Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Republican Party: Party of "No" or Party of "Zero"

GOP, Party, ZeroSince the sweeping Democratic victory, bipartisanship has been at an astonishing low. The Republican party is floundering without an identity and has increasingly become irrelevant. (Image: Wikipedia) The GOP has been extremely critical of the Obama budget plan. The budget, of course, runs up a deficit that was already brought to new depths by Bush. What critics fail to mention is the fact that the democratic budget cuts the annual deficit in half by the end of Obama's first term.

So, regardless of this often-overlooked point, what has the GOP done to improve the budget? Well, this should sound familiar: nothing. Instead of releasing an alternative budget, as is traditional for any opposition party in a democracy trying to prove it can run the country better, the Republican party released a budget that is no more than a manifesto of conservative ideals.

As it turns out, the GOP's budget has no numbers. Why would this be? Well, the GOP knows it would lose the ability to criticize the Obama budget if Americans saw the level of debt they would continue to run up. Here's an ad released by the Democratic National Committee on the Republican budget:

I think it's more appropriate to call the GOP the party of "Zero" instead of the party of "No" because that is the number of Republicans in support of financial recovery and this budget alike. That's the number of numbers in their budget. It's the number of leaders within the party. Most importantly, it seems to be the number of ideas they have on the future of America.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Non-Scientific Consensus: Everyone Sick of Bailouts

Simpsons, TARPI was reading the Huffington Post this afternoon while taking a break from writing some essays when I came across a story labelled "Comedy" on their front page. The story was about the latest episode of The Simpsons getting in on the mocking. (Image: Huffington Post) After seeing this, and watching CNN for 20 minutes, it became pretty clear to me that this is a growing consensus. During the span of 20 minutes, Wolf Blitzer hit on bailout related stories 5 times.

Here's an image, via the Huffington Post, of The Simpsons bailout-mocking during the traditional chalkboard scene of the shows' opening:

Simpsons, TARP

For those of you, like me until 2 weeks ago, who don't know what "TARP" stands for, it's the first financial bailout called the "Troubled Asset Relief Program." The bill, a holdover from the last administration, paid hundreds of billions to banks to try to prop them up and restart the flow of money lending.

Needless to say, it hasn't worked so far. So, more and more often, we hear jokes about the irresponsibility of bailouts and feel that government is protecting the rich as everyone else suffers. Bailouts might be needed to protect our money and investments from completely disappearing as banks collapse, but I think more has to be done now to help everyone.

(And no, to my right-wing readers, tax breaks are not the solution. Especially for the relatively unaffected rich.)


White House Making Strict Bailout Demands

GM, Wagoner, ObamaIn a somewhat surprising turn of events Rick Wagoner, the General Motors CEO expected to resign later this year, has stepped down effective immediately at request of the White House. The White House is planning to announce its auto recovery plans tomorrow. (Image: LeftLane News) According to reports, President Obama pushed for Wagoner's resignation before announcing his plans. General Motors has been in the middle of the auto bailout controversy, as it tries to recover from years in the red.

General Motors has tried to answer the calls for quality coming from car buyers, but has been unable to shine its tarnished brand. Under Wagoner, quality at General Motors has improved, but sales have continued to slide as a result of momentum towards key competitors. Unlike Ford, who has been able to turn around financially, General Motors has sought funding from congress to prevent the company from entering bankruptcy.

As I mentioned earlier, Obama is on the verge of announcing his administration's plan for the ailing industry. Chrysler and GM are both in desperate need of help, and we will see how the administration answers these calls tomorrow. I hope that GM gets some help, but really think Cerberus needs to step up and help its company, Chrysler. A private company shouldn't be getting public funds; it just doesn't make sense!

Wagoner has done relatively well in a bad situation, but for the sake of public perception this type of move might be needed. Out with the old, in with the new. I'll leave you with this video from Wagoner and other CEOs appeal to Congress for money:


Sunday, March 29, 2009

D.L. Hughley's Show Cancelled by CNN

CNN, Hughley, CancelledNow, I'm not a huge fan of Hughley or of his most antics, but I think his short-lived show on CNN was pretty good. A month ago CNN quietly announced that the show was ending and that this weekend's show would be the last episode. (Image: CNN) The show was a comedic take on daily news that featured some surprisingly frank discussions. I felt Hughley's humour wasn't the best and often didn't laugh at his attempts, but he grew into his role over the last month.

Twice on this blog I referred to D.L. Hughley Breaks the News:These shows demonstrated the quality of debate Hughley was able to pull from his guests. Hughley also recently interviewed Ron Paul, a 2008 candidate for President of the United States, and had an entertaining discussion. Here's a clip from the interview that includes Hughley belittling Steele for apologizing to Limbaugh:

Hughley may not have the deepest insight into the political scene, but he provided an honest take on the news. Ultimately, I don't think CNN gave Hughley enough time to get on his feet. Ron Paul isn't my favourite political figure because I believe he's quite narrow-minded in his views, but he is very open. Hughley did a great job with this interview and it is just further evidence that Hughely was getting much better.

It's a shame Hughley is now gone from CNN's line up, but he will continue with the network as a correspondent from Los Angles. For now, I'm sure CNN is scrambling to put something else together to fill the void, but hopefully they don't give that next show the same treatment.

What's important to note here is that Hughley grew into his role only around the same time the show was cancelled. I'm really disappointed with CNN over this irresponsible decision.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poll Results: No Option on Bailouts?

Poll, Bailout, StimulusMany of you voted on my most recent poll asking if you believe letting companies fail is a viable solution. Besides a few outlying votes, most of you believe that we won't solve anything by letting companies fail. (Image: CNN) Though the vote was split between Maybe and No, I tend to agree with the sentiment that we have seen enough damage to Wall Street. So what do we do? Bail out every business in this economy? Every citizen too?

Here are the results:

No, obviously that doesn't work. We witnessed the stock market crash after the Bush Adminsitration let Lehman Brothers go bankrupt. That single major investment bank's failure is credited with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipping to 8000. But who should the government target to prop up?

Well, the theory of putting the money into banks seems logical. Failing financial institutions would make money disappear and cost the federal government more than bailouts. Why? The federal government insures your bank account up to a certain figure; that means that if a bank fails, the government gives you the money covered.

