Author Archives: Dana Cronyn
In another “off the hook” move, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced late last week that the Party has named its first-ever official New Media Director. Todd Herman, formerly of Microsoft, will take on the mantle beginning this April 6 as part of the GOP’s ongoing attempt to take over the Internet communications.
For me personally, it is scary to see Republicans even attempting to utilize the Internet as a tool. As Twitter has illustrated, while they may be vastly inept, the Party’s eagerness is intimidating. As of late February the GOP boasted that nearly 25 percent of Republican lawmakers used Twitter, compared to only 8.5 percent of their Democratic counterparts. Not only are more Republicans using Twitter, but they’re also using it smarter, sending our more personal messages and fewer self-aggrandizing tweets (in 160 character or less, of course). All of this makes me fear the day I cannot find 984329 blogs that reinforce my liberal leanings.
Luckily, we’re not there yet.
In a state of panic, I decided to do my research into this Todd Herman character.Â And here’s what I could discover.
+ He is the guy that invented those ads that interrupt your 30 Rock episodes (basically the guy behind commercials on the Internet)
+ AdAge (now closing its DC office, fyi) named him “the media guy”
+ He was one of the 25 initial inductees into the Streaming Media All Stars (oh boy!)
+ You can friend him on facebook.com
+ He founded SpinSpotter.com, a entirely predictable Republican “spin” site that uses some good wordplay (Spinoculars?!? Kind of brilliant)
+ He writes his own really jank blog, Got Liberty? (Seriously, how do you not know how to use Photoshop, Mr. New Media?)
+ He is a former radio talk show host (Oh lord)
+ And he is a proud member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
So, take my research for what it’s worth. The bottom line is that Mr. Herman appears to be a tech guru in the world of online advertising and video streaming who happens to be an excellent,Â respected software programmer. However, my interpretation is that in all of this Republicans have missed to point and the potential of the Internet. In the official GOP press release, Steele emphasized his success in advertising and financial success as a business leader and CEO. Repbublican leaders seem to be more focused on the economic potential of the Internet rather than its implications is organizing the grassroots. In the next several months, it will be interesting to see how, if at all, the Republican Internet identity shifts. At the very least, expect lots of video content from Todd and friends.
Time to step up the viral videos!
Also, on a personal note, I was surprised to see this gem at the bottom of Herman’s press release: “He currently lives in Washington State, where he works at his most important roles: Christian, husband and father.”
This could be the First Couch! Design by Michael S. Smith.
Today, the Obama family announced they would be redecorating the White House’s private quarters. While it is traditional for the First Family to spruce up the WH to their liking, the Obama’s are doing something entirely unique: they are funding the remodeling entirely out of pocket.
The First Family is traditionally allotted 100,000 dollars for sprucing up and usually draws on financial donations from the White House Historical Association. However, The Office of the Frist Lady announced today they “are not using public funds or accepting donations of goods for redecorating their private quarters.”
Although this is a small statement amid our much larger financial woes, it’s nice to see the Obama’s making sensible, respectful decisions. Michelle had previously promised to not use taxpayer funds for decorating and even tossed around the idea of using Pottery Barn in the First Family’s quarters. To put the spending into perspective, the last purchase for the White House Historical Association was a 74,000 dollar set of china for Laura Bush. Go figure.
And for those of you who are HGTV dorks like myself (looking at you Zach Martin), the Obama’s have hired Michael S. Smith, a notable California designer known for ” â€œOld World classicism with very contemporary settings.” In the past he was worked for Steven Spielberg and Rupert Murdoch.Â (Source NYMag)
The office of the Lt. Governor announced an exciting new promotion this week: Play ball with John Cherry!
Now, despite what the name implies, don’t expect to be rounding the bases with John this Spring. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to join his fantasy baseball league–free of charge!
The LG will be accepting 11 new bffs to join his personal fantasy baseball league team; he promises to run the account himself. To enter for a chance at greatness, email firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: baseball) to be entered in the random drawing.
Who knows, this might be our most successful athletic endeavor to date. RIP Dems Sports.
The Thoughtful Dems newest column! A weekly guide to political pop culture brought to you by the experts in all things cool, the UM Thoughtful Dems.
THIS WEEK: Top Democratic (sort of) Politicians of the Week
1) Don Williamson | For the last five years Don Williamson has been the mayor of Flint. Today he is unemployed. Before his resignation on Saturday, Williamson wasÂ a controversial public servant, even by Michigan standards, facing deficiet, City Council feuds, and rounds of layoffs. If you’re going to miss the 75-year-old multi-millionaire, don’t worry his hat is still in the ring for Governor in 2010. Oh, I cannot wait for that election!
