Friday, December 10, 2010

Sales of Sarah Palin's book 'America by Heart' are lackluster Dispite that allot of right wing groups are buying and giving book away! Like NEWSMAX (now that is a wack job)

Sarah Palin's magic touch might be fading a bit. Although several of her recent projects have been successful, Palin's latest book isn't one of them.

"America by Heart," Palin's new memoir, has logged disappointing receipts since it officially went on sale late last month, publishing sources say. Although the book is second on the New York Times bestseller list this week (behind former president George W. Bush's memoir, "Decision Points") , its publisher, HarperCollins, hasn't ordered a second printing - a sign that sales haven't been overly brisk.

By contrast, Palin's first book, "Going Rogue," became the second-fastest-selling political book in history upon its release last year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks industry sales. It went into a second printing three days after its release and went on to sell 2.2 million copies in hardcover, according to the publisher.

"America by Heart" (subtitle: "Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag") got a more modest launch. HarperCollins's initial press run was 1 million copies, suggesting that the publisher recognized that "Heart" would likely not repeat the success of "Rogue."

Officially, at least, HarperCollins says it is pleased with the sales of the second book. "We're happy with how it's selling and expect to see it do well in the holiday season," said Tina Andreadis, a spokeswoman for the imprint, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

In 2009, Palin spent six weeks on the road promoting "Going Rogue," hitting 33 states. In recent weeks, her "America by Heart" tour was more modest - 16 states in 10 days.

One theory within the publishing industry is that Palin is overexposed, at least in terms of drawing readers.

Palin's first book, published only a year ago, sold well enough to sate Palin's supporters, enemies and the merely curious. It was such a strong seller in hardcover that it crowded out demand for the book in paperback and for the sequel of sorts, some in the industry say. The paperback version of "Going Rogue" has not made the bestseller lists or gone into reprint since it was issued with a new afterword by Palin in August.

The former Alaska governor and her family have been the stars of an eight-part reality series/travelogue, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which scored record ratings for a new program on Silver Spring's TLC network in its debut Nov. 14. The program's ratings subsequently dipped.

Meanwhile, Palin's daughter Bristol was a recent finalist on the ABC show, "Dancing With the Stars," turning the dance competition into a kind of proxy political event. Despite tepid reviews from the show's judges, Palin stayed alive on the program, buoyed by a wave of support from audience votes.

Sarah Palin has also stayed in the news with her frequent and combative postings on Facebook and Twitter, where she has more than 325,000 followers.

According to her publisher, the crowds greeting Palin on her most recent book tour were similar in size to those that turned out for her first tour. The most recent promotional tour included a stop in Des Moines, which of course is the capital of the state - Iowa - that will hold the first presidential caucus in 2012.

"America by Heart" got a little pre-publication publicity when Gawker Media, the Web site operator, published leaked pages of it. HarperCollins sued, claiming copyright infringement. After a federal judge ordered the extensive excerpts removed pending a hearing, Gawker agreed to keep the material off its site - but not before both parties in the dispute drew attention to the book and to Gawker.

Washington lawyer Bob Barnett, who has handled such clients as former president Bill Clinton and former British leader Tony Blair in book negotiations, was Palin's agent on both of her books.

Swindle of the year Charles Krauthammer

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don't have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years - which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president's deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way - mostly tax cuts - rather than the Democrats' spending orgy of Stimulus I. That's consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.

At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012.

Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we're-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent - it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 - that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

No, cries the left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? "This is the public option debate all over again," said Obama at his Tuesday news conference. He is right. The left never understood that to nationalize health care there is no need for a public option because Obamacare turns the private insurers into public utilities, thus setting us inexorably on the road to the left's Promised Land: a Canadian-style single-payer system. The left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus - what the left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I but was heretofore politically unattainable.

Obama's public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008 - and abandoned the Democrats in 2010 - is by changing the prevailing (and correct) perception that he is a man of the left.

Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the "professional left" for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama's Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity - their ideological stupidity and inability to see the "long game" really do get under Obama's skin - but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

No, says the current buzz, the left will instead challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. Really now? For decades, African Americans have been this party's most loyal constituency. They vote 9 to 1 Democratic through hell and high water, through impeachment and recession, through everything. After four centuries of enduring much, African Americans finally see one of their own achieve the presidency. And their own party is going to deny him a shot at his own reelection?

Not even Democrats are that stupid. The remaining question is whether they are just stupid enough to not understand - and therefore vote down - the swindle of the year just pulled off by their own president.

The right-wing backlash against advancing minority rights - Media Matters

The past week has been a significant one for justice, fairness, and tolerance in American society. Issues of minority rights dominated the news and the legislative agenda as President Obama signed into the law the Pigford II and Cobell settlements, and Congress took up Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal and the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act, which opens paths to citizenship for undocumented minors, has already passed the House, but still awaits Senate action. It's still unclear whether the votes are there for passage. DADT repeal was included in a defense authorization bill that failed to break through a Republican filibuster on what the New York Times editorial board called "[o]ne of the most shameful days in the modern history of the Senate."

Proponents of these bills are letting their passion show. Rep. Luis GutiƩrrez (D-IL), who has been pushing the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform for years, sees parallels between those causes and the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and has suggested there will be modern protests in the spirit of those led by Martin Luther King.
Speaking on the Senate floor in favor of repealing DADT, which would allow gay service members to serve openly, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) choked up as he told the story of one of his USO tours and the warm reception he received after mocking the discriminatory policy.

Standing in the way of the legislative push for justice and equality is a conservative movement that bases its opposition on falsehoods and no longer cares to mask its racially divisive rhetoric. The dog whistles are being traded in for sousaphones.

Many in the conservative media are trying to block the DREAM Act by driving a wedge between Hispanics and white Americans. That, at least, is how Glenn Beck is doing it. "If you are white, or you're an American citizen, or a white American citizen, you are pretty much toast," Beck observed, as he joked with a caller who sarcastically suggested he would need to pretend to be an "illegal alien" in order to qualify for in-state tuition for his MBA program.
Rush Limbaugh theorized that the legislation was Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) way of "thanking Hispanics for stealing the election for him."

Elsewhere in the right-wing press, pundits are asking whether a bill aimed at assisting Hispanics will be a "nightmare for hard-working Americans," calling the bill "shamnesty," and raising the specter of criminality, calling it "reckless illegal alien amnesty" and that "incentivizes illegality."
Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher even compared the beneficiaries of the bill to bank robbers.

This is a reflection of what the American Prospect's Adam Serwer pegged as "the widely held conservative view that minorities and whites in America are in a zero-sum competition for scarce resources."
Essentially, if the government does something to benefit minorities, it must be at the expense of white people. It's not true, of course, but that's not the point -- it's all about capitalizing on racial resentment.

While we're on the topic of racial resentment, let's talk Pigford. The Pigford settlement will award $1.15 billion to African American farmers who were unfairly denied loans by the Department of Agriculture in the 1980s and 1990s.
The farmers were found to have been discriminated against and are being compensated financially. But because the settlement involves federal money being paid to African Americans, the right-wing is calling it "reparations."

Actually, a policy need not exclusively benefit African Americans to earn the "reparations" tag. It only needs to be associated with Obama. Just look at the reprehensible behavior of Rush Limbaugh, for whom every Obama-endorsed policy -- whether it be health care reform, expanded unemployment benefits, or his "entire economic program" -- is some form of "reparations."

But it doesn't matter that the farmers were discriminated against. It doesn't matter that Pigford legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support going back to the days of Speaker Newt Gingrich.
What matters is the perception -- both utterly false and politically potent -- that America's first black president is implementing some form of punitive racial justice, to the benefit of African Americans and at the expense of whites.

