Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending":

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, March 27, 2015.

Los Angeles Times: "Envoys from the six global powers that have spent 18 months trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran hope to complete an outline as early as Sunday, two days before the March 31 deadline, according to ... British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond...."

New York Times: "Italy’s highest court overturned the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend of murder on Friday, throwing out all charges and ending a long-running courtroom drama over the killing of a British student in 2007. The ruling in favor of Ms. Knox, a 27-year-old former exchange student from Seattle, and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, 31, was a shock in Italy, where the convictions had been expected to be upheld in the stabbing death of the British student, Meredith Kercher."

Washington Post: "Saudi Arabia pressed its bombardment of neighboring Yemen on Friday, striking near the presidential compound in the rebel-controlled capital at dawn as well as at military installations, residents reported. Egyptian warships were also steaming toward the Yemeni coast as part of an Arab-led offensive against Shiite rebels seeking to take over Yemen in what has become a showdown between the major powers in the Middle East."

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
March 26

4:10 pm ET: President Obama speaks about the economy in Birmingham, Alabama

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

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.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Friday
Apr132012

The Commentariat -- April 14, 2012

President Obama's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

Jia Lin Yang of the Washington Post: "Romney and Obama’s tax proposals for the \rich offer a window into how differently the two men understand the economy: what makes it tick, what the government can do to encourage wealth and how to rebuild the middle class.... If Republican front-runner Mitt Romney reaches the White House, he will push for the top 1 percent of American earners to save an average of $150,000 in taxes, according to an analysis of his tax plan by the Tax Policy Center. In a second Obama administration, these Americans would pay about $83,000 more than they do now." Bottom line: they both shill for the rich; Romney is just way worse. For the top 0.1 percent, the difference is even more stark. Romney’s plan would save them an average of $725,000. President Obama would raise their taxes by $450,000." ...

... Brian Beutler of TPM on pundi-critics of the Buffett Rule: "All Buffett Rule critics knock Obama for not pursuing more comprehensive tax reforms. If they’d paid even passing attention to the events of 2011, they'd know that the only tax reforms Republicans back either raise no revenue, or are conditioned on the idea of locking in the Bush tax cuts permanently." CW: I've also seen what are supposed to be straight news reports comparing the Buffett Rule with the Ryan budget as if they were analogous. They are not. The Buffett Rule is one itty-bitty part of a budget proposal; the Ryan budget is, well, a budget. ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York magazine. Even Democrats can't remember why they favor the Buffett Rule. But Chait knows: "The Buffett Rule is a symbolic fight to expose Republican extremism.... Republicans oppose it because they won’t accede to any higher taxes on the rich, no maer what." ...

... Jon Walker of Firedoglake: "In addition, every time Democrats talk about the Buffett Rule they can easily pivot to talking about how rich Mitt Romney is and how little he pays in taxes. Continuing to push down Romney’s already extremely low favorable numbers by depicting him as rich, privileged, and out of touch looks to be part of the Democrats overall 2012 strategy." ...

... Jake Tapper of ABC News: "President Obama’s secretary, Anita Decker Breckenridge, makes $95,000 a year. White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage tells ABC News that Breckenridge 'pays a slightly higher rate [than did the Obamas] this year on her substantially lower income, which is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.' ... [The] president would not be impacted by the Buffett Rule, though he would see his taxes go up if the so-called Bush tax cuts on higher income wage-earners were allowed to expire, as the president says he wants."

... Frank Newport of Gallup: "Six in 10 Americans favor Congress' passing the so-called 'Buffett Rule,' which would mandate a minimum 30% tax rate for Americans with a household income of $1 million or more per year. Majorities of both Democrats and independents favor the policy, while a majority of brainwashed people Republicans oppose it." CW: the only logical reason to oppose passage of the law is "I'm rich & selfish."

Chris McGreal of the Guardian: "Barack Obama's policy of engagement with North Korea lies 'in tatters' after it was effectively shot down by Pynongyang's defiant but failed attempt to launch a long-range rocket."

T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post: "An anonymous donor gave $10 million late last year to run ads attacking President Obama and Democratic policies.... In the new, free-wheeling environment of independent political giving, the identity of this donor, like many others, is likely to remain a permanent mystery. The donation went to Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group founded with the support of political strategist Karl Rove. Another donor gave $10 million in the 2010 midterm elections...."

