Monthly archives: January, 2011

Keith Olbermann Signs Off at MSNBC

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Keith Olbermann signed off last night for the last time from MSNBC. And I was mildly surprised.

First, contrary to some of my conservative friends (Yes, some of my best friends are conservatives.) I enjoyed Keith, discovering him for the first time only after then State Senator Obama delivered the incredible keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. We were having a meeting of the South Chicagoland
Young Democrats, and Michael Kean – then a high school student, now in college, and someone you should consider voting for some day if he runs for office – told me to find Keith Olbermann on the Web. This was one of Keith’s closing commentaries, have no idea which one, but I loved it.

Now, contrary to some of my liberal friends, I was not a Keith Olbermann "fan," whatever that is. I did not watch him every night. I was more partial to Rachel Maddow.

You can have Ed Schultz. The whining is too much for me.

But I did watch Keith, and, his melodrama and over-the-top flair aside, I enjoyed and most often agreed with him.

Yes, Olbermann was often melodramatic. Yes, Olbermann was often over-the-top. World’s Worst Person? Really, Keith?

Overall, however, Olbermann’s message was, by far, coherent and consistent. And wonderfully liberal: the American Dream is for everyone: from the richest rich to those living in squalor. And everyone, everyone, is entitled — yes, entitled — to the same opportunity. The rich are not (necessarily) rich because they’re smarter, wiser, or more deserving (entitled?). The poor are not (necessarlily) poor because they’re not smart, unwise, or less deserving (excluded?). The Liberal is the thinker, not wedded to ideology, wedded only to the truth. To compassion.

And it is possible to have a thriving economy that is also wedded to truth, to compassion.

For whatever reason, Olbermann lost his job. MSNBC and he decided that they could not continue to work together. It turns out, Keith has a history of not working well with a boss. In his 32-year career, the Washington Post reports, "His nearly eight years hosting "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was by far the longest he’s lasted in a job during his career as a broadcaster."

And that, much more than a commentary on liberalism in the new millenium, or pushing Keith’s leave as the dominance of conservatism in the media, or at MSNBC, the simple, sad truth simply may be that Keith doesn’t like having a boss.

Here’s what Olbermann taught us: Liberalism sells. While his ratings slipped recently – many of us took a breather after the 2008 election – Olbermann’s show remained the most popular show on MSNBC.

O’Reilly, Beck and Limbaugh remain on the air – as entertainers. They are empty voices, concerned only with their only bottom line.

Olbermann, for all his flaws, had a conscience. And a heart.

So it goes, Vonnegut would say.

So it goes.

Sarah Palin Wants You To Ignore 8 Centuries of History, Accept Her Definition of ‘Blood Libel’

More from Sarah Palin, who, amazingly, removed her "target" list only after a United States Congresswoman was shot:

In a Fox News interview Monday night, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lashed out at the criticism she received in the wake of the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Palin said her critics were interested in silencing her conservative agenda, but said, "I will continue to speak out. They’re not going to shut me up."

"Those on the left hate my message and will do all that they can to stop me because they don’t like the message," Palin told Sean Hannity of Fox.

Palin’s appearance on the network, for which she is a paid contributor, was her first extended interview since the Tucson tragedy that left six dead and 14 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

The former governor and vice presidential candidate almost immediately came under scrutiny after the shooting, since Giffords was one of several lawmakers "targeted" on a 2010 electoral map Palin’s political action committee published online, which featured images of crosshairs over the targeted districts. Palin was further criticized after she released a video response to the shooting in which she defended herself. Critics said Palin focused too much on herself in her video message.

In her interview this evening, Palin her video message "isn’t about me," but about all conservatives who were unfairly targeted after the shooting. There is no indication that alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner was influenced by Palin or others.

"My defense wasn’t self-defense. It was about defending those falsely accused," she said, citing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party movement. "Soon the entire state of Arizona was being falsely accused of somehow being accessories to this."

Palin acknowledged that the map featured on her PAC’s website was removed after the shooting incident.

"I don’t think [removing the map] was inappropriate, if that was going to cause more heartburn," she said. "Knowing that that had absolutely nothing to do with an apolitical or perhaps even left-leaning criminal, I didn’t have a problem with that being taken down."

Palin owns nothing. Nothing that she, herself, has done.

Puts the blame on liberals.

Honestly. She does.

Palin owns nothing that she, she herself, has done.

