The Wires

CW: Looks as if the Google News & stock market widgets are kaput & the Reuters widget is intermittent. We'll see what happens over the next few days with these.

The Ledes

Monday, November 24, 2014.

BBC News: "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said women cannot be treated as equal to men, and has accused feminists of rejecting motherhood. 'You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,' he told a meeting in Istanbul. 'It is against nature.' He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam. His comments often seek to appeal to his pious core supporters, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul, but they anger more liberal voters. Turks who have more secular views argue that the government's social policies are taking the country in a dangerous direction, our correspondent says."

Washington Post: "A grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked days of turbulent protests, sources close to the process said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and the county prosecutor’s office are expected to hold news conferences later Monday, and prosecutors have notified the family of Michael Brown — the teen who Wilson killed — that the grand jury’s decision will be announced Monday night, family attorney Benjamin Crump said."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
November 25

5:35 pm ET (maybe): President Obama speaks about immigration reform

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

The Rockefellers Are Leaving the Building. New York Times: "By this time next year, they will have vacated the 56th-floor aerie [in 30 Rock] they have occupied since 1933 and moved to somewhat less rarefied headquarters across 49th Street. One of the country’s great dynastic families is downsizing."

Elaine Maine at the AFI Awards honoring Mike Nichols' lifetime achievements:

Frank Rich remembers Mike Nichols.

Erik Wemple: Bill Clinton discusses why his mother-in-law Dorothy Rodham watched Fox "News."

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post: "Bill Cosby’s dazzling, decades-long career as one of America’s most beloved entertainers appeared to be toppling this week amid a succession of allegations painting Cosby as a serial sexual predator." ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "In the latest fallout from the sexual assault accusations involving the comedian Bill Cosby, NBC and Netflix have set aside projects with Mr. Cosby, and a lawyer for him issued a denial of a new claim from a woman who said he raped her decades ago. NBC said on Wednesday that it had dropped plans to develop a new situation comedy starring Mr. Cosby. The decision followed a week of revelations about accusations of rape and sexual assault against him." ...

... In an interview earlier this month, Cosby tried to get the AP to "scuttle" his "no comment" out of the videotape, suggested the reporter would not be considered "serious" if the AP didn't comply:

A Man for All Women. Jessica Roy of New York: "Karl Stefanovic is a beloved anchor on Australia's version of the Today show.... Over the weekend, Stefanovic made a startling confession: He's been wearing the same exact knock-off Burberry suit on-air every single day for a year, and — shockingly — nobody noticed. Stefanovic says he pulled the stunt to make a statement about how women on TV are judged much more harshly than men, particularly for their appearances. 'No one has noticed; no one gives a shit,' he said in an interview with Fairfax Media.'Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear.'"

David Carr of the New York Times offers belated kudos to John Oliver & conceded, among other things, that Oliver was responsible for bringing "attention to the debate on net neutrality.... The show’s sudden influence was felt most acutely on the arcane issue of net neutrality, which Mr. Oliver introduced this way: 'Oh my god, that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen! That is even boring by C-Span standards.' But after a string of jokes explaining the technology, the stakes and the power dynamics, Mr. Oliver concluded with a call to the underbelly of the Internet to urge the F.C.C. not to cave to moneyed interests and demand that the web remain a level playing field." Read the whole post. ...

... "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery":

... Matt Seitz of New York: " Last Week is doing what media watchdogs (including the Peabody Awards) keep saying that The Daily Show does — practicing real journalism in comedy form — but it's doing it better, and in a simpler, yet more ambitious, ultimately more useful way. If Stewart's show is doing what might be called a reported feature, augmenting opinions with facts, Oliver's show is doing something closer to pure reporting, or what the era of web journalism calls an 'explainer,' often without a hook, or the barest wisp of a hook."

Brian Stelter of the New York Times on how Stewart, Colbert & especially Oliver put net neutrality on the radar:


Clyde Haberman of the New York Times on the story of Lindy Chamberlain, the Australian woman who was convicted of killing her baby in the midst of a media blitz, then later exonerated. "... it took nearly three more decades before a coroner, in 2012, finally issued what the now-divorced parents had long sought: full vindication in the form of a death certificate formally ascribing Azaria’s fate to a dingo attack." With video from the Retro Report.

 

Anna Silman of Salon: "As long as there have been Aaron Sorkin shows on air, there have been parodies of Aaron Sorkin shows. His signature tropes — the Sorkin sermon, the high speed walk-and-talk — have been parodied so extensively that they’ve become cultural artifacts unto themselves, recognizable even to those who never watched the shows that spawned them. [Thursday] night on 'Late Night With Seth Meyers,' the Sorkin parody machine reached its self-referential apex, not just parodying these familiar tropes but also naming the tropes as they parodied them."

... Silman has embedded a number of other Sorkin parodies in her post.

"Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)" by Andy Warhol. Would you pay $82 million for this picture? BTW, you can get a swell copy of it for $29.99 on ebay.... New York Times: Christie's has its biggest auction night evah. CW: The super-rich are still super-rich.

The Guardian claims it will tell you here everything you need to know about the Rosetta comet landing. CW: Oh yeah? The data it sends back will probably just lead to a lot more of those bogus "scientific theories."

Jon [Stewart]'s problem is he has his head so far up Obama's ass he cannot see clearly, he is obviously better suited to reading his joke writers material, and making his clapping seal audience happy. -- Sean Hannity, supporting Stewart's point that Hannity is "the most loathsome dude" at Fox "News"

The New Yorker begins a metered paywall today, November 11. It will allow you to link to six free articles a month.

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Constant Comments

Anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit. -- Dennis Ryerson, Editor, Indianapolis Star

About Me: I have a cheap computer.
-- Constant Weader

Follow CONSTANTWEADER on Twitter... for breaking news. I update several times a day & tweet only the big deals.

Friday
Oct122012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 13, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here. AP: "President Barack Obama is hailing the rebound of the U.S. auto industry, pointing to progress since his administration rescued General Motors and Chrysler. Obama says in his weekly radio and Internet address that auto sales are the highest they've been in more than four years and the industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs."