Meanwhile, the fight over Don't Ask, Don't Tell has entered the realm of the surreal. Don't Ask, Don't Tell persists despite the fact that the American public is overwhelmingly against the policy, and a major Pentagon report concluded that repealing DADT "would present only a low risk to the armed forces' ability to carry out their missions."
And though the measure remains in place after Thursday's vote, a standalone bill to repeal it was introduced today. You'd be hard-pressed to find a less popular policy, or one recognized to be more ineffective.

Regardless, the right-wing media are defending DADT, going so far as to lie about the Pentagon's review of the policy and falsely accuse the Department of Defense of purposefully acting against the wishes of active-duty soldiers.
On Fox News, the push for repeal was mentioned in a segment asking whether the "media [has] a gay agenda." Tucker Carlson thinks DADT repeal is just a "stupid issue," and the Fox News morning hosts find the claim that people are being discharged based on their sexual orientation quite risible.

The right's arguments against DADT repeal are part of a gay-bashing undercurrent that also leads them to blame the WikiLeaks scandal on gays and promoted "research" into how "homosexual behavior is harmful."

There's an insidiousness to all this that goes beyond the ugliness on display, and to understand it you have to go back to last July, right after Glenn Beck accused the "racist" President Obama of harboring "a deep-seated hatred for white people."
At the time, NBC News' First Read responded to Beck's rant by noting that "[t]here was a time when outrageous rants like this would actually cost the ranters their jobs. But not anymore; if anything, it's now encouraged."

In the last two years, the racially divisive rhetoric coming out of the conservative media has grown more and more explicit. We now almost expect right-wing pundits to just come out and say that Obama is acting contrary to the interests of white people. When it happens, it's barely noticed by the rest of the media.

While that doesn't bode well for the future of journalism, it's even more destructive for the minority groups that find themselves the targets of these attacks.
The promise of America is that the rights of the minority and the rights of the majority are one and the same. The right-wing media's destructive and discriminatory rhetoric is meant to ensure that that equality is never realized.

CAN YOU STAND MORE HAPPY NEWS! Gas prices on track for unseasonable spike

Motorists, brace yourselves for a lump of coal this holiday season: higher-priced gasoline.
Nationwide, a gallon of regular unleaded gas averaged $2.977 on Friday and more than $3 a gallon in 20 states. That's up nearly 10 cents the past week and 34 cents higher than December 2009, AAA spokesman Troy Green says.

Benchmark crude oil opens today at $88.37 a barrel. If crude crosses $90 for the first time since 2008 and continues to rise, as many industry experts forecast, the average price of regular unleaded could hit $3.15 or higher by year's end.

Gasoline is already at or near that in California, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Washington.

Slumping demand usually pushes gas prices lower from autumn to late February. However, the strengthening global economy, weaker dollar, rising overall commodity prices and surging energy demand overseas will likely continue propelling prices into spring.

"A move through $90 a barrel seems very likely, and then we could quickly test $100," says Telvent DTN senior energy analyst Darin Newsom. "You could easily see a 15- to 20-cent rise (in gas prices) the next three weeks, if not sooner."

Consumers are unlikely to get a break anytime soon. "I don't see anything that's going to turn this puppy around and send it south," says Cameron Hanover industry analyst Peter Beutel. "For the next two to 12 weeks, the forecast is higher prices."

About 70% of the nation's gas is sold at convenience store chains. National Association of Convenience Stores spokesman Jeff Lenard says for every $1 increase in crude oil, gas prices rise about 2.5 cents per gallon.

Near term, few energy analysts expect crude oil to approach the $147 a barrel record set in July 2008, pushing U.S. prices above $4 a gallon.

But even $3 a gallon gas will pinch some consumers. "If they have to pay more for gas, they'll have less to spend on other things," Green says.

The higher gas prices could be partially mitigated by the tax deal, including a temporary cut in payroll taxes, agreed to by President Obama and GOP lawmakers. "To offset the impact of the tax package, you'd have to see a $60 rise in crude oil prices," says economist Brian Bethune of IHS Global Insight.

