The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, May 2, 2016.

Guardian: "A freight train derailed close to Washington DC early Sunday and is leaking hazardous material and causing disruption in the area of the capital. More than 10 cars are understood to have left the tracks, a small portion of the long, 175-car southbound train. No injuries have been reported." -- CW

Public Service Announcement

New York Times: "Taking a stance sharply at odds with most American public health officials, a major British medical organization urged smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes, saying they are the best hope in generations for people addicted to tobacco cigarettes to quit. The recommendation, laid out in a report published Thursday by the Royal College of Physicians, summarizes the growing body of science on e-cigarettes and finds that their benefits far outweigh the potential harms." -- CW

Washington Post: "More than a third of advanced-melanoma patients who received one of the new immunotherapy drugs in an early trial are alive five years after starting treatment -- double the survival rate typical of the disease, according to a new study."

Zoe Schlanger of Newsweek: "If you are eating fast food, you're probably also eating phthalates,... a class of chemicals that have been linked to everything from ADHD to breast cancer, ...[which] are common in food packaging, drink containers, the tubing used to transport dairy and the equipment used to process fast food." --LT

 

Washington Post's Reliable Source: At an "afterparty hosted by MSNBC following the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner [Saturday, May 1]..., a scuffle broke out between Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters and Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief.... The two flailed around a bit, upending a table and bumping into several people. 'Punches were definitely thrown,' said one witness. Before any damage was done, several bystanders, including Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, separated the two."

New York Times: "... a nearly 47,000-word journalistic series [by Walt Whitman] called 'Manly Health and Training,' were lost for more than 150 years, buried in an obscure newspaper that survived only in a handful of libraries. The series was uncovered last summer by a graduate student, who came across a fleeting reference to it in a digitized newspaper database and then tracked down the full text on microfilm.Now, Whitman’s self-help-guide-meets-democratic-manifesto is being published online in its entirety by a scholarly journal, in what some experts are calling the biggest new Whitman discovery in decades."

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

Washington Post: "Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide. The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt. As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees."

BBC: "Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant have joined other stars at a gala marking 400 years since Shakespeare's death. Saturday's Shakespeare Live show in the playwright's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon included play scene performances, dance and music." Then this:

New York Times: "The Pulitzers are in their centennial year, and the winners announced by Columbia University reflected in part the changes sweeping the media landscape." Here's the full list of the prize winners, via the New York Times.

CW: The AP produced this video in January 2015, but I just came across it:

New York Times: "James Levine, who transformed the Metropolitan Opera during four decades as its music director but has suffered from poor health in recent years, will step down from his post after this season to become music director emeritus, the company announced Thursday."

Politico: "Gabriel Snyder, editor in chief of The New Republic for the past 17 months, is leaving the magazine in the wake of its sale to Win McCormack.... The masthead change marks the first big move since McCormack, a publisher, Democratic booster and editor in chief of a literary journal called Tin House, bought TNR from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in February after Hughes was unsuccessful at turning around the money-losing magazine’s business during his four years of stewardship."

The Great Octopus Escape. Guardian: "An octopus has made a brazen escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe and disappearing into the sea. In scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo, Inky – a common New Zealand octopus – made his dash for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar. Staff believe that in the middle of the night, while the aquarium was deserted, Inky clambered to the top of his glass enclosure, down the side of the tank and travelled across the floor of the aquarium."

... Charles Pierce: "One of the best biographies I've ever read was Scott Berg's brilliant, National Book Award-winning account of the life of Maxwell Perkins, the editor at Scribner's who was responsible for bringing out the best work in Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Ring Lardner, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.... I'm going to be first in line to see [the film "Genius."] OK, so there won't be a line, but I'll be there nonetheless."

Michael Cavna of the Washington Post on the artistry in the film "All the President's Men."The real Woodward & Bernstein weigh in.

"You think old people are weirdos but then you understand that they don't see you and they can't hear you." Reuters: "The Genworth Aging Experience is a traveling show created by Genworth Financial Inc., an insurance company, in partnership with Applied Minds, a design and engineering company, that allows museum visitors to feel first-hand the effects of aging...[with the goal of building] empathy and awareness of the challenges elderly people face in everyday situations." -- LT note: this world could always use a little more empathy.