My column for the New York Times eXaminer is on David Brooks' assessment of the Biden-Ryan debate. Comments are open at NYTX.

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "Although Mr. Obama got a distinctly poor poll in Florida, which showed him seven points behind there, the rest of Thursday's state-level data, like a series of polls by Quinnipiac University and Marist College, were reasonably good for him."

** David Maraniss in the Washington Post: "The Denver debate was the second ineffective performance in a row for Obama, following his convention speech in Charlotte. That moment, protected by Clinton's incandescent oration the night before, had no discernible negative effect but, taken in tandem with the debate, intensifies the question of whether the president can talk his way out of his latest trap. His history shows that, after flailing around, he tends to respond when the pressure is greatest -- and that he appreciates the role of rhetoric." CW: Maraniss, who has studied Obama a lot more closely than I have, nevertheless arrived at about the same conclusion I did regarding the pathology that drives politicians like Bill Clinton & Obama. However, it is reasonable to presume -- based on the evidence -- that Romney performs superbly under pressure, too. (Don't get me into the pathology that drives that SOB!) So if both men are on game, we're in for a battle of two ruthless titans Tuesday. They'll make affable laughing Joe look like a real sweetie-pie.

** David Roberts of Grist tears into Martha Raddatz & the inside-the-Beltway closed loop of mind-numbing Very Serious Person gobbledygook. Good for him. This is a must-read. ...

... CW: This isn't. I am linking this story only because I find it hilarious. Daniel Halper's big news at the Weekly Standard is that MARTHA RADDATZ VISITED BIDEN AT HIS RESIDENCE IN MARCH. Holy Cow! Were they having an affair or what? Well, yes, Raddatz was attending a Women's History Month affair, probably with 200 other women. Jill & Joe Biden hosted the reception. Were Martha & Joe caught on tape in flagrante? Unhappily, no: THERE WAS NO POOL REPORT THAT MIGHT HAVE RECORDED THE DETAILS. So, okay, a cover-up! And a mainstream media conspiracy! I hardly ever get to use my exclamation key. I think I'll get a job in Right Wing World "journalism." There are so many sensational scoops in those parts.

... When Mr. Ryan said last night that Gov. Romney was a car guy, I thought, well, if having an elevator to stack them counts, I guess he was. -- Bill Clinton ...

... Matt Taibbi: Joe Biden was right to laugh derisively at Paul Ryan. The junior league budget flim-flam Romney & Ryan are pushing cannot be taken seriously. ...

... Rick Hertzberg: Romney won the first debate because Obama let him win. Obama lost "Joe Biden won, but not because Paul Ryan let him. Ryan came in second, you might say, but he didn't lose." Hertzberg parses Biden's response to Ryan's remark on the stimulus. It was a masterful turn. ...

... Hertzberg & John Cassidy talk with Dorothy Wickenden about the debate:

... Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy: "Vice President Joseph Biden speaks only for himself and President Barack Obama, and neither man was aware that U.S. officials in Libya had asked the State Department for more security before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a top White House official told The Cable. Biden has come under fire for saying at Thursday night's debate, 'We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there.'"

... Nielsen: "An estimated 51.4 million people tuned in to watch the sole debate between sitting Democratic V.P Joe Biden and ... Paul Ryan on Thursday, October 11." ...

... BUT Gail Collins thinks now that the veep debate is over, it's over. She was more taken with the Sherman-Berman dust-up, that almost ended in fisticuffs. (See yesterday's Commentariat.) ...

... People Who Make Me Want to Blow up the Teevee, Tom Brokaw Edition:

** Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "Wiping out itemized deductions and raising taxes on investment income would generate only enough cash to pay for a minuscule reduction in federal tax rates, according to an official analysis, raising new questions about the workability of Republican-style tax reform. In a report released Friday, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeeper for tax policy, concluded that such changes would pay for a 4 percent reduction in tax rates next year -- far short of the 20 percent reduction sought by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney." CW: if Obama doesn't use this in Tuesday's debate, he'll be fired. ...

... Always good to see an AP story like this one from Andrew Taylor: "Romney's plan offers the dessert of sweeping tax cuts but not the vegetables of how he would pay for it.... Friday ... the nonpartisan tax analyst for Congress released a study that says eliminating all itemized deductions would pay for just a 4 percent cut in tax rates -- far below Romney's 20 percent target." ...

... Contributor Roger Henry points to this column by conservative David Frum of Newsweek: of the Romney budget plan, Frum writes "... even if the plan works exactly as advertised, Romney would transfer the tax burden from the plutocrats to the orthodontists."

New York Times Editors: "A campaign should demonstrate seriousness of purpose and a set of core beliefs, and it should signal to voters whether a candidate shows trustworthiness and judgment. Those things don’t seem to matter to Mitt Romney. From the beginning of his run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has offered to transfigure himself into any shape desired by an audience in order to achieve power. There isn't really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt."

A new Obama campaign ad running in seven swing states:

Jed Lewison provides another great video on Romney v. Romney. In at least half of those remarks, Romney has to be lying, since he's contradicting himself. But he sure looks sincere in every clip.

It's Week 38 of Steve Benen's Chronicle of Mitt's Mendacity. Congratulations, Mitt Romney, on telling 39 big lies in one little week. (Last week, as I recall, Mitt told a mere 38 lies. He's getting better.)

Igor Volsky of Think Progress finds another instance in which Romney-Ryan, after complaining bitterly about government spending being a big waste that doesn't create jobs, run an ad in Ohio complaining that Obama is cutting military spending which will cost Ohio -- jobs. CW: what is it about Republicans that makes them think the only government spending that creates jobs in spending on destructive stuff? Oh, yeah, their military contractor backers.

Thursday
Oct112012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 12, 2012

Presidential Race/Whew!

Helene Cooper & Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: President Obama "will hole up in Williamsburg, Va., starting on Saturday to get ready for debate No 2 on Long Island next Tuesday, and then will do the same thing next weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in rural Maryland." ...

