Air America Radio is dead. Long live Air America Radio! The big news today is a mixture of good and bad for Air America Radio. The Washington Times reports that it has been rescued from bankruptcy, but it is losing its big-name talent, Al Franken:

Air America Radio was rescued from bankruptcy yesterday, but still faces the impending loss of Al Franken, its most popular talker.

The liberal network will be sold to Stephen Green, a Manhattan real estate investment mogul with heavy Democratic ties, including his brother Mark Green, who ran for mayor against Michael R. Bloomberg in 2001. The sale of the network — deemed a “personal investment” by the two brothers — will be completed in mid-February for an undisclosed sum.

Mr. Green is intent on bringing solvency to Air America, which has been troubled by flagging ratings, cash deficits and management turmoil since it was founded almost three years ago as a foil to popular conservative talk radio.

The network was often called “Err America” by critics.

“In the long run, content is king,” said Mr. Green, vowing to stabilize the network’s finances, beef up the talent roster and extend the Air America “brand” into other marketing or broadcast opportunities. The network’s weekly audience has been stuck at just under 2 million since the beginning — about one-tenth the number of listeners who tune in each week to conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Al Franken’s replacement will be Thom Hartmann. Yeah, I said “Thom who?” But according to his webpage, Thom’s show has better ratings in Seattle than Rush Limbaugh. Now the challenge comes in matching or beating Limbaugh’s ratings across the U.S., and cannily competing with the many other successful conservative talk radio shows. Based on past performance, that will be a very difficult task.

I have listened to the local Air America radio station, and it is going markedly downhill. Two of the local radio hosts have left the show, and their replacements have been either lackluster or canned shows from elsewhere. I have listened to Air America Radio on the way to and from work, and I have written about my reactions before. I figured I was bravely investigating something that hardly anyone else was listening to, but I can’t stand listening to the local Air America radio station any more. I don’t like the attempted humor of the canned afternoon show, and the local morning show is dry and boring. I wish them the best of luck in their business, but I don’t hold out much hope that the new Air America will be a booming venture, even in this liberal city where hippies go to die.

If Air America Radio, and liberal radio in general, were able to compete well against conservative talk radio, it would do so. But three years and many millions of dollars and man-hours later, we see that it can’t compete. That is why I predict we will hear more people calling for a return to the Fairness Doctrine, the First Amendment’s protection of free speech notwithstanding. Assuming that the Fairness Doctrine isn’t implemented, liberal talk radio will continue to do lackluster business. The question is whether the Brothers Green will acknowledge that the free market just doesn’t like liberal talk radio much — or will they continue in the fantasy that just a little more money would really see it take off?

If so, they’re very typical of the liberal mindset.

UPDATE (2/7/2007 12:28:30 PM): The Smoking Gun website has reported that the buying price for Air America Radio was $4.25 million. Yep. The free market really supports liberal talk radio.

Sometimes I have to wonder why I actually listen to Air America Radio while driving in the car. Based on what I hear, I can see just why they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the typically lousy job they collectively do in talk radio. As I drove home yesterday, I heard a little blurb by Randi Rhodes about President Clinton.

Rhodes started off by claiming that there were plenty of issues where she disagreed with President Clinton, but I honestly wouldn’t know. I have a very low tolerance for the Randi Rhodes show. But here’s what she said that really made me shake my head: she said that, whether you like President Clinton or not, you have to admit that while he was President he kept America safe, standing like a bulwark at the shore.

Gag.

Reality check for Ms. Rhodes — radical Islamofascists have been at war with the United States for a long time, and that includes during President Clinton’s watch. Her less-than-artful invention of history doesn’t really stand up to the events that really occurred during President Clinton’s time in the White House. Here’s a short list to refresh your memory:

In retaliation to some of these attacks, President Clinton knocked down some tents and blew up an aspirin factory. You can tell how effective his limp-wristed response was in diverting future attacks. And if you want to suggest President Clinton was more effective than President Bush in keeping terrorists off American shores, first remember the World Trade Center bombings of 1993.

I find it interesting that Ms. Rhodes spent some time pumping up President Clinton’s flaccid legacy during the same week Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 28 months in prison for her part in smuggling messages from Omar Abdel-Rahman to his terrorist followers. Rahman is the same guy who helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

But if you listen only to talk show hosts on the financially and factually bankrupt Air America Radio, you might possibly accept Randi Rhodes’ invention of history.

