April 2012 Archives


What planet are these people living on?

Probably planet Sexism

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The GOP Class War Against Education


Wasting Our Minds

By Paul Krugman

In Spain, the unemployment rate among workers under 25 is more than 50 percent. In Ireland almost a third of the young are unemployed. Here in America, youth unemployment is "only" 16.5 percent, which is still terrible -- but things could be worse.

And sure enough, many politicians are doing all they can to guarantee that things will, in fact, get worse. We've been hearing a lot about the war on women, which is real enough. But there's also a war on the young, which is just as real even if it's better disguised. And it's doing immense harm, not just to the young, but to the nation's future.

Let's start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama's "divisiveness," the candidate told his audience, "Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."

The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch -- the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren't born into affluent families, who can't rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way.

I mean, "get the education"? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn't proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants.

So how, exactly, are young people from cash-strapped families supposed to "get the education"? Back in March Mr. Romney had the answer: Find the college "that has a little lower price where you can get a good education." Good luck with that. But I guess it's divisive to point out that Mr. Romney's prescriptions are useless for Americans who weren't born with his advantages.

There is, however, a larger issue: even if students do manage, somehow, to "get the education," which they do all too often by incurring a lot of debt, they'll be graduating into an economy that doesn't seem to want them.

You've probably heard lots about how workers with college degrees are faring better in this slump than those with only a high school education, which is true. But the story is far less encouraging if you focus not on middle-aged Americans with degrees but on recent graduates. Unemployment among recent graduates has soared; so has part-time work, presumably reflecting the inability of graduates to find full-time jobs. Perhaps most telling, earnings have plunged even among those graduates working full time -- a sign that many have been forced to take jobs that make no use of their education.

College graduates, then, are taking it on the chin thanks to the weak economy. And research tells us that the price isn't temporary: students who graduate into a bad economy never recover the lost ground. Instead, their earnings are depressed for life.

What the young need most of all, then, is a better job market. People like Mr. Romney claim that they have the recipe for job creation: slash taxes on corporations and the rich, slash spending on public services and the poor. But we now have plenty of evidence on how these policies actually work in a depressed economy -- and they clearly destroy jobs rather than create them.

For as you look at the economic devastation in Europe, you should bear in mind that some of the countries experiencing the worst devastation have been doing everything American conservatives say we should do here. Not long ago, conservatives gushed over Ireland's economic policies, especially its low corporate tax rate; the Heritage Foundation used to give it higher marks for "economic freedom" than any other Western nation. When things went bad, Ireland once again received lavish praise, this time for its harsh spending cuts, which were supposed to inspire confidence and lead to quick recovery.

And now, as I said, almost a third of Ireland's young can't find jobs.

What should we do to help America's young? Basically, the opposite of what Mr. Romney and his friends want. We should be expanding student aid, not slashing it. And we should reverse the de facto austerity policies that are holding back the U.S. economy -- the unprecedented cutbacks at the state and local level, which have been hitting education especially hard.

Yes, such a policy reversal would cost money. But refusing to spend that money is foolish and shortsighted even in purely fiscal terms. Remember, the young aren't just America's future; they're the future of the tax base, too.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste; wasting the minds of a whole generation is even more terrible. Let's stop doing it.

Excited Xi-b Discovery at CERN


Super-collider team discovers new subatomic particle

Excited neutral Xi-b baryon helps fill out physicists' picture of how quarks work

European researchers say they have discovered a new subatomic particle that helps confirm our knowledge about how quarks bind -- one of the basic forces in the shaping of matter.

The CERN physics research center said Friday that the particle was discovered at the Compact Muon Solenoid, one of the Large Hadron Collider's two main general-purpose detectors, in collaboration with the University of Zurich.

Joe Incandela, the physicist in charge of the experiment involved with the discovery, told The Associated Press that the particle was predicted long ago, but finding it was "really kind of a classic tour de force of experimental work."

xi-b.particle.jpgThe particle, known as an excited neutral Xi-b baryon, could not be detected directly because it was too unstable. Instead, its existence was inferred by the pattern of its decay into other subatomic particles.

The Xi-b particle, like other baryons such as protons and neutrons, is made up of three quarks. Protons and neutrons are combinations of "up" and "down" quarks (two up and one down for protons, two down and one up for neutrons). In contrast, the newly detected Xi-b particles consist of an up, strange and bottom quark. The particles are electrically neutral, with a spin of 3/2 and a mass comparable to that of a lithium atom, University of Zurich researchers said.

Xi-B baryons have been previously detected in their ground states, but the particles created in the LHC's proton-on-proton collisions are the first to be observed in their excited states. They're also the first newly discovered particles to be reported by the Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration, which takes in thousands of researchers.

