Folks there is a difference between critical reporting and reporting on politics critically. No doubt some of the recipients of my barbs would insist my missives are unduly critical and there is likely a kernel of truth in that criticism but it is equally true the art of reporting on politics critically is missing from the Mississippi traditional media landscape save just a few souls, none of whom are in the 6 coastal counties. I say all this because the country is paying attention while the locals are being regaled with cheap pre-planned photo ops masquerading as news.
I’ll admit that last week when I saw on the WLOX late news Congressman Steven Palazzo in a near top of the news story pumping gas for his constituents in Jackson County while sharing their concerns over gas prices I was not surprised. WLOX is part of a chain of small market TeeVee stations owned by Blue Cross so seeing such fluff there did not surprise me. I was disappointed though the next day to see the Sun Herald devote scare reporting resources to the topic, which is evidently a cheap GOP PR trick these days.
Now I was not the only person disappointed to see such fluff passed off as news as the readers (including moi) were not shy about sharing their views on the topic in comments. I mean Jeezus H Christ we have some of the very highest homeowner’s insurance rates in the country, a topic the State Farm supported Palazzo has not engaged. Because it costs several thousand dollars to insure even modest homes it is no surprise the coast lead the nation in median real estate price declines in Q1 2011 as ordinary people, stretched to the limit by the triple threat combo of high insurance, high gas prices and high food prices are losing their property to foreclosure or are wholesaling it trying to hang on for a solution to the one problem that has not been addressed by the State’s GOP leadership in the 6 years since Katrina save throwing taxpayer money at Bermudan reinsurers for sky high re-insurance.
What does it say about this period of history when local politicians are content to see their own people price gouged into poverty by a private industry with an anti trust exemption while they give their Wall Street buddies billion dollar bailouts? (And yes folks this happened when Bushie and his band of idiots were in charge.) Two words apply and that is sold out. Unfortunately the democrats weren’t much better but at least topics like insurance were being talked about in DC when they were running things in congress.
And this brings us to that lying sack of shit quality Mr Palazzo brings to the table. While the local press was fawning over a bogus photo-op the AP was reporting on events critically noting Palazzo broke his campaign pledge to eliminate earmarks and it is there we stop next:
Freshman Rep. Steven Palazzo, who unseated longtime conservative Democrat Gene Taylor in Mississippi, told voters during the campaign he favored banning earmarks, saying it would “help restore the people’s faith in their government.”
After the committee approved the defense bill, Palazzo hailed the $189 million he secured, including $10 million to buy land for training facilities for the Army National Guard and $19.9 million for ship preliminary design and feasibility studies. Palazzo’s district is home to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
So it appears Palazzo and much of the rest of the GOP freshman congressional class were elected on a lie. It is also clear we can not count on the local media to report the events in DC critically as we also recently witnessed when Palazzo voted to cut $200 million in funding from the LHA-7 project being constructed at Ingalls before the local media actually gave him credit for limiting the loss to just $50 million in a program being pushed by the DOD. Regurgitated press releases and cheap photo ops evidently rule the day there.
IMHO as long as voters allow themselves to be used a dupes there will be a time when out of control spending in DC will stop and that will be when the country is bankrupt. The financial pain will be far more wide-spread then but the populus will also be forced to deal in reality. Meantime we’ll have lots more jackassery like the above to highlight along the way.