Archive for September, 2012

Obama-hating talk-radio host hits talk-radio pay dirt by telling his listeners that Romney and Coffman will lose

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Should anyone care that KHOW talk-radio host Peter Boyles is saying Romney and Coffman will lose big time?

I think it matters, to a small degree, because one thing you can say about Boyles, he knows his audience, and he realizes they also think Romney and Coffman are losers. Otherwise, Boyles might have held back.

“I’ve been watching Mitt Romney, and they jammed him up on that 47 percent thing…now he’s trying to ‘soften’ his approach to the ‘47 percent,’” Boyles said on air Thursday. “Now Romney is counter-programming. In other words, once somebody takes the lead, and it’s true in radio when somebody tries to counter-program another program, they’ve already lost, if they’re counter-programming. And now Romney is counter-programming Obama. At that point, he’s lost. I really believe it…

Does anyone in this audience really think Romney is going to win this election?

…Coffman is going to get clipped too.

…I say Republicans are going to get clubbed in Colorado as well as nationally… If you can you defend the Republican Party, please call the show.”

Boyles knows his conservative/independent/checked-out audience agrees with him, even the ones who don’t want to acknowledge it, like this caller:

Brett: Hey, I just wanted to call and be straight up honest with you. I definitely have a problem with you calling this election when it’s not even over. It’s 40 days, and there’s so much that can happen in 40 days, and, like you said earlier, talk radio is dominated by conservatives.

Boyles: I take it back. Talk radio is dominated by Republicans.

Brett: OK, even if that’s true, then the majority of the listening audience would be Republicans.

Boyles: Do you want me say what I don’t believe, or do you want me to say what I believe?

Brett: The problem is, when you say that, even for the few people, and I know it’s not your job to care about those people [who may be discouraged from voting]…. We can’t take four more years of Obama.

Callers were getting mad at Boyles, but you could tell they respected him for it, for saying what they see as the sad truth about the President, whom Boyles has been bashing for years.

Boyles: “It’s the truth, and if the truth hurts, so be it,” says Boyles. “Most of the time I hope I’m wrong in the things I believe. I think we’re an empire sliding off into the sea. I believe we’re headed toward such incredible economic chaos in this country…The western world is broke. Brett, it’s over.”

So Boyles gets to be the truth teller, earn some respect from people who don’t want to hear it but agree with him. Brett even admitted Obama will win.

And Boyles gets a couple really good hours of talk radio out of it. Truly, it made great radio.

That’s how Boyles has survived for so long in Denver, and it’s another small sign that Romney is heading south.

Denver TV interviews with Paul Ryan leave a trail of good information for voters

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

When a politician makes himself available to the press, and reporters, in turn, ask good questions, everyone benefits.

Case in point, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s interviews with Denver TV stations.

He’s now sat down for one-on-one conversations with Channel’s 7, 9, and 31, and what’s left on the table? A trail of information that’s actually useful for voters on both sides of the aisle.

In his latest Denver TV interview, aired yesterday, Ryan was interviewed by New7′s Theresa Marchetta. Here’s a segment of her report:

“For women voters who are fiscally conservative.. but pro choice.. what do you say to those voters?” Marchetta asked.

“People may not agree with us on these social issues [Ryan is against all abortion, even in the case of rape and incest]. Let’s just agree to disagree and be respectful of each other at that time. But right now, we’ve got to get people back to work,” Ryan said.

9News’ Brandon Rittiman covered lots of ground with Ryan, including high ground like Ryan’s alleged 14er climbs. He pressed Ryan for specifics on the tax loopholes he and Romney say they’d close, for example, and got this response:

Ryan: “We’re actually saying, “Don’t lose tax revenue, but don’t have a massive tax increase, and restructure the tax code so that it is fairer, simpler, and more internationally competitive to create jobs.”

Fox 31′s Eli Stokols had a sharp conversation with Ryan as well, covering, among other things, the wind energy tax credit, the Ryan budget cuts, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

From the Fox 31 website:

The noted deficit hawk who is the author of the controversial House GOP budget plan blamed President Obama for adding to the country’s ballooning deficit because of the 2009 stimulus package and Obamacare, which was signed into law last year.

