Note to GOP: Sometimes an Opinion Isn’t Just an Opinion

herman cain

Michael Sigman: When it comes to bald-face lying, though, Republicans do it meaner and better. Their dissembling is exceeded only by their hypocrisy.

Repubs and the Art of Flip-Flopping

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Michael Sigman: The three so-called top-tier Republican presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann — are, even as we speak, busy disavowing their inconvenient earlier statements by employing what an old boss of mine called the “Let’s do a 180″ strategy.

Read Our Lips: No New Texans

rick perry pray

Michael Sigman: With Bachmann having no chance to win the nomination, it’s shaping up as a race to the bottom between Romney and Perry, fantasies of a deus ex machina notwithstanding.

Corporations Are a Mitt’s Best Friend

mitt romney

Michael Sigman: Picking up on the Supreme Court’s gargantuan gift to Republican candidates in the 2010 Citizens United decision, the Mittster went all Soylent Green on an Iowa heckler, opining, “Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are.”

Voice Labor Settlement: High Drama or Foregone Conclusion?

village-voice

Michael Sigman: When a news story you know a little about comes along, the coverage in the mass media makes you wonder about everything else emanating from the world of “objective” journalism.

A Hotel, A Phone Number, and a Song

hotelpa

Michael Sigman: But while New York — and the nation — are obsessed about whether a certain cultural center should go up in lower Manhattan, few noticed that the Penn Plaza plan will bring down the legendary Hotel Pennsylvania.

GOP Candidates Boldly Oppose Shariah

shariah-wide

Michael Sigman: Inside the GOP funhouse, Islamophobia is common, of course. A Newsweek poll last summer indicated that a majority of Republicans believed President Obama wants to impose Islamic law across the globe.

Zen and the Art of Presidential Politics — or Not

zen

Michael Sigman: The only Zen you find in politics is the Zen in ironic headlines to show how little Zen there is there. I mean, they can’t be serious. Can they?

Sarah and Newt: Campaign Doubletalk

tina-fey-wide

Michael Sigman: How can politicians and their consultants expect voters to “re-remember” reality when a quick Google search can verify what actually happened? Perhaps because they know that’s how the brain works — or, rather, doesn’t.

In Wacky GOP Presidential Field, the Donald Trumps the Shark

donald trump

Michael Sigman: Donald Trump’s transparently idiotic statements about President Obama’s birth certificate and other matters haven’t made Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post shy about touting the billionaire’s “suddenly surging presidential chances.”

Mr. President: Win One, But Not for the Gipper

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Michael Sigman: Obama’s praise of Reagan leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those who thought Reagan’s geniality was largely an act that masked eight years of making the rich richer and the poor poorer, including wasting untold billions on a crony-rewarding military spending binge.

Pander-monium Breaks Out Among 2012 GOP Hopefuls

Michael Sigman: Early frontrunner Mitt Romney has spent the last four years approaching the Platonic ideal of the shameless panderer who, when expedient, adopts positions that are diametrically opposed to one another.

Tpaw and the Campaign ‘Autohagiography’

tim pawlenty

Michael Sigman: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty this week joined Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls who’ve published campaign books that might best be called “autohagiographies.”

For the Right: A Regular Deregulation Celebration

frustration

Michael Sigman: Now that Republicans control the House, they’re hell-bent on further deregulating corporations — now, thanks to the conservative Supreme Court, designated as “people” — while threatening the freedoms of actual people, such as those with preexisting medical conditions or public-sector union memberships.

Not Another Year-End List!

media in crisis

Michael Sigman: So, to test the theory that my sense of self needn’t include the political shenanigans of the moment, my New Year’s resolutions are: a) To cut, by at least half, the time I spend following political news, polls, etc; and b) To actually do something — like organizing, phone banking or writing more for websites and newsletters.

Corporate Media Play It Safe — Again

juan williams

Michael Sigman: What’s happened to the ideal of a free press speaking the truth — or even screwing up the truth — no matter whom it offends?