The University of Zurich said 21 of the Xi-b decay events were detected during a series of collisions at an energy level of 7 trillion electron volts last year. Those events were enough to determine that the decay events were more than a statistical fluke.

Sweat the Small Stuff


How to use a paper towel

You use paper towels to dry your hands every day, but chances are, you're doing it wrong. In this enlightening and funny short talk at TEDxConcordiaUPortland, Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique.

Another Milestone




click pic to enlarge

Not to mention why Romney is a right wing putz on abortion.

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Somebody That I Used to Know

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I really like this song.

Somebody That I Used to Know [ Goyte ]

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
I told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kinda sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing
I don't even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough

No, you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
Guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now you're just somebody that I used to know
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believin it was always something that I'd done

But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know-oh-oh

But you didn't have cut me off
Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing (oh)
I don't even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger
and that feels so rough


No, you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect you records
And then change your number (oh)
Guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Somebody that I used to know
Somebody (now your just somebody that I used to know)
That I used to know
Somebody that I used to know
Somebody (somebody) (now your just somebody that I used to know)
That I used to know

I used to know
That I used to know
I used to know

Like street theater, but less environmentally friendly...still it's kinda fun.

Space Shuttle Final Curtain


What an amazing technological feat the entire shuttle program was. What a great human achievement. If only we could do so much more of this instead of all the energy spent on stuff like Iraq.

Space shuttle Discovery lands in Washington DC

Spaceship ends journey to Smithsonian atop 747


By Robert Z. Pearlman

The space shuttle Discovery, NASA's fleet leader and the world's most-flown spacecraft, arrived in Washington, D.C.Tuesday, where it will go on permanent display at the Smithsonian later this week.

The retired space plane was delivered to the nation's capital mounted to the space agency's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet, on a final ferry flight that included a historic flyover of the National Mall and some of its nearby monuments and federal buildings.


The air- and spacecraft duo landed at Washington Dulles International Airport at 11:05 a.m. ET. The four-hour flight left the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:00 a.m. ET, just after dawn. Guests at Kennedy's visitor complex and spectators along the space coast were treated to a final flyby of Discovery before the shuttle began its trip up the Eastern Seaboard.

The departure marked a final separation for Discovery and Kennedy Space Center, which had served as the shuttle's home base and launch site since it first arrived at the Florida spaceport atop the same carrier aircraft on Nov. 9, 1983.

In the three decades since, Discovery flew 39 missions -- more than any other spacecraft in history -- and logged more than a year in space. It became the first of NASA's three shuttles to be retired when it landed a final time from space on March 9, 2011.

When Public Opinion Means Nothing


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Astonishing Tupac Hologram Performance


Tupac Live 2012 At Coachella Legit Full Performance

I can't even imagine the technical artistry that went into producing this.

Sermonette #2894


from the Vine



Religion is an institution established by men for the purpose of serving God. Unfortunately it is an institution...directed in each era by those in positions of power. It is the same type of person that does the killing, whether they've found their way to power in a religious institution or a government.


Ok, but even more basically, religion is a rationalizing device which arose an an adaptive means of coping with environmental and survival demands.

The same brain survival mechanism that spots animals camouflaged in the bushes can be used to see faces in clouds and invisible agencies or entities being responsible for the events and outcomes we could not otherwise explain.

Religious ideas or beliefs are an adaptive byproduct of cognitive mechanisms initially designed for other purposes and are artifacts of the ability for imagined social worlds which are in turn slight alterations of other basic human concepts. - ( Andy Thomas "Why We Believe in Gods")

These same mechanisms can be exploited even in children which is exampled by their ready ability to accept an even as ridiculous a concept like Santa Claus. That acceptance is bolstered by a child's inherent and biologically ingrained trust in parental authority and other adults around them.

As religions became structured and given special status in societies, this parental authority was given over to the shamans and priests and the religious adherents became children of the Santa god.

Since even the "kings" or whatever political leaders were as subject themselves to the belief systems espoused by the priests, the priests acquired political power and rest is history.

Eventually serving God became serving the state and serving the state is serving it's elites. The rabble are left to fight over the disputes of doctrine and poke one another in the eye over assumed differences of taste.

Gotta Love Science


Man uses physics to fight $400 traffic ticket

By Monica Garske

A UCSD physicist used his knowledge and a little creativity to get himself out of a $400 traffic ticket.

im.not.sexy.ticket.jpgDmirti Krioukov was issued a traffic ticket for failing to completely stop at a stop sign. Instead of paying the ticket or going to traffic school, the physicist fought the citation by writing a four-page paper explaining how the ticket he was given defies physics.