“It’s actually the economy that’s given us the deficit we have and the massive deficit spending and domestic spending we’ve seen under President Obama,” Ryan told FOX31. “Yes, the wars are a small part of it.”

Actually, the Iraq war, which Ryan voted to authorize, will cost the nation more than $3 trillion; and the Bush tax cuts, which Ryan also voted for when they first took effect in 2001, will ultimately cost the nation $3.2 trillion if extended again through 2021. The stimulus, by comparison, came at a price tag of $787 billion.

If you take time to listen to these interviews, you leave with solid information.

That’s how the process is supposed to work, if only reporters (and politicians) made it happen more often.

Birth control is like a crisp potato chip

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Laura Carno, the former producer of KVOR’s Jeff Crank Show, appeared on KVOR’s Richard Randall show Wednesday.

She had a loving conversation with Randall about birth control, and here’s little segment of it, for your edification.

It nicley sums up how conservative talk show hosts think about birth control.

It’s so simple, like a crisp potato chip.

Carno:  I also don’t want to pay for your potato chips and your paper towels, and those are lovely products as well.  Birth control is just a product.   I go to the store.  I buy it. I don’t talk to you about it, I don’t talk to the government about it.  I simply purchase it as if it were a bag of potato chips!  Move on!  Let’s stop talking about birth control.

Randall:  There are people who want to simplify everything, and they are called “spinmeisters” on the left.

Now those are two complex minds at work right there.

Reporters should seek details on State House candidate’s opposition to agricultural subsidies

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The Cortez Journal ran a good summary last week of a local candidate forum, hosted by the La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen’s Association.

One point made by House District 59 candidate J. Paul Brown deserves follow-up.

The Journal reported:

Brown emphasized his goals to limit government, including, if need be, agricultural subsidies such as those he receives as a rancher near Ignacio.

“The federal government is $16 trillion in debt,” said Brown, the Republican incumbent. “We cannot continue down this road, and I’m willing to take the cut like anybody else.”

So, as I read this, he’s against agricultural subsidies, in light of the size of the federal debt.

Reporters should get more details from Brown on this. It’s obviously an important issue in his rural district.

 

Talk radio show poisons rational debate about illegal immigration

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

“I spent three days living in the dirt on the Mexican-Arizona border, and there are more than people crossing the border who want to cut your lawn. They want to cut your throats,” filmmaker Dennis Lynch told radio hosts Devon Lentz and Tom Lucero on Greeley’s KFKA radio Sept. 10, adding that “the border is wide open.”

“Another 9-11 can happen at any time,” Lynch said, on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the tragedy. “They can be in any city in three days.”

(Someone like Timothy McVeigh could get there faster, but let’s not think about that right now.)

My question is, why would Lucero and Lentz, both former executives with the Larimer County Republican Party, sit there and let an angry filmmaker trash millions of hard-working people?

What about the taxes they pay? What about the work they do?

If there’s one thing we all know about illegal immigration, it’s that simplistic swipes like Lynch’s don’t contribute to solving the problem. They make it worse and breed sadness and hostility.

But Lucero and Lentz didn’t see it that way, at least on the radio September 10.

“That was phenomenal,” Lucero gushed at Lynch, minutes after Lynch told Lucero that he and Lentz will have to change the language of their radio show when tens of millions of illegal immigrants flood across the border in the coming years as the economy improves.

“You’re going to have to learn how to do your radio show in Spanish, and that’s not me being a racist,” said Lynch, whose fear-mongering underground film is titled “They come to America.”

Lynch’s solution is to vote for (hold your breath) Mitt Romney!

Why? Partly, Lynch said on the radio, because Obama has authorized giving work permits to illegal-immigrant children, who are excelling in school and who were brought to this country through no fault of their own.

And Obama supports the Dream-Act idea of giving a path to citizenship to these children, if they excel in school.

