The Wires

The Los Angeles Times has the full list of Oscar nominees here.

NBC Sports: "Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez, and Mike Mussina have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America as part of the 2019 class. The results were just announced on MLB Network. Rivera received votes from every single writer who submitted a ballot, becoming the first player ever to be unanimously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Halladay and Edgar Martínez each received 85.4 percent of the vote and Mussina appeared on 76.7 percent of ballots. Rivera, 49, spent all 19 of his seasons in the majors with the Yankees. He was initially used as a starter, but quickly moved to the bullpen, becoming the greatest closer of all-time. He racked up 652 saves — the most in baseball history — during the regular season along with a 2.21 ERA anda 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings. He saved his best work for the postseason. Rivera appeared in 96 postseason games, saving 42 saves in 47 opportunities with a 0.70 ERA and a 110/21 K/BB ratio in 141 innings. Rivera won five championships, five Rolaids Relief Awards, as well as MVP awards in the World Series, ALCS, and All-Star Game. He made the AL All-Star team 13 times."

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If you're a shut-out Trump Shutdown victim tooling around the Internets with nothing to do today, let's assume that some day some time, Trump will de-furlough you and you can get back to work enthusiastically serving the American people in your appointed capacity. In case Trump has rendered you a bit rusty in the area of job skills, Conan here provides some useful tools that may help you get to work on time, even on casual Friday:

ABC News: "Breathtaking drone video of a pod of friendly, playful dolphins joining a surfer as he took to the waves near the coast of Ventura, California, is making the rounds on social media and bringing smiles -- and wow's -- to viewers. ABC station KABC-TV's meteorologist Kimi Evans met the drone's owner Craig Badger, who shared the footage, and spoke to surfer Alden Blair.... The video has been seen more than 3 million times on social media." ...

NBC Suits Are Such Geniuses. New York Times: "After a drawn-out negotiation period, NBC and Megyn Kelly have formally agreed to part ways. The network and the onetime cable news star reached a final agreement on Friday, nearly three months after she wondered aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween. NBC and a representative for Ms. Kelly declined to reveal the details of the exit package. But according to two people familiar with the negotiations, Ms. Kelly was paid the outstanding balance on her contract, a figure that amounts to roughly $30 million. At the time of the separation, Ms. Kelly was in the middle of a three-year, $69 million contract with the network."

New York Times: "The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the novelist MacKenzie Bezos announced on Twitter Wednesday that they are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. In a statement posted on Mr. Bezos’s Twitter account, the couple said they had been separated for a long period of time, but planned to remain involved as 'parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects.' According to a 1999 profile in Wired, the two met when they both worked at D.E. Shaw, a New York-based hedge fund, before moving in 1994 to Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. They have four children.... As is the case in any celebrity split, the financial details of the divorce are sure to be complicated despite the couple’s vow to “remain cherished friends.” According to Forbes, which publishes an annual list of billionaires, his net worth is estimated at $137 billion and he is the richest man in the world. While much of his wealth is tied up in Amazon stock, Mr. Bezos, 54, the company’s chief executive, is also the owner of several companies, including The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a space travel company."

Here's a list of the Golden Globe winners, via Market Watch. CNN has posted highlights on a liveblog & currently has a whole buncha links to related stories on CNN Entertainment. And if you're in it for the red carpet, there's this:

New York Times : "Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved, 4,400-year-old tomb of a royal priest and his family in Egypt, in a 'one of a kind' find, the Egyptian authorities announced on Saturday. The tomb was unearthed in Saqqara, a city south of Cairo and a vast necropolis from ancient Egypt. The discovery dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt, according to Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s minister of antiquities. The fifth dynasty governed for less than two centuries, from 2,500 B.C. to about 2,350 B.C., according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tomb had remained untouched, said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s supreme council of antiquities, according to Reuters."

"The Christmas Comet Returneth." New York Times: "Look into the night sky on Sunday [December 16] and you just might see a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. That’s because a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries, right on the heels of this year’s most stunning meteor shower. 'The fuzziness is just because it’s a ball of gas basically,' Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, said on Saturday morning.... 'You’ve got a one-kilometer solid nucleus in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles.' The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the 'Christmas comet,' was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said.”

By George O'Keefe or somebody.Maybe the Best Gift Would Be a Spell-Check App. Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Way back in November (so Slate has had plenty of time to make corrections), someone named Angela Serratore (hope I spelled that right), wrote a post for Slate, which is featured on its main page now, suggesting gifts from small museum shops. That's a nice thought, but it would have been even nicer if the story had not misspelled Georgia O'Keeffe three times: twice as "Georgia O'Keefe" & once as "George O'Keefe." But never "Georgia O'Keeffe."

