The Ledes

Thursday, October 23, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Islamic State still generates tens of millions of dollars a month in illicit income despite a U.S.-led effort to cut the financing streams that have helped turn the once-obscure militant group into a terrorist organization unlike any previously seen, a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official said Thursday."

Guardian: "The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, vowed a tough and uncompromising response to a brazen gun attack on the national parliament on Wednesday that left a soldier dead and a nation in shock. As calm fell on Canada’s idyllic capital, where hours earlier Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had forced his way into the parliament building in a hail of gunfire before being killed by a ceremonial official, Harper delivered a sombre television address declaring that the country would not be cowed by terrorism." ...

... Toronto Globe & Mail: "Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999." ...

... New York Times: "A day after a terrorist attack convulsed the heart of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, the city’s police chief said he was satisfied that it was the work of a lone gunman, who shot dead a soldier before being killed in a hail of gunfire in the Parliament building.... In the hours following the raid, police officials had said that there might be as many as three armed men."

The Wires

The Ledes

Shooting Wednesday in the Canadian Parliament building:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

New York Times: "The heart of the Canadian capital [Ottawa] was traumatized and placed in emergency police lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman fatally wounded a soldier guarding the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed. It was the second deadly assault on a uniformed member of Canada’s armed forces in three days. While the motive was unclear, the Ottawa attack heightened fears that Canada, a strong ally of the United States, had been targeted in an organized terrorist plot." ...

... Toronto Globe & Mail: "Federal sources have identified the suspected shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a man in his early 30s who was known to Canadian authorities. Sources told The Globe and Mail that he was recently designated a 'high-risk traveller' by the Canadian government and that his passport had been seized – the same circumstances surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car." The page includes links to related stories. ...

... Here's the Guardian's live feed.

Hill: "The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters took possession of a stray bundle of U.S.-airdropped weapons and other supplies in the Syrian border town of Kobani earlier this week."

Guardian: "A three-month old baby was killed and eight other people wounded in Jerusalem – one seriously – in what Israel police are describing as a 'terrorist attack' in which a speeding car drove onto a pavement crowded with pedestrians alighting from the city’s light railway. Video footage posted on social media appears to show a car on the main road slowing slightly before crossing to the train tracks and climbing on to the station pavement and ploughing through the people standing on it."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 23

12:30 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks about an anti-domestic violence program in Duluth, Minnesota

12:45 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

Selina Gray, on right, saved Arlington House treasures during the Civil War.Michael Ruane of the Washington Post: "When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house. Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children."

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story.

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Wednesday
Oct032012

The Commentariat -- October 4, 2012

Presidential Race

Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz & Chris Hayes tore the President apart for his debate performance. Matthews said Obama needs to start watching MSNBC so he'd know how to respond to Romney. I don't disagree with any of their points -- EXCEPT -- Obama & Romney spewed so many statistics so fast that I don't think most people could begin to grasp what they said. Therefore, the content of what they said may be less important than their demeanor. I thought after the first pleasant exchange, Romney was rude & nasty -- you might say a bully -- both to the President & Jim Lehrer, while the President was our friend & leader. We'll see if the needle moves, but I'm not sure ordinary Americans want a bully at the bully pulpit. ...

... The New York Times fact-check of the debate is quite extensive. Basically, it seems to say, Romney lied about this, that & the other thing. And another thing. And another. ...

... Calvin Woodward 's fact-check for the AP makes both candidates look like serial liars. Since this is what they'll read in the hinterlands, this is hardly helpful to the President.

... For those who missed all the fun thanks to other pressing engagements (Marvin Schwalb), the New York Times has a good interactive feature that includes full video & a full transcript of "Mr. Narcissist Gets His Way."

Jerry Markon of the Washington Post: "Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney took the offensive in the first presidential debate Wednesday night, forcing President Obama to defend his record in a series of sharp exchanges in which Romney charged that the President's economic policies have 'crushed' the middle class." ...

... Michael Shear & Jeff Zeleny write the New York Times report. ...

... Peter Baker of the New York Times: "The candidates spent much of the 90 minutes ... defining it in narrow policy details that may have bled some of the passion out of their arguments and made them sound smaller than they were. But at its core, the debate brought home a divide over domestic policy greater than any since President Ronald Reagan and Walter F. Mondale faced off in 1984." ...

... Charles Pierce has an excellent takedown of both candidates' performances, one that essentially agrees with the MSNBC panel's conclusions. Pierce's final point is his most important one: the President's failure to articulate or even hew to a progressive view "may have buried progressive government forever by demonstrating how tight the boundaries really are around what is considered acceptable economic solutions to a battered national economy. That will remain the case, clearly, even if this president gets re-elected." ...

