The Ledes

Sunday, April 26, 2015.

New York Times: "A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,900 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks."

New York Times: "A largely peaceful protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody, gave way to scattered scenes of chaos [in Baltimore] on Saturday night, as demonstrators smashed a downtown storefront window, threw rocks and bottles and damaged police cruisers, while officers in riot gear broke up skirmishes and made 12 arrests near Camden Yards. Shortly before 10 p.m., Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake convened a news conference at City Hall, where she appeared with several others — including Mr. Gray’s twin sister, Fredericka; a prominent pastor, Jamal Bryant; and City Councilman Brandon Scott — to appeal for calm. By that time the disturbances had largely settled.

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President lays out why new, high-standards trade agreements are important for our economy, our businesses, our workers, and our values":

The Ledes

Saturday, April 25, 2015.

New York Times: "Pledging to shut down the city, thousands of demonstrators jammed the streets of Baltimore on Saturday to protest the death of a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody." ...

... Baltimore Sun: "A day of peaceful rallies into the death of Freddie Gray turned violent as dark fell over Baltimore with protesters smashing the windows on police cars, blocking traffic near the Inner Harbor and shouting, 'Killers!' at officers dressed in riot gear." ...

     ... The Sun also is loveblogging the demonstrations.

New York Times: "An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu. People in the capital described scenes of panic and collapsed buildings, and the United States Geological Survey predicted severe damage to villages near the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles from Katmandu." ...

     ... New Lede: "A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,300 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks." ...

... At 9 pm ET, the Washington Post has the death toll at 1,500. By midnight, the Post was reporting 1,800 dead. ...

... The Guardian is liveblogging developments. ...

... NEW. Washington Post: "An Indian army mountaineering team found 18 bodies on Mount Everest on Saturday, an army spokesman said, after a massive earthquake in Nepal unleashed an avalanche on the world’s tallest mountain at the start of the main climbing season." ...

Katmandu's historic Dharahara Tower, before & after the quake.... NEW. Washington Post: "The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that violently shook Nepal on Saturday left more than human casualties in its wake. The country also saw a number of its iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites and most popular tourist attractions -- some dating more than 1,700 years -- reduced to piles of rubble."

AP: "The University of Florida suspended one of its fraternities on Friday after allegations that its members hurled drunken insults and spat at a group of disabled military veterans at a Panama City Beach resort."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
April 24

Sorry. This is yesterday's livefeed. Since the White House doesn't date their schedule (despite my repeated requests) I just can't tell. I probably won't have time to republish today's schedule, should the White House ever get around to publishing it.

10:00 am ET: President Obama makes a statement

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus (audio only)

2:15 pm ET: President Obama honors the Super Bowl champs

4:55 pm ET: President Obama speaks at the Organizing for Action summit

7:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at an Israel Independence Day ceremony (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

Wild Things Interrupt President Obama's reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the White House's Easter Egg Roll:

... Don't Worry, Bee Happy. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The pint-sized guests Monday might not have listened to him, but the president’s National Pollinator Initiative will forge ahead. Last June Obama launched an inter-agency task force charged with developing a federal strategy to protect pollinators, which help sustain crops ranging from almonds to blueberries and broccoli, and it should be unveiling a detailed plan in a matter of months."

The Coolest First Lady in the History of the Nation:


Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post: "For her forthcoming book, “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House,” Kate Andersen Brower managed to elicit stories from domestic staff who witnessed up close the loneliness of President Nixon as he faced impeachment, the weariness of Hillary Clinton as her husband’s sex scandal exploded and other surprisingly intimate moments involving the first families. Most of these stories — from Nancy Reagan’s tirade over three broken tchotchkes to the tearful hug Jackie and Bobby Kennedy shared with a favorite doorman in an elevator — are attributed to staffers by name, not wrapped in the cloud of anonymous sourcing that usually cloaks reporting about the inner workings of the White House." ...

Here's What $75MM Buys:

... Orange County Register: "President Richard Nixon's Western White House, an oceanfront San Clemente estate owned by retired Allergan CEO Gavin S. Herbert, is for sale at $75 million. Herbert, 83, is selling the 5.45-acre estate after owning the property for 35 years." Includes slideshow.

New York: "Here's a spoiler for people who haven't finished House of Cards season three yet: Frank Underwood doesn't die, because Netflix [April 2] announced that it had renewed Cards for a fourth season."

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday afternoon, just about lunch time, a 'flying saucer' was undergoing a spin test in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The saucer is technically a 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound aerodynamic test vehicle. It is designed to help engineers try out new technologies for landing spacecraft, and someday people, on Mars."