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

Saturday
Sep042010

The Headless Governor -- Arizona's Ichabod Crane

Gail Collins riffs on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. "The headless body debate goes back to Brewer’s longstanding contention that Arizona is plagued by 'drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings' related to illegal immigration." After the debate & its follow-up debacle ("Everyone knows you never want to finish a big campaign night on a headless-body note."), Brewer told a reporter, "I’ve done something. Terry hasn’t did anything."

Here's Brewer's debate meltdown: *

... And here she is, post-debate, refusing to answer reporters' questions about her false headless bodies claim:

The Constant Weader comments on Collins' column:

First, it appears Terry Goddard has "did something." As the state's attorney general, he's been working to stop drug smugglers, who are a much greater danger to Arizona & the rest of the country than are people sneaking across the border, as George Bush used to say, to "do the work Americans won't do."

As for the headless bodies in the desert, they seem to all be in Jan Brewer's head.

Second, let's be honest. The whole immigration brouhaha is a made-for-election-year extravaganza manufactured by Republicans to get white folks' xenophobic hormones flowing. Collins writes that, "violent crime is at the lowest level it’s been since 1983 and crime along the border is at least at a 10-year-low."

But there's even more to it than that. The Washington Post reports that illegal immigration to this country has actually GONE DOWN BY 67 PERCENT in the past decade. That is, there are one-third as many illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. today as there were in 2000.

The Republicans' "family values" issues have been getting stale for a while. They didn't work well at all in 2008. Republicans have totally given up on their decades of opposing civil rights: when Haley Barbour & Glenn Beck try to rewrite the history of the South & embrace civil rights for blacks, when prominent Republicans are coming out of the closet & in favor of gay marriage (unlike our "liberal" President, alas), you know they are ready to roll out some new phony issues. So, let's get stoked about illegal immigrants! They're leaving headless bodies in their wake! Let's get "sensitive" about mosques! They might be harboring terrorists & terrorist sympathizers!

Third, Democrats & a few Republicans, like the former John McCain, would have passed a comprehensive immigration bill were it not such a great election-year "issue." It isn't that Republicans don't want to deal with illegal immigration. Rather they want to deal with it loudly. They want drama! Demonstrations! Outrage! All that's way more fun & vote-producing than is slogging out the details of a 2,000-age Congressional act. Never mind that it's their job to slog out the details.

Legislation, unfortunately, is the further thing from the minds of our Republican legislators.


More on Governor Headless
.

* Oh, the debate debacle was all Andy Cobb's fault:

Here's Gov. Headless making her beheading claims on Fox "News":

So first, she said, repeatedly, there were headless bodies in the desert, then she wouldn't say, the she said there were, then she said there weren't:

Gail Collins reports, "In her postdebate repair effort, Brewer told a radio interviewer that 'the bottom line is that there have been beheadings in the border region in Mexico.'” But later on Friday, the AP reports that Brewer did an about-face: "That was an error, if I said that."

No More Debates. The Arizona Star: "Incumbent Republican Jan Brewer said Thursday she has no intention of participating in any more events with Democrat Terry Goddard. She said the only reason she debated him on Wednesday is she had to to qualify for more than $1.7 million in public funds for her campaign." ...

... David Dayan of Firedoglake:, "In other words, Arizona, Jan Brewer will only deign to debate issues if it means there’s a pot of taxpayer gold at the end of the debate rainbow."

Running on Fear. Rachel Maddow reports on Queen Jan's fake campaign, her cozy relationship with a private prison company that benefits from the anti-immigration law, & her retribution againt a local CBS affiliate that has investigated that connection:

KPHO Phoenix has more on the devastating effect Brewer's anti-immigration noise has had on Arizona tourism. It seems a number of people aren't all that interested in visiting a place where they may be decapitated.

And now for a word from our sponsor:

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Saturday
Sep042010

The Commentariat -- September 4

Jan, I call upon you today to say there are no beheadings. -- challenger Terry Goddard to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, uttering the sentence least likely to be heard in a gubernatorial debate

If she doesn’t change her ways, then Palinism will be equated with other forms of McCarthyism that fomented division among the populace and acts of hatred among the populace. -- Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, on Sarah Palin

Campaigns are built to fool us into thinking that we're voting for individuals. We learn about the candidate's family, her job, her background -- even her dog. But we're primarily voting for parties. The parties have just learned we're more likely to vote for them if they disguise themselves as individuals. -- Ezra Klein

Newt is more to the right of Mussolini on this. -- scholar Victoria de Graziathe, on Gingrich's opposition to the Downtown Islamic cultural center

He's the last person I'd vote for for president of the United States. His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president. -- Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on Newt Gingrich, via Tulsa World

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "... the responsiveness of senators to the views of the poor and working class is ... zero. Or maybe even negative. And that's true for both parties. The middle class does better — again, with both parties — and high earners do better still. In fact, they do spectacularly better among Republican senators." ...

