links for 2009-03-25

  • With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

    "This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

    A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

    Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

    Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

  • Epidural bleeds are a very dangerous, so I cannot say with 100% conviction that Ms. Richardson would have been saved in the United States. But, I’d sure rather take my chances on an American ski slope — at least for now. A recent Canadian visitor to my area remarked how thankful they were to have had their heart attack in the U.S., because in Canada, they would have died. (Here, they had emergency cardiac catheterization and bypass surgery.)

    So, Mr. Neeson, perhaps, when the pain of the immediate tragedy is past, if you wish to do some good in your wife’s memory, perhaps you could stand up for private free market non-government medicine. Look around the world. Look in detail. Don’t be fooled by the theory-spouters who don’t actually see patients.

  • Shortly after Mr. Obama's inauguration, Mr. Sanjari put his name to an open letter to the new president, signed by several prominent young Iranian dissidents, calling on him "to pay special attention to the repressive, unaccountable nature of the regime" that now threatens and provokes the U.S. and our allies. Its conclusion is as fitting a tribute as any to Mirsayafi's notable and too-brief life:

    "Mr. President, you marked your first day in the White House by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. But in our country, many Guantanamos exist, only our Guantanamos are home to students, women's rights activists, labor organizers, political activists, and journalists. We, as former student activists who spent time in Iranian prisons under inhumane conditions, call on you and all those who defend human rights, freedom and equality to express solidarity to the people of Iran as they wage their struggle for freedom."

  • In which a YouTube grassroots brushfire explodes into a full-blown international incident. You make the call: Below you’ll find the “Red Eye” segment that aired on March 17 followed by MacKay’s demand for an apology this morning. Four Canadian troops were killed in Afghanistan in the interim, something that I suspect would have steered Gutfeld away from this topic if it had happened before the taping. Even so, the only really objectionable line is Doug Benson joking that he didn’t know Canada was part of the fight. Otherwise it’s standard goofs about Canadians being softer/more polite than Americans blended with a critique of foreign governments neglecting military spending. It’s not a knock on Canadian troops, in other words; on the contrary, Gutfeld explicitly agrees with one panelist who says near the end that he has “tremendous respect for anyone who serves,” whether Canadian or American. But as I say, your call.
  • Without Bush, Cheney and other past favorites to kick around, left-wing bloggers have become truly desperate for fresh targets. Dying for something to gripe about while their side enjoys one-party rule, they've returned to the old "Bill O'Reilly's producers are stalking us" chestnut.
  • The DCCC blasts out an email from James Carville:

    Dear Friend,

    You won't even believe this.

    The Republicans have called on none other than Sarah Palin to headline their big fat-cat fundraising dinner.

    You know they're going to use every last dime they raise to try to slam the brakes on President Obama's change agenda.

    You know what I say? Thanks, but no thanks – how about you get back on that bridge to nowhere, Sarah.

    We've got to beat her and the rest of those "no, baby, no" Republicans standing in President Obama's way by winning this FEC fundraising battle on March 31st. It's the only one in President Obama's first 100 days. It'll show everybody that America stands behind President Obama and Democrats fighting for change – not Sarah Palin and the "just say no" Republicans.

  • Hank Morris, the media consultant who produced one of the most famous campaign ads in California political history, has been indicted in New York in a pay to play scheme on 123 counts including enterprise corruption, Martin Act securities fraud, grand larceny, bribery, money laundering, and related offenses. Link

    In 1989, Morris and then-partner Bill Carrick produced what came to be called "the grabber" to kick off Dianne Feinstein's campaign for governor. The ad, declaring that Feinstein was “forged in tragedy,” featured news footage of her — then president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — announcing the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

  • In an unusual Monday night conference call with gay marriage supporters, Attorney General Jerry Brown offered tips to carry their fight forward should Supreme Court justices disappoint them and uphold Proposition 8.

    "I'm not giving up on the court yet," he said, acknowledging that the justices expressed many doubts about overturning the voters' choice last Nov. 4 to approve, by about 52 percent, a constitutional change to declare marriage between only a man and a woman.

    Brown, a likely candidate for governor next year, spoke on a call organized by the Courage Campaign, a group working to change opinions in regions where gay-marriage rights are not embraced by majorities. More than 400 emails with questions for Brown came in ahead of the call, and a few dozen others came in live.

  • At California's historic hearing on Proposition 8 earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin briefly imagined a scenario that might solve the legal conflict over a gay marriage ban.

    What if the government were to get out of the "marriage business," Ming asked, and issue civil-union licenses to both straight and gay couples?

    The justices agreed such a change would have to be handled by the Legislature, and discussion closed.

    (tags: gaymarriage)
  • Doesn’t mean she’s responsible for them, but someone’s interested:

    I wanted to let you know that I just received an interesting phone call. It was an automated poll and it asked the following questions:

    1. Do you have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin?

    2. Gov. Palin thinks A, B, C, D & E do you agree with Gov. Palin?

    3. Do you feel it is important that Gov. Palin is reelected as Gov. of Alaska?

    (tags: sarah_palin)
  • President Obama's aunt, a Kenyan immigrant who ignited controversy last year for living in the United States illegally, has returned to her quiet apartment in a Boston public housing complex to prepare for an April 1 deportation hearing.

    When her case emerged in the waning days of the presidential race last year, Zeituni Onyango, a tall, frail-looking woman in her late 50s who walks with a cane, fled the media attention to stay with relatives in Cleveland.

  • At a time when his Washington honeymoon is turning into a hazing, President Barack Obama and his team are launched on a strategy to sail above the traditional White House press corps by reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media.

    The highest-profile moments in the new approach have been well-noted, such as the president giving an interview to progressive radio host Ed Schultz and Obama calling on a reporter from the liberal-leaning Huffington Post at his first news conference.

    But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda — and one in which much of the work is being done by Obama’s top advisers.

    (tags: barack_obama)
  • Potential Illinois Senate hopeful Rep. Mark Kirk (R) told The Hill that Cheney would better shape his legacy by writing a book.

    “Tending a legacy is best done in a memoir,” Kirk said. “I would just encourage everybody who has left office to follow the tradition of the Founding Fathers — to write your memoirs, but to refrain from [criticizing].”

    Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), who is running for governor, suggested that past leaders should not be seeking the spotlight at a time when the party is rebuilding and redefining itself, after “hitting bottom” in the devastating losses last November.

  • The Obama administration, after months of criticizing Wall Street, has been scrambling to woo top bankers and financiers to back its latest bailout plan.
    In recent days, in spite of public furor over huge bonuses paid at American International Group Inc., the administration has concluded that it needs the private sector to play a central role in fixing the economy. So over the weekend, the White House worked to tone down its Wall Street bashing and to win support from top bankers for the bailout plan announced Monday, which will rely on public-private investments to soak up toxic assets.