Why is it so horrible to give these children a break? Why is it so bad to support comprehensive immigration reform, like Obama does, increasing border security, while offering illegal immigrants in our country an arduous path to citizenship?

If you were listening to the radio show, you have no idea what’s wrong with these policies because they weren’t debated. Lucero and Lentz took the low road and offered not a flash hope for a person with a questioning mind.

All they did was trash undocumented immigrants, and that approach doesn’t help us deal with the problem of illegal immigration.

Lentz told her radio audience that Lynch’s video made her think about illegal immigration, and now she was “mad.”

“I went to Wal-Mart the other day,” she told listeners. “Nearly everything I saw in the package department at Wal-Mart is in Spanish too, right under English.”

And Devon, were you worried, as you left the store, that the Hispanic man cutting the lawn was going to try to cut your throat?

In covering the Medicare debate, reporters should remember two Ryan budgets had different proposals

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Anyone think Medicare will fall out of the news this election cycle?

Not likely. And at the center of the Medicare debate is, of course, Paul Ryan’s proposals, as outlined in his two budgets approved by the House of Representatives.

Not the word “two.”

Ryan’s first budget, in 2011, ended Medicare for people under 55, replacing it with a voucher system, giving seniors a fixed amount of money to buy their own health insurance.

His second proposal, this year, differs from his 2011 proposal, as it includes Medicare as an option, among private insurance plans. Seniors could spend their voucher on Medicare or a list of approved health-insurance plans.

As reporters evaluate claims about Medicare, they need to be sure to distinguish between the two Ryan plans, without ignoring either one of them.

For example, a recent ad from Joe Miklosi states that his opponent, Rep. Mike Coffman, “wants to end Medicare.”

Fact checkers at The Denver Post and 9News found this be false, without qualifications, even though Coffman voted for Paul Ryan’s budget last year (which eliminated Medicare for those under 55) and this year (which offers it as an option, for voucher use, with an uncertain price tag).

In Aug., ABC News’ The Note, summarized the 2011 Ryan plan this way:

Critics have called Ryan’s 2011 proposal the “end of Medicare as we know it,” and that’s true. Until now, Medicare has operated as a “fee-for-service” system; under Ryan’s plan, it would operate more like a voucher system, although Ryan and his aides have resisted this term. Medicare would cease to pay for health services directly, instead operating as a board that approves a menu of health plans for public sale and doles out predetermined lumps of money to people enrolled in Medicare, to help them buy those plans.

The Note points out that Ryan’s 2012 plan “made major revisions, including a provision like Democrats’ ‘public option,’ where seniors could opt out of Ryan’s most basic change altogether, enrolling in Medicare as a fee-for-service program that would continue to pay directly for care.”

Factcheck.org also does a decent job of comparing the two versions of Ryan’s Medicare proposal.

Why has Coffman’s notion of a “town hall meeting” shifted?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

In a recent Westword blog post, Rep. Mike Coffman’s spokesman was quoted as saying his boss has held “dozens of public events over the summer,” including “town halls,” proving Coffman is an “open-and-available” Congressman.

But as I reported Monday, Coffman’s summer “town hall meetings” appear to be private gatherings for small groups of employees at large corporations (Home Depot, LabCorp, and Tyco Fire & Security). Not very town hallish.

In the case of the Aurora Home Depot, it turns out Coffman was originally invited to the store to learn about the business.

“We’ll invite government representatives to do these store visits,” said Stephen Holmes, a spokesperson for Home Depot.

“The objective is to have them learn about our business and the contributions we make to the local community,” he told me, adding that roughly the same number of Democrats and Republicans have visited Home Depot stores.

At these store visits, he said, “it’s a common practice for store associates to walk into the break room and ask questions.”

If you look at the photo from Coffman’s website below, it appears that his Home Depot “town hall meeting” had about 15 associates in attendance.

You wonder if Coffman has ever thought more expansively about a “town hall meeting,” as in inviting the public.

Turns out, if you search his website, you find out that Coffman held a couple “town hall meetings” back in early 2011, before he was running for Congress in a more competitive district.

