The Ledes

Monday, November 20, 2017.

New York Times: "The Argentine Navy disclosed on Monday that the crew of a missing submarine had been ordered to return to its home port on Wednesday after reporting a battery failure. The revelation was the first official confirmation that the Navy had known since Wednesday — when the submarine vanished — that the vessel was contending with equipment malfunction and might have the lost the ability to propel itself.... A multinational effort is underway to try to locate the submarine and its 44-member crew, amid mystery about what happened to the vessel.... The disclosure about mechanical failure is likely to add to fears that the crew has been lost."

New York Times:"Della Reese, the husky-voiced singer and actress who spent almost a decade playing a down-to-earth heavenly messenger on the CBS series 'Touched by an Angel' and became an ordained minister in real life, died on Sunday night at her home in Encino, Calif. She was 86."

New York Times: "Charles Manson, one of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century..., died on Sunday in Kern County, Calif. He was 83 and had been behind bars for most of his life."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, November 19, 2017.

Tennessean: "Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida...."

New Yorker: Thomas Hargrove, a retired journalist, is developing an algorithm to solve serial murders. Interesting & not a bit nutty. Hargrove's research suggests that the number of serial killers still out their doing their jobs is much greater than police departments realize (or will admit -- serial killers are bad for local tourism). Also too, the percentage of murders that get solved has dropped precipitously in the last half-century.

Donaldo da Trumpo. Guardian: "On Wednesday, a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for $450.3m, rocking the art world.... On Thursday, that same art world was given a reality check, when a sketch by the less celebrated Donald Trump sold for just $6,875 at an auction in Los Angeles. Trump’s untitled piece, which depicts the Manhattan skyline, barely cleared its minimum price of $5,000.... The president took on his project in 2009 for a charity event. Trump seems to have used either pencil or ballpoint pen for the piece, which measures 8in x 5in. The sketch shows what appear to be skyscrapers, alongside something representing the Empire State Building. Nate D Sanders, the auction house handling the sale, presented the sketch in a 15in x 18in frame, along with a signed photo of Trump."

New York Times: "After 19 minutes of dueling, with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room, Leonardo da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi' sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million with fees, shattering the high for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed Picasso’s 'Women of Algiers,' which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015. The buyer was not immediately disclosed." ...

... New York Times critic Jason Farago calls the painting "a proficient but not especially distinguished religious picture from turn-of-the-16th-century Lombardy, put through a wringer of restorations.... The painting, when purchased at an estate sale in 2005 for less than $10,000, was initially considered a copy of a lost Leonardo, completed around 1500 and once in the collection of Charles I of England. [Some experts still think it's a copy.] Over time, its wood surface became cracked and chafed, and it had been crudely overpainted.... Cleaned by the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, the painting now appears in some limbo state between its original form and an exacting, though partially imagined, rehabilitation."

A D.C. Hotel for Liberals. Bloomberg: Eaton Workshop will open an anti-Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., late next spring. It's the "world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement."

Mike Isaac of the New York Times, in an article written in all tweets: "On Tuesday, [Twitter] said nearly all of its 330 million users would now be able to tweet with 280 characters, the exact total in this paragraph.... The only Twitter users who will remain at 140 characters are those who post in Japanese, Korean or Chinese, the company said. Those languages have alphabets that typically allow for the expression of more thoughts in fewer characters...."

Travel Advisory. New York magazine: "Oh Good, Southwest Airlines to Host Live Country-Music Concerts on Flights."

