Posts Tagged ‘Sam Zell’

CapWeek Kudos; Whores v Klutzes; Lou’s Illegals

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Capitol Weekly preserves integrity: HT  to Anthony York of Capitol Weekly for taking a pass on a survey, done by Orange County Republican pollster Adam Probolsky, that York had intended to release through his respected web site. Turns out the Democratic pollster he had paired with Probolsky – Ben Tulchin of San Francisco, — had significant methodological problems with Probolsky’s survey and York didn’t want to risk his site’s good name with a bad poll.

While just about every pollster in the known universe has recently found the race with Jerry Brown up 5 or more points over Meg Whitman, Probolsky turned in a survey with a virtual dead heat: Brown 41% and Whitman 39%. The survey was taken Sept. 30-Oct 4 among 752 registered voters.

“We wanted a bipartisan poll but we didn’t have bipartisan sign-off,” said York. “This is Adam’s poll. They (Tulchin and Probolsky) couldn’t agree, so we didn’t want to put it out.”

Said Tulchin: “The results that Adam found were based on a sample that I felt was too conservative and too Caucasian and did not accurately represent a statewide sample.   As a result, I could not endorse the poll, so Adam decided to release it on his own.”

What particularly bothered Tulchin was not Probolsky’s projection of a 54.7% turnout, which Ben thought was “a bit conservative but not beyond the realm of possibility.” Rather, the survey under-represents Latinos and blacks, with just  12.8% Latino voters and 2.9% black, instead of 14-15% Latinos and at least 4% blacks, as expected.

“These are critical demographic groups,” Tulchin said.  “To undercount them in a survey has a direct impact on the poll results for the governor’s race.” Probolsky’s poll, he added, with a more conservative and Caucasian turnout model, resembled a Whitman campaign poll “that showed Brown with a slight lead and Gloria Allred with a 92% name ID, which is not very credible.”

As if to prove the point, guess who sent around the Probolsky poll to reporters on Thursday? And thank you for that, Ms. Pompei.

PS: In earlier versions of this post we had a picture of the wrong Anthony York up. Sorry for our stupid misgoogletake.

Gandalf vs. Technology, Round 32: Confronted with the complex and sophisticated 21st century challenge of hanging up the phone, Jerry Brown has failed miserably, the estimable Seema Mehta is reporting Thursday night, thus  setting off another kerfuffle in the governor’s race.

The 72-year old — and-getting-older-by-the-minute — Democratic nominee appears to have left a voicemail message at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Protective League last month, expressing frustration that the cop group planned to endorse eMeg after Krusty refused to exempt law enforcement from his call for reforming public employee pension plans — this after Ms. I’ll-tackle-the-status-quo agreed to enable the police union’s rules-are-different-for-us demands.

Whereupon Brown, the chief law enforcement official of the most populous state in the union, proved unequal to the task of HANGING UP THE TELEPHONE, thereby managing to leave on the cop union’s voice recorder the full, unadulterated contents of an ensuing, full and frank discussion of the political implications of the matter, during which one of Jerry Kid’s referred to eMeg as a “whore.”

No doubt, they meant it in the nicest possible way.

At press time, Team Brown’s Steve Glazer was apologizing profusely to Herself and the usual “anyone who may have been offended” suspects, while the volcanic Sarah Pompei  of Team Whitman was declaring the sexist slur “unforgivable and despicable.” Film at 11.

Next up: Jerry tries to navigate indoor plumbing.

Must read of the week: No word yet if the Legions of eMeg Communications Corps has turned to the task of e-blast, multiple platform dissemination of the cover story in the upcoming issue of The Nation, but if they haven’t, they really should.

In one of the toughest investigative takedowns in memory of a public figure who really had it coming, Isabel Macdonald rips the phony mask of self-righteousness from the immigrant-bashing Lou Dobbs, late of CNN, and in the process makes Our Meg look like a total piker in the employer of undocumented workers category.

Dobbs, who made himself rich and famous by blathering race-baiting demagoguery on cable TV, for quite some time has been living large in two huge and luxurious estates which support the major jones that his 22-year old daughter has for champion show jumper horses.

