07/27/2014 archive

Rant of the Week: Keith Olberman NFL’s Insufficient Punishment

Keith Olbermann Destroys The NFL Over Its Treatment Of Women

h/t John Amato, Crooks & Liars

On This Day In History July 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

July 27 is the 208th day of the year (209th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 157 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that president Richard Nixon be impeached and removed from office. It was the first such impeachment recommendation in more than a century. The vote was 27 to 11, with 6 of the committee’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats in voting to send the article to the House. Nixon resigned before he was impeached by the full House.

The House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. The impeachment proceedings resulted from a series of political scandals involving the Nixon administration that came to be collectively known as Watergate.


In May 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began formal impeachment hearings against Nixon. On July 27 of that year, the first article of impeachment against the president was passed. Two more articles, for abuse of power and contempt of Congress, were approved on July 29 and 30. On August 5, Nixon complied with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring that he provide transcripts of the missing tapes, and the new evidence clearly implicated him in a cover up of the Watergate break-in. On August 8, Nixon announced his resignation, becoming the first president in U.S. history to voluntarily leave office. After departing the White House on August 9, Nixon was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford, who, in a controversial move, pardoned Nixon on September 8, 1974, making it impossible for the former president to be prosecuted for any crimes he might have committed while in office. Only two other presidents in U.S. history have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Le Tour 2014: Stage 21, Évry / Paris Champs-Élysées

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

No rest for Dancin’ Dave.

Umm… changes.  Not many.  Jean-Christophe Péraud had a puncture and still finished 7th to move up to 2nd in the GC.  Bardet had a flat and lost a place to Tejay Van Garderen.

That’s about it.

On the stage it was Tony Martin, Tom Dumoulin (1:39), Jan Barta (1:47), Vincenzo Nibali (1:58).  Everybody else lost time.

What about a parade are we not understanding?  As everyone limps into Paris (except the Sprinters who will want a stage win on the Champs-Élysées) the General Classification looks like this- Vincenzo Nibali, Jean-Christophe Péraud (7:52), Thibaut Pinot (8:24), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (9:55), Tejay Vangarderen (11:44), Romain Bardet (11:46), Leopold Konig (14:41), Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (18:12), and  Laurens Ten Dams (18:20).  Everyone else is over 21 minutes behind.

In the Points competition it is Peter Sagan (417), Bryan Coquard (253), and Alexander Kristoff (247).  Every one else is under 200.  Maybe Kristoff will make a move on Coquard but I doubt it.

King of the Mountains is Rafal Majka (181), Vincenzo Nibali (168), and Joaquim Rodriguez (112).

In Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (34:44), and 3rd place between Movistar (1:05:44) and BMC (1:08:09)

The Young Rider Classification is Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet (3:22). and Michal Kwiatkowski (1:12:25).

Today’s final stage of 85 and a half miles actually has a rated climb I missed at the beginning, Côte de Briis-sous-Forges, a Category 4.  Otherwise the main feature is the customary 10 laps of the Champs-Élysées.

- fin -

The Breakfast Club (Song of the Sea)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.png

This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

Broken clouds along the blue horizon

The sun is setting and the wind is dying down

Outward bound, there is music all around

Can you hear it, it’s the, the song of the sea?

Soundings taken at the edge of darkness

The widest silences the heart can ever hear

You can steer to the stars along your lee

Set your bearings to the, the song of the sea

Oh, and the song is as ancient as the days

And the winds upon the waves

Let it carry you away, so far away

Trim my sails to greet the breakin’ morning

Past the headlands to the rolling open sea

An’ it comes to me, I have never felt so free

As when I’m listening to the, the song of the sea

Oh and the song is as ancient as the days

And the winds upon the waves

Let it carry me away, so far away

Some were meant to watch the world from windows

And never look beyond the road beneath their feet

But for me, I was always meant to be

One forever chasing the song of the sea

The song of the sea

The song of the sea

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

The dguests are: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK); CNN “Crossfire” co-host S.E. Cupp; and UC Berkley professor and former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI): and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

His panel guests are: CBS News Elections Director Anthony Salvanto; David Leonhardt, The New York Times; Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report; and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The guests on MTP are: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Chris Gunness, the Spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency; Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY); and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

At the roundtable are: Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour; David Brooks, New York Times; Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post; and Ruth Marcus, Washington Post.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Palestinian Minister Mohammad Shtayye; Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin;  Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Formula One 2014: Hungaroring

Of course the big news is that Hamilton burnt up a car in qualifying and by burnt up I mean chassis (carbon fiber), engine, and gearbox.

