Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging

Olbermann taps a well of discontent as the anti-O’Reilly

Keith Olbermann just needed to find his voice. He’d been a droll sportscaster, a serious news anchor and a bickering critic of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. But none of those personas really clicked.

Then he found one. A little over a year ago, as the White House fumbled and botched the Hurricane Katrina recovery, Olbermann finally blew up.

He concluded a broadcast of his MSNBC cable news show, “Countdown,” with an indignant rant in the rat-a-tat-tat cadence of his idol, Edward R. Murrow. He called it a “Special Comment.”

And just like that, Olbermann found his voice — the angry everyman. He became a liberal counterpoint to conservative media ranters like O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and an Internet star, too.

The Olbermann phenomenon would be interesting to liberals for obvious reasons, but other then just hating him I wonder if conservatives have even noticed the huge backlash. Its a backlash that hasn’t even found its peak yet. Wait for the bill to come due on all the tax cuts combined with massive corporate welfare and no bid contracts. Plus the continuing death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baghdad’s morgues so full, bodies being turned away

By the look of this Sunday’s paper the holiday season is underway which means that where possible you might consider buying Blue, buyblue.org. Olbermann and Bill Maher just hurt conservatives feelings, at least what feelings conservatives are capable of, hitting them in the wallet is where it really hurts.

Feingold rules out 2008 run for president. I’m disappointed in some ways, but then he is a much better then average senator and there are never enough of those.

Over the years, through school and work I learned about myths. Norse legends, Greek and Roman gods, the myriad of native American creation stories, but myths are not remnants of the past that still rattle around like background noise. Much of our culture and political policy turns on little myths. In a way progressive bloggers are myth busters. Even allowing for the philosophical notion that the truth might vary depending on perspective and experience the Right always seems outside the park barking at the moon when it comes to myths about minimum wage. I realize their opposition to a living wage is ideologically consistent with their social-darwinistic world view, but as usual it is difficult to justify that opposition in terms of morality and the facts, Nobel Winning Economists: Minimum Wage Boost Will Help Economy – by James Parks, Oct 11, 2006

To hear employers and congressional Republicans tell it, raising the federal minimum wage from a paltry $5.15 an hour to $7.25 will cost jobs and drive the economy down. But 650 economists, including several Nobel Laureates, today said that’s just not true. In fact, raising the minimum wage will have little effect on jobs and will help lift some low-wage workers out of poverty.

Republican leaders in Congress succeeded in preventing an increase in the nation’s minimum wage this year, but the AFL-CIO and working families plan to keep pushing for a new law in the next Congress and to make it an issue in the Nov. 7 elections. Ten years after Congress approved the last raise, the federal minimum buys less than it did in 1951—fewer groceries, far fewer gallons of gasoline, less medicine and less for rent.

The economists, assembled by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and including such heavy-hitters as Nobel winners Kenneth Arrow, Clive Granger, Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz, issued a statement that lays out the case for increasing the federal minimum wage:

We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed.

While controversy about the precise employment effects of the minimum wage continues, research has shown that most of the beneficiaries are adults, most are female, and the vast majority are members of low-income working families.

As economists who are concerned about the problems facing low-wage workers, we believe the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005’s proposed phased-in increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 falls well within the range of options where the benefits to the labor market, workers, and the overall economy would be positive.

The Terrorists Who Aren’t in the News

On Sept. 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport, Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.

No national newspaper, magazine or network newscast reported this attempted suicide bombing, though an AP wire story was available. Cable news (save for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) was silent about this latest act of terrorism in America.

Had the criminal, David McMenemy, been Arab or Muslim, this would have been headline news for weeks. But since his target was the Edgerton Women’s Health Center, rather than, say, a bank or a police station, media have not called this terrorism — even after three decades of extreme violence by anti-abortion fanatics, mostly fundamentalist Christians who believe they’re fighting a holy war.

Since 1977, casualties from this war include seven murders, 17 attempted murders, three kidnappings, 152 assaults, 305 completed or attempted bombings and arsons, 375 invasions, 482 stalking incidents, 380 death threats, 618 bomb threats, 100 acid attacks, and 1,254 acts of vandalism, according to the National Abortion Federation.

Who hasn’t heard a Rightie and a liberal or two claim that that we’ve been at war with Islamic fundamentalists since some attack in the 1980s. If attacks on persons and property, death threats and a general attempt to instill fear through sociopathic behavior are considered acts of war, then certainly some conservative Americans have declared war on America. At least that is true if we’re playing by the rules in being consistent in how we describe what terrorism is regardless of the motivations behind it.

“Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging.” – Martin Luther

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” – Saul Bellow