... Based on their focus group research, conducted during the first presidential debate, James Carville & Stan Greenberg tell the President what points he must/didn't make to reach swing voters: "To come back strong, the president must address future policy choices in a much bolder way -- and he must make this election about choosing a country that stands up for and elevates the 47 percent versus a country that tells its seniors, veterans, the working poor, the disabled, and, yes, the struggling middle class: 'You are on your own.'"

Here's a full transcript of the vice-presidential debate, via the New York Times.

David Fahrenthold & Felicia Sonmez write the Washington Post's report on the vice-presidential debate.

Jonathan Weisman analyzes the debate for the New York Times.

Karen Tumulty analyzes the debate for the Washington Post.

Daniel Politi of Slate has a good rundown of the punditocracy's reactions to the debate, with links.

Given all that, Charles Pierce says it best in one post. A truly impressive recap/analysis.

New York Times Editors: "Thursday night's vice-presidential debate was one of the best and meatiest political conversations in many years, showing that real differences on public policy can be discussed with fervor, anger, laughter and real substance. In contrast to the dismal meeting last week between President Obama and Mitt Romney, this debate gave voters a chance to evaluate the positions of the two tickets, in part because Paul Ryan's nonanswers were accurate reflections of his campaign."

The Obama campaign put out this Web video this morning:

Dana Milbank: "The emphasis on congressional Republicans was key to Biden's strong performance in Kentucky, because it provided a more favorable way for Democrats to frame the campaign: not as a choice between President Obama and some abstract alternative but a choice between Obama and the dimly regarded Republican-led House, which would be in a dominant position under a President Romney."

E. J. Dionne: "It will now be Obama's task to pick up where Biden left off, but the vice president clearly brought his president back to a much better place."

     ... Ryan's comeback: Romney just misspoke & didn't mean it. "I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way." ...

     ... Biden's retort: "But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney."

Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "Let me say a few words about the really astonishing person who appeared at the vice presidential debate on Thursday – the moderator. Martha Raddatz of ABC News didn’t ask puffy questions like Jim Lehrer did at the presidential debate. Or let the candidates get away with vague non-answers, as Jim Lehrer did. Ms. Raddatz acted like a working journalist instead of a television personality...." ...

... Adam Martin of New York magazine: "ABC News's Martha Raddatz distinguished herself in just about every way from Jim Lehrer. She asked pointed questions, kept the candidates roughly within the time constraints, and switched topics smoothly, such as when she asked Paul Ryan and Joe Biden to talk about Iran." ...

... Josh Voorhees of Slate: not everybody loved Raddatz. Righty-right wingers thought she was picking on Paulie & Bloomberg's John Barro thought she asked too many questions about the Middle East while ignoring the rest of the world.

Rachel Maddow reports that a CBS flash poll of undecided voters found that 50 percent said Biden won, 31 percent said Ryan won, & 19 percent called it a draw. Update: according a CNN snap poll of voters, 48 percent said Ryan won, 44 percent said Biden did.

The New York Times liveblog/fact-check for the vice-presidential debate is here.

CW: Biggest question for me is the post-debate discussion. Can the talking head of Chris Matthews refrain from exploding & blowing any Biden gaffes, etc. out of all proportion? ...

     ... Update: Matthews managed to hold his head together & said that overall Biden won the debate.

 

Dumbbell!

Courtesy of Time magazine. You can see every hilarious photo here. ...

... Kevin Robillard of Politico: "In a photo series taken in December 2011, Ryan is shown lifting dumbbells while wearing a red baseball cap backward and elaborate ear buds. The photos appear in this week's issue alongside a profile of the GOP vice presidential nominee.... The photos were posted online Thursday morning, and it didn't take long for the snark to start." ...

... Jim Acosta of CNN: "An aide to Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan accused Time Magazine of 'poor judgment' in its decision to publish photographs of the Wisconsin congressman working out on the day of his debate with Joe Biden." ...

... Dan Amira of New York magazine: "In December of last year, a time when Paul Ryan must have known that he would be on any candidate's V.P. short list, Time approached the Wisconsin congressman about posing for a series of intimate weightlifting photos, and he was like, 'Yeah, sure, I can't see why not.' ... Is this any less silly than Dukakis in the tank or Kerry in the Woody Allen sperm suit? It's like the mimbo from Seinfeld is running for vice-president." ...

     ... CW: I find the mimbo way more appealing than Paulie.

... Hamilton Nolan of Gawker: "Hey Paul Ryan, nice little red hat, did you bring that little red hat to the photo shoot yourself? Yeah, I bet you did. Does your little red hat help you with your concentration curls? Yeah. I bet it does. Fuck this guy."

James Ball of the Washington Post: "President Obama used a rally to activists in Miami on Thursday to reiterate his campaign's post-debate efforts to portray former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as a hardline conservative posing as a moderate."

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney delivered his most pointed criticism to date of President Obama's handling of the lethal attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, a possible foreshadowing of how Rep. Paul D. Ryan will address the issue in the vice-presidential debate."

Paul Krugman: "... the Obama administration has been wrong about some things, mainly because it was too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. But Republicans have been wrong about everything.... Republicans ... are committed to an economic doctrine that has proved false, indeed disastrous, in other countries."

Joe Vardon, et al., of the Columbia,Ohio. Dispatch: "A Mitt Romney administration overhaul of President Barack Obama's health-care law would provide those without insurance who have a pre-existing condition the opportunity to gain coverage, the Republican presidential nominee told The Dispatch yesterday." CW: Great! In that case, people, Romney's overhaul would have to provide for the individual mandate or something like it (in Massachusetts Romney wanted the uninsured to post bonds). So, um, Romney's "overhaul" would be -- in essence -- just like ObamaCare. You might call it RomneyCare. Except this is another Big Lie. ...