"Some people are going to get zapped a bit, but it depends on where you live," Bethune says. "In rural areas where people drive trucks and have long ways to go, higher gas prices tend to bite. In urban areas, more people use public transportation and the average commuter is probably driving a much more fuel-efficient car."

Jury Convicts 3 Officers in Post-Katrina Death SAD TIME MADE WORSE BY PEOPLE

NEW ORLEANS — More than five years after a man named Henry Glover was shot and his body burned here by police officers in the days after Hurricane Katrina, a jury has weighed in on the circumstances of his death. Three police officers were found guilty Thursday night on nine federal counts in an emotionally charged case that painted a grim portrait of the city’s troubled Police Department.

David Warren, a former police officer, was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of Mr. Glover; Officer Gregory McRae was convicted of obstructing justice and other charges for burning Mr. Glover’s body; and Lt. Travis McCabe was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice for drawing up a false police report.

Two other police officers were found not guilty on various counts. The mixed verdict, returned by the jury after nearly three days of deliberation, left relatives and friends of Mr. Glover with an incomplete sense of vindication.

“All of them should have been found guilty,” said Rebecca Glover, Mr. Glover’s aunt, as she left the courtroom. “They all participated in this. How are you going to let them go free?”

This was the first trial of an untold number of New Orleans officers being investigated by the federal authorities. There are at least eight other such investigations into actions by the city Police Department, including one into shootings on the Danziger Bridge on Sept 4, 2005, that left two civilians dead and six wounded.

Six police officers who were indicted in that case face trial, four of them charged in connection with the deaths. Five other officers have pleaded guilty. One of them, Michael Hunter, was sentenced to eight years in prison last week.

The horrific nature of some of the actions being investigated, as well as the city’s stubborn crime rate, led the Justice Department to begin conducting a full scale review of the department in May.

Few of the criminal cases contain such grisly details as the one involving Mr. Glover, which remained uninvestigated for years despite repeated inquiries by his family. In late 2008, an article about the killing was published by The Nation, in a joint investigative project with ProPublica. Federal investigators began looking into the case shortly afterward.

Preparing to leave the city, Mr. Glover, 31, and a friend drove in a stolen truck to a strip mall in the Algiers neighborhood, across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans. They had come to pick up suitcases that had been looted from the mall but left behind earlier, prosecutors said.

Mr. Warren, who was patrolling the strip mall — which was being used as a detective bureau — shot Mr. Glover, who was unarmed. Mr. Warren claimed at trial that he had fired in self-defense, and that he had perceived something in Mr. Glover’s hand. His partner testified that he shot him in the back. Mr. Glover, his shirt covered in blood, was picked up by a stranger, William Tanner, who drove him, his brother and a friend to an elementary school that was being used as headquarters for a police special operations division.

There, Mr. Tanner says, he was beaten by Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer McRae, though they were both found not guilty on this count. Officer McRae did not deny taking Mr. Tanner’s car, with Mr. Glover’s body inside, and driving it to a levee behind a police substation. There, Mr. McRae used flares to set afire the car and the body.

The other two defendants, Robert Italiano, a retired lieutenant, and Lieutenant McCabe, were charged with creating a false report to cover up the killing. Lieutenant Italiano was found not guilty.

All of the testimony was haunted by the specter of Hurricane Katrina, and a debate about the nature of law and order within catastrophe.

“When you take into account reasonable versus unreasonable,” Rick Simmons, who represents Mr. Warren, said in his closing arguments, “you have to take into consideration the conditions under which he was living.”

But prosecutors, who described Mr. Warren as zealously looking for an opportunity to use his expensive personal assault rifle, said that even under the harrowing conditions after the hurricane, the rule of law was never abandoned.

“Hurricane Katrina didn’t turn petty theft into a capital offense,” said Jared Fishman, a federal prosecutor in his closing arguments.

NY Times