Repubs Winning, Dems Whining

tea party

Michael Sigman: The Right’s genius for manipulating people’s sense of grievance — combined with liberals’ weak brew of tepid policy proposals and corporate coziness — leads ordinary voters to cast their ballots against their own economic interests time and time again.

It’s Time To Remember Tom Bradley (Part 2)

Mayor Tom Bradley

Michael Sigman: Just as Bob Dylan wouldn’t be possible without Woody Guthrie, or Ronald Reagan without Barry Goldwater, the idea of a direct line from Tom Bradley to Barack Obama can give us perspective on the contemporary political scene.

It’s Time To Remember Tom Bradley

tom bradley

Michael Sigman: It’s disheartening to see our current mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa ferociously pursue the elitist corporate emphasis of Bradley’s later years without the bravery and creativity of Bradley’s earlier service.

My Mind Has a Mind of Its Own

Michael Sigman: God knows I’m no radical — never claimed to be — but something radical needs to happen to shake things up and give Americans hope. FDR and Lincoln did it under far more difficult circumstances than these, and triumphed over vicious opposition.

Inflation May Be Under Control, But Watch Out for Conflation

brangelina

Michael Sigman: Just last week, Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer almost got away with conflating immigration and beheadings. When it became crystal clear she’d made it all up, she reached an Orwellian summit of non-apology-apology, acknowledging only that “If I said that, I misspoke.”

So Many Selves, So Little Time

Madmen's Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).

Michael Sigman: Strangest of all, apoplectic far-Right lunatic Glenn Beck transmogrified — for a day, at least — into Our Savior last week before a throng of some 87,000, according to a CBS News estimate.

The Newtiness of Newt

Newt Gingrich

Michael Sigman: Newt’s bilious public statements, along with damning quotes in the Esquire piece from his second wife (out of three, so far) Marianne and from former long-time Republican congressman Mickey Edwards, suggest that Newt’s regeneration does not appear to have included a new heart.

Washington May Be Broken Now, But the Future Is Up for Grabs

Rep. Wilbur Mills, long-time former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, with chief aide and swimming instructor Fanne Foxe.

Michael Sigman: But lest the healthy anger of progressives during the Bush years curdle into full-blown, hide-under-the-covers depression, it’s worth asking: When did Washington work, anyway?

For You To Succeed, Must Someone Else Fail?

meditation

Michael Sigman: Is this just human nature, or can we be happy about our achievements without causing an equal amount of suffering in someone else?

My Heart Cries for Mitch Miller

mitch miller

Michael Sigman: Mitch Miller, the musical maven of middle-of-the-road pop who died in Manhattan Saturday at 99, became a household name via his early-’60s TV show Sing Along With Mitch . Long before that, he — along with Frank Sinatra and a guy named Al Cernick — provided my dad, songwriter Carl Sigman, with the flukiest hit of his career.

America’s Cheesiest Charttoppers Redux

jenny from the block

Michael Sigman: Strong candidates for Part 2 included such stomach-churning charttoppers as Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs (no, you don’t, not even this one, which was penned by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman (no, you’re not) and Starship’s We Built This City on Rock and Roll (no, you most definitely did not).

America’s Cheesiest Charttoppers

charlene i've never been to me

Michael Sigman: Revisiting some of the greatest records that never made the pop charts was a heavenly experience. But like so many of life’s pleasures, it was backed with an annoying flip side: Long-suppressed neuronal connections were re-activated, and I became obsessed with the most appalling music ever to worm its way into the Top 10.

10 More That Shoulda Made The Top 10

Kirsty MacColl

Michael Sigman: Somewhere out there may be an Amerika identical to ours except for one thing: Great records that never made the pop charts on our shores — whether due to a twist of fate or a lack of payola — comprise the smash hits and timeless classics in that far-off realm.

Mr. Publisher, Don’t Tear Down That Wall

journalism

Michael Sigman: Publishers may feel they need to throw various unorthodox revenue-raising techniques against the wall to see what sticks. It’s reasonable for us to suggest that they pick a different wall than the one between advertising and editorial.

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