Posts Tagged ‘Health’

MA-Sen: PPP Has Brown (R) Up One Point

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (1/7-9, likely voters, no trendlines):

Martha Coakley (D): 47
Scott Brown (R): 48
Undecided: 6
(MoE: ±3.6%)

Some findings from Tom Jensen:

• As was the case in the Gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia last year, it looks like the electorate in Massachusetts will be considerably more conservative than the one that showed up in 2008. Obama took the state by 26 points then, but those planning to vote next week only report having voted for him by 16.

• Republicans are considerably more enthusiastic about turning out to vote than Democrats are. 66% of GOP voters say they are ‘very excited’ about casting their votes, while only 48% of Democrats express that sentiment- and that’s among the Democrats who are planning to vote in contrast to the many who are apparently not planning to do so at this point.

• Brown has eye popping numbers with independents, sporting a 70/16 favorability rating with them and holding a 63-31 lead in the horse race with Coakley. Health care may be hurting Democratic fortunes with that group, as only 27% of independents express support for Obama’s plan with 59% opposed.

Tom also offers some thoughts on how he thinks Coakley can win, and says that PPP will be back in the field next weekend. Meanwhile, Taegan Goddard has this update:

Meanwhile, polls from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald should be released in the morning.

A source tells Jim Geraghty that the Globe poll finds Coakley ahead by 15 points and the Herald poll finds her ahead by seven points — but just one point among likely voters.

And Mark Blumenthal promises that Pollster will put up a trend chart once it has a fifth poll of this race (PPP makes five).

(Ongoing discussion can also be found in calchala’s recommended diary.)

Categories: Politics Tags: , , , ,

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

After a week that saw Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele come under fire for (warning: this will take awhile):

  • Publicly wondering if Republicans were able to lead,
  • Saying that he wished he could be a teabagger,
  • Getting advice from a known racist,
  • Telling other Republicans to “shut up” or “fire me,”
  • Being told by other Republicans to shut up,
  • For blindsiding the Republican party with his book,
  • For the ethical questions raised by his outside income, and,
  • For depleting RNC coffers by two-thirds in a non-election year,

… Steele decided to cap off the week with this:

Responding to critics who say he wrote his latest book when he should have been conducting official duties, RNC chair Michael Steele said today he wrote the book before he took over the national party last January.

Well then, nothing to see here, let’s move along … or not:

But the book itself tells a different story. In its pages, Steele mentions at least 5 people, 1 piece of legislation and 1 term that did not become evident until well after he was elected to head the RNC.

At various points, Steele references Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) and his 2 rivals for a special election that occured Nov. 3 — NY Assemb. Dede Scozzafava (R) and accountant Doug Hoffman (C). He mentions former Miss CA Carrie Prejean … to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor … Cap and trade legislation had been discussed prior to Steele’s becoming chairman, but Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) didn’t offer their first draft until Mar. 31. And as Steele takes after the health care measure introduced in Congress this year, he spends several pages assaulting the public option — an issue that was not a major part of the discussion during the ‘08 WH campaign.

What’s that old expression? Oh, yeah. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Michael? Stop digging.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,

Late afternoon/early evening open thread

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos ….

  • Dante Atkins will introduce himself and try to remind us of just how far we’ve come in his initial essay, (by way of reintroduction).
  • With Ellen Malcolm, the president of EMILY’S List, announcing her retirement, Angry Mouse will examine whether the nation’s largest feminist advocacy organizations are still effective or even necessary.
  • exmearden will stir the dust with thoughts on life, death, health insurance, and, well, dinnerware.
  • Meteor Blades will discuss why progressive activism, both the idealistic and pragmatic kind, is essential for transformative change and always has been.
  • If you’re always looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, or if you’ve ever been woken up by the noise of a garbage truck, Laura Clawson will tell you about something you’ll wish they had in your town: The Pedal People collect the trash on bicycles.
  • In many ways, 2010 could turn out to be a year that will see unprecedented changes in the national security landscape. One of the areas in which President Obama has the potential to make history is in the area of arms control, specifically with respect to nuclear weapons. Plutonium Page will go beyond the rhetoric and the headlines to show you how.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,

Millions of Jobs Between Now and November. Or Else.

