The Ledes

Tuesday, October 13, 2015.

New York Times: "A 15-month inquiry into the disintegration of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in the skies over eastern Ukraine has concluded that the aircraft was most likely attacked from the ground by a Russian-made missile, Dutch air accident investigators said on Tuesday."

Washington Post: "The battle over the relocation of a United States Marine Corps base on the Japanese island of Okinawa escalated Tuesday when Okinawa’s governor revoked a permit for the new construction site. The central government in Tokyo vowed to fight the governor’s decision, but Tuesday’s action marked the latest in a series of complications that has bedeviled the U.S. military’s efforts to build a new base on Okinawa."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, October 12, 2015.

New York Times: "Prof. Angus Deaton, a British economist, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for improving the accuracy of basic economic gauges, including measures of income, poverty and consumption."

Washington Post: "Breaking news: Iranian state television says jailed Washinton Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been convicted." ...

... Statement from Martin Baron, executive editor of the Post. ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Iran appeared to be moving on Monday to position Mr. Rezaian’s case as part of a broader effort to get the release of Iranians detained in the United States."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post [Sept. 11]: "Aggressive treatment of high blood pressure can sharply cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths in people 50 and older, according to a landmark federal study released Friday that urges doctors to bring their patients’ blood pressure well below the commonly recommended target. The new research advises people with high blood pressure to keep their “systolic” pressure — the top number in the reading that health-care providers routinely tell patients — at 120 or below.

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

White House Live Video
October 13

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

1:30 pm ET: White House Champions of Change -- innovators in transportation

Go to


The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Here's a break from the parade of horribles in the left column:

A friend sent me this version. You'll want to supersize it:

MoviePilot: Quite a few people think the film "The Martian" -- which depicts an Earthly astronaut stuck on Mars -- is "based on a true story." ...

... CW: Reminds of Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. History Channel: "Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, 'New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!'”

New York Times: "Europe’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people’s digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how seamlessly global technology giants — the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — can continue to collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday’s ruling."

One More Reason Not to Let Jeff Bezos into Your House. Bloomberg: " Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t 'interact well' with Prime Video." ...

... Karl Bode of Tech Dirt: "Amusingly, Amazon unloads what has to be one of the larger piles of ambiguous bullshit in defense of an anti-competitive position seen in some time: "Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,' Amazon said in [an] e-mail [to sellers]. 'It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.'" Hilarious. Except it's up to developers to embed Chromecast support into their services and apps, and both Google and Apple publish open software development kits that allows any application to be utilized on both devices. In other words, it's Amazon's choice that Chromecast and Apple TV won't play nicely with Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. It has nothing to do with the devices not 'interacting well' with Amazon's services." ...

... Alison Griswold of Slate: "It will be interesting to see whether Amazon’s move with regard to streaming content raises any antitrust flags. Generally speaking, a company has breached antitrust laws when it has a monopoly and uses that monopoly to stifle competition."

Congratulations, Aliens! You are no longer in violation of U.S. copyright law:

... Our Long National Nightmare Is Over. Los Angeles Times: "In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, [a federal] judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the 'Happy Birthday To You' song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.... Judge George H. King ruled that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific piano arrangements of the music, not the actual song."

When the posh British PM David Cameron was a lad, he fucked a dead pig. The antics of our own Aqua Buddha Boy pale by comparison.

New York Times: "It was a night of firsts, and a night for establishment cable at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress on a drama series, for her role as a defense lawyer on ABC’s 'How to Get Away With Murder'; Jon Hamm won his first Emmy after seven previous nominations for his role as the tortured Don Draper on 'Mad Men'; and HBO, led by victories for the comedy 'Veep,' the drama 'Game of Thrones' and a four-part limited series, 'Olive Kitteridge,' had a triumphant showing, with 14 victories, including best drama and outstanding comedy series."


Washington Post: "When Pope Francis arrives in Washington this week for the start of a six-day visit to the United States, he might find at least one local spot that reminds him of home. That’s Brookland, a neighborhood in Northeast Washington so chockablock with Catholic institutions that it has been called 'Little Rome.'”

New York Times: "When the comedian Steve Rannazzisi has explained his success, which includes seven seasons starring on a popular TV show, 'The League,' and a one-hour special this Saturday on Comedy Central, he has frequently attributed it to decisions he made after narrowly escaping the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.... Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction."

Washington Post (Sept. 15): "King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain ... arrive in Washington this week for their first official visit.... The couple will meet with President Obama and Senate leaders on Tuesday (which happens to be the queen’s 43rd birthday), open an American-Spanish scientific conference at Georgetown University [where Felipe attended grad school], meet with American chief executives who do business in Spain, and head to Florida to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine."

Perfect! Guardian: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is to replace Donald Trump as the host of the NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice, the network has announced."

New York Times: "For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new subway stop [in Manhattan] is open for business.... The extended subway line is a descendant of the train lines that ran along 11th Avenue from the mid-1800s until 1941." The stop is an extension of the No. 7 line. Exits are at 34th St. & 11th Ave.:



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The Commentariat -- October 13, 2015

Jennifer Steinhauer: Influential far-right pundits say Paul Ryan is "too far left." Meaning he opposes shutting down the government until we reinstate the original Constitution, with no Amendments except the Second & Tenth. ...

... Kerry Eleveld of Daily Kos on why Ryan won't be speaker.: he has demands, the Krazee Kaucus has demands, & never the twain shall meet. ...

... Burgess Everett of Politico: "Sen. Tom Cotton [RTP-Ark.] told us in an interview that with all the instability in the House leadership, it’s time to turn to the former vice president [Dick Cheney]. 'Look, these are trying times for our nation. It’s important to have a steady hand on the helm during times like this. I think experience really counts in a matter like this. I think House leadership experience really matters. And as you know the speaker doesn’t have to be a member of the House: So therefore, Vice President Cheney for speaker.' [Seung Min Kim] and I asked if he was serious, and Cotton replied: 'He’s a man of the House, he says that himself.'” ...

... CW: Of course I ignored Mark Halperin's latest prognostications, but Ed Kilgore takes on the drama queen. There are two great dramas! But they're like one! The fate of the world lies in Joe Biden's & Paul Ryan's hands! I'll be writing a book about it! (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "A federal court deadline Tuesday will be a pivotal turning point in [Denny Hastert's] felony case, signaling whether the former House speaker will plead guilty to a deal that has been under negotiation since at least late September with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago." CW: Another reminder of what a corrupt gang of hacks & criminals has led the House GOP for generations now. Also, I believe most turning points are pivotal & most pivots are turning points.