Constant Comments


Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. Des MacHale (often misattributed to H. L. Mencken)

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




The Commentariat -- November 2

Just a quick note about Grover Norquist. If Grover Norquist is now the most powerful man in America, he should run for president. There’s no question about his power. And let me tell you, he has people in thrall. That’s a terrible phrase. Lincoln used it. It means your mind has been captured. You’re in bondage with a soul. So here he is.... He said, ‘My hero is Ronald Reagan.’ I said, ‘Well, he raised taxes 11 times in his eight years.’ And he said, ‘I know. I didn’t like that at all.’ I said, ‘Well, he did it. Why do you suppose?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. Very disappointing.’ I said, ‘He probably did it to make the country run, another sick idea. -- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), testifying before the Deficit Reduction Super Committee, a/k/a Catfood Commission II (Simpson-Bowles being Catfood Commission I)

Senator Moneybags.Zaid Jilani of Think Progress. The net worth of the median American Congressman is more than five times what the net worth of the median American is. (And the figure for that "average American" includes, of course those in the top tier. If you cut out Mrs. & Mrs. Richy Rich, the "average American" net worth would be substantially lower.)


Congress is responsible for the mortgage crisis. -- Baron von Bloomberg:

For any public figure to go with the Congress-did-it argument at this stage is for him to reveal both that he is grossly ignorant about the central policy issue of the day and that he gets his 'analysis' from right-wing flacks. -- The Peasant Krugman, Nobel Laureate

Keep this in mind every time you hear Tom Friedman or some other Village-meets-Versaille resident of the royal court urge Bloomberg to run a third-party campaign. The logic that informs this kind of political analysis is quite similar to that which dictates Charlie Sheen’s philosophy of intoxicant consumption — if it doesn’t work, do it again, more, harder, forever. -- Elias Isquith, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

Mayor 1% (and Unity 2012 dream boat) is starting to show his true spots.... What he said is just an outright lie (a zombie lie, in fact) and he knows it. -- Digby ...

... Digby links to this very helpful October 2008 McClatchy News report (by David Goldstein & Kevin Hall) of Fannie & Freddie's limited participation in the subprime lending mess

Bloomberg is either ignorant of the facts of the mortgage meltdown or so eager to rid his city of Occupiers that he'll discard the truth. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 did not cause the meltdown of 2007, in no small part because that law didn't apply to the private lenders who dominated the subprime market. The fraudulent practices of those lenders and the financial derivatives the private investment houses used to turn the subprime market into an elaborate game of hot potato were left unregulated by the federal government — but that's not even the basis for Bloomberg's criticism of Washington. He claims Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 'made a bunch of loans' even though they (1) do not make loans, and (2) were backing out of insuring subprime loans as private, unregulated firms rushed into the derivatives casino. -- Alan Pyke, Political Correction

... The lenders that made the bulk of subprime loans weren’t even covered by government laws to encourage homeownership. In fact, 94 percent of high-cost loans were totally unconnected from government homeownership laws. -- Pat Garofalo of Think Progress

... AND Another Thing. Harry Siegel of the New York Daily News: "Two different drunks I spoke with last week told me they’d been encouraged to 'take it to Zuccotti' by officers who’d found them drinking in other parks, and members of the community affairs working group related several similar stories they'd heard.... The NYPD’s press office declined to comment on the record about any such policy, but it seems like a logical tactic from a Bloomberg administration that has done its best to make things difficult for the occupation — a way of using its openness against it." ...

... Karen Garcia thinks the city's alleged subversion of the movement may backfire as Occupy gives the homeless a voice. ...

... Kristin Bender, et al., of the Oakland Tribune: "As Oakland braces for Wednesday's general strike, potentially the biggest demonstration in the East Bay since the Vietnam War, Mayor Jean Quan found herself under fire, both from her own Police Department and a neighboring mayor, for her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests.... There are now more than 100 tents on the plaza lawn. The Oakland teachers union has paid for at least nine portable toilets at the camp and there is a new food station, medical aid available from the California Nurses Association and freshly planted gardens that protesters say will sprout to feed the occupiers.... Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said she will march part way with residents who plan to trek 10 miles from Richmond to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. McLaughlin said Quan made a 'big mistake to have the police attack and raid the movement' last week." ...

... Oakland Police Officers Association: "We represent the 645 police officers who ... protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed.... As your police officers, we are confused.... the Administration issued a memo on Friday, October 28th to all City workers in support of the 'Stop Work' strike scheduled for Wednesday, giving all employees, except for police officers, permission to take the day off." Via Valerie L-T.