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

One of the chief responses to the continuing disaster that is America’s unemployment situation runs along the lines of: It’s a lot better than it was last year at this time. That depends on how you look at it.

In terms of the number of jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported lost in the Decembers of 2008 and 2009, the situation is a lot better. Jobs aren’t being slashed in anywhere near the same numbers they were a year ago, 681,000 vs. 85,000. Layoffs are way down and, on average, people who still have jobs are more secure that they’ll keep them than they were just a few months ago. Various indicators of a slowly improving economy can be seen everywhere. No doubt, thanks to government intervention, however imperfect, there have been innumerable sighs of relief.

Click here for larger image.

But looked at from the standpoint of accumulated job losses, with no real hiring in sight, the situation looks far worse than it did a year ago. Back then, “only” 3.1 million jobs had been lost since the recession began in December 2007. Today, 5.0 million more Americans are officially out of work. And 6.1 million of them have been out of work for at least six months. Altogether, those counted as jobless number 15.3 million. That, says the BLS, is 10% of the work force, the “U3″ number. Add in the part-timers who want full time work and people too discouraged to keep looking for a job and this “U6″ measurement rises to 26.5 million and 17.3%.

The numbers, however, are actually worse than they first appear. Because, as BLS statistics show, 661,000 people left the labor force last month. We don’t know where they all went. Retired, enrolled in school, left the job market to raise a child, took time off to write a book, sank into despair. What we do know is that if they had stayed in the labor force and kept looking for one of those jobs that isn’t yet available, today we’d be looking at a 10.4% unemployment rate, with 16 million officially out of work. Maybe 27 million when the underemployed and discouraged get tallied.

Click here for larger image

What these terrible numbers represent are persons with rent to pay, kids to feed, tuition to cover, loans to repay. Not abstractions. People. Which is why everyone – except for Republicans hoping to make political gains off of misery – eagerly hopes each new job report will announce that the numbers have begun to be reversed.

However, given the BLS’s tweaky application of seasonal adjustment formulas and calculations about new businesses arising and old ones folding (called the birth-death model), this focus on when positive job numbers will finally be announced is really a perverse waste of time.

I don’t say this with any malice toward anyone. I’ve watched for that crossover from negative to positive, too. Nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with following the job trends that appear over a period of a few or many months. It’s just that when the day the numbers finally appear to go positive for more than a one-month blip, it will be a maybe-yes, maybe-no affair.

And, more importantly, that breakthrough, such as it is, will only mark the beginning of what must be obvious to everyone by now will be a long, long trek back to the employment levels of December 2007 when there were 8.1 million more people working than there are now and millions more had full-time instead of part-time jobs.

Click for a larger version of this Calculated Risk chart.

Our attention instead ought to be focused on the problem of how long it’s going to take to return to the number of jobs there were when the recession started two years ago.

As many others and I have pointed out for months, and Robert Reich noted Friday, it normally takes the creation of about 100,000 jobs each month just to keep up with added new job seekers entering the labor market. So, add to that 8.1 million jobs we’ve lost another 2.5 million “never entereds.” That’s 10.6 million jobs that have to be made up.

To achieve that by the summer of 2012, in time to have a favorable effect on the presidential election, would mean, Reich says, 400,000 jobs created each month. During the Clinton boom, the best rate was 280,000 a month. If that could be matched, it would still take until early 2013 to cover those 10.6 million jobs. And, it should be remembered, each month going forward we will need yet another 100,000 jobs to handle people entering the market for the first time. So the actual number of needed jobs over the next three years is more like 13-14 million. A formidable task.

