Death of a Newspaper

27 February 2009 |permalink | email article

We mourn the death of the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper, which closes today after almost 150 years. It’s another death blow to journalism and legions of journalists who have written for daily newspapers much of their lives.

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Echoes of FDR and Reagan

26 February 2009 |permalink | email article

In the wake of his historic speech Monday night on Capitol Hill Obama is being favorably compared in terms of bipartisanship with the two former presidents.

Lou Cannon, Reagan’s biographer, credits Obama’s effort to reach out to Republican moderates… read full story

Polls: Obama Won The Night

25 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Public surveys immediately after Obama’s address indicated, with some exceptions, it was incredibly well received regardless of party.

A CNN poll showed 68% of respondents viewed his remarks favorably. A CBS New poll found the president’s approval rising from… read full story

Obama: Rallying America

25 February 2009 |permalink | email article

The 44th president, addressing a joint session of Congress, acknowledged the state of the economy is the nation’s top concern. With a Reaganesque call for American resilience, he sounded the call for action:  “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

It was a frank and tough talk about bankers, fraud and a long failed economy in which the nation managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, but that “the time to take charge of our future is here.”

The recovery begins with jobs, with 95% of Americans getting tax cuts with paychecks starting April 1, a restoration of confidence, and restart-lending.

Citing a history of past economic upheavals and transformation he said the nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.

Obama spend considerable time outlining a troika of key ideas for the nation’s economic future: energy, health care, and education which surprisingly drew huge ovations from both parties. 
Besides promoting the idea of volunteerism or service to the country Obama got one of the strongest ovations when he said that every American will need to get more than a high school diploma: “Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.”

He left no doubt that the U.S. dos not torture, will seek swift justice for captured terrorists and will overcome terrorism with vigilance in “upholding values our troops defend.”

Besides forging new and comprehensive strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda and combat terrorism, the president said he will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that “responsibly ends this war.” John McCain stood up and applauded.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, giving the Republican response to Obama, talked about conditionally working together with the White House. But he strongly criticized the Democratic economic philosophy, but also criticized the president about being too pessimistic – a charge belied by Obama’s stirring optimism.

It was a weak, predictable and misleading speech, saying Washington must lead but flaying Democrats leaders for suggesting that their stimulus package will grow the economy

“What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.”

Noting that Republicans have not been fiscally responsible, Jindal, just 37, clearly put himself on the far right wing of the GOP, along with Mike Huckabee and Sara Palin, as potential presidential candidates in 2012.

Obama: Broad Poll Support

24 February 2009 |permalink | email article

President Obama delivers his first address to Congress tonight, talking about health care and energy, as two new national polls indicate a high level of optimism and confidence about his leadership and strong support for his economic stimulus and… read full story

Volcker: Even Experts Clueless

23 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Paul Volcker, the respected 81-year old former chairman of the Federal Reserve, has sounded a 12-bell alarm.

As chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, he told a luncheon at the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia… read full story

One-Armed Midgets

22 February 2009 |permalink | email article

New GOP party chief Michael Steele is promising a massive television and radio blitz, including outreach online, in hopes of wooing Latinos and African-Americans.

In addition, the first African-American national political boss wants sign up Americans of all… read full story

Less Dubai, More Target?

21 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Nobody needs a fresh reality check about the economic tailspin – except perhaps the rich – but fashion queenmaker Anna Wintour offered some sobering comments in advance of the fall New York Fashion Week about why “value” is in… read full story

Dissident GOP Governors Say No

20 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Obama’s economic stimulus package, with huge benefits for every state, has exposed a clear fault line among the nation’s 22 GOP governors but the rift goes far deeper.

It offers clear divisions among two Republican governors who may… read full story

Alan Greenspan: No Mea Culpa

19 February 2009 |permalink | email article

The former Fed chairman, hailed as “The Maestro” in Bob Woodward’s 2000 biography, bears a major responsibility for the meltdown that the nation now finds itself in.

But when the 82-year old Greenspan addressed the Economic Club of… read full story

The Times: More Pain Ahead

18 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Layoff notices affecting at least 70 veteran newsroom reporters at The Los Angeles Times, expected Monday has been delayed until tomorrow. But more pain came on President’s Day from parent Tribune Communications: a salary freeze for non-union employees in… read full story

Nationalizing Banks

17 February 2009 |permalink | email article

The bank rescue is the next major crisis facing the Obama administration but its initial stab left more confusion than understanding.

