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Big Media Sucks: Madmen Big Finale Spoiler

by Invenium Viam on May 12, 2015 · 0 comments

60's bs
Cringe-worthy, even back then

I wanted to title this post Big Media Sucks: Told You So Edition but most normal people already know Big Media sucks and nobody likes to witness self-congratulatory displays — which seem uncomfortably to Minnesotans like a form of public auto-eroticism — and which means I wouldn’t have gotten any readers.

 

So I decided to reveal/spoil the jaw-dropping, series-ending Big Finale of Madmen instead. Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to know how Madmen ends before the actual broadcast next Sunday, stop reading now.

 

The deal is, you gotta indulge me and read to the end of this post. Only then shall you have your just reward, Grasshopper.

 

Last month, I pointed out that Big Media was only too happy to chicken-little the April jobs report to shill more useless retail crap to the Great Unwitting Unwashed, as if 126,000 jobs was something more than a minor speed bump in Obama’s truly astonishing and historic record of continuous employment growth. See: Obama’s Economic Policies Achieve Full Employment During Record 61 Straight Months of Private Sector Job Growth.

 

In light of how RW media has continued to denounce the Obama Recovery from the Great Recession as weak and lackluster by applying the wholly invalid measures of past cyclical economic downturns — as if they were one-in-the-same-thing — and all the while completely unchallenged by the brainless mediators at CNN and elsewhere who get six figures each year to look pretty on-camera, but not paid a dime to think on their feet — in light of all that, Big Media owes it to the American public to explain how badly you folks all have been bewitched, bamboozled and beguiled by a continuous stream of RW lies nested within lies like an endless series of mendacious Matrushka dolls. But, of course, admit fault they never do and up pay they never will.

 

So now we have the April jobs report, which says:

America can breathe a sigh of relief. The economy is improving with the spring weather.

 

The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in April, a healthy pick up after a disappointing March and about in line with what economists surveyed by CNNMoney projected.

 

April’s strong job gains reflect a trend the country saw last year: job growth cooling in the winter months, then gaining momentum into the spring.

 

“They are good numbers,” says Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “It’s reassuring that we saw job growth rebound to above 200,000.”

 

The good news doesn’t stop there. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%, its lowest mark since May 2008.   CNN.COM

 

See, kids? You only had to wait about a month to find out that Big Media was bloated chock full of impacted rancid h*rsesh*t in how it reported the March job numbers. Those Big Media hucksters can’t stop trying to chump you folks for loose bills. But you’re not chumps, are you, boys and girls? That’s why you come here, to MNPP, to commandeer your political opinions and insights from knowledgeable sources with no money in the game and a least a dram or two of personal integrity. Good for you. And smart move. We at MNPP live to serve.

 

I wonder why Fox News viewers can never seem to figure out that they’re getting played daily for bunch of clueless rubes? Home schooling? It’s like never catching on that you never win at Three Card Monte. Whatever the cause, it’s not my problem.

 

Thanks for indulging me. I needed to get that one off my chest.

 

So here’s the spoiler on Madmen. After his road trip of self-discovery and personal enlightenment, Don Draper returns to McCann a spiritually reborn ‘New Man,’ one finally at peace with himself and others (which tells you that his life-process of self discovery is sadly at an end). While he is pitching a brilliant new ad campaign to a big account, he falls out of a window in a final reprise of the show’s long-standing opening credits sequence and is killed. As he falls, he passes characters from earlier episodes in the series who wave him goodbye. Bye, Don. It’s been real. Or not. Mostly not.

 

Draper’s tragic end was foreshadowed on the May 3rd episode when he heard the wind-whistle coming from a large window in his new office at McCann and tested it to discover that the window glass was loose in the frame. An omen, you see. Now, knowing that no part of a television drama is included in the final cut unless it moves the story forward, what do you think that omen portends? Politically savvy folks like us know how to read the omens.

