Matthew Stevenson writes a terrific send-up for NYTX of the New York Times' coverage of the "Dating Game" between President Obama & Chancellor Merkel.
CW: contributor Janice recommends this American Prospect article by Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson on Michael Harrington's The Other America, the seminal work on poverty in America that helped inspire Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty." Janice says it's a must-read. I agree.
CW: I was prepared not to care for this long article on how privileged women balance work and family by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic, but she mostly succeeds at reining in the whiney factor & makes some mild proposals -- and has taken some itty-bitty steps -- toward easing the burdens of the two-career woman: worker & mommy. Of course I would go much further & urge that all jobs be cut to a 35-hour work week -- a sure-fire way to create millions of jobs, jobs, jobs. ...
... I learned about Slaughter's piece thru this article by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times, which discusses the article & the difficulties elite women still have competing with elite men. Why should those of us who are not -- or whose children or grandchildren will not become -- secretary of state give a rat's ass? Because, however slowly, what happens at the top does trickle down. I'd like to have your input on this.
Paul Krugman: "... you shouldn't imagine that what The Times discovered about prison privatization in New Jersey is an isolated instance of bad behavior. It is, instead, almost surely a glimpse of a pervasive and growing reality, of a corrupt nexus of privatization and patronage that is undermining government across much of our nation."
Krugman, from an undisclosed location, on the Fed's inaction: "I'm sorry, but this looks like pure concession to political intimidation -- a Fed refusing to do anything that would let Republicans accuse it of helping Obama. And for the sake of its own political comfort, the Fed is essentially betraying the unemployed. All in all, the degree of elite failure in this crisis is just stunning."
CW: sorry, I thought I linked this earlier, but I guess not. Ezra Klein has a pretty good piece in the New Yorker on the history of the individual mandate. Since after next week, we may not ever hear much about it ever again, you might consider Klein's piece a swan song. ...
... Here's the Chorus. Dr. Donald Berwick, in a Washington Post op-ed: "Obamacare is helping our nation achieve health care that is excellent, accessible to all and affordable. In the 17 months that I led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), I saw how this law is helping tens of millions of families and is finally putting our health-care system on the right track."
Amy Davidson of the New Yorker: maybe the Supremes would have been able to write a meaningful decision in F.C.C. v. Fox if they weren't so loath to write the words "fuck" and "shit," which were, after all, the issues of the case. Davidson's post includes this excellent video:
Reality Chek: the vaunted Democratic super-majority lasted about six months. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.
Alexander Burns of Politico: "Indiana Treasurer and GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock applauds the Supreme Court's decision invalidating the Affordable Care Act in a new video uploaded to his YouTube account. The catch, obviously, is that the Court hasn't ruled on Obamacare just yet.... Mourdock's video ... is apparently a pretaped message in the event that the health care law goes down, but it hit the web early.... But wait -- there's more! Mourdock uploaded three more videos so as to cover multiple contingencies in the Supreme Court decision. There's a video for a ruling that upholds the Affordable Care Act, one for a split decision and one for a totally inconclusive decision." CW: Moredick is going to be this season's Rand Paul. Let's just hope he loses the election. ...
... Plus, either Moredick didn't get this memo or it doesn't apply to Senate candidates. Reuters: "U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday told the Republican rank-and-file there will be no celebrating in Congress if the Supreme Court rules against President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare reform law."
David Nakamura & Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "A day after a congressional committee recommended that the House hold the nation's attorney general in contempt in connection with an investigation of a botched federal gun-running operation, the White House and its Republican rivals sought to position themselves as the principled parties in a high-stakes game of election-year brinkmanship."
Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker: "... in 2012, abortion remains — more than ever, in fact — the biggest and clearest difference between Republicans and Democrats."
Jacob Weisberg of Slate: the President "and his campaign have cleverly recognized that Romney's slow-footedness and lack of imagination present an opportunity for them to shine in contrast. They have reversed the usual dynamic of re-election campaigns, highlighting the challenger's stodginess while making Obama into a nimble incumbent."
** Willard, the Outsourcing King. Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: "Mitt Romney's financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India. During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain..., it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to [SEC] filings.... Romney in recent months has lamented the toll [outsourcing has] taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.... A Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain's investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas."
¿Como se dice 'Flip Flop' en Español? Trip Gabriel & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney on Thursday offered what he called a strategy for 'bipartisan and long-term immigration reform' in an address to a convention of Latino elected officials in Florida. In the speech, which also touched on the economy, Mr. Romney dropped the confrontational tone he took on immigration during the Republican primary. Instead, he promised to work in a series of areas to help immigrants and their families while discouraging people from coming to the country illegally.... The nearly twenty-minute speech was met with tepid applause and moments of pointed silence." ...
... Or Maybe Not. Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "Romney has now shifted to a strategy of strategic obfuscation.... Romney completely avoided the two big questions: How will Romney deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the US, and what will he do about the DREAM Act-eligible immigrants.... [The speech was] just vague enough to give the impression that Romney has moderated on immigration policy without making an actual commitment to any policy changes." ...