Ken Thomas of the AP: Priorities USA Action, "a Democratic super PAC, is targeting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a new social media campaign that raises questions about his economic agenda one year before the 2012 election." Here's their ad:

Here's Jared Bernstein's short list of what Washington politicians would be working on were they actually doing what we hired them to do:

Jobs, incomes, loosening the middle class squeeze, both cyclical (recession) and structural (long term)

A sustainable budget path

Coverage and cost control in health care

Adequate regulation in key sectors, including financial markets and climate.

Reinvestment in public goods, education, infrastructure

      ... Bernstein adds, "if you hold or are running for political office and you don’t have a credible, understandable, plausible plan for addressing the above, you don’t belong in the picture.  Do us all a big favor and go home."

... NOW here is what Washington politicians are actually "working" on:

Why have my Republican friends returned to an irrelevant agenda? ...And yet here we are, back to irrelevant issue debates, the kind of thing people do when they have run out of ideas, when they have run out of excuses, when they have nothing to offer a middle class that is hurting and that has run out of patience.... This is simply an exercise in saying, 'We're more religious than the other people, we're more godly than the other people, and by the way, let's waste time and divert people's attention from the real issues that we're not dealing with,' like unemployment. -- Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on the House GOP's resolution reaffirming that "In God We Trust" is the national motto since "President Obama and other public officials often forget that." The resolution passed 396-9, with Nadler one of the "no" votes

Herman Cain & Judy Woodruff (of PBS's "News Hour") haven't heard that China has nukes (has had 'em for almost 50 years).

Right Wing World

Oh, You Knew This Was Coming, Too: Jack Gillum & Stephen Ohlemacher of the AP: "A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s. She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment. She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him." ...

... Evan McMorris-Santoro & Jillian Rayfield of TPM: "Herman Cain’s allies seem intent on tying his sexual harassment scandal to the most famous case of inappropriate workplace behavior in American history, the saga of Clarence Thomas. And in one unexpected way, they’ve already succeeded: much of the right wing is now pulling the dust cloths off the same old criticisms of the very concept of sexual harassment that they’ve kept in storage since the ’90s. Namely, that the behavior is often harmless fun and women really need to lighten up already." ...

Women Just Don't Get It. There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly. -- Sen. Rand Paul ...

A Sen. Paul Sympathizer Writes: Lil' Randy draws the line at abduction; kidnapping women and forcing them to participate in bizarre cult rituals. I can see where he might get the idea that women have no sense of humor about such small matters as kidnapping, forced drug use, and cultish religious worship ceremonies. Spoil sports. -- Anonymous

Sandhya Somashekhar & James Grimaldi of the Washington Post: "A woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s is ready for her story to come out, her attorney said Tuesday, even as the Republican presidential hopeful spent a second day trying to quell the mounting controversy and explain his conflicting recollections of the matter. Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer representing one of two women who made the claims against Cain, said Tuesday that his client is barred from publicly relating her side because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed upon leaving the National Restaurant Association.... Bennett is calling on the association to waive the agreement so the woman, a federal worker living in suburban Maryland, can rebut Cain’s statements this week that the allegations were false and baseless.

... Update: Jim Rutenberg, et al. of the New York Times: "The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 — a year’s salary — in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with Herman Cain, its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday." ...

... Jonathan Easley of The Hill: "A Herman Cain-affiliated super-PAC sent out a racially charged email to supporters on Tuesday, saying opponents are looking to 'take down any black man who stands up for conservative values.' The fundraising letter, which came from Jordan Gehrke, the campaign director for Americans For Herman Cain, is titled 'Don’t let the left "lynch" another black conservative'." ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine: "The question of whether the Herman Cain sexual harassment story will hurt his presidential campaign sort of misses the point that there is no Herman Cain presidential campaign.... Cain is executing a business plan.... The plan involves Cain raising his profile as a conservative personality, which he can monetize through motivational speaking, book sales, talk shows, and other media. If Cain were campaigning to be president, the scandal would hurt him. Since he is instead campaigning to boost his profile, it will help him.... Before this week, the one element missing from Cain’s profile was persecution by the liberal media. In the minds of the most conservative Republicans — which is to say, Cain’s customers — the sexual harassment story proves his importance and his virtue." ...