Guardian: "Comedy Central is standing by its new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, after the 31-year-old South African comedian set to replace Jon Stewart was criticized for a series of controversial jokes he tweeted before his appointment." ...

... Jessica Winter of Salon: "Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt." Besides being a misogynist pig & an anti-Semite, Noah isn't even funny."

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Thursday
Apr122012

The Commentariat -- April 13, 2012

I just updated my half-finished column in today's New York Times eXaminer. The subject is David Brooks. And Raymond Chandler. And Dashiell Hammett. So now it's finished. The NYTX front page is here. You can contribute here.

CW: Oh, good. Now we can have a frank discussion about polygamy. As David Maraniss outlines in a column for the Washington Post, neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney would be here but for the grace of their polygamist forebears.

CW: We've been here before, but it's nice to see the MSM taking an interest. Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: "In recent days, advocacy groups have targeted more than a dozen corporations over their financial support for the conservative organization that encouraged states to pass the 'Stand Your Ground' legislation cited as a defense for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting. The advocates are celebrating decisions by several major food and beverage companies to sever financial ties with the organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods and Wendy’s have cut their support for the group, although all played down any connection to the Florida shooting."

Paul Krugman: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) "poses as a man willing to make hard choices for the future, but what he actually did was sacrifice the future for the sake of personal political advantage. He catered to national Republican prejudices that are completely at odds with New Jersey’s needs; he cared more about avoiding embarrassment over a misguided campaign pledge than about serving an urgent public need.... America used to be a country that thought big about the future. Major public projects, from the Erie Canal to the interstate highway system, used to be a well-understood component of our national greatness. Nowadays, however, the only big projects politicians are willing to undertake — with expense no object — seem to be wars."

Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Oregon) raps President Obama for refusing to sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. ...

     ... The AP story: "The White House says President Barack Obama does not plan to issue a ban on discrimination against gay federal contractors sought by gay rights groups. The decision disappoints a constituency that has been an important source of support for him." ...

     ... Igor Volsky of Think Progress: "White House spokesperson Jay Carney sought to explain the administration’s decision to punt on issuing an executive order that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting." ...

     ... The New York Times editors call the President's decision "inexcusable."

Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner writes a post saying the Supreme Court's "reasoning" in the Citizens United case was flawed: "It ... is difficult to see what practical difference there is between super PAC donations and direct campaign donations, from a corruption standpoint. A super PAC is a valuable weapon for a campaign, as the heavy expenditures of Restore Our Future, the large super PAC that supports Romney and has attacked his opponents, proves...; it is unclear why they should expect less quid pro quo from their favored candidate if he’s successful than a direct donor to the candidate’s campaign would be." ...

     ...Via Andy Rosenthal of the New York Times, whose post on the subject is also worth reading: "Instead of accepting the status quo, Congress could use this premise (obvious to everyone but the justices) to enact new limits on contributions to “independent” groups; it could invoke the constitutional rationale that such contributions have the ability to corrupt federal officeholders and government decisions. By Congress I mean a hypothetical legislative body that’s not dysfunctional, not the one we currently have, which won’t do a thing."

Tim Egan pays his income taxes. At a rate double the rate Mitt Romney pays, even though Romney doesn't actually work. ...

... Another Swell Tax Loophole for the Super-Rich. Travis Waldron of Think Progress. When corporate honchos travel in style on corporate jets, the tax code requires that they pay income tax for personal travel -- unless they claim they're taking private transportation for "security" reasons. I feel so much better knowing I'm paying taxes so multimillionaires can travel in luxury safety.

Devin Dwyer of ABC OTUS News: "Vice President Joe Biden said [Thursday] night that what he called a Republican-led effort to rollback the rights of women is 'real' and will 'intensify.'" Here's the segment of "The Ed Show" in which Ed Schultz interviews the Vice President:

 

Chalres McGrath profiles biographer Robert Caro for the New York Times Magazine. Caro's latest installment of his biography of Lyndon Johnson is soon to be published. ...

... Chris Jones does the same for Esquire.

Right Wing World

Jesus Told Me to Stiff the Poor. Travis Waldron of Think Progress: "House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Christian Broadcast Network earlier this week that the House GOP’s budget, which he wrote, was driven by his Catholic faith. 'A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private,' Ryan said, and Catholic principles are what led him to cut programs for the poor so as to keep people from becoming “dependent on government.' ... The founder of the PICO National Network, the largest national coalition of religious congregations, slammed Ryan’s claim of adherence to Catholic teaching as 'the height of hypocrisy.' ..." ...

