The Ledes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Israel on Wednesday, as he pressed his effort to forge a cease-fire to bring a halt to the bitter fighting in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Kerry’s plane touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport just a day after the United States Federal Aviation Administration suspended American civilian flights to Israel." ...

... Guardian: "International airlines halted flights to and from Israel indefinitely on Tuesday citing security concerns in an unexpected twist to the two-week-old conflict in Gaza." ...

     ... CW: Guess that puts something of a damper on the Summer Vacation Insurance Theory of War. ...

... Washington Post: "As Israel pummels Hamas’s infrastructure inside Gaza, it is also trying to prevent attacks originating from the West Bank and Israel — by obliterating the houses of the relatives of Palestinians who allegedly have harmed Israelis. In doing so, Israel’s military has returned to a controversial policy of punitive demolitions that has displaced thousands of Palestinians over the years."

Washington Post: "Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said." ...

... Time: "U.S. intelligence resources tracked the 'specific missile' that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a senior Administration official said Tuesday, saying intelligence adds up to a picture that 'implicates Russia' in helping to bring down the plane." ...

... Washington Post: "The Obama administration, detailing what it called evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner, on Tuesday released satellite images and other sensitive intelligence that officials say show Moscow had trained and equipped rebels in Ukraine responsible for the attack."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Washington Post: "The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday afternoon ordered U.S. carriers to stop flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, prohibiting them from traveling through Israel’s largest airport after a rocket landed nearby."

Reuters: "Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 500 lives. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in neighboring Egypt, while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Israel later in the day. Both have voiced alarm at mounting civilian casualties."

New York Times: "A train carrying the bodies of victims from the Malaysia Airlines jet downed by a missile last week arrived Tuesday morning in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv after a 17-hour journey out of lawless territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels." ...

... New York Times: "A piece of wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 that was shot down in eastern Ukraine last week bears telltale marks of small pieces of high-velocity shrapnel that apparently crippled the jet in flight. Riddled with these perforations and buffeted by a blast wave as it flew high above the conflict zone, the plane then most likely sheared apart."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 23

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the NAACP national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (audio only)

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Whole Food Business Model: We Cheat You, But Not so Much You'll Notice. Shan Li of the Los Angeles Times: "Whole Foods Market is paying $800,000 in penalties after an investigation found the supermarket chain overcharged customers throughout California. During a yearlong investigation, state and local inspectors found the Austin, Texas, grocer charged more than advertised for a wide range of food products, according to a statement from the Santa Monica city attorney's office. Problems included failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up fresh food, putting smaller amounts into packages than the weight stated on the label, and selling items by the piece instead of by the pound, as required by law, the statement said.... 'Based on a review of our own records and a sampling of inspection reports .... our pricing on weighed and measured items was accurate 98% of the time,' the company said in a Tuesday statement." ...

... CW: Besides, if you shop at Whole Foods -- at no charge to you -- you can learn that unions are like herpes, ObamaCare is a form of fascism & climate change is "perfectly natural."

Teenaged curiosity about sex is quite natural, but it can be a bummer.The Vagina Dialog. Turned out to Require a Large Cast of Supporting Characters. Jen Kirby of New York: "An American student studying abroad in Germany captured the world's attention yesterday by achieving the remarkable feat of getting himself stuck in a giant vagina sculpture and needing 22 firefighters to rescue him. But Fernando de la Jara, the artist behind the now-infamous work, took it all in stride.... 'It's participatory art,' de la Jara said. 'It should be entered.'"

 

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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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