For Whom Does Bell Toll?

On July 15, 2010 the Los Angeles Times broke a story devastating the working class residents of Bell, California. 

the midst of the Great Recession, in a city where one in four residents
lives below the poverty level, came one of the worst municipal scandals
in recent memory.  City council members making $100,000 a year for
part-time work.  A police chief making $450,000 a year. 

the cream of the crop?  A city manager making nearly $800,000 a year. 
Meanwhile, as Times columnist Steve Lopez noted, the primary industry
in Bell is survival.

Boycott Scotland

I have organized a national boycott of any travel (business or personal) to Scotland for one year for a simple reason. There are a certain number of people on the planet that qualify for the label “homicidal maniac”. Question – what signal does the Scottish decision to release a convicted terrorist to a hero’s welcome send them?

I know the business community doesn’t like the idea of boycotts. But how else can we Californians send a message to a sovereign government about terrorism?

I would like to encourage readers to join our boycott by e-mailing me at

Obama Muslim Rumor, by the numbers…

Rumors that Barack Obama was a secret Muslim whose patriotism was questionable first appeared on blogs and in e-mail messages. In March, the rumors began to show up in the press, though only minimally.

According to PEJ’s News Coverage Index, the media narrative about these rumors consumed 0.4% of the campaign news hole from March 13 – April 12. Since then, however, coverage of this storyline has steadily increased—and in June it gained momentum.

With the general election underway, stories about rumors that Obama was not patriotic and had ties to Islam jumped from 0.9% of the campaign news hole studied a month earlier to 3.8% from June 13 – July 12—nearly ten times as much attention as the narrative received in March.

And that was before The New Yorker’s controversial front cover ran. The early evidence, at least, suggests, this story line is not going away.

Tim Russert: An Appreciation

If ever there were any truth to the superstition that Friday the 13th brings
bad news, then Tim Russert¹s untimely death proves it. All of us who
work in media mourn the passing of this giant in broadcasting. Russert wore
many, many hats ­ professionally and personally. He was the Washington
bureau chief for NBC News, anchor of NBC’s "Meet the Press," and a regular
on various MSNBC news programs, to name but a few of his reporting duties.

Russert took over "Meet the Press" from Laurence Spivak in 1991 and has been
an agenda setter ever since. Spivak handed him a winning show and shared
his four-part "secret sauce" for making it great: learn everything about
your guests position; take the opposite position in your own questioning;
be persistent; and, always be civil.

With Russert at the helm, "Meet the Press" turned into a resounding
powerhouse hour for anyone interested in politics in America. For those who
live in Los Angeles, it airs at eight o¹clock on Sunday morning. What a
bracing way to wake up! No matter how late my Saturday night ended, I was
always glued to my TV the next morning because I craved my weekly fix. I
knew the guests would be excellent; the discussions, stimulating; Russert’s
research and background information would be impeccable and come from a
variety of sources; and he wouldn’t shy away from confronting anyone who
shirked his hard-hitting questions.