If there were at least program in place that was showing marked improvement in the unemployment situation, even if the jobless numbers were still high, it would be harder for Republicans to spin things in their direction for the election. But what kind of program?

The imperfect stimulus has helped stop the bleeding. But the only way for the administration to do a timely job of putting Americans back to work is with a dynamic and massive federally run jobs program, one that employs millions as quickly as possible. That means more government spending. Not only should it be done right away for all the obvious human reasons, but also because the already somewhat dicey political situation for Democrats in November is going to be far dicier if more jobs aren’t generated soon. Excuses won’t go over well.

It would be the toughest imaginable sell on Capitol Hill. Fought against tooth and nail by obstructionist Republicans, Democratic deficit hawks and assorted worry warts. It might very well go down to defeat. The only alternative then would be diverting some TARP repayments and unspent stimulus dollars. That’s legally problematic and, at any rate, wouldn’t produce enough money.

But the possibility of defeat should not be a deterrent to trying. The White House should bite the bullet on this, go all out, take the issue to the American people and fight like hell in Congress to make this happen. The next few months will offer the only chance, however slim, of accomplishing it. Marching into November with massive numbers of Americans still unemployed and no program for effectively reducing those numbers could make it a painful year at the polls.  

There is, as pointed out many times before, far more to do than merely try to get more Americans back to work. We need a frontal assault on deregulation, deunionization, privatization, unfettered globalization, wage stagnation and the outrageous transfer of wealth to the upper 20%, especially the top 1%. Fixing, even ameliorating, structural unemployment will require rejiggering out trade policy and establishing a progressive industrial policy.

Atrios makes an excellent point in that regard:

One of my longstanding pet peeves is that everyone in the US pretends we don’t have an “industrial policy” because that implies naughty state intervention in certain sectors. But of course we have lots of naughty state intervention in certain sectors, we just don’t do it even notionally for any good reason. We prop up the single family homebuilding industry and the automobile industry (even before the bailouts). We prop up certain agricultural sectors. We favor big business over small. Now we’re massively propping up one skimmer industry – the financial industry – and are about to prop up another skimmer industry – health insurance.

So, yes, by design or accident we have industry policy. We should recognize that and then decide what we should be doing instead of pretending we don’t have any.

Whatever we do in that regard, however, will have to wait until we solve the immediate crisis. For one thing, there aren’t anywhere near enough fighting progressives in Congress to deal effectively with these deeper problems with the economy. For now, Band-Aids will have to do.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , , ,

Will Durst: 2010 Predictions

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

All right, it was a hecka long holiday season. I’m tired and you’re tired. And neither of us has the energy to go through the whole post- modern deconstructionist explanation as to why you’re reading a predictions column here. Yes, I’m doing a predictions column. What’s the matter with you people? It’s the beginning of a new year. Hell, it’s the beginning of a new decade. That’s what journalists do: prediction columns. It’s a festive tradition. Like mistletoe or Hopping John or calling hospital emergency rooms when Uncle Bud goes missing in the wee hours of Boxing Day. And no, I don’t care that we’re already deep enough into January that most of our resolutions lie broken on the calendar floor like branches of a discarded Noble fir on the shoulder of a logging camp approach road. C’mon people, what am I, flying solo here? Deal with it. Or don’t. Because here they are: a list of predictions of what we can or should expect from various people during the 1st year of the second decade of the 21st century.