These “town hall” meetings seemed to be the real deal, complete with a public invitation and news release, quoting Coffman as saying:

“I always look forward to my town hall meetings,” Coffman said. “There is nothing more important than listening to constituents and understanding their concerns.”

Now Coffman’s conception of a “town hall meeting” has shifted inward and private.

Mike Coffman "town hall" at Aurora Home Depot Aug. 24 with “employees at the Aurora Home Depot”

Chieftain should reconsider its decision to exclude Casida from debate

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The Pueblo Chieftain has excluded independent candidate Tisha Casida from a Chieftain-sponsored debate Oct. 10 featuring 3rd congressional district candidates Scott Tipton, a Republican, and Democrat Sal Pace.

“Voters want to hear from the candidates who do have a chance,” the Chieftain’s Managing Editor Steve Henson wrote in an email to Casida. “And we feel that we are reflecting the desires of our area voters and readers to focus on the candidates of the major parties.”

It’s a strange position for a newspaper to take, running contrary to journalism’s core job of airing out ideas, no matter how unpopular or meek.

But, it’s also true that a debate could get so diluted and unwieldy with lots of candidates on stage that voters would get little or nothing out of it.

So, if I were running a debate, I’d take a practical approach and see how many legitimate candidates, like Casida, wanted to participate and go from there.

If there were too many candidates, like there were during those loony GOP presidential debates recently, and I had no way of knowing which ones were most viable, I’d rotate them in and out. If there were only three or four legitimate candidates on the ballot, I’d include all of them them.

“You’re coming at it from the perspective of putting all the ideas out there,” Henson told me when I suggested this to him. “Our perspective reflects the wishes of our readers.” (He added that the Chieftain has given Casida a fair shake on its news pages, and this appears to me to be true.)

Henson says third-party or other candidates have gotten scant support over many years in southern Colorado.

“If a Libertarian were to get 15 percent of the vote in this election, they’d probably be included in our debate in the next election,” he said. “But that just hasn’t happened. It has nothing to do with the expression of ideas. For us, it’s really a numbers issue.”

The business organization, Club 20, apparently agrees with me that in an election debate, ideas should trump numbers, as Casida was included in the Sept. 9 Club 20 debate in Grand Junction, standing between Pace and Tipton on stage. The event worked just fine, I thought.

In a statement, Casida stated: “It is disappointing to be excluded from a debate in which we do represent a population of voters, and it is my hometown where I was born and raised, which is disheartening. I have worked very hard to petition onto the ballot and be a part of the process, to have a voice and be a voice for people who are frustrated with both Republicans and Democrats.”

Henson’s full statement, which he e-mailed to Casida, follows:

Henson: The Chieftain has not included third-party or independent or write-in candidates for political office because Pueblo and Southern Colorado voters historically have not supported them at the polls. Such candidates typically receive less than 10 percent and often less than 5 percent of the total votes cast.

In other words, frankly, area voters have made it clear that they will not elect a candidate who is not Democrat or Republican. Unless that situation changes, we will not include other candidates in our forums because it takes valuable time away from those candidates who have a legitimate chance of being elected.

Voters want to hear from the candidates who do have a chance, and we feel that we are reflecting the desires of our area voters and readers to focus on the candidates of the major parties.

Conservative talk radio’s defense of Romney so selective it’s amusing

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Colorado’s conservative talk radio world sounds thrilled to defend Mitt Romney’s comments at a GOP fundraiser, but the more you listen, and hear what they’re not saying, the more you realize that, in reality, they don’t seem to know what to say.

Take, for example, KOA’s Mike Rosen, who describes himself as a partisan Republican, addressing Romney’s comments on his show this morning:

“The thrust of what [Romney] said is absolutely on target, and I have no difficulty defending that thrust; I’ve been talking about this for years…”

“By having so many people who don’t feel any pain from the income tax, you build an army of people who simply want other people to pay taxes, and when they hear something about tax rates being increased, they say, ‘We don’t care because we don’t pay taxes anyway.’”

