The Ledes

Wednesday, December 24, 2014.

Washington Post: "The Obama administration is accelerating its efforts to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, preparing to move dozens of inmates out of the prison in coming months in a step forward for President Obama’s redoubled attempt to achieve a core national security objective before he leaves office."

New York Times: "Three digital distributors joined an expanding effort to save 'The Interview,' as Sony Pictures Entertainment disclosed the first deals to show the film online after a terror threat limited access to theaters. Among the partners named on Wednesday morning were Google Play, YouTube Movies and Microsoft’s Xbox Video. Sony also said it would show the film on a website of its own."

Weather Channel: "A pair of storms and a few other weather systems may make a mess of your Christmas travel plans,,,. In all, more than 5,600 flights were delayed and more than 500 cancelled nationwide Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com. Thirteen different U.S. airports each had more than 100 delayed or canceled flights."

New York Times: "The elder President George Bush was taken to a Houston hospital Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath, a family spokesman said. Mr. Bush, 90, would be held at least overnight at Houston Methodist Hospital as a precaution, said the spokesman, Jim McGrath. He is expected to be fine, Mr. McGrath said."

Reuters: "Alan Gross, the contractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail, will receive $3.2m from the US government as part of a settlement with his employer, the USAid agency announced on Tuesday. Gross was employed by Maryland-based company DAI as part of a USAid-financed project in Cuba. DAI had sought $7m for Gross, said a USAid spokesman."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "A Berkeley[, Missouri,] police officer fatally shot a suspect who pointed a gun at him late Tuesday, St. Louis County police said early today. Police did not identify the person killed but Toni Martin, who was at the scene, said he was her 18-year-old son, Antonio Martin. Several protesters also arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting. Many stayed overnight.... The officer saw two people outside the station, got out of his vehicle and approached them. One of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fired at the officer. 'Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him'" the release from the county police said. 'The second subject fled the scene.'" Berkeley is about two miles from Ferguson, Mo. ...

     ... CW: Let's see if the police story holds up. There are surveillance cameras which may have captured the confrontation.

New York Times: "A federal administrative judge has upheld the dismissal of the director of the Veterans Affairs health care system in Phoenix for accepting more than $13,000 in airline tickets and other gifts from a consultant for the health care industry, for failing to disclose some of the gifts and for placing a high-ranking doctor on administrative leave for providing Senator John McCain with information about patient suicides.  The former director, Sharon Helman, had also been implicated in the falsification of the hospital’s waiting lists for care, a problem at Phoenix and other veterans’ hospitals that roiled the Department of Veterans Affairs this year and led to the resignation of the department’s secretary, Eric K. Shinseki. But the administrative judge, Stephen C. Mish, concluded that the department had not provided sufficient evidence to justify firing Ms. Helman for the manipulation of waiting lists, which concealed delays in providing care to veterans.”

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, December 23, 2014.

AFP: "Ukraine took a historic step toward NATO on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote that stoked Russia's anger ahead of talks on ending the ex-Soviet state's separatist war. Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine's non-aligned status -- a classification given to states such as Switzerland that refuse to join military alliances and thus play no part in wars."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 24

11:15 Am ET: White House holiday decorations interactive display

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

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

ABC News: "After more than 20 years together, music icon Elton John and his partner David Furnish are married!... A law passed earlier this year in England allow[s] same-sex marriage...."

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

Contact the Constant Weader

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Thursday
Aug092012

The Commentariat -- August 10, 2012

Rural Acreage for Sale. Mountain, valley views. Private setting; distance to nearest neighbor averages 225 million km. Commute time to nearest town: about 8-1/2 months. A portion of Curiosity's first color photo of Mars.

Q&A with Frank Rich: why Harry Reid is no Joe McCarthy. And other stuff.

In a New York Times opinion piece, Jon Grinspan compares 19th-century political "discourse" & voting practices to today's campaigns. Things have been worse.