Jeremy Diamond & Jake Tapper of CNN: "The attorneys for a former investigator with the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Monday issued a cease-and-desist letter alleging that Republican Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy violated confidentiality terms of a mediation between the parties.... Discussions that are part of the mandatory 30-day mediation between Podliska and the committee are confidential under the Congressional Accountability Act.... Gowdy in a statement on Sunday said that Podliska had 'demanded money from the Committee,' that 'the Committee has refused to pay him....'... When asked about the mediation in his interview with CNN, [former staffer Bradley] Podlaski demurred: 'I can't comment on the mediation process, unfortunately.'"

Laurel Sweet of the Boston Herald: "Former Vietnam POW and U.S. Sen. John McCain tells the Herald he’ll call a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee if 
accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is allowed to avoid prison — a potential power play Bergdahl’s attorney calls 'unlawful' and 'deeply disturbing.' 'If it comes out that he has no punishment, we’re going to have to have a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee,' said McCain, who chairs the committee. 'And I am not prejudging, OK, but it is well known that in the searches for Bergdahl, after — we know now — he deserted, there are allegations that some American soldiers were killed or wounded, or at the very least put their lives in danger, searching for what is clearly a deserter. We need to have a hearing on that.'”

President Obama & writer Marilynne Robinson have a conversation in Iowa

Adam Goldman of the Washington Post: "Two former CIA prisoners and the family of another detainee who froze to death at a secret prison in Afghanistan have sued the architects of the spy agency’s detention and interrogation program. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Spokane, Wash., against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, a pair of psychologists who earned millions using untested, brutal techniques, such as waterboarding, on CIA prisoners. The suit alleges that the CIA tortured Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud at a black site dubbed Salt Pit, exposing them to a regime that the psychologists had developed.... e suit also says that the CIA kidnapped and killed Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who died of hypothermia in November 2002 at Salt Pit.... The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of the other former detainees, said the psychologists conspired with the CIA to torture the three men and committed war crimes."

Maj. Lisa Jaster, during Ranger training. Army photo.Dan Lamothe of the Washington Post: "On Monday, the Army announced that [Maj. Lisa] Jaster, 37, has become the third woman to ever complete the [Army] Ranger School course. She will join Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, who earned the Ranger tab on Aug. 21. Jaster will join 87 men in receiving the coveted decoration in a ceremony at Fort Benning on Friday."

Brian Fung of the Washington Post: "Twitter announced a series of job cuts Tuesday that will trim its workforce worldwide by 336 employees, or about eight percent, according to a company regulatory filing." CW: Nobody has done more for Twitter than Donald Trump. (See highlighted entry under Presidential Race, for instance.) And yet. And yet. It looks like Trump won't be able to keep his campaign announcement promise that "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

"Paul Ryan Seems to Be Prioritizing His Family. That's Unusual for a Male Lawmaker." So says the top online headline in this morning's Washington Post. If that doesn't convince you that Paul Ryan is the absolutely sweetest family man in the history of Congress, the editors throw into the story a 2012 shot of the then-GOP veep candidate at a soup kitchen washing dishes with his family. What the Post doesn't tell you is that those dishes were already clean. (Hope that watch he's wearing is waterproof. Oh, no water in the sink. All good.) Res ipsa loquitur.

Charles Pierce: Somehow the oligarchy that has taken over the country never comes up on the Sunday showz. CW: It would appear that Pierce did not get up early enough to see Anthony Mason on CBS's "Sunday Morning" kissing the ring on top oligarch Charles Koch, wherein Mason & crew allowed Koch to "come across as avuncular, sincere, and high-minded, a sweet, patriotic old man," according to Akhilleus. (See today's comments.) Somehow, both-sides-do-itism never takes account of us-v.-them. Only "them" gets a hearing. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race

Eugene Scott of CNN: "Hillary Clinton will be center stage on Tuesday night for the Democratic presidential candidates' first debate, according to the podium order released by CNN, which is hosting the event. The position of the five candidates on the stage at the CNN Facebook Democratic Debate in Las Vegas is based on polls since Aug. 1 and was announced on CNN's 'State of the Union.'" Also, we'll find a podium for you, Joe Biden, if you stop by. ...

... CW: If, like me, you can't watch the debate on the teevee, you can watch it on CNN's livestreaming channel. BUT only if you have access thru a cable or dish. ...

... New York "Times reporters will provide instant analysis and fact-checking during the debate. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. Follow along on your phone or computer at and @NYTPolitics. Follow along during the day." ...

... The Mainstream Party. Greg Sargent: "... broadly speaking, most of the positions that you’ll hear from likely Dem nominee Clinton (and some from Sanders, as well) tonight will not threaten to be a liability in the general election.... The two parties’ primary processes seem fundamentally different. The GOP primary has resulted in the GOP candidates embracing positions such as huge tax cuts for the rich, defunding Planned Parenthood, and mass deportations/ending birthright citizenship.... These positions probably will be liabilities in the general election. By contrast, many of the positions Dems end up taking during their primary probably won’t be liabilities in the general election. We’ll see if this basic imbalance is registered in the coverage." ...

... Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Democrats expect the debate to be substantive and to set the course for an unexpectedly ­contentious nominating contest. Americans are either going to find a pleasing contrast to the rip-roaring show Republicans have put on — or they’re going to be bored senseless." ...

... Brian Beutler of the New Republic: "It isn’t wrong or biased to say that Democrats make comparatively boring television. But that isn’t a strike against Democrats, either. It’s a reflection of the fact that the Republican Party, unlike the Democratic Party, is dominated by reactionary voters, which makes its candidates prone to saying or doing outrageous things out of a sense of necessity." ...

     ... CW: Debbie should have let Larry Lessig participate in the debate. He's the closest Democrats can come to the Ben Carson genre of candidate. He's not a career politician! He's very accomplished in his field! AND he has a bizarre plan! ...

... Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Over the weekend, some of [CNN]'s reporters revealed cheeky plans to expand the debate, if needed: A clean, bubble-wrapped podium reserved for Vice President Joe Biden, should he decide to enter the race even one minute before the faceoff. If Biden doesn't run, the podium will go unused. That may be the greatest indignity yet visited upon Larry Lessig, the Harvard academic and anti-corruption scholar who announced a crowd-funded presidential bid last month. As of now, he's running. Biden isn't." ...

... ** Bill Curry of Salon discusses the Democratic debates, the first of which will take place this evening.

Joe the Reluctant. Maggie Haberman & Peter Baker of the New York Times: "Mr. Biden initially said he would decide by the end of summer [whether or not he would run for president]. Now aides are researching filing deadlines to see if he can keep his options open into November."

At the request of many, and even though I expect it to be a very boring two hours, I will be covering the Democrat debate live on twitter! -- Donald Trump

... Don't count yourself as a political junkie if all you do today is read a few Reality Chex links & tune into the Democratic debate while you're washing your socks following the Donald on Twitter. A real American political junkie would be spending the entire day with Rand Paul, then watching the debate with him.

Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Sen. Bernie Sanders got his second congressional endorsement on Monday, from Rep. Keith Ellison."

Jack Gillum & Stephen Braun of the AP: "The private email server running in Hillary Rodham Clinton's home basement when she was secretary of state was connected to the Internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers, according to data and documents reviewed by The Associated Press.... The findings suggest Clinton's server 'violates the most basic network-perimeter security tenets: Don't expose insecure services to the Internet,' said Justin Harvey, the chief security officer for Fidelis Cybersecurity."

The Unhinged Candidate. CBN: "Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been tied to controversial Mideast Muslim leaders since the time they attended school in Moscow, according to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Carson raised the little known historical fact during his guest appearance on CBN's The 700 Club Friday. Carson said Putin shares a deep historical tie with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, suggesting he became acquainted with them during their college days in Moscow when Putin was a young KGB operative." ...

... Steve Benen: "The trouble is, it's little known because it’s not a historical fact.  There’s literally no evidence to suggest Khamenei ever studied in the former Soviet Union. And since he and Abbas are several years older than Putin, the timeline doesn’t even make sense.... 'In a follow-up interview, Dr. Carson would not disclose his sources, but told CBN News he learned about the ties between the three leaders from advisors across the government, including the CIA.'... Not to put too fine a point on this, but we’re delving deep into crackpot waters at this point. An unhinged presidential candidate, citing clandestine sources that probably do not exist, is now describing a decades-old relationship between foreign leaders that also does not appear to exist. All of this comes on the heels of increasingly alarming claims that Carson appears to have invented out of whole cloth." ...

... AND he's been making this claim quite a lot lately. Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact checked it out: "This is one of the more bizarre claims we’ve heard so far in the 2016 presidential campaign, and that’s saying something." In an update, PolitiFact went after Carson's "sources"; i.e., his CBN claim that he "learned about the ties between the three leaders from advisors across the government, including the CIA." This clashes with the earlier suggestion by Carson’s press staff to PolitiFact that the evidence for the claim could be found by 'Googling.'" CW: Maybe the CIA contacts him through secret signs that pop up on his iPad. ...

... CW: Most surprising part: Carson did not reveal the little known historical fact that Obama was in the same Moscow classroom with Putin, Khamenei & Abbas. Guess he's saving that for later. ...

... Benen asks, "Is there a point at which the political world has a conversation about whether Carson is grounded enough to be seen as a credible candidate for public office? Is it fair to say we’ve reached that point now?" ...

... Apparently Not. Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "For a long time, Ben Carson’s campaign team feared that his habit of inflammatory remarks would sink his presidential hopes. They sent him to media training in Texas. The candidate pledged to police his words. But ever since Mr. Carson said on Sept. 20 that he did not think a Muslim should be president, then refused to retract the statement amid a furious reaction, his campaign has watched grass-roots support grow and donations pour in — and advisers have backtracked, deciding, in the words of one, to 'let Carson be Carson.'” CW: "Inflammatory remarks"? How about batshit crazy? ...

... At least Gene Robinson gets it right: "The craziest thing about the Republican presidential contest isn’t that Donald Trump is in the lead. It’s that Dr. Ben Carsonwho truly seems to have lost his mind — is in second place and gaining fast. Trump may be a blowhard, but Carson has proved himself to be a crackpot of the first order. Of all the GOP contenders, he’s the scariest."

Tierney Sneed of TPM: "After a relatively staid speech about some of Donald Trump’s favorite subjects -- dissing President Obama, boycotting Oreos and building ice rinks -- the GOP frontrunner’s appearance at the centrist No Labels convention went predictably off the rails when the floor was opened up for questions.... Attendees grilled Trump about the Tea Party and on whether he was a friend to women. Trump also asked a questioner wearing a Harvard shirt who asked about South Korea if he was South Korean. The young man was born in Texas." You can watch Trump insulting audience members here.

Jonathan Cohn of the Huffington Post: "Jeb Bush on Tuesday will introduce a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But 'replace' may not be quite the right word.... Jeb's Obamacare Repeal-And-Replace Plan Is More Repeal Than Replace. Conservatives will love it. But careful if you actually get sick."

When Bullies Collide. "Chris Christie Fully Prepared to Start WWIII." Caroline Bankoff of New York: "In an MSNBC interview in which he referred to President Obama as 'this weakling in the White House,' Christie imagined himself taking a hard line with President Vladimir Putin (or just plain old 'Vladimir,' as Christie seems to call him). 'My first phone call would be to Vladimir, and I'd say, "Listen, we're enforcing this no-fly zone. And I mean we're enforcing it against anyone, including you,'" he said. 'So don't try me. Don't try me. Because I'll do it.' Got it, buddy?" CW: Chris will be as tough on Vlad as he is on kindergarten teachers.

Beyond the Beltway

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: A Milwaukee civil suit puts a gun store owner on trial for allowing an obviously illegal sale of a gun used a month later to seriously wound two police officers. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Welcome Back, Poacher. Norimitsu Onishi of the New York Times: "Just this summer, Zimbabwe was pressing to extradite an American dentist involved in the hunt that killed a lion known as Cecil, with the environment minister denouncing him as a 'foreign poacher' who had absconded home. On Monday, it changed course, saying not only that the dentist would not be charged but that he was welcome to return."

Sarah's mother took the photo. "'I know the face that I'm giving my mom was the "Really, mom? Right now you're taking a picture?"' she said.

... Your Feel-Good Story of the Day. Char Adams of People: "Sarah Ray, a paramedic from Tennessee, went well above the call of duty when she rushed to respond to a car crash on her wedding day.... Just minutes after she tied the knot with her husband, Paul, on Oct. 3, Ray received a call that her grandparents and father got into a car accident on their way to her reception. So, the bride and groom, both paramedics, sprung into action.


The Commentariat -- October 12, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: A Milwaukee civil suit puts a gun store owner on trial for allowing an obviously illegal sale of a gun used a month later to seriously wound two police officers.

CW: Of course I ignored Mark Halperin's latest prognostications, but Ed Kilgore takes on the drama queen. There are two great dramas! But they're like one! The fate of the world lies in Joe Biden's & Paul Ryan's hands! I'll be writing a book about it!

Charles Pierce: Somehow the oligarchy that has taken over the country never comes up on the Sunday showz. CW: It would appear that Pierce did not get up early enough to see Anthony Mason on CBS's "Sunday Morning" kissing the ring on top oligarch Charles Koch, wherein Mason & crew allowed Koch to "come across as avuncular, sincere, and high-minded, a sweet, patriotic old man," according to Akhilleus. (See today's comments.) Somehow, both-sides-do-itism never takes account of us-v.-them. Only "them" gets a hearing.


