NDN Blog

Mobile media piece in the Times today

Times has an interesting look at the emerging space of mobile video today.  It is worth reading the piece in its entirety.  The big takeaway is the entertainment industry is working hard to figure this media out, believing it has huge potential.  Similar experiments will have to be made in politics.  An excerpt:

Many in Hollywood are betting that interest in mobile video will be hastened by the debut of the new touch-screen iPhone from Apple, which are expected to begin selling this summer. With a 3 1/2-inch screen and no cumbersome keypad, many people believe it will be easier for Americans to watch movies and television shows like their peers in Europe and Asia readily do.

“The iPhone is going to shake things up and make cellphone companies look like they are behind the curve,” said Thomas Lesinski, president of digital entertainment for Paramount Pictures. “It is going to be good for us.”

The Times crafts an excellent editorial on the economy

The Times has an excellent editorial today on the challenges the economy is posing to policy makers.   It is deeply consistent with what NDN has been advocating for these past several years, and makes a strong case for why we need a New Economic Strategy for America:

How Slow Can It Go?

Last week, when the government reported that the economy had slowed to a crawl in the first quarter of the year, any lingering hope for robust employment growth was tempered accordingly. But no one was quite prepared for a job report as weak as the one released yesterday. Only 88,000 jobs were created in April, the smallest gain in nearly two and half years and a sharp deceleration from job growth in the recent past.

Predictably, the slowdown was reflected in Americans’ paychecks. Weekly earnings are up over the past year. But of late, the rate of increase has dropped significantly. A squeeze on jobs and paychecks is the last thing Americans need right now.

Though the economy has been expanding for more than five years, wages and salaries for most workers have picked up in earnest only in the past year. And now hiring and pay increases appear to be slowing before many families have had the chance to rebuild their finances. For many people, mortgage payments are also being adjusted upward as home prices fall, making it harder for them to refinance their debts. At the same time, the price of everyday essentials, like food and gasoline, is rising. And life’s big-ticket items, like health care and education, are increasingly expensive, even as employers and government shoulder less of those costs.

If this strain on family finances ends up curbing consumers’ spending, the economy at large will be in danger of a recession. The Federal Reserve would probably try to counter such a downturn by cutting interest rates. But rate cuts are not magic. Their effectiveness would depend on the depth of the recession and the ways the lower rates reverberated through global markets.

More likely, the real solutions will have to be political, not merely technical. When the next downturn hits in force, it will become painfully clear that American workers have not shared in the benefits of Bush-era economic growth in any way commensurate with their hard work and productivity.

The nation will need policies — and leaders — to reconnect economic growth with rising living standards, for all.

The Week That Was 5-4

In the continuing repudiation of the Bush era that NDN has written extensively about, Ronald Reagan’s Director of the National Security Agency, Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired, spoke out against President Bush and his failed foreign policy on last weekend’s Democratic Radio Address.

The next night, former CIA Director George Tenet went on 60 Minutes to talk about his new book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA.  In it, he took some pretty serious swings at the administration.  He saved his harshest criticism for then National Security Advisor Condi Rice, for largely ignoring his warnings about al-Qaeda’s determination to carry out attacks in the United States. 

Also on Sunday, the Washington Post reported that over $800 million in foreign donations that were never collected and spent in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Senator Landrieu of Louisiana wants Karen Hughes to come explain what happened to Congress.

Paul Wolfowitz remains on the hot seat at the World Bank.  He defended his actions before the bank’s Board of Directors, which is now reviewing the case and will then decide what steps, including firing him, to take.

There were immigration marches across the country this week, which while smaller than last year’s had a special focus on making sure families aren’t separated, because of a failure to pass fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 

In the biggest story of the week, President Bush vetoed the $124 billion Iraq Responsibility Act as expected last night and immediately gave a nationally televised 6 minute speech in which he lashed out at Democrats in Congress for sending him a bill that he said "substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgments of our military commanders."  He also called it a "prescription of for chaos.

And there was a politics and the internet kerfuffle this week when in an effort to migrate to an official MySpace page, Senator Barack Obama lost about 80-90% of his friends that were on his unofficial page.  And the unofficial page creator Joe Anthony felt more than a little left out.

The GOP Presidential candidates debated last night, which gave America the opportunity to see ten AARP eligible white men on a stage together.  Their views seemed outside the mainstream compared to their Democratic counterparts last week.  The only vaguely newsworthy moments were Giuliani’s trouble with the abortion question, Thompson’s trip-up on discrimination based on sexuality, Romney’s ignorance of the budget process, McCain’s guarded support for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and the fact that three of the ten said they do not believe in evolution.

Finally, the Queen is visiting Britain’s former colonies – Virginia specifically – for the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

Florida shifts primary date

According to an article in the New York Times, Florida moved up its primary date yesterday. Details are in the lede:

Casting more uncertainty over the presidential nominating process for 2008, the Florida Legislature on Thursday moved the state’s primary up to Jan. 29, ignoring the threat of sanctions from the national Republican and Democratic parties.