The Airline Industry will make every effort to rid the skies of the most dangerous security threat known to man: panties.
Charlie Sheen will attempt to hire whoever is responsible for Tiger Woods’ damage control.
Steve Jobs will evacuate a series of smooth, light and aerodynamically curvaceous clumps of waste, which will be reported upon at great length.
Barack Obama will finally purge himself of that overabundance of expectations for a bit of Congressional assistance.
Tiger Woods will win the Masters evidencing such a triumphant links return that other PGA wives will be encouraged to take 9 irons to their husbands’ Escalades.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will direct his security detail to check out the firm responsible for Charlie Sheen’s damage control.
Termed out California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will band together with Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal to form The Seniors Action- Star Film Series.
The US Congress will outline a plan to fix the Social Security problem once and for all that may or may not involve raising the retirement age to 83.
In order to thwart further underwear bombing plots, the TSA will perfect the speedy implementation of the two handed wedgie.
The Teabaggers will actively set out to find someone in their movement involved in popular culture sufficiently to help them vet a new name.
Law & Order Producer Dick Wolf will create his own network and fill each and every prime time slot with Law & Order & Law & Order spin-offs including a posthumous CGI enhanced Law & Order featuring fan favorite Jerry Orbach.
Joe Biden will undergo intense personal training to learn how to shut the hell up during moments of silence at Arlington National Cemetery.
Hillary Clinton will finally spit out that piece of meat stuck in her craw.
Jerry Brown will receive a clean bill of health from his paleontologist and go on to win the California gubernatorial election after being recognized as the biggest goober in the race.
George Steinbrenner will convince the Commissioner to award the 2010 World Series championship to the Yankees before the season starts to save wear and tear on his expensively fragile lineup.
CEO of the CIA, Leon Panetta will get a piece of meat stuck in his craw.
Former Vice President Al Gore will continue to cultivate a high profile in order to finally realize his dream of becoming a permanent cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Sarah Palin will actually finish, nah, never mind.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comic, who writes sometimes; this being a sterling example.
Catch Durst in stand- up mode at The Pipeline Café in Honolulu on Wednesday, January 13th.

Categories: World Tags: , , , , ,

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Coke FRIDAY!

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments


This Late Night Snark Has Been Patted Down:

“Hear about the guy [who] tried to get his underwear to explode? … He was wearing a pair of Fruit of the Lunatic.”
—David Letterman
“Legal experts are saying that if he’s convicted, the underwear bomber could be sentenced to life in a federal prison. But even worse, for the rest of his life he’ll be known as ‘The Underwear Bomber.’”
—Conan O’Brien
“America is executing fewer prisoners. Oh my god! That means Texas has seceded!”
—Stephen Colbert
“No one knows what caused Rush Limbaugh’s chest pains, but if you’re Rush Limbaugh, it could be any number of things: The economy is getting better, the healthcare bill is going to pass, the Republicans are having trouble raising money…”
—Jay Leno
“In Taiwan, marine biologists have discovered a crab they say looks just like a strawberry. And by marine biologists, I mean two guys on mushrooms.”
—Jimmy Fallon

And this from The Daily Show:

Jon Stewart: Two elected Democratic senators out of their caucus of 60 are stepping down, and 11 Democratic congressional representatives will be retiring, compared to 6 out of the 40 Republican Senators and 14 House Republicans. So I think we know how the media is going to play this:

Campbell Brown: Congressional Democrats dropping like flies…
Andrea Mitchell: Democrats reeling from a recent string of retirement announcements…
Sean Hannity: Democrats all around the country are running scared…
Rush Limbaugh: They’re running for the hills!

Stewart: It’s less! The other party has more people leaving! How are those figures not even like a wash, or a little bit in the Democrats’ favor? Boy, you fuckers can make controversy out of anything, can’t you?  Why do you have to have everything sound more interesting than it is? Y’know, if Congress made it rain cookies, the headline would read: DEMOCRATS LEAVE MILLIONS MILKLESS

Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts in There’s Moreville… [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

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Late afternoon/early evening open thread

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos ….