Might wanna move those indigenous Americans closer to the center of the frame.

AP: "As the US observes Columbus Day on Monday, it will also be Indigenous Peoples Day in at least nine cities, including Albuquerque; Portland, Oregon; St Paul, Minnesota; and Olympia, Washington." ...

... Alex Johnson of NBC News: "California became the first state to ban schools from using the 'Redskins' team name or mascot Sunday, a move the National Congress of American Indians said should be a "shining example" for the rest of the country. The law, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sunday morning, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017. It's believed to affect only four public schools using the mascot, which many Indian groups and activists find offensive...." ...

... Becky Little of the National Geographic: "Christopher Columbus and his holiday are controversial today largely because of the way he and subsequent European explorers and settlers treated Native Americans. For years, there have been campaigns to celebrate an Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But in the late 19th and early 20th century, many people ... argued that the real credit for discovering North America should go to [Leif] Erikson, whom they believed arrived 500 years before Columbus.." (CW: Last Friday, October 9, was Leif Erikson Day, in case you missed it, as I did.)

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama on Sunday called Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private email server 'a mistake,' but said it had not endangered national security and had been 'ginned-up' into a political attack by Republicans eager to keep her from being president. Mr. Obama made the comments during an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program in which he also defended his policy in Syria during a lengthy, contentious exchange with Steve Kroft, a veteran correspondent.... The president said Mrs. Clinton “could have handled the original decision better” and might have been quicker to disclose work-related emails that had been kept on a private server outside government control." ...

... Bradford Richardson of the Hill: "President Obama is refusing to say whom he will support in the 2016 presidential election, but that's not stopping him from pouring accolades on Vice President Biden, who is considering jumping into the race. 'I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential,' Obama said in an interview on '60 Minutes' on Sunday. 'I think he has done great work.'... Obama said he did not know Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton used a private email server while serving as his secretary of State, but said it was 'not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.'” ...

... Video of the interview is here.

Eric Lipton, et al., of the New York Times: "When the House select committee investigating the 2012 attacks on American government outposts in Benghazi, Libya, was created, Democrats immediately criticized it as a partisan effort to damage the political fortunes of Hillary Rodham Clinton.... Now, 17 months later — longer than the Watergate investigation lasted — interviews with current and former committee staff members as well as internal committee documents reviewed by The New York Times show the extent to which the focus of the committee’s work has shifted from the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack to the politically charged issue of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state." CW: Emphasis added. Coming from the Land of He-Said/She-Said, this is a pretty bold statement. ...

... Jake Tapper's interview of Bradley Podliska, the Benghaazi! investigator whom the committee fired, is here. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post: Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), "the chairman of the House committee on Benghazi, struck back Sunday morning at a fired staffer who is accusing the panel of engaging in a partisan probe to tarnish Hillary Rodham Clinton, with the lawmaker saying that the claims appear newly manufactured and that the staffer himself appeared obsessed with the presidential candidate. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Paul Waldman: "Could this be the time when Benghazi finally turned from a liability to an asset for Hillary Clinton? If so, it’ll be because the issue has now become less about what the select committee Republicans set up to investigate the matter has found, and more about the committee itself."

** Paul Krugman: "What makes [Paul] Ryan so special [to Republicans]? The answer, basically, is that he’s the best con man they’ve got. His success in hoodwinking the news media and self-proclaimed centrists in general is the basis of his stature within his party. Unfortunately, at least from his point of view, it would be hard to sustain the con game from the speaker’s chair.... The truth is that his budget proposals have always been a ludicrous mess of magic asterisks: assertions that trillions will be saved through spending cuts to be specified later, that trillions more will be raised by closing unnamed tax loopholes.... crazies have taken over the Republican Party, but the media don’t want to recognize this reality. The combination of these two facts has created an opportunity, indeed a need, for political con men. And Mr. Ryan has risen to the challenge." CW: Tell us what you really think, Krugman.

Brian Beutler of the New Republic: "If one Republican were willing to make the sacrifice, or Boehner were willing to stick it out for the remainder of his elected term, the Freedom Caucus would be neutered. Instead, the Freedom Caucus is empowered to play whack-a-mole with various pretenders to the speakership, and can hold out until a candidate emerges who will make insane promises to them, and then attempt to deliver. Crises at every turn. Everyone loses, except them — and perhaps the press, which is understandably reveling in this story."

Alexander Bolton of the Hill: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is opening the door to changing the filibuster in response to growing pressure from Republicans angered that Democrats have blocked legislation from reaching the White House. McConnell has appointed a special task force to explore changes to the filibuster rule and other procedural hurdles — including whether to eliminate filibusters on motions to proceed to legislation. That’s a tactic the minority often uses to shut down a bill before amendments can be considered."

Mike Lillis of the Hill: "The United States will 'make condolence payments' to the families of those killed last week in an errant strike on a trauma hospital in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Saturday. A Defense Department spokesman said it's 'important to address the consequences of the tragic incident' which killed 22 people at the facility in Kunduz, which was run by the international aid group Doctors Without Borders." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Steve Ohlemacher of the AP: "For just the third time in 40 years, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits next year, unwelcome news for more than one-fifth of the nation's population. They can blame low gas prices. By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation, which is being dragged down by lower prices at the pump."

Matthew Teague of the Guardian reports on "the 1,000th mass shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre almost three years ago." It happened in the small town of Inglis, Florida, last week, just after a gunman in Oregon killed nine people at Umpqua Community College.

Charles Blow discusses the march on Washington that took place Saturday & was organized by Louis Farrakhan.

David Hoffman of the Washington Post: "President Richard Nixon believed that years of aerial bombing in Southeast Asia to pressure North Vietnam achieved 'zilch' even as he publicly declared it was effective and ordered more bombing while running for reelection in 1972, according to a handwritten note from Nixon disclosed in a new book by Bob Woodward.... Nixon’s private assessment was correct, Woodward writes: The bombing was not working, but Nixon defended and intensified it in order to advance his reelection prospects. The claim that the bombing was militarily effective 'was a lie, and here Nixon made clear that he knew it,' Woodward writes." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race

Fire Debbie! Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she was disinvited from the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Nevada after she appeared on television and called for more face-offs.... 'When I first came to Washington, one of the things that I was disappointed about was there’s a lot of immaturity and petty gamesmanship that goes on, and it kind of reminds me of how high school teenagers act,' Ms. Gabbard said in a telephone interview on Sunday night.... 'It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them,' she added. 'When I signed up to be vice chair of the D.N.C., no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.'”