... Kate Pickert of Time tries to decipher/extrapolate/guess what Romney's plan is for covering healthcare costs for people with pre-existing conditions. CW: it is ridiculous for reporters to have to play Guess the Policy with nearly every aspect of the Romney Plan to Screw America outside of ditching Big Bird & Planned Parenthood.

Since we've done some great photos of the GOP's vice-presidential candidate, it seems only fair to include one of the top dog. Here's an AP photo published October 8:

     ... The original caption was "Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va." As Dylan Byers of Politico reports, "after drawing fire from FoxNews.com and other conservative websites for what some dubbed a 'cheap shot' against the candidate." the AP changed its caption to read, "Republican presidential candidate..., blah blah. A student, right, reacts as she realizes Romney will crouch down directly in front of her and her classmates for the group photo." Still, I thought one Akhilleus suggested was far superior to the AP revision: "Too bad impressionable students have to find out so early in life what a real asshole looks like."

Josh Marshall of TPM: "A lot of reporters seem to have gotten it into their heads that you can't accuse Mitt Romney of both being hard-right and also a flip-flopper.... This is silly.... On simply logical terms, someone can be hard-right and would govern hard-right but is consistently shape-shifting and running away from their positions to suit the politics of the moment and gain power. In other words, he's not leveling with you. He's trying to fool you. That works since that's basically what Romney is doing."

Congressional Races

When Democrats Debate Each Other -- Make Sure A Peace Officer Is Nearby. Under California's new law, candidates in the general election are the top two vote-getters in the primary, no matter what their party. So what with redistricting, one Congressional district has two Democratic Congressmen running against each other: Brad Sherman & Howard Berman. Gene Maddaus of L.A. Weekly reports: During a debate at Pierce College, "Berman took a step toward Sherman. Sherman warned him not to 'get in my face,' and then moved even closer, grabbing Berman around the shoulder and saying, 'You want to get into this?' As the crowd of college students cheered and hooted, a deputy stepped up to the stage to make sure the confrontation didn't go any further":

Other Stuff

Ian Austen of the New York Times has more on Lance Armstrong's doping; his story concentrates on how Armstrong & other U.S. team members got away with it. What a dispiriting tale. ...

... "Lawmen against the Law." Speaking of dope of a different nature, Tim Egan on ballot measures in Washington, Colorado & Oregon to legalize marijuana: "... those on the front lines of the endless drug war, the police and prosecutors, are now citing futility and common sense on behalf of legalization -- at least in [Washington] state. And many of those who now profit from the unregulated medical marijuana industry, and the larger, organized crime gangs that control the illegal wholesale scene, are against legalization."

News Ledes

Reuters: "The deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis expanded to 12 states with the first case confirmed in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, bringing the total of cases to 184. The number of deaths from the outbreak linked to injections of steroid remained at 14 on Friday, the CDC said."

AP: "In the latest embarrassing spectacle for the Secret Service, one of its officers was found passed out and apparently drunk on a Miami street corner less than 12 hours after President Barack left the city following a day trip to campaign, police in Florida said."

New York Times: "The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its 2012 peace prize on Friday to the 27-nation European Union, lauding its role over six decades in building peace and reconciliation among enemies who fought Europe's bloodiest wars, even as the Continent wrestles with economic strife that threatens its cohesion and future."

Washington Post: "A computer virus that wiped crucial business data from tens of thousands of computers at Middle Eastern energy companies over the summer marked the most destructive cyberattack on the private sector to date, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday night in a major speech intended to warn of the growing perils in cyberspace."

AP: "A spokesman for the Taliban's Swat Valley chapter says its leadership decided already two months ago to kill a 14-year-old activist, who was shot and seriously wounded this week -- and then sent out a hit squad to carry out the job." ...

... The Atlantic: "Pakistan has arrested three suspects in the remote Swat Valley for the shooting of 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai. Police say the three men, aged 17 to 22, were involved in the attack, but that they all said the mastermind was a man Attaullah, who is still at large. Yousafzai was shot in the head on Tuesday on her way to school, in retaliation for her criticism of the Taliban."

AP: "China's newly named Nobel laureate for literature expressed hope Friday that an imprisoned Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be freed, putting a dent in the ruling Communist Party's attempts to burnish its credentials with the latest prize. Mo Yan, the first Chinese writer to win the literature Nobel, made the comments about dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the Peace Prize while serving a prison sentence for opposing single-party rule, in response to a question at a news conference."

Reuters: "When scientists selected a rock to test the Mars rover Curiosity's laser, they expected it to contain the same minerals as rocks found elsewhere on the Red Planet, but learned instead it was more similar to a rock found on Earth. The rock was chemically more akin to an unusual type of rock found on oceanic islands like Hawaii and St. Helena, as well as in continental rift zones like the Rio Grande, which extends from Colorado to Chihuahua, Mexico."

Wednesday
Oct102012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 11, 2012

Presidential Race

Here's the latest on the polls from Nate Silver. Bad news/good news.

Matt Miller, writing in the Washington Post, has some pretty good advice for Vice President Biden on the approach Biden should take in the debate tonight.

     ... Paul Ryan, Authentic Goober. If Ryan looks smug & happy & Bambi looks sad to you, it's because the right-to-lifer is overjoyed he just shot Bambi dead with his little bow-and-arrow.

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: somebody press Romney & Ryan on their Medicaid policy, please. "They ... want to reduce the money [Medicaid] gets from the federal government.... They would expose the elderly and disabled, as well their loved ones, to the kind of suffering this country spent decades trying to eradicate. Sometime tonight, or perhaps in the two remaining presidential debates, I hope the Republican nominees get a chance to explain why they think that's such a great idea." Read the whole post.

Robb Mandelbaum of the New York Times debunks Romney's debate claim that raising taxes on higher earners will cost the nation 700,000 jobs.

Meenal Vamburkar of Mediate: "In an interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Wednesday, President Obama reflected on the first presidential debate, and pinpointed the reason for his almost-universally agreed upon lackluster performance. He was simply too polite." You can hear the full interview & read the transcript here. It's worth a listen. ...

      ... Betty Cracker of Balloon Juice has a follow-up to the interview in a post titled "President Obama Is Aware of All Internet Traditions." ...

Here's the Jim Fallows post which Akhilleus makes reference to in a post in today's Comments. However, it's harder to accept Fallows' analyses now that we know he's a bona fide Neanderthal (tho despite his boasting about it, apparently not all genetic scientists are convinced by "Neanderthal DNA."

CW: how can we take PolitiFact seriously when they give a Pants-on-Fire rating to President Obama for the Big Bird ad which claims Romney wants to fire Big Bird -- after Romney said he would defund PBS? PolitiFact's argument: Sesame Street has significant other sources of revenue. Oh, please.

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Ignoring a request from the mother of one of the Navy SEALs killed last month in Libya, Mitt Romney today once again told a campaign audience of meeting with her son at a Christmas party two years ago. After Romney told his story of meeting Glen Doherty during a campaign rally yesterday, Barbara Doherty -- mother of Glen Doherty, one of the Navy SEALs killed in the Benghazi attack -- had asked Romney to stop using her son's memory to advance his political agenda." In an update, Lewison writes, "Romneyland is now trying to beat a hasty retreat.... Funny how the campaign didn't care about her wishes until the national media started asking questions." ...

... Update. Libby Denkmann of MyNorthwest.com: a close friend of Glen Doherty's says Doherty recounted his meeting(s) with Romney much differently from the story Romney has been telling on the campaign trail: according to the friend, "Mitt Romney approached [Doherty] ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale." The friend said "Doherty remembered Romney as robotic."

Calling the Race. Jonathan Easley of The Hill: "Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos, whose polls are aggregated into mainstream averages to show where the presidential race stands in the swing states, said he's finished polling in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia because President Obama has no shot of winning those states."

Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly argues -- effectively, I think -- that what moved the polls to Romney was the public perception he engendered in the debate that he was a reasonable man who wanted to fix things. What Obama & Biden must do is demonstrate -- through exposing Romney's & Ryan's records of statements & votes -- that these two guys are dangerous, far-out extremists. "... if Democrats can't mine the vast record of extremism compiled by the GOP and its ticket over the last two years, and show that it's a more shocking and uncompromising version of what the party stood for prior to 2008, then they really can't expect to win."

Just watch:

Michael Barbaro & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "... the appearance at this late stage of a modulating Mitt Romney risks reopening a long-running debate about his authenticity, given that he has described himself as 'severely conservative,' dismissed 47 percent of voters as government dependent, and picked a bold conservative as his running mate."

Travis Waldron of Think Progress writes "The Definitive Timeline of Romney's Ever-Evolving Tax Plan." Pretty helpful. Bottom line: "At this point, it is no longer clear what tax plan Romney actually supports." ...

... Suzy Khimm: AND Romney just made his tax math fuzzier. CW: that's the idea, isn't it? ...

... Jonathan Bernstein in the Washington Post: "Hey, reporters! Next time you interview Mitt Romney and he repeats this formula about lower taxes for some and the same taxes for everyone else, ask him how that goes with his pledge that he won't increase the deficit with his tax plan. And while you're at it, push him on the real key question: if it turned out that his fantasy math falls short and the experts are correct, what would he give up: the big cut in rates? Tax levels for the middle class? Or revenue neutrality? It has to be one of them. Because not even Dumbledore could make Romney's basic 'principles' work."

... Thanks to Jeanne B. for sending along this rundown of Romney's positions on a woman's right to choose:

... Charles Pierce: "All Romney's doing is making the same argument theoretically that DeJarlais [see linked story by Michael McAuliff below] tried to run by his girlfriend. It's all about expediency. There are very few people who actually are pro-life.... Push most of these people to the wall, especially the Penis-Americans in the congregation, and they're dialing the clinic faster than almost anyone else. In our politics, anyway, the fight against reproductive freedom always has been a fight over women's control of their own bodies and their right to make their own health-care decisions without the meddling of Bible-banging secular hypocrites and the Clan of the Red Beanie.... Congressman DeJarlais was all right with his girlfriend's getting an abortion as long as he got to make the decision and as long as the procedure made his life a little more convenient. Romney, I assure you, would be perfectly fine if one of his boys came to him with a similar problem. He's running for office, for Pete's sake." ...

... Let's not forget Forcible-Rape Ryan:

... Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico has a moderately informative story on Whiplash Willard, the Kama Sutra Man who can change, contort & invent new positions in a day two hours. What's important to remember is that a President Willard would sign any piece of crap a conservative Congress put in front of him. And it will, sadly, be a conservative Congress. The only brief sightings of Moderate Mitt were when he was lying running for office in Massachusetts & when he was governor in that state, where a veto-proof majority of Democrats controlled the legislature. Underpinning it all is this: Willard hates your middle-class guts.

** Adele Stan of AlterNet, writing in Salon, has a terrific post titled "Nine Ways Mitt Is Morally Bankrupt." CW: I didn't know about the first one.

Gail Collins: "Maybe Democrats should try to be more like the Republicans, and reduce stress by blaming all bad news on incorrect information, cooked up by cabals of political partisans."

AND Awk-ward! John Cook of Gawker: "After we published nearly 1,000 pages of Bain Capital's confidential financial records -- including audits revealing for the first time that Bain employed a potentially illegal tax dodge currently under investigation by the New York attorney general -- we thought we might hear from the good folks at Mitt Romney's former private equity firm, perhaps asking us to take down the documents. Well, Bain finally got in touch yesterday. And they want to explore investing in Gawker Media." Um, that is, until Cook told the Bain guy about the docu-dump.

Hamilton Nolan of Gawker: David Siegel, CEO of a Florida company that builds & manages timeshares, & who is building himself a 90,000-sq.ft. house patterned after the Palace of Versailles, sent an e-mail to his employees threatening layoffs if Obama is re-elected & he has to keep paying taxes & all. Hilariously, Siegel cribbed his warning letter from a 2008 fake chain letter. Nolan writes, "Huge mansion. Huge fortune. Profitable company. What could David Siegal have to complain about? Well, the demonization of the 1% by Barack Obama, for one thing." CW: do yourself a favor & read the e-mail. Just another opportunity to remind yourself, "Hey, I'm better than a billionaire." Yes, you are. ...