     ... CW: following Pierce, Obama's biggest mistake, & this was a doozy, was letting Romney get off scott-free for repeatedly calling the deficit "immoral." If you read Krugman, you'll understand that this is not remotely true -- that the deficit is, by a large, a transfer of wealth from some of our children to some of our other children. Obama owed it to the American people to explain that. He didn't, and I think the reason is that he doesn't fucking understand it. Yeah, he needs Krugman, all right -- see "Other Stuff" below. I am not, BTW, persuaded that the conventional wisdom -- shared by Pierce -- that the President made a big mistake by not mentioning the 47 percent. Obviously, Romney was prepped with a "100 percent" reply. There's an answer to that, too, but it might not be as effective as whatever lie Romney responded. People in swing states who have teevees already get the 47-percent message with their breakfast, lunch & dinner. ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, who plays fair, lists six reasons Romney won the debate. ...

... Gail Collins: "Romney had that funny look on his face whenever President Obama was talking. Somewhere between a person who is trying to overlook an unpleasant smell and a guy who is trying to restrain himself from pointing out that his car is much nicer than your car." ...

... Joan Walsh of Salon: "In the days to come, Romney may suffer from the perception of his condescension, his lying and his cruel assault on Big Bird. But for now, it seems the president missed the opportunity to put his opponent away for good." ...

... Michael Grunwald of Time: "Obviously, 2012 isn't 2008, and [Obama's] campaign can't be all about change. But change happened.... If even Obama won't defend the last four years, then what's the point of four more years?"

... Good analysis from Henry Decker of National Memo. Winner: TBD. Loser: Lehrer. Do go to the 2nd page (sorry, I can't figure out how to single-page it) where Decker slams Obama for his response on Social Security. ...

Daniel Polito of Slate: pundits agree -- Romney won big. ....

... BUT as contributor Mae Finch notes, old (& I say that with affection & accuracy) Margaret & Helen get it right. Here's a bit from Helen: "Well Margaret, once again I am going to say what the media won't. Mitt Romney is a lying sack of shit and he wouldn't know a middle class tax cut if it bit him in the middle of his gold plated ass. Evidently the media seems to think that the person who slings the bullshit the farthest wins the debate." ...

... Paul Krugman: "OK, so Obama did a terrible job in the debate, and Romney did well. But in the end, this isn't or shouldn't be about theater criticism, it should be about substance. And the fact is that everything Obama said was basically true, while much of what Romney said was either outright false or so misleading as to be the moral equivalent of a lie." Read the whole post for a glaring fer-instance. ...

... Steve Kornacki of Salon assesses the upsides for Romney.

Coal Miners' Slaughter:

Julia Preston of the New York Times: "... Mitt Romney has scaled back his acceptance of a program by President Obama to grant reprieves from deportation to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants. On Monday, after months of pressure to clarify whether he would end the program if elected, Mr. Romney said in an interview with The Denver Post that he would not cancel two-year deportation deferrals already granted by the Obama administration.... But on Wednesday morning, campaign aides clarified that Mr. Romney intended to halt the program after he took office and would not issue any new deferrals." CW: big surprise. As usual, Romney thinks talking to local reporters means no one outside their newspaper delivery or broadcast area can find out what he says. Since Colorado has a big Hispanic population, Romney thought it would be a good idea to pretend he was for the Dream Act for a few minutes.

Former President Clinton, speaking at the University of New Hampshire Wednesday, on the 47 percent:

CW: Assuming Penn Schoen Berland -- a pro-Democratic group -- has conducted an unbiased, accurate study of presidential messaging, it seems to me the real takeaway is, "Americans may say they're conservative, but they really prefer Democratic -- i.e., librul -- policies." Mackenzie Weinger of Politico reports on the study's results.

Congressional Races

Rebecca Berg of BuzzFeed: "In a speech on the House floor in 2008, Rep. Todd Akin said doctors give 'abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.'" CW: maybe some of you doctor people can explain this one to us.

     ... Update: "Rep. Todd Akin's campaign is standing by the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri's 2008 claim that doctors commonly perform abortions on women who 'are not actually pregnant.'"

Other Stuff

** Nicholas Kristof: "Our wealth has become so skewed that the top 1 percent possesses a greater collective worth than the entire bottom 90 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. This inequality is a central challenge for the United States today and should be getting far more attention in this presidential campaign."

Linda Greenhouse writes a compelling history lesson to go along with the Supreme Court's pending affirmative action case. If you -- as I was for a long time -- are of the impression that Brown v. Board of Education was "unprecedented," Greenhouse highlights one of a number of cases that actually set the precedent for Brown.

New York Times Editors: "Judge Carol Jackson of Federal District Court, a George H.W. Bush appointee, dismissed the lawsuit filed against the administration brought by a mining company and its owner, who said that providing contraceptive coverage in the company health plan violated his personal religious views." You can read her decision here (pdf). The editors' synopsis of Judge Jackson's reasoning is instructive.