 

There you have it. You can Twitter your friends if you like. Just be sure to let them know you heard it here first at Minnesota Progressive Project. And report back here with your comments after the show!! We love comments. We really do.

 

 

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Corporate media is ready for Hillary

by Dan Burns on April 14, 2015 · 0 comments

hillary
 

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On the Monday, April 6, broadcast of Hardball With Chris Matthews, in a segment called “Get the Message,” Mr. Matthews suggested that many past successful presidential campaigns have had an inspired campaign theme. He cited presidential campaigns going all the way back to JFK.

 

  • Kennedy 1960: “Get the Country Moving Again.”
  • Nixon 1968: “Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It.”
  • Carter 1976: “Leaders, For A Change.”
  • Bush 1988: “A Kinder, Gentler America.”
  • Bush 2000: “Compassionate Conservatism.”
  • Obama 2008: “Change We Can Believe In.”

Matthews then asked his panel which candidates would have the best campaign themes in 2016. I found their answers, for the most part, unimaginative and unedifying. So, remembering that we writers and bloggers at Minnesota Progressive Project do indulge from time-to-time in satire and satirical commentary — not to mention supporting fellow journalists in the innovative pursuit of new knowledge — here’s my offering of what will be the Top 10 Campaign Themes of 2016, presented as graphic renderings in alphabetical order.

 

 

Bush 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christie 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruz 2016 Campaign Theme
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Huckabee 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pence 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perry 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubio 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santorum 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walker 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

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MPR Poligraph needs a fact check

by Eric Ferguson on April 9, 2015 · 3 comments

In the latest “This guy wants to be president“, I railed a bit at fact checkers and the twisting they use to get weird results. MPR’s Poligraph is doing the same thing. The Poligraph writer, Catharine Richert, used to work for Politifact, which is so frequently terrible at fact checking that I don’t link to it, even when I agree with their conclusion. I fear they taught her their methods.
 

In this case, Poligraph said a statement of Gov. Dayton’s was accurate, but judged it misleading for lacking some context. Generally, complaining about a lack of context is something done when the context would change the meaning, whereas in this case, the context leaves the statement still accurate — unless “misleading” and “leaving out detail” have come to mean the same thing.
 

“The Legislature and the Governor did that 15 years ago: they returned the expected surpluses to the taxpayers,” Dayton said. “Within two years, those surpluses disappeared. It’s taken us over a decade to recover from those mistakes.”
 
It’s time for a history lesson.

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Weeper of the House, John Boehner
It Ain’t Easy Being John Boehner

“Uh, Mr. President, where are the jobs?” Speaker of the House John Boehner

 

“Right in front of your swollen red nose, Yellowboy,” President Obama

 

One reason I write for this blog is because Big Media seems to have no long-term memory from which to provide perspective. In that respect, it’s kind of like voters.

 

At MNPP, at least we try to get something like perspective out there, if only for less imaginative mainstream media hacks to have something fresh to colonize. Call it professional courtesy.

 

Witness Big Media’s reaction to the latest jobs report for March: the economy — we are told — created “only” 126,000 jobs, which the mainstream media was quick to use for their nightly broadcast and website email teasers as a lead-in, and which went something like: “OMG! The jobs report for March was ONLY 126,000!! The economy must be tanking again! We’re doomed, DOOMED!!! Let’s all crap our pants!!!”

 

Even the venerable New York Times couldn’t resist giving the report a long shadow — U.S. Economy Gained 126,000 Jobs in March, an Abrupt Slowdown in Hiring. It did attribute the downturn in new jobs creation to an economy impacted by horrible spring weather and chronically low gas prices. But it didn’t say that the slowdown was likely to be temporary until the twelfth graph when the feeble news-desk editor who cleared the story deigned to allow this little gem for the sake of adding some perspective:

 

“It was lower than expectations, without a doubt,” said Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of labor. “But I’ve always said that one month never makes a trend.”

Mr. Perez said that if someone told him last year, when the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent, that it would now be at 5.5 percent, “I would have said that’s an April Fool’s joke.”