... For one thing, you have way better taste, not that the chair & the dead thing on the piano aren't totally elegant:

Photo via Think Progress.

Lynn Parramore of AlterNet, writing in Salon, has a brief overview of six billionaires obsessed with their marginal tax rates & unseating President Obama. Siegel is at the top of the list.

Congressional Races

CW: This Story Makes Me Crazy! Michael McAuliff of the Huffington Post: "A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post. The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.... DesJarlais is currently leading Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart in the polls."

Emily Schultheis of Politico: "Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is out with a handful of new ads today featuring direct-to-camera appeals from female sexual assault victims in the state." Here's one:

Contributor Diane reports in today's Comments on the Warren-Brown Senate debate in Massachusetts. You can watch it here on C-SPAN. You have to click on the "Video Playlist." Martin Finucane reports for the Boston Globe on the debate. Here's a high point:

Other Stuff

Keystone Kops Go to Congress. Dana Milbank: "When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA's cover.... The lawmakers reminded us why 'congressional intelligence' is an oxymoron." The blabbers? Jason Chaffetz & Darrell Issa, of course. CW: By chance I saw Kelly O'Donnell's coverage of the hearing -- twice -- on NBC News, & there was nary a hint of this or of Republicans' cutting embassy security funds. People watching only TV news -- that is, most people -- don't know WTF is going on.

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "With the future of affirmative action in higher education hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court on Wednesday grappled with two basic questions, repeated by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in various forms at least a dozen times. He wanted to know how much diversity was enough. And he wanted to know hen colleges would be able to achieve an acceptable level of diversity without using racial preferences." ...

... Emily Bazelon of Slate takes a deeper dive into the Justices' questioning. The Supremes should release the audio tomorrow. ...

... Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Regardless of how the case turns out, though, it is clear that there is a political problem with contemporary affirmative action."

Juliet Macur of the New York Times reports on a just-released report that reveals Lance Armstrong was the ringleader of the U.S.P.S. cycling team's sophisticated doping ring. "At the same time the drug use was nonchalant, it also was carefully orchestrated by Armstrong, team management and team staff, the antidoping agency said. 'Mr. Armstrong did not act alone,' the [U.S. Anti-Doping] agency said in its report. 'He acted with the help of a small army of enablers, including doping doctors, drug smugglers, and others within and outside the sport and on his team.'" The full report is here.

Nicholas Kristof: in Pakistan & Indonesia -- and around the world -- educating girls is still controversial. ...

... Former First Lady Laura Bush, in a Washington Post op-ed, on the same subject.

Right Wing World

Katie Glueck of Politico: "Prominent conservative commentators on Wednesday largely dismissed a story that suggested ABC News' Martha Raddatz will be a biased moderator of Thursday's vice presidential debate because President Barack Obama attended her wedding two decades ago. Conservative outlet The Daily Caller accused the network of trying to 'downplay' that Obama attended Raddatz's 1991 wedding to Julius Genachowski, whom the president later named to head the Federal Communications Commission (and to whom Raddatz is no longer married). The story, which led Drudge Report on Wednesday afternoon, noted that Obama and Genachowski worked together on the Harvard Law Review." ...

... CW: Questions Raddatz plans to ask: (1) "Mr. Vice President, what is the best thing about working for my old friend President Obama --(a) that he's brilliant, (2) that he's kind-hearted or (3) that he never stops thinking of ways to improve the lives of the American people? You can choose more than one answer." (2) "Yo, Paulie, when you tell one of your habitual lies, would you prefer that I (a) turn off your mike, (2) press my "Liar! Liar" buzzer, or (3) go the dunk-tank route? You can choose more than one answer." Seems impartial to me.

News Ledes

Reuters: "The cost of sending a letter in the United States will go up by a penny next year.... 'Forever' stamps will cost 46 cents starting on January 27.... Consumers can use those stamps to mail 1-ounce letters anywhere in the country. As the name implies, they are always valid, even after stamp prices rise."

Bloomberg News: "Applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today." CW: notice how Bloomberg hedges on the validity of the data, which I'm thinking is the Jack Welch Effect: suddenly numbers which have been reported with anodyne commentary are somehow suspicious or can be explained away by data collection methods & seasonal changes.

New York Times: "The Swedish Academy announced on Thursday that it had awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to Chinese author Mo Yan, the cultural high point of a week of accolades to scientists, writers and peacemakers."

New York Times: "Adding to strains with Turkey over the conflict in Syria, Russia demanded an explanation on Thursday after Turkish warplanes forced a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara on suspicion of carrying military cargo." CW: I have been thinking for a week that the Turkey-Syria border skirmishes were reminiscent of the seemingly localized beginnings of World War I. Well, welcome to the conflict, Russia.

AP: "Yemeni security officials say a gunman has assassinated the Yemeni chief of security at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. The officials say Qassem Aqlani, who was in his fifties, was shot dead while on his way to work early on Thursday. They say a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at him and fled the scene. Aqlani had been working for the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital for nearly 20 years."

Washington Post: "The proposed merger of Europe's biggest defense and aerospace contractors collapsed Wednesday after European political leaders failed to agree on terms. The combination of London-based BAE Systems and Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence and Space would have created a colossus to rival U.S. giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as concerns at the Pentagon about such a huge foreign-owned contractor."

Tuesday
Oct092012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 10, 2012

I submitted a column to my editor at the New York Times eXaminer many hours ago, but I think he is traveling covering the protests in Athens, Greece, so I just slapped up the column myself. I do heartily recommend Dean Baker's rebuttal to David Brooks, which I've linked at NYTX. I've just added my two cents.