Charley James of Daily Kos: "Reports surfaced today that Nobel Prize Winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman will be offered the job of chairman for the White House Council of Economic Advisors." Contributor Dave S. writes, "Be still my beating heart." My response: Dave S., my heart beats fast with thine; Alas, t'is Krugman who we both do pine. However, we should remember that presidents pay little attention to their Council of Economic Advisors. (Sorry, hadda quit with the beyoutiful poetry--there's no to can scrunch "Council of Economic Advisors" into iambic pentameter.) Joe Stiglitz is bald only because he tore out his hair when Clinton, Rubin, et al., killed Glass-Steagall. And Christie Romer, who headed Obama's CEA, quit early to help her teenaged son with his homework or something.

Matthew Lee of the AP: "Past investigations into attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions have blamed both the administration and Congress for failing to spend enough money to ensure that the overseas facilities were safe despite a clear rise in terror threats to American interests abroad."

AND Blue Plate Kentucky Roadkill Special. Mike Krumboltz of Yahoo! News: "Customers at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant in Williamsburg, Ky., alerted authorities after they spotted something they probably wish they hadn't: restaurant employees wheeling roadkill back to the kitchen.... The roadkill was apparently a deer stuffed into a trash can. 'There was actually a blood trail they were mopping up behind the garbage can,' customer Katie Hopkins said." Thanks to a friend for the link.

News Lede

AP: "Iran deployed riot police at key Tehran intersections on Thursday, after tensions flared over the nation's plunging currency in the most widespread display of anger linked to the country's sanctions-hit economy.The show of force reflects the authorities' concerns in the wake of sporadic protests Wednesday over the plummeting currency, which has sharply driven up prices."

Tuesday
Oct022012

The Commentariat -- October 3, 2012

Robert O'Harrow of the Washington Post: "An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators. The nationwide network of offices known as 'fusion centers' was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats. But after nine years ... the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.... In a response Tuesday, the department condemned the report and defended the fusion centers, saying the Senate investigators relied on out-of-date data." ...

... James Risen's report for the New York Times is here. According to Risen, The DHS "cannot account for as much as $1.4 billion."

New York Times Editors: "If New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, cannot bring banks and bankers to justice for the mortgage debacle, it won't be for lack of trying. It will be for lack of resources and political will that only federal partners can provide, including the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and, most important, President Obama.... Unless and until federal prosecutors and regulators are willing to follow up Mr. Schneiderman's actions with broad suits based on violation of federal laws, the full range of potential wrongdoing by banks will go unaddressed. And the rule of law, as well as the opportunity for redress, will suffer irreparable harm."

Ari Berman of The Nation: "By my count, Pennsylvania is one of eleven voter suppression laws passed by Republicans since the 2010 election that have been invalidated by state or federal courts in the past year, including in crucial swing states like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.... It's important to note, however, that voter suppression laws passed since 2010 have not been blocked unanimously.... That said, the pushback against these laws in court has been rather extraordinary, sending a strong signal that restrictions on the right to vote are unconstitutional, discriminatory and unnecessary." With maps. ...

... NEW. Michael Van Sickler of the Miami Herald: "On Tuesday, new details emerged that Strategic Allied Consulting knew of problems in Florida earlier than reported in what is now a case of possible voter registration fraud in a dozen counties." ...

... People, Suppressing Their Own Votes. Amanda Michel, et al., of the Guardian: "A Guardian survey of six of the most crucial swing states upon which the outcome of the presidential ballot is likely to depend has found that new voter registrations recorded between January and August this year are markedly down compared with the same period in 2008. The drop is particularly pronounced in several states for the Democrats -- a likely indication that Barack Obama's re-election team has been unable to match the exceptional levels of voter excitement generated by his candidacy four years ago."

Eli Lake of Newsweek: "In the five months leading up to this year’s 9/11 anniversary, there were two bombings on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and increasing threats to and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi. Details on these alleged incidents stem in part from the testimony of a handful of whistleblowers who approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the days and weeks following the attack on the Benghazi consulate. ...

... Maureen Dowd: "Susan Rice's tumble is part of a disturbing pattern of rushing to pump up the president on national security, which seems particularly stupid because it's so unnecessary."

Presidential Race

The legendary Newton Minow, in a New York Times op-ed: "The [presidential] debates are an institution now, and among the most watched television events in America. They are one place in the modern campaign -- perhaps the only place -- where the voter is treated with respect.... Once derided as a creature of the parties, the [presidential debate] commission has gradually become independent of them."

Uri Friedman of Foreign Policy has an excellent "Top Ten Debate Moments on Foreign Policy." This is more substantive than the usual blooper reels of the "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" genre. With video.

Jake Tapper & Mary Bruce of ABC News: "On the eve of the first presidential debate, the conservative website The Daily Caller Tuesday circulated previously unreported clips of a five-year-old speech in which then-Senator Barack Obama praised his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and suggested the federal government discriminated against the victims of Hurricane Katrina." ...

... Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed has video & audio. ...

... David Graham of The Atlantic has the transcript. ...