So banks make sense, but what about other industries? Let's speak quickly about the auto industry. Publicly held companies with no other backing like Ford and GM represent a valid option because they employ so many. Many industries like auto parts also rely on these companies. But, what about Chrysler? Chyrsler is privately held. It's parent company, Cerberus, has holdings that can prop up the business, but it has refused to thus far. This is why I agree with the "Maybe" stance more in this poll.

Major industry-driving companies and banks are fair game for bailouts in my opinion. I draw the line with smaller, privately held companies. I also think businesses should be required to do more. GM and Ford are going somewhere with their plans, but Chrysler is a big mess. The company matters! Smart bailouts help; too many bailouts burden.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Olbermann Angered Over O'Reilly's Antics

O'Reilly, Olbermann, TerkelKeith Olbermann, host of his own show on MSNBC, interviewed the victim of O'Reilly's latest attack on bloggers. As I mentioned in a recent post, Amanda Terkel of Think Progress was the recipient of a O'Reilly ambush interview while on vacation. (Image: Huffington Post) It turns out that Terkel was likely stalked for over two hours, across state lines, by O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters. Watters' interview with Terkel was heavily edited to imply indifference towards rape victims.

Here is a video of the Olbermann response to O'Reilly, via MSNBC:

I think they really covered all the bases with this interview. O'Reilly has no real response, only the same tired efforts to discredit instead of disprove. FOX has so little credibility with people outside of it's base, but it's base is so big. I think FOX has more responsibility that it often is required to live up to. Unfortunately it's too late to do anything about it in U.S. media regulation. However, this type of behaviour by O'Reilly is slanderous and should be prosecuted.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CBC Mini-Series Blames Death of Old Media on Internet

CBC, The End, InternetWell, as big of a role as the Internet may have on the death of traditional media, there’s more to it. Newspaper, Radio, and Television coexisted for nearly a century despite being introduced as replacements. (Image: CBC) So why is it that the Internet is suddenly destroying the traditional media? Why are publishers stopping the presses or radio stations consolidating? It is the promise of the Internet that caused these things, not the medium itself.

The promise of the Internet is interactivity; we have control as users. We’ve made the shift from passive consumers to active creators. Something newspaper, radio, and television cannot provide at the same level as the Internet. Below are responses to each segment in the series:

The End of Radio

The focus of this episode is on the ability of a user to pick what they want to hear. User selection is an important shift enabled by the Internet, but it is not a shift in the industry. More content is exposed, but profitability is still key. Podcasts let people share their thoughts to many, listen when and how you want, and reach more people, but it’s still the same model. Satellite or Internet broadcasting is growing, staying, but is not a revolution.

The End of Television

Television continuing in a new form is what CBC should hope for as a broadcaster. TV was linear, but is now showing up on more and more devices however and whenever you want. Video blogs do not replace this medium; for them to match the production and content creation levels of television, the same bureaucracy would need to be recreated.

Portable devices can show both professional content and amateur content. The Internet enables this equality and opportunity; it doesn’t mean the end of big media. There's a shift in delivery, not in the inevitability of big players coming into existence.

The End of Print

Print is dying, CBC would have us understand, because of blogging growth. Regular people’s blogs are becoming self-sustained small-businesses -- that is definitely a fact. The consensus of the interviews is that the gatekeeper is removed, resulting in a more active democracy. CBC’s failure to focus on this interactivity damages the overall discussion.

Journalists interviewed in the episode reject the power of bloggers; claiming they lack credibility. What they have that these journalists don’t is the collective intelligence. Margaret Atwood claims there is a physical connection to books; they are convenient and real. These are the sentiments of past generations. The Internet may only access 5% of the world’s knowledge, but how much does a book access? How much does a library? The Internet is growing and expanding; it is ahead now and will always be ahead.

Audio, Video, and Text are here to stay. Devices change and evolve. Technological advances consolidate many access methods into few, but that doesn’t change the structure of the system. Big media exists because popularity happens; because there is money to be made. CBC may be right that paper, television sets, and radio receivers are on their way out, but the industry isn’t. Integration and consolidation is the future.


Bill O'Reilly's Blogger Witch-hunt

O'Reilly, Fox, TerkelMaking fun of Bill O'Reilly on a blog might be a bad idea, unless you enjoy being stalked by his producers. I think it's safe to say the O'Reilly Factor won't be hunting me down, but they recently attacked a blogger over at Think Progress. (Image: Huffington Post) Earlier today, The Huffington Post reported on a confrontation between between a O'Reilly Factor reporter and a blogger. Bill O'Reilly's henchmen followed a Think Progress blogger around on her vacation following comments she posted on the blog.

Basically what happened was the blogger pointed out the irony of Bill O'Reilly speaking for a group that helps rape victims because he has placed blame on raped women on his show before. The following comments, via The Huffington Post, were said by O'Reilly on the subject:

"Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She's walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she's out of her mind, drunk."

Here's a video of O'Reilly's response to the blooger, Amanda Terkel, during a recent show:

So let's summarize that clip; he says:
  • The blogger is evil
  • Attacking him was aimed at hurting the rape foundation
  • NBC is a lie-filled news broadcast
  • NBC controls the Blogosphere
  • He doesn't defend his statements, only that they were 3 years ago
This is so filled with hypocrisy it's beyond belief. This is FOX! What more? O'Reilly dispatched a producer to stalk a female blogger who questioned him on rape. The producer asks leading, weird questions.

If this distortion wasn't enough, he insists NBC is the heart of all evil. I don't know what to think about this conspiracy theory, but it's really over the top. O'Reilly should have owned up for his comments, played something to prove his comments were out of context, or offered some defense. But he didn't. Maybe that's because there is no defense for such comments as the one I posted earlier.

So why do you guys think O'Reilly targeted a small blogger and not the hosts at MSNBC or other major outlets reporting this? Maybe because he can't bully them on vacations and get away with it.


AIG Renaming Insurance Operations (?!)

AIG, AIU, RenameThe "AIG" brand name has apparently become too tainted over the past few months to appeal to customers. So yesterday, at the AIG headquarters in New York, the sign that proudly displayed the AIG logo is now blank. (Image: MSNBC) As most of my devoted readers would know, AIG has caused quite a bit of trouble in recent weeks. Whether dishing out bonuses to no-longer-serving executives or having the pleasure of being associated with Rush Limbaugh, AIG has stayed in the news. So, what i pseudo s this-publicly-owned company going to be called?