Presidential Race

Time for Scare Tactics:

P.S. I think the Big Bird ad has been disappeared. * No surprise: Sesame Street objected. Dave Weigel of Slate: Romney's "Big Bird remark ... wasn't a gaffe. It was a statement that Romney had made many times.... PBS's government check makes up less than one-thousandth of one-percent of discretionary spending. Voters don't know that.... At the debate, Romney repeatedly promised to start balancing the budget despite gigantic tax cuts and spending increases, but the only specific cuts he offered were Obamacare and PBS. I liked the way Matt Taibbi summed up Romney's answer: 'I'll cut PBS, which is about one millionth of the federal budget, and some other stuff.'" ...

     ... Politico Update: Obama advisor Robert Gibbs "said Wednesday the campaign had no plans to stop using Big Bird in its advertising."

... The pundits hate the Big Bird ad -- except for Dan Amira of New York magazine, who says it reminds voters that Romney is that guy who doesn't care about them & their kids. ...

... And Romney is still attacking Big Bird. ...

... "Forget Big Bird." Dana Milbank: "At the Denver debate, Romney said he would eliminate Obamacare (doing so would actually increase the budget deficit, because of related tax hikes) and the public-broadcasting subsidy, which is ... little more than one one-hundredth of 1 percent of federal spending. But Romney proposes to cut federal spending by trillions of dollars -- more than $5 trillion over the next decade, assuming he follows the sort of blueprint laid out by his running mate, Paul Ryan. That threatens much more than Muppets and monsters. Human lives are at stake." ...

... CW: Victoria D. & I like "The Daily Show" take on Mitt Romney's policies. If President Obama had said what Jon Stewart said in these segments, he would have won the debate:

(... You can download or watch the Stewart-Bill O'Reilly "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorum" here. It's $4.95.

Jim Rutenberg & Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times write a doom-&-gloom story about the Obama campaign, but I think it's larded with a tasty dose of crap. Also, Andrew Sullivan is an idiot. I know some of you are fond of him, but there's a reason I don't read or link his stuff: he's an idiot. ...

... On the other hand, there's this reality check from Nate Silver: "Following another day of strong polling on Tuesday, Mitt Romney advanced into the best position in the FiveThirtyEight forecast since the party conventions. His chances of winning the Electoral College are now 28.8 percent in the forecast, his highest since Aug. 29. For the first time since Aug. 28, President Obama is projected to win fewer than 300 electoral votes. And Mr. Obama's projected margin of victory in the national popular vote -- 2.0 percentage points -- represents the closest the race has been since June 27." ...

... Frank Newport of Gallup: "Mitt Romney holds a slight edge over Barack Obama -- 49% to 47% -- in Gallup's initial 'likely voter' estimate, encompassing interviews from Oct. 2-8. Preferences tilt the opposite way among registered voters, 49% vs. 46% in Obama's favor." ...

... Greg Sargent: "Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg ... told me ... that his new research persuaded him that Mitt Romney beat Obama in the debate for a simple reason. Unmarried women -- a critical piece of Obama's coalition -- did not hear Obama telling him how they would make their lives better. By contrast, they did hear Romney telling them he'd improve their lives." ...

... One word -- women. -- Nancy Pelosi:

Michael Scherer of Time: "Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have new television spots up today (Tuesday) designed to appeal to Spanish-speaking voters. But only one candidate endeavors to speak to those voters in their native language.... Now, which one do you think will be more effective?":

A Nice Hit Job on Gov. Ima Hippocrite. Sharon LaFraniere & Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "As a candidate, Mr. Romney uses China as a punching bag.... But his private equity dealings, both while he headed Bain and since, complicate that message." Bain companies have been moving jobs to China & touting the low wages there.... Bain's interest in China dates to when Mr. Romney ran the firm. During a panel discussion at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston in February 1998, he told of touring an appliance factory in China where 5,000 employees 'were working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour.'" Romney has millions in Bain companies that have outsourced U.S. jobs to China.

The Two Faces of Mitt. Elise Foley of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney said Tuesday he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion, a softer stance from a candidate who has said he would 'get rid of' funding for Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. 'There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda,' the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview. The Romney campaign walked back the remark within two hours of the Register posting its story. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the National Review Online's Katrina Trinko that Romney 'would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.'" CW: yeah, he also told Mike Huckabee he would "absolutely" support "personhood" legislation, which would make even some kinds of contraception illegal. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link. ...

     ... Jennifer Jacobs' Des Moines Register story is here.

As a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.... One of the reasons I support President Obama is because he has consistently shown he understands that our commitment to our servicemen and women may begin when they put on their uniform, but that it must never end. -- Former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (R-S.D.)

Ari Berman of The Nation: "Ohio's GOP secretary of state in 2012, Jon Husted..., has banned early voting hours on nights and weekends in Ohio, when it is most convenient for most Ohioans to vote, has fired Democratic election commissioners who challenge his voting restrictions, and is now appealing a court decision reinstating early voting on the three days prior to the election -- which the GOP eliminated except for members of the military -- to the US Supreme Court. Early voting has already begun in Ohio, but four weeks out until the election, Husted is doing his damndest to confuse the hell out of Ohio voters and undermine their voting rights." Read the whole post. ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "Ohio asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a federal appeals court's ruling that the state must allow all voters to cast ballots on the weekend before the election, not just those in the military." ...

... President Obama urges Ohioans to vote early:

When you give conservatives bad news in your polls, they want to kill you. When you give liberals bad news in your polls, they want to kill themselves. -- Unidentified Nonpartisan Pollster ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "... the polling I saw suggests that viewers polled during the debate thought it was about even; viewers polled right after the debate though Romney had won; and viewers polled a little later still thought it was a rout. I can't think of any good explanation for this aside from the effect of the talking heads right after the debate and the firestorm of liberal criticism that quickly turned into a feeding frenzy of outrage." ...

... Maureen Dowd: "At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney's star turn, saying 'what was being presented wasn't leadership; that's salesmanship.' It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked 'URGENT.' But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years." CW: Dowd argues that like Bill Clinton, albeit for different reasons & with less drama, Obama slacks off when he's ahead. I think that's a common pathology among politicians & probably a necessary one: you have to get good at performing under pressure & against long odds -- something most of us do only occasionally -- & there must be a real rush in beating those long odds -- such a rush that some people will set themselves up for it.

