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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Radio

Bipartisan debt deal draws bipartisan flak from Limbaugh, Krugman, Beck--and a Gallup warning

Harry Reid not so happy Monday after Debt reduction agreement 8-1-11

No wonder top Senate Democrat Harry Reid wants a quick vote on the bipartisan deficit reduction agreement:

Less than 24 hours in, opposition is jelling quickly. And it too is bipartisan.

Oh, and a new Gallup Poll now gives President Obama his lowest weekly approval rating ever.

Sunday night was all about legislators, who love making deals, having made a deal after making it look hard for weeks. Monday is all about explaining it. At least $2.1 trillion in spending cuts sounds good to many.

But wait, what? Cut $350 billion from defense? In this day and age. With a community patrol officer as president launching protective military attacks against Libya over what its dictator might do to civilians, while Syria's regime actually does kill them by the hundreds and draws wimpy warnings?joe Biden smiles again on capitol hill 8-1-11

Some might see bipartisan unhappiness with the budget deal as a sign of a genuine compromise. Others that it might be doomed. And they could both be right.

Top radio talker Rush Limbaugh points out the maximum $2.4-trillion debt increase would be the largest increase in U.S. history on top of the previous largest increase ever ($1.9 trillion), both by the pen of Obama. Limbaugh predicts Obama will cite a failure of cuts next year and return to his tax increase demands.

Glenn Beck, who also doesn't hold elective office, pronounces:

Don’t be fooled. We’ve just been betrayed by Washington. A deal on the debt ceiling is near and Washington still hasn’t gotten serious about the fundamentals. It hasn’t gotten serious about default. It certainly hasn’t gotten serious about the future. When Harry Reid hails a “bipartisan compromise” you know we’re doomed.

Republicans and Democrats have just negotiated away the future of our children behind closed doors. The big compromise on Capitol Hill features elaborate triggers, tranches, Hornswogglers, Snozzwangers, Super Duper Commissions that will make the Snozzberries taste like Snozeberries, and a whole bunch of other convoluted gibberish that will, no doubt, come with loopholes and create entire new bureaucracies.

What it doesn’t do is fix the problem.

Over on the left, the White House was busy this afternoon trying to calm angry progressives such as bearded talker Paul Krugman. He says Obama surrendered and folded, and he urges a "no" vote on the "disaster."

Firedoglake is organizing calls to Congress to denounce especially the unconstitutional "super Congress" soon to be making further cuts outside the purview of other elected members.

And libertarian-like Texas Rep. Ron Paul joins Krugmen in blasting the agreement for its false promises. Do we hear a can being kicked down the road yet again?

On the polling front, Gallup this afternoon released a new survey finding Obama's weekly job approval is now at 42%, one point lower than his previous lowest.

Such a deal for everyone.


New polls confirm Obama's base is crumbling

Obama loses ground against any Republican opponent

Smiles on Capitol Hill but more bad poll news for the White House

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg (Reid); Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images (Joe Biden smiles gamely on Capitol Hill, Aug. 1).

Glenn Beck hits 'new low'; compares Norway victims to Hitler Youth

Glenn Beck compares Norway victims to Hitler Youth

Glenn Beck, who in June aired his final cable tv show on Fox News, is still on the radio and has found a new way to get his name into the headlines around the globe.

Instead of calling the president of the United States a racist, Beck focused on the scores of young people gunned down at a camp in Norway. Beck said the camp reminded him of Adolf Hitler's infamous Hitler Youth.

"There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing," Beck stated in the first minute of his syndicated radio show Monday.

Torbjørn Eriksen, the former press secretary to Norway's prime minister, was not amused.

"Young political activists have gathered at Utoya for over 60 years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about," Eriksen told The Daily Telegraph. "Glenn Beck's comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful," he added.

To answer Beck's question of "who does a camp for kids that's all about politics?": Caroline Shinkle does. The recent high school grad founded Camp USA two years ago. The free, nonprofit, nonpartisan political camp in Cape Cod, Mass., is designed for middle-schoolers.

According to its website, CampUSA aspires to have kids leave the camp "with knowledge, confidence, and eagerness to be politically involved."

Conservative columnist Jeff Lukens created a political camp in Tampa, Fla., which aligns itself closer to "tea party" values.  One of the games described by the St. Petersburg Times would surely make presidential hopeful Ron Paul smile.