... Besides cutting billions in programs for the poor, the I'm-Not-Jesus budget also raises taxes on the poor:

     ... CW: looks to me like Jesus & the Devil, played by Ayn Rand, battled for Paul Ryan's soul, & Rand creamed Jesus.

"The Mendacity Is the Message." Paul Krugman is cautiously optimistic that the media may be coming around to reporting Mitt Romney's lies. "The core of Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be contempt for the news media (and the voters), the belief that he can say anything and pay no price — which was the way things worked for Bush. But maybe, just maybe, his calculation was wrong, and serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, part of the narrative."

CW: I have totally avoided posting anything about this one-day "controversy" because I think it's a big nothing. James Downie of the Washington Post: "Republicans clearly feel that the 'war on women' issue is a problem: For evidence, look no further than their furious response to liberal pundit Hilary Rosen’s comments that Ann Romney doesn’t understand working women’s problems because she 'has never worked a day in her life.' ... With respect to the presidential campaign, [Hilary Rosen] is nothing but a person with an opinion. That’s it.... If the Obama camp is responsible for Rosen, is Romney responsible for GOP Rep. Allen West’s outrageous accusation that 80 Democrats are communists? Is he responsible for Sherriff Joe Arapaio (Romney’s ’08 Arizona campaign chairman) and his birther conspiracy theories?" ...

... NEW. If you just can't help but read everything everybody said about Rosengate, Adam Sorensen of Time links it all (or at least plenty of it). The links that follow are his: "Just to review yesterday’s umbrageathon: Ann Romney went on TV to respond to something a CNN employee said about her and stay-at-home moms; the rest of Team Romney took to the lowest medium known to man, the campaign reporter conference call; some people made good points about women, others just yelled like Steve Carrell in Anchorman; Michelle Obama and Barbara Bush were called in; merchandise was manufactured; there was even outrage about the outrage and, lord help us, Twitter statistics." ...

... The Republican National Committee press guy was for gay adoption rights a few minutes before he was against them. ...

... AND this from Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "The Ledbetter Act was only necessary because of a 5-4 Supreme Court decision which overruled decades of precedent protecting equal pay for equal work; and Romney promised to appoint more justices like the ones who voted against Lilly Ledbetter."

Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics: "During a meeting with 18 Delaware Tea Party leaders here on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich lambasted FOX News Channel, accusing the cable network of having been in the tank for Mitt Romney from the beginning of the Republican presidential fight. An employee himself of the news outlet as recently as last year, he also cited former colleagues for attacking him out of what he characterized as personal jealousy." ...

... Follow-up. Justin Sink of The Hill: "Fox News fired back at Newt Gingrich on Thursday after the Republican presidential candidate accused the network of being biased and aiding rival candidate Mitt Romney. 'This is nothing other than Newt auditioning for a windfall of a gig at CNN — that's the kind of man he is,' a spokeswoman for Fox News told Yahoo News. 'Not to mention, he's still bitter about the fact that we terminated his contributor contract.'"

News Ledes

AP: "A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute a tip received by The Associated Press that the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, the site of the Summit of the Americas."

New York Times: "Reversing a decades-old rule, a federal appeals court said on Thursday that public television and radio stations could not be prohibited from broadcasting paid political advertisements."

Tulsa World: "The two men accused of shooting three people to death and injuring two last week were formally charged Friday with the deaths and with violating Oklahoma’s hate crime statute. Jacob Carl England, 19, and Alvin Lee Watts, 33, were charged with three counts each of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and five counts of malicious intimidation or harassment."

Think Progress: "Mars, Inc., the maker of M&M’s and Snickers, announced that they have 'decided not to renew the ALEC membership in 2012.' Arizona’s largest energy company, Arizona Public Service, has severed ties with ALEC as well."

The Hill: "U.S.-Pakistan relations took a leap forward on Friday, when Islamabad agreed to a plan to reopen vital supply routes to American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The plan bars any private security contractors from working inside Pakistan and bans the United States from carrying out 'overt or covert operations' within the country's borders...."

Washington Post: "President and Michelle Obama reported earning an adjusted gross income of $789,674 in 2011 and paid $162,074 in federal income tax, according to the family’s tax returns released by the White House on Friday." A pdf of the Obamas' tax returns is here. A pdf of the Bidens' tax returns is here.

Washington Post: "In the aftermath of North Korea’s failed attempt to fire a rocket into orbit, leaders in Washington and Asian capitals moved Friday to condemn the authoritarian nation while also containing its next move — a balance that has proven elusive during previous confrontations." ...

