Archive for messaging

Going to Pot


Nicole Sandler  RadioOrNot

On November 4, Florida may become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. I certainly never think of FloriDUH as a trend leader and, in this case, we’d be in the middle of the pack. But that’s certainly better than dead last or bringing up the rear as is usually the case.

On the ballot on election day, Floridians will get to vote yes or no on constitutional amendment 2: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.

Although many groups and factions got together to make this dream a reality, United for Care led the charge in the petition drive, and garnered the almost 1 million signatures necessary to get the amendment on the ballot.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, joined me on the show this morning to talk about the amendment as we near the final test- the Nov. 4 elections!

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows sky-high support for the measure.

88 percent of voters support the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, while 10 percent do not. Those attitudes were unchanged from May, but support was six percentage points up from November.

The levels of support among different demographic groups is surprising due to the great numbers.

quinnipiac mm FLWith such huge numbers, especially among the youth voters, Democrats, women and independents, you’d expect that the Democrats elected to represent Floridians would be on board too.

And most are. But not Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The congresswoman from Weston who also chairs the DNC is at odds with her base, her party and her constituents.

Not only does she oppose Amendment 2, putting her in league with her Republican friends, but she was one of only 17 Democrats, mostly Blue Dogs or the equally reprehensible “New Dems,” to vote against a measure to cut funds for Drug Enforcement Agency raids on medical marijuana operations in states where medical marijuana is legal.

When asked about her opposition to medical marijuana, Wasserman-Shultz was wishy-washy,

Wasserman Schultz, up for re-election in November, has criticized Florida’s ballot initiative, saying it is written too broadly and does not ensure strong regulatory oversight.

“My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good,” she said on her website.

Perhaps someone should ask if her opposition to to ending marijuana prohibition is at all related to her support of the private prison industry.

[Wasserman-Schultz] initially called a town hall meeting to allow residents to voice their opposition and learn more about the project. After more than 250 people showed up to let CCA and the town council know they didn’t want a private prison, Wasserman, who had called the meeting, decided she would support the project.

Howie Klein, a regular contributor to this program, wrote about Wasserman-Schultz’ cozy relationship with the private prison industry at DownWithTyranny back in 2012. Just sayin’.

Mike Rogers of Raw Story and Netroots Connect was on the show this morning, filling in for the vacationing Susie Madrak, and he stayed on for the Ben Pollara interview.

When the questioning got to Charlie Crist (who apparently supports Amendment 2, though his representatives haven’t responded to numerous interview requests from me), Mike alluded to Charlie’s wife not having much influence over him, as it’s believed by most who have done any research on Crist’s private life that he’s a closeted gay man. (A bit of background here, should you care to go down that road.)

We certainly don’t shy away from controversy here. I have no problem with whatever Crist does in the privacy of his bedroom, but when he works against the LGBT community and is ashamed of who he is, then I do have a problem. And yes, I’ll be voting for Nan Rich in the gubernatorial primary.

Ellen Ratner called in with an update from the Talk Radio News Service, and let us know that she’s headed back to South Sudan next week. Should you care to help the people there, visit the charity site Ellen put together, Goats for the Old Goat.

And finally, Anat Shenker-Osario joined me for the last segment of the show to tell us about a new study she published along with pollster Celinda Lake and the Center for Community Change: Redefining the way we talk about poverty.

You can and should read the brief of their findings here, check out Anat’s book, Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense About the Economy, and listen to the interview. I find the topic fascinating!

We’ll be back tomorrow with another show, talking about the over population of the planet with Stephanie Feldstein of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Plus Amy Simon with some fabulous female facts, and Stephen Goldstein with the “No More Bullshit Minute,” and whatever else the day brings us… radio or not!


GOP consultant Frank Luntz “can’t get his calls returned”


blame Obama 2

GOP consultant, pollster, strategist, and attack dog Frank Luntz is “profoundly depressed.” Now he knows how we feel after listening to his “re-framing” blather all these years. But I digress.

He’s down and out because his side lost in 2012, and “there’s nothing [he] can do about it.” Thankfully.