Well, since "AIG" is so tainted, they decided to call the new company AIU Holdings, LLC. Yes, AIG's major insurance division is now called AIU: American International Underwriters. Much better; problem solved. To be clear, AIG still exists as a parent company, but the property/casualty insurance division -- that covers items such as car, business, and home insurance -- is now AIU Holdings, LLC.

Who would ever associate AIU with AIG though? AIU sounds like a very different company. Not to mention how much better it is to say AIU than AIG. Sarcasm aside (that was sarcasm), what exactly is AIG trying to accomplish? Well, actually it may be simpler than it seems. As mentioned in the MSNBC report, AIU will eventually have its own initial public offering. This means that AIU will get to sell stock to the market and receive its own cash infusion. Not too shabby.

Here's MSNBC's television report on the renaming of AIG's major division:

This is going to be an interesting week...


Monday, March 23, 2009

Palin Flip-Flopping on Stimulus

Palin, StimulusAs I mentioned in an earlier post, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has rejected stimulus money after lobbying for the bill weeks earlier. Since then, she has decided to reject only half of the money, and now recently has decided to take it all. (Image: Huffington Post) Palin has drawn the ire of several pundits quick to point out that she had flip-flopped on this in a similar way to how she flip-flopped on funding for the Bridge to Nowhere. For those of you who forget, she supported the bridge before denouncing the project while keeping the money.

Palin recently annoyed news agencies by dispatching her communications director to challenge ABC for reporting on her earmark requests. This type of behaviour adds to the amusement factor of how she deals with, what many Republican pundits call, government welfare. Alaska is a per-capita leader on earmark requests and is a big beneficiary of the stimulus bill.

I want to make the order of events clear here, because I find it really ridiculous:
  1. Palin goes to D.C. to lobby for stimulus bill
  2. Palin states desire to reject money
  3. Palin thinks she might take half of the money
  4. Palin willing to take it all
Did everyone get that? This is just silly. It's more of the same from the campaign. I thought it would be fitting to leave you with a clip summarizing the beginning of Palin's downfall. It call comes back to the money. Here's an MSNBC report via YouTube.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bush Torture Memos To Be Declassified

Torture, MemosReports surfaced today that memos on the torture of detainees considered to be of "high value" at U.S. prison camps will be declassified soon. These memos are said to reveal disturbing practices by the CIA during the Bush Administration. (Image: Newsweek) This news comes a week after former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on CNN's State of the Union with John King, claiming that Obama's anti-torture policies hurt the security of the United States. So, what's at stake here?

Well, first and foremost is the image of the United States. No matter who the state is torturing, it reflects badly on the morals of the country. Performing barbaric torture is not taking the high road, which is what the United States should do. America views itself as the leader of the free word, but this type of behaviour could seriously discredit that image.

Also affected by the coming declassification of these memos is the movement to investigate the Bush Administration. A commission, being referred to as the truth commission, has been demanded by a growing number of legislators to investigate the practices of the CIA and other agencies between 2000 and 2008.

The goal of this commission is to reveal what went wrong in order to move forward correctly. However, despite these commendable goals, the end result will likely be an embarrassing report on the damaging practices of intelligence agencies under Bush. As mentioned earlier, Obama has already ordered the stop of torture practices. Legislators close to his administration support the cries for a truth commission and, as evidenced by these memo declassifications, Obama does as well.

Moving forward, I believe a commission is important. It may hurt the U.S. image in the short-term, but it will improve the country in the long-term. These memos will likely be enough to get the commission going.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Harper Dividing Country; CBC Complacent again

Galloway, CanadaPrime Minister Stephen Harper is again trying to divide Canadians sharply on issues. Meanwhile, the CBC seems to be practicing Yellow Journalism yet again as they report on the latest move by the current government. (Image: BBC) Stephen Harper's government decided to bar British Member of Parliament George Galloway from Canada due to supposed links to Hamas. Hamas has been deemed a terrorist organization by Canada; Galloway is accused of funding Hamas because of his attempts at providing relief to Palestinians after the 2008 invasion by Isreal.

The ties are weak at best, but Galloway is outspoken in his support for Palestinians and for peace in the Middle East. His support of Palestine has drawn negative attention from Jewish groups who see Galloway's efforts as supporting a group that seeks to destroy Isreal. Harper is playing into these divisions and politicizing the issue. So what has the CBC done that I find questionable?

Well, in the printed Globe and Mail and practically all results of a Google Image Search, Galloway is wearing normal attire, but CBC selected an image of Galloway wearing a Keffiyeh scarf -- a traditional patterned headdress for Arab men that is now often wrongly associated with Islamic terrorism. This type of association is often made by those who are passingly aware of the symbol. CBC's selection of this image is questionable at best -- the image goes one further due the the background architecture. Here is the image used by the CBC:

CBC, Galloway

This is the second time I have blogged about irresponsible reporting by the CBC in a way that seems to satisfy the current government. Seeing this trend makes me question the CBC's independence from the government. I would expect this type of Yellow Journalism from a small-time, openly-biased paper like the London Free Press, but the CBC is supposed to be Canada's public, neutral news organization. The ironic part is that the CBC pulls such a manipulative trick while writing about free speech.

I encourage you all to read the Globe and Mail article and compare the background information they give to the information the CBC gives. Whether I agree or not with Galloway, I think everyone deserves a fair shake. Manipulative journalism denies everyone the information they need.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Accessible Politics: United States Edition

Confused, McCainWow, this one was hard to do. This summary of the American political system has a very narrow focus, so you won't know everything after reading this. This should straighten a few things out though. (Image: CNN) So, the American system is very complicated compared to the Canadian system. Why? The system in the U.S. was designed to have many fail-safes -- the end result has been a lot of bureaucracy and its fair share of corruption.

What Exactly is Congress?

Congress is a simple, but complicated thing. The U.S. Congress is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. This can be a bit confusing because the title "Congressman" or "Member of Congress" usually refers specifically to a member of the House of Representatives. Despite this oddity, Senators are also members of Congress and, with a few exceptions described below, the two groups that compose Congress are equally important to the legislative process.