Plato Predicted Trump & Carson. Jason Stanley in the New York Times: "In Book VIII of 'The Republic,' Plato is clear-eyed about these perils for democracy. He worries that a 'towering despot' will inevitably rise in any democracy to exploit its freedoms and seize power by fomenting fear of some group and representing himself as the protector of the people against that fear. It is for this reason that Plato declares democracy the most likely system to end in tyranny. Plato’s prediction is most dramatically exhibited by Weimar Germany.... The fragmentation of equal respect is a clear alarm for the United States. We must heed it by categorically rejecting politicians who seek to gain office by exploiting the mistaken belief that democratic values are weaknesses." ...

     ... CW Translation: Ben Carson says Hitler can happen here. It's happening, Dr. Ben, & you're the guy. ...

... CW: The fact that the party of demagoguery has turned the Second Amendment on its head -- now it's a "right" to take up arms against the government, instead of for the government, as it was originally conceived -- is an important element in this dynamic. Don't kid yourselves; the Five Supremes are actively interpreting us right out of any semblance of democracy. It ain't just the ironically-named Citizens United.

From the "60 Minutes" interview, linked above:

     ... CW BTW: this is how a diplomat talks about a clown. There's a polite way to say someone is a clown without saying "clown": just describe the honking red nose & big, floppy shoes.

The Ponzi Candidates. Helaine Olen in Slate: Both Donald Trump & Ben Carson have "a history of entanglements with companies that have been rightly criticized for hawking get-rich-quick schemes to the broke and desperate. The business model, which is perfectly legal, is called multilevel marketing." Why don't the other candidates highlight these nefarious associations? Because they're collecting campaign cash from the same "perfectly legal" crooks.

Still Crazy. Patrick Temple-West of Politico: "Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson said on Sunday he wasn’t exaggerating when he suggested limiting access to guns in the U.S. could hinder Americans’ ability to topple a government authority like the Nazis.... Appearing Sunday on CBS's 'Face the Nation,' Carson said the history of the Nazis' rise to power could repeat in the U.S. if access to guns were to be limited." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

The Gun Lobby's interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.  The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies - the militia - would be maintained for the defense of the state.  The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires. --Chief Justice Warren Burger, The Right to Bear Arms, Parade Magazine, January 14, 1990


Beyond the Beltway

Erica Hellerstein of Think Progress: "An attorney for [Tamir] Rice’s family called the reports [which called the killing of Rice "reasonable"] a 'charade' and blasted the prosecutor’s office for 'releasing supposed “expert reports” in an effort to absolve the officers involved in Tamir’s death of responsibility.'”  (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "... a pair of outside reports released Saturday concluded that [Cleveland police officer Tim Loehmann] was 'reasonable' in deciding to shoot Tamir [Rice], who was carrying a replica gun that looked much like the real thing. Though the investigation will continue, and a grand jury will ultimately decide on charges, some believe that those reports, which were commissioned and released by the prosecutor’s office in Cuyahoga County, signal that an indictment is unlikely.... Craig B. Futterman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago, criticized the reports’ 'laser focus' on the shooting itself and said the reviewers should have placed more weight on the events leading up to the shots. 'There’s strong evidence to believe, in the aggregate, the actions were unreasonable,' said Professor Futterman, who founded the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project at the university."

Manny Fernandez of the New York Times: "For 15 minutes, a man shot by an off-duty officer [in Houston, Texas,] lay bleeding from two gunshots in his abdomen as the responding officers stood by without providing first aid. At one point, as the victim, a 53-year-old black man, raised his head, an officer used his foot to keep the man’s face on the pavement, according to a dashboard camera video supplied to The New York Times recently by the man’s relatives."

David Ferguson of the Raw Story: "Police in Charleston, South Carolina declined to press any charges against a Waffle House customer who shot and killed a man who was reportedly trying to rob the restaurant.... North Charleston Police spokeswoman Lt. Angela Johnson told Channel 5 that the customer had a valid permit to carry a pistol.... The Post and Dispatch quoted an officer at the scene as saying, 'It says something about firearms…for good people with firearms being in the right hands.'”


The Commentariat -- October 11, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Mike Lillis of the Hill: "The United States will 'make condolence payments' to the families of those killed last week in an errant strike on a trauma hospital in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Saturday. A Defense Department spokesman said it's 'important to address the consequences of the tragic incident' which killed 22 people at the facility in Kunduz, which was run by the international aid group Doctors Without Borders."

Jake Tapper's interview of Bradley Podliska, the Behghaazi! investigator whom the committee fired, is here. (See link to related NYT story below.) ...

... Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post: Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), "the chairman of the House committee on Benghazi, struck back Sunday morning at a fired staffer who is accusing the panel of engaging in a partisan probe to tarnish Hillary Rodham Clinton, with the lawmaker saying that the claims appear newly manufactured and that the staffer himself appeared obsessed with the presidential candidate.

David Hoffman of the Washington Post: "President Richard Nixon believed that years of aerial bombing in Southeast Asia to pressure North Vietnam achieved 'zilch' even as he publicly declared it was effective and ordered more bombing while running for reelection in 1972, according to a handwritten note from Nixon disclosed in a new book by Bob Woodward.... Nixon's private assessment was correct, Woodward writes: The bombing was not working, but Nixon defended and intensified it in order to advance his reelection prospects. The claim that the bombing was militarily effective 'was a lie, and here Nixon made clear that he knew it,' Woodward writes."

Erica Hellerstein of Think Progress: "An attorney for [Tamir] Rice's family called the reports [which called the killing of Rice "reasonable"] a 'charade' and blasted the prosecutor's office for 'releasing supposed "expert reports" in an effort to absolve the officers involved in Tamir's death of responsibility.'z' See related NYT report linked below under Beyond the Beltway.

Still Crazy. Patrick Temple-West of Politico: "...Ben Carson said on Sunday he wasn't exaggerating when he suggested limiting access to guns in the U.S. could hinder Americans' ability to topple a government authority like the Nazis.... Appearing Sunday on CBS's 'Face the Nation,' Carson said the history of the Nazis' rise to power could repeat in the U.S. if access to guns were to be limited." ...

The Gun Lobby's interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies - the militia - would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires. -- Chief Justice Warren Burger, The Right to Bear Arms, Parade Magazine, January 14, 1990


Nicole Perlroth & David Sanger of the New York Times: "The Obama administration has backed down in its bitter dispute with Silicon Valley over the encryption of data on iPhones and other digital devices, concluding that it is not possible to give American law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to that information without also creating an opening that China, Russia, cybercriminals and terrorists could exploit. With its decision, which angered the F.B.I. and other law enforcement agencies, the administration essentially agreed with Apple, Google, Microsoft and a group of the nation's top cryptographers and computer scientists that millions of Americans would be vulnerable to hacking if technology firms and smartphone manufacturers were required to provide the government with 'back doors,' or access to their source code and encryption keys."