... Steve Kornacki of Salon: "Sean Hannity ... devoted two segments on his Fox News show Monday night to portraying the entire episode as the product of a 'left-wing media' that wants to destroy Cain because he 'represents a real threat to a liberal narrative that suggests conservatives are racist.'”

Congratulations are in order for Rick Perry who has taken Right Wing World to new heights. Most conservatives make up stuff by fudging numbers, twisting facts, "misremembering" or taking quotes out of context. But as Colby Hall of Mediaite reports, Perry has taken to repeating as fact a fictional "quotation" from a satirical story by  Mark Schatzker publlshed in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "A group of 40 House Republicans for the first time Wednesday encouraged Congress’s deficit reduction committee to explore new revenue as part of a broad deal that would make a major dent in the nation’s debt, joining 60 Democrats in a rare bipartisan effort to urge the 'supercommittee' to reach a big deal that could also include entitlement cuts.... Among those who signed were several dozen Republicans who had previously signed a pledge promising they would not support a net tax increase."

AP: "Thousands of Japanese-Americans who fought in the fiercest battles of World War II and became some of the most decorated soldiers in the nation's history were given an overdue thank-you from their country Wednesday when Congress awarded them its highest civilian honor. Nearly seven decades after the war's beginning, Congress awarded three units the Congressional Gold Medal. In all, about 19,000 Japanese-Americans served in the units honored at a ceremony Wednesday: the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service."

Men's Wearhouse, Oakland, California. Photo by Oakland Tribune.... Chris Goode of The Atlantic: "George Zimmer, founder and chairman of Men's Wearhouse, has repeatedly donated to Democratic candidates..., including progressives like 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.). Zimmer is also among the nation's biggest donors supporting the movement to legalize marijuana."

... AP: "Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters escalated their tactics beyond marches, rallies and tent camps Wednesday and moved to disrupt the flow of goods at the nation's fifth-busiest port. Protesters were arrested as they held a sit-in at the headquarters of cable giant Comcast in Philadelphia. Military veterans marched in uniform in New York, angry at their dim job prospects. And parents and their kids, some in strollers, formed a 'children's brigade' to join the Oakland, Calif. rallies." ...

... Oakland Tribune: "Protesters have effectively shut down maritime operations at the Port, Director Omar Benjamin said ... Tuesday, as more than 4,000 people are at the gates. The crowd stretched several blocks down Middle Harbor Road leading into the port as they begin their attempt to shut down the port for start of the 7 p.m. night shift. Benjamin pledged that normal port operations would resume, however, and asked protesters to give workers safe passage to their homes." ...

... Philadelphia Inquirer: "Ten protesters were arrested during an Occupy Philly sit-in staged Wednesday afternoon at the Center City headquarters of Comcast Corp. Several hundred people, including protesters and onlookers, watched the spectacle unfold at the Comcast Center on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Area traffic was jammed for hours. About 1:30 p.m., nine protesters got into the lobby and sat for about an hour before being arrested. Another demonstrator had been arrested outside earlier." ...

... New York Daily News: "Dozens of veterans marched on Wall Street Wednesday in support of the '99 percent' and a young soldier injured last week when demonstrators clashed with police in Oakland, Calif. Close to 40 people walked in unison from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zuccotti Park.... The demonstrators attempted to walk up to the stock exchange, the symbolic heart of New York’s financial district, and were met by a barricade of police on horseback."

... Guardian: "The Corporation of London has told Occupy London protesters that they can stay in the lee of St Paul's Cathedral until the new year, according to protesters. The Corporation refused to confirm or deny this." ...

... Los Angeles Times: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke says he has sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement’s 'dissatisfaction' with the economy. But he also said his critics were misguided if they believed that Fed policy has been motivated by a desire to protect bankers' incomes." ...