The House has 435 voting members and several non-voting members. The Speaker of the House, currently Nancy Pelosi, maintains order and has some agenda setting authority. Behind the Vice President, the Speaker is the second in line for Presidency in any situation where the President loses power. The two parties' House of Representative leaders are the "Majority Leader" and "Minority leader" -- these leaders are elected by the Members of Congress of their party and help set party agenda.

The House of Representatives and Senate both must approve legislation for it to pass, but each has special rights the other lacks. The most important ability of the House is to impeach a President or vote to elect the President if the electoral college is tied. Members of Congress serve four-year terms and represent smaller districts than Senators.


Senators serve six year terms and represent large areas with diverse populations -- as a result there are only 100 Senators. The Senate has Majority and Minority leaders as well -- they have similar power as their House counterparts. The Senate is under the leadership of the Vice President, who is first in line for Presidency if the President loses power.

The longer term of Senators is designed to provide balance throughout electoral cycles. While they lack the power to impeach or elect Presidents, the Senate is responsible for many foreign relation tasks the House is not allowed to handle, such as the signing of treaties.

Where does the President fit in?

The President of the United States is in charge of the executive branch of government. Where as the U.S. Congress handles legislative endeavors, the Executive branch handles most tasks associated with running the country. The President has power to set agenda and oppose legislation by vetoing bills presented to him by Congress. He also can issue executive orders that are orders by the President to shape laws and governing practices.

As mentioned earlier, it is possible for a President to lose power. This happens if the President dies, is impeached, or is incapacitated.

Some Other Key Details:

Party Chairmen

Michael Steele, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) has recently drawn some fire for going on his own marketing campaign to rebrand the party. But, this is not odd behaviour for party chairmen. The Chairmen of the RNC or Democratic National Committee (DNC) are not directly leaders of the party. The RNC and DNC are committees which set the party platform as well as fund and plan campaigns. While Steele is doing his job, his critics may be justified in saying he isn't doing it well.

Seeking Nomination

To seek nomination for the President, a candidate must take part in publicly voted primaries and caucuses to win delegates. These delegates vote on the nominees when at their party's convention, typically two to three months before the election. Delegates are not bound by the will of their electorate and there are members of the RNC and DNC with special privilege to vote how they wish alongside delegates.

There are many complicated ins-and-outs of this process, but this process of citizens voting in primaries and caucuses is why U.S. election cycles seem so long.

The Electoral College

The Electoral College votes on the President of the United States in line with the will of members' electorate. Electoral Votes are granted to states according to population. Like delegates, voters of the Electoral College are not bound to vote as the public has voted, but it is extremely rare for them to defy the will of the people. It is possible for the electoral college to be tied at a score of 273-273, but this is rare. As mentioned earlier, if this does occur, the House of Representatives votes on the President.


I hope you have a better understanding after reading this, but I must admit that it has been hard to compile and took longer than expected. I am adding a sidebar widget for the Introduction, Canadian, and this edition of the Accessible Politics series. It will always be there if you ever get confused by the political maze of either system.

Most of this information comes by way of Wikipedia, and, if interested, I encourage you to read the articles on the U.S. political system.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Join Thinking:Revised on Facebook!

Facebook, networkingAs you may have noticed over the past few days, Thinking:Revised now has a Facebook presence. What's this all about? Why Facebook? (Image: Facebook) Simply put, the Facebook page for Thinking:Revised is a way to spread word about the blog. It's also a way for all of you to show your support for the site and get an advanced heads-up about posts. That said, why Facebook? What are the goals of this little venture into social networking?

Facebook is simple and few people don't have it. The page lets you share Thinking:Revised with any of your friends you think might be interested in the blog. The networking potential of a simple page like this is huge. To help me gain some new followers, click on the link earlier in this post or in the blog sidebar and become a fan of the page on Facebook. If you think you know anyone who would like Thinking:Revised, pass the link along to them or use the "Share" button on the Facebook page.

Thanks to all of you who visit daily; and, of course, thanks to those of you who join or share the Facebook page. Rest assured, I've got some good content lined up for tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Limbaugh: American People are "Peasants with Pitchforks"

Limbaugh, Obama, AIGI feel like Rush-Watch is becoming a staple of my content here. As much as I really don't want to talk about Rush, he just says too many over the top and ridiculous things to ignore (Image: RushLimbaugh.com) What's the latest attack thrown down by Limbaugh? Well, he compared the American people who are angry over AIG bonuses to "peasants with pitchforks" and the legislators trying to recover the funds as communist dictators.

Here's an audio clip posted on DailyKos by way of MediaMatters:

So what's going on here? Are we all getting pulled into some huge communist dictator situation because we're demanding a pay-limit on executives and bonus returns? Well, you know, maybe we would be -- if AIG wasn't 80% owned by the American taxpayers.

I ask you guys, who's reading the teleprompter for direction? Obama and congress who are outraged over what's happened or Rush Limbaugh for sticking to Republican talking points?

I'll leave you guys with another clip from Limbaugh's show (directly from MediaMatters) in which he mocks Barney Frank and the American people alike, claiming there is "hate" directed at capitalism:


Carlson Still Upset With Jon Stewart

Carlson, StewartThis one has a bit of a background story. Tucker Carlson -- previously a failed host on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox -- has returned to CNN as an analyst. Carlson experienced the most success early in his career at CNN, hosting the show CrossFire. (Image: YouTube) Jon Stewart fits into this because Stewart is often credited with destroying CrossFire by lecturing the hosts during his appearance (video later). Tucker tended to make huge claims, eventually get caught in lies, and became a joke to viewers. So, what's this all about?

As many of you know, Jon Stewart recently ripped into Jim Cramer on his show (Strong language in link), and Cramer accepted the criticism of himself and MSNBC without much opposition. Now, with this in the news, Tucker Carlson appears on CNN's Reliable Sources to attack Jon Stewart:

From that clip, Carlson seems a bit confused about what partisan means in practice. In the United States there are two political parties representing the two sides of politics. Just because Carlson wants to pretend he isn't associated with the Republican party, I would bet that he has never voted for a Democrat in any election. He may not exemplify the party-ties part of partisan, but he is exactly what's wrong with the political system. He won't listen to reason, only his side.