I was driving home from work one night when the airhead on Air America Radio suggested that we should just talk with everyone and negotiate peace. This statement came about because of a message in January from Osama bin Laden, promising a truce. The White House was quick to reiterate its position that the U.S. will “not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business.” The liberal radio babe lamented this position of the administration, and she wondered out loud if we couldn’t solve most of our current problems with the terrorists if we just sat down with them and talked. After all, can’t we all just get along?

Well, no. We can’t.

Negotiations only work when both parties are willing to compromise their stated positions. Were I not a Luddite when it comes to cell phones, I would have given her a call to explain this concept, since she was obviously unaware of it. In the States, it is common to see management and labor negotiating new contracts. Each side will state what it wants, and the negotiations begin. As long as both sides are willing to compromise their demands to reach an acceptable middle ground, the negotiation will reach a point where both parties are equally content. But even business negotiations can break down when one side or the other is unwilling to budge from its demands.

The problem with negotiating with terrorists is that they want us dead, and we want to live. How can you negotiate a middle ground between life and death so that both sides can agree? Unlike Schrödinger’s cat, people don’t exist in a half-alive/half-dead quantum state. It becomes a question of which side is willing to give up its demands.

The problem with negotiating with someone who wants you dead is just that — he wants you dead. You can’t reason with such a person. You can’t “feel his pain.” Mississippi Klansmen didn’t grab three Northern students in 1964 so they could have a nice, reasonable chat about race relations. When Michael Schwerner attempted to negotiate with his kidnappers by saying, “I understand how you feel, sir,” their response was a bullet to the heart. Yep, there was a whole lot of negotiating done that day.

To be honest, death is not the only thing that the terrorists have demanded. The terrorists have essentially offered the U.S. and the Western world three options: convert to Islam (more specifically, the correct brand of Islam), accept a state of slavery known as dhimmi, or be killed. Are you willing to accept any of these options? Perhaps the same people who said, “Better red than dead” when confronted by the Soviet Union might be willing to accept either of the first two options, but I am not.

When someone says that he wants to kill me, it’s not time to negotiate. It is time to stop him in his tracks and make sure that my family is safe from him. And if that means killing him before he has a chance to attack, then so be it. If the terrorists currently assaulting us had not shown such a willingness to die if it meant taking us with them, then we wouldn’t work so hard to let them accomplish the first part of their desire.

And we have been effective in killing these terrorists — so effective, in fact, that Osama says he is willing to accept a truce from the U.S.:

We do not object to a long-term truce with you on the basis of fair conditions that we respect. We are a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying.

Yep, Osama is willing to accept a truce from us because he is winning, right? Hah! The losing side sues for peace. But assuming that Osama is honest about wanting a truce — and I agree with Victor David Hanson that he doesn’t — I would never accept a truce with him because of one word.

Hudna.

Broadly translated, hudna is an Arabic word meaning “truce,” “armistice” or “cease-fire,” but it has a special meaning for Muslims.

Wikipedia gives this description of hudna:

According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi’i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: “if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud” (‘Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).

ClarityAndResolve.com defines hudna thus:

Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

In essence, this is religious license to renege on ones word, and to regroup, rearm, and reorganize to attack when ones enemy is lulled into thinking that one will be honest and fulfill ones side of a truce. This is tactic has been used over and over in Islam’s history, and is used to great effect today by Yasser Arafat, Hamas, al-Aqsa, and other Islamic terrorists all over the world. Recent examples include Fallujah and Najaf. What Westerners need to do is to read Islamic scripture and learn that in Islam there is no concept of permanent submission to any other power than God’s. Treaties mean nothing. Beware the hudna.

So to a radical Muslim, a truce is only to be entered into for strategic reasons. Once the Muslim force is no longer weak, the truce may be broken on any pretext in order to crush the infidel with their righteous jihad. Knowing this, how effective do you think negotiations will be with a group of religious radicals who believe they have carte blanche to lie to us? Still don’t believe me? Then it’s time to look up the definition of two other words worth learning (thanks again to ClarityAndResolve.com):

kitman: hiding the truth about Islam from the infidels; lie by omission, rather than by commission, as in taqiyya.

taqiyya: Dissimulation; lying for the sake of ones religion; concealing ones true religious beliefs for strategic reasons. Taqiyya is a lie by commission, rather than by omission, as in kitman. The concept of al-taqiyya is one historically associated with Shia Islam. This is because Sunni Muslims, who believe that Shiites are heretics, would impel them to denounce their faith, thinking this would expose them as mushrikeen when they refused to. In response, the Shia would do so, but hold true to their faith in their hearts, thus preserving their faith and their lives. Taqiyya is now used by all Muslims as a means of deceiving infidels about Islam’s aims, practices, and aspirations.

