Saturday morning shorts while trying to digest the stunning news that Charlie Sheen has reportedly checked himself into a rehab facility after suffering a hernia during an all-night party with five porn stars:
• On the eve of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, the Washington Examiner offers a retrospective on the nation’s 40th president.
• Politico reports third-term Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has developed a fan base like 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s: Energized, fiercely loyal and capable of making a critic’s life miserable with threats of political retribution. Meanwhile, Gail Collins of the New York Times writes: Is Michele Bachmann the new Sarah Palin? And do we really need a new Sarah Palin? Shouldn’t the first one be made to go away before we start considering replacements?
• Twenty-five years have passed since the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds into its flight. From the Associated Press: “ … images of the exploding space shuttle still signify all that can go wrong with technology and the sharpest minds. The accident … remains NASA’s most visible failure. … It was the world’s first high-tech catastrophe to unfold on live television.
• As the clock continues to count down on the Cardinals’ contract negotiations with Albert Pujols, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the slugger will veto any trade proposals should that strategy emerge.
The Illinois Supreme Court will have to decide if Rahm Emanuel, former congressman and chief of staff to President Barack Obama, is eligible to run for mayor of Chicago. An appellate court earlier this week voted 2-1 to toss Emanuel — the frontrunner by a wide margin— off the ballot, saying he had not met the requirement of living in the city for one year before next month’s election.
Now the high court will get to either side with the appeals court or with the Chicago Board of Elections and a Cook County circuit court, both of which previously ruled that Emanuel was qualified to run.
In the Emanuel case, that debate may have been inevitable. Three of the four justices on the court’s Democratic majority were endorsed during their careers by the Cook County Democratic Party. The head of the party’s judicial slating committee is powerful Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who is supporting Gery Chico in the mayoral race. And Burke is the husband of Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.
Politics playing a role in a judicial decision? In Chicago?
On oldie but goodie from 1987. Former KPNX weekend weatherman Dick Leighton forgot he was supposed to work a Friday night. He apologized later, saying he had been out having a few drinks. At 10 p.m. he went on air live. The rest is history.
Deborah Potter, executive director of NewsLab, a broadcast training and research center, and a former network correspondent, offers a scathing analysis of the decline of CNN in the latest issue of American Journalism Review. (Or, as my friend Mel Dillman likes to say, the “Clinton News Network.”)
A disgraced ex-governor, a talent show host and an Oprah wannabe. Not a bad guest list for Letterman, perhaps, but as prime-time anchors on a cable news channel? This is what’s become of CNN.
PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times that digs for the truth in American politics, took at look at a statement made by Rep. Eric Canton that the Affordable Care Act is a “job killer.” Cantor, obviously, isn’t the only Republican lawmaker who has made this claim.
Republicans point to a study that claims that the health care law will result in 1.6 million lost jobs. That number comes from a study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The problem with this study, PoltiFact points out, is that it isn’t based on the law that passed. It was published on Jan. 26, 2009, before a finalized House or Senate bill had even been proposed. There may be some problems with the legislation, but suggesting it will kill jobs isn’t the issue it is being made out to be, according to PolitiFact, which concluded:
Republicans have used the “job-killing” claim hundreds of times — so often that they used the phrase in the name of the bill. It implies that job losses will be one of the most significant effects of the law. But they have flimsy evidence to back it up.
The phrase suggests a massive decline in employment, but the data doesn’t support that. The Republican evidence is extrapolated from a report that was talking about a reduction in the labor supply rather than the loss of jobs, or based on measures that weren’t included in the final health care law. We rate the statement False.
Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC reveals the problematic structure of the current incarnation of cable news, in which bombast, opinion and outsized personality get ratings, but these same qualities can make talent almost impossible to manage. Click here for the story.
Olbermann’s anger drove his ratings, but also drove his bosses crazy. Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast writes on how the newly unemployed MSNBC star’s indignation fueled his rise and fall.
With Olbermann’s departure, Glenn Beck’s collapsing ratings, and Sarah Palin’s recent missteps, John Avlon wonders if we may be witnessing a national turn away from hard-core partisanship. Click here for the story.
Policymakers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.
Two years since emerging from the financial crisis, Wall Street profits — and big paychecks — appear to be back.
President Obama’s potential challengers are busy cultivating donors, recruiting staff and testing campaign messages — conducting proxy campaigns that illuminate the approach they would take as White House hopefuls. Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire straw poll and sources say Newt Gingrich is going to run for president.