Dana Milbank on the newest McCarthy: "Andrew McCarthy's work is providing the intellectual underpinnings -- such as they are -- for Rep. Michele Bachmann's outrageous suggestion that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood." Milbank so thoroughly tears McCarthy's attack of Abedin to shreds that McCarthy ends up saying, "I'm a whack job, I guess."

Mark Bittman of the New York Times forgets about food & pleads for gun contro'. Good for him.

Jim Salter of the AP: "At a pivotal national meeting, members of the largest group for American nuns have been weighing whether they should accept or challenge a Vatican order to reform.... The president of the nuns group, Sister Pat Farrell, is expected to make an announcement Friday as the meeting ends. She has indicated in her public remarks this week that the sisters may not formulate a definitive response."

Jennifer Preston of the New York Times: "Leadership changes at the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure six months after an online uproar over a decision to cut funds for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood was greeted with skepticism on Thursday among breast cancer advocates and longtime former supporters."

An Employee of the New York Times & Damien Cave: on top of everything else, a crime wave in Syria.

Presidential Race

Jonathan Easley of The Hill: "Obama’s lead in the [new] CNN-ORC poll is buoyed by men and independents -- two groups that until recently had favored Romney. Obama leads 53 percent to 42 among independents, and has a 6 percentage point advantage among men. Romney's unfavorability rating climbed considerably in the poll."

Mike Allen of Politico: "Advisers to President Barack Obama are scripting a Democratic National Convention featuring several Republicans in a prime-time appeal to independents — and planning a blistering portrayal of Mitt Romney as a heartless aristocrat who 'would devastate the American middle class' ...."

You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad. They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they're wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them. -- Mitt Romney, Thursday, apparently with a straight face

... Paul Waldman of American Prospect writes on Romney's welfare attack ad & echoes my view of Newt's "rationale" for it: "In my former career as an academic I did a lot of research on political ads.... I cannot recall a single presidential campaign ad in the history of American politics that lied more blatantly than this one.... Newt's argument is ... that although the Romney ad makes false claims, that's OK because Barack Obama and those who work for him are, in Newt's opinion, the kind of people who would gut work requirements if they could, so therefore it's OK to say that they are actually doing it, even though they aren't." ...

The Obama camp hits back on the welfare claim:

... Michael Cohen of the New York Daily News: "So Mitt Romney has two new ads out this week, and they offer a pretty clear indication of his larger political problem: He hasn't closed the deal with conservatives. First there was an ad on Monday that that accused Obama of gutting welfare reform.... Then there is an ad [Thursday] that accuses President Obama of declaring a war on religion because of his decision to force employers to offer contraceptive services to women.... Both of these ads are deeply dishonest.... Accusing Obama of a 'war on religion' is the height of political slander.... And once again it's completely hypocritical: when Romney was governor he went along (without comment) with a similar contraceptive policy in Massachusetts." ...

... CW: following Cohen's logic, I'd say Romney would have to choose Paul Ryan as his running mate, though Ed Rendell's suggestion that Romney choose Michele Bachmann would be great, too. Michael Shear & Trip Gabriel write in today's New York Times: "That Mr. Romney has not yet named his vice-presidential nominee has created an opening for social and economic conservatives to pressure him publicly, and they have taken the opportunity to make an aggressive case for Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin."

CW: I wouldn't link to an Erskine Bowles op-ed if that pompous deficit hawk bashed Mitt Romney. Oh, wait, here's Bowles in the Washington Post complaining that Romney's budget wouldn't cut the deficit: "This month, Romney said that his tax reform proposal is 'very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.' How I wish it were. I will be the first to cheer if Romney decides to embrace our plan. Unfortunately, the numbers say otherwise: His reform plan leaves too many tax breaks in place and, as a result, does nothing to reduce the debt." Sometimes one has to compromise one's principles for the greater good.