So it was revealing that while John McCain called Barack Obama a socialist on Fox News last October… read full story

Obama’s Winter Of…

16 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Few are likely to accuse Barack Obama of cribbing William Shakespeare’s phrase “Winter of our discontent” in his play Richard III.

But the fact the president used the phrase “This winter of our hardship” in both his inaugural address… read full story

Death and Contemplation

15 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Billy Joel’s lyrics for “Only the Good Die Young” haunt us about lives cut short too soon.

But the remembrance of older, disparate passengers and crew killed last week aboard Flight 3407 on a cold, foggy night approaching… read full story

Sunday Talk

14 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Spin about getting Obama’s successful $785 billion stimulus through Congress will dominate television crossfire.

The most interesting will on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday” with Obama brain David Axelrod   selling the package.

On CNN’s “State… read full story

Thinking Big No More

13 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Following a Body Politic report Monday that the Los Angeles Times would cut 75 reporters from the staff on President’s Day LA Observed on Thursday offered additional details beyond suggesting the numbers might be higher (and 300 paper-wide) that… read full story

Sweet Victory, No Cigar

12 February 2009 |permalink | email article

With the House and Senate reaching a deal on a $789 million economic stimulus package to address a national crisis in just over 24 hours of intense negotiations with the White House, the way has ben cleared for final… read full story

‘No’ Party

11 February 2009 |permalink | email article

The Republican National Committee has sent an urgent e-mail to hard-core, grassroots activists asking for money “to help fight the liberal Democrats’ plan to impose their radical leftist agenda on America.”

Michael Steele, the party’s first African-American chairman, could… read full story

Elkhart to Congress: Pass It

10 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Obama, getting high marks at his first prime-time news conference yesterday, sounded more like a candidate on the trail fighting to win rather than a newly inaugurated president aggressively taking his case to the nation for an $838 billion… read full story

Times’ Staff Cuts

09 February 2009 |permalink | email article

The Gnomes of Temple Street, historically a reliable source, confide that the next round of cuts at The Los Angeles Times affecting 75 reporters from the newsroom will be announced on Monday, President’s Day.

Last Feb. 14, almost… read full story

Bully Pulpit, Divided Congress

09 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Barack Obama, committed to changing Washington, is finally on the offensive, awake to the fact that his economic recovery package might fail or be emasculated to the point of inadequacy.

So, after his bipartisan ploy failed, Obama’s embarking on… read full story

Press Conferences: R32, B43, O44

08 February 2009 |permalink | email article

President Obama gives his first formal television news conference Monday night in prime time, 20 days after being inaugurated.

FDR held his first gathering with reporters crowded around his Oval Office desk, without television, just four days after… read full story

Brother, Can You Spare. . .

08 February 2009 |permalink | email article

A growing number of songwriters are trying to address the nation’s economic recession. But The Wall Street Journal notes in a lead piece that none have come up with anything as big as E.Y. Harburg’s lyrics for “Brother, Can… read full story

Recovery Package: Up or Down?

06 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Until now Barack Obama has been losing the message war on the nation’s fiscal crisis, uncharacteristic for a political operation which flashed epic communication skills during the presidential campaign.

His nice guy mood first changed Wednesday night after… read full story

The Split: McCain vs. Obama

05 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Remember the night before Barack Obama was sworn in as president when he graciously hosted a dinner for John McCain, his vanished election foe?

There was talk at the time that the new president wanted McCain to be his… read full story

Vetting Political Animals

04 February 2009 |permalink | email article

To vet was originally a horse-racing term, a reference to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race.

Vetting in politics is the equivalent of a background check… read full story

A Clueless Leader

03 February 2009 |permalink | email article

Michael Steele, the first African-American to lead the Republican National Committee, needs a crash course on American history.

He made this astonishing statement: “Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job.”

The comment is… read full story

Politics: Chicago vs. L.A.

02 February 2009 |permalink | email article

A Sunday column by the Chicago Tribune’s hard-hitting columnist John Kass provides a fresh perspective on politics in America’s Third City in the wake of Rod Blagojevich’s demise.

A savvy Chicago friend believes Kass is the best political reporter… read full story

Health Care Now

01 February 2009 |permalink | email article

A bruising Senate debate over tax cuts and spending for big changes to the $819 billion stimulus package passed by the House begins Monday that will also test the maximum resolve of President Obama to build consensus.

Resistance centers… read full story

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