The chassis would be ok, but the engine and gearbox have him starting from pit lane along with Maldonado and Magnussen.

Now they’re blaming it on a fuel leak which is no doubt correct, but the inherent problem with this year’s cars is the extensive electronics in the energy recovery system and the breaking force added by the kinetic drive that powers it have the engineering teams scrambling to produce a power plant that is fast and reliable.  Mercedes has done the best job so far which is why they’re in the lead.

As for Hamilton it remains to be seen is he can produce a comeback like he did last week when he drove himself into a third place.  The Hungaroring has limited passing opportunities, though starting from pit lane Hamilton will have his choice of Mediums and Softs and will likely use that to produce a different pit stop strategy.

At least they didn’t have to worry about dust as it’s been raining, but that also means the track isn’t rubbered in.  The slick track brought out red flags in Q3 as Magnussen bought a wall.

The way things stand now at the August break Hamilton is 14 behind Rosberg, Ricciardo 24 ahead of Vettel and Alonso and Ferrari have survived Nikki Lauda calling the Ferrari a piece of crap which, of course, it is.  Other than that Mercedes is the only team close to producing a good engine and the top half of the field shows that.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

 World View: The slickness of Israel’s spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz

 PATRICK COCKBURN Sunday 27 July 2014

Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Worldwide rhino horn trade continues unabated

China’s military muscle-flexing ensnarls air traffic

Nigeria on red alert after first Ebola death

Donetsk residents flee fighting; Russians report spike in Ukrainian refugees

Hundreds of human skeletons found in Bolivian mining city

Last Dance for Dave?

Rumors Swirling That David Gregory Will Dumped From Meet The Press After Midterm Elections

By: Jason Easley, PoliticusUSA

Wednesday, July, 23rd, 2014, 4:55 pm

It has been reported by mainstream outlets like The Washington Post that David Gregory is on thin ice. The constant reports that NBC News is thinking about making a change on Meet The Press are becoming a where there’s smoke, there’s fire situation. The one fact in the NY Post report is that ratings have plummeted since Gregory took over for Tim Russert.

Judging from all of the media reports, it seems that NBC will only look in house if they get rid of David Gregory. This would be a huge mistake. A Chuck Todd or Morning Joe led Meet The Press won’t be any better than Gregory’s version of the show. I have long suggested that Rachel Maddow be given the job, but she is apparently viewed as too partisan (read: too liberal and too not a heterosexual white male) to anchor a Sunday morning show.

The problems at Meet The Press go beyond David Gregory. The show itself, much like the rest of Sunday morning political talk, is dominated by Republicans. The faces on the Sunday shows don’t match the changing face of the country. The Sunday shows tend to be dominated mostly by older white men while the country is getting younger, browner, and more female. The Sunday shows are out of step with leftward direction of the nation.

Meet The Press would be best served if NBC News dumped Gregory, and looked outside of the NBC family for his replacement. If they have to stay in house and refuse to hire Maddow, Chris Hayes, who ironically enough, is killing MSNBC’s primetime ratings would be an excellent host for Meet The Press. Hayes’s style has been a painful fit on cable news primetime, but he would make an excellent Sunday morning host. Hayes was excellent as the host of MSNBC’s Up, and he is capable of interviewing both Republicans and Democrats.

Ok, so there’s something wacky about the page in my browser (Seamonkey 2.26.1), but you can cut and paste it to get the whole piece, and don’t be put off by the obscurity of the source, I’ve seen it other places and this was the easiest to find.

So this is good news right?  Anybody would be better than Dancin’ Dave!

Hold on there.  Would Chris Todd really be an improvement?  Joe and Mika (the Beltway Bootlicker favorites)?

Even the Sainted Rachel has shown a noted ability to ignore in her own network the problems she cheerfully exopses in others.

But Chris, Chris Hayes, surely we can count on him!

‘Witch Hunt’: Fired MSNBC Contributor Speaks Out on Suppression of Israel-Palestine Debate

By Max Blumenthal, Alternet

July 22, 2014

Jebreal said that in her two years as an MSNBC contributor, she had protested the network’s slanted coverage repeatedly in private conversations with producers. “I told them we have a serious issue here,” she explained. “But everybody’s intimidated by this pressure and if it’s not direct then it becomes self-censorship.”