These [Stand Your Ground] laws are vigilantism masquerading as self-defense, and getting 25 states to pass them is one of the best con jobs the NRA’s leaders have ever pulled off. They don’t give a damn whether innocent people are shot and killed. And they don’t give a damn about the integrity of the American justice system. They want to create a nation where disputes are settled by guns instead of gavels, and where suspects are shot by civilians instead of arrested by police. These laws destabilize our justice system, they degrade our society, and they destroy innocent lives. We can’t be silent — and we can’t let them stand. -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City ...

... Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News calls George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin, "not just the face of the NRA in this country, he is the face of gun laws built on the fears and paranoia of the gun lovers in the NRA, the ones who have made a mockery of the Second Amendment."

... Beth Reinhard of the National Journal: "Which 'anti-gun president' is the NRA talking about?" Obama passed on golden opportunities to address gun control. ...

... Steve Kornacki of Salon: "... a question for Obama: If the NRA is going to pretend that you’re aggressively pursuing gun control anyway, then why not actually do it? ... The case for national Democrats sticking with a hands-off approach to gun control is that it makes it possible to score victories in state-level races in pro-gun states." CW: Kornacki thinks this is a lame excuse. I don't. Sure, the NRA leadership & many of its members are delusional. But there are probably many more gunowners who are (a) skittish about Obama, but (b) realize that Obams is not the most anti-gun president ever. If, before the election, Obama proposes sensible gun-control laws, then he will have "proved" the NRA's point, & those more inclined to believe the facts as opposed to NRA fiction might decide the NRA is right when it claims "Obama will take away your guns."

John Schoen of NBC News: "Thanks to easing demand from a slowing global economy and increased production from Saudi Arabia, the oil market is coming off a two-year cycle of tightening supply, according to the International Energy Agency. That's helped snap a 13 percent surge in oil prices since the start of the year." This could mean lower gas prices this summer.

Steve Benen: Repetition matters -- because not everyone is listening, apparently including Politico pundits. (No surprise there.)

Right Wing World

** Andrew Rosenthal has an excellent post on the Republican "war on women." He urges Democrats to talk about it. ...

... Romney Is Not the "Mommy" Candidate. Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "Among parents, really, the only clear beneficiaries of Romney's fiscal plans would seem to be the wealthiest ones. They depend least on the government programs Romney would cut and they'd benefit the most from the tax cuts he wants to pass." ...

... Steve Benen: "... the Republican National Committee created a stand-alone blog to appeal specifically to women voters, and then decided to ignore the blog, posting two items in the last 12 months.... Why would a major party create a blog for women and then forget about it? Doesn't this suggest the exact opposite of the intended point?"

... Allison Yarrow of the Daily Beast: "... critics derided the Women’s Health and Safety Act that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law today as cruel, dangerous, and hostile to women — likely to deter many Arizona women from seeking an abortion, and to distress those who nonetheless go through with one.... While it becomes the seventh state to pass such legislation in the past two years, many Arizonans believe theirs is the most restrictive and sinister because of the degree to which it will legislate health care, thwart evidence-based medicine, and shame women."

Michelle Goldberg in the Daily Beast: "... a look at Romney’s political career suggests that his problems with female voters long predate the current political season, and it will take more than a few spasms of manufactured umbrage on behalf of stay-at-home-moms to make them go away.... Last week, he said that his wife 'reports to me regularly' on what women care about, suggesting a disinclination to listen to women directly. [Hilary] Rosen was certainly wrong to minimize the work Ann Romney has done in bringing up five sons. She was absolutely right, though, to point out that Ann has 'never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing,' and is thus hardly equipped to be her husband’s primary source of intelligence on the challenges confronting American women." Even womanizing Ted Kennedy beat Romney with women. ...

... "Ann Romney Should Aplogize!" Joan Walsh of Salon: "An aggrieved Ann Romney even told Fox News ... that as the mother of five grown boys, 'I know what it’s like to struggle.' Well, I’d like to demand that Ann Romney apologize to all women for equating the 'struggle' of a wealthy mother who had full-time household help to that of a poor or working-class job-holding mother, who must choose between her job and her children when a child gets sick.... I’d like to demand that Mitt Romney apologize for his wife’s remarks, too. I’d like to hear every prominent Republican denounce Ann Romney for her heinous insensitivity to non-wealthy mothers who must work outside the home. Wait. Ann Romney’s not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican, so that’s not how the world works. Sorry about that. I apologize." ...

... Steve Benen reports on Mendacity Mitt's lies of the week. ...

