Tracking votes for the un-Mitt and sponsors for the un-Rush

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For those fearing a right-wing coup in November, the continued chaos in the race for Pub nominee should sooth. The Barack and Hillary Show went well into the summer but it wasn’t because of ideological splits in the party. There are really three radical schisms at one another’s throats, here, and not one of them is a traditional … some call them “adult” … conservative.

Mitt was always a dufus and the longer they let him talk, the more apparent that becomes to all. Ditto on Santorum, who handily lost Puerto Rico by getting in their face about their language. As talking head of the American Taliban Party, he’s picking up lots of votes but not delegates — and the possibility of a brokered convention … read that wide-open free-for-all … looms. Improbably, we can thank that old funkmeister, Michael Steele, for that; read about it here.

Here in the Pea Patch, fist-fights broke out between Ron Paul-ite’s and the rest of the Right on caucus day, and some facilities were shut down so we’re not sure who has what yet. It just gets more bizarre by the day.

Meanwhile, there continues to be fallout from the Rush Limbaugh stumble and — absolutely astounding, when you think on it a moment — he’s still floundering to get sponsors. His radio show is full of dead air and public service announcements. Meanwhile, the Huckabee people are soliciting his old advertisers, anxious to pick them up for an “uncontroversial” brand of hate radio; Jesus approved, donchaknow. Huck wants to be heir to all that money and influence. The Huckster has solidified his following on FOX and is headed now for talk radio, which brings me to the quote of the day from Helen Philpot, the 80-something political observer on the Helen and Margaret blog … she’s just a hoot:

    “Show me a Republican who makes less than a million a year and I’ll show you a moron who watches Fox News.”

I know there are a lot of people who say, oh don’t tell me anything about Rush, he’s such an ass and so negative – but this is worth noting, dearhearts! I never thought I’d see this day. So here’s news about Rush and a couple of excellent don’t-miss reads — and even if Limbaugh rights himself like some kind of obese Weeble he’ll never be the same. He was untouchable for years, even the mighty couldn’t penetrate that armor. Now he’s been touched — POKED, even — by the disdain and anger of millions of women who BUY things and VOTE, scaring away the money boyz, over 200 of them running like rabbits!

Just frikken brilliant!!!


Rush saw his shadow today. Six more weeks of stupidity…
Helen Philpot @ MargaretandHelen blog

Margaret, evidently you and I are sluts, and so are the majority of women who live in this country. Well good for us. I have always said that well-behaved women rarely make history. I have also said that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat pig. Pigs and sluts. Sadly, that’s what this has all boiled down to.

In 2008, the Democratic Party had a tough decision to make. Would we give America its first female President or would we give American its first African-American President? Would we turn the corner on sexism in this country or racism? Would we finally rise above hate and bigotry and make a statement that we truly are the land of the free? Either way, we would profoundly change the world for the better. And that we did. At the same time, over in the Republican camp, that party was trying to decide if you could see Russia from Sarah Palin’s kitchen window.

This year the Republicans have another tough decision to make as well. Will they decide that Mormonism is a cult or will they decide that women who use birth control are sluts? It’s a tough call. But either way we will profoundly change the definition of just how stupid is stupid. God Bless America.

Margaret, the Republicans had a meeting about birth control and didn’t include a single woman – kind of like the Catholic Church but without the funny hats. It’s like inviting Rush Limbaugh to a Jenny Craig convention or like Sarah Palin calling a family meeting and forgetting to bring the early pregnancy test sticks. Why bother?

I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that most of the Republican men at that meeting have a bottle of Viagra in their medicine cabinet. Why is it so hard to understand that birth control makes for better healthcare for women? And honestly why is it so hard to see that Rush is a college drop out drug addict who – like most addicts – will say anything for a buck. As entertainment that’s comedy gold, but his being a powerful Republican spokesperson ought to tell you just how low the Republican Party has sunk. You just can’t make this kind of bullshit up.

I wish November would get here already so Obama can go back to fixing what’s wrong with this country.

I mean it. Really. ++

(You can now follow Helen on Twitter @HelenPhilpot)

Everything Dies
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout
Friday 16 March 2012

Call me a convert, but I’m beginning to dig this whole let-the-marketplace-work-it-out capitalism thing. You know, actual market capitalism and stuff? It’s pretty awesome when you make it work its magic.

