Daily Topics - Wednesday January 13th 2010

tea party imagesQuote:  "A journalist is a grumbler, a censurer, a giver of advice, a regent of sovereigns, a tutor of nations. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets." – Napoleon Bonaparte

Hour One - Is your book an indictment of journalism or the stupidity of the American people? Mark Halperin, author "Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime"  www.harpercollins.com

Hour Two - Weather worldwide is going nuts and you guys are still denying that we have climate change? Dr. John Lott www.johnrlott.blogspot.com

Hour Three - Is 2010 going to be the Year of the Tea Party? Dan Gainor www.businessandmedia.org


Mark (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Should it come as any surprise that Mark McGwire’s “coming clean” on his use of performance enhancing drugs should sound like it had ring around the collar? After all, his launderer was former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who knew how to use the spin cycle to get the most out of substandard detergent. McGwire continues to lie to himself and to us that PEDs (and human growth hormone, which he didn’t mention but what others claim he used extensively) had nothing to do with his homerun hitting prowess. His self-deception was such that he couldn’t admit that his rationale for using PEDs—because injuries had left him practically wheelchair bound—would rather strongly suggest that he never would have “miraculously” risen from his wheelchair to become a homerun-hitting superman without them. Statistics don’t lie: In McGwire’s first nine years, which should have been his prime years, he hit 238 homeruns in 3342 at-bats—one HR per fourteen ABs. Following a two-and-a-half year period in which he missed 300 games due to injury, he became an indestructible machine, hitting 345 HRs in just 2845 ABs—one HR per eight ABs.

Fleischer obviously “coached” him well on the art of disingenuousness, made worse by the fact that it was in the service of an activity that has disgraced baseball. During the infamous congressional hearings where McGwire took the fifth, he found another ethically-challenged ally in (former) Republican Rep. Tom Davis, who couldn’t persuade Alberto Gonzalez (who, Davis sneeringly told ESPN, couldn’t put two sentences together) to give McGwire special immunity to shield him from potential prosecution.

Mark (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

If the U.S. is becoming a “third world” country, as Thom and his guest suggested the other day, it isn’t merely because whites can’t come to grips with changing demographics and don’t like to share, but because of the calamitous condition of the country’s infrastructure. Labor costs are only one element that is “persuading” businesses to relocate to “right to work” states or other countries, but increasingly degraded transportation, water and power support networks. With money scarce, the “solution” to rotting bridges, poor drainage, crumbling roads, porous levees and bursting pipes is the “patch and pray” method, with repairs amounting to little more than patching holes and praying that nothing disastrous happens just yet. In many states, a lack of field inspectors means that no one really knows the complete extent of the impending disaster (or don’t want to know), although what we do know is already disturbing enough.

Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers stated that it would cost $2.2 trillion to repair or replace the country’s crumbling infrastructure. The stimulus package passed last year only supplies about $100 billion to that effort, and critics point out that this money is being wasted on “shovel ready” projects, like repairing potholes and resurfacing roads that don’t require drawn-out plans. The only “job creation,” apparently, is keeping government DOT workers off the lay-off rolls.

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Kudos to Google for taking a stand against authoritarian rule. Who knows, in the end the good publicity might actually end up providing a big boost to its bottomline!

Tim (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

The second or third story on the NBC nightly news last night was coverage on the kerfuffle about moving Jay Leno's show back to the Tonight Show time slot and Conan O'Brien with the Tonight Show after. I know it's NBC but how in the world is this news? Reminds me why I don't watch it any more.

DDay (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Studying history has been a lifetime passion for me, particularly biography. For some time now, I have often said in discussions that "You tell me your favorite hero and I'll tell you about their foibles or skeletons in their closets." A particularly potent charge recently is marital infidelity. Ever since Gary Hart's trip on "Monkey Business", the rules have eroded to the point where few lines exist to restrain tabloid journalism.
Knowing which politician is screwing around is of great interest to near everyone including me. That being said , knowing which politician is sleeping around does little to help me make judicious decisions about the job a politician will do for me as a citizen. Some of our greatest leaders had tumultuous private lives while some our worst leaders had tranquil homes. Vice-versa is also true. Little is to be learned when people's private lives are exposed other than that they are human, subject to human frailties and quirks.
Like Thom, I had the opportunity to meet both John and Elizabeth Edwards. I had the exact same reaction as Thom. I was struck by Elizabeth Edwards qualities and simple, sincere humanity. I was disgusted to learn what was included in "Game Change" about the Edwards. It was an unnecessary cruelty to include these private revelations about their lives in this book. No class.