  • Dante Atkins will introduce himself and try to remind us of just how far we’ve come in his initial essay, (by way of reintroduction).
  • With Ellen Malcolm, the president of EMILY’S List, announcing her retirement, Angry Mouse will examine whether the nation’s largest feminist advocacy organizations are still effective or even necessary.
  • exmearden will stir the dust with thoughts on life, death, health insurance, and, well, dinnerware.
  • Meteor Blades will discuss why progressive activism, both the idealistic and pragmatic kind, is essential for transformative change and always has been.
  • If you’re always looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, or if you’ve ever been woken up by the noise of a garbage truck, Laura Clawson will tell you about something you’ll wish they had in your town: The Pedal People collect the trash on bicycles.
  • In many ways, 2010 could turn out to be a year that will see unprecedented changes in the national security landscape. One of the areas in which President Obama has the potential to make history is in the area of arms control, specifically with respect to nuclear weapons. Plutonium Page will go beyond the rhetoric and the headlines to show you how.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,

Televising the conference

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments

I happened to catch Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the “Montel Across America” radio show this morning, and wanted to address something that came up during the discussion interview.

Montel entered into the following exchange after playing clips of then-candidate Obama saying he’d opt for open, transparent and televised negotiations on the health care bill, including the conference committee on the bill:

WILLIAMS: How can you argue this? The President said it over and over and over again: this will be on C-SPAN. Now we get down to the short strokes, and it’s in the closed room.

BOEHLERT: Yeah, you know, I mean, Brian Lamb, the CEO of C-SPAN sent a letter over to the Congressional leaders asking that the reconciliation be televised, and things like that. And, you know, I think that’s an interesting and could be potentially a good idea. I don’t think it’s ever been done. We’ve never seen the reconciliation process between the House and Senate televised. And I guess the only point I’d make about what Obama was saying on the campaign — I don’t think he was talking about the reconciliation process. He was comparing the Clinton in ‘93, when sort of the White House, well, was accused of writing the legislation and leaving Congress out of it. I think, clearly, those comments from Obama on the campaign trail were talking about formulating the legislation. I certainly don’t think he was talking about when, you know, there’s a bill passed by the House and the Senate, they meet to sort of make ends meet — that that would be on C-SPAN. But he certainly opened the door to having a debate about a transparent process.

WILLIAMS: I mean, he opened that door, and you know, Igor Volsky was on a little earlier in the show today, from the Center for American Progress, and he made a good point about the fact that, yeah, you know, it’s good for the process in some ways. All it does though is help hamper the process and slow it down, because most of the politicians use it as a free opportunity to grandstand and politicize the process rather than actually utilize the process for what it was there for, which is to come up with a decent bill. But it does kind of, you know, come back and bite you. You’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror when you say eight times, I’m gonna be transparent, I’m gonna be transparent on health care, on health care, on health care, on health care. When you do it eight times, the public may expect you to follow through with what you said.

BOEHLERT: Yeah, and when you talk about C-SPAN a lot, and when C-SPAN comes up and says, oh by the way, we want to air the reconciliation process — so, yeah, there’s always things you say on the campaign trail which can come back to haunt you. I would argue that this is not as direct as some critics are trying to make it. Again, I don’t think anyone was ever discussing the reconciliation process. And again, I don’t think that has ever been televised in the history of C-SPAN. It certainly wasn’t televised when Republicans were running Congress. And I think there is something to be said for once you do televise it. This reconciliation process, in any bill it’s difficult and complicated. For health care, it’s even more difficult and complicated. And the idea that you’re going to televise it and then make the process somehow any better — there’s an argument to be made that that will just complicate things. Of course, there’s an argument to be made that all transparency is a good thing in government.

OK, I’ve got some issues with this. But because I’ve said a number of times now that when the question deals with Congressional procedure, the answer is almost always “yes and no,” you won’t be surprised to learn that the answer is the same in this case, too.

First of all, the minutia: the conference process is not the same thing as reconciliation. We’ve been over this. Though a conference reconciles competing versions of a bill, “reconciliation” also refers to a specific budgetary procedure that’s also come up a lot in the context of the health insurance reform bill, and it just confuses things needlessly to refer to the conference process as the reconciliation process.

