The Wires

New York Times: "Margaret Brennan, the senior foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, will be the next moderator of 'Face the Nation,' the network’s prestige Sunday morning public affairs show and one of the most influential venues in American politics. Her new role, announced by CBS on Thursday, makes Ms. Brennan, 37, the only woman currently serving as a solo anchor of a major Sunday political affairs show. She succeeds John Dickerson, who left 'Face the Nation' in January after less than three years to replace Charlie Rose on 'CBS This Morning.'”

 

... No, Reality Chex has not turned into a Playboy wannabe. I just thought you'd like to see how Louise Linton, the wife of the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, thought she should pose for an Elle article about her various missteps as, you know, the wife of the Treasury Secretary. Maybe she should start asking herself, "What Would Karen Pence do?" -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie 

 

 

The Martin Luther King home in Atlanta. MLK, Jr. was born here. The house is a National Historic Site & you can visit it -- the National Park Service conducts tours.

More on the MLK house here.

Laura Holson of the New York Times profiles Joy Reid of MSNBC. Mrs. McC: If you've never seen Joy on the teevee, she is indeed a joy.

Cheddar Man! Serious Bad News for Donald Trump & All His White Supremacist Friends. New York Times: "He had dark skin, brown curly hair and blue eyes, DNA tests suggest, upending a common assumption that Britain’s indigenous populations were all pale skinned with fair features. He is 'Cheddar Man,' Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, which was discovered in 1903 in Gough’s Cave near the village of Cheddar in Somerset, in southwest England. He lived about 10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic period, the middle part of the Stone Age. Scientists have now reconstructed his features, demonstrating that he was part of a population of ancient Western Europeans that, scientists have shown in recent years, had dark skin. Research has shown that fair skin pigmentation — long considered a defining feature of Europe — only goes back less than 6,000 years." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: We all come from African ancestry, but now it turns out that those of us who appear whitey-white likely have more recent dark-skinned ancestors. Yes, Donald, you are Cheddar Man! Could you all stop being racists now?

Chrisco Gets Part-time Gig at ABC News. NJ.com: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "has been hired as an occasional contributor to ABC News, according to sources familiar with the discussions."

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Wednesday
Nov112015

The Commentariat -- Nov. 12, 2015

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, et al., of the New York Times: "While [President] Obama's 2008 election helped usher in a political resurgence for Democrats, the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously. In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation's governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009. Democratic losses in state legislatures under Mr. Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office -- more seats lost than under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower."

Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "President Obama focused his Veterans Day remarks on the growing ranks of former troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now searching for new ways to serve their country at home.... At Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, Obama spoke of progress in reducing wait times for veterans and a plummeting unemployment rate among vets. He stressed the country's continuing obligation to do more to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs and help veterans find work":

... Perry Stein of the Washington Post: "A couple dozen servicemen and women marched to the White House this Veterans Day and dumped a large box of empty pill containers, calling on the president and other federal officials to make medical marijuana accessible to veterans."

Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The White House endorsed legislation Tuesday that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration had been reviewing the bill 'for several weeks.'"

Austin Wright of Politico: "Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain is threatening a court battle if President Barack Obama tries to go around Congress in a last-ditch attempt to achieve his campaign pledge of closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Jennifer Haberkorn & Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Moderate Senate Republicans are voicing new opposition to a conservative-backed plan to defund Planned Parenthood -- a move that could imperil the GOP's long-cherished goal of sending an Obamacare repeal to the president's desk.... If the Planned Parenthood provision is in the final bill -- Senate Republican aides say no final decisions have been made -- a handful of votes from the moderate wing could also break away. They include [Lisa] Murkowski [Alaska], and Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine." ...

... Alexander Bolton of the Hill: "Senate Republicans are divided over how far to go with an ObamaCare repeal bill they plan to send to the president's desk by year's end. Senate GOP leaders have told their members they will repeal as much of the 2010 healthcare reform law as possible, but some Republicans are balking at a proposal to repeal the expansion of Medicaid."

Linda Greenhouse: A "2-to-1 decision in State of Texas v. United States held that the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program would likely be found after a trial to have exceeded the president's authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act.... The majority opinion is as cynical an exercise of judicial authority as I can remember -- and no, I haven't forgotten Bush v. Gore.... Assuming the [Supreme Court] justices agree to hear the case, it will be fascinating to see how they respond to a decision that reads like a judicial version of the old Woody Allen movie 'Sleeper,' in which everything that used to be bad for you is now good, and vice versa."

Spam Is More Disgusting than You Knew. Roberto Ferdman of the Washington Post: "An undercover video taken at one of the nation's largest pork producers shows pigs being dragged across the floor, beaten with paddles, and sick to the point of immobility. By law, pigs are supposed to be rendered unconscious before being killed, but many are shown writhing in apparent pain while bleeding out, suggesting that they weren't properly stunned. 'That one was definitely alive,' a worker says. The video also appears to show pigs with puss-filled abscesses being sent down the line. Others are covered in feces.... The graphic video -- available on YouTube in an edited form -- was covertly filmed by a contracted employee of Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit animal rights group that claims to have infiltrated an Austin, Minn., facility run by Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a supplier of Hormel Foods, the maker of Spam and other popular processed meats. The group has turned over the 97-minute unedited video to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has raised serious concerns about the conditions at the QPP facility and pledged a thorough investigation." ...

     ... See also Kate M.'s comment in today's thread.

Curtis Skinner of Reuters: "Students were set to walk out of classrooms across the United States on Thursday to protest ballooning student loan debt for higher education and rally for tuition-free public colleges and a minimum wage hike for campus workers. The demonstrations are planned just two days after thousands of fast-food workers took to the streets in a nationwide day of action pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for the industry. Events for Thursday's protests, dubbed the Million Student March, have been planned at colleges and universities from Los Angeles to New York."

Mireya Navarro of the New York Times: "Smoking would be prohibited in public housing homes nationwide under a proposed federal rule to be announced on Thursday, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The ban, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke-free."

Stephen Colbert remembers the Three Wise Snowmen:

Presidential Race

Nick Gass of Politico: "Bernie Sanders snagged a major union endorsement on Thursday, with the American Postal Workers' Union announcing its backing of the Democratic presidential candidate. Sanders' largest union pickup comes as his chief rival, Hillary Clinton, has earned several significant labor endorsements in recent weeks."

Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "... Hillary Clinton slammed GOP rival Donald Trump on Wednesday for his latest remarks about illegal immigration. 'The idea of tracking down and deporting 11 million people is absurd, inhumane, and un-American. No, Trump,' Clinton wrote on Twitter." ...

... Most Important Campaign News of the Day: Donald Trump agrees with confederate radio star Mark Levin that Hillary Clinton is wearing a wig. ...

... CW: Maybe thats' fair because "Clinton this summer poked fun at Trump's hair and questions swirling around the brash billionaire's do." ...

... People: "Political blogger Matt Drudge has alleged in a series of tweets to his 321,000 followers that wears a wig -- a claim her hairstylist is calling 'ridiculous.'" ...

... CW: Coming next week: Hillary undergoes chemo, confederates allege.

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "One Clinton story that has often been greeted with skepticism is her claim, first made in 1994, that she once tried to join the Marines in 1975. On the campaign trail [this week], she brought up the story again.... So far, we do not have enough documentary proof to say the incident never happened.... But the circumstances are in question. She pitches it as a matter of public service, but her friends suggest it ... happened in the context of the lack of opportunity for women.... So at this point Clinton's story is worthy of Two Pinocchios, subject to change if more information becomes available." CW: I don't see how it makes much sense to call a candidate half-a-liar when you can't disprove a claim she has made.