The Obama campaign's latest. CW: I'm going to have to look up that "Son of Boss" story. It's news to me:

Okay, here ya go.... Grace Wyler of Business Insider: "The ad, "Son of Boss," pivots off of a new CNN op-ed from tax lawyer Peter C. Canellos and tax expert Edward D. Kleinbard":

Peter C. Canellos, a tax attorney & former chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, & tax expert Edward D. Kleinbard, former chief of staff of Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, in a CNN opinion piece: for years, Mitt Romney was on the board of directors of Marriott International, & "from 1993 to 1998, Romney was the head of the audit committee of the Marriott board. During that period, Marriott engaged in a series of complex and high-profile maneuvers, including 'Son of Boss,' a notoriously abusive prepackaged tax shelter.... In this respect, Marriott was in the vanguard of a then-emerging corporate tax shelter bubble that substantially undermined the entire corporate tax system..., perhaps the largest tax avoidance scheme in history.... The Son of Boss transaction was listed by the [IRS] as an abusive transaction, requiring specific disclosure and subject to heavy penalties.... The government brought successful criminal prosecutions against a number of individuals involved in Son of Boss.... Romney approved the firm's reporting of fictional tax losses exceeding $70 million generated by its Son of Boss transaction." ...

... Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "In February, Bloomberg News reported on Romney's role as head of Marriott's audit board, including his approval of the 'Son of Boss" transactions.' Lewison quotes the Bloomberg piece. ...

... Ashley Killough of CNN: "Team Obama said the ad will run in the same states that Romney's bus tour will cross in the coming week, including Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio -- all battleground states."

Antics. CNN: "The Democratic National Committee is rolling out another bus tour to trail Mitt Romney's own over the weekend through key battle ground states, harping on the Republican candidate's economic policies as throwing 'the middle class under the bus.'" And speaking of buses ...

... Network: "NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is inviting Governor Mitt Romney to spend a day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs of struggling families in their communities..., people who will be further harmed by his proposed budget cuts and by the terribly divisive and demeaning political advertisements about welfare. The Sisters' invitation comes after recent false attacks from Mr. Romney that demonstrate his lack of understanding of the struggles families and children face as they work to get out of poverty.... As NETWORK demonstrated in their recent 'Nuns on the Bus' tour, budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and endorsed by Mitt Romney will hurt struggling families throughout the nation. The Romney-Ryan budget would devastate services such as nutrition assistance, childhood education and job training that provide pathways out of poverty for millions of families." Via Steve Benen. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Maggie Haberman of Politico: "Bill Burton, the main face of Priorities USA Action, refused to back away from an ad that the pro-President Obama super PAC unveiled yesterday, despite blowback from Republicans and fact-checks that have questioned the account the spot relays. 'What fact in that ad is wrong?' Burton said as he pushed back on a fairly feisty Wolf Blitzer during an interview on the CNN set."

Aviva Shen of Think Progress: "The Romney campaign ... has seized on a new soundbite to distort. The campaign sent an email blast Thursday afternoon featuring a video of an Obama rally in Colorado from earlier that day and falsely claimed that he wants the government to bail out every industry."

Turns out the Romney Liars & Hypocrites Club is bilingual. Lawrence Downes explains in the New York Times.

AND Donald Trump turned down a chance to speak at the GOP convention. CW: uh-huh. A spokesperson for Trump said the former millionaire had given his fortune to the obscure Order of Oopsus Daisi, & has entered a monastery where he has taken a vow of silence. (Well, that's as believable as the "turned down a chance to speak" story.) ...

... CW: guess I was wrong. Jennifer Wlach of ABC News: "Donald Trump will have a 'major role' at the Republican National Convention, an aide to the real estate mogul tells ABC News."

Congressional Races

** Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "In the battle for control of the Senate, no race has received as much financial attention as the reelection bid of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, with outside conservative groups working together to pour tens of millions of dollars into Ohio's airwaves to try to unseat him.... The Brown-Mandel campaign is a case study of the aggressive fundraising and spending this election season by interest groups outside the candidates' campaign operations. And because many of the groups behind the spending are not required to disclose their donors, the effort has created a virtual shadow campaign that will probably far exceed what Mandel spends on his campaign."