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Wednesday
Oct172012

Binders Full of Women

“Binders full of women” is the latest and best example of Mitt Romney's using odd or convoluted language when he is talking about a topic with which he is uncomfortable and when he is lying. Romney wasn't telling the truth last night when he claimed he and his gubernatorial staff had made “a concerted effort” to “recruit” qualified women candidates for top jobs in his new administration.

 

Last week he told the Des Moines Register, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” His own vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan pushed legislation to redefine rape, and there is no reason to think a Republican Congress wouldn't do the same again. He has said he favors strong prohibitions against abortion and, implicitly, against some forms of contraception. In a primary debate, he said it would be great if abortion were outlawed, period. He thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned and has said he would appoint conservative judges and justices – the fact that he appointed Robert Bork to head his committee on the judiciary is ample evidence of that. He said he would “get rid of Planned Parenthood,” an abortion provider. The construction “no legislation … that I'm familiar with” is just a rhetorical means of lying. Romney's binder full of agenda items may not include an “Outlaw Abortion” tab, but that is his plan.

 

Appearing before the righty-right-wing CPAC convention in February 2012, he said, “I was a severely conservative Republican governor.” When Romney introduced the term “severely conservative” at CPAC, it was such a novel – and false – descriptor that media attention moved it into the American lexicon.

 

When he gets into areas where he is more comfortable, Romney is able to answer with short, declarative statements: “Corporations are people, my friend.” “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”

 

“Binders full of women” is not the only remark Romney made during the town-hall debate that gives us a window into his attitudes about women. Too little has been written – so far – about this part of his extended reply:

 

I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.

What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

 

From bindersfullofwomen.comSo here is newly-minted Gov. Romney, realizing that working women are sort of special-needs aliens who require extraordinary accommodations. This is something he wouldn't know much about, because in the nearly two decades he was head of Bain Capital, the company never invited any women to become partners.

 

Romney, of course, never suggests that family flex-time should be enacted into law. Whether or not to provide this extraordinary benefit is entirely up to the employer. As an employer, Governor Mitt allowed the little lady he chose as his chief-of-staff to go home and do womanly things like helping the kids with their homework and whipping up vittles. It never occurred to him – then or now – that his male staff might have kids who need supper and help with the homework. The men have wives to do those homely chores, for Pete's sake.

 

Evidently only in a strong economy, “so strong” employers are desperate for workers, will employers scrape the bottom of the barrel and hire these special-needs gals. This is typical Republican pre-1970s thinking. Let the market economy decide if women's peculiar needs will be met. And never even consider that men and women share family responsibilities. That, after all, is not how the division of labor works in Republican/Romney family circles. Caring for children, for elderly or disabled relatives and loved ones – that, my friends, is women's work.

 

And, in an ideal world, women should be staying home and doing it. Stay-at-home parent Ann Romney said that Mitt always reminded her that what she was doing as a mother was more important than what he was doing. In his convention speech, Mitt Romney said, “I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine.”

 

Matt Yglesias of Slate spoke to that issue in late August when Mitt was complaining – completely untruthfully – that President Obama wanted to “gut” the welfare-to-work program, a program that helps people – primarily mothers – get back into the workforce:

 

[Mitt Romney] doesn't say women should go back to the kitchen, stop working, and instead do the much harder and more important job of raising kids full time. But he doesn't want to spend any money or burden any business with any kind of rules or programs that would push us to a new more egalitarian equilibrium. Nor does his lip service to the values of full-time childrearing seem to have any content. He thinks the idea of paying poor women to stay at home and raise kids is outrageous and certainly doesn't encourage fathers to engage in the much harder and more important job of full-time homemaking. He's a guy who … doesn't want to do anything to address the challenges that parents face in an economic environment shaped around the obsolete expectation that behind every working man there's a full-time homemaker. But he's not a guy who in any way acts as if there's any content to his belief that full-time parenting is harder and more important that entrepreneurship or market labor.

 

At a campaign event in August 2012, Romney said,

 

If I am president, I will put work back in welfare. There is nothing better than a good job to help lift a family, to allow people to provide for themselves and end the spread of a culture of dependency. We must include more work in welfare. We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work.

 

“Good job”? Really? Isn't a good job usually one that requires some educational background and perhaps some special skills? Romney's campaign boasted that “as governor he vetoed a provision in a Massachusetts bill that would have allowed education and training to substitute for work while he pushed for able-bodied parents of young children to meet the work requirement.” So if you're a poor woman, trying to get off welfare and into the workplace, forget about getting a good job. You'll have to take what you can get at whatever skill level you may have. Flex-time? Ha ha ha.

 

If you're a middle-class woman who has been able to obtain special skills on your own, then maybe you'll find an employer who needs your particular talents so much he (and I do mean “he”) will let you go home early enough to fix dinner for the kids before bedtime. (No such luck if you're a middle-class man.)

 

If you're a rich woman, you can stay home and do the “hard,” “important” job of mother.

 

The question town-hall participant Katherine Fenton asked was this: “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

 

Romney's answer, parsed: “None.”

 

Update: Somebody I know submitted the following Amazon.com customer review of the TOPS Cardinal XtraValue D-Ring Binder, 3 Inch. It seems it takes 48 hours for a review to be processed, & I have a feeling the Amazonians -- unless they are Amazon women -- may not approve the review.

 

"I love this binder. I used to have several. I chose red ones. They were the perfect size for my hobby, which was keeping binders full of women. The binders are very sturdy so the women didn't fall out or get wrinkled. The mechanism on the D-ring opens and closes easily, though, so when I wanted to add or discard a woman, I didn't have to exert much effort. When I left my job in Massachusetts, my staff purged all of my records, and unfortunately they discarded my binders full of women. I wish I still had them. If I get a new job that's anything like my old job, you can be sure I'll get some more of these binders and fill them full of women. And gay people. Possibly I'll purchase a 1-inch binder and fill it full of darker-complexioned people. Or any sort of people I'm not familiar with."

Reader Comments (5)

I believe it's vital that we spend the time deconstructing the Rat's antediluvian attitudes toward the vast--and I do not employ that word hyperbollically--number of not only Americans, although they are his primary target (another word chosen with care), but human beings all over the world whom Romney considers as his god-given inferiors and servants. I more than halfway expected this primping, self-absorbed rich boy to refer to the president as "boy".

He might as well have referred to women as "little women", "gals", or in the case of women who have decided they won't be one of Lady Ann's Obedient Sister Wives, as "sluts, bitches, and whores".

This guy has been dropping bread crumbs the size of softballs leading the dullest voter to his misogynist/racist heart of 18th C hearts.

Marie's map of the Romney Plantation points anyone who fucking cares to pay attention to this asshole's heart of stone and presumptuous sense of right-wing dominance and belief in his own superiority.

Given the astoundingly obvious hatred and snide disdain of this rodent for a world in which women, minorities, poor people, and the disadvantaged might in any way be considered his equal, can anyone but those of similarly reprehensible mind stand up for this dildo?

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Bravo! If I could post this to Facebook, I'd send across the 'net and watch as it became viral (and annoyed the shit out of some of my relatives).

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Thanks Marie! This is the mega load of outdated misogynist crap that had me looking around for a target to let lose with some venom. My husband was right there with me and in fact correctly identified Chuck Todd as a stupid shit for his contention that women didn't want to see all that unseemly confrontation. Yup - I'm pretty sure the internet was ablaze with orders for fainting couches last night. My husband laughed, while pointing at me as I threatened bodily harm to the Chuckster.

Maddow is a very at her job, but is she is going to distance herself from the fray make sure to give women a voice. She needs to have a woman as a permanent member of her after-debate panel. I'm getting really sick of men, on either side, knowingly expressing the inner psyche of women. I nominate Joy Ann Reed. At the Matthews after party, she was the only person who picked up the Lord SB Ozzie and Harriet sensibilities. She is smart and very very articulate. I always perk up when I see her on MSNBC because I know she'll say something of import.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Diane, I had the same thought as you about Rachael's after-debate panel. It was especially jarring Tuesday night when so much talk during the debate was targeted to women ~ binders full of them. And, I second your nomination of Joy Ann Reed.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Nick Kristof today, announcing his uninsured friend suffering from stage 4 cancer had died, in response to many commenters who essentially said, "Actions have consequences... too bad for him."

"First, a civilized society compensates for the human propensity to screw up. That’s why we have single-payer firefighters and police officers. That’s why we require seat belts. When someone who has been speeding gets in a car accident, the 911 operator doesn’t sneer: 'You were irresponsible, so figure out your own way to the hospital' — and hang up.

To err is human, but so is to forgive. Living in a community means being interconnected in myriad ways — including by empathy. To feel undiminished by the deaths of those around us isn’t heroic Ayn Rand individualism. It’s sociopathic. Compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but of civilization."

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