From Hillary Clinton's campaign:

... Brett LoGiurato & Colin Campbell of Business Insider: "Fox Business Network moderator Maria Bartiromo was briefly booed by a Republican-friendly debate crowd Tuesday night when she brought up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ...'impressive résumé.'" CW: Hey, it was a tough, unfair, liberal question. ...

... Frank Rich comments on last night's GOP "debate": "The least substantive candidates were the two leading the polls: Trump and Ben Carson, both of whom are running on sheer ego. Dealing with questions about national security and financial regulation, Carson spoke in generalities and non sequiturs that suggest he has no intention of learning the most rudimentary information he needs to execute the job he seeks. Asked, with kid gloves, to address the controversies attending his own biography, the good doctor said, 'People who know me know that I'm an honest person.' Well, that settles that! Trump also had little to offer beyond braggadocio and his usual self-congratulation on his ability to vanquish any adversary through sheer lung power and his Art of the Deal." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Gail Collins seems to think the debate would make a lovely topic of conversation around the family Thanksgiving dinner table. ...

... Mister Mix of Balloon Juice: "Trump kicked it off by saying that the princely sum of $31,000, which is the fortune that one lucky enough to pull down 15 US American Dollars per hour would make, is too high. We can't be competitive in the global Happy Meal toys and iPhone assembly race to the bottom if we are paying our workers a barely living wage. Ben Carson agreed: we can't effectively build and stock pyramids with the life-giving sustenance of grain by paying three pictures of Lincoln every backbreaking hour. And repeal Obamacare."

... Josh Marshall of TPM: "This debate is the logical outcome of the blow up after the CNBC debate. CNBC is a generally right leaning network on economic issues. But simply pressing the candidates to answer questions or noting when they're making demonstrably untrue claims made them liberal. So now we have a debate structured around letting candidates say absolutely anything - because scrutinizing candidates is liberal." ...

... Brian Beutler thinks a GOP debate structure where candidates get to make all the false claims they can, without being called out, is a boon for Democrats. "Jeb Bush, an exception to this overall dynamic, tried to bring a modicum of sobriety to the discussion by scolding his unrealistic adversaries. 'They're doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,' he said. Republicans should have listened to him." ...

... E. J. Dionne: "White working-class voters have been a key building block of the Republican coalition since the rise of the Reagan Democrats 35 years ago. You would think that the party's presidential candidates would want to respond to the heartbreaking crisis these Americans are facing.... The candidates were all about flat or flatter taxes, or levies on consumption, which tend to disadvantage lower-income Americans, who are suffering most in this economy. The GOP hopefuls often sounded as if they were addressing a convention of Mercedes owners." ...

... Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker: As the debate illustrated, many of the candidates' positions are more revolutionary than conservative. ...

... Emily Steel of the New York Times: "More than 13 million people tuned in to Fox Business Network to watch the fourth Republican presidential debate on Tuesday night in Milwaukee, according to Nielsen ratings data provided on Wednesday by the business news network. The viewership was the most ever in the history of the business news network, but less than previous debates in the 2016 presidential race. The highest rated debate so far this campaign season was the first on Fox News in August, which drew 24 million viewers. A subsequent debate on CNN in September drew nearly 23 million viewers." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Tom McCarthy of the Guardian: "Activist billionaire Charles Koch, who with his brother David has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to advance 'conservative' causes from voter ID laws to for-profit prisons to stand-your-ground gun laws, has no plans to endorse a Republican candidate in the presidential nominating race."

Dana Milbank: Ben Carson sees himself as the Anointed One (CW: a/k/a the Messiah) & so do many evangelicals. ...

... Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "Ben Carson on Wednesday evening said the stories in his best-selling books that have come under question by the media give a 'general flavor' as to what happened in his life, adding that it would be impossible to recount the exact details of events from decades ago." CW: Yes, the "general flavor" of my autobiography (which won't be an autobiography once I've written it -- see next story) will be that I am absolutely awesome & the hero of every event in my life. You will never have met anyone as terrific as the "flavor" of my story, even if you have met me.

... When Does an Autobiography Cease to Be an Autobiography? When It's Already Been Written. Hunter Walker of Yahoo News: "Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is ready to tell people who ask questions about his history to 'go jump in a lake,' he said[, following Tuesday night's debate.]... Carson elaborated on his rationale for not addressing skepticism about his biography when a reporter asked whether he felt that the moderators had let him 'off the hook' during the debate by not pressing him on the issue. 'From this point on, I get to determine what the hook is. I get to determine whether I'm going to answer what I consider silly questions,' Carson explained.... Yahoo News pointed out that many of the stories that have raised questions came from Carson's own books and speeches.... 'Yeah, but I'm not going to talk about them,' Carson said. '... I'm not going to let people drive this....' Yahoo then asked Carson why he wrote stories about his past that he no longer wants to discuss. 'Because before it was an autobiography, and it's not an autobiography now because it's already been written,' Carson said." Emphasis added.

... CW: By this logic, written autobiographies do not and cannot exist. One can say, "I am writing an autobiography." But it is not possible to say, "I wrote an autobiography," because once "it's already been written," it ceases to be an autobiography. What is the precise moment the autobiography dies? Is it when the author sends it to her publisher? Or when the editor sends it to print? Or at some other point? Ole Doc has waded deep into gibberish, people, and he cannot get out. ...

... Ed Kilgore: "It's an abiding tragedy to me that fundamentalists of every religious faith typically think they are expressing humble obedience to God by lording it over other people. It becomes more sinister when that kind of believer wants secular power over the 'secular' people they despise." ...

... James Bamford in Foreign Policy: "Carson's foreign-policy experts are likely part of his problem. The candidate's most outrageous statements on national security -- including his shocking declaration in September that he believes Muslims are unfit to serve as president -- aren't merely a collection of ill-informed gaffes. They are a reflection of the troubling worldview of the people he has turned to for advice. Chief among them is Robert F. Dees, a retired Army officer who has indulged in anti-Muslim bigotry and advocated for a national security strategy centered on Christian evangelism." ...

... Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "Ben Carson took a shot at Bernie Sanders in an address to students at the nation's largest Christian college on Wednesday, warning against 'unscrupulous politicians' offering free college that will add to the national debt and hasten 'the destruction of the nation.' Just 12 hours after the fourth Republican presidential debate concluded Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Carson told students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that a successful democracy depends on 'a well-informed and educated populace.'" Also, too, the Liberty U. kidz wouldn't get free tuition because Bernie would apply it only to public colleges & universities. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... CW: Too bad that under Ole Doc's "plan," the "populace" won't be able to afford an education. As for "Unscrupulous Bernie"'s plan, it would not "add to the national debt" & hasten "the destruction of the nation." Bernie would pay for the plan by "imposing a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street." So who's unscrupulous? Maybe your friends know you as Honest Ben Carson (see Frank Rich's comment above), but the rest of us are onto your grift. As for that picture of you & Jesus you have hanging in the front hall -- take a second look. That guy with his hand on your shoulder might just be the devil in a white nightgown. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

"Operation Wetback," Writ Yuuuuge. Washington Post Editors: Donald "Trump, who has stirred up so much enthusiasm for mass deportations, is now offering what he evidently regards as an exemplary template: the far more modest but still massively cruel round-'em-up-and-throw-'em-out program carried out, mainly in the summer of 1954, under the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.... Operation Wetback was a disgraceful episode that involved inhumane treatment of Mexican migrants, an unknown number of whom died or were sickened by being forcibly relocated and in many cases deposited in sweltering, remote locations with little food or water." ...

