of the commission Tuesday, concludes that a revised agreement between the PXP oil company and Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center did not allay several environmental and legal concerns that led to the project’s defeat last year.

After the commission, on a 2-to-1 vote, turned down the first PXP-EDC agreement in 2009, the oil company and the enviros reworked their previously-secret agreement and released a new version last month,  hoping the changes would overcome opposition by commissioner and state Controller John Chiang, or win the support of recently appointed Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado; the third member of the commission represents the governor, who strongly backed the T-Ridge proposal until his recent flip flop.

But a review by the staff of the commission concluded that promises by PXP to stop drilling in federal waters, in exchange for a new lease to drill into state waters from an existing platform, might not be legally enforceable, because authority for the federal leases would rest with U.S. Mineral Management Service, regardless of the terms of the PXP-EDC agreement.

The staff also said that a new state lease could encourage oil industry efforts to gain more leases for drilling in federal waters, by breaking a 40-year precedent of not allowing new drilling in waters controlled by California, up to three miles from shore.

“Further, the new agreement does not address the Commission’s concern over the increased risk of oil spills created by oil and gas development at Tranquillon Ridge,” the report said. “This risk and its consequences have been demonstrated in the past off Santa Barbara and are now affirmed by the huge spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and loss of the Deepwater Horizon platform.”

The Burton correction goes national: Check out NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”. Go to the 00:49 mark in the “Lightning Fill in the Blank” portion of the show to hear John Burton and his “Go bleep yourself” correction on Calbuzz as an answer in the national news quiz.

Also, Jason Linkins at Huffington Post took note in his Eat the Press column.

If that’s not enough, check out Craig Silverman’s “Regret the Error” column in Columbia Journalism Review, in which the whole back story is spelled out and the “correction” is analyzed in terms of who wanted (and got) what out of the deal.

Jerry Retreats, Wally Fumbles, Bruce Cashes In

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

jerryseminaryHoly Cow! We cried, when we read in the Times of London that Jerry Brown “said that he will retreat to a monastery over the next few weeks to ‘consider my options and what it would mean for me, my family and the state of California.’”

While we knew, of course, that Jerry took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience while he was at the Sacred Heart Novitiate from 1956-1960, it was news to us that he was still hanging with the monks.

As it turns out, however, Brown spends a day or two every now and then at the Abbey of New Clairveaux, a Trappist-Cistercian Monastery in Vina which offers accommodations for visitors.  The Abby’s website explains:

retreat_r4_c1“A guest, whether he or she remains but for a few hours or makes a private retreat of several days, can expect to experience a degree of silence and solitude, separation from the world’s busyness [sic] and distractions, and the daily monastic rhythm between communal and personal prayer, and work. This often makes possible a more effective movement into the interior of one’s heart.”

Hmmm. You don’t imagine a British paper, wanting to make Brown sound quirky and odd, oversold the whole “retreat” deal, do you? So we asked Crusty about it ourselves.

“It’s a place I’ve been to many times,” Brown said, noting that he’ll likely go for a day or two. “I’m not ready to make a decision (about running for governor) until I’ve thought this through and all the consequences that flow from it.”

Calbuzz is outraged –- outraged we say! – that a political figure would spend time “thinking” about whether he wants to run for office. What next? Reading the bills? Active listening? The mind boggles.

Retreat Update: We are informed by the SF Chronicle’s Carla “Whirling Dervish” Marinucci that it was she, not the Sunday Times, which first reported Jerry Brown’s planned foray to a monastery.


wally-herger

Wally Herger

A not-so-great American: Since his long-ago days in the Assembly, Rep. Wally Herger has been a genial, no-account cipher who represents more cows than people and whose greatest political value is as an argument for term limits. So it’s hard to imagine a less likely figure to ignite a national controversy over terrorism and the limits of the First Amendment.

But as the whole world now knows, Herger did exactly that during one of those annoyingly titled “town hall meetings” about health care in his district. In his 15 minutes of You Tube fame, Herger responded “Amen, God bless you, there’s a great American,” after a constituent named Bert Stead had delivered an anti-government screed including the statement that he – Stead – is a “proud right-wing terrorist.” (On Monday, he said he meant to say “extremist,” not “terrorist.”)

At which point the hysterical left, led by the increasingly over-bearing Keith Olbermann, went nuts, accusing Herger and the Republican party of aiding and abetting enemies of America while also managing to turn the whole thing into a political fundraising bonanza.

As all erudite Calbuzzers know, Webster defines “unctuous” as “characterized by affected, exaggerated or insincere earnestness,” and the D’s reaction to the Herger video must be judged as a case of extreme unction.

They knew, or should have known, that Stead’s comment — intended or not — was a vamp on a recent statement by Indiana congressman Baron Hill – a Democrat – who was the first to throw around the T word, when he told the Post’s Peter Slevin why he wouldn’t hold a public meeting about health care: “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

But when has context ever mattered in the politics of unctuousness?

That said, the Dems do have a legitimate beef in complaining about the massive double standard with which the O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Hannity right-wing sleaze machine deals with such matters: One can only imagine the phony outrage with which they would greet such a comment by a liberal Democrat – let alone what they would have done with footage of guys carrying guns, fercrineoutloud, to an event featuring President W.

malkenhorst-1977

Bruce Malkenhorst

Remember this name: With the latest projections of state deficits far, far into the future it seems clear that regardless of the issue du jour in Sacramento – Early release of felons! Water! Offshore oil! – the core issue of the 2010 campaign for governor must surely be the sorry-ass state of the state’s finances.

Woe to the political consultants working on the race, who make more money than Calbuzz, if you can imagine that. Where in the world are they to find vivid symbols and sound bites to package into powerful emotional messages that sum up the demagoguery of their candidates in such a complicated, confusing and boring policy issue?

No worries – that’s why God made Bruce Malkenhorst.

Malkenhorst is the former administrator of Vernon, Ca, the smallest city in Southern California, who has a pension of $499,674.84, ranking him number one on the list of nearly 5,000 CalPERS retirees who get more than $100,000 a year. (He’s also been indicted for embezzling city funds, but that’s a story for another day).

With reporters and anti-tax groups around the state filing blizzards of public records requests to divulge the names of those cashing in on the pension Big Casino – look here, here and here for a few examples – the issue of sweetheart retirement packages represents pure gold for campaign message mongers trying to harness free-floating voter outrage at government.

Dr. H predicts: 2010’s most popular drinking game – man up every time you hear the name “Malkenhorst.”

mark twain

Mark Twain

Oh, never mind: It was just a few weeks ago that parched Central Valley denizens and wildfire weary Southern Californians were cheered by predictions that meteorologists were projecting a drenching El Nino fall and winter. Now comes weather egghead Bill Patzert to call the whole thing off.

Never ones to pass up un cliché juste, Calbuzz at this point in the item was prepared to chuckle warmly and recall that Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” Unfortunately, as with many famous things Mark Twain said, he didn’t say it. So we’re calling that off too.