Turns out his truly sweet set-up is sustained by the labor of illegal immigrants, whom he never tired of bashing on his now-canceled program of self-described “fearless reporting and commentary.” In a piece aptly, if not subtly, titled “Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite,” Macdonald writes:

But with his relentless diatribes against “illegals” and their employers, Dobbs is casting stones from a house—make that an estate—of glass. Based on a yearlong investigation, including interviews with five immigrants who worked without papers on his properties, The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper…

Since he left CNN last November, after Latino groups mounted a protest campaign against his inflammatory rhetoric, Dobbs has continued to advocate an enforcement-first approach to immigration, emphasizing, as he did in a March 2010 interview on Univision, that “the illegal employer is the central issue in this entire mess!”

Schadenfreude – sometimes it’s better than sex.

Update: Dobbs vs. Macdonald on MSNBC.

Testing 1, 2, 3: Nate Silver, the NYT’s boy genius of political polling and  statistical computational matters, has reset the betting line in his 538 blog and now makes Jerry Brown a 3-to-1 favorite to win the California governorship.

Written (or, far more likely, edited) into the most genteel Timespeak,  Silver’s item on the race notes that Krusty has become a 75 percent favorite after the column pegged him as the underdog just two weeks ago, and credits Nicky-gate as the reason for the switch:

Still, the allegations are obviously not helpful to Ms. Whitman, whose campaign has reacted with a certain lack of dexterity — with Ms. Whitman, for instance, having volunteered to take a polygraph test to rebut them. Such distractions may be relatively more difficult for a candidate like Ms. Whitman, who is running her first campaign for office, and who is used to writing her own script as the former chief executive of eBay.

Amid all the recent fuss about I-9’s and mileage payments for maids, we’d almost forgotten about last week’s quickly-retracted promise by eMeg to take a lie detector test to back up her story, but we’re glad Nate raised it since it resurfaced one of  our all-time favorite political quotes (h/t Bill Carrick).

Fritz Hollings, the ex-governor and former long-serving Senator from South Carolina, was once challenged by a soon-to-be-vanquished campaign rival to take a drug test. To which the famously blunt-spoken Hollings instantly replied: “I’ll take a drug test if you take an IQ test.”

Corporations are people too: Mega-kudos to Jack Dolan of the By God L.A. Times for digging out a truly outrageous $30 million sweetheart tax break deal in the Legislature’s compromise budget plan, a reeking piece of rancid fish festering deep inside the secretly negotiated spending plan for the financial benefit of one, and only one, rich and politically influential family.

The provision, which will allow the Humboldt Redwood Co. to deduct $20 million in old losses from future taxes, is also expected to cover penalties and interest for the firm co-owned by three sons of Donald G. Fisher, founder of the Gap and Banana Republic, said company Chairman Sandy Dean.

The tax break was inserted into the draft state spending plan during closed-door negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders, said people close to the talks. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the deal-making.

While Krusty is working overtime to make the world safe for children’s bouncy houses and eMeg is trembling with fury about a few poor people who may have dared to leave the state while on welfare, we’re still waiting for the howls of outrage from either one of them over this single interest rip-off for one of California’s best-connected families.

Breaking: Dolan busts them on another one.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: On the list of Citizen Kane-wannabes who thought it would be fun to own a newspaper, there is tremendous competition for the title of biggest chucklehead, but it’s tough to top the utter idiocy of Chicago greedhead Sam Zell, who’s still in the process of ruining a whole batch of them, as David Carr reports in painful detail.

Media Morsels: Palin as Khamenei, gWill Hearts eMeg

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

palintrashStupid, crazy and mean: “Fear a stupid enemy,” goes a Turkish proverb that came to mind as Calbuzz perused the latest news from Alaska that Snowbilly Sarah has engaged some vicious lawyer to intimidate journalists. Palin’s irrational antics can be tres amusant to be sure —  Wonkette’s subtle characterization of her as “batshit-insane” gets it just about right –- but the soon-to-be-ex-governor of Alaska’s latest outrage ain’t no laughing matter. Her threats to the NYT, Washpost and MSNBC are silly on their face, but her effort to muscle and silence Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, for the crime of not being content to swallow Palin’s incoherent explanation of her resignation, is both reprehensible and dangerous.

Calbuzz knows through bitter experience that being a lowly journalist dragged through the legal system by a vengeful, powerful person who operates on the ancient legal theory of Keep Your Mouth Shut or I’ll Ruin Your Life is a scary, painful and expensive proposition, and every principled pol, newshound and hen in the nation ought to be speaking up for Moore and throwing a red flag at Palin.