... Remembering the Good Old Days. Philip Bump of the Washington Post has more on Ike's deportation program, which was a human horror show.

... Even Bill O'Reilly is calling out Trump on his plans to emulate this "humane" deportation. With video. ...

... Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump on Wednesday morning repeated a statement he made the night before in the Republican presidential debate: that wages are 'too high' in the United States, an argument he made to explain his opposition to raising the minimum wage." ...

... ** Digby in Salon: "Under questioning from Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday's 'Morning Joe,' Trump explained that he would have to create a 'deportation force' to round up all these people, and has said before that it would have to include a number of American citizens, the children of these undocumented workers, because we can't be expected to take care of them. Also, it would be cruel to separate families. Just like Ike, he is so gosh darned nice."

Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg: "Marco Rubio has a three-step plan on illegal immigration. Trouble is, it's a three-step plan for Rubio to gain the Republican nomination, not to address illegal immigration." ...

... BUT Marco's plan is not bad enough for Tailgunner Ted. Greg Sargent: "... Cruz has unleashed what may be his most aggressive and sustained assault on Rubio yet, and the topic is indeed immigration." ...

... William Saletan of Slate: Marco Rubio's competitors are paving his way to the nomination. And "The debate's moderators might as well have been on Rubio's payroll.... In the end, it will be a two-man race between Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz. And in that personality contest, Rubio can't lose."

Leigh Ann Caldwell & Kasie Hunt of NBC News: "Former U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole announced his support of [Jeb Bush]. Announced on Veteran's Day, Dole will also serve as national veterans chairman for the Bush campaign."

Amanda Marcotte in Salon: Rand Paul trolls the GOP's "small government" farce. Apparently, Li'l Randy doesn't know that "'small government' is a code term for 'squash the little guy'..."

Eric Kleefeld of the National Memo: "One subject was conspicuously absent from the Republican debates on Tuesday night: The fact that the previous weekend, three of the candidates had attended a conference in Iowa run by a fringe religious-right minister who was actively advocating the death penalty for gays -- and, oh, saying that if his son married a man, he would show up for the wedding and smear his body in cow manure." Kleefeld goes to relate some of Kevin Swanson's other views. His post is titled, "It Gets Worse."

Beyond the Beltway

Elliot Hannon of Slate: "The University of Missouri on Wednesday announced Director of Greek Life, Janna Basler, one of the staff members involved in forcibly preventing a student journalist from covering Monday's protests on campus, has been place on administrative leave." ...

... Richard Perez-Pena & Christine Hauser of the New York Times: "Dr. [David] Kurpius[, dean of the University of Missouri's journalism department,] said in a message on Twitter late Tuesday that [Melissa] Click resigned her courtesy appointment with the journalism school during a faculty meeting that day. It was unclear whether her status within the department of communication, which is in the College of Arts and Sciences, had changed." See Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. below for links to background stories. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Peter Hassen of the conservative Campus Reform: "Dr. Dale Brigham, considered one of the most beloved professors at the University of Missouri, has resigned after refusing to cancel an exam for students who claimed to feel 'unsafe.'" ...

... Whyever would "those students" feel unsafe? ...

... Yamiche Alcindor & Doug Stanglin of USA Today: "Police arrested two college students in Missouri on Wednesday for making threats to black students that heightened tensions as the state's flagship University of Missouri-Columbia campus has been roiled in recent weeks by racial strife." ...

... Here's the kind of messages we're talking about: 'I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,'" read one post on the anonymous message app Yik Yak."...

... Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon elaborates, calling out Brigham for "shaming black students." Read her whole post, especially the message instructor Bradley Smith sent to his students.

Justin Moyer of the Washington Post: Judge Scott Johansen, a Utah juvenile judge with a history of weird & harsh decisions. removed an adopted child from the care of a lesbian couple because he believes "the child would be better off with heterosexual parents, he said." He said he did research! That was secret! "'On the one hand, I'm not going to expect my caseworkers to violate a court order,' Brent Platt, director of the Utah's Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), said, 'but on the other hand I'm not going to expect my caseworkers to violate the law.'"

Way Beyond

Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: Krzysztof Charamsa, who is a Vatican official, came out as gay in a melodramatic announcement right before Pope Francis's big synod. He is now living in an apartment in Rome with his partner. Gay Roman Catholics are divided on the effects of his stunt. CW: I have no problem with his coming out in a theatrical manner to highlight the Church's perverted view of homosexuality. But Faiola's story gives no indication that Charamsa addresses the issue of celibacy, & Charamsa is not celibate. The Church's problem with sexuality is far bigger than gay sexuality, & its expectations of priests & nuns are unnatural.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "An Ohio man was arrested and charged with trying to solicit the murder of members of the U.S. military in their homes and communities in a series of posts on social media, the FBI announced Thursday. The FBI said Terrence J. McNeil, 25, of Akron, repeatedly professed his support for the Islamic State and in September distributed a file on Tumblr that contained the photographs and names and addresses of dozens of U.S. military personnel."

New York Times: "Vincent Asaro, the reputed mobster charged in connection with the notorious 1978 Lufthansa robbery, walked out of federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday a free man after a jury cleared him of racketeering and other charges. The verdicts, delivered after little more than two days of deliberations, left many in the courtroom stunned, most visibly prosecutors from the United States attorney's office, which had spent years building a case against Mr. Asaro, 80, with testimony from high-ranking Mafia figures and recordings made by an informer for the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Reuters: "A man who sought a predawn psychiatric evaluation at a Bronx hospital was taken into custody by police on Thursday in connection with a fatal shooting this week near New York's Penn Station transportation hub, authorities said. Vincent Arcona, 27, who had been identified as a person of interest in Monday's shooting that left one man dead and two others wounded, was being held by police, a New York Police Department spokeswoman said.Arcona was not arrested or charged...."

New York Times: "Kurdish forces aided by thousands of lightly armed Yazidi fighters captured a strategic highway on Thursday in northern Iraq in the early stages of an offensive to reclaim the town of Sinjar from the Islamic State, which seized it last year and murdered, raped and enslaved thousands of Yazidis."

New York Times: "Hundreds of thousands of Greeks walked off their jobs on Thursday to protest austerity economics, as officials of the leftist-led government wrangled with the country's international creditors over the terms of Greece's third bailout. At least one Athens protest turned violent."

Tuesday
Nov102015

The Commentariat -- Nov. 11, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Frank Rich comments on last night's GOP "debate": "The least substantive candidates were the two leading the polls: Trump and Ben Carson, both of whom are running on sheer ego. Dealing with questions about national security and financial regulation, Carson spoke in generalities and non sequiturs that suggest he has no intention of learning the most rudimentary information he needs to execute the job he seeks. Asked, with kid gloves, to address the controversies attending his own biography, the good doctor said, 'People who know me know that I'm an honest person.' Well, that settles that! Trump also had little to offer beyond braggadocio and his usual self-congratulation on his ability to vanquish any adversary through sheer lung power and his Art of the Deal." ...

... From Hillary Clinton's campaign:

... Emily Steel of the New York Times: "More than 13 million people tuned in to Fox Business Network to watch the fourth Republican presidential debate on Tuesday night in Milwaukee, according to Nielsen ratings data provided on Wednesday by the business news network. The viewership was the most ever in the history of the business news network, but less than previous debates in the 2016 presidential race. The highest rated debate so far this campaign season was the first on Fox News in August, which drew 24 million viewers. A subsequent debate on CNN in September drew nearly 23 million viewers."

Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "Ben Carson took a shot at Bernie Sanders in an address to students at the nation's largest Christian college on Wednesday, warning against 'unscrupulous politicians' offering free college that will add to the national debt and hasten 'the destruction of the nation.' Just 12 hours after the fourth Republican presidential debate concluded Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Carson told students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that a successful democracy depends on 'a well-informed and educated populace.'" Also, too, the Liberty U. kidz wouldn't get free tuition because Bernie would apply it only to public colleges & universities. ...

... CW: Too bad that under Ole Doc's "plan," the "populace" won't be able to afford an education. As for "Unscrupulous Bernie"'s plan, it would not "add to the national debt" & hasten "the destruction of the nation." Bernie would pay for the plan by "imposing a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street." So who's unscrupulous? Maybe your friends know you as Honest Ben Carson (see Frank Rich's comment above), but the rest of us are onto your grift. As for that picture of you & Jesus you have hanging in the front hall -- take a second look. That guy with his hand on your shoulder might just be the devil in a white nightgown.

Richard Perez-Pena & Christine Hauser of the New York Times: "Dr. [David] Kurpius[, dean of the University of Missouri's journalism department,] said in a message on Twitter late Tuesday that [Melissa] Click resigned her courtesy appointment with the journalism school during a faculty meeting that day. It was unclear whether her status within the department of communication, which is in the College of Arts and Sciences, had changed." See Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. below for links to background stories.

*****

Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Why are so many veterans on death row?... Veterans who kill are not, by and large, hit men or members of organized crime or gangs. They very often lash out at those around them.... A third of the homicide victims killed by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were family members or girlfriends. Another quarter were fellow service members. This record suggests that, if these veterans had received adequate mental-health care, at least some of them and their victims might have had a different fate." Thanks to Islander for the link.

Presidential Race

Philip Rucker & Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "The leading Republican presidential candidates clashed sharply over immigration policy, military spending, and other intractable and emotional issues in a debate here Tuesday night, bringing into sharp relief the party's fault line between rigid conservatism and mainstream practicality." CW: "Mainstream practicality"? Really? ...

... ** For a better synopsis/blow-by-blow of the GOP "debates,' Driftglass has it all.

Glenn Kessler & Michelle Lee of the Washington Post: fact-check some of the candidates' remarks. Most play fast-&-loose with statistics. ...

Politico staffers also fact-checked the "debaters," & theirs is funnier. The one on Carly Fiorina is priceless. CW: I believe she bests Ben Carson on both sheer mendacity & resume'-plumping. And Rand Paul's climate-change-denial moment was pretty hilarious. But, hey, dinosaurs are thriving, aren't they? ...

... What the Candidates Don't Know. Jordan Weissman of Slate: International entrepreneur Donald Trump seemed unaware that China is not part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal or that it is, if anything, a U.S. plot to achieve hegemony in East Asian trade & leave China out in the cold. Also, "John Kasich appeared unaware that bank accounts are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during a discussion about financial industry bailouts."

Stephen Stromberg of the Washington Post: "... though Bush and Kasich did much more to demonstrate that they are reasonable policy minds, Rubio 'won' the debate. Cruz, meanwhile, did a fine job appealing to immigration ultras and anti-Fed cranks on the right -- not that anyone should be impressed." Rubio "won" because he's very good at reciting his stump speech. ...

... Or, as Frank Rich tweeted, "Fox Business's debate innovation: ask questions that allow candidates to give their stump speeches without fear of any follow up questions." ...

... Steve M.: Yeah, that's what everyone is saying. Even Ben Carson! The whole idea, after all, is to present a "debate" forum that is "a safe, nurturing space." CW: And you can bet the ratings for the ensuing so-called debates will slip. Stump speeches are boorrring.

Jonathan Chait: "In a debate where chastened moderators avoided interruptions or follow-ups, the candidates were free to inhabit any alternate reality of their choosing, unperturbed by inconvenient facts. Presumably, the general election will intrude, and the nominee will be forced to make a stronger case against what looks, at the moment, like peace and prosperity."

John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "... the three moderators oversaw a lively, if not always informed, debate centered on economic issues. At times, matters of real substance intruded on the rote recitations of Obamaphobia and supply-side economics.... Throughout the debate, the candidates did a resolute job of sticking to their fantastical scripts about cutting the tax rate to ten per cent (Cruz and Carson), abolishing the payroll tax (Cruz and Paul), doubling the economic-growth rate (Bush), and somehow balancing the budget (everyone). At one point, a frustrated Bartiromo said to Cruz, 'But you haven't told us how to pay for it' -- a remark that could have been directed at virtually any of the candidates."

Jamelle Bouie of Slate: "Even ignoring [their] flubs, misstatements, and half-truths, the GOP contenders were out of step with the actual economic needs of ordinary Americans.... Candidates came out against raising the minimum wage, called for a new gold standard for currency, and pushed plans for massive upper-income tax cuts. Unlike the first Democratic debate -- when [the candidates] ... tusseled over college affordability and health care costs -- there was little in the Republican debate that spoke to the challenges of ordinary people rather than businesses."

Michael Grunwald of Politico: "At last night's Fox Business debate on the economy, Republicans had to talk about the [2008 financial] crisis. It was a reminder of why they don't like doing that." Great fun when the only two candidates who made any (but not much) sense at all -- Bush & Kasich -- are former Lehman Brothers bankers.

The New York Times' report on last night's GOP debate, by Jonathan Martin & Patrick Healy, is here.

The New York Times is liveblogging the GOP debates here. The Guardian's liveblog is here. ...

... Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Fox Business will carry [tonight's GOP] debates live [at 7 & 9 pm ET]. Several cable providers are making the network available during the debates to subscribers who do not normally get it.... The network will be streaming the debate live on its website, and cable logins will not be required to watch.... The debate will also be streaming on the Fox News app, available on mobile phones and tablets." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "Tuesday night's main event will be moderated by Fox Business personalities Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto. In an interview with The Washington Post, they said they aimed to do better [than the CNBC moderators] -- and that they wouldn't put up with whining.... Tuesday night's debate could be a last stand for [Jeb] Bush, who came into the race as the well-funded front-runner and has never shown a fire to match his fundraising." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

"They Can Have Everything!" Tom Friedman (yes, Tom Friedman) gets it very right: Donald Trump is "not, as people say, an 'anti-politician.' He's actually caricaturing politicians. And like any great caricaturist, Trump identifies his subject's most salient features and then exaggerates them. In Trump's case the feature he's identifying is the ease with which career politicians look right into a camera and lie or embellish.... Mario Cuomo famously said: 'You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.' Trump says, in effect: That's for normal hack politicians. I will campaign in fantasy and govern in prose.... So enjoy the fun of this campaign while it lasts, because the next president will not be governing in poetry or prose or fantasy -- but with excruciating trade-offs. The joke is on us."

Apocalypse Now, Please. Digby, in Salon: "Donald Trump is running to be a strongman.... Ben Carson is ... running as a quasi-religious leader who will be able to overcome all these obstacles through the same miraculous process that has characterized his life story.... In both cases, the people who like them are not merely attracted to the fact that these men are outsiders, but also by qualities that will ostensibly allow them to transcend the normal process of democratic government. Despite their professions of love for the constitution, these voters no longer believe in the system of government that constitution sets forth."