Using his knowledge of angular and linear motion, Krioukov prepared a paper for the judge in his case and was able to argue - and prove - his innocence.

The paper explained how what the officer "thought" he saw, he didn't really see, according to the laws of physics.

"Therefore my argument in the court went as follows: that what he saw would be easily confused by the angle of speed of this hypothetical object that failed to stop at the stop sign. And therefore, what he saw did not properly reflect reality, which was completely different," Krioukov said.

Before others try the "physics defense" before a judge, Krioukov warned that it took a perfect combination of events for his argument to legitimately hold up.

When asked if he really did stop at the stop sign, the physicist stuck to his argument.

"Of course I did," he said with a smile.

Go Michael Eric Dyson!

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Zimmerman In Skittles


Finally Some Accountability


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Diabetes and Lack of Sleep


Out-of-whack sleep habits can cause diabetes

By Robert Bazell

sleep.work.jpgHow hard is shift work on a worker's body?

Research out Wednesday from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston demonstrates very precisely the way fighting the body's natural sleep patterns can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

More than 21 million Americans are "shift workers," according to U.S. Census figures. That is, they labor during the hours that most of us set aside for rest or sleep, either all or part of the time. That number is increasing 3 percent a year because of the nature of our service economy and the need for ever more people to take whatever work they can.

The sleep research team at Brigham and Women's, under the direction of Dr. Charles Czeisler, has spent decades documenting how shift work can lead to increased obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems. In this latest research in their sleep lab they show how one mechanism creates the risk.

Twenty-one healthy volunteers were subjected to varying hours of sleeping and waking, light and dark, all designed to disrupt the body's natural internal clock (the circadian rhythm.)

Within a few days, when the subjects ate a normal meal, their bodies did not respond in a normal way.

"Glucose levels went much higher and stayed that way for several hours," said neuroscientist Orfeu Buxton, Ph. D., the study's lead author. "This was because of decreased insulin released from the pancreas. Together these reflect an increased risk of diabetes."

The stress was so severe that during the three-week experiment three of the healthy volunteers became pre-diabetic. Fortunately, after nine days of normal sleep and waking, all symptoms disappeared.

Still, the experiment clearly demonstrates that shift work can make people diabetic. For people who already have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, it can make the conditions worse.

The advice from the scientists for those who perform shift work -- either out of necessity or choice:

  • Try to make your daily clock as normal as possible.
  • Get good sleep during the day -- finding, if you can, a quiet, very dark room. 
  • Don't eat big meals at a time when you feel your body clock is out of whack.

Sound advice, experts would agree.  But anyone who works odd hours knows how challenging such simple routines can be in the demands of a normal family and social life. This latest research is further evidence out-of-whack sleep's harm to our health.

Connecticut Joins Rest of Rational World


Connecticut lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty

The Connecticut House of Representatives gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to repeal of the state's death penalty, moving it one step closer to becoming the fifth U.S. state in five years to abandon capital punishment.

The 86-62 vote in the Democratic-controlled House followed last week's Senate vote and sends the bill to Governor Dannel Malloy, who has vowed to sign it into law.

The House move follows a 20-16 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate on April 5 to repeal the death penalty. Once Malloy sings the bill into law, Connecticut will become the fifth U.S. state in five years to abandon capital punishment.

Connecticut's measure would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. An amendment added in the Senate provided that future felons, convicted of life sentences without parole, would be subject to the same harsh conditions as Connecticut inmates now on Death Row.

The 11 men there now would still face execution, since the law would only apply to future sentences.

A similar bill was defeated last year in Connecticut, just as the high-profile trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky was getting under way for his role in a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire in which a mother and her two daughters were brutalized and killed.

Komisarjevsky and another man are now on Death Row for the murders. The only survivor of the Cheshire attack, Dr. William Petit Jr. - the husband of the murdered woman and the father of the murdered girls - has spoken out against repeal.

Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey have all voted to abolish the death penalty in recent years, while New York's death penalty law was declared unconstitutional in 2004. That state's legislature has repeatedly rejected attempts to reinstate capital punishment.

What's with Michigan?


It's getting weirder and weirder

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How Do We Feed the World


Without destroying it? Did you know that agriculture is more destructive to the climate than burning oil?

A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. At TEDxTC Jonathan Foley shows why we desperately need the begin "terraculture" -- farming for the whole planet.

