Lawrence Downes of the New York Times laments the popularization & dillution of Woody Guthrie, who would be 100 this year. ...
... An actual protest song against government-sponsored mass murder:
James Risen & Duraid Adnan of the New York Times: "When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program."
Prof. Jennifer Scanlon, who wrote a biography of Helen Gurley Brown, on Brown's "other revolutionary idea: saving money is sexy." In the Washington Post.
Childhood Redux -- when the comic strip was the best part of the paper. Brian McFadden of the New York Times on campaign reporting:
Joe Conason in the National Memo: "Veteran Republican political consultant, unrepentant dirty trickster, and recently reborn libertarian Roger Stone yesterday published a startling accusation against Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney on his personal website, The Stone Zone. According to Stone, the billionaire Koch brothers purchased the Republican vice presidential nomination for Ryan from Romney in late July by promising to fork over an additional $100 million toward 'independent expenditure' campaigning for the GOP ticket. Any such transaction would represent a serious violation of federal election laws and perhaps other statutes, aside from the ethical and character implications for all concerned. What he has written amounts to a gleeful felony indictment of everyone involved. Will any of them demand a retraction or even issue a denial?" CW: Absent a confession from one or more of the interested parties or testaments from numerous fatcats within earshots, proving the case against Romney-Koch is virtually impossible. Thanks to contributor Lisa for the link.
Gov. Romney's just sort of a guy that you never want to play pick-up basketball with. He's always fouling, and he's always crying foul. -- Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Maryland)
Romney's and Ryan's were at the ready, too, to point out Obama had shifted billions from the program to pay for Democrats' health care law.... On Saturday, Ryan accused Obama of raiding the Medicare 'piggybank' to pay for his health care overhaul. Obama countered that seniors shouldn't trust their golden years to Romney." Note that the reporters never say that Ryan's two budgets would have made the same cost savings Ryan is bashing on the campaign trail & that rather than repurposing those cost savings for healthcare needs for Americans of all ages (including those +65), Ryan would have used the savings "to reduce the deficit." Now that Ryan has "evolved," I guess he & Willard are committed to either increasing the deficit by $716BB or cutting more out of food stamps, Pell grants & such.
The Transformation of Barack Obama. Ta-Nehisi Coates in the New York Times: "Before Obama became the Great Deceiver of Men, he was a pinot-noir-sipping weakling who was a horrible bowler, marveled at arugula and otherwise failed at manhood.... And so, no longer able to portray Obama as weak, the authors of Willie Horton, swift-boating and modern day poll-taxing have been reduced to other tactics -- among them wildly yelping, 'Please, Mr. President, nothing to the face.' Arugula partisan that I am, I must admit to some glee here.... [But] Obama's tough guy bona fides were largely built on the expansive bombing campaign he launched against Al Qaeda, a campaign that regards due process and the avoidance of civilian casualties as indulgences.... It is an ambiguous feat, accomplished by going to the dark side, by walking the G.O.P.'s talk, by becoming the man Dick Cheney fashioned himself to be."
New York Times Editors: "Republican attacks on President Obama's plans for Medicare are growing more heated and inaccurate by the day. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made statements last week implying that the Affordable Care Act would eviscerate Medicare when in fact the law should shore up the program's finances. Both men have also twisted themselves into knots to distance themselves from previous positions, so that voters can no longer believe anything they say. Last week, both insisted that they would save Medicare by pumping a huge amount of money into the program, a bizarre turnaround for supposed fiscal conservatives out to rein in federal spending. The likelihood that they would stand by that irresponsible pledge after the election is close to zero." ...
... Trip Gabriel & Helene Cooper of the New York Times finally do some due diligence: In a retirement community in Florida, "Paul D. Ryan wove a story of generational obligation on Saturday to make the case for his controversial Medicare plan.... Mr. Ryan accused Mr. Obama of being the bigger threat to the program because of savings wrung from the growth of spending in the program contained in the president's health law of 2010. The savings -- or cuts, in the eyes of Mr. Ryan -- are used to help pay for health care for the currently uninsured.... Left unsaid was that his own budget plan passed by the House in March includes the same $716 billion in savings, to be used to reduce the deficit." ...