AP: Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS "says it will stop airing a television ad that is critical of North Dakota Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp's record as attorney general. The ad claims when Heitkamp was attorney general during the 1990s, she spent taxpayer money on private airplanes. Heitkamp on Thursday called the statement 'completely false' and asked TV stations to quit running it.... Heitkamp says ... her office got two surplus planes for free from the Department of Defense. One was flown on anti-drug missions. The second was used for spare parts." Via Greg Sargent.

Cameron Joseph of The Hill: Missouri's GOP Senate nominee "Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) voted against the creation of a national sex offender registry and against reauthorizing a program that assists runaway and homeless children. Both bills passed by wide margins with strong bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled House.... Democrats believe votes like these can be used to paint Akin as too conservative for the state."

Joe Swickard & Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press: "Four staffers of former U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, [Michigan,] were charged today in connection with the false nominating petitions that led to McCotter's departure from Congress. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette described the four as 'not simply Keystone Kops running amok ... criminal acts were committed.'"

Local News

CW: this New York Post story was way too entertaining to ignore: "They must have rubbed Mayor Bloomberg the wrong way. City officials pulled the plug on a vibrator giveaway by the Trojan condom company yesterday, disappointing potentially thousands of pleasure-seeking women.... Trojan sent tingles of excitement across the city when it announced the giveaway of some 10,000 vibrating sex toys from hot-dog-style pushcarts.... But instead of climaxing in a successful giveaway, the promotion was prematurely interrupted by City Hall, which sent a dark-suited representative to put the squeeze on Trojan's 'Pleasure Carts.'" ...

... Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Breaking! For $3,100, Trojan was granted the permit they need to please the masses, and will try again on 14th Street between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. tonight. Patience, people."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Now that the murder trial of Gu Kailai has ended, far more detailed accounts have emerged from inside the courtroom of the case that prosecutors built against Ms. Gu, the wife of one of China's most ambitious leaders. The accounts show her plotting with allies, including the local police chief, to protect her son from what she saw as the blackmail demands of the British business associate she is believed to have killed."

Bloomberg News: "The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today proposed new regulations that would revamp how American homeowners interact with mortgage servicers. One set of rules aims to provide homeowners with clearer, timelier information about changes to interest rates and options for avoiding foreclosure. A second set of rules requires servicers to credit payments promptly, correct errors, stay accessible and limit foreclosures if homeowners are working on loan modifications."

Washington Post: "The long-moribund housing market has bustled to life, with prices and new-home construction rising in recent weeks. Hiring, so weak earlier this year, picked up last month. And on Thursday, the government reported an acceleration of a downward trend in the number of people seeking unemployment insurance, as well as a sharp improvement in U.S. exports. Together, the signs point to an improving economy, a potentially important shift for President Obama's re-election campaign." ...

... BUT. CNN: "A new national survey indicates that the number of Americans who say things are going badly in the country is on the rise, as a growing number of people believe that economic conditions are getting worse."

New York Times: "Federal authorities ended two investigations into the actions of Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis, handing a quiet victory to the bank after years of public scrutiny. In a statement late Thursday, the Justice Department said there was 'not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution' against Goldman or its employees after a Congressional committee asked prosecutors to examine if the bank had been involved with any illegal acts related to several mortgage deals."

AP: "Thousands of mourners are expected to pay their final respects to the half-dozen Sikh worshippers gunned down by a white supremacist at their Wisconsin temple over the weekend.... Dignitaries scheduled to attend include U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan."

Reader Comments (12)

So... Harry Reid was just a stalking horse? Wow! The shith cometh downth!

August 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

What can't those physicists do with a digital camera and a time machine! Great picture of the American Midwest after a few more years of record-setting temps. That's what it really is, isn't it?