When Osama says, “We are a nation, for which God has disallowed treachery and lying,” he is practicing taqiyya.

How can you agree to negotiate with someone who not only desires your death, but who is willing to lie, deceive and backstab to get what he desires?

I occasionally torture myself by listening to Air America Radio as I drive to and fro. If you haven’t listened to Air America — and frankly, most Americans haven’t — let me fill you in. Air America Radio is the liberal answer to the highly successful conservative radio shows hosted by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly. The only real name of note on the Left’s side is Al Franken. I find it interesting to note just how often he says his show is funny. I figure if you have to identify yourself as funny, you’re probably not cutting it. And I don’t find his show funny.

I once heard Al Franken sing — yes, he sang; did I mention I torture myself? — something like this, to the tune of “Blowing in the Wind:” “How many times must DeLay be indicted, before you consider him a crook?” And the Left has made much of Rep. Tom DeLay’s indictment. But an indictment, all by itself, is much like being arrested — it means the authorities have chosen to bring you to trial. And in this country, people are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Since much has been said in the news and by liberal pundits (and that’s really the same thing) about how guilty Rep. DeLay is, let’s take a look at what is really going on here. The driving force behind these indictments is Ronnie Earl, the Travis County District Attorney in Texas. Earl has worked with three grand juries as part of his attack on Rep. DeLay. Let’s consider these grand juries.

The first grand jury looked at the charges, weighed the evidence, and decided not to indict. The second grand jury looked at the charges, weighted the evidence, and decided to indict Rep. DeLay for violating the Texas Election Code in 2002 — based on a Texas law amended in 2003 to make what was done illegal. How can you be tried for something you did before a law was written against it? Well, actually, you can’t. Doing so would make it an ex post facto or “after the fact” law, which is specifically prohibited by Constitutional law. Rep. DeLay’s lawyer has requested that this indictment be tossed out. Indicting someone for doing something that wasn’t illegal at the time is a sign of embarrassing incompetence in a lawyer. It’s like a contractor accidentally building a house upside down. The word I’m looking for to describe the second grand jury’s actions at the behest of Earl goes beyond “oops.”

So when Earl realized that he couldn’t convict Rep. DeLay with the first two juries, he scrambled to work with a third. In less than five hours, the new grand jury decided to indict Rep. DeLay on money laundering charges. Tell me, how carefully do you think the grand jury looked at the charges and weighed the evidence? After all, the first two grand juries spent months checking out the evidence, but this one could return an indictment after a few hours. *sniff* Something stinks here.

Regardless of how much this stinks, the indictments have had the immediate effect of removing Rep. DeLay from his position as the Republican Whip, the #2 man in the House. Rep. DeLay was also instrumental in turning the Texas state legislature from Democrat to Republican control for the first time in 130 years. These indictments are a punishment for that success, pure and simple.

And just in case you believe, along with Al Franken, that the Bush administration is the most criminal one in American history, let’s do a quick comparison of our current administration with the previous one:

Under the Bush administration, there have been two indictments on Rep. Tom DeLay, one of which is invalid. Rumors are flying that new indictments will be coming for the Valerie Plame / Joe Wilson scandal. Whee!

And here’s a quick breakdown of what happened under the Clinton administration, as outlined by Undernews:

STARR-RAY INVESTIGATION

- Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas (including one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners): 14
- Number of Clinton Cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5
- Number of Reagan cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 4
- Number of top officials jailed in the Teapot Dome Scandal: 3

CRIME STATS

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton’s presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

SMALTZ INVESTIGATION


- Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15
- Acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6
- Fines and penalties assessed: $11.5 million
- Amount Tyson Food paid in fines and court costs: $6 million

CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED

Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice.

OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.

Frankly, Mr. Franken, I think the comparison says it all.

Addendum (10/25/2005): And speaking of Al Franken, Michelle Malkin gives an indication of his temperment based on his own actions.