... Howard Kurtz of Newsweek: "Under a banner headline, Drudge said that 'Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society.' But nothing on the tape supports that."

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "After [Vice President] Biden described the middle class as having 'been buried the last four years,'" Republicans pounced, treating it as an unwitting admission of President Obama's failures. The vice president was criticizing the Republican ticket for pursuing a tax overhaul that would raise taxes on the middle class, he said. 'How can they justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years?' Mr. Biden said at a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C."

"My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney's trash." A great spot by the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees:

A new Obama Web video, based on the New York Times story on Romney's taxes, linked in yesterday's Commentariat:

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times: when Paul Ryan said, "… it would take me too long to go through all of the math" explaining the Romney-Ryan tax plan, "There's a reason why it would take too long -- infinitely long, you could say -- to go through the math that holds this policy proposal together: because math will never hold this particular policy proposal together.... There's an $86 billion shortfall -- the difference between $251 billion in tax cuts and $165 billion in potential tax increases on this high-income group." ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "In other words: -$251 + $165 + 0 = 0 In my 7th-grade pre-algebra class, this bit of arithmetic wouldn't have passed muster. Maybe they taught math differently at Cranbrook." ...

... Steve Benen: "If you think Paul Ryan is telling you the truth, you need a better calculator." ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York: "Today Bloomberg News spoke to Ryan and promised he could have all the time he wanted to get into the math. Guess what? He still didn't." Video here.

Sahil Kapur of TPM: "Under pressure to provide more details about his tax reform proposal, Mitt Romney floated an idea Tuesday to help fill a revenue hole in his plan. As an option you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction; and you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others -- your healthcare deduction....' ... In other words, cap the total amount individuals can benefit from tax loopholes."

Congressional Races

Rep. Todd Akin (RTP-Mo.) is only one point down in his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Dave Weigel of Slate goes to Southwest Missouri to find out why.

Monica Davey of the New York Times: "Campaign advisers for Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who has been undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, say he is on the ballot to stay and is awaiting permission from his doctors to return to public life. A tour of his district on a recent day turned up no evidence of billboards, new yard signs or surrogates on the stump, and a campaign office that was locked during business hours."

Local News

New York Times Editors: "Gov. Jerry Brown of California dropped the ball on Sunday when he vetoed the Trust Act, a bill aimed at keeping harmless immigrants out of the deportation dragnet -- not out of misguided compassion, but to bolster public safety. The police in immigrant communities depend on the cooperation of witnesses and victims; when local officers become federal immigration deputies, fear overrides trust, and crime festers.

A City of San Diego sanitation truck. See Comments for context.

News Ledes

New York Times reporters are liveblogging/fact-checking the presidential debate.

Reuters: "Turkish artillery hit targets inside Syria on Wednesday after a mortar bomb fired from Syrian territory killed five Turkish civilians, while NATO called for an immediate end to Syria's 'aggressive acts'. In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey hit back at what it called 'the last straw' when a mortar hit a residential neighborhood of the southern border town of Akcakale."

Guardian: "Republicans in Congress have written to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, claiming to have evidence of a previously undisclosed attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and threats to American ambassador in Libya in the months before he was killed. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a subcommittee on national security, are demanding Clinton hand over information about previous attacks and threats as Republicans step up pressure on the White House with accusations of incompetence and a cover-up over the assault that killed the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other American officials last month." ...

... Foreign Policy: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) Tuesday afternoon to pledge the State Department's full cooperation with Congress in getting to the bottom of the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans."

Al Jazeera: "A Chinese-owned company has filed a lawsuit against US President Barack Obama for blocking its purchase of wind farms near a US military base on national security grounds, court documents showed. Obama signed the decree on Friday banning the sale of four wind farms in Oregon to the Ralls Corp and its Chinese affiliate, Sany Group. In the decree, Obama said companies linked to Chinese nationals 'might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States'."

AP: "Investigators were scouring a rugged area near the U.S.-Mexico line looking for evidence in the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent. Nicholas Ivie and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, about 100 miles from Tucson, when gunfire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Border Patrol. Ivie, 30, was killed. The other agent, whose name hasn't been released, was hospitalized after being shot in the ankle and buttocks." ...

     ... Reuters Update: "Mexican troops arrested two men on Wednesday suspected of involvement in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot dead in Arizona while responding to a tripped ground sensor, Mexican security officials said."

Al Jazeera: "Four blasts ripped through a government-controlled district close to a military officers' club in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 90, opposition activists said."

Reuters: "Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in Syria's civil war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces. Moscow further called for restraint between NATO-member Turkey and Syria, where violence along their shared border has strained relations between the former allies."

Monday
Oct012012

The Commentariat -- October 2, 2012

Michael Luo & Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "Buried deep in the tax returns released by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are references to dozens of offshore holdings.... Mr. Romney ... has offered a narrow defense, saying only that the investments, many made through the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, have yielded him 'not one dollar of reduction in taxes.' ... [But] in some cases, the offshore arrangements enabled his individual retirement account to avoid taxes on its investments and may well have reduced Mr. Romney's personal income tax bills."