... The Do-Nothing Fed. New York Times: "The Federal Reserve significantly reduced its forecast of economic growth through 2013, acknowledging that it had once again overestimated the nation’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.... However, the Fed said that its policy-making committee had decided against taking new measures to stimulate growth at a two-day meeting that concluded Wednesday."

AP: "A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s."

Life Is So Unfair. AP: "A casualty of the European debt crisis is the release date of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s new album of love songs. The album, the fourth by the former cruise ship singer, was due for release in September, but is now scheduled for as late as Nov. 22 due to the country’s massive debt problems and his own legal issues, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa."

President Obama spoke about an infrastructure bill late this morning. The Hill: "A senior Senate Democratic aide predicted Tuesday that not a single Republican would vote for the latest jobs package of $50 billion in infrastructure spending combined with a $10 billion national infrastructure bank."

     ... New York Times Update: "President Obama on Wednesday visited another bridge in need of repair – this one somewhat closer to home, between Washington and Virginia — to promote his job-creation proposals as the Senate began the latest partisan debate over his plans." See video above.

New York Times: "With the government teetering on the verge of collapse, the Greek cabinet offered its full support early Wednesday to Prime Minister George Papandreou for his surprise plan to call a referendum on the Greek financial crisis." ...

... Guardian: "The French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel will hold emergency talks on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to hold the eurozone together and formulate a response to the Greek prime minister's plan for a referendum on the austerity measures imposed by his European partners."

New York Times:  "A London court ruled on Wednesday that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, can be extradited to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sexual abuse there last year. The decision was the latest chapter in a months-long legal battle that has seen Mr. Assange under house arrest and WikiLeaks temporarily shuttered. In their ruling, two British appeals judges said a European Arrest Warrant seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition could not 'be said to be disproportionate' since it related to 'serious sexual offenses,' which Mr. Assange has denied." Guardian story here.

AP: "The Arab League will unveil on Wednesday its plan to ease violence in Syria, calling for the withdrawal of tanks and armored vehicles from the streets and free elections, diplomats involved in the process said Wednesday. The proposal is the most wide-reaching yet to address the 7-month-old Syrian uprising and comes with a sharp rebuke to President Bashar Assad's regime for its bloody crackdowns on anti-government protesters. The U.N. says the some 3,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in March."

AP: "For 20 years, Abdurrahim el-Keib taught electrical engineering at the University of Alabama, helped lead the area's Muslim community and talked little about his home country of Libya. With Moammar Gadhafi's regime deposed, the professor now has a new role as prime minister of his homeland. El-Keib was elected to the post late Monday by Libya's National Transitional Council and will replace outgoing interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who had promised to step down after victory over Gadhafi's dictatorship."

Digital Journal: "Loudoun County, Va., GOP Chairman Mark Sell, has apologized for a ghoulish image of Obama sent by email to invitees to a Halloween parade, and the Loudoun County Republican Committee's communications director Robert Jesionowski, has resigned his position."


The Commentariat -- November 1

The issue for the great washed masses, via a friend:

By Matt Bors.

I've posted an Open Thread on today's Off Times Square.

Members of Congress Are Just Like Us. Paul Singer & Jennifer Yachnin of Roll Call: "Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members' financial disclosure forms. Nearly 90 percent of that increase is concentrated in the 50 richest Members of Congress." ...

... Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: "From Los Angeles to Wall Street, from Denver to Boston, homeless men and women have joined the protesters in large numbers, or at least have settled in beside them for the night. While the economic deprivation they suffer might symbolize the grievance at the heart of this protest, they have come less for the cause than for what they almost invariably describe as an easier existence.... But their presence is posing a mounting quandary for protesters and the authorities, and divisions have arisen among protesters across the country about how much, if at all, to embrace the interlopers. The rising number of homeless, many of them suffering from mental disorders, has made it easier for Occupy’s opponents to belittle the movement as vagrant and lawless and has raised the pressure on municipal authorities to crack down." ...

