The Ledes

Sunday, July 15, 2018.

New York Times: France won the World Cup, beating Croatia 4-2.


The Wires

Public Service Announcement

July 13: Washington Post: "A salmonella outbreak linked to a popular Kellogg's cereal has infected 100 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. The agency is urging consumers to avoid Honey Smacks, a sugary puffed wheat cereal which has been the subject of a recall by the company since mid-June. At least 30 of the 100 have been hospitalized, while no deaths have been reported, the CDC said. 'Do not eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any "best if used by" date,' it wrote."

Welcome to the Bank:

The Mounties Always Get Their Man -- and Woman -- especially when the pair are the ones mimicking the Keystone Kops. This is real CCTV footage of a young couple who -- allegedly -- tried to use stolen credit cards at an Alberta, Canada, convenience store. The WashPo has more details. These comical suspects, BTW, are not teenagers; they're in their late 20s. Super-size for best viewing. There's an action-movie moment near the end, so don't tune out too soon:

There will be an answer. Best #CarpoolKaraoke evah:

     ... You're welcome. ...

... Matthew Dessem of Slate: "The only fly in the ointment is the knowledge that, demographically speaking, this video will make a lot of horrible people happy."

AP: "ABC, which canceled its 'Roseanne' revival over its star's racist tweet, says it will air a Conner family sitcom minus Roseanne Barr this fall. ABC ordered 10 episodes of the spinoff after Barr agreed to forgo any creative or financial participation in it. In a statement issued by the show's producer, Barr said she agreed to the settlement in order to save the jobs of 200 cast and crew members. ABC said Thursday that the new series has the working title 'The Conners' and will star John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert and other 'Roseanne' co-stars."

NAFTA No, NAFSA . North American Free Soccer Agreement. Washington Post: "The World Cup is returning to the United States, and this time, Mexico and Canada are along for the wild ride. A North American joint bid won the rights Wednesday to host the 2026 edition of the celebrated soccer tournament, defeating Morocco and bouncing back from an unfathomable U.S. defeat to Qatar in voting for the 2022 event eight years ago. The member associations in FIFA, the sport’s governing body, favored the North American effort, known as the United Bid, in a landslide vote, 134-65."

... Washington Post: "It was Justify’s moment, after all. In a dazzling display of power and durability, the late-blooming colt who didn’t race as a 2-year-old proved Saturday he couldn’t be worn out as a 3-year-old, thundering to victory in the Belmont Stakes to claim a place in history as the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion. After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible, Justify became the second horse in four years to achieve it, tutored, like 2015 predecessor American Pharoah, by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, which Justify won by 1¾ lengths over surprise second-place finisher Gronkowski in a 10-horse field, the massive chestnut colt with the white blaze had won the Kentucky Derby by a 2 1 /2-length margin, becoming the first since Apollo in 1882 to win the classic without running as a 2-year-old. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on "The Americans." Mrs. McC Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen the show's finale, & you plan to, see it before reading Gessen's post.

You may want to cut the sound on this video so you don't go nuts before you get to move overseas:

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I found this on a political Website, so that's my excuse. Juliana Gray in McSweeney's: "The Incel Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It begins,

"Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like an equal redistribution of sexual resources.
Let us go, through certain half-considered tweets
and form tedious arguments
about entitlement.

"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Maya Angelou."

Read on. Incels, in case you don't know,  (a portmanteau of 'involuntary' and 'celibacy') are members of an online subculture who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom. Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual," according to Wikepedia.

Constant Comments


Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

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


The Commentariat -- October 25

It's the Economy, Stupid. Rick Hertzberg, of course, puts James Carville's dictum more elegantly: "President Obama and the Democrats kept the Great Recession from becoming a second Great Depression. But the presence of pain is more keenly felt than the absence of agony." ...

... HOWEVER, in case you've forgot the serious economic blunders the President made, Paul Krugman gently reminds you: "The real story of this election, then, is that of an economic policy that failed to deliver. Why? Because it was greatly inadequate to the task." ...

... AND when you see what the President has planned -- deficit reduction & foreign trade deals -- you won't feel any better. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times: "After two years of operating at loggerheads with Republicans, Mr. Obama and his aides are planning a post-election agenda for a very different political climate." ...

... AND More Evidence of Stupid. Ben Feller of the AP: "Preparing for political life after a bruising election, President Barack Obama will put greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, a nod to a nation sick of spending and to a Congress poised to become more Republican, conservative and determined to stop him."

... BUT Finally Noticing the Price of Tea in China. Mark Landler & Sewell Chan of the New York Times: "The Obama administration, facing a vexed relationship with China on exchange rates, trade, and security issues, is stiffening its approach toward Beijing, seeking allies to confront a newly assertive power that officials now say has little intention of working with the United States.