** Mitt's Moochers. Frank Bass of Bloomberg News: "Almost 2,400 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 lived in households with annual incomes of $1 million or more, according to the Congressional Research Service."

Maybe This is Mitt's Secret Jobs Plan:

     ... This Wikipedia entry has more on Unicor, which has been around since 1934.

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Senate leaders are closing in on a path for dealing with the 'fiscal cliff' facing the country in January, opting to try to use a postelection session of Congress to reach agreement on a comprehensive deficit reduction deal rather than a short-term solution.... House Republicans continue to resist any discussion of tax increases. But lawmakers and aides say that a bipartisan group of senators is coalescing around an ambitious three-step process to avert a series of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts." CW: read what Paul Krugman thinks about such a plan (linked in yesterday's Commentariat.)

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: in California, "wealthy conservatives are championing a ballot measure that would bar unions from donating to candidates. Labor leaders describe it as the starkest threat they have faced in a year of nationwide challenges to diminish their once-formidable power. The measure, Proposition 32..., would prohibit both unions and corporations from making contributions, but the corporate provision is far less stringent than the one aimed at unions.... If passed, it would also bar unions from using automatic payroll deductions to raise money for political campaigns, a major source of labor's political funding."

Jonathan Chait liked David Leonhardt's essay in the New York Times (linked in Sunday's Commentariat, & I'm still recommending it if you missed it) on what President Obama could have done better. But, Chait notes, "Leonhardt is implicitly measuring Obama against a very tough baseline. He asks is there anything more Obama could have done, and the answer is yes. But that is true of almost any leader in history.... On the whole, Obama's response was quite good. But if Obama is going to say he did everything in his power to alleviate the crisis, then people like Leonhardt should point out that he didn't."

We Learn that ObamaCare Is Racist. They’re going to tax tanning booths. Do black people tan? -- Romney Volunteer from Massachusetts

Eric Lipton of the New York Times: "As the Obama administration has cracked down on corporate fraud, lawyers representing whistle-blowers have reaped multimillion-dollar rewards. Now, as they seek to sustain these historic payouts, they are donating generously to the president's re-election campaign." Along with the political implications & intrigue, which are fascinating enough, Lipton gives some interesting stats: "Since January 2009, $13.2 billion has been collected by the federal government from companies through the False Claims Act, the primary whistle-blower tool, with about $9.4 billion of that involving alleged health care fraud. The federal government has recovered more in financial penalties against drugmakers since 2009 than in the previous 18 years combined, with whistle-blowers credited for helping initiate about three quarters of the cases...."

Presidential Race

Michael Shear & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: yo, Romney has another new campaign theme: "something, something, I'm not Obama." The old campaign theme, "I'm not Obama," has not worked out.

Gene Robinson: "Wednesday’s presidential debate promises sharp contrasts. One candidate wants to repeal Obamacare, one candidate invented it. One opposed the auto industry bailout, one takes credit for it. One doubts the scientific consensus about climate change, one believes in it. One wants to 'voucherize' Medicare, one wants to save it. One dismisses nearly half of Americans as a bunch of moochers, and one claims to champion the struggling middle class. It promises to be an epic clash: Mitt Romney vs. Mitt Romney. Oh, and President Obama will be there, too."

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "Romney's team has apparently been hard at work on the zinger front, and the New York Times reports that they've 'equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August.' Great. I don't doubt that Team Obama is doing the same, but the big difference here is that the Romney guys actually bragged about it. This is so mind-numbingly stupid that Romney probably ought to be tossed out of the race just for sheer campaign incompetence." ...

... Frank Bruni writes a fairly funny column on the Obama campaign's efforts to lower expectations for his performance at Wednesday's debate.

Craig Unger in Salon: "According to a highly reliable source..., top Republican operatives are primed to a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.... The source described the Republicans as chortling with glee that the Obama administration 'definitely had intel' about the attack before it happened." This is supposed to be Romney's "October Surprise." Boo! ...

... Roger Cohen in the New York Times: Obama has made foreign policy mistakes, but Romney sees the world as it was 30 years ago.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: the "47 percent" remark is still hurting Romney, thanks in part to ads the Obama campaign is running in swing states.

Allison Sherry of the Denver Post: "Young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the United States under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama would not be deported under a Mitt Romney administration, the GOP presidential hopeful told The Denver Post Monday. 'The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased,' Romney said. 'Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed.'"

Jason Schwartz in Boston Magazine on why Romney is so unpopular in Massachusetts. Thanks to contributor MAG for the link. ...

... Molly Ball of The Atlantic on why Romney is so unpopular in Appalachia.

Steve Benen counts six incidents that Republicans or conservatives have identified as "Obama's Watergate," the latest of course being the Libyan attack.