But we should expect no less from the wonderful folks savvy enough to lasso the God particle. They already have a time machine; it's called prediction based on observation and they're pretty good at it. Their tricks brought us electricity, medicine, computers and cars we no longer understand.

Too bad when they talk about evolution or fossil fuels' effect on the climate, they're roundly ignored.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Is it just wishful thinking on my part or have we turned some kind of corner in revealing the idiocy of this silly season? When Ann Coulter, that slinky, splenetic blond vampire, gets her knickers in a twist over the Romney mishaps, when Harry Reid turns from a mild mannered Senator into a raging bull, when Kansas votes in another Republican scaramouch*, when the word is finally getting out that Romney LIES––all the time, plus a myriad number of other indications that points to, dare we whisper it––a change in the old atmosphere.

And that article on "Son of Boss" is terrific––we go from Son of Man to Son of Sam to Son of Boss in a twinkle of an eye.

*How many scaramouches do we harbor in that party that once drank tea, but has morphed, as Frank Rich posits, into the Republican party writ large. Perhaps it's time to bring back Queen's ubiquitous rock song "Bohemian Rhapsody"–––"I see a little silhouetto of a man/ Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the fandango?" Will you, punks?

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: The buzz around town. If the Trojan give away is a success won't that hurt the sales of the other Trojan lines? Who needs a raincoat when it's sunny all the time? Or is there a plan for Trojan battery packs? Would Mitt allow his horse to be spokeshorse for a fee? A lot of questions to ponder for the day.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

"Who needs a raincoat when it's sunny all the time?"
Good question, but since I'm on a kick of bringing back the oldies, but goodies, we can go with Marvin Gaye's, "Nothin but the real thing, Baby!" Yet–– maybe Springstein's "Waiting on a Sunny Day" speaks more to those raincoats and gray skies that are so prevalent today.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Willard the Rat took some time off from his non-stop sluice of lies the other day. He turned off the “LIES” spigot and turned on the “IGNORANT and perhaps RACIST” faucet.

Making another attempt to appear human (give it up, Pinocchio, you’re never going to be a real little boy) the Mittbot sent out condolences, such as they were, to the survivors of the latest right-wing hate-fueled serial killing, the “Sheiks”. A bit tongue tied? Or does Romney, like the right-wing murderer, have trouble separating brown skinned people wearing turbans. “Shit, they all look like Ay-rabs, Mitt. I guess they’s Sheiks. You know, like them Mooslims who run around the desert chopping people’s heads off?”

The excuse du jour for the latest Romney display of ignorance about people not rich, white, and privileged, is that it was a long day. Wasn’t that the same excuse John McCain used for calling his wife a painted trollop and a c*nt, in front of a roomful of reporters? But then again Romney once referred to Boston’s Big Dig project as a “tar baby”. But he, like Michele Bachmann claimed not to have any idea that it’s considered a racist insult.

Those Republicans, they’re just funny guys, know what I mean?

But even if the Rat’s most recent bout of sterling silver foot in mouth disease was not directly related to his indifference to humans of any race or economic sphere other than his own, it seems like it would put him in solid with the millions of conservatives who daily mine the enormous vein of racism that runs like the Comstock Lode through the Republican Party.

We all know how much Little Ricky Santorum hates those “blah” people, and don’t forget Ann Coulter buddying up to Herman Cain, winking that “Our black people are better than their black people” which sounds like she’s comparing pets. And do you recall that Mr. High Morals, Ron Paul, used to refer to Martin Luther King Day as “Hate Whitey Day”? Not to be outdone, that other proponent of virtue and morality, William Bennett, once declared that the best way to reduce crime in the US, down to virtually nothing, would be to abort all black babies. And leave us not forget the Regent of Racial Repulsiveness, the Newt, who doesn’t think calling Obama a food stamp president has any racial connotations. (They’re all so adept at backpedaling once called on their racist ways.)

Yessiree Bob, those Republicans sure do know how to demonstrate their grasp of moral behavior.