With her criticism of her employer’s editorial line, she has become the latest casualty of the pro-Israel pressure. “I have been told to my face that I wasn’t invited on to shows because I was Palestinian,” Jebreal remarked. “I didn’t believe it at the time. Now I believe it.”

An NBC producer speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Jebreal’s account, describing to me a top-down intimidation campaign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric view of the attack on the Gaza Strip. The NBC producer told me that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC executives are micromanaging coverage of the crisis, closely monitoring contributors’ social media accounts and engaging in a “witch hunt” against anyone who strays from the official line.

“Loyalties are now being openly questioned,” the producer commented.

The suppression campaign culminated after Jebreal’s on-air protest during a July 21 segment on Ronan Farrow Daily.

“We are disgustingly biased on this issue. Look at how much airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis, Andrea Mitchell and others,” Jebreal complained to Farrow. “I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues.”

When Farrow claimed that the network had featured other voices, Jebreal shot back, “Maybe for thirty seconds, and then you have twenty-five minutes for Bibi Netanyahu.”

Within hours, all of Jebreal’s future bookings were cancelled and the renewal of her contract was off the table. The following day, Jebreal tweeted: “My forthcoming TV appearances have been cancelled. Is there a connection to my expose and the cancellation?”

According to the NBC producer, MSNBC show teams were livid that they had been forced by management to cancel Jebreal as punishment for her act of dissent.

At the same time, social media erupted in protest of Jebreal’s cancellation, forcing the network into damage control mode. The role of clean-up man fell to Chris Hayes, the only MSNBC host with a reputation for attempting a balanced discussion of Israel-Palestine. On the July 22 episode of his show, All In, he brought Jebreal on to discuss her on-air protest.

In introducing Jebreal, Hayes took on the role of the industry and network defender: “Let me take you behind the curtain of cable news business for a moment,” Hayes told his viewers. “If you appear on a cable news network, you trash that network and one of its hosts by name, on any issue – Gaza, infrastructure spending, sports coverage, funny internet cat videos – the folks at the network will not take kindly to it.”

In fact, MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough has publicly attacked fellow MSNBC hosts and slammed the network for its support for the Democratic Party.

“I did not think that i was stepping in a hornet’s nest,” Jebreal told me. “I saw Joe Scarborough criticizing the network. I thought we were liberal enough to stand self criticism.”

Yet when she appeared across from Hayes, Jebreal encountered a defensive host shielding his employers from her criticism. “We’re actually doing a pretty good job” of covering the Israel-Palestine crisis, Hayes claimed to her. “I think our network, and I think the New York Times and the media all around, have been doing a much better job on this conflict.”

Jebreal appeared on screen as a “Palestinian journalist” – her title as a MSNBC contributor had been removed. When she insisted that American broadcast media had not provided adequate context about the 8-year-long Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip or the roots of Palestinian violence, Hayes protested that he had wanted to host Hamas officials alongside the Israeli government spokespeople he routinely featured but that it was practically impossible.

“Not all Palestinians are Hamas,” Jebreal vehemently replied.

“Airtime always strikes me as a bad metric,” Hayes responded. “I mean there are interviews and then there are interviews. I had [Israeli government spokesman] Mark Regev on this program for 16 minutes, alright? That’s a very long interview but there was a lot to talk to him about.”

The NBC producer remarked to me that the network’s public relations strategy had backfired. Hayes’ performance was poorly received on social media while Jebreal appeared as another maverick journalist outcasted by corporate media for delivering uncomfortable truths.

For her part, Jebreal told me she was disturbed by Hayes’ comments. “I admire that Chris [Hayes] wanted to have me on but it seems like he was condoning what happened to me,” she said. “He was saying, ‘What do you expect? We rally around our stars.’ Well, I rally around reality, if that still matters in media.”

Oh, You Thought Cable News Was About The Truth?

By Susie Madrak, Crooks & Liars

July 23, 2014 9:39 am

Say what? Was that Chris Hayes, the voice of moral reason, blowing off MSNBC’s treatment of Jebreal as no big deal, par for the course?