CW: When even the Very Serious People on the Washington Post's editorial board accuse Paul Ryan of "budget flimflam," you know it wasn't just Romney who made a mistake in selecting Ryan as his running mate. Ryan made a mistake in accepting. When you get kicked up to VP nominee, even some VSPs will stop talking long enough to try to figure out what you're actually saying. Result: Ryan is no longer the VSP's darling boy.

Benjy Sarlin of TPM: "Haley Barbour's ... firm Resurgent Republic conducted focus groups of blue collar voters in Ohio and suburban women in Virginia who supported Obama in 2008 but are now undecided.... Their findings? Voters are a lot more willing to believe attacks based around Romney quotes than they are on Obama quotes. 'Whenever we showed direct quotes from President Obama..., voters consistently say that this is probably taken out of context and they don't seem to hold that same standard with Governor Romney,' pollster Linda DiVall ... said. CW: um, maybe that's because Romney does pull Obama quotes out of context. Apparently that trick works better when the quotes are, you know, believable.

CW: When Alex Pareene of Salon ran this picture of Romney in a post in which Pareene compared Romney to Dick Cheney (linked in yesterday's Commentariat), I thought maybe Pareene had altered the photo to make Romney look more like Cheney. But, no, I found U.S. News using the same photo, so it's the real deal. Romney is morphing into Cheney, villainous sneer & all.

Now it's time for our new show, "Two Hacks in an Office." At least Brooks says some of the right things about Willard:

     ... Via Driftglass: "What Mistah Kurtz fails to mention is that Mr. Brooks's 'longstanding conservative tradition' is a work of fiction, invented by Mr. Brooks almost entirely out of whole cloth in order to bury the deeply troubling, bigoted, anti-science, anti-reason, pro-global-conquest real conservatism to which Mr. Brooks owes his entire professional career and from which he now flees like a vampire trying to outrace the dawn."

First General Election Results Counted. Caitlin McDevitt of Politico: "Michelle Obama has won Family Circle's 2012 Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, the magazine reports in its November issue.... [Ann] Romney's M&M cookies got 48.5 percent of votes, while Obama's white and dark chocolate chip cookies won with 51.5 percent. Family Circle notes that the bake-off, which it's hosted since 1992, 'has been a bell-weather in four out of five elections.' The exception? Obama lost to Cindy McCain four years ago, despite complaints that the Arizona senator's wife had cheated."

Congressional Races

Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe: "Republican US Senator Scott Brown portrayed himself as an independent voter and thinker in Washington, while his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, charged that he had voted 'in lockstep' over and over with Republicans, as the two clashed in a debate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell tonight." Here's video of the full debate:

... Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post with six takeaways from the Warren-Brown debate. ...

... CW: Here's the best clip, IMHO, & may be the gaffe that costs Brown the election. You might want to watch twice: first to "See Scott Squirm," & second to watch Warren's delighted reaction to his choice:

... Steve Benen: "For much of the media, the key line in the debate was apparently Brown's pre-planned 'zinger' about not being a student in Warren's classroom. But theatrical soundbites notwithstanding, what voters actually learned last night is that Brown's centrist facade is thin and easily chipped away. Anyone who sees Antonin Scalia as a 'model Supreme Court justice' isn't a moderate." ...

... Eric Randall of Boston Magazine pans Warren-Brown moderator David Gregory & otherwise comments on the debates. Highlight clips included. ...

... ALSO, see the report in today's Comments by Julie in Massachusetts, who attended the debate.

Local News

How Low Will They Go? T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post: with Arkansas the only state in the South that still has a Democratic state legislature, the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has its sights set on flipping a few seats to turn the statehouse Republican. ...

... Looks like the Koch Brothers Express has taken on more than one local route. Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald in a National Memo post: "The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch. They couldn't care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Prosecutors in Lille have dropped a sexual assault investigation into Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, after a Belgian escort recanted her original account about a brutal encounter. But Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 63, still faces a criminal charge of participating in an organized prostitution ring, the result of sex parties that he attended in northern France and at a deluxe hotel in Washington."

AP: "A former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation. Mike McQueary's whistle-blower lawsuit claims his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment."

New York Times: "The American military's top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is preparing detailed information that could be used to kill or capture some of the militants suspected in the attack last month in Libya that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, senior military and counterterrorism officials said on Tuesday."

ABC News: "Pope Benedict's former butler took the stand at his own trial today to say that while he admits he took thousands of documents from the pope's private apartments and leaked them to the media, he is not guilty of theft because he was doing it for the good of the church, 'to bring the church back on the right track.' ... Intrigue, corruption and back-stabbing are clearly not new here at The Vatican, what is new is that Gabriele's indiscretions have opened the doors on Vatican dirty deeds in a way that has never happened before."