Jon Stewart was not even discussing politics on his show, as much as Carlson likes to pretend Stewart's outrage over CNBC's irresponsibility is due to partisan politics. CNBC got media attention recently by going after the budget, and they were put under a microscope as a result. Cramer went after Stewart as a result of Stewart insulting CNBC generally, and the result was Cramer getting ripped by Stewart for being totally irresponsible.

Carlson needs to let the past go and grow up a bit. He's kept around for entertainment, but he ends up just coming off as a bit stupid. I'll leave you with this clip of Jon Stewart talking sense on CrossFire, leading to its demise:


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fox Says Obama Administration Worse Than Madoff

Madoff, Obama, FoxBernie Madoff is the recently convicted man behind the largest ponzi scheme in history. A ponzi scheme, practically a pyramid scheme, claims to be an investment, but pays returns to its investors with the money of other investors. (Image: DailyKos) Basically, what this means is that some scammer pretends to be investing money in the market, but is really just taking the money for their own use. Madoff got away with his scheme for decades -- robbing thousands of investors of billions.

So, what has the Obama administration done to be compared to Bernie Madoff's scam? Well, according to Fox the bailouts are equally big schemes aimed at ruining the lives of many. Check out this video posted on DailyKos:

If this isn't yellow journalism, I don't know what is. How do you feel about this? Outraged? Annoyed? Or maybe you're like me and are just getting sick of Fox pretending to be a news organization. If this is how the Conservative movement continues to answer the positive message that Obama carried to victory, they'll be in for a shock the next election.


Poll Results: America has a Huge Influence

American politicsAbout a week ago, I placed a poll in the sidebar asking you guys what level of influence you thought United States politics had on the world. It seems there is a clear consensus that the U.S. has a pretty big influence. (image: CNN) I agree with these results, as I'm sure most of you can tell by my endless flow of U.S. news on this blog. Sure, Michael Steele acting foolish doesn't hurt or help Canada and the world; but, generally speaking, U.S. policies set the precedence for other countries to follow.

Here are the results of the poll:

American politics, results

While a few disagree with my stance (and the stance of the majority), I think this paints a pretty clear picture. During the last election cycle in Canada, the United States Presidential election seemed to take up more of the newspapers. Is this a bad thing? Maybe.

We often hear concerns over the amount of American content pumped into Canadian households; should those concerns include political news? I think politics is different. It is like other content disputes in that the U.S. content is generally more interesting, but in this case it actually matters tremendously. Having more Canadian movies, television, or radio helps to ensure an independent cultural industry, but is Canada's democracy threatened by U.S. political news?

Maybe it is. When we examine the last election cycle and assume my observations were correct about American election content outweighing Canadian election content, it may explain why Canada's turnout was a nearly historic low. Do Canadians care more about American politics? Hopefully all it takes is an inspirational figure in our system. When will we get that? Who knows...

Look for a new poll tomorrow!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama: How Do They Justify This Outrage?

Obama, AIGDominating the news cycle this weekend was news that AIG had issued over $160 million in bonuses to its executives. What's the big deal? Well, the American taxpayers own 80% of AIG. (Image: Huffington Post) So it seems the American people are generally angry over this news. In fact, CNN recently ran a (censored) shock-profanity headline to represent the American people's sentiment on the bonuses.

Well, let's go over the reason people are annoyed:
  • AIG invested in risky assets seeking a high return
  • These practices contributed to everyone's market losses
  • Taxpayers are keeping AIG afloat
  • AIG is spending on vacation retreats and bonuses for execs
I guess I can see why people might find this more than a bit annoying. What can be done about it? Well, it seems not much. Some pundits have discussed attacking the bonuses by way of IRS-headed taxation to retrieve the funds or flat-out lawsuits, but none of the options seem to offer an easy, cheap solution.

AIG claims that it had no option but to pay the bonuses because it was contractually obligated to do so. Generally speaking, most people don't seem to care that it could have cost more to the taxpayer if AIG had to fight lawsuits from executives, if they didn't pay those bonuses. I understand the frustration, and I don't want to defend the mess that is AIG, but there is some reason behind their defense.

The mainstream media seems to care less about this and more about calling for AIG executives to be fired. I find it quite silly overall because, if I was one of those executives at AIG, I would know that I shouldn't take that bonus. No one working as an executive at AIG or any other major company needs a big pay-day right now. They're not the ones suffering in the recession.

Obama was willing to join the pile-on during a press-event today. At least he made it official that the government is on the case.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

And the winner is...

mit2412 awardThis week I was given the responsibility of passing along the MIT 2412 Best Blogging Week Award. I really watched the blogs closely and came to a conclusion that I believe answers the call of the Best Blogging Week. To me, the award is asking for the blog that put forward a great effort this week, but I believe the history of the blog factors in. When nominating three blogs on Friday, I made my decisions based on some strong weeks along with some good history. This week my selection really stood out, but it also has a really strong history...

I have decided to pass along the MIT 2412 Best Blogging Week Award to Single Betty. This blog has a really unique style that is great and expressive of Danielle's (the blogger behind the site) opinions and feelings. Through various font sizes, styles, and colours alongside many images, there's something really unique about the style that communicates more than just plain text.

Single Betty had a great week -- some posts really stood out in my news feed. The blog has a really solid concept and has been good throughout the entire term. I hope that you all agree with this pick and hope Single Betty can keep this blogging award rolling. For a recap of the rules, and to get the images, check out the post on Chef Nick's Flavour Fiasco that started it all.


Cheney's Campaign for Torture Continues

Cheney, tortureFormer U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney appeared this morning on CNN's Sunday talk show, State of the Union with John King. Although he admittedly "doesn't follow the news as much as [he] once did" Cheney was quick to use some old tactics. (Image: CNN) During his interview with John King, the former Vice President insisted that President Barack Obama is putting the United States at risk of Terror attack. How? By not using "alternative" interrogation techniques...

In case that isn't a strikingly obvious statement -- maybe CNN and myself are making too many assumptions -- Cheney is advocating the use of torture (again). He also used the interview to dodge blame for financial instability, talk a bit of sense about regulation (in total opposition to what his administration did), and continue to argue Obama is creating big government.