David Nakamura & Hamil Harris of the Washington Post: "Thousands of black men, women and children gathered on the [National] Mall on Saturday to demand justice at a time of growing anger and fraying tensions in African American communities across the nation over the killings of young black men by police. By noon Saturday, the crowds had swelled just beyond the stage at the west front of the Capitol, with onlookers watching on several jumbo screens set up on the lawn. Some people sat on lawn chairs and others on blankets to listen to the speakers, including Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, which sponsored the 'Justice or Else' rally."

Noam Scheiber, et al., of the New York Times: "Bradley Podliska, "a former investigator for the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, plans to file a complaint in federal court next month alleging that he was fired unlawfully in part because his superiors opposed his efforts to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in the Libyan city. Instead, they focused primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said.... The committee firmly disputed Major Podliska's allegations, saying Saturday that he had been 'terminated for cause.' In a statement, the committee cited Major Podliska's 'repeated efforts, of his own volition, to develop and direct committee resources to a PowerPoint "hit piece" on members of the Obama administration, including Secretary Clinton, that bore no relationship whatsoever to the committee's current investigative tone, focus or investigative plan.'... Major Podliska, a lifelong Republican, holds a doctorate in political science from Texas A & M University and spent more than 15 years working at a federal defense agency, as an intelligence analyst for much of that time." ...

... Jake Tapper of CNN has interviewed Podliska. The interview is to air during "State of the Union" at 9 am ET.

Paul Krugman: "... the [White House] is telling me that the [TPP] agreement just reached is significantly different from what we were hearing before, and the angry reaction of industry and Republicans seems to confirm that. What I know so far: pharma is mad because the extension of property rights in biologics is much shorter than it wanted, tobacco is mad because it has been carved out of the dispute settlement deal, and Rs in general are mad because the labor protection stuff is stronger than expected. All of these are good things from my point of view."

Andrew O'Hehir of Salon: "The fanatics of the Satanic Suicide Caucus [a/k/a Freeedom Caucus] and their supporters do not want the current Republican leadership to govern anything, or even try to. They have devoured the old Republican Party ... from within, like an alien parasite. When they repeat its catchphrases about fiscal responsibility and social order in their metallic parasite voices, what they really mean is fiscal holocaust, social anarchy and class war against poor women, black people and immigrants. They dream of conquest, but whatever they can't conquer -- starting with their own political party -- they will happily destroy." CW: Excellent personification of the old GOP in O'Hehir's Mrs. Supinger. ...

... Sophia Tesfaye of Salon: "While calls for [Paul] Ryan to jump into the speaker’s race may be mounting, they are hardly deep enough to be emanating from the right-wing base, which seems to be working up its machine to lay claim to its third 'establishment' victim in two weeks."

William Saletan of Slate dissects the latest House Planned Parenthood "show trial." ...

... CW: When I was young, I learned to associate show trials with the most repressive, horrifying dictatorships. They were unconscionable miscarriages of justice that could never happen in the Land of the Free. Ha! I realized later that even then, we had conducted plenty of show trials in the U.S., especially in the South, & honorable Americans were their victims. Today, show trials are a feature of Capitol Hill. Once again, the House conducted such a show trial with the accused in abstentia. (Planned Parenthood was not invited to the hearing.) The most exercised members of these House judges "represent" districts so gerrymandered that they would have to dance with Claire Richards to be removed from office. That is, they're just like members of the Soviet Union's Politburo. "Hitler can happen here," Dr. Ben? Looks like Stalin already is.

Matt Apuzzo, et al., of the New York Times: "Last fall, federal agents raided the home and office of Robin L. Raphel in search of proof that she, a seasoned member of America's diplomatic corps, was spying for Pakistan. But officials now say the spying investigation has all but fizzled, leaving the Justice Department to decide whether to prosecute Ms. Raphel for the far less serious charge of keeping classified information in her home.... If the Justice Department declines to file spying charges, as several officials said they expected, it will be the latest example of American law enforcement agencies bringing an espionage investigation into the public eye, only to see it dissipate under further scrutiny.... Over the years, the stories of American officials mishandling classified information have at times seemed as peculiar as they were serious."

Elias Isquith on how one of Mitt Romney's billionaire backers tried to shut down Mother Jones, & why this tactic against a free press will work more & more effectively in the United States of Plutocrats. If you can't buy 'em, sue 'em. More on the Anthony Kennedy Show linked under Presidential Race.

CW: At the end of yesterday's Comments thread, there's an interesting discussion on gun safety legislation: Haley S. wrote, "I think I know a good way to stand a chance of passing some gun control laws. Pictures. Pictures of dead victims taken at the crime scene. And yes, I mean Sandy Hook. Most certainly Sandy Hook. I think we'd have new gun control laws in a NY minute."

The Washington Post has a long account of the attack on the Kunduz Médecins Sans Frontières hospital, although the U.S. military has refused to release details.

Presidential Race

Nicholas Confessore, et al., of the New York Times: "Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the [presidential] campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision five years ago.... They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters.... And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy."

Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Hillary Clinton sat down with Black Lives Matter activists Friday for a policy-centered discussion of criminal justice in the African American community.... The meeting, at the National Council of Negro Women in Washington D.C., comes as Clinton plans to roll out more of her criminal justice reform platform in the next few weeks, according to the Clinton aide with knowledge of what was discussed at the meeting."

Beyond the Beltway

Motor Voter. Alice Ollstein of Think Progress: "On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allow the state to automatically register millions of residents to vote, using their DMV records. Starting in 2016, every eligible California citizen who goes to a DMV office to get a driver's license or renew one will be instantly registered to vote, unless he or she chooses to opt out." ...

... Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times: "Brown also signed a bill that permits county elections officials to offer conditional voter registration and provisional voting at satellite offices during the 14 days immediately preceding Election Day.... Another bill signed by the governor will make voting more convenient by allowing voters who use vote-by-mail ballots to drop them off at secure boxes to be located throughout the community before election day." ...

... CW: California voters can also register to vote online. ...

... The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has a helpful Website that tells voters in every state how they can register & when they must do so.

Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "Two outside investigators looking into the death of Tamir Rice have concluded that a Cleveland police officer, Tim Loehmann, acted reasonably in deciding last year to shoot when he confronted the 12-year-old boy carrying what turned out to be a replica gun. Those opinions, reached separately by a Colorado prosecutor and a former F.B.I. supervisory special agent, were released Saturday night by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Timothy J. McGinty, whose office will ultimately present evidence in the case to a grand jury to decide on possible criminal charges."