First of all, and since Rush Limbaugh has been all the buzz of late, let’s be clear on a couple of important points:

1. Those who categorize advertiser-aimed activism against Limbaugh and his orgiastic festival of woman-hatred as attacks on “Free Speech” need to remember that free speech equals the First Amendment. That Amendment can only be attacked by the government, which is why it’s called an “Amendment.” You know, to the Constitution and stuff, right? When ordinary citizens go after an obnoxious diaper-rash of a radio personality like Limbaugh, that’s nothing more or less than people exercising their right to free speech, too.

2. Going after advertisers of an offensive public figure is the equivalent of using money as speech. As the current ultra-conservative Supreme Court has seen fit to re-establish money as speech, by way of their Citizens United decision, that means those who attack Limbaugh through his sponsors are following the black-letter spirit of conservative law.

So, yeah, sorry about that.

In other news along the same happy lines, a high-ranking Goldman Sachs bot saw fit to flee his chosen profession like a firework across the sky. The manner of his departure was comprehensively enjoyed by the Occupy movement, and of course Mr. Smith was fully trashed for his candor.

Even so:

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. saw $2.15 billion of its market value wiped out after an employee assailed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s management and the firm’s treatment of clients, sparking debate across Wall Street.

    The shares dropped 3.4 percent in New York trading yesterday, the third-biggest decline in the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index, after London-based Greg Smith made the accusations in a New York Times op-ed piece.

    Smith, who also wrote that he was quitting after 12 years at the company, blamed Blankfein, 57, and President Gary D. Cohn, 51, for a “decline in the firm’s moral fiber.”

The power of the pen – a single op-ed – cost these brutes more than $2 billion in a single day.

That, right there, is how capitalism is supposed to work. Real capitalism is a process in which those who can’t compete, and those who cheat, die.


Sounds pretty good to me.

“Too Big To Fail” is someone else’s catch-phrase. Not mine. I think the very idea is pure nonsense.

Nothing on the skin of this Earth is too big to fail.

Not even the fake-ass robber-baron shell game currently passing itself off as “capitalism.”

Everything dies, sooner or later.


#Occupy ++

Limbaugh’s $400 Million Payday
Eric Boehlert, Media Matters via RSN
17 March 12

Rush Limbaugh Controversy Good News For Mike Huckabee’s New Radio Show: Report
Peter Lauria at Reuters, via HuffPo

(Reuters) – Earlier this week, Cumulus Media sent out an email blast to fellow radio station owners with a photoshopped picture of former U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, promoting him as the conservative talk radio host of the future.

Though the email did not name Rush Limbaugh, the long-running, top-rated talk radio host whose program is nationally syndicated by Cumulus’ rival, Clear Channel Communications, the intent was obvious to some recipients.

“They are going after Rush’s affiliates,” said one radio company executive who received Cumulus’ email and spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are positioning Huckabee as the safe, non-dangerous alternative to Rush and saying to station owners, ‘If you are looking for conservative content, we want you to consider our guy instead of theirs.’”

Huckabee presented Cumulus with its best chance ever to grow into a national competitor to Clear Channel in the radio syndication market even before Limbaugh on February 29 ignited his latest controversy by calling birth-control activist Sandra Fluke “a slut.

That the April 9 launch of “The Mike Huckabee Show” comes amid an exodus of advertisers from Limbaugh’s program and an Internet-driven boycott is simply serendipity for Cumulus.

In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Cumulus co-Chief Operating Officer John Dickey described the Huckabee emails as “standard operating procedure” and said the company was “proud to offer up our content to the industry at large.”

“Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth,” said Dickey. He was referring to how Limbaugh’s contracts typically contain exclusivity clauses restricting him to one station in a market, instead of it being simulcast on multiple stations.

“We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts,” Dickey said.

Cumulus owns the second-largest U.S. radio network, with 580 stations, behind Clear Channel, which owns about 900 stations. Cumulus ranks as the third-largest radio company by revenue, behind Clear Channel and CBS Radio.

Huckabee’s show, which was born out of a dinner conversation between a representative for the former Arkansas governor and Dickey in the fall of 2010, will go head-to-head against Limbaugh from noon to 3 p.m. in all time U.S. time zones, Monday through Friday.

Limbaugh has dominated terrestrial talk radio ever since shock jock Howard Stern fled for the less regulated confines of satellite radio in 2006. The portly conservative pundit’s program is broadcast on 600 radio stations across the country (20 more stations than Cumulus owns in total), and is heard by about 20 million listeners weekly.

As of last week, about 140 stations had signed on to carry Huckabee’s show, and Dickey said that number is growing daily.