... Lawrence Downes of the New York Times: "To qualify for Mr. Romney’s plan, an illegal immigrant would first have to serve in the military. That's about 30,000 people, according to Frank Sharry, an immigration-rights advocate.... Mr. Romney finally had the chance to explain what he would do about the 11.5 million illegal immigrants in this country, apart from hope they go away, and do it before an eager audience. But he didn't."
... Mark Murray of NBC News: "In remarks he delivered in Florida before Latino political leaders, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney once again declined to answer if he would overturn President Obama's executive action to no longer deport qualified young illegal immigrants.... Left unsaid, of course, is what Romney -- if elected president -- would do before signing long-term legislation into law, or if the legislation couldn't be passed. Remember: Due to congressional opposition, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been unable to pass comprehensive legislation dealing with illegal immigration."
Ben Adler of The Nation, citing numerous big-business flame-outs, makes an excellent case against ever choosing a businessperson as president or treasury secretary.
Dressage as Tax Dodge. Amy Davidson: "The Romneys reported a business loss for the care of Rafalca that added up to some seventy-seven thousand dollars."
California, an Actual Laboratory of Democracy. New York Times Editors: "A bill moving through the California Legislature, aptly named the Trust Act, seeks to counter the damage done to community policing and public safety by the Obama administration's Secure Communities program.... The bill would enhance the ability of local departments to fight crime by restoring community trust and saving jail space for serious offenders. It deserves to become law."
... Here's the "money quote," literally:
Tampa Bay Times: "President Barack Obama used the first Florida rally of his 2012 campaign on Friday to blast Mitt Romney as an 'outsourcing pioneer' and promised a second term focused on helping the middle class more than the wealthiest Americans."
New York Times: "President Obama assailed Republicans on Friday as obstacles to fixing the nation's immigration system and said his opponent would block efforts to let young immigrants stay if they were brought into the United States illegally by their parents." Orlando Sentinel story here.
New York Times: "Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former archbishop's aide, was found guilty Friday of one count of endangering children, becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States to be convicted of covering up child sexual abuses by priests under his supervision. The 12-member jury acquitted Monsignor Lynn, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on a conspiracy charge and a second count of endangerment after a three-month trial that prosecutors and victims rights groups called a milestone in the sexual abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic church." Philadelphia Inquirer story here.
Philadelphia Inquirer: "... jurors in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky asked a judge to re-read a portion of his instructions involving one of the more controversial elements of the case.... Judge John M. Cleland called jurors back to the courtroom at 3:25 p.m. and instructed them once again on how to weigh testimony involving the alleged abuse of a man known in court documents as Victim 8. His identity remains unknown to prosecutors. Last week, Penn State janitor Ron Petrosky testified that in 2000 a co-worker, James Calhoun, walked out of a locker room shower claiming he had seen Sandusky 'licking on' the young boy's genitals." ...
New York Times: "Egypt's military rulers warned on Friday that they would use 'the utmost firmness' against anyone they deem to threaten 'the higher interests of the country' just as tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded into Tahrir Square here for the fourth day of demonstrations against the dissolution of Parliament and reassertion of their power." ...
... Al Jazeera: "Tens of thousands have packed Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square to denounce a power grab by the ruling military, as the nation nervously awaited the results of the first post-Mubarak presidential election."
Al Jazeera: "A Turkish fighter jet has gone missing over the Mediterranean near Syria, risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The military said a search and rescue operation for the two pilots of the F-4 plane was under way.... Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference on Friday that he did not know whether Syria had shot down the plane, and said that Syria had sent no word of apology."
Washington Post: "The University of Virginia governing board will meet next week to discuss whether to reinstate President Teresa Sullivan, whose abrupt ouster this month caused an uproar on the historic campus. Sullivan supporters on the board of visitors called for a special meeting after they secured what they think are enough votes to retain her, according to current and former board members briefed on the conversations."
Washington Post: "The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain were gathering in Rome Friday for crucial talks aimed at reaching a compromise on short- and long-term fixes for the region's worsening financial crisis, ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels next week." ...
... New York Times Update: "The leaders of the euro zone’s four largest economies vowed on Friday to defend the common currency with all means necessary, trying to reassure markets before yet another key summit meeting of the European Union next week in Brussels."
Washington Post: "Pakistan's ruling party picked a new prime minister Friday -- former government power and water chief Raja Pervez Ashraf -- but the choice seemed to guarantee continued political turmoil: Ashraf, the energy minister from 2008 to 2011, is associated with a persistent energy crisis that has crippled the country with blackouts, water shortages and steep increases in the price of fuel." ...
... Al Jazeera Update: "Raja Pervez Ashraf has been elected Pakistan's new prime minister and sworn in by the president, just days after the Supreme Court had dismissed Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt."
New York Times: "Twenty people were killed when seven Taliban militants shot their way into a much-visited lakeside resort [in Afghanistan] and took scores of hostages during an 11-hour siege, Afghan officials said on Friday."
Reuters: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Friday that he was ready for a life in Ecuador and said the country had been 'quite supportive' of his bid for asylum."