"Disturbed and Ticked Off." Andy Barr of Politico: "Speaking at a rally for 28-term incumbent Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) Sunday, [President Bill] Clinton said argued 'right-wing rhetoric' against government spending does not accurately frame how Democrats have tried to aid a country still reeling from a recession, and showed frustration that the attacks against Democrats seems to have stuck":

I almost gag when I hear these Republicans lambasting the president and the Democrats in Congress, 'Oh, they're such big spenders, they're just crazy, they're quasi-socialist. I have a simple question: Who's the last president to give you a balanced budget? I like all this enthusiasm, but frankly there are a few things about this election that have gotten me somewhere between disturbed and ticked off."
-- President Bill Clinton

T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post: "Companies that received federal bailout money, including some that still owe money to the government, are giving to political candidates with vigor. Among companies with PACs, the 23 that received $1 billion or more in federal money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program gave a total of $1.4 million to candidates in September, up from $466,000 the month before. Most of those donations are going to Republican candidates, although the TARP program was approved primarily with Democratic support. President Obama expanded it to cover GM and other automakers." ...

... Ken Vogel of Politico: the Karl Rove-Ed Gillespie group American Crossroads initially promised to reveal their donors & be completely "transparent," but they did a 180 when they discovered it was way easier to milk secret donors. Their flip-flop resulted in a huge increase in donations. "Late last month, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) sent a letter to the IRS requesting an investigation into Crossroads GPS and two other big-spending GOP-allied non-profits with links to GPS, American Action Network and Americans for Job Security." ...

... BUT RNC Chair Michael Steele is "absolutely all for transparency." Of course one of the reasons Rove-Gillespie are in the money-hiding business is because so many Republican donors wanted nothing to do with Transparent Mike.

Profs. Barry Burden & Kenneth Mayer in a New York Times op-ed: early voting depresses turnout by several percentage points.... when early voting is combined with same-day registration — that is, you can register to vote and cast an early ballot on the same day — the depressive effect of early voting disappears."

"Radio Theater." Jesse Walker of Reason on Republican threats to defund National Public Radio over the Juan Williams incident: "These standoffs never end with public broadcasting getting defunded." (italics Walker's) ...

... ** AND Jim Fallows of The Atlantic on why NPR matters & why it is not the "liberal" antidote to Fox "News."

Glenn Greenwald whacks New York Times reporter John Burns & others in the media for their hit jobs on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: "The Iraq War is John Burns' war, and for the crime of making that war look bad, Julian Assange must have his character smeared and his psychiatric health maligned.... It's not hard to see why The New York Times, CNN and so many other establishment media outlets are eager to do that. Serving the Government's interests, siding with government and military officials, and attacking government critics is what they do.... That's what makes them the 'establishment media.'"

CW: I don't think I've ever linked to a letter to the editor, so this is a first. Former Rep. Richard Ottinger (D-NY) rebuts David Brooks' stupid assertion that money isn't an important factor in the electoral process. Needless to say, Brooks' column was not one I linked, so here it is, if you want to read stupidspeak.

He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned. -- Frank Caprio on President Obama. Caprio is Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, but he is running against Obama supporter & former Republican, now Independent, Lincoln Chafee, & the President -- who is in Rhode Island today -- has declined to endorse. You can listen to the audio here.

     ... Pool Report: The White House sort of responds to Caprio's tasteful remark.

Edward Mason of the Boston Herald: Sean Bielat, Barney Frank's Republican opponent, says that gays are just like short people -- neither has a right to serve in the military. Mason observes, "Hmm. ... On the other hand, vertically challenged people are not forced to pretend they’re tall, then drummed out once it’s discovered they’re short in spite of their service record." ...

... CW: you know I couldn't help this:

I don't watch the news. -- Christine O'Donnell

God is the reason I am running. -- Christine O'Donnell

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network interviews Delaware's Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell. The transcript is here. Here's a nauseating clip:

CBS News: "Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller admitted on Sunday that he had been cited for an ethics violation in 2008, just a day after an Alaska judge ordered for the release of personnel records surrounding the incident.... Former Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor Jim Whitaker said earlier this month that Miller was nearly fired from the [Fairbanks North Star] Bureau -- where he worked as a part-time lawyer -- for using the computers in an attempt to oust Randy Ruedrich, head of the Alaska Republican Party, from his position." Miller has previously, & repeatedly, refused to answer questions about his "background."

Peter Wallsten of the Wall Street Journal: potential Republican candidates for President try to position themselves in relation to the tea party movement.


This "60 Minutes" report is not going to help Congressional Democrats -- which means it will not help the unemployed & underemployed people the story features:


The Commentariat -- October 24 

Christina Romer, who recently quit her job as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers so she could help her son with his schoolwork (right!) is now available for speaking engagements & has fit in the time to write an "economic view" in the New York Times advising that now is not the time to cut the deficit.