Glow in the Dark Campaign Money


The GOP's nuke-dump donor

Harold Simmons has given the most money to Republicans this election. Could his nuclear-waste dump be the reason?

simmons4.jpgby Mariah Blake

In the fall of 2004, Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists applied for a license to build a low-level nuclear waste dump in Andrews County, Texas, a dusty oil patch along the New Mexico border. In its filings and press releases, the company argued that the site was ideal because it sat atop "500 feet of impermeable red-bed clay," meaning there was virtually no chance of radiation leaking out and tainting the water supply.

Still, there were reasons to be wary. Maps from the Texas Water Development Board showed the site sitting directly above the Ogallala Aquifer, a massive but shallow underground reservoir, which sprawls beneath eight Great Plains states and supplies roughly a third of the nation's irrigation water. If large quantities of radiation were to seep into this water table, the effects could be devastating. After WCS's application came up for review, however, something curious happened: The board shifted the official boundaries of the Ogallala, a move WCS claims in its official correspondence was based partly on data the company provided, though Water Board spokeswoman Samantha Pollard argues this isn't true. "The reevaluation stemmed from work done for the development of groundwater availability models and related projects," she says. As it turns out, five of the board's six members had been appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, who's taken more than $1.2 million in campaign contributions from WCS's owner, Harold Simmons.

Activists cry foul as Tenn. science education bill hits governor's desk

Science flies men to the moon,
religion flies men into buildings.

More than just a meal


Republican Fascism Made Real in Michigan


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Memo Against Torture Surfaces


Oops. The Bushies thought they were all destroyed...not so.

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Ratboy's Anvil Turns 10 Today

| | Comments (4)


The first post:


Quaboom ? There was sound at the beginning? The thin clicking of keyboard keys indicates the divide between raw impulse, crystalline idea and the indeterminacy of conscious intent; from which occurs a resignation to fearing the beauty of fear becoming beautiful.

Posted by culheath at 12:14 AM April 04, 2002

So it goes.

From the "beyond the call of duty" dept


For the full context of the following extraordinary comments go here

This is taken from a discussion on msnbc regarding the Trayvon Martin case:

Anonymous Insight - #16.2

Excellent point ProIndividual...and one that has haunted me from the beginning. It is so far reported that the police had NOT tested Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol in his system! WHY??? Paranoia is a typical stage and symptom of coming down from cocaine. Zimmerman was acting angry and paranoid. He was unreasonable in his aggression. He disobeyed the instructions of the dispatcher. The boy was screaming in fear. The screams can be heard clearly on the 911 call. This nightmare scene was out of control and not rational behavior.

There has been problems in several cases in several states and towns with corruption in drugs and money. The problem exists. Whether or not it pertains in anyway as a part of the wicked brew in this disastrous mess, we may very well never be able to know as there is not any evidence and a seeming refusal or hesitancy to do any urinalysis or blood testing of the person who stalked and confronted, then shot and killed a screaming scared boy holding a bag of Skittles and an Iced tea drink on HIS property in HIS territory.

You describe it well. Zimmerman was obsessed, paranoid and angry. He attacked what he perceived to be a dangerous criminal, he was not waiting to ask for any explanation, he was seeing his illusions, he was in a panic, he was acting in an out of control crazy and dangerous way to himself and others, which is the very definition of insanity. His insane behavior was paranoid, crack or no crack, it was based upon his inner attitudes and motives. Like anything else, he was going to be rid of another pest, be it varmint, insect, sleazy lowlife, doper, whatever; it was not welcome in his gated territory. This man was being territorial like a good watch dog hunting for his master, guarding his fortress, a hero, just like those loyal soldiers all worked up with tears in their eyes in Leni Riefenstahl's promo movie for Hitler, "Triumph of the Will".

The guy was seeing his inner story, not reality...he was not all there in this impulsive behavior. He killed a man because of his beliefs, his assumptions, he jumped his conclusions and an innocent person is dead. He followed his assumptions and hurt another person, he killed the boy. The only real self defense was the screaming of the victim in the face of his illusions. Period. The evidence can be heard. Those screams are not Zimmerman, those are the victim Trayvon's terrified screams. You would scream too if you knew you were going to die in a moment with a gun pointed at you. He was shot while down and screaming. That is enough evidence. That is what we know now and those are the facts of reality.

Now a trial must take place to determine the charges because the grounds are there. There is a charge that must be detailed and determined by the officials in a court of law, insanity or manslaughter, whatever...and the time served, the fine, whatever. We know he has killed the boy. Will the responsible officials please take over so that fair and honest justice can actually be served? If the law that was passed is wrong, can it be repealed? The laws and enforcement of them must be credible to the society which is served. Now they will be, because The People, the citizens demand it.