Before moving on, I just want to say I would love to respond to every lie and misconception Cheney says during the over 30 minute interview, but I would have to write 2-4 sentence for every sentence he said. So I'm going to focus on, perhaps, his most controversial claim. Here's a YouTube clip in which he discusses torture (tune to about 1:20 in the video):

John King outlines the issue at hand by listing these steps Obama took to limit the use of torture by the government:
  • Close Guantanamo Bay
  • Close CIA torture "Black Sites"
  • Make CIA follow the U.S. Army Field Manual on interrogation
  • Ban Waterboarding by defining it as torture
  • End Secret "Military Commission" trials (that follow no laws)
  • Eliminate the "enemy combatant" label

By taking these steps, Cheney believes that terrorism will rise once again to threaten the United States. Personally, I can't see how treating people humanely by following some not-so-strict regulations is asking too much. Flying prisoners around to "Black Sites" (with no records kept) is not a good example of the values of democracy. I won't say that we should let suspected terrorists who may know something walk away, because that's crazy. What I will say is that the self-proclaimed leader of the free world needs to find a better way.

Here are the other segments of the interview:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 (Above) - Part 5

In closing, during this interview Cheney admitted love for Rush Limbaugh (see clip 5). I guess we know who he's endorsing to lead the Republican Party.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Palin Annoyed With Facts

Governor PalinSarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, dispatched her top communication aide to confront ABC News over their factual reporting. What did they report that had Governor Palin feeling "injured" -- as her communication director insisted? (Image: Huffington Post) Well, as I explained in my recent post on the top 5 earmarkers, the earmark debacle is not a purely Democratic or Republican problem. Palin is among the many Republicans who seek earmarks; ABC's report on her earmarking ways left her very concerned.

It's really something how aggressively ABC's Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper was in responding to the concerns of Palin's camp. In his article, Tapper chronicles his communication with the Governor of Alaska's director of communication, Bill McAllister. Tapper's blog-style entry discusses the defense offered by the Palin camp, claiming that the Governor had reduced earmarks between 2008 and 2009 from $256 million to $197 million.

Tapper spares no chance to take jabs at Palin throughout the post, making fun of many of her comments on the campaign trail. He claims that regardless of her supposed fisca conservatism l -- since she's reduced earmarks -- she is not. The fact that she takes any, Tapper insists, opposed to Senator McCain who requests none, makes it clear that she is hardly a real fiscal conservative.

The push-back from a media outlet is nice to see. Check out the entry and let me know what you think.


Friday, March 13, 2009

MIT 2412 Best Blogging Week Award (Week 2)

mit2412 awardSorry for being a bit late posting this, I was a bit under the weather today -- though that expression doesn't work with such clear skies. I've been scouring the news feeds this week to pick out three blogs to nominate for this unique distinction. I must say, there really are a lot of great blogs coming out of this class. Over the past few weeks I've only been able to follow so many of them consistently, but looking at them all this week has been amazing. Without further ado, here are the nominees....
So why have I selected these three? Learning It All really delivers consistently high-caliber observations and tips with a sense of humour that I can appreciate. It's hard not to find the stories interesting, though I may be a bit biased (as I am a technology writer, as well).

The Post Script has had a quiet week, but the posts have been really interesting. I have really liked the blog over the past few weeks and hopefully by the end of the weekend there will be some more content to give it a boost.

The last nominee, Single Betty, may seem a bit out of place given my other two selections, but I couldn't overlook its entertainment value. Single Betty has been a highlight of the week, especially the post on Will Smith's outlook on relationships and the discussion it sparked.

So, what do you all think?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

RNC Chairman On Thin Ice

Steele, GOPMichael Steele, Chairman of the Republican party, has done it again. Steele made headlines today by seemingly breaking message with his party on the controversial issue of abortion. (Image: CNN) The comments in question were made to GQ magazine, during a relatively run-of-the-mill interview. The Republican party describes itself as a "Pro-Life" party, meaning that they support a ban on abortions. So what did Steele say?

Here's the transcript from the interview via Politico:

GQ: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
GQ: You do?
Steele: Yeah. Absolutely.

Soon after the story broke that seems to blatantly break from the party line, Steele was quick to eat his words and guarantee his party that he is Pro-Life. He claims he simply meant that it is a choice available to women now -- not that he supports it. I find that almost too crazy to be a lie, but this is the Republican party.

Unfortunately for Steele, he's losing the support of his party as quickly as he's issuing corrections after interviews. Former Republican Presidential Contender Mike Huckabee was among ranking Republicans calling for Steele to step down. This comes under a week since Limbaugh and Steele had a minor spat over another interview by the RNC Chairman.

The leader -- if you consider him to be -- of the Republican party may be on his way out soon. The bad thing about this is that as crazy as Steele has been, at least he wasn't party of the Old Man's Club. We might see the GOP follow Rush's call for another Angry-White-Man movement and nominate someone like Mitt Romney. What could be worse?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Accessible Politics: Canada Edition

Canada ParliamentAlright, so let's get down to business. How does the Canadian Political system work? Who are the key figures? What are the main roles? Who really holds the power? (Image: Wikipedia) All of these questions have decent answers and I'll address them one by one. I should be clear from the start that the Canadian system has very little in common with the American system. Tomorrow I'll try my best to explain the American system, but it's far more complicated.

How does the Canadian Political System work? (Who holds the power?)

Canada has a very simple system because of how Parliament works. Unlike in America, we don't vote a person for Prime Minister. When we vote on election day, we vote for a member of parliament affiliated with a specific party. The party that wins the most members of parliament seats or the coalition that wins the most seats becomes the government. The leader of this party or group of parties is named Prime Minister. A government can survive if the Prime Minister steps down, but often an election is called in order to avoid angering the public.

Members of Parliament we vote for are part of the House of Commons. This group writes most legislation and has unopposed power, typically speaking. Their opposition could come from the Senate, which consists of individuals appointed for an unrestricted term by Prime Ministers. Though they have power to oppose, they tend to support the will of the House, acting in the same figurative role as the royal representative (the Governor General).

There are some more complex things, especially related to the royal involvement, but we won't get into that.