New York Times: "Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, plans to travel to Europe before the end of the year, among other things to press for a toughening of sanctions against Tehran, Israeli officials said Tuesday. The plans appeared to be another indication of a shifting Israeli emphasis, at least for now, toward efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program by means other than military action."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "A Commonwealth Court judge issued an injunction today blocking Pennsylvania's controversial new voter ID law from taking full effect before the presidential election, clearing the way for voters without government-issued identification to cast regular ballots on Nov. 6. Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. in essence ruled that the general election would be - like the primary - a soft rollout of the law. 'I reject the underlying assertion that the offending activity is the request to produce photo ID; instead, I conclude that the salient offending conduct is voter disenfranchisement,' he said." Here's a pdf of the opinion.

New York Times: "With the surge of American troops over and the Taliban still a potent threat, American generals and civilian officials acknowledge that they have all but written off what was once one of the cornerstones of their strategy to end the war here: battering the Taliban into a peace deal."

Washington Post: "The White House has held a series of secret meetings in recent months to examine the threat posed by al-Qaeda's franchise in North Africa and consider for the first time whether to prepare for unilateral strikes, U.S. officials said. The deliberations reflect concern that al-Qaeda's African affiliate has become more dangerous since gaining control of large pockets of territory in Mali and acquiring weapons from post-revolution Libya. The discussions predate the Sept. 11 attacks...."

New York Times: "Georgia's larger-than-life president, Mikheil Saakashvili, conceded defeat on Tuesday after early results in Georgia's hotly contested parliamentary race showed that a coalition backed by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili had edged out his party...."

Sunday
Sep302012

The Commentariat -- October 1, 2012

Reader Creag H. points out this remark which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made last week when speaking before the Clinton Global Initiative. You can watch her full speech here:

... one of the issues that I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country. You know I'm out of American politics, but it is a fact that around the world, the elites of every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere. And yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries. They don't invest in public schools, in public hospitals, in other kinds of development internally. And so it means for leaders telling powerful people things they don't want to hear.

Richard Hasen in Slate: at issue in "an appeal being argued today by telephone, SEIU v. Husted..., at issue are potentially thousands of Ohio ballots that the state will not count solely because of poll worker error.... A numberof the state's polling places, especially in cities, cover more than one voting precinct, and in order to cast a valid vote, a voter has to be given the correct precinct ballot. Poll workers, however, often hand voters the wrong precinct ballot mistakenly."

GOP voter suppression & voter fraud notwithstanding, these stars think voting is a good idea:

Paul Krugman is planning President Obama's second term, & he is warning him off Simpson-Bowles -- "a really bad plan.... This election is ... shaping up as a referendum on our social insurance system, and it looks as if Mr. Obama will emerge with a clear mandate for preserving and extending that system. It would be a terrible mistake, both politically and for the nation’s future, for him to let himself to be talked into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" by agreeing to a Catfood Commission-style "Grand Bargain." ...

... Matt Yglesias of Slate: "The looming payroll tax hike ... is entirely pointless. Neither progressive ideology nor conservative ideology in any sense mandates that we implement a big regressive tax increase amidst a period of sky-high unemployment. Doing so is only going to stall the household deleveraging process, make it harder for businesses to get customers, and immiserate stretched American families. We really need to stop this."

** This you gotta read. And many thanks to Calyban for catching it, because I missed it. J. D. Kleinke, a fellow of the righty-right-wing American Enterprise Institute & an specialist of health care, writing in Sunday's New York Times, makes the case for ObamaCare. Kleinke lists element after element of ObamaCare & explains why these features are conservative. "The real problem with the health care plan -- for Mr. Romney and the Republicans in general -- is that political credit for it goes to Mr. Obama. Now, Mr. Romney is in a terrible fix trying to spin his way out of this paradox and tear down something he knows is right -- something for which he ought to be taking great political credit of his own." CW: I hope Obama is taking note.

Chrystia Freeland in the New Yorker: "... Hostility toward the President is particularly strident among the ultra-rich." When you read the excuses & rationalizations billionaire Leon Cooperman comes up with to justify himself & his disdain for Obama, you may laugh out loud (he didn't send a thank-you note when I gave him a self-published book of poetry my granddaughter wrote) or feel like throwing something -- Obama never worked a day in his life. This isn't Right Wing World; it's Rich Wing World. These people, who think so much of themselves, are ignorant myth-peddlers; for instance, this should sound familiar:

Our problem, frankly, is as long as the President remains anti-wealth, anti-business, anti-energy, anti-private-aviation, he will never get the business community behind him. The problem and the complication is the forty or fifty per cent of the country on the dole that support him. -- Leon Cooperman

Ernesto Londoño and Abigail Hauslohner of the Washington Post write an interesting account of the lax security in Benghazi, Libya, before terrorists there killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

Gerardo Reyes & Santiago Wills of ABC News: Univision uncovers new details about "Fast & Furious": "Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre. As part of Operation Fast and Furious, ATF allowed 1,961 guns to 'walk' out of the U.S. in an effort to identify the high profile cartel leaders who received them."