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Obama uses 'pocket veto' option - is this the same man America voted in?:

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Christ, Harry Reid used a word that is no longer politically correct and the way he delivered it shows he most likely wasn't aware of it.

If the Democrats get rid of Harry Reid as Senate leader, I hope its based on logic such as not agreeing with is tactics of rolling over every time the republicans threaten Filibuster. But if this is the worst the right-wing can come up with, well its says more about the right-wing then it does about Senator Reid.

brian a.hayes (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

i consider thom hartmann jim hightower john perkins naomi kein and david korten leaders on the subject of corporatocracy. i would like them to unite together to take the lead to work to end the personhood of corporations. to see great change in society it take unity. please unite together and bring us abourd to end the personhood of corporation. so we may create a society of the people for the people.

Mena Sprague (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Senator Harry Reid has a 100% favorable voting record with the NAACP, x-Senator Trent Lott's favorable voting record was 30%. Actions say more than words.

AVATAR (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

To redeem myself by having put a draft of my movie review of the AVATAR here. I now have had it professionally edited and published. Check it out at my website by clicking on the hyperlink on this post.

minny (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I have often wondered how Bill Clinton and John Edwards each found a woman who was unaware that these men were married to such high-profile women as Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards. This inconvenient fact did not deter the "ladies" at all. Hmmm.

Martin (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I'm getting tired hearing about this Harry Reid thing.

As an African-American I think it's interesting that the only people I see making a big deal about this is White people.

I don't think it was racist to point out people would be more likely to vote for a Black person that is light skinned. It maybe racist that people aren't as likely to vote for someone who is darker, but it's not racist to point out the issue.

And the negro comment, very bad choice of word sure... but I understand that Reid is an old man and that was the term used for a long time. I've talked to older Black people that still use that word or similarly out dated terms.

The truth is that when I first heard Harry Reid use the word negro on the news I wasn't upset. In fact I laughed.

DDay (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

@ minny

There is no evidence and little likely hood that anyone was "unaware" as you posit. I am as unclear about which "ladies" you refer to as I am about what point you are trying to make. ? Hmmmm.

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Hey does anyone know if the Supreme Court delivered its decision on corporate ability to directly give money to campaigns?

Kai Wen (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Harry Reid grew up in a time when 'negro' was the positive way to refer to a black person.
He is out of touch, because he has not kept with modern norms of speech. We should just spin this that Republicans are prejudiced against elderly people.

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

@Kai, that's a good suggestion, except the majority of Republicans are elderly (white, male and self-centered too).

rewinn (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Why is Thom interviewing an economist about a scientific question?

Unless, of course, there are no scientists who can give the denialist perspective?

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Right wing mantra: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls**t"

AVATAR (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

This guy is a kook- John is assessing the earth mechanistically, not as a whole. You can have an exhaust system in a car, but that alone does not run the car. One the ice in Siberia melts, etc. the methane off gassing will speed up the feedback loop.

rewinn (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

So the economist wants us to build AQUADUCTS from Antarctica to the Sudan?


Mugsy (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Thom, in response to those who tout the "benefits" of Global Warming:

There is a reason I don't put my patio furniture in my greenhouse. Turn the planet into a giant greenhouse, and you can't just "open a window" or "air condition" the entire planet.

chuckle8 (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

FYI CSPAN2 is carrying the Financial Crisis Commission hearings. They have the CEOs of the banks vs. the commissions (which includes Woosley Born). The surprising thing to me is that the financial service people are pointing out all the things that are wrong with the system. Many of them are the things that Thom has pointed out plus many more. I home Thom can review the hearings. For much of it I need an interpreter.

One interesting side note, is that when the committee took a break, all the reporters jumped up and started taking pictures of the banksters.