Get to Know Your GOP Candidates. Yesterday, contributors mentioned this Rachel Maddow segment on how Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee & Bobby Jindal spent the time during Maddow's Democratic candidates' forum. The part about the GOP candidates begins just shy of 6 min. in. It could scarcely be more disgusting. It's hard to believe that Kevin Swanson has more or less the same kind of brain as I do. Maybe President Obama should get working on those re-education camps. If you have the stomach for it, watch:

Doc Ben's Fabulous Funny Bone. Caitlin Yilek: "... Ben Carson is mocking the media's scrutiny of his past by posting fake breaking news headlines on his Facebook page. 'During his residency, Ben offended a cupcake by calling it a muffin,' reads a fake Politico headline posted on Carson's timeline." CW: Hahahaha. I just can't stop laughing. ...

... Kevin Drum points out all the discrepancies between the real psych exam hoax & Ben Carson's made-up "honesty test." "At best, the hoax happened during Carson's freshman year in Psychology 10, and he then embellished it considerably in order to make it a proper testimonial to the power of God. At worst, he simply heard about the hoax and used it as the basis for a completely invented story in his book. I don't know which. But either way, the story in his book is substantially exaggerated in ways that really matter. This is not just nitpicking." ...

... CW: Another aspect that Drum doesn't illuminate is the way Carson shifted his story this week to fit the actual event, documentation of which his campaign miraculously found. In the Gifted Hands version of his tall tale, Carson said that "the professor then told him the makeup test was a hoax designed 'to see who was the most honest student in the class.'" That is, it wasn't really a hoax, but a quasi-controlled experiment. Carson wasn't a "victim"; he was a subject of the study. But last week, on his Facebook page, Carson wrote, "On Saturday a reporter with the Wall Street Journal published a story that my account of being the victim of a hoax at Yale where students were led to believe the exams they had just taken were destroyed and we needed to retake the exam was false." (Emphasis added.) In his Gifted Hands "account," however, he did not describe himself as a victim at all, but as the winner of a test of integrity. Moreover, Carson is slyly attributing to the WSJ reporter Reid Epstein an assertion that Epstein did not make. In addition, how was Epstein supposed to check the facts on a story where Carson changed almost every fact, including the year of the event. the name of the course, the purpose of the test & the perp? Then Carson has the gall to say the paper should apologize. He's a snake. ...

... CW: Robert Bateman of Esquire backs up a statement I've made regarding Carson's claim he was offered a "full scholarship" -- or appointment -- to West Point. Bateman's detailed analysis shows that Carson's claim, including his "clarifications" this past week, was unpossible.

Jeb! Can't Handle the Small Stuff. Martin Longman of the Washington Monthly: Jeb! is supposed to be competent and experienced. His team is supposed to know what it is doing and have a shot at matching the team the Clintons will bring to the general election contest. He's supposed to have enough establishment support and resources to not have to worry about things like ballot access that can be a real challenge to cash-strapped and little-known candidates. And, yet, even in a deep red state where he's got significant establishment support, he couldn't accomplish the simple job of finding a couple of handfuls of people to serve as his delegates. It's almost sad, really." ...

... CW: Sad Jeb! needs a big, dramatic event to jumpstart his candidacy. I would suggest he go back in time & slay Baby Hitler. But Simon Maloy of Salon doesn't think Jeb! is up to that job, either.

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "A federal judge set in motion a process Tuesday that could result in thousands more pages of emails and other records from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top aides being made public in the coming months as Clinton's presidential campaign rolls forward. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered the State Department to turn over 700 pages of those records to Vice News reporter Jason Leopold by December 1 and promised to set a schedule for monthly releases thereafter. He said the volume of pages the agency must produce each month would increase over time." ...

All the News That's Fit to Hypothesize. Rachel Bade of Politico: "... the FBI has stepped up inquiries into the security of the former secretary of state's home-made email system and how aides communicated over email, Politico has learned. The FBI's recent moves suggest that its inquiry could have evolved from the preliminary fact-finding stage that the agency launches when it receives a credible referral, according to former FBI and Justice Department officials interviewed by Politico."

Real News

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama will ask the Supreme Court to clear the way for his long-delayed immigration overhaul, administration lawyers said Tuesday, setting up another high-stakes legal contest in the nation's highest court over the fate of one of the president's signature achievements. The Department of Justice said in a statement that it will appeal a federal appeals court ruling that blocked Mr. Obama's plan to provide work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants while shielding most of them from deportation." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Julia Preston of the New York Times: "Congress set up the H-1B [immigration visa] program to help American companies hire foreigners with exceptional skills, to fill open jobs and to help their businesses grow. But the program has been failing many American employers who cannot get visas for foreigners with the special skills they need. Instead, the outsourcing firms are increasingly dominating the program, federal records show. In recent years, they have obtained many thousands of the visas -- which are limited to 85,000 a year -- by learning to game the H-1B system without breaking the rules, researchers and lawyers said.... And the share of H-1B visas obtained by outsourcing firms has grown, more Americans say they are being put out of work, or are seeing their jobs moved overseas.... Lawmakers have largely overlooked the outsourcing companies' role in the visa process." CW: Because they're busy writing laws to repeal ObamaCare, curtail women's rights & Benghaaazi! ...

... WhaddidItellya? Alexander Bolton of the Hill: "The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that defunding Planned Parenthood can be part of a special Republican package repealing parts of ObamaCare, The Hill has learned. The parliamentarian on Tuesday gave word that the provision passes muster under the Senate's Byrd Rule, which means it can be attached to a reconciliation package that cannot be filibustered on the Senate floor." If only Bolton could have worked Benghaazi! into that lede. ...

... But that's not enough for the grandstanding presidential candidates. Alexander Bolton: "Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) ... have forced [Mitch] McConnell's hand by announcing they will not support the House bill [described above]. They say it does not go far enough to repeal President Obama's healthcare law.... Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ... has said he won&'t rest until ObamaCare is '100 percent repealed.'"

Cory Bennett of the Hill: "President Obama on Tuesday nominated Beth Cobert to be permanent director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), just months after the agency's previous director resigned amid likely the largest government data breach ever. Cobert has been the agency's acting director since former OPM head Katherine Archuleta stepped down, bowing to the growing calls for her firing from lawmakers claiming the OPM needed a more tech-savvy leader."

Igor Volsky, et al., of Think Progress: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden on Tuesday as part of his latest visit to the United States, during which he's attempting to appeal to both conservatives and progressives. In a wide-ranging forum, the hawkish prime minister invoked several of his favorite claims about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." CAP fact-checked Netanyahu's remarks. The title of the post is "10 Falsehoods that Netanyahu Told During His Appearance at CAP."

Annals of "Justice," Ctd. Ashley Southall of the New York Times: "A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that Louisiana could keep an inmate locked up for the 1972 murder of a prison guard and said prosecutors may try him a third time for the killing. The three-judge panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided 2 to 1 to reverse a lower-court ruling ordering the release of the inmate, Albert Woodfox, and barring state prosecutors from retrying him. Mr. Woodfox has served more than 40 years in solitary confinement." ...