Presidential Race

This whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning. -- Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), predicting Mitt Romney will win the presidential debate Wednesday ...

Mitt Romney has had a lot more time to debate, the president has not debated in the past four years in terms, of a campaign debate. I think the president will hold his own, but he's not known for sound bites. And these are 60 second, 90 second responses. -- Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee, predicting Mitt Romney will win the presidential debate Wednesday

Alex Pareene of Salon thinks Mitt may find his inner Dick Cheney during the debates & advocate for torture.

Flim-Flam Man Zips His Lips. Steve Stromberg of the Washington Post: "On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan claimed that Americans don’t know enough about what a Romney-Ryan presidency would do, which explains the campaign's current troubles. But when Chris Wallace pressed Ryan to discuss the specifics of the Romney-Ryan tax plan, the mathematics of which have confounded non-partisan experts, he refused even to say how much the tax cuts the ticket has proposed would cost." With video. ...

... Romney has promised $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed toward millionaires and billionaires, but refused to say how he'd pay for them without raising taxes on the middle class or exploding the deficit. He's promised to repeal ObamaCare, but refused to say what he'd replace it with to protect the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. He's promised to repeal Wall Street reform, but refused to say what he'd replace it with so that big banks aren't writing their own rules again. -- Obama Campaign

David Carr of the New York Times: the conservative claim that the liberal mainstream media have rigged coverage of the presidential election -- and poll results -- is bogus. "Even if legacy media still maintained some kind of death grip on American consciousness, it would be hard to claim that the biggest players in those industries are peddling liberal theology." Carr cites the Wall Street Journal, the paper with the highest U.S. circulation & Fox "News," the cable news channel with the highest ratings, plus radio showmen Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. to argue that "the growing hegemony of conservative voices makes manufacturing a partisan conspiracy a practical impossibility."

Paul Krugman on the short memories of political pundits. Funny line: "The only [GOP primary] contender who even looked on paper like a real alternative, Rick Perry, turned out to have three major liabilities: he was inarticulate, he was slow on his feet, and I can't remember the third (sorry, couldn't help myself)."

Michael Shear of the New York Times suggests five possible sources of an October Surprise that would shake up the presidential election.

AND for those readers who took Roger Simon seriously last week when he wrote that Paul Ryan called Willard "The Stench," you've got a lot of company. Also, it's one of those stories you just want to believe.

Local News

More GOP Voter Fraud. Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times: "Formal complaints filed with the state [of California] by at least 133 residents of a state Senate district [in Riverside] say they were added to GOP rolls without their knowledge, calling into question the party's boast that Republican membership has rocketed 23% in the battleground area." CW: the trick was to tell people they were signing a petition for some liberal thing, then telling them they also had to fill out a voter registration form. Apparently, if the signer didn't fill in the party affiliation, the recruiter checked the Republican box.

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "California has become the first state to ban the use for minors of disputed therapies to overcome' homosexuality, a step hailed by gay rights groups across the country that say the therapies have caused dangerous emotional harm to gay and lesbian teenagers. 'This bill bans nonscientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide,' Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement on Saturday after he signed the bill into law. 'These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.'" ...

... Don Thompson of the AP: Brown also "signed SB9, by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco. It would let the inmates [who were sentenced to life imprisonment as juveniles] ask judges to reconsider their sentences after they serve at least 15 years in prison."

Jonathan Capehart: DNA evidence does little to back up George Zimmerman's story that he killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

News Ledes

Reuters: "U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in September for the first time since May as new orders and employment picked up, but the pace of growth showed the economy was still stuck in a slow recovery."

New York Times: "An apprentice elevator mechanic whose murder conviction was overturned after he had spent nearly 11 years in prison has been paid $2 million by New York State to settle a wrongful conviction lawsuit he filed." CW: one of many "it could happen to you or me" stories.

New York Times: "The federal mortgage task force that was formed in January by the Justice Department filed its first complaint against a big bank on Monday, citing a broad pattern of misconduct in the packaging and sale of mortgage securities during the housing boom. The civil suit against Bear Stearns & Company, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase, was brought in New York State Supreme Court by Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general who is also a co-chairman of the task force, known as the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group." CW: Look, Ma, no criminal charges.

Washington Post: "Protesters affiliated with last year's Occupy demonstrations in Washington are planning a series of events to mark the one-year anniversary of the protests. Occupy D.C. participants say they plan to 'shut down K Street' Monday morning, and they say traffic disruptions are possible."

AP: "A lawyer for a cameraman who was accompanying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly in New York says his client has defected. Paul O'Dwyer, a New York City-based lawyer who is representing Hassan Gol Khanban, confirmed Sunday that his client is seeking asylum in the U.S. He provided no other details."

Guardian: "A Moscow court has delayed an appeal hearing by jailed anti-Kremlin punk band until 10 October over procedural concerns."