Marco Rubio, speaker of the Florida State House of Representatives, had this to say of the decision:

“We have people who get invited to a big party where they drop a balloon and people wear funny hats,” said Marco Rubio, speaker of the State House of Representatives. “But they don’t have any role to play.”

“At the end of the day,” said Mr. Rubio, a Republican, “the truth of the matter is that the nominee of either party is going to want to make sure they have not offended the big donors and the biggest activists in the most important state in the country that is electorally available.”

Now I know how he feels about the Florida primary AND apparently the Kentucky Derby...

NPI Event: The Exploding World of Web Video

If you missed this week's NPI event don't worry, you can watch the video here and learn much more by visiting the New Politics Institute on the web at http://www.newpolitics.net.  Click on the names or images below to watch the videos.

          

       Simon Rosenberg                              Peter Leyden                                  Phil De Vellis     

    

           Daniel Manatt                                 Karina Newton

Law and Order and Politics

No, it's not Fred Dalton Thompson, it's a pretty good mash-up video chronicling some of the many examples of Congressional GOP corruption.

Fire up the DVR/TiVo: 20/20 on the DC Madam

We love being able to record live television here at NDN and tonight's ABC News 20/20 report on the DC MadamGrover Norquist will be watching.  Will you?

10 AARP Eligible White Men on a Stage

That's right, the first GOP Presidential debate was held last night and in comparison to the Democrats' event last week, their views felt pretty outside the mainstream.  The NYT has more.  Maybe the most news-worthy moment was Mayor Giuliani's thoughts on choice: 

Mr. Giuliani, who has said he supports abortion rights, gave conflicting signals on the issue. He joined the other nine in saying he would not be upset if the Supreme Court voted to overturn the decision that legalized abortion. But later he endorsed a woman’s right to make a decision on whether to have an abortion.

“It would be O.K. to repeal,” Mr. Giuliani said. “Or it would be O.K. also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as a precedent, and I think a judge has to make that decision.”

Similarly, he said that, while he supported public financing of abortion for poor women in New York, in other states, “people can come to a different decision.”

 

Hate Crime Legislation Passes the House

From the NYT:

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to extend hate-crime protection to people who are victimized because of their sexuality. But the most immediate effect may be to set up another veto showdown between Democrats and President Bush.

By 237 to 180, the House voted to cover crimes spurred by a victim’s “gender, sexual orientation, gender identity” or disability under the hate-crime designation, which currently applies to people who are attacked because of their race, religion, color or national origin.

“The bill is passed,” Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is gay, announced to applause, most of it from Democrats.

Companion legislation is moving through the Senate. But even assuming that a bill emerges from the full Congress, it will face a veto by President Bush on the grounds that it is “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable,” the White House said. The vote to approve the bill did not come close to the two-thirds needed to override a veto.

Has McCain weakened his position on immigration?

Last night during the Republican presidential debate, Senator John McCain drew a clear distinction between his views on immigration and those of Rep. Tom Tancredo. From the debate:

REP. TANCREDO: Well, of course, if I thought there should be another one, I wouldn’t be here. I think that I serve the purpose. I think that we -- good men all here, don’t get me wrong. But I am telling you this; that there are issues that I believe have not been addressed tonight, not in full, and I believe that they do separate us, and I certainly believe the issue of immigration and immigration reform and what’s going to happen to this country unless we deal with this forthrightly.

No more platitudes. No more obfuscating with using words like, "Well, I am not for amnesty but I’m for letting them stay." That kind of stuff has got to be taken away from the political debate, as far as I’m concerned, so people can understand exactly who is where on this incredibly important issue.

And when they see that, I think, frankly, I’m --

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, time.

Anyone have a follow-up with that? Anyone with disagree with the strong anti-illegal immigration position? Take a strong view? Senator McCain.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve been working very hard for a couple of months with Democrats and Republicans, led by the president and his Cabinet, to come up with a comprehensive solution and resolution of this terrible problem.

One thing we would all agree on: the status quo is not acceptable. We have to secure our borders, but we also need a temporary worker program, and we have to dispose of the issue of 12 million people who are in this country illegally.

This issue is a(n) important and compelling one, and it begins with national security. But we also need to address it comprehensively, and I’m proud to work with the president of the United States on this issue.

Yet, as Senator Chris Dodd pointed out yesterday in this AP article, McCain seems to have allowed his presidential aspirations to water down his once fierce support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

"[Senator McCain] and Senator Kennedy were working on a comprehensive package ... and he's no longer, I gather, a co-sponsor of that," Dodd said. "It had some bipartisan momentum, and now, if you asked me who's on the other side today I couldn't name anybody at this point. Maybe there is someone, but not of the stature McCain brought to the debate."

Dodd said McCain's defection on the issue was critical because Congress needed to act now or risk years of inaction on the issue.

"The later you wait the harder it gets." Dodd said. "You've got a window here ... and the fear is if you wait much longer, then it won't happen before 2008 and with a new administration it probably wouldn't be one of the first items you bring up."

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

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