Monday, June 09, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays

While fighting to keep head above water and stay dry in the soggy, monsoon-ravaged Midwest (please, make it stop!), I hereby dedicate this entry to the soaked and not-so-soaked.

Here are a few news items that popped up over the weekend:

Newsom's new show is (finally) a go

Remember that item about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his radio show? Well, after a few false starts and some scheduling conflicts, it's finally coming to fruition.

This Saturday, Newsom hits the airwaves with his half-hour radio program, which can be found on KKGN (Green 960) in San Francisco.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

He isn't getting paid for the job, but the political rewards of having his own radio show could be priceless. The show provides Newsom an unfiltered forum to publicize pet projects and discuss just about anything he wants - a politician's dream come true.

"There are no rules," Newsom said. "I meet with so many fascinating people, and we have these great conversations. We want to ... ask those folks if they can meet on the radio show."

The first show, which airs at noon, was prerecorded and will feature the 40-year-old mayor interviewing political commentator Arianna Huffington.

The Gavin Newsom Show can be heard Saturdays at Noon (3P ET) on Green 960. Podcasts will also be available via the station's site.

Speaking of drought-ridden California, they are more than welcome to our rain. We've got plenty to spare.

Going 'Green' in Atlanta

If a Bay Area station can go 'green,' why not one in Atlanta? Coming July 1, a new station in suburban Decatur, GA will hit the airwaves. Green 1640, as it will be called, will offer community-oriented news with a progressive point of view.

Now, this doesn't appear to be a 'true' FCC-licensed radio station. The signal power will be extremely weak, reaching only a three or four mile radius around the Decatur area. Two transmitters, each running a maximum of one milliwatt of power, will put the station on the airwaves. In other words, this appears to be an unlicensed 'Part 15' station. This is not a pirate signal, as FCC regulations allow this, provided it doesn't exceed power limits or interfere with other stations or emergency services. Part 15 transmitters are used mostly by hobbyists, businesspeople such as realtors and some schools.

In addition to local news and information, the operator of the station has tossed around the idea of lending time to various groups and seeking out syndicated programming, such as Air America, though there may be some legal issues involved in doing something like that (or perhaps not). They're also looking into selling advertising time, so that may be interesting.

Nonetheless, if you're in the Decatur area (this signal likely won't get into the city of Atlanta proper) after July 1, you can tune it in at 1640AM.

And keeping with the theme, Atlanta, which was hit by a rather nasty drought last year, is more than welcome to as much Midwestern typhoon rain as it can handle. Take all you want.

Franken gets Democratic endorsement for Senate seat

And congratulations are in order for Al Franken, who became the de facto nominee after winning the endorsement of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). The next step is to unseat the real-life version of the Mayor Quimby character from The Simpsons, Republican U.S. Senator Norm Coleman.

Franken won the endorsement at the DFL convention in Rochester over the weekend. His closest rival, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, dropped out and released his delegates to Franken. That frees him to go head-to-head with Coleman in the fall.

I haven't much mentioned Franken since he left radio and announced his intention to run for Senate. I just didn't want to lump myself in with all those delusional right-wing airheads who still think Franken works for Air America. Yet they still want you to think they know what they're talking about. Go figure.

As we all know, Franken was a comedian, actor and writer in the entertainment industry. And since comedy often tends to offend the senses, foes of Franken have been working overtime to dig up dirt, by way of picking through scores of articles, writings, jokes and Saturday Night Live bits that he created. Of course, some of it is in rather poor taste, and Franken even fessed up to it. "I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren't funny. Some of them weren't appropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that," Franken admitted at the convention.

Ironically, Coleman's wife Laurie is also in the entertainment industry as an actress and model, who has appeared in several made-for-television films and stage productions such as "The Vagina Monologues." Many barrels of ink and millions of electrons could be spilled writing about her rather humorous and titillating exploits. Think of all those "BLO & GO" jokes! Do they really want to go there?

Minnesota Republicans would love nothing better than to taint Franken with his old jokes, but remember, this is a state that elected a former wrestler and actor, the oft-raunchy Jesse Ventura, governor in 1998 in a shocking third party upset. And ironically, Coleman was the Republican candidate that year. Since Coleman, as mayor of St. Paul, switched from Democrat to Republican, Minnesotans have been lukewarm about him. He lost the governor's race against Ventura and the rather lame Skip Humphrey (D) and barely won his Senate seat in 2002, right after incumbent Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash.

This election could prove to be quite interesting, particularly since Ventura has actually been rumored to be considering a run for the seat himself. If not, there is a groundswell movement to draft Ventura acolyte and third party gadfly Dean Barkley as well.

The GOP has been propping up Coleman for years but people still are rather indifferent. They may not like to admit it, but Coleman is very vulnerable, especially if the Barack Obama wave comes through and sweeps the state. Poll numbers have been looking closer and closer. Al Franken could very well be Minnesota's newest senator. And Coleman, much like parts of Minnesota over the weekend, is all wet.

Best of luck, Al.


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