... NBC News: "The United States has canceled a proposed food aid deal with North Korea following over its attempt to launch a long-range rocket taking a satellite into orbit."

New York Times: "Thousands of Syrians were reported to have taken to the streets after the noon prayer in countless mosques on Friday, offering the biggest test of the country’s fragile cease-fire since it was declared at dawn on Thursday and reviving the public protests that ignited Syria's 13-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad." Al Jazeera's liveblog on Syria is here.

New York Times: "Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark carried a woman out of a burning house and was treated for smoke inhalation on Thursday night."

AP: Google "reported a 61 percent increase in its net income for the first three months of the year and announced plans to issue a new class of stock to shareholders. The new shares won't have any voting power and will help Google's senior leaders keep control years from now."

Reuters: "Police in Serbia have recovered a painting by Paul Cezanne that was stolen at gunpoint from a Swiss museum four years ago, officials said Thursday. Cezanne’s 'Boy in a Red Waistcoat,' which reportedly is worth more than $100 million, was one of four paintings stolen in 2008 from the E. G. Buehrle Collection in Zurich by a trio of masked robbers."

ABC OTUS News: "Mitt Romney gets a chance to lock and load Friday and show conservatives that he really is conservative when he speaks at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in St. Louis."

Reader Comments (6)

A comment about Hilary Rosen should not have been avoided. Obama and others issued strong disclaimer of her silly remarks but she was and still is a 'prominent Democrat'. I believe it is our duty, no matter what flavor of 'liberals' (OK, let's just say 'progressives) we are. Reading many comments denouncing her and blaming not only Obama but the entire Democratic Party in the New York Times for her has been very educational to me. Obama - deservedly so - enjoys a good support from American women but some of them who chose (like Mrs. Romney) to stay home and take care of the kids are quite outraged by Rosen.

We just have to identify irresponsibility and stupidity wherever it comes from.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLadislav Nemec

Before yesterday, I had no idea that a person named Hillary Rosen existed (although not being a Rosen denier I would not discount the possibility). I follow politics pretty closely, but to me a Prominent Democrat would be Hillary Clinton! I wonder if this fatuous comment would have made much of a splash had the woman's name been something else. "Matt Damon is a putz," said prominent Hollywood person Leonardo di Pietro. Ohmygod, call the press.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

The Rosen moment was a big nothing and might not have received the coverage it did if the North Koreans had launched their Roman candle a bit earlier. Nonetheless, that such a nothing gets so much coverage is in itself something. I take three lessons from it: the media's desire--make that economic necessity--to stage every happening, regardless of its intrinsic importance or lack thereof, as some kind of WWF performance. The radicalized Republicans' desperation to find an issue that could possibly appeal to the middle, a search so desperate they regularly lie to create one. And in this case the lie was abetted by the general publics' (and the administration's) inability or unwillingness to respond to what Ms. Rosen meant. The context of her remark clearly indicated she meant "work" to be that thing you do, usually in some place other than your home, for a paycheck. She was commenting, clumsily perhaps but appropriately, on Mrs. Romney's lack of experience with that kind of work, and of course the R's made it into something else.

I just wish the O. administration had not also abetted that effort by being so eager to defend motherhood that they missed a chance to point out how the R's invariably obscure and mislead. But then, they likely figured they'll have many, many more such between now and November.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Like Jack I’m a bit baffled by the sudden elevation of Hilary Rosen, who previously had never shown up on my radar, as a prominent spokesperson for the Democratic Party, and perhaps even a virtual stand-in for President Obama himself, at least to listen to the wink, wink, snide insinuations of right-wing opinion makers. But the usual suspects on the right are not the only ones in the pig pile. The MSM has happily jumped aboard with its "Democratic War on Women?" questions, which nicely defuse the actual war on women being waged by Republicans, and to once again muddy the waters and provide hucksters and red striped con men with everything they need to erect a prophylactic wall of false equivalency around Willard and the GOP. “See? It’s okay to hate women. Democrats hate them too. It’s not just us!”

This isn’t to say that those on the left don’t gleefully point fingers at obscure Republicans who trip over their own moral relativism (it’s okay for me, but not for anyone else!). How many people could name the governor of South Carolina before he disappeared into the (wink, wink—again) Appalachian Trail? Or had any idea of the existence of Rep. Allen West before he started seeing commies in his cereal bowl? The difference there is that these sorts of events are such a regular thing with Republicans that it becomes a constant exercise in proof of their profligate proclivities--synecdoche incarnate--if you will. An unending stream of bad acts that washes over the entire party. Liberals and progressives don’t offer anywhere near the rich smorgasbord of stupidity that spills off the right-wing groaning board on a near daily basis, thus, whenever a Democrat stubs their toe, or misspeaks or says anything that can be remotely twisted into something resembling a decent talking point, the right leaps in with tar barrels and feathers at the ready.