"Children will win hard, wrapped candies to use as currency for a store, symbolizing the gold standard. On the second day, the 'banker' will issue paper money instead. Over time, students will realize their paper money buys less and less, while the candies retain their value," the newspaper explained.


Glenn Beck: Slavery was a liberal cause

Glenn Beck goes after Color of Change co-founder Van Jones

Steve Lopez: Looking for common ground in Glenn Beck country

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: US conservative pundit Glenn Beck gestures as he speaks to Israeli members of parliament on July 11, 2011 at the Knesset in Jerusalem. Credit: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Glenn Beck steps onto the world stage from a Web platform, to Jerusalem and beyond


When Glenn Beck left his daily Fox News Channel show on June 30, he said the media would "pray for the time when I was only on the air for one hour every day." Beck is still on the radio airwaves, but now he's bet the TV farm entirely on the Web.

But first, he had to go to Israel.

On July 12, the self-described libertarian commentator -- now sporting a silver goatee -- addressed the Knesset, the legislative branch in Israel. The full speech was live-streamed on

Now CBN has posted the entire address in sections, along with an interview (click here for that).

Beck probably wasn't in Israel just to talk to the legislature, since preparations are underway for his Restoring Courage Rally, to be held about sundown in Jerusalem on  Aug. 24. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is among those expected to attend.

This rally is the third large one Beck has set in motion -- the first two being the 9/12 Project Rally on Sept. 12, 2009, and the Restoring Honor Rally on Aug. 28, 2010, both held in Washington.

The events were outgrowths of specific programs and concepts developed on FNC's "The Glenn Beck Show," Premiere Radio Network's "The Glenn Beck Program" and, and then organized independently by viewers and listeners.

Beck announced the Jerusalem event earlier in the year on radio and FNC, but the last push to it won't take place on television -- because Beck's no longer on television.

As he warned the media on his last show, he has replaced his TV platform with a new-media one.

On June 8, he live-streamed a special from to launch his new Internet venture, called GBTV, a subscriber-based service offering documentaries and original programming, including a two-hour daily show with Beck, a newscast and comedy.

There's also a cartoon series called "The Adventures of Spooky Dude," inspired by Beck's bete noire, liberal billionaire George Soros. Beck refers to this character as possibly being his "mouse." That's a reference to Mickey Mouse, a character upon which Walt Disney built an empire. GBTV-Spooky-Dude-George-Soros

As you can see, Spooky Dude isn't as cute as Mickey, but he has an equally annoying voice. 

While Beck's daily radio show remains advertiser-supported, the only bit of GBTV programming available for free is the launch special.

The cost of subscription isn't high -- either about $5 or $10, depending on what you want and when you sign up.

The full GBTV schedule launches Sept. 12. That's a date Beck commemorates as the one where Americans came together after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, which marks its 10-year anniversary this fall.

Now Beck is wading into the middle of the Israeli/Palestinian issue by speaking to the Knesset and holding an event supportive of Israel in disputed Jerusalem. Fans will be able to watch the rally on ... you guessed it, GBTV (although we suspect one or more TV news organizations will offer at least some coverage).

Provided all goes well in Israel -- or at minimum, Beck emerges unscathed -- the next challenge will be putting the full-fledged GBTV on a paying basis.

GBTV-Glenn-Beck-chalkboards There's no predicting how many former viewers will pay cash and show up in front of their computer screens for the Beck they used to get for free on TV.

It's an interesting, multi-platform, multi-faceted experiment to see whether a TV phenomenon can cut the tether with a regular time slot on the tube and exist on its own in cyberspace.

Beck has evidently poured considerable resources into the project (the launch special is very slickly produced), with facilities in New York and his new home of Dallas.

Regardless of how anyone in the media feels about Beck or his message, it might be a good idea to keep a weather eye on his venture. He may not be the best friend of the mainstream media -- and the feeling is mostly mutual -- but he's taking the plunge into what may become one of its future business models.


Glenn Beck, defiant as ever on his last show on Fox News

The voluble Glenn Beck appears ahead in the developing media threat race

Beck accused of using work of conservative bloggers and others without attribution

-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

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Photos, from top: Glenn Beck at Restoring Honor Rally (Credit: Alex Wong, Getty Images); "Spooky Dude" and Glenn Beck at chalkboard (

Rush Limbaugh rallies Joplin with praise -- and tea

Well, controversial conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is at it again -- talking about American pride and helping each other, American exceptionalism and other ways of independent thinking in a political era that's made them sometimes seem outmoded.