... The Supercommittee Goes for Increasing the Number of Homeless. Jake Sherman & Manu Raju of Politico: "As a critical deadline for the supercommittee nears, Social Security appears to be on the negotiating table. In private conversations, and now in public, the idea of changing the social program as part of a deficit-reduction deal is gaining some traction — a move that has been politically unthinkable for years."

Matt O'Brien in The New Republican: conservative "scholars" like Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute continue to cook the books in efforts to demonstrate that really, the sharp rise in income inequality over the past several decades is just a "myth." No, it isn't. ...

... "That's Not What I Said." Jon Chait of New York Magazine discusses the same same "analysis" by Pethokoukis, plus the Wall Street Journal's repeated trumpeting of new economics Nobelists Thomas Sargent & Christopher Sims as being "non-Keynesian." When the scholars whom these conservative analysts misquote speak up against the disinformation about their work, Chait sees an "Annie Hall" moment:

     ... Of course the true master of "That's Not What I Said" is Paul Krugman, whose words are always being misquoted or mischaracterized. He so often throws back misrepresentations I think he might want to change the title of his blog to "That's Not What I Said." ...

Speaking of making up things, Prof. Jonathan Gruber, writing in The New Republic, takes apart a House Republican report (produced by Darrell Issa) on the Affordable Care Act. The report contains one fallacious claim after another. And you, BTW, paid for it.

2008 All over Again. Joe Nocera: despite his making public speeches against out-of-control compensation for Wall Street executives, Jon Corzine, a former governor of & former U.S. senator from New Jersey as well as a former chief of Goldman Sachs, "was on track to get a $12 million golden parachute for failing at MF Global Holdings." CW: see also yesterday's Ledes: there are millions missing from MF Global, money that disappeared in the days before the firm declared bankruptcy.

What Everyone Knows. Everyone knows we can’t solve the debt crisis without making structural changes* to our entitlement programs. You know it. I know it. President Obama knows it. If we don’t make those changes, the programs won’t be there for your generation when you need them. Everyone understands this, and the fact of the matter is, strengthening these programs will be good for our economy. Nothing – nothing – would send a more reassuring message to the markets than taking bipartisan steps to fix the structural problems in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. -- House Speaker John Boehner

    * Structural changes. Def.: A term used by U.S. conservatives and members of the right-wing Republican party to mean "deep cuts." Also, a euphemism roughly akin to "You're screwed, people."

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones thinks it's time for President Obama -- instead of his surrogates -- to charge that Republicans are deliberately trying to wreck the economy. This, Drum argues, would force the story onto the front page & make Republicans defend the charges. ...

... On that note, Obama surrogate Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) writes an op-ed in Politico touting Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. "Republicans need to get off the sidelines and join him and stop rooting for the economy’s failure in order to win an election.... [GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney] wants to kick ... people ... out of their homes, allow bankers and investors to make a quick buck and then rewrite the laws to allow bankers to write their own rules. Romney doesn’t just want to return to the same policies that brought our economy to its knees; he wants to double down on them.... His tax plan slashes taxes for the wealthiest and corporations but does nothing to help middle-class families. In a telling moment at a Republican debate just a couple of weeks ago, he called payroll tax cuts in the American Jobs Act 'little Band-Aids.'”

How Republicans are using Occupy Wall Street (or in this case, Occupy Oakland) against President Obama. The comments accompanying the video on the YouTube site are precious: one commenter promises harm to "the first person s/he sees" sporting an Obama bumper sticker on her car. Evidently there's a new threat to some Americans: "DWD" -- "Driving While Democratic":

Right Wing World *

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times: "Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal for an opt-in flat tax would primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans, according to a new analysis from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization. Compared with current tax policy, the plan would most likely reduce federal tax revenue by $570 billion, or about 15 percent.... Almost every household in the top 1 percent would be offered a tax cut." ...

... Former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett ticks off a laundry list of the flaws in Perry's plan. "Mr. Perry’s plan cannot be taken seriously.... Whether the plan makes any sense as a matter of policy is irrelevant to its purpose, which is to win him the Republican nomination. With an Oct. 25 ABC News/Washington Post poll showing the flat tax much more popular among Republicans than Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, it might just work." ...