Judy Baar Topinka Speaks The Line Of The Day In Springfield

From the Chicago Tribune:

Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka was sworn to her first term in by her son, Joseph, a major in the U.S. Army.

Topinka is making a return to statewide office, having previously served as treasurer.

“It is good to be back,” Topinka said.

Topinka honored Democrat Dan Hynes, who left office today after three terms as comptroller. Hynes lost to Quinn in the governor primary by less than 10,000 votes.

She also thanked Nancy Kimme, a longtime staffer. Topinka said she’s taking office as Illinois’ chief financial officer at a tough time.

“We have seen that things have gone swimmingly in my absence. You know, running for the chief fiscal officer of a financially-strapped state kind of makes you wonder: what is she thinking?… Well let me tell you what I’m thinking its time to put aside any petty bickering, certainly any partisan fights, roll up our sleeves and turn this state around.”

The “what is she thinking” is a reference to the tagline of millions of dollars of TV attack ads that then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich ran against her in the 2006 governor’s election. Blagojevich did not finish out that term.

Topinka said both parties are responsible for the budget mess and need to work to dig the state out.

What was she thinking?

Welcome back, Judy.  Welcome back.

Marc-Andre Fleury Gives Up 3 As Penguins Lose In Finale Minutes to Boston

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Penguins blew a two-goal lead and fell for the third time in as many games without All-Star center Sidney Crosby, 3-2, against the Boston Bruins tonight at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby has a concussion.

The Penguins outshot Boston, 14-6, in a scoreless first period.

Just watched the third period of this game.

Sh*t. Sh*t. And Sh*t.

Right Wingers Selling ‘Liberal Hunt Permit’

Liberal Hunting Permit

You would think after yesterday, after a United States Congresswoman was shot through the head and struggles in recovery, after a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl were shot dead, you would think, after all of that, the right-wingers would catch on.  Would start to get it.

Apparently not.

The right-wingers at are selling liberal hunting permits.

No expiration. No kidding.

Among other things, the stickers say, "Also Valid at School Board Meetings, Polling Places and City Council Meetings."

No kidding.

Another version adds, "No Bag Limit – Tagging Not Required. May be used while under the influence of Alcohol. May be used to Hunt Liberals at Gay Pride Parades, Democrat [sic] Conventions, Union Rallys [sic], Handgun Control Meetings, News Media Association, Lesbian Luncheons and Hollywood Functions."

Available for sale now at

No kidding.

Liberal Hunting Permit

Welcome to conservative America.

On The Right, Hateful Words Are Fired Like Bullets

Read this commentary, please, from the Washington Post.

After today’s horribly tragic events in Tucson, Arizona, read:

The governor of Ohio, James Rhodes, demonized the war protesters. They were "worse than the Brownshirts and the communist element. . . . We will use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent."

That was the language of that time. And now it is the language of our time. It is the language of Glenn Beck, who fetishizes about liberals and calls Barack Obama a racist. It is the language of rage that fuels too much of the Tea Party and is the sum total of gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino’s campaign message in New York. It is all this talk about "taking back America" (from whom?) and this inchoate fury at immigrants and, of course, this raw anger at Muslims, stoked by politicians such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Lazio, the latter having lost the GOP primary to Paladino for, among other things, not being sufficiently angry. "I’m going to take them out," Paladino vowed at a Tea Party rally in Ithaca, N.Y.

Back in the Vietnam War era, the left also used ugly language and resorted to violence. But the right, as is its wont, stripped the antiwar movement of its citizenship. It turned dissent into treason, which, in a way, was the worst treason of all. It made dissidents into the storied "other" who had nothing in common with the rest of us. They were not opponents; they were the enemy: Fire!

Yes, that Washington Post.

Read the full commentary.

The Carol Moseley Braun Theater

I really don’t care for Chicago politics. Let me start with that disclaimer.

I don’t understand how there are churches in the Chicagoland area that can be so overtly political, while others work overtime to keep the pols out of the pulpit.

I don’t understand how Carol Moseley Braun can vanish so completely from the public eye affter leaving office, and then return only to be christened in a church as the leading black candidate for mayor in Chicago.

Don’t get me wrong. I supported Moseley Braun when she ran for the United States Senate. Even joined her and Senator Durbin for a morning gathering of coffee and rolls with others from Illinois.

That was more theater than substance.

And that is pretty much my impression of Carol Moseley Braun: more theater than substance.

I will watch the mayoral drama unfold from 30-and-some-odd miles south of the Loop.

No desire to be a part of it.