... See What Drum Means? Michael O'Brien of The Hill: "There's 'plenty of the room' in the federal budget to cut $700 billion in spending to pay for extending high-end tax cuts, [Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-Wis.)] said Friday." ...

... More from Ryan: TheCBO is right only when I say so. Alex Seitz-Wald of Think Progress. "Ryan quoted the Congressional Budget Office approvingly when their numbers supported his argument, but questioned their estimates moments earlier when they did not fit his narrative." With incriminating video.

Henry Payne of the Detroit News: "... Detroit’s Channel 7 reports that the Reverend [Jesse Jackson]’s Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend ... leading the 'Jobs, Justice, and Peace' march promoting government-funded green jobs.... Add Jesse to the Al Gore-Tom Friedman-Barack Obama School of Environmental Hypocrisy. While preaching to Americans that they need to cram their families into hybrid Priuses to go shopping for compact fluorescent light bulbs to save the planet, they themselves continue to live large."

CW: if you were to read only one article on what ails the American economy, Robert Reich's op-ed in the New York Times would tell you pretty much all you needed to know.

The Great Depression and its aftermath demonstrate that there is only one way back to full recovery: through more widely shared prosperity. -- Robert Reich

J Street launches a new site & produces an ad on the radical right:

David Leonhardt of the New York Times: "We don’t seem to be in a double-dip recession. We do seem to be in a long slog."

Rachel Maddow & Gene Robinson on the new fake history of the South. Do not believe anything a Republican tells you. Ever:

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times: Obama & Dubya have a chilly relationship.

CW: Harold Meyerson, who writes for the Washington Post, is a self-avowed socialist & a great patriot. His column on the organization Working America, which was created by the AFL-CIO, is illuminating.

If Obama and the Democrats are to have a fighting chance against Beck, O'Reilly and the Republicans, they need to acknowledge how our power elites have betrayed Main Street America, and how Main Street America is right to be enraged. -- Harold Meyerson

Dana Milbank: at her "valedictory" dinner at the National Press Club, Christiana Romer, outgoing chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, served up bitter soup & a sickening entree. And she has no idea what the dessert will be -- but don't get your hopes up. ...

... Michael Scherer of Time: the shift in Americans' perception of Barack Obama -- from "political savior to ... creature of Washington" -- is evident nation-wide." ...

... Glenn Greenwald ticks off a few more reaons for the "enthusiasm gap"; you can't read Greenwald & come out even slightly enthusiastic about Obama.

Smoking Gun. Ben Smith of Politico finds evidence that Glenn Beck is really into exploting racial politics, protestations from the right notwithstanding. CW: see what you think.

Jeanna Bryner of LiveScience: "Perhaps the belief that President Obama is a Muslim has nothing to do with him and everything to do with us, a new study suggests.... 'Careless or biased media outlets are largely responsible for the propagation of these falsehoods, which catch on like wildfire,' [psychology professor Spee] Kosloff said. 'And then social differences can motivate acceptance of these lies.'"

Kathleen Parker is the best conservative writer around because she's not afraid to lampoon the loonies on the right:

Glenn Beck's tent-less revival last weekend ... was right out of the Alcoholics Anonymous playbook. It was a 12-step program distilled to a few key words, all lifted from a prayer delivered from the Lincoln Memorial: healing, recovery and restoration.... He may as well have greeted the crowd of his fellow disaffected with: 'Hi. My name is Glenn, and I'm messed up.'"

On the One Hand..., on the Other Hand." Fred Kaplan of Slate, widely considered an objective expert on the Iraq War, complains that President Obama's speech was unfocused & offered no "consistent theme" or "clear road to the future." ...

... Joe Conason of Slate on what President Obama could not say. CW: Conason ticks off a list of the U.S.'s essential blunders in Iraq, & their effects. What I wonder is, why couldn't the President allude to the fiasco that underlay his address?

Blissful Ignorance. Glenn Greenwald smacks down the "nobody could have known" MSM school of journalism, concentrating this time on New York Times war correspondent John Burns, who had no idea there might be lots of violence in Iraq after our invasion. ...

... CW: Greenwald points to Simon Owens' post on the clash between The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg & Greenwald. I haven't linked to many of Greenwald's posts on Goldberg's so-called reporting because they were kind of in-the-weeds & repetitive, but Owens' post is quite a good summary. Also, it will tell you why I never link to Goldberg's Atlantic posts.