Maybe the Mittster should show that good ol’ time Republican Racism more often. He might even get invited to speak at the GOP convention in a few weeks. A few more dog whistles to the drooling racists and they might even send him his very own Teabagger Confederate Flag that he can wave next time he’s hobnobbing with his NASCAR owner buddies.

Plus, he won’t have to worry about running into any "Sheiks" at NASCAR races.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I hope you don't mind me posting this here but I've not seen this particular subject on your site. Perhaps I missed it but I think it would be of interest and also so important an issue it shouldn't be missed.

Thanks.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/09/npr-factchecks-christian-pseudo-historian-david-barton/

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott M.

@ Scott M. Thanks for writing. I don't much "do" religion here except when it gets snarled in public policy, but I sometimes make exceptions. In fact, the column I'm working on now for the New York Times eXaminer is a response to Ross Douthat's prescription for saving the nuns from their librul follies.

I'll take a look at the NPR piece of David Barton, who I think is the Christian right's idea of an intellectual. I'm shocked, shocked, that someone would suggest Barton "pulls a lot of stuff out of his ass."

Marie

August 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Picking up where PD left off (love the Marvin Gaye pick), I might suggest some appropriate music for Willard the Rat today, Frank Zappa's album "Sheik Yerbouti". The Mittster would probably feel a kinship with at least one of the songs: "Broken Hearts are for Assholes."

Or maybe He'd prefer "I'm so Cute" in which the singer, a good looking guy (Mitt?) declares that he's gonna:

...ride
Gonna strut
Gonna slide
Hey ugly (poor) people
Take some cyanide
And die.

It sucks not to be rich.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Scott,

Interesting link. Another fun, religiously crazed individual made the news today. Dr. Melvin Morse of Delaware was arrested for allegedly waterboarding his own 11 year old daughter. The daughter maintains that he's done this a number of times in the past. Morse's attorney claims that "it's not REALLY waterboarding..." the good doctor was trying to get his daughter's attention.

Oh yeah. I can see that.

So what kind of a doctor is he? Why, he's a pediatrician, natch! But not just any pediatrician. This guy has a website devoted to near death encounters (waterboarding seems to fit that bill) and a top secret way to contact god directly through YOUR BRAIN!

Holy shit! Wire congress! Stop the presses. Calling god, calling god, come in god.

No kidding. The good doctor has discovered a "god spot" that he says is about 32 degrees S/SE of the right temporal lobe, about 2 cm down from the top of the right hippocampus right next to the box of broken crayons, you know, that one that was hidden under the bed in your kid's room for the last 13 years. Yeah, right there. You can't miss it. Just twitch that somabitch and you got Jesus on the mainline.

Oh, and just in case you might be thinking that the little girl is mistaken, the cops picked up Doctor Dad while he was out on bail on misdemeanor charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child. This kid wasn't waterboarded. Nah. Nothing that cuckoo. In this incident he grabbed another 11 year old girl by the ankles and dragged her face down across a gravel driveway while her 6 year old sister watched so he could administer a spanking.

Did I miss that part of Pediatrician training where they memorize the collected works of Josef Mengele?

But don't worry. I'm sure it will all be fine in the end. Very likely god tweaked his hippocampus and made him do it.

These people. If the devil didn't make them do it, god did.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Just saw that a soldier in Texas who had gone AWOL was given a life sentence for coming up with a plan that could have resulted in the death of American military personnel.

Doesn't that also describe Bush? Deserter concocts plan that kills Americans. And in his case the plan DID result in the deaths of many thousands of American military personnel and tens of thousands of civilians.

So the guy whose plan didn't work goes to the slammer for life. The other guy whose plan actually killed tens of thousands is lolling in a hammock between golf games.

Is this a great country, or what?

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The polls, apparently, are starting to relegate him to the dumpster--even faux gnus has the black guy up by six--and he's yet to be anointed as the chosen one. Can't imagine what those VP hopefuls are thinking (if anything). Sail on O Ship of State.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer
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