AVATAR (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Most recent research at Biosphere 2 has examined the effects of environmental changes that Earth is likely to face in the future, especially higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2. For example, researchers tested the hypothesis that tropical rain forests can "soak up" excess CO2 by increased photosynthesis. Using the instruments that precisely control the Biosphere's atmosphere, the researchers subjected the facility's rain forest to CO2 levels of 400, 700, and 1200 parts per million (ppm). 400 ppm is close to today's actual level. Under each condition, the researchers measured the forest's rate of CO2 uptake (by photosynthesis) and release (by respiration of plant and microorganism cells).

Results showed that the rain forest's ability to soak up CO2 declined at an atmospheric concentration of 700 ppm and was severely reduced at 1200 ppm. Uptake of CO2 did increase at higher atmospheric concentrations, but respiration increased even more (especially respiration by soil microbes). The researchers concluded that rain forests are unlikely to soak up much of the additional carbon dioxide that human activities will add to the future atmosphere.

Audesirk, Audesirk, and Byers (2006) Life on Earth. N.J. Pearson Custom Publishing p. 604.

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I just hope Obama administration take this disaster in Haiti to win back the trust and respect in the world (specially in South America) by extending unconditional aid and help and not attaching strings that would ultimately stand to benifit big Corp instead of the Haitians.

minny (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Hey, DDay. That "unaware" comment is a bit tongue-in-cheek. The point is that women have a say unless they are raped. Women are often tricked into relationships by men who say they are not married, are married but separated, or are thinking of or getting a divorce. Seems to me that these women are not uninformed enough to fall for this in the cases of the Clintons and the Edwards.

DDay (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago


Thanks for the explanation. I'm not a big fan of either Reille or Monica. They hurt an awful lotta people with their selfishness.

Than (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

How is it that reasonable people have allow ideologues to make the discussion of the climate crisis about whether or not global climate change is man-made? Why is that the most important issue? If we know that global climate change is happening, and we are contributing to it in however small a degree, don't we have an obligation to ourselves as a civilization to do what we can to curtail it? If we knew there was an asteroid headed for earth to wipe us out and could do something to stop it, would there really be a discussion over whether we should expend any effort because the asteroid is not man-made? Perhaps if knew it was only going to hit and wipe out Africa or South America, there would be such a discussion.

j.sea (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

While we ogle who knew who was sleeping with whom and while we allow the Rovers to create distractions which we willingly submit to by taking the bait every time -- the last day for the public to go on record in defense of Net Neutrality is tomorrow. The forces that took control of our government, emptied our treasury, killed hundreds of thousands in ginned up wars, and fortified the Shadow Government – these forces are still on the march. While we dither they march. They march straight toward the permanent removal of Net Neutrality and the removal of all restraint on corporate funding of political candidates. Unless we tighten our collective attention belt and WE set the agenda, starting with the above and proceeding to eliminating corporate private armies, there will be little else to do in the future but gossip, as real dialogue, real political involvement, and real access to information will be things of the past and the lockdown of the corporate state will be nearing completion.
File a comment in support of Net Neutrality by Jan. 14. Tell the FCC the internet cannot be surrendered to the control of the most powerful. And then tell everyone you know to do the same now:

Roy Tuckman (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

The explanation for gay Republicanism (GOProud) -- it's called MASOCHISM!!

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I think it would be great if the disaster in Haiti led to Port Au Prince being rebuilt with sustainability in mind. Now would be their best opportunity, if they got necessary aid. I think the Obama administration could really achieve a win-win situation here if the pledged to help Haiti go green (as well as re-building to seismic codes)

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Construct green in Haiti, along with providing Haitians with jobs and money recontructing that country back.....we can dream!

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Well there will be reconstruction jobs in Haiti, there is little doubt about that. From the photos coming out of Port Au Prince yesterday, it's doubtful that there are more than a handful of undamaged buildings.

I think Obama should call for a temporary expansion of the Peace Corps, call for volunteers and send them over to help clear and rebuild Port Au Prince... once the project is well on its way, he can start bring some of the Peace Corps construction team back to New Orleans.

Sure it may be a fantasy, it also seems (to me at least) common sense.

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Unfortunately, common sense is never a priority for the US government while handling its foreign affairs, doesn't matter if the Democrats or the Republicans are in charge.

rewinn (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Dan Gaynor's attacked Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac by asking if we'd ever heard of a big company that lost money announcing huge bonusses.