News Ledes

Reuters: "Eight senior figures from Islamic State were killed in an air strike while meeting in a town in western Iraq, but the group's reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not appear to be among them, residents of the town and hospital sources said. Iraq said on Sunday its air force had hit the meeting and had also struck a convoy that was carrying Baghdadi to attend it. It said Baghdadi had been driven away from the convoy in an unknown condition.... The United States military declined to comment on the Iraqi military's report."

Washington Post: "Iranian judiciary spokesman said a verdict has been reached in the espionage case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, but he gave no details on the judge's decision or a potential sentence."

CNN: "The U.S. military officer in charge of last month's hearing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has recommended he not do any jail time, Bergdahl's legal team says. In a memorandum dated Friday, the legal team said it agreed with Lt. Col. Mark Visger's conclusion that their client face 'nonjudicial punishment.' The recommendation, which hasn't been announced publicly by the U.S. military, is a significant development for Bergdahl, who in March was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy."


The Commentariat -- October 10, 2015

White House: "In this week's address, the President spoke to the merits of the high-standards trade agreement reached this past week. The Trans-Pacific Partnership helps level the playing field for American workers and businesses, so we can export more Made-in-America products all over the world, supporting higher-paying American jobs here at home":

Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg: "The difference between the Ultras in the House and the mainstream Republicans they delight in humiliating isn't so much about tactics as democracy. The Ultras bulk up on the former -- holding their leadership hostage, pushing the party to hold the nation's credit hostage, or government funding hostage -- but they have little use for the latter.... the Ultras are not big on ... democracy.... Their influence is not confined to the House or even the Republican presidential primary. When Republican legislatures enact voting restrictions expressly designed to keep Democratic constituencies away from the polls, they are ... fighting democracy. And they're winning."

Paul Waldman: "The most important thing to understand about what's happening now [in the House] is that this is a permanent rebellion.... That's why it doesn't really matter much who actually ends up in the Speaker's chair." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Gail Collins weighs in on the "speaker chaos inferno." Although not her top pick, Collins does consider a former speaker: "But there are other options -- like Newt Gingrich! It turns out you don't have to actually be in Congress to be elected speaker of the House. And Newt said in a radio interview that if the Republicans came and begged for his leadership, it would be like 'when George Washington came out of retirement, because there are moments you can't avoid.' Coming soon: Gingrich Crossing the Delaware." ...

... David Herszenhorm & Carl Hulse of the New York Times: "The courtship of Representative Paul D. Ryan to be speaker of the House escalated on multiple fronts Friday, and Mr. Ryan, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, signaled that he was headed home to Wisconsin to reconsider his repeatedly stated position that he does not want the job. Even that thin reed of possibility seemed to only further fuel the ardor of Republicans, many of whom emerged from a conference meeting on Friday morning saying they saw no one else with the potential to bring the fractured party back together." ...

... Katherine Krueger of TPM (11:36 am ET): "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told NBC News through a spokesperson Friday that despite Republicans calling for him to enter the race for Speaker of the House, he's still not interested." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Dana Bash, et al., of CNN (12:15 pm ET): "Rep. Paul Ryan is telling House Republicans privately he is considering running for speaker, several members say." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Paul Krugman: "As the Paul Ryan clamor gets louder, a public service reminder: he's a con man.... His reputation as a serious thinker is based on deception.... Ryan is to budget analysis as Carly Fiorina is to corporate leadership: he's brilliant at self-promotion, but there's no hint that he's actually able to do the job. There is, in particular, no example I know of where he's actually been right about anything involving budgets or economics, and some remarkable examples -- like his inflation screeds -- of being completely wrong, and learning nothing from the experience. So is this really the GOP can do? And the answer, sad to say, is that it probably is." ...

... If Speaker Ryan, All Will Be Rosy. Peter Schroeder of the Hill: "While top House Republicans are trying to push a reluctant Ryan into the job, on the grounds that he alone can unify the conference, conservative lawmakers gave a decidedly cool response Friday when asked if they want him to be their new leader." ...

... Scott Wong of the Hill: "House GOP lawmakers this week confronted Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about rumors they worried could have hampered his bid for Speaker. At a closed-door meeting on Tuesday with Texas's GOP delegation, members pressed McCarthy for reassurances." Wong doesn't say what the rumors were, but we spelled it out yesterday. Wong adds some details re: circulation of the rumors. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Ed Kilgore on why one can't "reason" with Second Amendment aficionados: "... to a remarkable extent, the default position of conservatives has less and less to do with arguments about the efficacy of gun regulation or the need for guns to deter or respond to crime. Instead, it's based on the idea that the main purpose of the Second Amendment is to keep open the possibility of revolutionary violence against the U.S. government." ...

... Tim Egan urges the mothers of the nation to do something about gun violence because politicians won't. Really, Tim?

Daniel Marans of the Huffington Post: "Guns don't kill people -- media coverage of mass shootings kills people. That's according to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who on Friday cited a common argument against journalists printing the names and other identifying details of shooters. 'Why do we have what we consider copycats of tragedies? Well, a lot of it is because this is plastered all over the news and these mentally ill, these sick people see it,' Johnson said in an interview on WRDN, a Wisconsin radio station.... But rather than call for the media to restrain itself, Johnson went on to argue that there's really no way to reduce gun violence through public policy." Via Greg Sargent.

Let There Be Pollution. Timothy Cama of the Hill: "A federal court ruled Friday that President Obama's regulation to protect small waterways from pollution cannot be enforced nationwide. In a 2-1 ruling, the Cincinnati-based Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit delivered a stinging defeat to Obama's most ambitious effort to keep streams and wetlands clean, saying it looks likely that the rule, dubbed Waters of the United States, is illegal." Actually, the court imposed a temporary stay while they think about it.

Presidential Race

It's the Media's Fault. Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "... Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson admonished the Washington press corps Friday, calling the news media 'embarrassing' and 'insincere' and vowing to 'expose' the institutional bias he says runs rampant. Speaking at a gathering of reporters and communications professionals at the National Press Club in Washington, Carson lashed out at the press, citing several instances where he believes his views have been misrepresented." Also, too, because he's black. CW: That's right, Ben. You're not crazy. It's just that when the media quotes you verbatim, they make you sound crazy. Because they're biased. ...

After being pilloried in the press for not knowing what the debt limit means, Ole Doc Carson still doesn't know what the debt limit means. But he's against raising it. Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "'It's the same crap every year. Why do we keep doing it?' Carson asked of the debt-limit showdown during an interview on MSNBC's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports.' 'If I was president we wouldn't be in this situation, OK, because long before we reached the deadline, I would have been saying we're not going to raise the debt number,' Carson said. 'I'm not going to sign anything that in any way increases our obligations.' Carson also penned a lengthy Facebook note late Thursday, saying a warning about the U.S. defaulting on its debt if the ceiling isn't raised is 'absurd Washington spin.'" Emphasis added. ...