... "The Draperizing of Mitt Romney." This is a fairly astouding video as it comes from Politico, which is a pro-Republican Website:

It's Unfair for Obama to Criticize Republicans. -- GOP. Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "... it’s increasingly ridiculous to hear Republicans complain that Obama needs to just take his medicine and not try to confuse voters with information about the opposition."

Shit Allen West Says:

News Ledes

New York Times: Talks between Iran and six world powers about the aims of its nuclear-enrichment program began on Saturday morning with a plenary session of all parties. European and American officials suggested that a serious commitment from Iran to negotiate may be enough to continue the talks at another round in late May, possibly in Baghdad, as Iran has suggested." ...

    ... Guardian Update: "The first international negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme for 15 months are under way in Istanbul amid increasing signs that Tehran is prepared to trade limits on its enrichment of uranium for relief from economic sanctions."

Reuters: "China took a milestone step in turning the yuan into a global currency on Saturday by doubling the size of its trading band against the dollar, pushing through a crucial reform that further liberalizes its nascent financial markets. The People's Bank of China said it would allow the yuan to rise or fall 1 percent from a mid-point every day, effective Monday, compared with its previous 0.5 percent limit."

New York Times: "Activists said on Saturday that two neighborhoods in the Syrian city of Homs were shelled overnight, as the United Nations struggled to iron out the details about the rapid deployment of international observers."

Los Angeles Times: "Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney asked for an extension Friday to file his 2011 tax return. The former Massachusetts governor and his wife, Ann, expect not to owe any further taxes, having estimated $3.2 million in liability and made $3.4 million in payments, according to the documents filed. Romney will file his return prior to the November election, according to a spokeswoman."

The Washington Post story on the Secret Service agents recalled from Colombia is here. The Post broke the story. See also yesterday's Ledes.

Reuters: "Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein's compensation increased 14.5 percent to $16.2 million in 2011 despite a sharp decline in profits and share price during the year, leaving the bank open to more attacks on its pay policies. Blankfein's pay boost includes stock awards from previous years that vested in 2011, and therefore does not reflect the amount that Goldman's board awarded him strictly for the company's performance last year."

Reader Comments (6)

I'm a day early in recognizing the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic disaster but the WSJ is even earlier than me. They are on the job as usual and have uncovered the real reason the Titanic sank.

Ready?

It was Obama's fault.

Okay, if they could actually have gotten his name in there they would have so they did the next best thing. The blame for the Titanic disaster is the sole--and they actually do make this claim,--the SOLE responsibility of government regulators.

Betcha couldn't have guessed that.

White Star Line chairman and uber capitalist Bruce Ismay is completely blameless as is anyone connected with the construction and outfitting of the ship, they, adhering strictly to the regulations laid out by the British government (and not a farthing more), cannot be held in any way accountable for the horrible loss of life. The blame is on the heads of politicians and regulators.

There is no mention that Ismay, attempting to double down on his corporate hubris (which later turned to ignominious cowardice as he shoved aside women and children to save his own sorry ass--WSJ would never suggest any such moral failure by a CEO) and lack of concern for the safety of his passengers instructed the captain to not only maintain speed through a dangerous North Atlantic iceberg field, but to increase speed in order to enhance his own personal aura. After all, he had all those other robber barons on board. He had to show them that he too valued money over human life. He was a member of their club. Corporate profits trump life any day of the week and twice on April 15, 1912. But not according to the WSJ.

The speed of the ship was what caused the ship's collision with icebergs, not British politicians. But that would never play in a Murdoch rag, so we get "Regulators Murder Thousands".

Read it yourself. I'm not making this up:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577337923643095442.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Just disgusting. There is no level to which these idiots will not stoop to stick it to government regulation. Of course, even if regulations were outdated, what was to prevent White Star, supposedly an industry leader, from taking their own precautions in the case of an accident and adding the necessary extra lifeboats? Not a thing. But according to the WSJ, they abided by the absolute letter of the law and are blameless.

So what is the upshot? That left to their own devices, that is, no regulations at all, that White Star would have done the decent thing? Yeah, because there's such a long history of corporations doing that. No matter. Obama and his predecessors killed those people. Not corporate hubris and greed.

Rest in peace all you Titanic victims. The Wall Street Journal has uncovered your murderers.

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

@Akhilleus. Thanks for the link. There's a double irony here of course. The WSJ, champions of the GOP, are regulation vigilantes. They never saw a reg they like. Regulations cripple business, kill jobs, blah blah. "You want how many lifeboats?"

And do you think the author of the piece is really named "Berg"?