7 shot at small California university


Proving once against the dire need this country has for more guns in hands of psychos and zealots. I can't wait for the day we are granted the blessing to carry concealed personal nukes.

Former nursing student opens fire at Oakland university

Students at Oikos University recognized the man who entered their classroom Monday morning as a former nursing student who hadn't been around for a few months.

Then he ordered everyone to get up against a wall, and he drew a handgun.

"The people started running and he started shooting," said Gurpreet Sahota, who relayed an account from his sister-in-law, nursing student Dawinder Kaur, 19.

Seven people died and three more were wounded in the shooting at the small Christian university, the Bay Area's worst mass murder in almost 20 years.

Police Chief Howard Jordan on Monday evening confirmed the arrest of 43-year-old One Goh of Oakland, a Korean native and naturalized U.S. citizen. Not much was immediately known about One, but Jordan said he had no known previous criminal record. Officers believe he acted alone.

Following the shooting, One drove about five miles from the school to an Alameda supermarket, where he announced he had shot people and should be arrested. A security guard detained him until police arrived; a shopper who witnessed a man being handcuffed said he seemed very sedate.

The scene wasn't sedate back at Oikos, which occupies a small building on Edgewater Drive just north of Hegenberger Road in a business park between Interstate 880 and Oakland International Airport. The scene there was slaughter.

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Olbermann Cast Off Again


2 Channels, and Anchor Who Set Liberal Tone

By Brian Stelter

Current TV was co-founded by a former Democratic vice president, but it took Keith Olbermann to give the cable channel its liberal identity.

As he did at MSNBC before it, Mr. Olbermann established himself as Current TV's star anchor -- more than quadrupling the channel's prime-time average -- in addition to emboldening the network to recast itself in his own political image, furthering the trend of point-of-view television news that the Fox News Channel is credited with starting in the 1990s.

And as was the case at MSNBC, Mr. Olbermann will not be around to enjoy the fruit of his labors. After months of conflicts with his bosses, he was fired on Friday. Now Al Gore and Current's other executives are bracing for a possible lawsuit from Mr. Olbermann, who disputes the channel's assertions that he did not sufficiently show up for work or promote the channel.

But they are also busy trying to add more programs like his. On Friday night they swapped out his 8 p.m. program, "Countdown," with a similar one, "Viewpoint," with Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor.

That change confirmed what Mr. Gore's business partner Joel Hyatt said in an interview last month: "We won't shy away from identifying our progressive point of view." Last week, Current added six hours of progressive talk from 6 a.m. to noon, in the form of radio simulcasts. Now it is contemplating what shows to add in the afternoons and on the weekends, and trying to sell itself as a purer form of progressive TV than MSNBC.

The channel, which still has low ratings, faces a long slog, however. Already, there is open speculation that cable and satellite distributors could soon drop Current TV from their lineups. (The channel says it has long-term contracts in place.) MSNBC, meanwhile, has barely missed a beat since Mr. Olbermann's departure and has become better known for having progressive-oriented shows.

A dozen people in the television business were interviewed for this article, but nearly all insisted on anonymity either for legal reasons or for fear of retaliation by Mr. Olbermann or their employers.

Many of them testified to the raw television talent of Mr. Olbermann. But because he gave the channels confidence to hire other hosts with liberal views similar to his, his hasty departures from the channels may not matter all that much, they said. What matters is that the channels exist at all.

Now, liberal journalists and pundits who were inspired by Mr. Olbermann's invectives against the Iraq war and the Bush administration five years ago have multiple channels to appear on and potentially be paid by -- a marketplace, in effect, for liberal talent on television.

When Current hired Mr. Olbermann in early 2011, it was a coup, a "transformational" moment, as the president of Current, David Bohrman, described it later. It was also something of a desperate move. The channel was started in 2005 as a user-generated, Internet-inspired experiment; later, it tried to be a home for documentaries. It lacked a coherent brand or political point of view (despite Mr. Gore's presence, Current had no overtly liberal programming) or an appreciable audience. Mr. Hyatt was convinced that Mr. Olbermann would bring both with him.

Mr. Olbermann did bring a point of view -- Current quickly added like-minded liberal shows at 7 and 9 p.m. -- but the scrounging for viewers continues to this day. Although he raised Current's prime-time viewership from less than 25,000 a night to well over 100,000 a night, the audience for Current isn't much bigger than one-tenth that of MSNBC's. And MSNBC's audience is only about half the size of Fox's.

The ratings suggest either that progressive talk needs more time to take root -- Fox, after all, has had the conservatives Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity on its schedule for 16 years -- or that there isn't as big an audience for it as its backers hope.

Lots of ground covered and great points raised:

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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