Well, see, this is one of the reasons why I don’t get my news from cable teevee. Because (and I’m not going to blame Chris Hayes for wanting to keep his job, he’s got a mortgage and a couple of kids) inevitably, the same people we see as reliable voices become Villagers. Maybe not as dyed-in-the-wool as Mrs. Greenspan or Dancin’ Dave, but if they want to pay the bills, there’s an electric fence they dare not cross.

This started in earnest when television news morphed from a public service to a profit center, and it ain’t going back anytime soon. Problem is, a lot of us still remember the public service days.

Exactly.  This is an institutional problem.  Television News is to Journalism as a Cesspit to a Mountain Spring.

MSNBC’s Sole Palestinian Voice Rula Jebreal Takes on Pro-Israeli Gov’t Bias at Network & in US Media

Democracy Now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A week after public outrage helped force NBC’s reversal of a decision to pull veteran reporter Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza, the sole Palestinian contributor to sister network MSNBC has publicly criticized its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. “We are disgustingly biased when it comes to this issue,” Rula Jebreal said Monday on MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily, citing a disproportionate amount of Palestinian voices and a preponderance of Israeli government officials and supporters. Jebreal joins us to discuss her decision to speak out against MSNBC and her broader criticism of the corporate media’s Israel-Palestine coverage. An author and political analyst who worked for many years as a broadcast journalist in Italy, Jebreal also shares her personal story as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship who is married to a Jewish man and has a Jewish sister.  (Transcript linked in article).

And who is this Ayman Mohyeldin of whom Rula Jebreal speaks?  Oh, he’s the NBC Gaza correspondent who filed the story about the Israeli Defense Forces bombing 4 Palestinian children playing soccer on the beach.  The one who got canned and then re-instated after enormous public outcry.  Not everyone is fooled by the propaganda you see.

Glenn Greenwald: Why Did NBC Pull Veteran Reporter After He Witnessed Israeli Killing of Gaza Kids?

Democracy Now!

Friday, July 18, 2014

NBC is facing questions over its decision to pull veteran news correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza just after he personally witnessed the Israeli military’s killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys just minutes before they died. He is a longtime reporter in the region. In his coverage, he reports on the Gaza conflict in the context of the Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive. Back in 2008 and 2009, when he worked for Al Jazeera, Mohyeldin and his colleague Sherine Tadros were the only foreign journalists on the ground in Gaza as Israel killed 1,400 people in what it called “Operation Cast Lead.” We speak to Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, who has revealed that the decision to pull Mohyeldin from Gaza and remove him from reporting on the situation came from NBC executive David Verdi. Greenwald also comments on the broader picture of the coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict in the U.S. media.  (Transcript linked in article).

NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

17 Jul 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli gunboats of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

Mohyeldin recounted how, moments before their death, he was kicking a soccer ball with the four boys, who were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family. He posted numerous chilling details on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, including the victims’ names and ages, photographs he took of their anguished parents, and video of one of their mothers as she learned about the death of her young son. He interviewed one of the wounded boys at the hospital shortly before being operated on. He then appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, where he dramatically recounted what he saw.

Despite this powerful first-hand reporting – or perhaps because of it – Mohyeldin was nowhere to be seen on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast with Brian Williams. Instead, as Media Bistro’s Jordan Chariton noted, NBC curiously had Richard Engel – who was in Tel Aviv, and had just arrived there an hour or so earlier – “report” on the attack. Charlton wrote that “the decision to have Engel report the story for ‘Nightly’ instead of Mohyeldin angered some NBC News staffers.”

Indeed, numerous NBC employees, including some of the network’s highest-profile stars, were at first confused and then indignant over the use of Engel rather than Mohyeldin to report the story. But what they did not know, and what has not been reported until now, is that Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.

Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth. As a result, neocon and “pro-Israel” websites have repeatedly attacked him as a “Hamas spokesman” and spouting “pro-Hamas rants.”

Last week, as he passed over the border from Israel, he said while reporting that “you can understand why some human rights organizations call Gaza ‘the world’s largest outdoor prison,'”; he added: “One of the major complaints and frustrations among many people is that this is a form of collective punishment. You have 1.7 million people in this territory, now being bombarded, with really no way out.”

So two questions for you dear reader, are you still sure Chris Hayes is any improvement or is the problem behind the camera; and two, is it sexist not to show the same support for Rula Jebreal that we did for Ayman Mohyeldin.  What would Hillary think?