** Joan Walsh nicely summarizes the Truth about Obama, based on Brian Williams' telling interview of the President: "... he sounds unprepared for the fight he's in." CW: my sentiments exactly. See what you think:

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Thursday
Sep022010

It's the Economy, Stupid

Tonight I'm not going to wait for the Times trolls to reject or bury my comments. (See update below.*) Here's a two-fer:


Paul Krugman
hopes that President Obama, who is scheduled to propose new economic measures next week, will come up with bold initiatives.

The Constant Weader hopes so, too, but is a realist. BTW, this is an unexpurgated version of my comment. The original was more circumspect in describing Rahm Emanuel's remark:

... politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth.
-- Paul Krugman

               ... My nomination for your Bartlett's entry.

As for President Obama's doing anything bold next week, it's unlikely. Pundits love comparing Presidents: Obama is like/not enough like FDR; he's like Carter; or the theme du jour, he's like Hoover. I'd say he's more like the husband of his primary opponent. If you recall, President Clinton started out bold: for example, eliminate discrimination against gays in the military, balance the out-of-control budget. This was followed by never mind & school uniforms. I'm afraid with Mr. Obama, we're in school uniform territory.

Here's some evidence:

The President's Deficit Commission, larded with old geezers like Alan Simpson, who likens Social Security to "a milk cow with 310 million tits!" (exclamation Simpson's) President Obama knew what he was getting when he chose the members of the commission; I am not alone in thinking the Deficit Commission is an excuse for cutting Social Security benefits.

Meanwhile, McClatchy ran a story today that says Republicans, ConservaDems & other Democrats in tight races are poised to ensure that tax cuts for the rich will be extended. Somebody has to pay for those new yachts the super-rich will be buying with their tax savings -- might as well be old folks who are no longer economically productive.

As for the Administration's interest in jobs, jobs, jobs, car czar Steve Rattner's new book provides a window into how much the Obama Administration cared about labor. Rahm Emanuel's comment about the United Auto Workers: "Fuck the UAW." And Robert Gibbs let us know what the White House thought about progressive proposals: those of us who espouse them should be drug-tested. Michael Scherer writes a long article in Time about how profoundly disappointed the jobless are in Obama -- he has not kept his campaign promises and folks are still out of work. Tim Geithner and other Administration leaders are pretty sanguine about this.

Christina Romer, who is giving up her job as head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, supposedly to help her son with his homework, gave a "valedictory" speech at the National Press Club this week in which she pretty much admitted she had no idea how to improve the economy. (Good luck with your homework, Master Romer.) "To this day," she claimed, "economists don't fully understand why firms cut production as much as they did or why they cut labor so much more than they normally would." She argued that "almost all analysts were surprised." 

As for measures to stem foreclosures & otherwise save the housing market, the Administration is completely clueless. Secretary Donovan says he's "concerned," but that doesn't stop him from boasting about the few foreclosures the Administration has averted.

The editors of the New York Times wrote last week that if President Obama had some good ideas to salvage the economy, this would be the time to announce them. But the truth is that Republicans & ConservaDems would block any bold initiatives, so all President Obama can do, and sadly all he is inclined to do, is propose a few conservative business incentives -- you know, something as innovative & effective as school uniforms. In other words, he will be following Romer's bromide even as she exits:

What we would all love to find -- the inexpensive magic bullet to our economic troubles -- the truth is it almost surely doesn't exist.


Meanwhile, across the op-ed page, David Brooks has completely lost touch with reality. (Okay, Brooks' mental breakdown may have happened some while back, & his recent vacation didn't help matters.) He invents a preposterous scenario, or what he calls an "alternate history," in which the President & the Congress take Brooks' advice. They forget about the stimulus & healthcare reform & pass some kind of Republicanny energy bill instead. Oh, and everything works out for the best & the nation hums happily along.

The Constant Weader comments:

Add this to your alternate history, please, for a touch of verisimilitude:

U.S. unemployment at 16 percent, same as Ireland's. Real wages plummet for Americans who do have jobs.

Small businesses go under at record rates. Start-ups, practically nil.

Healthcare costs skyrocket; emergency rooms crammed; uninsured, unemployed Americans dying in droves.

No Glenn Beck tent revival because the Washington Mall is already filled with a tent city & a stench is rising from the Potomac.

Republican Senators block the energy bill.

I ought to have added:

Teachers, other public workers are laid off in droves.

Local property taxes rise sharply; delinquencies double; sheriffs conduct record number of home auctions.

California is the first state to declare bankruptcy, thirteen other states are expected to follow soon.

Bridge over the (Pick-a) River collapses, dozens feared dead; engineers say bridge was in terrible disrepair. Chunks of concrete from I-4 off-ramp fall on car, occupants killed. Et-cetera.

Finally,

The super-rich build higher fences around their homes & spend more time on their bigger & better yachts -- hey, they can afford it.


* Update: they cut only my comment on Krugman, which was the substantive one.