Monday, April 16, 2007

Catching up

by Ryan Anderson
* Following up from my post on Friday, I'd like to thank the World Herald for their Sunday morning cover story about poverty in Omaha's black community. This is exactly the sort of discussion that should have to endure the 24/7 "Imus cycle": Why does Omaha, home of five Fortune 500 Companies, have the third highest rate of black poverty in the nation? Why does the 19th best city for business -the largest city in the 10th best state for business- have the highest rate of black children in poverty?

Fortunately, as the OWH also reports, there is no shortage of possible solutions: "A coordinated effort by government, schools and the business community...", "reduce the isolation of blacks...", "jobs", "homes", "public transportation", and of course, "education." But all of these efforts start with political will, and that will only come when the rest of us stop being satisfied with "cleaning the airwaves" and start tackling the real problems, the ones that can't be solved with a memo from a radio executive. The problem isn't on MSNBC, it's next door. It's in all of us.

But as I've said before, this problem is bigger even than public policy. I've asked why these problems persist in a business friendly state. Now I ask: why does the state with the second highest rate of volunteers have such a large and largely isolated community of impoverished blacks?

There's a statue, just inside Boy's Town, of a little boy on another kid's shoulders. The caption reads "He ain't heavy... he's my brother." Omaha needs more brother's keepers. We all need to invest in a community that is less segregated, less isolated, and richer in ways beyond any dollar amount. In that spirit, the OWH has a list of organizations that would love to have your time and money (and yes, this goes to the preacher as well as the choir).

* We can all breathe a sigh of relief: Adrian Smith has been to Iraq, and he assures us that "progress has been made".

* Harold Anderson is gunning for Hagel's Senate seat:
Don't overlook the possibility that U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, the increasingly controversial Nebraska Republican, will face potentially strong opposition next May in the Republican primary....

I do not suggest that the following report of a recent conversation involving eight Nebraska Republicans approaches a comprehensive survey. But it was typical of almost all of the comments I have been hearing in recent day's when Hagel's name comes up. And it is coming up with increasing frequency.

The consensus of the conversation was strong dissapproval of the nature of Hagel's campaign of criticism over the way President Bush is conducting the war in Iraq.
I don't doubt the sincere possibility that Hagel could face a right-wing primary challenge next year. Sometimes this anecdotal evidence is ahead of the polls in revealing underlying vulnerabilities, and it isn't necessarily wise to dismiss a growing murmur just because it hasn't been recorded in a survey (then again, this is coming from the man who claims to get floods of e-mails begging to know what his wife and dog are up to).

I still think it's unlikely that a big name like Daub or Bruning (the two mentioned in Anderson's column) will get the ball rolling, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Dave Nabity out there waiting to take a swing at it (Speaking of which... why not Nabity? What's he been up to?).

As always, I can't provide a link to this column because the largest paper in the state won't put their opinion page online. Just saying.

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Blogger Don Kuhns said...

Holy hoecakes, kids. This is sweet:

Tuesday April 17th
1:30 pm-2:30 pm Lecture - Blogging vs. Mainstream Media - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA UNION

Bob Somerby, editor of THE DAILY HOWLER (, a prominent political blog that de-constructs the New York Times, will discuss the mainstream press coverage of recent White House elections, especially the history-altering 2000 campaign which sent George W. Bush to the White House. Somerby will also discuss the mainstream press coverage being extended to candidates in Campaign 08. He will focus especially on the coverage of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Bob Somerby is also comedian, media pundit, and former op-ed writer for the Baltimore Sun, where he wrote on a variety of political and social issues. He has appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time, Politically Incorrect, and Fox News. He graduated from Harvard in 1969, where he had been one of Al Gore’s roommates. He started THE DAILY HOWLER in 1998.

What this blurb fails to convey is that Somerby has probably done more than any one person to encourage liberals and Democrats to embrace full-time media criticism as a necessity for fighting back against conservative propaganda and anti-Democrat MSM "scripts". Before Atrios, before Media Matters, it was Somerby's Daily Howler that reminded us every day that so-called "liberal" pundits and other screwballs of the elite Washington press corps are not doing us any favors. Liberal media criticism is playing a vital roll in today's politics. Anyone who is happy with the outcome of the 2006 election owes Bob Somerby a big debt of gratitude, and a listen.


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