Who are the key figures?
  • Stephen Harper - The current Prime Minister who had been leader of the opposition during the last Liberal government. His government currently has a minority of House seats, which means that it can be dissolved if the rest of the house votes to do so. Harper has yet to win a majority.
  • Michael Ignatieff - The leader of the Liberal party (the official opposition party due to having won the second most votes). Ignatieff is relatively new to political life, as he spent many years teaching at universities such as Harvard and writing in the media. Ignatieff has avoided talk of a coalition government as he wants to rebuild the Liberal party without the NDP
  • Jack Layton - Has been leader of the NDP for several election cycles. The party initially got a large boost under his leadership, but has since been in a slow decline. Layton was a proponent of a coalition government, but has yet been unable to convince Ignatieff.

There are of other figures, but these are the main power-players. Several historical figures that you should research if you are interested in this topic are: Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, and Jean Chr├ętien. All are relatively recent, but they are among the biggest names on the list of Canadian Prime Ministers.

What are the main roles?
  • Prime Minister - Unlike the American President, the Prime Minister is elected as a member of parliament. The Prime Minister has theoretically more power than the President as Prime Ministers can order their party to vote as a group in one specific way.
  • Leader of the Opposition - In a minority government, this role is very important as they usually hold all the swing-power needed to block legislation or vote non-confidence in the government (thus dissolving it). The leader of the opposition can also consolidate the other opposition parties in a minority government to form a majority government coalition.
  • The Governor General - is the figurative head of state, representing the monarch of England. She holds authority over the formation of coalitions, the formation and dissolving of a government, among other things. Generally, the Governor General follows the direction of the Prime Minister, but theoretically is not bound by those recommendations.

There are many other key roles, including those of cabinet members, but we won't get into that detail. If you would like more information on the details of the Canadian government I would recommend using Wikipedia's article on the Government of Canada.


Accessible Politics

For a while I've been thinking how hard it is to truly make politics accessible. I mean, unless you take the road of satire that is. (Image: Rickwrites) The fact of the matter is that some people just aren't interested in politics, but those people aren't who I'm taking about. My concern is for people who want to be involved in politics, but just can't understand the complex roles or petty squabbling. So how can I overcome this problem here at Thinking:Revised?

I think the best route I can take to make politics more accessible is to stay away from political jargon unless I explain it beforehand. For example, I'm sure a fair number of my readers know what an "earmark" is, but many don't. What is an earmark? It's jargon for the act of attaching a request for state project (schools, bridges, parks, entertainment, etc.) funding to an unrelated bill.

Then there's the issue of petty squabbling. The squabbling in politics is usually petty, but the underlying issues are big. Why is it petty then? Well, the problem with politics is that most issues are not fresh. Since they have already been debated on merit for generations, or even just a few decades, political commentators don't have anything new to say.

So, what can I do? To be honest, though I think it is blatantly obvious, I'm not exactly offering an unbiased viewpoint here. For me, I have taken the approach of satire for the most part. I think this can be effective when writing a biased style because if the satire is good everyone gets it. Petty squabbling should be made light of. The big issues are what deserve to be discussed seriously. Today I'll post the first of two post on the need-to-knows of politics. The first will focus on Canada, the second on the United States.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CNN Adopting More Substantive Style?

There has always been a clear difference I noticed when watching partisan interviews on Canadian news in comparison to American news. While American stations like CNN focus on big, loud debates with many personalties, Canadian news often has individual guests on one after another. (Image: CNN) However, this might be changing. When watching CNN over the past few weeks, I noticed a growing trend on its shows to feature more one-on-one interviews compared to panel discussions with four or more people. So what does this change mean?

Simply speaking, I believe that this offers a more bipartisan format (assuming one group doesn't always receive the rebuttal slot). Why is it more bipartisan without a back-and-forth discussion? More often than not, panel discussions become an opportunity to yell talking points in response to a comment rather than develop ideas.

By focusing on panel discussions, CNN has historically gone for the entertainment value they provide. It also allows the network to push many big names onto the screen at once. One-on-one interviews allow the interviewees to say their side of an issue uninterrupted. This style has been a long-standing feature of many CBC broadcasts, especially shows like Politics with Don Newman.

CNN adopting this style means there could very well be less shouting matches and more discussion as a result. If the host of the show plays a fair and balanced role in the interview, the viewer will benefit by seeing constructive discussion and each side of the issue without yelling. Just in case you aren't familiar with the styles, I've included screenshots of each. What do you prefer?

Panel Style (Source):

One-on-One Style (Source):


Clean Coal: Not a Reality

It's shocking the success coal power companies have been enjoying by marketing "Clean Coal" as a genuinely safe and clean technology for the future. This insanity has created the need for a quality push-back, and it has started. (Image: YouTube screenshot) For anyone not familiar with the coal propaganda campaign, it's been marketed under the trade-name the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electicity. The Coalition has been advocating that coal is indeed a clean power source and represents America's best chance at sustainable power and continuing independence. Check out an example and the strike-back after the jump...

This advertisement is part of their America's Power campaign. Now, I will admit that clean coal is possible, but the coal industry, who is behind the Coalition, has resisted government regulation to make emission standards stricter. As of now, "clean coal" is merely a dream of environmentalists and the pawn of fossil fuel burning polluters. They have even gone so far as to link their cause to Barack Obama in some advertisements.

This ads, along with those by big oil companies under the name Energy Tomorrow, have created a backlash from environmental groups. The two ads below are part of this push-back. The first is from Repower America, advocating modern solutions with alternative energy -- in this case, solar power. The second advertisement is from This is Reality, a campaign mocking the idea of clean coal in the capitalism of the American energy market.

Repower America:

This is Reality:

I think both ads are pretty good. I quite like the first because the solution becomes so obvious seeming. What do you guys think?


Weekly MIT 2412 Blogging Award Winner

Nick recently came up with the idea to start a blogging award within the class that spawned this blog. The award works like the Lemonade Stand Award, but, of course, on a smaller scale. In a post that started it all over at Chef Nick's Flavour Fiasco, Nick nominated my blog alongside Laur Lore and Magda and the Great White North. I really like both blogs, so I really appreciated the nomination and accept the win with consideration to both of those blogs who deserve to win as much.