With that out of the way, we could come to the question of whether or not candidate Obama meant to include the conference process in his definition of the “negotiations process.” On the one hand, I hope so, because it’s really not helpful in transparency terms to say that the preliminary stages of the process will be open, but the rewrite will be closed. Conference is often where the rubber meets the road, and to exclude it — without explicitly saying so — from your definition isn’t exactly fair.

On the other hand, I guess I hope that Obama didn’t include the conference process in his working mental definition of the negotiations process, because the President, while naturally a powerful player in the process, really has no business dictating legislative procedure to the Congress. One branch per person, please.

But to me, at least for the moment, that’s kind of a lesser point too. Basically, I’ve come to expect overpromising and blurring the lines on the campaign trail. That’s probably part of why I dislike the primary campaigns so much. It seems a waste of time to me to fight with one another so intensely over the contents of campaign position papers, when I know so much of it is going straight out the window when it gets to Congress, anyway.

That does, however, bring me to the other point, which is the one where I pivot to the “yes and no” answer.

Has there ever been a Congressional conference committee televised on C-SPAN? Yes there has. As a matter of fact, C-SPAN televised the February 2009 conference committee meeting on the stimulus bill, and you can watch it on the C-SPAN web site. And if you do, you’ll hear Harry Reid say that there hasn’t been an open conference like that for 15 years.

So, “yes and no.” Yes, there have been televised conferences before. And no, it doesn’t happen very often and never happened when Republicans were in charge, as Boehlert points out.

But there’s more. Go ahead and watch the whole conference, but you’ll never see any of the negotiations. Why not? Because they weren’t conducted in that room. They were conducted elsewhere, and then the conferees came into a nice conference room with a big, broad table and some TV cameras in it, and proceeded to read speeches to each other — Democrats praising the bill and the process, and Republicans condemning it.

What was in it? Oh, you heard a little about that. How did it get in there? Not so much about that.

So again, “yes and no.” Yes, you can put a conference committee on C-SPAN. But no, you can’t make them actually do their deals in front of the camera. And so you get the “steak sauce” answer: You asked for an open and transparent conference. We just showed you everything covered by the definition of “conference” on C-SPAN.

But you didn’t learn anything.

And that’s part of the value of learning about the process — and the gap between what the rules say and how things are actually done. Ask for a televised conference and you may very well get it. But you won’t necessarily get what you were after, and you’ll instead spend your time arguing with one another over something more akin to what the meaning of “is” is.

Categories: Politics Tags: , , , , , , ,

Midday Open Thread

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments
  • Portugal, which, by the way, is 84% Catholic, becomes the sixth European country to legalize same-sex marriage. As Joe Sudbay at Americablog points out, it’s refreshing to see a government that isn’t run by the Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • President Obama will:

    … unveil a $2.3 billion tax credit on Friday to promote clean energy technology and boost job creation in the hard-hit manufacturing sector, the White House said.

    It said in a statement the credit, from funds earmarked under an emergency $787 billion stimulus package Obama signed in February 2009, would create 17,000 new U.S. jobs and would be matched by an additional $5 billion in private capital.

  • Fire up the tea kettles:

    In a National Journal survey of 109 Republican “party leaders, political professionals and pundits”, not a single one deemed Sarah Palin to be the most likely Republican nominee.

  • Tom Cole (R-OK), the only Native American in the House, calls RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s use of the phrase, “honest injun,” unacceptable and offensive. And maybe when Steele’s book tour is over, he’ll apologize.
  • Who knew? Bob Bennett (R-UT) just isn’t conservative enough:

    “Bob Bennett is out of touch with the times and with his state, and Utah Republicans have better choices for their candidate in November,” Club President Christ Chocola said.

    “Our extensive research into the race suggests Utah Republicans already understand this, as they have begun rallying around several viable and superior candidates,” he continued. “The Club for Growth PAC is committed to seeing one of them defeat Bennett either at the nominating convention in May or in a primary election in June.”