More important, only about 45 of those stations are owned and operated by Cumulus, meaning that the other stations that agreed to carry Huckabee’s show have no affiliation with the company. Dickey said some of these stations plan to swap in Huckabee once their contracts with Limbaugh expire, though he declined to name which ones or where they were located.

Limbaugh’s annual income, based in part on licensing fees for his show, is estimated by industry sources at $50 million.

Calls to Clear Channel for comment were referred to Premiere Networks, the company that syndicates Limbaugh’s program.

“Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America,” a Premiere spokesperson said in a statement, noting that all his long-term sponsors remain with his show. “Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush. We wish him the best with his new show.”

A source familiar with Premiere’s thinking put it more bluntly: “We have 900 stations. If Rush gets removed from a few, we have plenty of other places to put him.”


Cumulus’ plan to take on Clear Channel in the syndication market were put in motion long before the impending Limbaugh-Huckabee battle. The roots can be traced to two deals: the $1.2 billion purchase of Susquehanna Radio in 2006 and $2.4 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting in 2010.

Those deals transformed Cumulus from a sleepy small- to mid-market company into a national player. Before them, the largest market in which Cumulus had a presence was ranked 125th nationally. Now, the family-run company is in seven of the top 10 U.S. radio markets.

With a big national footprint and its own network, Cumulus is now able to develop and syndicate its own content as opposed to paying to license it from competitors such as Clear Channel.

Moreover, Cumulus can now shop its content to outside radio station owners, potentially stealing market share from Clear Channel. In essence, Cumulus has gone from being a purchaser of content to a creator of one.

“We eat our own cooking here. If something works for us, it should also work for others in the industry,” said Dickey, referring to Cumulus’ goal to license homegrown talent to others in the industry.

The company last month announced that it was replacing “Coast-to-Coast,” a show produced by Clear Channel, with Cumulus’ own “Red Eye Radio” on 22 of its stations. Earlier in March, Cumulus said it was dropping “The Billy Bush Show,” produced by Dial Global, for an upcoming show of its own.

Cumulus licenses Limbaugh’s show on about three dozen of its own stations. It is expected to replace Limbaugh with Huckabee once these contracts expire.

“I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee,” said Joel Hollander, the former CEO of CBS Radio now running private investment firm 264 Echo Place Partners.

For now Limbaugh has some breathing room – the vast majority of his contracts with Cumulus do not expire until next year. Dickey said Cumulus has “no plans to drop Rush” from any of its stations at this time and will “honor its contracts.”

Dickey’s diplomacy is smart radio politics. Cumulus must navigate a delicate divide between competing and cooperating with Clear Channel. The radio industry as a whole has been in secular decline for more than a decade, as Apple Inc’s iPods, satellite radio Sirius XM Radio Inc and Internet streaming services such as Pandora Media Inc have eaten away at advertising sales and audience share.

Traditional radio companies have been forced to look for new avenues of growth, often in partnership with each other. Cumulus recently announced a deal to stream its stations on Clear Channel’s iHeart-Radio digital platform. The two companies also joined forces on “SweetJack,” radio’s version of Groupon Inc’s daily deals, set to launch nationwide on May 1.

“Cumulus does have a lot of holes across the country where it will need to work with Clear Channel and others radio companies, so what you are going to see is a lot of horse trading,” said Hollander.


Not unlike Howard Stern or Glenn Beck, Limbaugh is one of the few talk radio hosts who have a large and loyal enough fan base that he can leave the air waves altogether for satellite radio, the Internet, or something even more experimental.

But if Limbaugh does stick with traditional radio, he will likely remain a major voice for two main reasons: a shortage of stars and political talk radio has a rabid fan base.

Traditional radio’s lack of stars is the reason Don Imus returned just eight months after being removed in 2007 for calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy-headed hoes.” And it is the reason why the source familiar with Premiere’s thinking said the syndicator has no intention of removing Limbaugh from its air waves.

Indeed, some outside radio companies that syndicate Limbaugh’s show are also sticking with him.

“We carry Limbaugh live in Bakersfield and we have no plans to change,” said Joe Bilotta, CEO of independently owned Buckley Radio.

Moreover, Huckabee has to execute for Cumulus’ grand plan to pay dividends. If he cannot attract an audience and prove that he can carry a show by himself, then all the talk about unseating Limbaugh will be just that – talk. ++

(Reporting By Peter Lauria; additional reporting by Liana Baker; Editing by Richard Chang)

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
~ The Reverand Martin Luther King

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