The Republican’s 2008 vice presidential candidate is a demagogue of the first rank who, despite the condescending chuckles of Beltway wise men, remains dead serious about exploiting the bitterness and resentments of the nation’s culture wars for the sole and focused purpose of benefiting her own career and self-interest. Palin right now is demonstrating for all to see that her notion of the First Amendment is not much different than that of Ali Khamenei or Kim Jong-Il, so it’s prudent for everyone who practices, covers or follows politics to keep that in mind. Forewarned is forearmed.


I dunno, what do you think she’s up to: The tsunami of ongoing speculation about what strategic calculations, if any, lie behind Palin’s walkaway include a couple of outstanding takes:  Paul Begala, CNN talking head and longtime FOB, argues the full insanity plea, while the journalist Geoffrey Dunn, who’s writing a book on Palin, offers one of the meatier  analyses, examining not only the political/ethical angles but that whole character is fate thing. Most Valuable Blogger award goes to the redoubtable Mickey Kaus, who catalogued (at last count) 14 separate theories floating on the web.

Will_George_EMAILAnother Right-Wing Scribe Falls Hard: Heartthrob Meg Whitman, already the object of a mad crush by conservative bloviator Fred Barnes, now has another right-wing pundit in the full throes of l’amour fou. This time it’s George Will, normally the most decorous and starchy of men, who’s been smitten by Her Megness and is in full gush about it. He begins his tonguey lip  lock with an anecdote displaying his own chuckling delight at how eMeg “delights” in recounting to him – little minx! – the story behind the Central Valley’s biggest corporate carrot farm. Be still, my heart!

Then the Great Man, always a substantive figure,  is on to more substantive stuff, giving us the nuts and bolts of Meg’s program:


“She would reduce the number of state Assembly districts (there are 80) because the Legislature is cumbersome, and would modify the initiative and referendum process.


“Voters have discombobulated budgeting by mandating spending without providing revenues, other than promiscuous borrowing. Whitman favors making it harder — requiring more signatures — to get measures on ballots, limiting the number on ballots in particular elections, and requiring the ballot language to specify the costs of measures being voted on…

Today’s most pressing problem — government in the grip of public employees unions — is, she thinks, ripe for improvement: 85 percent of the state’s unionized employees are working without contracts.”

“She would,” “she thinks” – Voila, what else is needed? L’etat c’est Moi!

And how will eMeg accomplish these great goals, which clearly have never occurred to lesser lights:

“To change Sacramento, which Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego television stations barely cover, she must find new ways to communicate with a disconnected public.”

Here’s an idea about a “new way to communicate”: How about giving an interview to somebody who actually understands this stuff? Sheesh. We’re just sayin’.

Turgid Times Strikes Again: In another blow to big-time big city journalism, the resident geniuses at the sinking L.A. Times have forced out the widely respected John Arthur as executive editor.  A smart, funny, blue collar, hard news guy, Arthur worked his way up the ladder in 23 years at the Times, playing key roles in the paper’s Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news coverage of the Northridge earthquake and the 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery and shoot-out.

Arthur got pushed out because of a disagreement over “masthead changes,” according to a memo to the staff posted by Russ Stanton, the latest Vichy editor installed by the minions of big brain Sam Zell. Brilliant move, Capitan: Axe a guy with great instincts, great experience and great passion because of a battle over rearranging the deck chairs. (One of Stanton’s big moves, which Arthur apparently disputed, was installing the…wait for it…Obituaries Editor as managing editor for news. You can’t make this stuff up).

A telling sidebar to this woeful tale is the characteristic hustle shown by two of L.A.’s better blogs in covering the story faster and better than the Times, which force fed its readers a business section story that could have been written by the marketing department. Word of Arthur’s departure came first from L.A. Observed, a daily must-read for SoCal news junkies, while the best behind-the-scenes yarn came from Nikki Finke Fan Club President Sharon Waxman, editor and publisher of The Wrap:


The firing of Arthur raised the ire of some members of the masthead in a meeting on Thursday. Arthur, much like his former colleague Leo Wolinsky — who was canned last fall — was (is) an unabashed, old-fashioned newsroom guy, the kind who stayed till 10 at night, who checked in on weekends and who guarded the sanctity of the front page with the loyalty of a Saint Bernard. But he was a leftover from the era of Jim O’Shea, an editor ago.

He’s gone now, replaced by people who are presumably more loyal to Stanton.

Safe travels, man.

— By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine