Lunchbreak Link-a-thon:
Democracy on the March

…if only to a different parent company:

  • Staten Island’s freshman Representative Michael Grimm is disappointed by his new job’s lack of perks:

    It’s all the ladies. I get little notes, so-and-so wants to go out to dinner. That’s it.

    But The Albany Project’s BingChester assures us we needn’t gin up too much sympathy for the poor congressman’s difficult work environment.

  • Arianna gets way out in front spinning AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post as something more than a lucrative transaction for everyone involved. It helps when you get to break news about yourself.
  • Meanwhile, Olbermann’s off to CurrentTV. Everyone seems to believe, against the last decade’s worth of accumulated evidence, that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the race to create the “liberal Fox News.”

    But the business model betrays a fundamental lack of understanding, I think, about what makes the progressive heart beat. We are inherently skeptical of orthodoxy. We are skeptical of dominant voices, and talking points, and media conglomerates. We are simply not a monolithic bunch. This makes us both harder to organize and harder to monetize. A double-edged sword, to be sure.

  • Speaking of monoliths, it’s been interesting to watch the right-wing media machine falter in the face of Cairo’s tumult. It’s so rare to see the conservative punditry so undisciplined, so divided about what position best serves the party line. The most spectacular symptom of this ideological a-synchronicity, of course, has been Bill Kristol’s condemnation of Glenn Beck’s “hysteria,” and Beck’s bitter retorts.

    Not that the dispute is a bad move for either party, financially speaking. If it’s a manufactured rivalry, like the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop “beef” of my youth, then I’d have to concede, as a marketing strategy, it’s a resounding success. I just linked to The Weekly Standard, for Pete’s sake.

  • The U.S. will soon recognize southern Sudan as its own country.
  • Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni:

    How long can we keep telling the world Israel is the only democracy when we continue to live in the territories, where there is a place where the government rules and where the Army rules? We can’t live on in this limbo.

  • California’s imminent special election will be the maiden voyage of the state’s new voting system. I’d gladly take two-round runoff voting over our nation’s standard electoral algorithm (which is, admittedly, the chilliest praise I know how to give). What’s most entertaining, though, is everyone’s insistence that they got this idea from Washington State, like they couldn’t possibly have any inkling how elections are run all the way over in France.
  • A compelling argument for crowdsourcing.
  • I don’t believe for a moment that that Sarah Palin is or has ever been seriously considering a run for the presidency. Her own unwillingness to admit as much just makes Iowa the most lucrative stop on her book tour. But I can still dream about the Democrats taking back Tennessee, right?
  • In a way, it’s refreshing to see presidential aspirations used to advertise a book, since the relationship is usually reversed. But it would be a still rarer and more exciting phenomenon if someone were to pen a political autobiography that was its own raison d’être. So I can not wait for the graphic novel to be co-authored by Congressman John Lewis, just announced by beloved indie comics publisher Top Shelf, which will detail his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement and his leadership of the Bloody Sunday march.
  • While I’d prefer municipal broadband to rerouting public money into corporate coffers, the FCC’s new plan to get rural Americans online is certainly preferable to the status quo.
  • In his final column at The Village Voice, Tom Robbins reports on New York City’s leadership in our national race toward ever-expanding income inequality:

    Here in the city, the fat cats do even better, with a whopping 44 percent. This is why New York State ranks last in terms of the income gap between rich and poor. And it is why New York City is the most polarized of the nation’s 25 biggest urban areas.

    “If New York City were a nation,” reports James Parrott, economist for the institute, “its level of income concentration would rank 15th worst among 134 countries, between Chile and Honduras. Wall Street,” he adds, “with its stratospheric profits and bonuses, sits within 15 miles of the Bronx—the nation’s poorest urban county.”

    I sure hope Robbins finds his way to another writing gig. The great American muckraker will be sorely missed.


  1. Chris says:

    Wow. I had no idea the income disparity in New York City was so much worse than most of the rest of the country. I mean, I figured it was bad, but I didn’t know it was THAT bad.

    And here I thought it was totally reasonable that Jamie Dimon was incensed because Obama once said something in his general direction that wasn’t indisputably laudatory.

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