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Mr. Emanuel –

Today, you posted an article at the Huffington Post lamenting the fact that the cable news networks are covering the Democratic National Convention as if it were a sporting event. “This is Real News,” moans your headline, “Don’t Cover it Like a Sport.”

I’m sorry, but where did you get the idea that either of the party conventions are real news?

Did anything unpredictable happen? Will the convention settle anything that wasn’t settled back when the Obama camp announced that it had enough votes to secure the nomination?

No, to both.

Frankly, watching the conventions is a bit like watching a televised awards show, but with longer speeches.

Meanwhile, the Denver police are pepper spraying and using their batons on peaceful protesters. Wars rage on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and Cheney want to start another war with Iran. The economy is in the toilet. Gas prices are so high they’ve finally done what all the screaming and yelling about global warming hasn’t been able to do so far – get Americans to drive less. High energy costs are driving up the cost of everything else, further harming the people at the bottom of the economic ladder. Political corruption is rampant. Companies like Blackwater and Halliburton are getting risk rich on our task dollars, at the cost of countless Iraqi lives, due to a war we never should have started in the first place. Our health care system is a mess. No Child Left Behind is wrecking our public schools. Our constitutional rights and any semblance of the personal privacy that was once considered our birthright as Americans are now in tatters. We seem on the verge of becoming that which we all profess to loathe – a fascist state. And nobody in the Bush administration has been impeached yet, despite numerous high crimes and misdemeanors.

To be perfectly honest, I think the cable news shows are giving the conventions about the level of respect they deserve. The only actual newsworthy event inside the Pepsi Center so far (that I’m aware of) has been Hillary’s speech, and that’s only because some of her fangirls just can’t let go and accept that she isn’t going to be the president come January 1, 2009.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the ultimate outcome of the elections come November is vitally important.

I’m just saying that most of what’s been happening inside the Pepsi Center for the past two days isn’t.

Best wishes,

jane doe


For those who are looking for updates on what is happening with the fires in the San Diego area, one of the local news stations there has been covering it pretty much continuously all day and streaming it on their website here. For the fires around Los Angeles and Malibu, you can try KTLA’s website here — they don’t seem to be streaming their coverage, but they have some clips and links up that may be helpful for those who are trying to get information about their homes or about friends they know in the area.

National coverage tends to be lacking in disasters of this sort, at least during the early hours, so if you are trying to get information about specific neighborhoods (in any kind of natural disaster), the local TV stations are often your best bet — they give more complete information, and the people really know the area and can give good advice.

Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by these fires.

jane doe


I’ve known this for a long time, but haven’t felt moved to comment on it before today. However, he made a particularly moronic comment today (h/t to Media Matters) that I feel deserves extra attention:

“I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.”

I have a number of problems with this statement.

First, there many people these days who hate America, partly due to our current administration’s policies, partly due to past policies, partly due to dislike of our culture, and partly just to be peevish (mostly the French in that last group). We’ll let that slide, though, because the context makes it clear that what Beck means is that he thinks there are a handful of Americans who hate America. That assertion is what I take issue with.

Second, he implies that liberals hate America. Well, okay, not exactly. Actually, he implies that Southern Californians hate America, since Southern California is the only place experiencing a lot of major fires at the moment, at least that I’m aware of. But everyone knows that Southern California is the home of flaming liberals — that, at least, is what I think he is trying to suggest — right?

Wrong. South of Los Angeles — behind the Orange Curtain, as we used to call it — most of those cities skew pretty Republican. San Diego, where eight or nine of those fires Beck mentioned are burning, has a rather strong Republican bent, between the conservative upper class and all the military folks who live there. And I imagine a lot of those folks would be upset to hear both that Glenn Beck thinks they’re liberal and that he thinks they hate America.

Third, of course, is the fact that he thinks liberals hate America. We don’t. We love this country. We are just scared by or angry about what certain people in power are doing to this country, or in the name of this country.

Fourth, is the smug implicit subtext to his glib little comment, that people in Southern California somehow deserve to lose their homes in a fire because they are liberal, or because they hate America, or maybe just because they live in Southern California. It is beyond inappropriate to make snide little comments like this when more than a quarter of a million people have been evacuated from their homes in the face of these fires.

Ergo, Glenn Beck is an idiot.

I am filing this post under the Faux News category, because I think that Glenn Beck really ought to be on that network, instead of one run by the allegedly neutral CNN. Because really, he should be — every time I happen to run across his show, I have to check the station icon in the corner of my TV screen, just to make sure I haven’t accidentally switched over to Fox. He’s just that blatant a right-wing mouthpiece. And that big an idiot.

Ah, well. It’s all just further evidence of the impending collapse of civilization as we know it.

And furthermore, I think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

P.S. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by the fires in Southern California. A close friend who lives in the San Diego area called me this morning at about 5:30 a.m. west coast time to let me know that they were evacuating and heading up the coast away from the fires. They threw their pets, their important documents, a few changes of clothes, and their laptop computers into the car and took off when the electricity in her neighborhood became unreliable. She said that embers were blowing everywhere, and the fire had jumped across a stretch of freeway that was eight lanes wide because the winds were so strong. At this time, they do not know whether they will have a house to go back to. You can find out how to help people affected by the fires here.

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