2) Olympia Snowe & Susan Collins | Senators Snowe & Collings (D-ME) became our favorite “neighbors to the North” this week (wrestling the title from Bart Stupak’s co,d. Yooper hands) when they voted for Obama’s Economic Recovery Package. This brings the list of Republicans I like to three: Snowe, Collings, Specter and maybe John Lin on a good day.
3) Hillary Clinton | In her first trip abroad as Secretary of State, Hillary stopped by Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan where she presumably got the Finance Minister tanked. All in all, I’d say it was a good trip.
4. Roland Burris | The inevitable happened this week: Burris admitted toÂ solicit fund-raising money for Blagojevich. What’s most interesting is the Dems “deafening silence” about the entire issue. I’m assuming we’d all just like to forget he exists, until he ends up here, of course.
5) Barack Obama | Thirty days in and the man has his own sushi, a brand spankin’ new stimulus package, and a wife who’s cute enough to graze the cover of Vogue. Baller.
Above, UM Dems rally in solidarity with GEO. Below, Patrick (of GEO) writes a love letter oversimplified editorial to the UM College Democrats and Campus.
On page 34B of the farce masquerading as her higher education budget proposal, Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed a 3-percent budget cut to state universities.
In the next paragraph, playing the worldâ€™s smallest violin, she beseeched colleges to freeze their tuition rates in light of â€œdifficult economic timesâ€ for students and families.
Apparently Granholmâ€™s bargain for universities is â€œDonâ€™t raise tuition and, in exchange, weâ€™ll cut your aid.â€ I suppose she also expects universities to maintain their quality of instruction and research, too.
Governor, I want a unicorn, but that doesnâ€™t mean I can get one.
Aside from state officialsâ€™ impossible dreams, historical analysis shows something more pernicious at work. Instead of making reasonable appropriations to support higher education, Michigan has quietly shifted the cost of higher education from the state to students.
Using data from the University of Michiganâ€™s Office of Budget, I calculated the percentages of the University systemâ€™s general fund revenues provided by state funding and tuition since the turn of the century. In 2001-02, tuition dollars made up 54 percent of general fund revenues. This school year, they make up 64 percent. In contrast, the stateâ€™s contribution to the University has slipped from 34 percent to 24 percent. These trends do not reflect runaway spending increases at the University; they reflect reductions in Lansingâ€™s contribution.
Adjusting funding totals for inflation with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes the picture bleaker. To put it in starker terms, the governor has proposed $362.1 million in funding to the University system in 2009-10. If state funding kept up with inflation, the system would get $511.3 million. Undergraduates and their families will have to pay higher tuition to bridge that $149.2 million gap.
No matter how the numbers get sliced, they demonstrate the wholesale gutting of higher education funding during the last decade. The state of Michigan has abdicated its responsibility to make a good college education accessible to all residents who have the talent for it.
In calling for a tuition freeze, Granholm cynically hopes to shift responsibility and outrage for the stateâ€™s own shortcomings to state universities to raise tuition.
But the numbers donâ€™t lie. Politicians do â€” and weâ€™re paying for it.
SNL pretty much summed up the feeling of Democrats everywhere with Saturday’s opening skit, featuring SNL alumnus Dan Akroyd. Impeaching Obama? Unfaltering love for Rush Limbaugh? Banning slumber parties? What will they think of next? Just more of the same.
My favorite moment of Conservative insanity came from Friday’s Wall Street Journal opinion page, with a piece from Bradley Schiller that opened:
President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form.
Hold up. After the last eight years I’ve become very adept at spotting fear mongering and false analogies. Nice try. If you’re feeling riled up, just read another one of these. The metaphor of John Dingell as a “vintage” automobile should be enough to cheer you up.
As most of you know (courtesty of the barrage of Tweets), yesteday marked John Dingell’s 19,420th day in office, making him the longest serving member of the House of Representatives.
For those of you who forgot to personally congratulate Congressman Dingell yesterday, please sign the petition of gratitude. The petition in its entirety will be presented to Mr. Dingell at the State Convention on the 21st. I’m sure he would love to recieve some “young dems” love so make sure to mention you’re a UM Dem!
As Ryan Weder explains,
Whether you like him because of the free pizza he bought you in the past or the free healthcare he continues to work to secure for everyone in the future, I know that a note to that effect would be appreciated.
Yes, that is a Lindsay Lohan poster. Yes, I might have woken up early this morning to make it. Yes, it is my new desktop background.
Before you judge, I also made one for myself, Anderson Cooper, my father, and a bunny rabbit. And you can too!
Paste Magazine has unveiled a new website that allows you to make you own “Hope” poster out of any jpeg image. Be warned, you’re not the only student jonesing for a new Facebook profile photo; the website is overrun 80% of the time. But, if you wake up early enough…
I vote for the one that’s chewing on the microphone!