The unfortunate thing in this whole affair is that Ms. Rosen, avatar or not for the Democratic Party, was absolutely right about Ann Romney’s negligible knowledge of the difficulty of managing a household budget when you don’t have millions at your fingertips. Her sin was one of expression rather than essence. I’m sure Mrs. Willard had plenty of hard days wondering whether to dress the kids in their custom hand tailored monogrammed outfits complete with hand-made kangaroo leather shoes and silk pocket squares or whether to just go native and let them wear their prêt a porter designer clothes. It must have been hard work making out the weekly menus for the maids and the cooks as well. Just look at all the problems those nice aristocrats on Downton Abbey have every week! My goodness. Commoners just can’t appreciate the toil and trouble of it all. But don't worry. Unlike John McCain, I'm sure the Romneys know pretty much how many houses they own. Close, anyway.

All kidding aside, even if you do have the bucks, raising kids is hard work. But it’s a whole lot less stressful if you DO have plenty of money and lots of help doing it. Also, something that has been completely lost in this tempest tossed teapot is the fact that none of that prepares Mrs. Romney as an expert in understanding the household economics of millions of working and stay at home moms in this country. None of it. So, Rosen’s point is exactly correct.

Unfortunately, she handed the GOP one of its few can’t miss 100% baloney soundbites with which to denounce the Democrats and Obama.

Sucks for her. And for us too.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

As a Master student studying abroad in France, I'm continually amazed (but losing hope) at the decline of our national media. I certainly do the rounds on the "important media networks" on each side, even dabbling into right wing world (quelle horreur!) just to see the brain-washing final product.
For those of you that have some French abilities, I recommend rereading "Les Nouveaux chiens de garde" by Serge Halimi written in 1997. It's an account of the national media defending big corporation interests while simultaneously defending their staunch position as independants in the media realm. It has been recreated into a documentary in 2011 by Gilles Balbastre et Yannick Kergoat. I bring this up because it should be put into perspective: France has its share of corporate corruption but not nearly on the colossal size we're seeing in the U.S. today. Fast forward 15 years and major U.S. journalists are either too afraid, incapable, or strongly discouraged from digging up the mountains of grit layered throughout our "safeguarding" institutions.
From Obama's hollow appeasements, the N.R.A push for concealed guns in every facet of society, the South's addiction to federal money while denouncing it, the Koch bros. doing deals with Iran while simultaneously denouncing the country as the next anti-christ, the disappearance of Libya from the media world as the country falls into anarchy, Romney's constant bullshit spewing from his mouth, the list goes on but you know the routine. Originally, the Press corps. first mission was to have an informed public to contribute to our democratic evolution. Without an informed debate via the press, the Federalists papers would have never had their public debate and reconciliation would have been impossible. Our nation depended on an informed debate and still largely does. From paper form, the press moved to television and it quickly turned from an informative mechanism to a capitalistic money maker. Powerful corporations starting with ATT convinced the government they'd hold their public duty into account, and quickly sold out as should have been expected. Now the only public channels with significant, informative programming are in the sight of Republicans looking for the final axe. PBS is breaking the American budget.
Without informed citizens, our country implodes. We're obviously regressing. The question should be asked to which point we can regress until institutions start to crumble. With the amount of loaded, concealed weapons protecting our citizens from them scary times when the 'other' armed crazies come out, I've already started considering standing my own ground outside the borders.
I've got to agree with Norman Mailer on this one, quel dommage.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterinternationalobserver

Another fine Examiner column. Read the Cain's "Double Indemnity" years ago but didn't see the movie versions. Problem is, I'm getting delicate in my old age and prefer to avoid the dark and the violent; they depress me. I get enough of both these days from the news. In my former life--the young one--I could tolerate imminent nuclear Armageddon, watch cowboys murder Indians in droves, take in "Dr. Strangelove," cheer and laugh in the right places and still sleep undisturbed. Doesn't work that way any more, so I eschew much contemporary cinematic and novelistic art.

That's just me. As for Brooks, maybe he was suggesting the idealistic youth of today join the NRA, arm themselves and simply shoot the parasites and exploiters, preferably in a state where they could claim the bastards made them feel threatened. That's what the Continental Op or Sam Spade would have done and they didn't even have a "Shoot first" law to hide behind. But then, they were portrayed as real men, something I suspect Mr. Brooks has always wished he could be.

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.