Last year, the drop in the nation’s output that accompanied a harsh winter was followed by an unusually strong rebound in the spring. Job growth during that cold snap was also disappointing before surging ahead the rest of the year.

 

It’s that kind of 30,000 foot perspective that’s wanted in a story like this, but should be offered early, in the third or fourth graph, as opposed to a breathless, film-at-eleven dick teaser.

 

I know, I know. Adding balance and perspective to a news story which otherwise might be seen by the public as reflecting negatively on Obama, or the Democrats, or Godless Baby-killing Liberals (GBKL) in general, makes right-wing butt-hurt media trolls leap from their Barcalounger® Pegasus II™ 6-Position Recliners and scream, “Again with the liberal media bias! You f*kkers!” — a charge that, for inexplicable reasons, managing editors across the land seem to fear.

 

But why? Let’s remember that when Obama took office, there was a nationwide cadre of respected economists who said that the damage done to the economy was so severe it would take at least ten years to recover all the jobs lost and the Dow to once again top 11,000. And there was a lot of sentiment that with the enormous additional debt we’d incur trying to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in, the US could turn into a “zombie” economy alá Japan for another ten years after that. Instead, Obama’s policies created 12.1 million new private sector jobs in just 5 years and the Dow topped 11,000 on April 9, 2010, fully five years ago. The economy is growing at a healthy rate, maybe not gangbusters but the inflation rate is at 0%, the annual deficit has been cut by more than half, and real wages for American workers have begun to rise for the first time in decades.

 

Allz I’m sayin’ is there’s room for some perspective in the story, regardless of what a stringer of bushnesiac radcon coulter crackers have to say about it.

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Don’t concern yourself with Strib polling

by Dan Burns on March 22, 2015 · 1 comment

schoolPerhaps you’ve seen this morning’s in the Star Tribune, purporting to show huge public support for “quality over seniority” in teacher layoffs. It’s a classic example of reducing a complex issue to a quick soundbite. Do you really think most parents would want to see their own kid’s beloved math teacher let go, because some newbie at a school with more privileged kids had those kids produce higher test scores?

 
Let’s be clear about what the education deformers want, here. “Quality” is to be “measured” by standardized test scores. This will force teachers to rote-drill students to the tests, rather than emphasize learning to think knowledgeably, rationally, creatively, and independently. Because if most kids grow up doing the latter, that spells longer-term doom for the plutocratic, warmongering status quo. Which is in fact what’s been going on for a while, and, obviously, said warmongering plutocrats are desperate to reverse that, no matter what vile, shameless means are employed.

 
It won’t surprise me if the rest of the week is devoted to poll questions like “Do you favor or oppose a gas tax increase?” and “Should the state refund the budget surplus?” Remember that if poll results other than “Who would you vote for if the election were held today?” mattered politically, this country’s policies would overwhelmingly reflect the progressive agenda that the public massively supports. And the MN GOP is still probably going to get crushed in 2016, and there’s nothing Glen Taylor’s Strib can do about that. Though he’ll make sure it keeps trying.
 
Comments below fold.
 
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Net Neutrality Passes in 3-2 FCC Vote!

by Dog Gone on February 26, 2015 · 0 comments

Foolish conservatives, especially the conspiracy theory crowd, are blowing their hats in the air as their heads explode.

 

A special call out to the religious fool and zealot Pat Robertson, who sees a freaky non-existent government take over in this move. He must be having another one of his hallucinations, like the one he has that eating Halloween candy leads to demonic possession.

 

For the rest of us, this is GREAT NEWS!

 

A special thank you to our Senator Al Franken for championing this! The internet should be regulated as a utility (one which would be better with more competition).

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isil-300x162You’ve probably seen that we’re all supposed to freak out, because ISIS is going to attack the Mall of America. At first, I chalked it up to just a particularly annoying manifestation of corporate media’s near-universal approach, particularly with broadcast/cable news: hook ‘em with crass sensationalism, then lay on the corporate propaganda. The following involves a different context, but it nails the style.
 

