July 29, 2005


Robin Hood and Air America (Washington Times, 7/29/05)

Did Al Franken's liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That's the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America. Only a community paper and a few Internet bloggers seem interested in what could be an egregious case of illegal funneling of tax dollars to a private, partisan organization.

In late June, city officials designated the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, a nonprofit organization that runs mentoring programs for children and day care for Alzheimer's patients, a "non-responsible city contractor." Investigators found "significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various City agencies." The city subsequently suspended the club's contracts, which run well into the millions.

It turns out, according to sources quoted anonymously by the Bronx News, that the mishandled money went to Air America. One source claims that $480,000 was wrongly transferred. The city investigation is concentrating on Charles Rosen, the club's president for 15 years, and Evan Cohen, the development director, who is a former chairman of Air America. Mr. Cohen resigned from Air America in May after the network's leasing plans in Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere fell through.

Pursuant to the concept that direct quotation is sometimes the very best method of embarrassing an opponent, read the following Air America summary of one day's programming back in January and then ask yourself whether these knuckleheads could ever be trusted to handle money responsibly:

Recent research indicates that not only does George W. Bush have blood ties to the Irish, but also to the ones who plundered that land of green back in the eleven hundreds. Historian, Ann Griffin Bernstorff joins hosts Rachel Maddow, Lizz Winstead and Chuck D to talk about this amazing discovery. [...] Plus, Alix Olson is the special guest for "The Party Machine." Alix has headlined HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, received Venus Magazine’s Activist of the Year Award and has been called a "fierce revolutionary" by Howard Zinn. Alix's latest CD is titled "Independence Meal." [...]

You won't see it on your TV. Bush certainly won't admit it. But today, Randi Rhodes will tell you the truth about the elections in Iraq. They're a sham! [...] And for comic relief, Randi talks about Dick Cheney's wardrobe choice at Auschwitz. It's Friday you bastards. Get ready to bounce your boobies!

Posted by Matt Murphy at July 29, 2005 2:09 AM

Why aren't we reading the version of this story that appeared in the NY Slimes? Or the one in this morning's Washington Post? How about those headlines in USA Today?

What? You say the mass media has ignored this story? The same media that had Al Frankenstein on every TV station to promote the new Liberal talk radio scheme?

No bias here, eh? I wonder how they would have covered Rush if it had been reported that he was popping pills or something. Oh - they did? Sorry.

Posted by: obc at July 29, 2005 10:11 PM

this story is slowly getting out and building steam.

Posted by: cjm at July 29, 2005 11:15 PM

I don't know why anyone would be the slightest bit surprised at this story.

This is completely in line with their character. There is one thing that strikes me about the whole Air America/MoveON/Michael Moore/Daily Kos crowd and that is how they remind me of so many people I knew in high school. You can find them infesting any middle-upper middle income suburb in America. They are reasonably intelligent people, not as smart as they think they are, who believe that they know everything. They are somewhat glib, though not particularly well-read. It's enough to enable them to bamboozle their way through high school or through a liberal arts BA at even an Ivy League school because the curriculum is far from being even remotely demanding.

What they never develop is the sense that they actually have to accomplish anything. They may go to law school, even graduate and pass the bar, but they get run out of the practice in weeks if not days. Their sense of entitlement, nurtured by spoiling parents who give them the run of the house and by an educational system that makes no demands of them, makes them devoid of any morality, other than whatever is necessary for their own self-congratulation. So when the going gets tough, they're gone. If they need money from a poverty program to promote their definition of the public good then they'll grab the money. It's no different from when they were 15 and raiding daddy's liquor cabinet to prove that they were old enough to drink hard liquor. Fight the power, man!

They gravitate to ways of life conducive to their personalities. They write for Hollywood, where having any serious analytical ability is a detriment and the ability to turn out lots of mediocre childish drivel rapidly is a marketable skill. They work in the periphery of political campaigns or in the center of peripheral political campaigns, where the fact that you never actually accomplish anything is not noticed. Editorial rooms of American newspapers and magazines are another hideout for them.

I remember, years ago, when I was in high school, the editorial board of the school paper, including yours truly, was sent to a statewide convention of high school newspaper editors. We were addressed by a syndicated columnist of the time, some woman whose name escapes me at the moment, but she was in the Asbury Park Press inter alia. I remember her saying how tough her job was, how difficult it was to write 3 500 word columns a week on some topic of the day.

Even then, I nearly laughed out loud, one of our neighbors was a judge, and he probably had to write 1500 reasonably intelligent words in an hour sometimes. There were plenty of people in my acquaintance even then I knew who had to work a whole lot harder than it would take to write 1500 words on three separate topics of your own choosing in a given week.

But that's the mindset.

Posted by: bart at July 30, 2005 11:04 AM