May we assume Gaynor does not know about our banks and investment houses?

Nels (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I see a headline on msn.com "Obama vows 'aggressive' disaster aid. Seems you may be right about governments common sense priorities if this is the headlines coming out. Instead of a 'compassionate' aid, or at least 'prompt and thorough' aid. We're going to get 'aggressive' about it... I hope is a poor choice of words and not a Freudian slip.

Dave in CA (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Thom was exactly right in the discussion that the Tea Party movement is a populist movement and that is WHAT WE REALLY NEED. That is because the political process has obviously failed We the People on all levels. We need to unite with them, in fact the 99% of us need to unite against the top 1% to threaten or carry out a General Strike.

The tea partiers want to blame Obama and Congress when they have simply been purchased by big money from big corporations (everyone has some price). Obama is just another in the line of corporation controlled puppets (just look at who is working for him Geitner and Summers, the Wall Street whores). Obama is just a little smarter and blacker than the previous corporation puppet.

The tea partiers and the progressives do have something in common: we want significant and radical change to the sick, twisted and corrupt system of big corporation/government control of our freedoms. Big money rules and buys legislation for further profit while We the People do all the work and take all the risk.

We do have in common that we comprise the 99%. Nothing will change unless we unite for a common purpose: take the country over on a grass roots level. Keep in mind the Prime Directive: the bottom 99% United to Strike against the top 1%.

Mir (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

The only thing in my opinion that can turn American around is an informed voter. I do not hink we are even close to that yet.

rewinn (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

The Tea Partiers remind my of my father (...now passed on, peace be on him...) who was a more-or-less typical, angry, anti-liberal working man who was turned rabidly anti-nuclear by the WHOOPS debacle here in Washington State (...in which a complex of five nuclear fission plants went insanely over budget and the end result went right onto his utility bills.)

Perhaps we need to ask Tea Party Populists how they feel about Boeing outsourcing 90% of the construction of the 787 to foreign lands. Small machine shops around Renton didn't get the business; shops in China and Europe did. Maybe that's good for Boeing but where are those machinists now? In food lines, some of them and I'll bet some of them are also at tea parties.

Maybe we need to INVITE tea partiers to our events. Don't just attend theirs; invite them to OURS.

harry ashburn (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

re: Chinese justice: ..hey, it ain't all bad...at least they execute corporate criminals!

"I wanted to be a philosopher, but I couldn't pass the metaphysical." -harry ashburn

Matthew Filler (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Why is the Republican Talking Point for the week that this book showed Reid was a racist? It is mainly pre-emptive! Without their hacks flogging this talking point, the headline and the focus of commentators would have been Palin's astounding utter lack of the basic competence needed to be vice president, in the opinion of the people who had to prep her for debates and interviews. The Edwards material and perhaps Bill Clinton's more serious racial gaff would have been the side points, since they are out of the path of future power. A focus on Palin just as they were rolling her out as a FOX "News" commentator would have been a disaster for them. The authors have stated that the Reid item was way down on their list of news broken by their book. Going after Reid made it an attempt to kill a 2nd bird with the same stone. But the main reason for the talking point being all over FOX for days was to keep the focus off of the proof of Palin's utter lack of the basic knowledge needed to be a national leader, or for that matter to be a comentator.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

Thom, here is a three minute tape on a book, "The Value of Nothing." The author may be a good guest for your show.


Kai Wen (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

John Lott made the argument that most of the rise in CO2 is due to non-human causes.
Therefore, he argues that we should do nothing. Well, if you are driving, and a situation arises where it becomes apparent that you are going to have an accident, you still hit the brakes as hard as you can. You don't say "I'm gonna have an accident. There's no way to avoid it, so I wont bother to hit the brakes." You want to hit as softly as possible.

Ben (not verified) 11 years 35 weeks ago

I have the next "Very Ugly" for Thom's broadcast. Pat Robertson says that Haiti is being punished for a pact with the devil made to gain freedom from France in the 1800's. I can't believe that any one who follows Jesus would condem a people like that. Jesus would have been the first to help that country as they are the most in need right now.

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