... Charles Pierce States the Obvious: "Woodfox was in solitary at Angola for 43 freaking years. That's not American jurisprudence. That's a dungeon out of medieval Europe. He's old and he's sick. If the Louisiana authorities waste time and money retrying this case, when all the witnesses are dead, they deserve every bit of waste-fraud-and-abuse scorn that gets heaped on imaginary welfare queens and their imaginary Cadillacs. Put an ankle bracelet on the guy, if you must, and let him go home."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Mizzou Journalism Prof Uses Force to Shut Down Free Press. Austin Huguelet & Daniel Victor of the New York Times: "A video that showed University of Missouri protesters restricting a student photographer's access to a public area of campus on Monday has ignited discussions about press freedom.... Protesters blocked [the] view [of photographer Tim Tai,] and argued with him, eventually pushing him away.... [The videographer,] Mark Schierbecker..., approached a woman, later identified as an assistant professor of mass media, Melissa Click.... When he revealed that he was a journalist, Ms. Click appeared to grab at his camera. She then yelled, 'Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.'... The dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, David Kurpius, said in a statement on Tuesday that the school was 'proud' of the way Mr. Tai handled himself.... He also noted that Ms. Click is a faculty member of the communications department, which is separate from the journalism school. He said she holds a 'courtesy appointment' with the journalism school that faculty members would take 'immediate action' to review." ...

... Melissa Click, Professor of Inanity. Bethania Markus of the Raw Story: "Revoking Click's courtesy appointment [to the School of Journalism] only prevents her from teaching journalism classes. According to the Federalist, Click's current research involves, '50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans' relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children's television programs.'" CW: Where do i sign up? ...

... Jim Fallows of the Atlantic: "The point the photographer makes is that they're all standing on public property, and just as they have a First Amendment right to protest, he has a First Amendment right to record what is going on. And, as he points out, to document it for history.... What struck me as the encounter intensified was his unflappable, always polite, but unrelenting insistence on his First Amendment rights, as they are insisting on theirs.... Sincere congratulations to someone who this morning had no idea he would be in the national eye. But he turned out to be, and behaved in a way that reflects credit on him and the calling of news-gathering. Update Admiration as well to Mark Schierbecker, the video journalist who recorded the entire episode." ...

... Steve M.: "... in America, those protesters [are] far from the only people who think they can banish non-allies from their 'safe space.' And the conservative counterparts of those protesters think their 'safe space' should be the whole damn country."

Beyond the Beltway

Jesse McKinley of the New York Times: New York "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to unilaterally create a $15 minimum wage for all state workers, making New York the first state to set such a high wage for a large group of public employees." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

AP: "University of Missouri police say the department has arrested a suspect accused of making online threats against black students and faculty."

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The European Union set new guidelines Wednesday requiring that Jewish settlements clearly label export products as coming from occupied territories. Israeli leaders condemned the move as discriminatory and warned relations could suffer with its biggest trading partner."

AP: "Russia has circulated a document on ending the nearly five-year-old Syrian conflict that calls for drafting a new constitution in up to 18 months that would be put to a popular referendum and be followed by an early presidential election. The document ... makes no mention of Syrian President Bashar Assad stepping down during the transition -- a key opposition demand. It only mentions that 'the president of Syria will not chair the constitutional commission.'" ...

... AP: "A Russian proposal to end Syria's conflict that would include early presidential elections faced opposition from both sides on Wednesday, as deep divisions remained over the fate of President Bashar Assad."

New York Times: "Myanmar's military establishment on Wednesday acknowledged the victory of the country's democracy movement led by the Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, raising hopes for a peaceful transfer of power after five decades of military domination."

AP: "Russia will counter NATO's U.S.-led missile defense program by deploying new strike weapons capable of piercing the shield, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. Putin told defense officials that by developing defenses against ballistic missiles Washington aims to 'neutralize' Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent and gain a "decisive military superiority."

AP: "Church bells tolled and officials laid wreaths across Europe on Armistice Day on Wednesday to pay tribute to the millions of soldiers killed during World War I. Thousands of people lined the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris to see President Francois Hollande lay a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe, where an eternal flame burns aside France's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."

Monday
Nov092015

The Commentariat -- Nov. 10, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Fox Business will carry [tonight's GOP] debates live [at 7 & 9 pm ET]. Several cable providers are making the network available during the debates to subscribers who do not normally get it.... The network will be streaming the debate live on its website, and cable logins will not be required to watch.... The debate will also be streaming on the Fox News app, available on mobile phones and tablets." ...

... David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "Tuesday night's main event will be moderated by Fox Business personalities Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto. In an interview with The Washington Post, they said they aimed to do better [than the CNBC moderators] -- and that they wouldn't put up with whining.... Tuesday night's debate could be a last stand for [Jeb] Bush, who came into the race as the well-funded front-runner and has never shown a fire to match his fundraising."

Jesse McKinley of the New York Times: New York "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to unilaterally create a $15 minimum wage for all state workers, making New York the first state to set such a high wage for a large group of public employees."

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama will ask the Supreme Court to clear the way for his long-delayed immigration overhaul, administration lawyers said Tuesday, setting up another high-stakes legal contest in the nation's highest court over the fate of one of the president's signature achievements. The Department of Justice said in a statement that it will appeal a federal appeals court ruling that blocked Mr. Obama's plan to provide work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants while shielding most of them from deportation."

*****

Dan Diamond of Vox: "Politicians might battle over the 'real' unemployment rate, but don't be fooled: The BLS data is trusted by economists.... Obama can now argue that under his watch, unemployment has been cut in half [from 10 to 5 percent].... President George W. Bush inherited 4.2 percent unemployment in January 2001. That rate had grown to 7.8 percent when he left office eight years later and hit 8.3 percent in the first full month of Obama's presidency.... Bush made the decision to enact major tax cuts, launch two wars overseas, and spend about $1 trillion on homeland security -- and each one of those moves significantly increased the US deficit and contributed to a weaker economy. Meanwhile, Obama's January 2009 stimulus package and the March 2010 Affordable Care Act clearly affected the economy, too, and seemingly in more positive ways."

Ron Johnson Continues Successful Five-Year Effort to Prove He's America's Stupidest Senator. Elise Foley & Roque Planas of the Huffington Post: "It's not so bad to deport children to what was until recently the murder capital of the world, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)..., Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairman..., said Friday, since Honduras is 'a beautiful country' with 'gorgeous resort zones.'" CW: Why do you kids hang out in those "gorgeous resort zones" instead of living in hovels surrounded by thugs & murderers?

Josh Gerstein & Seung Min Kim of Politico: "A federal appeals court has rejected President Barack Obama's effort to move forward with a series of executive actions he announced last year seeking to give quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. The 2-1 ruling Monday from the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit is a defeat for the Obama administration, but one that may have come just in the nick of time to give the Supreme Court the chance to revive Obama's attempt to make it easier for many immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally to live and work here.... Delay in the issuance of the appeals court's ruling was raising doubt about whether the Supreme Court would have an opportunity to resolve the case in time to allow Obama to move forward with the programs before leaving office." ...

... The New York Times story, by Michael Shear & Julia Preston, is here. ...

... Greg Sargent figures that, besides the untold hurt the appellate court's decision rains down on millions of residents, the Supreme Court's decision could drop a "massive bomb" on the GOP in next year's elections.

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a police officer who shot and killed a fleeing suspect from a highway overpass. The court's decision was unsigned and issued without full briefing and oral argument, an indication that the majority found the case to be easy. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling endorsed 'a "shoot first, think later" approach to policing.'... A [Texas] state trooper, Chadrin L. Mullenix, took a position on a highway overpass, where he was told to 'stand by' and 'see if the spikes work first.' Mr. Mullenix instead fired six shots, killing Israel Leija[, who was fleeing by car from police who had attempted to arrest him minutes earlier.] The car then hit the spike strip and rolled over twice."