... AND you have to see Derek Thompson's bar charts on the Perry plan. I can't reproduce them here because they would take up a couple of column feet.

Jim Rutenberg & Michael Shear of the New York Times have an omnibus story on Herman Cain's Bad Day. See also yesterday's Commentariat. ...

... Alexander Burns of Politico: "Herman Cain backtracked on a central part of his story about the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him in the 1990s, telling PBS and Fox News that he recalled details of a financial settlement with one of the women involved. Changing his tune on the question of cash settlements was only the most glaring of several shifts in Cain’s comments Monday on the harassment charges leveled when he was president of the National Restaurant Association."

... Brett Smiley of New York Magazine: On the Greta Van Susteren show, Cain makes things worse. "Foot meet mouth." Here's part of the interview: he likes the ladies:

Byron Wolf of ABC News: "One of the more interesting moments during Herman Cain’s appearance [yesterday] at the National Press Club came not when he struck back hard against reports that he sexually harassed an employee of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, but when he burst into song at the end. The song, 'He Looked Beyond My Faults,' was written by Dottie Rambo." CW: well, he has a very nice voice:

Dana Milbank: "If Herman Cain were found to be a serial killer, his supporters would take this, too, as reassuring evidence that he is not just another career politician."

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post: "It was inevitable, from the moment the story broke of sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, that parallels would be drawn to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.... There is no indication that his race — or his political affiliation — is relevant in any way to the accusations or to Politico’s careful, responsible reporting on them.... The ones playing racial politics here are conservatives, not the supposed liberal media." ...

... Dan Eggen of the Washington Post has a bit more on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story we linked yesterday "about financial ties between [Cain']s campaign and a private charity run by two of his top aides.... The payments Cain campaign manager Mark Block's nonprofit made to Cain's campaign (and perhaps one to a conservative group before whom Cain spoke) are "forbidden under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to donate money or services to political campaigns, according to election law experts. 'It looks like a law school exam on potential campaign finance violations,” said Lawrence H. Norton..., a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. 'Many of these payments would be prohibited contributions under federal election law.'” In a TV interview, Cain pled ignorance of the issue.

Joseph Curl of the Washington Times: First Lady Michelle Obama is a constantly enraged hellcat -- "Now, she is ready to spew her bilious disgust with America" -- and someday we're going to present some evidence to back up this bogus warmed-over Campaign 2008 claim. To prove his point, Curl includes with his column the photo of the Obama family watching a ball game. To the left is the First Lady, preparing to spew bile. I have not changed the size of the photo.

Anita Kumar of the Washington Post: "The Republican Party of Virginia is strongly condemning an e-mail sent by Loudoun County’s GOP committee that shows President Obama as a zombie with part of his skull missing and a bullet through his head.... The e-mail ... has several other images, including one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose face has been made to look deformed with one eye bulging out of its socket." Under duress, the chairman of the committee issued a "sorry if you got the impression we were promoting assassination" apology. ABC News: "The Secret Service told ABC News the agency is aware of the incident but offered no further details."

     ... CW: Loudoun County is a D.C. bedroom community; this is not someplace out in them thar hills where the GOP can pretend those innocent rubes just don't know any better. This is what "sophisticated" Republicans, many of whom probably work in D.C., think is super-funny: portraying the POTUS as a dead man. Today Rush Limbaugh rent on a rant complaining that the Politico story about sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain -- a story Cain did not deny -- that "We Should Not be Surprised by the Left's Racist Hit Job on Herman Cain." (Politico, owned by a former Reagan Administration official is hardly "the left," BTW). How odd he didn't demand the resignations of everyone on the Loudoun County GOP committee.

* Where we flat-ass make up stuff to fit right-wing worldview.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Federal officials are escalating an investigation into MF Global, the bankrupt brokerage firm run by Jon S. Corzine, as the search continues for roughly $600 million in missing customer money. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which first detected the missing money last week, decided to issue subpoenas to MF Global and demanded that the firm retain any documents that may be related to the investigation, according to people briefed on the situation." Also on the case are the SEC & the FBI, along with "exchanges like the CME Group...." 