... BUT Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post went the "he said/he said" route, refusing to call our Ryan. ...
... Don't Kid Yourselves, Seniors. Elise Viebeck of The Hill: "Medicare is not the only entitlement Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has big plans to reform. Its sister program, Medicaid, would lose about three-quarters of its federal funding by 2050 under proposals from the Republican vice presidential candidate, according to federal budget auditors. Medicaid provides healthcare for the poor and the disabled. Over 10 years, Ryan's budget plan would cut the program's budget by about $810 billion.... Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors [said,] 'It pays for 40 percent of the country's births and the majority of the nation's long-term care [for the elderly].'"
Shannon Young of the AP: "Speaking before 2,300 supporters in a crowded high school gym [in Windham, New Hampshire, President] Obama touched on his proposals to fix the economy, while drawing comparisons between his plan and that of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and running-mate Rep. Paul Ryan."
Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "Are taxes a form of charitable donation? ... Mitt Romney seemed to suggest that he might think so last week, when he responded to questions about how much he pays in taxes by suggesting that people should take into account his total contributions to the government and charities.... Experts ... said it was an inadvertently revealing moment, a brief window into the deep philosophical differences between how liberals and conservatives view government and society." CW: not mentioned in the story -- Romney seems to think that taxes -- like charitable gifts -- are optional. Also, the other day when I commented on Romney's remark, I exaggerated his gift to the Mormon Church. According to Helderman's story, the Romneys don't tithe.
Maureen Dowd lets other people take down Paul Ryan. But in the end, she writes, "Beyond the even-keeled Ryan mien lurks full-tilt virulence. A moderate demeanor is not a sign of a moderate view of the world." ...
... Dowd refers to a Rolling Stone essay by Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. Here's the post: "Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage."
I voted to send people to war. -- Paul Ryan, on why he has more foreign policy experience than President Obama did in 2008. Really, he said that. ...
... Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: "Speaking to Fox News’ Carl Cameron Saturday morning, Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan made the case for why he believes his foreign policy credentials are stronger than President Obama's, emphasizing that he has been a voting member of Congress longer than the president. Ryan cited his votes in favor of the Iraq War as evidence that he has had more foreign policy experience than Obama. 'I've been in Congress for a number of years,' he told Cameron. 'That's more experience than Barack Obama had when he came into office. 'I voted to send people to war,' he added."
AND the Boston Globe's editors say Vice President Biden should apologize for his "back in chains" remark.
Republican Congressman Todd Akin said Friday afternoon he thinks it's time for a second look at federal "civil rights and voting rights" laws. The republican U.S. senate candidate told FOX 2's Charles Jaco states not the federal government should set voter rules. Congressman Akin of course is trying to unseat democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. And Akin has always said the federal government's role should be much smaller than it is. But Akin says that federal voting rights laws may need to be looked at, changed or overturned is something new. Those laws were passed in 1964, 1965 and 1968.
... CW: Obviously, the very need for these laws was created by the states themselves -- states that denied black Americans their Constitutional rights. So mark Friday as a day Todd Akin said something both dumb and outrageous -- which likely doesn't make Friday unique in any way.
AP: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange planned to make his first public appearance Sunday since he took refuge inside Ecuador's embassy in London two months ago, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations." The Guardian is liveblogging the event. ...
... Update: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on President Barack Obama to end a 'witch hunt' against his secret-spilling website, after appearing in public for the first time since he took refuge inside Ecuador's embassy in London two months ago."
AP: "At least some of the seven people arrested in a fatal shootout with Louisiana deputies have been linked to violent anarchists on the FBI's domestic terrorism watch lists.... Detectives had been monitoring the group before Thursday's shootout in Laplace in which two deputies were killed and two more wounded, said DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle. His detectives and other law enforcement discovered the suspects were heavily armed adherents to an ideology known as the 'sovereign citizens' movement. The FBI has classified 'sovereign citizens'" as people who believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen, like paying taxes."
Guardian: "United Nations observers have begun to leave Damascus as their mission in Syria comes to an end. The last 100 out of 300 observers have been departing throughout Saturday -- their mandate expires after midnight on Sunday -- as their commander spoke of his frustration at being unable to minimise the violence."