... In a longish post, Markos Moulitsas makes two points: (1) "Every time you think he has learned that Republicans want to utterly destroy him, he comes back with his rhetorical embrace of the enemy, telling everyone that we should all come together because we're not really all that different!" and (2) the polls aren't that bad for Obama, assuming "Biden and Obama won't screw up the remaining three debates."

CW: when you're less informed than Tom Friedman, you're pretty ignorant. Here's Friedman today: "If [Romney's foreign policy] speech is any indication of the quality of Romney's thinking on foreign policy, then we should worry. It was not sophisticated in describing the complex aspirations of the people of the Middle East. It was not accurate in describing what Obama has done or honest about the prior positions Romney has articulated. And it was not compelling or imaginative in terms of the strategic alternatives it offered. The worst message we can send right now to Middle Easterners is that their future is all bound up in what we do. It is not." Friedman goes on to recommend Secretary of Education Arne Duncan be put in charge of the U.S.'s Arab states policy. And Romney is dumber than that.

I don't know if you guys saw the debate last week. I take a lot of pride in that, because -- I don't know if you noticed, but I was -- me and my brothers were responsible for my dad doing so well. We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over. And we'd say the same lie over and over. And my dad learned then, not to believe it. While we didn't go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff. So as a father, he learned how to debate an obstinate child. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun watching the debate. -- Josh Romney, introducing his father at a rally

Evidently lying through your teeth is a well-entrenched Romney family tradition. Good grammar, not so much. -- Constant Weader

Other Stuff

Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor: Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) & Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) have both made political hay of the lax security in Benghazi, Libya, claiming "the administration ignored pleas for more security from Libya embassy officials.... Mr. Chaffetz has been among those leading the Republican effort to pin the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi on the Obama administration." BUT "Since retaking control in 2010, House Republicans have aggressively cut spending at the State Department in general and embassy security in particular. Chaffetz and Issa and their colleagues voted to pay for far less security than the State Department requested in 2011 and again this year.... It's a bit rich to complain about a lack of US security personnel at diplomatic missions on the one hand, while actively working to cut the budget to pay for US security personnel at diplomatic missions on the other." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Lori Montgomery & Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post: "An issue that has taken center stage in the presidential campaign -- how to rewrite the U.S. tax code -- is rapidly moving back onto the front burner in Washington as policymakers brace for another epic battle over the budget days after the Nov. 6 election. On Tuesday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, rejected the goal of cutting the top tax rate, an objective embraced by both parties. [Really?] Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators gathered at Mount Vernon ... for a three-day retreat aimed at producing an alternative debt-reduction strategy to replace the 'fiscal cliff,' including a tax overhaul that reduces rates but raises more money."

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Frank Schubert, a former corporate public relations executive, ran the $40 million, come-from-behind push for Proposition 8 in California in 2008. He went on to mount successful campaigns to defeat same-sex marriage in Maine and North Carolina. Now, with marriage initiatives on the ballot in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington State and Maine, Mr. Schubert is the chief strategist in all four at once.... Every time the issue has been on the ballot, in 32 states in a row, voters have come out against same-sex marriage." CW: Schubert says he's committed to his "cause," but it sounds to me as if he's just in it to make a buck. Oh, and God has a plan for his life. Just for the record, I can understand how people believe that some kind of supernatural entity created the heavens & the earth, but I cannot for the life of me understand how otherwise intelligent people think that same supernatural being is taking time out of her busy universe-creating schedule to plan the lives of millions of insignificant earthlings, right down to making sure they do their damnedest to oppose gay marriage.

How Thin Is Thy Skin? Welch Can Dish It out, but He Can't Take It. Stephen Gandel of Fortune: Jack Welch has said he won't write for Fortune any more after Fortune writers criticized his conspiracy theory that the Obama campaign faked the September jobs report & "Fortune.com ran a story detailing Welch's record as a job destroyer. GE lost nearly 100,000 jobs during the 20 years in which Welch ran the company." ...

... Here's the Fortune.com story. It happens to be by Gandel: "... when it comes to job creation, Obama's record appears to far better than [Welch's], who spent two decades on top of the one of the world's largest companies. GE lost nearly 100,000 jobs while Welch was at the helm of the company -- a tenure that spanned two of the most robust periods of economic growth in American business history." ...

... Update: oh, look. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has given Welch a platform to spew his crazy conspiracy theory. So he does, in an op-ed titled "I Was Right about That Strange Jobs Report." Uh-huh.

AND Tilda Swinton Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard tears up "the Leader of the Opposition" after he accused her party of sexism & misogyny. Oh, if only we had a Parliament. Via Adam Sorensen of Time:

     ... Monica Attard of CNN has the backstory. ...

     ... Amelia Lester in the New Yorker: "... supporters of President Obama, watching Gillard cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent to call him out for his own personal prejudice, hypocrisy, and aversion to facts, might be wishing their man would take a lesson from Australia."

News Ledes

AP: "A panel of three federal judges upheld a South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification, but delayed enforcement until next year, in a decision announced Wednesday, less than a month before this year's presidential election. In a unanimous ruling, the judges said there was no discriminatory intent behind the law, ruling that it would not diminish African-Americans' voting rights because people who face a 'reasonable impediment' to getting an acceptable photo ID can still vote if they sign an affidavit."

New York Times: "President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and a combat veteran who led a regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan."

New York Times: "The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons and be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict." ...

... New York Times: "With Syria's civil strife coursing through major cities and convulsing neighboring countries, the Turkish military sounded a somber warning on Wednesday that it may respond more forcefully after days of shelling from Syria."

AP: "Americans Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka won the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals. Such studies are key for developing better drugs. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two researchers had made groundbreaking discoveries on an important family of receptors, known as G-protein-coupled receptors."