Unbelievable malarkey.

Limbaugh showed up in Joplin, Mo., which suffered severe damage and more than 100 deaths during a May tornado. He was having a contest to find the American city with the most pride. No, Limbaugh did not pick hometown Cape Girardeau, MoRush Limbaugh, file.

Limbaugh, as you know, is always going on about government interference and only attracting some 14 million loyal radio listeners in doing so.

Apparently, Limbaugh was impressed that Joplin isn't waiting for handouts and outside help and pointing fingers of blame at federal officials for not fixing the damage, like maybe perhaps officials did a few years ago after another major storm somewhere.

Joplin residents have already undertaken a massive rebuilding effort. American neighbors helping themselves and each other, if you can believe such a thing in 2011. For some weird reason this all impressed Limbaugh. (Scroll down for video of his complete remarks.)

So the famous talker showed up there to speak and hand out nearly 4,000 cases of his new tea product, Tea for Two or 2 Teas for You Too or Two If By Sea. Anyway, the bottled drink label has a photo of Limbaugh in a tri-cornered hat riding to warn Massachusetts that Michele Bachmann is coming or something.

Limbaugh, who seems comfortable behind a microphone, told Joplin:

You understand the principle of hard work and self-reliance. You understand the difference between self-interest and selfishness. You are not selfish. You all are going to be working your own self-interest. You’re going to rebuild your lives, and in the process, everybody else’s lives will be rebuilt right along with yours.

American exceptionalism is simply the result of our founding fathers understanding that our government is not to determine the quality of outcomes in life because we’re not all the same. Our country was determined to present equality of opportunity, and what you do with it is your business.

We’re 235 years old. We’re here on Independence Day. We are celebrating the biggest miracle in the history of human civilization. And as I grow older — I just turned 60 — I become more in awe, more appreciative of this country every day.

Have you ever heard anything so silly?


No recession for 454 Obama aides: $37 million in pay this year

Patriotic celebrations create more Republicans, Harvard study warns

Hackers announce a fake Obama assassination on a Fox News Politics website


-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Gary He / Associated Press (Limbaugh, file).

Glenn Beck, defiant as ever on his last show on Fox News


Glenn Beck
did not cry once during his final show on the Fox News Channel. He did, however, pat himself on the back, he reviewed an odd list of things he and his audience learned over the 30 months on the network, and he gave his trusty blackboard a good working over.

He even told the media that although he is leaving televison and heading for the Web, where he will charge his fans $10 a month to hear his rantings and ravings for two hours a day, "you will pray for the time I was only on the air for one hour a day."

Despite the fact that sites like Media Matters were successful in scaring away numerous advertisers of Beck's show after the host called President Obama a racist, he said of his departure to the Web, "I didn't run away from something, I ran to something. I knew exactly where I was supposed to be."

Beck, whose ratings plunged 23% over the last year, was defiant until the end, comfortable in his role as underdog.

Continue reading »

Michele Bachmann's strategist-husband called gays 'barbarians' who 'need to be disciplined' [Audio]

Marcus Bachmann

Michele Bachmann
, the Republican representative from Minnesota, was "glittered" earlier this month for her conservative stance on gay marriage. But after listening to audio of her husband, he can probably expect some glitter his way soon.

As first reported by the Think Progress blog, Marcus Bachmann, who in March was described by former Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey as part of Michele's "brain trust," was a guest on the Christian-based "Point of View" radio talk show on May 12, 2010, where he came out strongly against the LGBT community.

"We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps," Marcus Bachmann said.

The radio show's self-proclaimed mission is "to use the powerful tool of live daily national talk radio to defend a biblical Christian worldview and to proclaim Christian solutions for the problems of America. 'Point of View' aims to restore the greatness of Christian thought and values to every area of American Life."

But does Marcus Bachmann, besides being Michele Bachmann's husband, really have any political influence on his wife? Carey, who served as the congresswoman's chief of staff in 2010, said yes in March.

Continue reading »

Glenn Beck's final Fox News Channel show to air tonight

glenn beck

Glenn Beck, the divisive but popular conservative Fox News personality, will be rolling his blackboard off the air Thursday and heading to the Internet.

Beck, who recently has been ranting about wine being spilled on him in a New York City park, made a name for himself first on radio, then as a host on CNN. Fox gave him a home after CNN let him go and his paranoia and tears were a ratings bonanza for the "Fair and Balanced" network.