So, what happens now? On Friday I'll post my three nominations and select a winner on Sunday. Thanks again to Nick and hopefully we can keep this ball rolling.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Limbaugh: Popularity Up, Classiness Down

I really didn't want to write about Rush Limbaugh again so soon, but I missed something he did this Friday that is too insulting to not bring up. It seems most of the media missed this, as the first I heard of it was on Huffington Post today. (Image: Wikipedia) On his show, Rush was criticizing the Obama health care plan and got on the topic of the ailing champion of the health care reform movement, Senator Ted Kennedy. Limbaugh made light of the bill, stating that "[by the time it passes], it will be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill."

Here is an audio clip of the comment via Media Matters:

This comment about Kennedy really is tasteless. Senator Kennedy is among the most respected Democrats in congress and is fighting cancer which caused a nearly fatal brain tumor in the past year. Limbaugh has no respect or regard for anyone but himself -- personifying the Republican brand. If anything this is icing on the cake as to what's wrong with the Republican party. When a man who says things like this is your de-facto leader, that speaks volumes.

In case anyone needs a refresher about Limbaugh, here's an article via the Huffington Post that highlights some of Rush's worst comments including:

  • Calling Abu Ghraib abuse an "emotional release"

  • Saying America should ship its stupid jobs to Mexico

  • Explaining women were "doing quite well in this country before feminism"

  • Saying the NFL looks like continuous "game between the Bloods and the Crips"

Go away, Rush.


The GOP: A Drunk on the Subway...

This colourful description of the Republican Party comes from self-described Former Evangelist Frank Schaeffer. He relayed this description in an interview with non-other than D.L. Hughley. (Image: YouTube screenshot) It's quite shocking that D.L. Hughley Breaks the News has managed to produce some really good content for the second week in a row. After it's absolutely dreadful start, the guests these last two weeks have really redeemed Hughley's show to me. But let's get to the issue at hand...

Here's a video of the segment feature Frank Schaeffer. I know the segment is relatively long in Internet-time, but there is not a dull minute in it:

His willingness to acknowledge how the Republican party has pandered to religious groups is admirable. This occurs even though religious ideals don't match up with the true Republican agenda. Religion has never been "me first" in practice, but that's exactly what the GOP stands for. The Republicans gained this support by preaching religious values in social issues such as marriage and abortion. But to pose a question with reference to a famous Canadian quote, does the government really belong in the bedrooms of the nation?

If your religion is not encroached upon by these issues, why should it become the government policy that invades the private life of others? I believe these questions are those that Schaeffer is addressing indirectly. Well, he also directly addressed them by saying the religious-right movement has trended towards neo-fascism. Now, I don't think he is drawing comparisons to the Nazi party -- those most frequently associated with the word -- but rather the idea that government power was reaching into all facets of life. Creating one moral code that is stated as the only moral way.

Schaeffer's blogs at the Huffington Post go into more detail, and I would recommend them to anyone who finds this clip interesting. The creation of "Other" discussed in Schaeffer's work is exactly what happens in fear-mongering that the GOP has perfected. Schaeffer calls Obama's election a miracle that can turn the country around; this really is the truth. Obama can deliver a change of direction for the United States, and I hope that he does.

Watch the video when you have the time, it's really worth 8 minutes of your time; the last two minutes especially.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fifteen Reasons Obama is Like Bush (Not)

When reading over DailyKos today, I came across a little article by contributor Jed Lewison. In this piece she satires the story published in the Washington Post that claimed Obama is just like Bush. (Image: CNN) Though clearly written for comedic purposes, Lewison's post on DailyKos is quite blatantly straight-shooting. The editorial in the Washington Post is laughable at best -- does anyone really think Barack Obama is like George W.? Check out the post after the jump...

Here are Lewison's fifteen reasons Obama is like Bush (I added bold):

Obama is like Bush because: Obama's first move is always to reach out to everybody willing to participate in the process, no matter what party they belong to.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama gives the political opposition every opportunity imaginable to avoid self-destruction.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama made concessions to the GOP in the stimulus on taxes (42% of the bill was tax cuts) even though almost no Republicans supported the bill.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama opposed the Iraq War from the beginning and is ending the war now that he is president.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama opposed Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy from the beginning and is rolling them back now that he is president.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports stem cell research.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports national health care reform including universal health care.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports regulating the mortgage market that ran amok during the Bush years.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports massive public investments in our national infrastucture and energy economy.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports reproductive freedom.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama supports transparency in government.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama wants to restore the very constitution that has been torn to shreds over the past eight years.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama's dad wasn't President.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama can speak in complete sentences, indeed paragraphs.

Obama is like Bush because: Obama isn't an oil guy, and his boss isn't Dick Cheney, another oil guy.

What do you all think? I think this is one of the best things published on Kos for weeks. It might even be the highlight of this week in the blogosphere. Some quality media satire here.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Week in Review: Drama in the Grand Old Party

Who would have thought D.L. Hughley had the political clout to start up a big battle within the Republican party? It all started a week ago Friday, when Michael Steele appeared on CNN's D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. (Image: CNN) During Steele's interview on D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, Hughley made a joke about Rush Limbaugh being the de-facto leader of the GOP. Being the elected chairman of the party, Steele took exception to this and called Rush merely an entertainer.

Steele didn't stop there; he went on to dismiss much of Rush's brand of entertainment as incendiary and ugly. Before, during, and after these comments, Steele was relatively tame considering his recent style. Here's a video of his entire appearance, but the comments in question were made 6 minutes into the video:

Clearly Limbaugh would be none-too-happy about these comments regarding his acceptance speech for his Defender of the Constitution award. In this speech, Rush fired up the Republican base by restarting, what the media has called, the angry white man movement. Here's a highlight:

I wish I could share more highlights, but, for time sake, let's just assess this in the larger context. Rush makes divisive comments, Steele calls him on it; so then what happens? Limbaugh goes on his radio show the Monday after Steele's appearance and questions him on his loyalty to the GOP. That's right, Rush responds to the Chairman of the Republican part attacking him by questioning his loyalty to the party.

I guess he is the de-facto leader. But, if you're not convinced, by Tuesday Steele was apologizing and taking back his words. So it would seem that Rush Limbaugh is indeed the de-facto leader. What is the GOP coming to?

I almost forgot to mention, Steele is back to his old ways already. He describes his relationship with Limbaugh as "all good" before adding that he never meant to question Rush's influence or "leadership" in the party.