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is a stickler for evenly distributing the workload of the Supreme Court, but he plays favorites among his eight colleagues when assigning the court's most important decisions. Not surprisingly, Roberts calls his own number more than anyone else's and assigns the next-highest number to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the pivotal justice on the ideologically divided court, according to a new study by Harvard law Prof. Richard J. Lazarus published in the Harvard Law Review." (Also linked yesterday.)

Eric Yoder of the Washington Post: "Salaries of federal employees continue to lag behind those of similar private-sector jobs by 35 percent on average, an advisory committee has said in presenting what amounts to the latest data point in a long-running debate over how the two sectors compare."

... MEANWHILE. Rupert Neate of the Guardian: "Pity Wall Street's bankers. Their year-end bonuses are expected to fall by 5 to 10% this year -- the first drop since 2011, according to a survey released on Monday. But before you reach for the tissues, realise the average bonus (on top of salary) paid to New York's 167,800 bankers last year was $172,860. The average US household income last year was $53,657, according to the US Census." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Tom Krisher of the AP: "Volkswagen is offering $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers as a goodwill gesture to owners of small diesel-powered cars involved in an emissions cheating scandal. The offer announced Monday goes to owners of 482,000 cars in the U.S., many who are angry at the company because they paid extra for the cars to be environmentally sensitive without losing peppy acceleration.... The offer also includes free roadside assistance for the diesel vehicles for three years.... Volkswagen already is offering $2,000 to current VW owners to trade in their cars for new vehicles, and the gift cards and vouchers would add $1,000 to that." CW: I can't figure out from the story how a VW owner can use these "gift cards" other than on buying a new VW or Audi. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Jonathan Ferziger & Margaret Talev of Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that while their differences on the Iran nuclear pact are 'no secret,' their countries must work together in fighting terrorism and seeking peace with the Palestinians. The split between the two leaders is on the 'narrow issue' of the nuclear agreement with Iran, Obama said as he met with Netanyahu in the Oval Office Monday for the first time in 13 months. 'We don't have a disagreement on making sure that Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon,' he said." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Dana Milbank: "Earlier this year, the Israeli prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] did more than any of his predecessors over nearly 70 years to turn his country into a partisan political issue in the United States.... Now, as Netanyahu visits the United States, he decided to accept, on the same day he met [President] Obama in the Oval Office, an award from a group of neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute who applaud his stand against the Obama administration. The acceptance of the award, which has previously gone to, among others, Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia, led the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg to conclude that 'Netanyahu has decided to troll Obama.'"

Rebecca Ruiz of the New York Times: "Top Russian athletes, including Olympians and winners of prestigious events like the Chicago marathon, have for years participated in a systematic doping program that involved some of Russia's sports officials, the World Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday.The agency released a lengthy report here that described a pervasive doping culture among Russia's sports programs, evoking notorious drug regimes like the state-run doping system of East Germany." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Rainforest Trust: "On Sunday, November 8, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala will approve the creation of a 3.3 million-acre national park at Sierra del Divisor, protecting an immense expanse of Amazon rainforest. The new park -- which is larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined -- strategically secures the final link in a 67 million-acre Andes-Amazon Conservation Corridor, forming one of the largest contiguous blocks of protected areas in the Amazon, and is vital to protecting one of the planet's last remaining strongholds for wildlife biodiversity and indigenous communities." Via the New York Times.

Christine Hauser of the New York Times: "The leader of the free world now has a personal Facebook page, and more than 45,000 people clicked 'like' on it in the first hour it was live on Monday. It seems unlikely that a man whose daily schedule often includes meetings with world leaders and briefings on national security will have much time to post pictures of his meals or comment on pet photos. But as The Times reported this week, Mr. Obama now has a 20-member social media team at the White House that aims to bring more spontaneity and accessibility to the presidency, a position that has become highly choreographed and constricted in modern times." For all you Facebook fans, the President's page is here.

Commie cups?It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Everywhere but Starbucks. Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post: "Like everything connected to Christmas, this year's 'War on Christmas' freakout has arrived early.... Starbucks won't feature tree ornaments or snowflakes or reindeer like it did on its old winter cups. Because those totally said birth of Jesus, right?... The devout went wild. One after another, folks declared on Facebook and other social media that they've had their last nonfat vanilla latte." ...

... Doodle Your Own Baby Jesus. Sydney Ember of the New York Times: "'Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus,' Joshua Feuerstein, who described himself as an evangelist, Internet and social media personality, wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.... The protests were so loud that Starbucks sought on Sunday to clarify its decision to remove the holiday symbols. In a statement on its website, the company said it took its cue from 'customers who have been doodling designs on cups for years. This year's design is another way Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas,' the company said.... The cups, however..., Starbucks said..., featured 'a two-toned ombré design, with a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry below.'" ...

Maybe we should boycott Starbucks.... If I become president, we're all going to be saying "Merry Christmas" again. That I can tell you. That I can tell you! Unbelievable. -- Donald Trump, yesterday

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

CW: If the Huffington Post is to be taken seriously as a news outlet, (1) their editors will put stories about Donald Trump back on the political page (they moved him to the entertainment page some while back). And (2) their reporters will stop asking ridiculous questions like, "Say, Jeb!, if you could go back in time to kill baby Adolf Hitler in his crib, would you do it?" (And we would not have to suffer an equally-ridiculous answer like "Hell yeah, I would! You gotta step up, man.") What? Are you all 10-year-olds?

Rees Shapiro of the Washington Post: "The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter at the University of Virginia filed a $25 million lawsuit Monday against Rolling Stone magazine, which published an article in 2014 that alleged a freshman was gang raped at the house during a party."

AND Charles Pierce awards the Sunday showz prize to Chuck Todd. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee will bring the eight leading contenders together at a time when two are confronting questions about their pasts, one faces mounting doubts about his seriousness, and another who began the race as a favorite is under intense pressure to show he can be as forceful as he was cracked up to be. Yet their ability to address those problems could actually depend on whether Fox Business Network, the host of the debate, fails to deliver on its promises for a policy-driven evening focused on sober economic issues." ...

... Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Wisconsin is a striking showcase for the GOP's dominance of state governments across the country and its iron grip on the U.S. House of Representatives.... It's no accident we're having a GOP debate here."

Jenna Johnson & David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "As [Donald] Trump has become the defining character of this GOP primary, the race itself has seemed to take on elements of Trump's personality -- in particular, his aggressive, seemingly shameless rejection of the idea that he has ever been wrong. The influence is particularly strong in [Carly] Fiorina and [Ben] Carson, the two outsiders who rose in Trump's slipstream.... Like Trump, some of these outsiders' most memorable debate moments have come while uttering statements that turned out to be exaggerated or untrue. And, like Trump, they have played to a distrustful electorate by criticizing the fact-checkers, and refusing to acknowledge any facts were wrong. So far, it's working.... This dynamic -- candidates dodging questions about their honesty, and attacking the questioners instead -- was much less prominent in the only Democratic debate of the 2016 election so far." ...

... CW: Really? Let's not pretend Donald Trump is the inspiration for Fiorina's & Carson's lies. Both have been liars for decades. But it's nice to see a "news" story point out the candidates are lying' & denyin'. ..

... Steve M.: "Ben Carson has acknowledged that he didn't get the facts straight when he told us about that Yale exam he took a second time, but he blamed the co-author of his memoir Gifted Hands." His unreliable ghostwriter was Cecil Murphey, who also ghostwrote some "heaven tourism" books & coauthored a faith-healing book. "Should you trust a book written by this guy? Should you trust the biographical account of a presidential candidate who'd collaborate with a guy like this?" ...