Actually, he did make one good point, opining that, as The Atlantic put it, Americans “didn’t listen to each other as they once had. They weren’t interested in hearing other points of view. They were divided one against the other, black vs. white, men vs. women, young vs. old, rich vs. poor.”

Hmm, now how did that happen?

Black vs. white: Did GOP voter suppression aid and abet?

Men vs. women: Did shutting down women’s health service providers and forcing trans-vaginal ultrasounds aid and abet?

Rich vs. poor: Did attempts to kill Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security aid and abet? Did corporate “people” hoard their profits, fail to hire, and lie, cheat, and steal?

Did political shock jocks and Fox propagandists have anything to do with this sad state of affairs? Did the GOP priority to do in President Obama contribute just the teensiest bit to the bitter divides? Did all that GOP obstruction impede progress and communication? How about those raucous-bordering-on-violent health care reform town hall disruptions? And the anti-abortion extremists stalking and threatening clinics and their staffs culminating in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller? And Republicans either giving tacit approval of such activities via their silence or outright support while appearing on the so-called “liberal media”?

Any of that ring a bell, Frank? Any of that contribute to the “divide against each other” attitude you so ironically lament?

Granted, Luntz does acknowledge that he helped create this toxic atmosphere, and now *sniffle* he haz a sad, and yet…

… he blames Obama. Yesireebob, he said that.

See for yourself, via The Atlantic’s “The Agony of Frank Luntz” (All together now, “Awww!”):

[H]e fell apart. Leaving his employees behind, he flew back to his mansion in Los Angeles, where he stayed for three weeks, barely going outside or talking to anyone.

“I just gave up,” Luntz says. […]

But it was Obama he principally blamed. The people in his focus groups, he perceived, had absorbed the president’s message of class divisions, haves and have-nots, of redistribution. It was a message Luntz believed to be profoundly wrong, but one so powerful he had no slogans, no arguments with which to beat it back. In reelecting Obama, the people had spoken. And the people, he believed, were wrong.

Now he moans about just not being good enough to make a difference any more.

whining wah wambulance

He’s *heavy sigh* ever so distraught about all those people yelling at each other, the ones he, you know, encouraged to yell at each other. And he manages to include a whole lot of Luntzisms (read: talking points) while expressing his grief. And he helped create a monster, then emerged from his lucrative bubble long enough to notice the damaging consequences, and, ta-daa! blamed the president. Got it. Perfect. True to form.

The fruits of all his messaging efforts? Well, nowadays, he’s contract free:

He still advises his friends here and there, but he no longer has any ongoing political contracts. (Corporations and television networks, not politicians, are his main sources of income.) […]

Luntz would also like to break into Hollywood as a consultant, but he can’t get his calls returned. He can’t figure it out. He thinks it must be a partisan thing. In every other industry, he says, 90 percent of his presentations result in a contract. But in entertainment, he pitches and pitches and pitches (he wouldn’t tell me which studios or shows) and things seem to go well, but then there’s some excuse. Not this time. Not the right project.

Get a clue, Frank. Not the right fit. Not the right talent. Not the right appeal. Not the right person. Not even close. Not this time, not any time.

don't call us we'll call you


What The Hell Is Net Neutrality?




Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn’t set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn’t some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.

Okay, so how does that affect me? Are we facing a shutdown or what?

Not a shutdown — but the Internet super highway is about to erect toll booths.

toll booths

We obviously have net neutrality at the moment. Because of it I don’t have to wait longer for one site to download than another. Competition as to the fastest provider, Google, FireFox, Yahoo, AOL — it’s pretty much the same. I have choices, but I don’t have to pay more or less to use one over the other.

But for how long?

Not much, if the court goes the way it’s leaning. And that’s going to mean big changes — subtle at first, but costly over the long run for we, the consumers. At the same time, it’ll ring up obscene profits for the telecoms.

First, this opens the door to fees charged you for data uploads, downloads and speed of access. We had those once and net neutrality pretty much did away with those.

Then let’s say you like to visit your favorite site. If they don’t pay a fee, it may take longer to download them than another similar site and you might go away to their competition. Or our carriers may instill a surcharge on us to be downloaded at a faster speed or more available to some search engines than others.