One of Beck's most infamous moments, however, didn't air on his own show. In 2009 while a guest on "Fox and Friends," Beck accused President Obama of having  “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” Host Brian Kilmeade tried to help Beck out of the hole he was digging for himself but Beck continued:

“I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist,” Beck stated.

A senior VP of Fox News that afternoon said that "Glenn Beck expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions.”

But when advertisers fled the highly rated program, Beck's days at Fox were numbered.

Fans of his rants will be able to enjoy Beck on the Web, where he will stream a two-hour live show beginning in September. Beck will charge $10 a month for access to his show. 

Radio listeners will still receive Beck's insights on his nationally syndicated radio program.


Glenn Beck: Slavery was a liberal cause
Glenn Beck goes after Color of Change co-founder Van Jones
Steve Lopez: Looking for common ground in Glenn Beck country

-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation

Photo: Outgoing Fox News host Glenn Beck.  Credit: Chris Keane / Reuters

Joe Biden update: His radio interview is 'closed press'

vice president joe Biden's new Top Gun look indoorsVice President Joe Biden has another overloaded schedule again Friday.

He has lunch with President Obama.

He meets with "senior advisors."

No more of this junior stuff for the nation's No. 2 Democrat, who has just received another important assignment from the Oval Office.

Everyone remembers how Biden was put in charge of ensuring that the $787-billion stimulus spending thing worked out well, which it didn't.

He was assigned to do about 100 fundraisers last year to ensure that the Democratic Party kept its majority control of the House of Representatives, which it didn't.

He was assigned as White House point man on those crucial budget spending extension talks this winter. But he had to visit Finland, Russia and Moldova first.

And Republicans won that legislative struggle too.

Now, Biden's overseeing the debt-ceiling-raising talks. "We're getting down to the real hard stuff," Biden said Thursday. "I’ll trade you my bicycle for your golf clubs." 

On Friday, according to Biden's official White House public schedule, "At 8:50 AM the Vice President will conduct a radio interview for the Tom Joyner Morning Show. This interview is closed press."

Unless, of course, you have a radio.


Joe Biden update: He meets on governmenty transparency, but the meeting is closed

Continuing federal budget deadlock threatens the Obama family's weekend vacation

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images (Biden's new Top Gun look, indoors).

John Phillips: Post-debate, which GOP candidates are really auditioning for talk shows?

GOP New Hampshire Debate 6-13-11

Mt. Rushmore or Cable News...Where Will These Heads End Up Next?

If you're a political junkie like I am, this is a fantastic time of year.  Even though we're 17 months away from the 2012 presidential election, the Republican primary campaign is already as hot and heavy as a late-night Facebook conversation with a Vegas blackjack dealer. 

It seems like every time you pick up a newspaper there's a new Republican candidate running for president. (They're on page 3, behind the pictures of Rep. Anthony Weiner's naked body.) Rep. Michele Bachmann made her announcement during Monday's GOP debate in New Hampshire.

Republicans from the North. Republicans from the South. Republicans from here, there and everywhere are ready to rumble.

And then there's the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and heavy favorite for reelection, President Obama. 

As ripe for the picking as many in the GOP think he is, let's not forget the White House isn't....

Continue reading »

Tennessee outlaws sharing passwords to Hulu, Netflix, Rhapsody and other sites

Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law Thursday that would make it a crime to share passwords for subscription-based online streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, Rdio and Rhapsody.

If convicted, someone who watched or listened to $500 or less of entertainment would be sentenced to a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Chronic abusers would get popped with a felony and suffer harsher fates.

The law doesn't mean that you're committing a crime if you allow your spouse or family member to view a movie on Netflix under your own roof, Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), the bill’s House sponsor explained.

"What becomes not legal is if you send your user name and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions," McCormick told the Associated Press.

Jared Newman of PC World writes that the law is unnecessary and contrary to the inherent nature of Web-based streaming sites. He also feels the law, which is a first in the nation, would be difficult to enforce.

"Subscription services are meant to be accessed from lots of places," Newman argues. "Between computers, smartphones and tablets I already access the streaming music service MOG from six devices, and that number could balloon to dozens in the years ahead. Enforcing the law against consumers may be impossible because normal usage permits access on lots of devices."

Netflix, one of the larger companies that would stand to benefit from such a law seems to agree with Newman that the measure is unnecessary.

Continue reading »

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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