  • Read greendem’s diary and learn how dangerous it can be for a cartoonist in a teabagging world.
  • Can someone please light a fire under Martha Coakley?

    According to PPP’s Tom Jensen, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley’s sleepy campaign–which is increasingly starting to irritate party strategists who trusted her to lock the race down early–has resulted in an electorate that’s more Republican than usual and more anti-health care reform than the state as a whole. Brown, one of the few Republicans of stature in the state, has a 60 percent favorable rating–a result of his own ads and of being basically ignored by Coakley.

  • From the you-can’t-make-this-shit-up files:

    Fed up with the mainstream media filter, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) is taking her quest to inform Americans about the threat of jihad to the Internet — namely, YouTube — in a new weekly terror news video series that will be featured on her congressional Web site.

    Who is paying for Myrick’s little one-woman jihad?

  • A former GOP chairman says that a gubernatorial bid by Norm Coleman is a “bad idea both for Coleman and for Minnesota.”
  • Will anyone listen?

    Mountaintop coal mining — in which Appalachian peaks are blasted off and stream valleys buried under tons of rubble — is so destructive that the government should stop giving out new permits to do it, a group of scientists said in a paper released Thursday.

  • Geraldo Rivera flip-flops on racial profiling.
  • Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old today.

Christina Gagnier: CES–The Answer to Publishing Industry Woes: Mobility

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments

CES’ Super Session 7: Big Thinkers and Disruptive Technologies- Today’s Thought Leaders, Tomorrow’s Technologies presented a panel of big thinkers who addressed issues ranging from the impact of the explosion of E-Reader options all the way to technologies that will revolutionize healthcare. In the middle of the E-Reader discussion, an important segue was taken, a discussion of the publishing world and its transition into the digital world.

Decentralized media needs to react to the creation of the decentralized sources upon which users can access it. This was the core message of comments panelist Colin Crawford, Founder and CEO of Media7, made as he discussed how the publishing industry could accomplish its transition from print to new media. Crawford noted that the time is now for content producers, specifically the publishing industry, to seize this unique moment where no one seems to have determined how the mobile market will be tapped into.

When commenting on whether publishers should look to technologists to solve their own problems, Crawford remarked, “Publishers need to solve their own problems.” While many in the publishers industry are hanging their future on technology, there is a need for the industry to recognize that have to create different forms of content for different devices. The desktop reader of the New York Times and the iPhone application user are not one in the same. Content for those on the go needs to be quick to access and effectively communicated. As Colin Crawford puts it, “The right content needs to be with you at the right time.”

Mobile devices have yet to see their full potential realized, whether its publishers trying to share content or government agencies reacting to the needs of their constituents. Mobile penetration worldwide speaks to the need for content to be developed that is user-friendly on these devices. Yet, as more people look towards mobile as a source for information delivery, new challenges are presented: mobile phones demand that content is personal.

The decentralization of news delivery also demand that content providers catch up in a world of search and social networking, two obstacles that seem to stand in the way of online success for publishers. Users today are able to zone in on precisely what information they need, and communities of interest grow increasingly smaller. For the publishing industry to keep pace with technology, the publishers that will be most likely to succeed are those who excel at information delivery in a particular niche.

The continuing problem for the giants of print media is that content is becoming more personal, and everyman can be a content producer. Panelist Dr. Levy Gertzberg, President of the Zoran Corporation, pulled out his Flip Mino HD video camera to illustrate to the audience how personal content creation can be these days. Easy-to-use and fairly inexpensive (around $200 for the MinoHD), Flip illustrates the virtues of mobility: shoot a video, plug the camera into your laptop’s USB drive and upload it instantly. It is mentality that publishers must adopt.

As Colin Crawford reminded the audience, the print model used to work well both in terms of user experience and as a business model. The new model, the mobile model, also has this potential. Between branded applications and microtargeting with mobile ads, the industry has the opportunity to remain viable through this second decade of the 21st century.