This is a real threat. Let’s say you like to get your up to the minute sports scores from They may be deep pocketed enough to pay a large fee not to speed up their delivery, but to slow down full access for other sports reporting outlets by making usury demands for their accessibility and availability.

And don’t forget the door this opens to advertising revenues. If you’re already tired of the ads embedded in many video clips, how about having to watch one before you can open every one of your emails? Texts. Tweets. Instagrams.

Also, telecom providers will, if this law changes, make it harder for reuse and access to news and information. That might hurt Rand Paul in his speech stealing endeavors, but it also hurts small independents who need to rely on major news gathering outlets to bring you timely and complete stories. Rebroadcast of clips and even some YouTube entries may become impossible.

We’re not talking about copyrights, though they are affected. We’re talking about the potential for locations like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram and YouTube to charge fees for numbers of tweets sent or received, messages posted or even accessed. They can start institution of levels – The Gold level allows unlimited access while Silver allows less posts or comments and the most costly, ala carte pricing.

be scaredA huge commercial door is about to be opened and it’s frightening.

…companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others declared a war on the internet’s foundational principle: that its networks should be “neutral” and users don’t need anyone’s permission to invent, create, communicate, broadcast, or share online. The neutral and level playing field provided by permissionless innovation has empowered all of us with the freedom to express ourselves and innovate online without having to seek the permission of a remote telecom executive.

But today, that freedom won’t survive much longer if a federal court — the second most powerful court in the nation behind the Supreme Court, the DC Circuit — is set to strike down the nation’s net neutrality law, a rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010.

This is something  that we all need to watch. We’ve been blessed with net neutrality for some time now. And we can’t afford to lose it. It’s a freedom that should be as dear to us as the first amendment — freedom of speech.

As we saw with the striking down of the Citizens United case, individuals rights are being trumped by big business and political committees fronting for specific special interests. This could soon hit us all. Our favorite sites could be forced into financial hardship or even worse, extinction.


It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. It’s Instacurity And It’s An Epidemic


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Instacurity. By the time you look it up, it’ll probably be too late. It’s by far, the fastest growing disease in the states, hell, in the world. By the time you finish this post, you or someone you know will come down with it.

Instacurity’s not fatal, but it is debilitating. It’s also contagious as the flu. It’ll catch up with you before you ever realize you’re becoming infected. Face it, it’s more rampant than “the walkers” stalking the survivors surrounding the Walking Dead compound.


Yesterday I had a business dinner at a well known Beverly Hills eatery. I was fine when I arrived. Actually feeling quite buoyant, looking forward to this book interview. Aware of my surroundings and knowing that “the illness” strikes across all socio-economic lines, I was vigilant. I kept my attention scanning the room for possible carriers. And sadly, even before my meeting showed up, I realized I couldn’t go through with it. The infected far outnumbered the healthy. I was right smack in the middle of ground zero. I had to escape to have any chance of avoiding this affliction.I put down my water glass, stowed my linen napkin, and darted for the door.

busy restaurant

Before I could reach the exit, I found myself face to face with the man I was there to be interviewed by. It was bad enough that he was tweeting on his cellphone and bumped into me, but it made it impossible,when he finally looked up and said, “Hey, it’s you. Good timing. I just gotta finish this. A friend of mine just got a flat tire.” I was stuck. I was caught. I had no escape.

At the table we exchanged pleasantries when suddenly his phone vibrated and he apologized,”Oh, I hope you don’t mind. I just gotta take this. She misplaced one of her nuts” His fingers danced across his iPhone screen before I could answer, but I was thinking I knew where the missing nut could be found.

Just as he looked up to me, my cellphone rang. I didn’t answer it, but noticed on the screen, I had five tweets. What could I do? The interviewer shrugged and told me to go check ’em out.

I clicked on to see who they were from. And before I could read the third one, I realized… I had it. I was infected. I had the disease. I had instacurity.

If you want to know more, if you want to see if you have it, and if you want to educated yourself or try to inoculate yourself, watch this. All I can say is, good luck.