You know, climate change is actually a very interesting subject with a lot of very strange potential implications. It also plays right into the entire reason most national news shows exist, which is to send their viewers into spasms of panic over all of the things in the world that are going to kill them at any given moment. It is equal parts natural disaster, suicide bomber, space invasion and political thriller. If Fox News were on board with climate change, they would have their viewers in a quivering mass on the subject within days. Advertisers would love it, because Buy Overpriced Gold. The NRA would be giddy over the implications because it means your children and grandchildren might get to blast some folks. Climate change is like ebola plus measles plus incoming freaking asteroid impact, and if you can’t make that exciting in a high-production-values network news format you are really not trying very hard.
(Daily Kos)

But then it was, like, hey, wait a minute…with the showdown over Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding, won’t this approach, in this specific context, potentially reflect badly on Republicans? What the heck?!
 

It’s actually so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a little while to figure it out. It’s supposed to reflect badly on those who would put DHS funding at risk. Because for corporate America, the DHS is a gold mine, and it all depends on Americans continuing to see terrorism as a big threat to them personally. Despite the reality that you’re far more likely to “get it” in just about any other way that you can think of.
 

All of the preceding is just for those who think about it, anyway; many lifelong viewers of broadcast news for the most part simply watch out of (bad) habit, without any substantive effort at deeper cogitation. Why bother, you know? And there are times that I can relate, a little. I’m also not suggesting that corporate media bias actually makes much difference; if it could really swing elections, for example, President McCain would be in his second term, and Minnesota would have U.S. Reps. Torrey Westrom and Stewart Mills III. Most of those influenced by the skew are voting Republican in any case. But it is nonetheless not journalism. I get that most of the people in the trenches would rather be doing journalism, but the honchos have other ideas.
 

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Dayton proposes buffer zone regulation

by Dan Burns on January 29, 2015 · 0 comments

BACKPACKING5-251006-162122From a fairly recent column:
 

Then quite to everyone’s surprise, (Minnesota Governor Mark) Dayton said this:
 
“I will propose that a 50 foot [grass or similar] buffer be placed around all state waters,’’ a requirement that will be “enforced by the DNR through aerial and other inspections.’’
 
Acknowledging that some farmers and other landowners, and some farm groups, will oppose the plan in the Legislature, Dayton added:
 
“The land may be yours. But the water belongs to all of us, and to all who will follow all of us.’’
 
…For now, Dayton’s initiative is reason enough to celebrate, because in the never-ending battle to sustain wild places and wild critters, leadership is everything, as Teddy Roosevelt demonstrated more than a century ago.
 
And among state conservationists, Dayton has earned that title.
 
Leader.
(Star Tribune)

OK, maybe a little over-the-top at the end, there, but to have a governor who is committed to a relatively strong environmental agenda is not a privilege that most states currently have. And though we’re better off than many, Minnesota is in fact far from pristine. And there are all those big plans for more mines and pipelines…
 
I’ve seen some talk lately about a purported pending coalition of rural GOPers and Iron Range DFLers who will form a bloc powerful enough to weaken environmental protections. I’m waiting on reports that are more specific. Mildly intriguing, how seemingly out of nowhere, like The Thing, the “rural/urban divide” has suddenly become far and away the most important socio-political phenomenon in the history of the state. Or so corporate media would have it, and it would be impolite, I suppose, to suggest that that has much more to do with pandering to its older, conservative-leaning base, than to fact-based analysis. Reality check: Minnesotans everywhere care about conservation and the environment.
 

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The Myth and Reality of the Warrior Cop

by Invenium Viam on December 10, 2014 · 1 comment

Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo,

Extreme Make-over of NYC Police as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“Of course I’m dangerous. I’m police. I can do terrible things to people with impunity.” Rusty Cohle, True Detective

 

Most people would agree that law enforcement is a dangerous profession. But how dangerous is it really?