New York Times: "Dorothy Rodham, who overcame years of struggle to become a powerful influence on the life and career of her daughter, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first lady, senator from New York, presidential candidate and now secretary of state, died on Tuesday in Washington. She was 92."

Ha! New York Times: "Bank of America said Tuesday that it was abandoning its plan to charge its customers a $5 fee to use their debit cards, just a month after announcing the new fee. The reversal follows a huge backlash from customers.... The bank listened, but only after other large banks had indicated that they would not impose similar fees. Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust and Regions Financial have all pulled back on their plans."

CNN: "Occupy Wall Street activists plan to amass in Iowa one week before the Iowa caucuses -- up to the day they're held on Jan. 3...."

New York Times: "Israel said on Tuesday that it would accelerate the construction of 2,000 housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and in two West Bank settlements. The announcement came a day after the Palestinians won full membership in Unesco in the face of staunch Israeli and American opposition."

... AP: "A ... proclamation President Obama was signing Tuesday [at 1:45 pm ET] will designate Fort Monroe as a national monument, saving it from major development and preserving its history for generations. The fort and the land it occupies are historically significant because it was where Dutch traders first brought enslaved Africans in 1619. It remained in Union possession during the Civil War and became a place where escaped slaves could find refuge. It's also where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was once imprisoned following the Civil War."

New York Times: "European markets slid dramatically on Tuesday after Prime Minister George A. Papandreou stunned other European leaders with a surprise announcement late Monday that his government would hold a referendum on a new aid package for Greece. The proposed ballot will put Greek austerity measures — and potentially membership in the euro zone — to a popular vote for the first time...." ...

     ... Updated Lede: "The government of Prime Minister George Papandreou teetered of the verge of collapse on Tuesday, threatening Greece’s adherence to the terms of a new deal with its foreign lenders and plunging Europe into a fresh bout of financial turmoil."

Daily Beast: "Despite the demands of an embattled presidency and a sluggish economy, President Obama emerged from his latest physical exam on Monday in strikingly good health."

Guardian: "The bishop of London has broken ranks with the City of London Corporation over planned legal action to evict the tented encampment outside St Paul's Cathedral in London. Dr Richard Chartres is expected to urge the chapter of St Paul's – which has been hit in the past week by the resignation of two senior officials – to dissociate itself from the legal action to expel the protesters.... The protesters will be given an ultimatum on Tuesday: remove your tents in two days or face court action. The City of London Corporation is expected to serve legal papers on them the day after it warned them to remove their tents from land it owns around the cathedral. The home secretary, Theresa May, gave the authorities her full support on Tuesday morning."

AP: "The new business plan for California's high-speed rail system shows the nation's most ambitious state rail project could cost nearly $100 billion in inflation-adjusted funding over a 20-year construction period, according to a draft copy of the plan shared with The Associated Press. But the plan also says the system would be profitable even at the lowest ridership estimates and wouldn't require public operating subsidies."

Guardian: "The state of Nebraska will open a special session of the legislature on Tuesday afternoon in a last-gasp effort to stop or re-route the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project. The pipeline, meant to carry crude from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to the refineries of Texas, has become a political liability for Barack Obama. He's been heckled during party fundraisers, and faces a big demonstration at the White House on 6 November." The Omaha World-Herald story is here.

New York Times: Facing serious financial trouble in a weak economy, Cooper Union, the New York City college founded in 1859 to provide free education for the working class, may begin charging undergraduate tuition for the first time in more than a century, its president said Monday."

AP: "New York City has agreed to pay $70 million to settle a federal lawsuit that accused it of overbilling Medicaid for millions of dollars in reimbursements for personal care services. The city acknowledged it had re-authorized the services for certain patients without obtaining the required assessment from a physician, nurse or social worker. It also admitted it didn't get a medical review in some cases."