... CW: Um, didn't Carson have editorial control of the text? Puh-leze. ...

... Andrew Kaczynski, et al., of BuzzFeed: "A former staff member of the Yale Record says that he recalls many of the details of a prank that Dr. Ben Carson wrote about in an autobiography.... In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Monday, Curtis Bakal, an editorial assistant at the satirical Yale Record who says he helped write the fake test, said he was '99% certain the way Carson remembers it is correct.'" CW: Several key details, including the year of the prank & the central point of Carson's story, are at odds with Bakal's "99 percent certainty." Whether Carson borrowed the whole story or was actually taken in by the hoax in his first semester at university, its purpose was not, as Carson claims, a Diogenes-like effort to Find the One Honest Man at Yale: Me, Ben Carson....

** ... James Hohmann of the Washington Post: "Ben Carson doesn't understand what running for president entails.... On [the] Sunday shows, the retired neurosurgeon asserted repeatedly that no one has ever been vetted like he's being right now. That is not backed up by the facts.... Carson's complaints also sounded silly because they were uttered as many reporters were poring over Marco Rubio's credit card receipts from a decade ago...." Read the whole story. ...

... The Chicago Tribune's editorial board really does a number on Carson. The board faults him for his fabrications, for his pretending that the media has singled him out, & for his lack of understanding of policy issues" "his plan for Medicare and Medicaid indicated 'he doesn't understand the concept of insurance,' according to Gail Wilensky, who ran the federal programs under President George H.W. Bush." The Trib is still a conservative paper, isn't it?

War Stories, Ctd. Jason Horowitz of the New York Times: "Since he was a boy, Senator Ted Cruz has said, all he wanted to do was 'fight for liberty' -- a yearning that he says was first kindled when he heard his father's tales of fighting as a rebel leader in Cuba in the 1950s, throwing Molotov cocktails, running guns and surviving torture.... But the family narrative that has provided such inspirational fire and biographical heft to Mr. Cruz's speeches, debate performances and a recently published memoir is, his father's Cuban contemporaries say, an embroidered one.... In interviews, Rafael Cruz's former comrades and friends disputed his description of his role in the Cuban resistance. He was a teenager who wrote on walls and marched in the streets, they said -- not a rebel leader running guns or blowing up buildings.... There is no question that Rafael Cruz ... was beaten in 1957 at the hands of agents for Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator.... The reason Mr. Cruz was arrested, however, is less clear, and he has offered different explanations...." Although Rafael has claimed his was arrested for trying to recruit a person who turned out to be a Batista informant, Cubans who remember the event say he was arrested for carrying a pistol.

Maggie Haberman & Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "Seething with anger and alarmed over [Marco] Rubio's rise, aides to [Jeb] Bush ... and his allies are privately threatening a wave of scathing attacks on his former protégé in the coming weeks, in a sign of just how anxious they have become about the state of Mr. Bush's candidacy."

Kira Lerner of Think Progress: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed legislation Monday that would have added 1.6 million new voters to the state's rolls and made New Jersey the third state in the country to adopt automatic voter registration. After sitting on the 'Democracy Act' for almost five months, the governor and Republican presidential candidate vetoed his second voting rights-related bill in three years...."

... Brent Johnson of NJ.com: "Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate who has touted his Second Amendment credentials on the campaign trail, rejected [i.e., vetoed] a gun control bill Monday despite a plea from former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords urging him to sign it. Christie conditionally vetoed the measure (A4218), which would have tightened a New Jersey law that bans convicted domestic violence offenders and those subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm.... In his veto message, Christie suggested toughening penalties for those convicted of domestic abuse, as well as making it easier for victims to obtain their own guns.... Conditional vetoes allow the state Legislature to vote upon Christie's suggested changes to a bill and send it back to the governor for his approval." CW: Because there's nothing better than a family shoot'em-up. ...

... BUT, hey, Christie is against bestiality. CW: A brave stand, buddy.

Beyond the Beltway

John Eligon & Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times: "Amid a wave of student and faculty protests, primarily over racial tensions, that all but paralyzed its flagship campus here, the president of the University of Missouri system resigned Monday, urging everyone involved to 'use my resignation to heal and start talking again.' The president, Timothy M. Wolfe, had grown increasingly isolated, with opposition to his leadership reaching a crescendo in the last few days: The faculty council issued a statement of concern about him; football players said they would refuse to play until he left, potentially costing the university millions of dollars; the university's student government on Monday demanded his ouster; and much of the faculty canceled classes for two days, in favor of a teach-in focused on race relations." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

... The St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, by Stephen Deere, is here. With video of Wolfe's resignation announcement. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Philip Bump of the Washington Post on how the University of Missouri's football team took down the school's president. It's about the money. ...

... Steve M. "... conservative critics have countered that the [football players &] students [who fought for President Wolfe's resignation] are 'cowardly liberal lazy douchebags' (Leon H. Wolf at RedState) and charged that the students 'declared at University of Missouri that white people must be fired for being white' (the Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro); the school's College Republicans compared the protesters to Islamist terrorists: .... I'd compare them to House Republicans.... These students ... did exactly what the conservative movement did to [John] Boehner: they applied pressure until he realized that his position was untenable.... The defenestration of Boehner was, as I recall, hailed by conservatives as a great moment for American liberty, even though he'd been duly elected by both the voters of his district and the very House Republicans who went on to toss him out the window." CW: The Rule: when white confederates revolt, it's a "great moment for American liberty"; when black people revolt, they're "cowardly liberal lazy douchbag terrorists." ...

... AND, let's be clear, this was not exclusively a revolt of black football players & a few sympathetic white liberaly lazy douchbag students. Columbia Daily Tribune: "The same day University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation, the deans of nine different MU colleges requested the dismissal of Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. In a letter sent Monday to Wolfe and the UM Board of Curators, the deans said they wanted to express 'our deep concern about the multitude of crises on our flagship campus' and call for Loftin's dismissal. Previously, faculty of two departments sent similar letters calling for Loftin's resignation. ...

... SO THEN ... Columbia Daily Tribune: "About six hours after University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned because of racial tensions on campus, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said he will transition to a new role. Loftin spoke at the conclusion of a lengthy UM Board of Curators meeting and said he would transition effective Jan. 1 to a new role as director for research facility development.... Donald Cupps, chairman of the Board of Curators..., announced a series of initiatives to address the racial climate of the UM System campuses. The initiatives will be implemented in the next 90 days, Cupps said." ...

... Elahe Izadi of the Washington Post: "Tim Wolfe's resignation Monday as the University of Missouri System president came after months of escalating racial tension surrounding high-profile incidents on the flagship campus in Columbia, Mo., and student criticism about the administration's response. Here's a rundown of what happened leading up to Wolfe's announcement that he was stepping down from his post leading the four-campus system."

Way Beyond

Stephen Castle of the New York Times: "After days of conflicting signals about his attitude toward the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday formally outlined his approach to negotiations with other member countries ahead of a crucial referendum that will determine whether Britain stays in the 28-nation bloc. His demands included a safeguard to prevent countries that use the euro from discriminating economically against Britain, which has retained the pound; a stronger role for national parliaments in European Union decision-making; and an end to Britain's legal commitment, as a signatory to European Union treaties, to pursue 'ever closer union,' which conservatives see as a threat to national sovereignty." ...

... Guardian coverage, in the form of a liveblog, is here.

Guardian: "Egyptian investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat has been freed from military custody following his arrest for 'publishing false news'."