 

Is it as dangerous as entertainment media depicts, given the endless river of film and television dramas that show police officers engaging in extended firefights with street thugs, bank robbers, drug smugglers, outlaw bikers, mid-east terrorists, and other wanton evil-doers? Is it true that police officers are frequently gunned-down by steely-eyed, hardened criminals armed with the latest fully automatic assault rifles and several hundred rounds of body-armor-piercing ammunition? Are squad cars routinely riddled with bullets while feckless rookie cops cringe behind them struggling desperately to make themselves small? Do the streets of American cities really run red?

 

Of course not. But if the American daily diet of violent police drama were any measure of reality, the average life expectancy of an ordinary patrolman on the street would lie somewhere between that of a mayfly and the common gerbil.

 

So, if you had to guess the number of police actually killed by gunfire nationwide last year, what would you guess? Several hundred? Several thousand?

 

How about thirty-two? Would you guess thirty-two? Put another way, about as many police actually died from gunfire last year as were mowed-down by a handful of Southie homeboys in scally caps in the movie The Town, or by a crew from the Brotherhood of Eurosophisto Badasses, Local 19, in any of way too many Die Hard movies that the L.A studios keep cranking out. At least Bruce Willis is still turning out big-balls pictures and making honest money, so it’s not all bad.

 

As is frequently the case, however, the facts paint a picture entirely different from what most people think they know.

 

In 2013, the number of police officers nationwide who were killed by gunfire was, in fact, just 32.[1] The FBI puts the number at 27, but includes only those fatalities resulting from “felonious action,” which could include a copyright violation in the state of Michigan (car country) or knowingly selling a spavined horse in Wyoming (cow country).[2]  Of the 32, two were killed by accidental fire, which means they were killed by a misfired or mishandled weapon, or were killed inadvertently by a fellow officer or by other “friendly fire” (an oxymoron I’ve always detested). While that number constitutes a significant portion (30.5%) of the total number of all 105 line-of-duty deaths among all U.S. police officers in 2013, it is also true that a police officer was more than twice as likely to be killed by causes other than gunfire that year, including a range of non-hostile and accidental causes such as heart attacks (10), falls (4), and electrocution (1).

 

It’s notable that cops in television dramas and movies are frequently shown shot to death but almost never shown keeling over with a massive heart attack while chasing a rail-thin teenager through the dark alleys of South Central, or being electrocuted by downed power lines after a storm, or being struck on a busy highway by an inattentive rubbernecker who fails to yield the lane at the scene of a multi-car accident on a foggy morning commute. But those causes, too, are how police officers frequently die in the line of duty.

 

It’s also notable that if you combine police fatalities in 2013 caused by automobile accidents (25), being struck by a vehicle (8), and vehicle pursuits (4) — while excluding “felonious action” vehicle deaths such as vehicular assault (5)  — more police officers were accidentally killed by cars in the line-of-duty than were killed by guns.

 

Let me be clear: it is not my purpose here to minimize or denigrate the service of police officers who die violent deaths at the hands of criminals, or who die in the line-of-duty by any cause including accidents. Any death of a police officer in the line-of-duty for any reason is tragic. Nor is it my intent, in any way, to minimize the loss to their communities, to their brother and sister officers, or to their friends and family, when a police officer falls or is struck down. Any police officer who makes the ultimate sacrifice in service to his or her community is a hero in my eyes.

 

However, I do want to examine how common cultural perceptions influence both the organizational culture within a police department and public policies relating to it. Both local authorities and police departments can and do misunderstand the role of police in a democracy, often it seems by misapprehending how much real danger policing actually entails. Those erroneous ideas and beliefs serve to perpetuate a number of myths that lead to the creation and maintenance of a warrior culture within some police departments — including a culture of habitual institutional violence and a siege mentality — that ultimately undermines community support for police officers in performing their duties, which further endangers their lives and makes their jobs more difficult,  and thereby does a grievous disservice to the communities they serve.

More Below the Fold

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