The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

Reuters: "The ringleader of a beating ritual that led to the death of a Florida college marching band member was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing, the first case to go to trial in an incident that drew national attention to hazing abuses. A jury convicted percussionist Dante Martin, 27, for his role in a November 2011 ritual involving the Florida A&M University's celebrated 'Marching 100' band that led to the death of Robert Champion, a 26-year-old drum major." ...

... CW: Why are these college students so old?

Los Angeles Times: "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson and the FAA. At least one person was killed." MSNBC is saying two were injured as well.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

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

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

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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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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