April 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Rant alert: I'm increasingly fascinated by the complex shapes into which "responsible voices" in the media have twisted themselves in order to pretend that mandated ultrasound, unlimited military spending, and legislation clearly written by the NRA and ALEC are just indications of business as usual in a give-and-take legislative system. The Very Serious People (to use Krugman's term) are currently tut-tutting about the economy, having predicted ruinous inflation every several months for the last few years. Other VSPs, many of whom fumbled every detail in Iraq (they'll embrace us as liberators, the war won't cost much, there's more than one kind of Muslim?) are predicting ruin for the U.S. unless we attack Iran along with Israel, which seems to have embraced the American concept of Manifest Destiny, circa 1876. Paul Ryan's pseudobudget would cut social safety net spending drastically while pumping up a military that needs more money like the Amazon basin needs more rain. I'd like to think that this is the last desperate stand of those who stand for a white, paternalistic, repressive, aggressive, often religious group of "dead-enders" who will probably create even more mayhem than they already have but will finally subside into the 19th-century survivalist pipe dream into which they've been trying to drag the rest of us. However, as disturbing as all of this is, it would be much less so if news organizations that describe themselves as non-partisan weren't so blatantly eager to pretend that this is an even intellectual fight. By giving credence to right-wing slogans and false equivalencies, the press and supposedly even-handed web sites like Politico allow those who desperately want to continue to call themselves Independents (just because, darn it, the moniker sounds so noble and above the fray) to do so without undue discomfort. How far can Jan Brewer, Scott Walker, and Eric Cantor go before the mainstream press calls them out for the authoritarian, anti-family, upper-crust lackeys that they are? A little further, it appears.

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

@ Jack: William Pfaff has written a terrific book you may want to read: "The Irony of Manifest Destiny." (The Tragedy of America's Foreign Policy)

Last night on the PBS "Washington Week" there was discussion re: Romney's long silence to Sam Stein's question as to Romney's stance on the Lilly Ledbetter law which ended with Dan Baltz saying, "But in the end he said he supported it." NO, he didn't!" I yelled––what he actually said was he wouldn't repeal it. Another example of false reporting and this was PBS for gosh sakes!

Cory Booker–––what a guy. Always said he's a man to watch.

The kerfuffle over Rosen's words: She qualified it by her preceding remarks regarding the economy which is being left out by the MSM. It was quite clear to me that she meant the missus had not had the experience of being OUT in the workplace, therefore was not the one to address this issue; she certainly was not implying that a woman who works at home raising children was somehow inferior. Anyone who has done this knows it 's one of the most difficult jobs––––HOWEVER––in Ann Romney's case, the burden because of their wealth, was lifted way above being difficult.(There have been many comments by the pundits as to how REAL Ann is, how good a speaker she is, how she seems to connect with people––something her husband fails to do––. This appeal has not yet reached me and I find listening to her for more than five minutes makes me yearn for Pat Nixon and her taciturnity.)

@ akhilleus: The information you cited is unbelievable––but then, why should we be surprised when every day another bat-crazy issue rears its ugly head. The fact that so many people didn't realize that the Titanic was actual history and not some fictional film just adds some frosting to this cake of ice story.

It's a lovely spring day here in New England and it's time to cultivate the garden––digging in the dirt clears one's head.

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Jack, I'm sorry to say this, but it will be a LOT further. After all, those "impartial" and "non-partisan" reporters, commenters, and "investigators" have a few more vertebrae to splinter before they give up the idea that in order to deserve those descriptors, they must give willful misdirection, ideological fantasy, and outright lies the same consideration as truth, facts, and rational argument.

In other words, if you're a Democrat, you have to have a rock solid case fully supported by facts in order to be considered even with off the cuff lies offered by Republicans. And then you'll still lose.

MSM outlets are still moaning on and on about the uncalled for attacks on poor Mrs. Romney by evil liberals. That's the story. There's no attempt at actually looking into what Rosen's, admittedly poorly chosen, comment was meant to convey. That the Romneys are hopelessly out of touch.

A few short years ago, Poppy Bush was ridiculed for not knowing the price of a gallon of milk. If some reporter tried that today with Mittens or Mrs. Willard, they'd be excoriated as vicious "gotcha" partisans by uber partisans such as drug addled Limbaugh whose rants would then be copied spittle and syllable, word for word by mainstream outlets and passed on as "news".

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Marie, I hope you're just sleeping in this morning. It's jarring to see that you haven't posted anything yet. I hope all is well with you on Tax Day.

April 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.