Rosen went on to say that it’s not all of the non-income-tax-paying “47%” who see things this way, but a large number do. That’s basically what Romney meant, he said, a large number of people but not 47%.

Unfortunately, Rosen said, Romney was “imprecise, worst case, sloppy.”

Still, even if you accept the sloppy talk, how do Rosen and his fellow Romney defenders on the radio deal with Romney’s comment that Romney’s “job is not to worry about those people.…”

The radio talkers don’t deal with that comment. They don’t defend it, even though it arguably reflects, to some degree, their attitude here in Colorado (i.e., a willingness to cut government-funded health care for children in poverty, putting their lives at risk, because their parents don’t have sufficient “skin in the game.”)

But as Rosen did this morning, the conservatives on the radio are largely ignoring much of what Romeny said at the fundraiser, including:

  • 47% of Americans “believe that they are victims,”
  • 47% of Americans “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,”
  • 47% of Americans “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement.”
  • 47% of Americans are “dependent upon government.”

So the defense of Romney on talk radio is so selective and riddled with omissions that it’s pretty funny to listen to, actually. And it makes you wonder: Do they agree with it? Are they scared to defend it? What’s up?

Tune in, if you get a chance. Or call in and ask about Romney’s comments that aren’t being aired.

Does Paul Ryan really believe, as he told Your Show, that people should have all the “birth control” they want?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

In an interview with 9News Political Reporter Brandon Rittiman, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was asked if he wants to “abolish” birth control completely.

His reply,”Oh, heaven’s no.”

But, as we know from our long and losing history with personhood amendments here in Colorado, the phrase “birth control” has multiple meanings, depending on where you come down on personhood, which would give legal rights to fertilized eggs and ban all abortion.

For Ryan, who supports personhood and believes life begins at conception, “birth control” exists, but it’s limited to specific objects and pills that do not destroy or have the ability to destroy fertilized eggs or zygotes.

Other forms of “birth control,” like some forms of the pill and IUD’s, are not considered “birth control” at all by personhood supporters, but abortifacients, which are zygote killers, chemicals that cause “abortion.”

And these would be banned, if fertilized eggs received legal protections under personhood laws.

So, in the following exchange with Rittiman, if you want understand Ryan’s real position on birth control, you have to get biological with him (as in, what about forms of birth control that threaten or kill fertilized eggs?)

Rittiman: I’ve got a few questions from viewers…Holly asked us on our Facebook page about women’s issues, which have been in the campaign dialogue. She wants to know if you’re simply opposed to public funding of things like birth control or if you want to abolish them completely?

Ryan: Oh, heaven’s no. People should be free to have birth control all they want. But what we don’t want to do is force taxpayers or groups, like religious charities, churches, and hospitals, to have to provide and pay for benefits that violates their religious teachings and conscience. Of course we believe people should have the freedom to use birth control. Nobody’s talking about that. The question is, can the federal government require churches and charities, people of religious conviction, to violate their religious liberties, which is our First Amendment in the Constitution.

(This exchange occureed a couple weeks ago on Your Show, which airs on Channel 20 in Denver.)

I’ve discussed previously reporters need to beware of the “birth-control” rhetoric of politicians who want to support personhood AND support “birth control.” Politicians can certainly have it both ways, because some forms of birth control would not be banned under personhood, but some common forms would be banned. So, it’s important for reporters to clarify what people like Paul Ryan are talking about when they use the phrase “birth control.”

As to which forms of birth control threaten fertilized eggs and which would do not, I interviewed Nanette Santoro, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the University of Colorado about this back in 2010, and, the way I interpreted her comments, a number of types of birth control, including forms of the pill will, or have the potential to, destroy fertilized eggs. And if you believe that killing a fertilized egg amounts to murder, then you wouldn’t want to risk it and, I’d say, it would be illegal to do so. It would be like playing Russian roulette.

I asked Santoro if the science had changed since my 2010 interview, and she said, through a spokesperson, that it had not.

So, unless scientists tell us differently down the road, reporters will be left to sort out the linguistic gymnastics they see from personhood supporters who apparently don’t like to say they are against common forms of birth control.