... Here's part of Friendly Doc Ben's Facebook page where he "explains" the debt limit & "exposes" the media:

I was asked the other day if I would vote to raise the debt limit and I said No. Almost immediately, the leftwing media and the CNN pundits started losing their minds. I was called all kind of things but mainly they described how irresponsible I was for saying no more debt.

... CW: Raising the debt ceiling does not "increase our obligations" nor does it add "more debt." Rather, it provides the means to pay for obligations the Congress already incurred. Look at it this way, Ben: What you're saying is analogous to declaring that people need not pay their credit card debts, their mortgages, their medical bills, etc., if these payments kinda strain their bank balance. Or if they don't feel like it. Or something. Except if the U.S. government takes that 'tude, there could be world financial chaos, & the faith & credit of the U.S. dollar will definitely be kaput. You're an idiot. Now go ahead: "expose" me.

     ... P.S. Neurosurgeon or not, Ben Carson is not smart. I'm sure that between the time the "biased," mindless pundits exposed his ignorance of the debt ceiling, a staff member or a supporter tried to explain it to him in simple terms so he wouldn't embarrass himself again. It ain't brain surgery, but he still could not understand it. Yesterday, Kate M. speculated that Carson may be self-medicating. That seems a plausible explanation of his inability to comprehend fairly simple concepts. ...

... Nick Gass of Politico: "'Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler's gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate,' ADL national director Jonathan Greenblatt said.... 'The small number of personal firearms available to Germany's Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.' Carson, speaking with George Stephanopoulos ABC's 'Good Morning America,' called the [Greenblatt] response 'total foolishness.'... 'There are many countries where that has occurred where they disarm the populous [sic.] before they impose their tyrannical rule,' he explained on MSNBC's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports.' 'That's not a rare situation and that's something that we don't want to ever even think about and that's one of the reasons that Daniel Webster said ... there will never be tyranny in the United States because the people are armed.'" ...

... Steve Benen: "First, it was Noah Webster, not Daniel Webster. Second, Noah Webster was debating standing armies in the late 18th century, not consumers' access to deadly weapons in the 21st century. Third, plenty of countries have restricted consumer access to firearms without creating dictatorial dystopias. And finally, Carson really ought to scale back his frequent Nazi references. This is a subject he obviously knows very little about, and his frequent references to Hitler are both creepy and alarming." ...

... CW: Not fair, Steve. I believe Dr. Ben has been reading up on WWII, & he sees himself -- like Allied troops -- as a freeedom fighter against evil. Friday he kind of compared the trials of his presidential campaign to "our soldiers invading the beaches of Normandy [who] had seen their colleagues being cut down, a hundred bodies laying in the sand, a thousand bodies laying in the sand ... but they didn't turn back. They stepped over the bodies of their colleagues, knowing in many cases that they would never see their homeland or their loved ones again. And they stormed those Axis troops, and they took that beach, and they died." ...

     ... I think it would be a service to the nation if we all chipped in to buy Ole Doc a nice diorama & a bunch of toy soldiers so he can play with them instead of with real soldiers. Here's a nice starter kit ...

Pow! Pow! Ack-ack! Rat-a-tat-tat. Aaargh!

(BTW, if you missed it, D. C. Clark has a very nice remembrance of his meeting with John Wayne & Benjamin Vandevoort, an "old guy down the street." It applies here. [About 2/3rds of the way down the Comments section]).

... Even the WashPo's winger-blogger Jennifer Rubin has Ben Carson's number: "Donald Trump wants to round up 11 million people in two years for deportation. He approves of Russia’s incursion into Syria. He has a tax plan that adds at least $10 trillion to the debt. And with all that, he is not the most ignorant or unfit GOP presidential contender. That distinction goes to Ben Carson.... There is a Chauncey Gardner-like quality to Carson. He speaks softly, smiles a lot and lulls his audience into the belief he possess great insights and wisdom.... He is, however, entirely unfit for the presidency, seemingly oblivious to basic historical facts, constitutional concepts and world events."

After insulting Central Americans (anchor babies), Asians (the real anchor babies) & AfroAmericans (free stuff), Jeb! suddenly realized he had left out AmerIndians:

There was a big argument about the Washington Redskins, the 'Redskins' being a pejorative term. I think 'Washington' is the pejorative term, not the 'Redskins.' -- Jeb!

Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: The owner of the NFL team, Daniel Snyder, has stood firmly behind the Redskins name. He also donated $100,000 to the pro-Bush super-PAC Right to Rise earlier this year.

Beyond the Beltway

Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "A federal judge on Friday threw out four of five counts stemming from a campaign fraud case against Jesse Benton, a top political adviser to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In August, Benton was indicted on charges of concealing payments to an Iowa state senator while working for Paul's father, Ron, during the 2012 presidential race. But John Jarvis, the chief judge for the southern district of Iowa, dismissed most of the charges against Benton, leaving one remaining count, alleging that Benton lied to federal investigators. Since his indictment, Benton has been on leave from America's Liberty PAC, a political action committee he helped to found that supports Rand Paul's presidential campaign."

Lori Aratani & Paul Duggan of the Washington Post: Washington "Metro will become the first U.S. subway system placed under direct federal supervision for safety lapses under a plan announced late Friday by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx."

Greg Botelho & Sonia Moghe of CNN: "The family of the late Walter Scott and the city of North Charleston, South Carolina, have reached a $6.5 million settlement. The North Charleston City Council approved the settlement on Thursday night. Scott was fatally shot on April 4 by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager after being pulled over, reportedly for a broken brake light, and later struck in the back as he was running away from police."

Charles Pierce on the shooting at Northern Arizona U. in Flagstaff: "So, the 'mental illness' dodge isn't going to work this time. This is an ordinary Thursday night campus brawl that escalated to homicide only because one of the participants had a gun which, I guarantee you, he did not have to work hard to obtain. Maybe we should look into why these things happen. No. Because we are free. One per week now. That's the American way." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Ledes

New York Times: "Two devastating explosions struck Saturday morning in the heart of Ankara, the Turkish capital, killing more than 80 people who had gathered for a peace rally and heightening tensions just three weeks before snap parliamentary elections. At least 86 people were killed and 186 were wounded, said the health minister...."

Washington Post: "Jerry S. Parr, the quick-thinking and fast-moving Secret Service agent who was credited with saving the life of President Ronald Reagan after the 1981 assassination attempt in Washington, died Oct. 9 at a hospice center near his home in Washington. He was 85."