Frank Rich never disappoints. "No matter how much Obama talks about his 'tough' new financial regulatory reforms or offers rote condemnations of Wall Street greed, few believe there’s been real change.... The loftiest perpetrators of this national devastation got get-out-of-jail-free cards, that too-big-to-fail banks have grown bigger and that the rich are still the only Americans getting richer. This intractable status quo is being rubbed in our faces daily during the pre-election sprint by revelations of the latest banking industry outrage...." ...

... Here's A. O. Scott's review of "Inside Job," the documentary "about the causes & consequences of the financial crisis of 2008," to which Rich referred in his column. Here's the trailer:

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "Although he will not say so, there is at least a plausible argument that [President Obama] might be better off if they lose. The reality of presidential politics is that it helps to have an enemy." ...

... AND Mark Leibovich of the New York Times compares President Obama's 2008 & 2010 campaign speeches.

David Graham of Newsweek: "... the latest NEWSWEEK Poll (full results) shows that [Democrats] remain in a close race with Republicans 12 days before Election Day, while the president’s approval ratings have climbed sharply. The poll finds that 48 percent of registered voters would be more likely to vote for Democrats, compared with 42 percent who lean Republican.... President Obama’s approval ratings have jumped substantially, crossing the magic halfway threshold to 54 percent, up from 48 percent in late September...." ...

... BUT Nate Silver, who is never wrong, writes, "Republican chances of taking over the House are now up to 80 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model; they had been 75 percent two days ago."

"Boot the Bluedogs." Ari Berman of The Nation argues in a New York Times op-ed that "Democrats would be in better shape, and would accomplish more, with a smaller and more ideologically cohesive caucus":

A smaller majority, minus the intraparty feuding, could benefit Democrats in two ways: first, it could enable them to devise cleaner pieces of legislation, without blatantly trading pork for votes.... (As a corollary, the narrative of 'Democratic infighting' would also diminish.) Second, in the Senate, having a majority of 52 rather than 59 or 60 would force Democrats to confront the Republicans’ incessant misuse of the filibuster.... -- Ari Berman

So What Is the Tea Party? Amy Gardner: "a new Washington Post canvass of hundreds of local tea party groups reveals an ... organization ... that is not so much a movement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process.... The breadth of the tea party may be inflated." ...

... Know what the tea party's foreign policy platform is? No? they don't know either. Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Among the more than 100 candidates who claim Tea Party support, opinions about foreign policy range from severely isolationist to unapologetically assertive of America’s role in the world. And in between are many candidates who appear to have spent little time at all thinking about such issues."

CW: Reader Lisa just turned me on to 82-year-old Helen, who blogs with Margaret, her friend of 60 years. A good place to get started is this post: "I can see November on my TV ... so I turned it off."

"A Bill Cosby Liberal." John Gerstein of Politico: "Fox News commentator Brit Hume is charging that race played a role in National Public Radio's decision to fire Juan Williams last week after he made a comment on a Fox show about being concerned when he saw airline passengers in 'Muslim garb.'" Here's the video:

** Stephanie Simon & Stephanie Banchero of the Wall Street Journal: "As budget pressures mount, legislators and governors are increasingly demanding data proving that money given to colleges is well spent."

Being Dick Cheney Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry, Part 2. Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post. Dick Cheney never apologized to Valerie Plame for revealing her CIA covert status. (Part 1 is here, way at the bottom of the page.)

Nicholas Kristof examines the plights of Afghan women & concludes that "we’re [not] doing favors for Afghan women by investing American blood and treasure in an unsustainable war here. The road to emancipate Afghan women will be arduous, but it runs through schools and economic development — and, yes, a peace deal with the Taliban, if that’s possible." ...

... "DIY Foreign Aid." Kristof has a long piece in the Magazine on American women who are working to improve conditions in underdeveloped countries.

Supremely Bad Judgment. Maureen Dowd makes sport of the Thomases, Clarence & Ginni, much to my delight.

I was surprised by how delusional her account was, but I think she was so desperate to offer some explanation to her devoted followers. -- Nicolle Wallace, John McCain's campaign press secretary, on Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue

I mean in hindsight, she never should have done any interviews. I wish she’d just Tweeted. She should have been our Twitterer. But at the time, I grossly overestimated her capacity to answer questions about world affairs, about how her personal points of view were shaped. -- Wallace on Palin's brain

David Fallis of the Washington Post: In the D.C. area, one gun store, Realco, has sold guns tied to 2,500 crimes, more than four times as many as to the next-highest store. "The Post investigation found that a small percentage of gun stores sells most of the weapons recovered by police in crimes.... For the most part, these sales are legal, but an unknown number involve persons who buy for those who cannot ... in a process known as a "straw purchase." Such sales are illegal for the buyer and the store.... But cases are hard to prove. Law enforcement officials rarely prosecute gun stores, deterred by high bureaucratic hurdles, political pressure and laws that make convictions difficult." There is a related series of videos here, that self-load.

Valerie Elverton Dixon in the Washington Post: Jesus could not be elected to Congress.