The Ledes

Friday, May 29, 2015.

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy shrank at an annualized pace of 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Friday morning, a tumble for a recovering nation that until recently seemed poised for takeoff. The contraction, the country’s third in the aftermath of the Great Recession, provides a troubling picture of an economy that many figured would get a lift from cheap oil, rapid hiring and growing consumer confidence. Instead, consumers have proved cautious, and oil companies have frozen investment — all while a nasty winter caused havoc for transportation and construction and a strong dollar widened the trade deficit."

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 28

11:05 am ET: President Obama receives the annual hurricane season outlook & preparedness briefing in Miami, Florida (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday
Aug102012

The Commentariat -- August 11, 2012

President Obama's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here. AP story here.

My column in the New York Times eXaminer is titled "Debunking the Douthat Doctrine." The NYTX front page is here. ...

... Speaking of nuns, as I do in my column, apparently our nuclear facilities are not safe from at least one of them -- a fascinating New York Times story by William Broad on Sister Megan Rice, an 82-year old nun who, with two accomplices, aged 57 & 63, & a couple of pairs of bolt cutters, easily breached the so-called security at the Oak Ridge nuclear facility in Tennessee.

Perseid meteor over Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah. Space.com photo.Tom Skillern of Yahoo! News: "NASA says the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks Saturday and Sunday nights, will be the best show of the year. Hundreds of shooting stars -- along with Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon -- will be visible to viewers across North America. 'We expect to see meteor rates as high as a hundred per hour,' NASA's Bill Cooke says. Cooke advises space enthusiasts to look for meteors just before dawn in the eastern sky and avoid city lights. A trip to the dark skies in the countryside will yield three times as many visible meteors." ...

... A friend & Reality Chex reader writes, "Tonight is the Perseid Shower. It's cloudy. But I know something beautiful and wonderful is happening without any help from any human being, and can't ever be sullied."

CW: Here's one I missed from earlier this week -- Amy Chozick of the New York Times: President Obama is an avid news consumer -- and critic. He hates he-said/she-said journalism.

Gail Collins writes an amusing column about oppo trackers, who follow political candidates & record their every word. The candidate whom Collins remarks got caught saying "he prays the media will stop covering 'sob stories' about how someone 'couldn't get, you know, their food stamps or this or that'" is Eric Hovde, who is running in the Wisconsin GOP (natch!) U.S. Senate primary.

Matt Miller of the Washington Post calls out his weasly colleague Charles Krauthammer for this remark: "Obama loves to cite great federal projects such as the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system. Fine. Name one thing of any note created by Obama's Niagara of borrowed money." Wells, sez Miller, "... the stimulus created the equivalent of a dozen Hoover Dams." Miller cites a Center for American Progress study: "The increase in U.S. wind-power output under the Obama administration so far has been ... 12 times as much as produced by the [Hoover D]am.... As Michael Grunwald points out in a Time column today, it was 'the Obama stimulus bill that revived the wind industry and the rest of the clean-tech sector from a near-death experience.'"

Presidential Race

CW: If Romney's VP pick is indeed Paul Ryan, that supports what I said yesterday: Romney knows he hasn't closed with conservatives. It also reinforces the fact -- and at this point it is a fact -- that Romney is a pushover for conservatives & as president would roll over for all but the most insane GOP Congressional demands. People who vote for Romney will, in effect, be voting for President Ryan, making Ryan the Dick Cheney of domestic fiscal terrorism. If this is where the voters are, we're looking at 16 years of Ayn Rand economics. ...

     ... Update: Hate to say I told you so, but Mitt Romney just said, in introducing Paul Ryan, "Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States." He has already turned over the reins to Ryan. ...

... "The Smell of Panic." Steve Kornacki of Salon: "The most important thing to know about Mitt Romney’s running-mate choice is this: It's not the move he would have made if the campaign was going the way he hoped it would." ...

... "Five Things to Know about Ryan -- and Romney." Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "Many millions of working-age Americans would lose health insurance. Senior citizens would anguish over whether to pay their rent or their medical bills, in a way they haven't since the 1960s. Government would be so starved of resources that, by 2050, it wouldn't have enough money for core functions like food inspections and highway maintenance. And the richest Americans would get a huge tax cut. This is the America that Paul Ryan envisions. And now we know that it is the America Mitt Romney envisions." Thanks to contributor P. D. Pepe. ...

... Greg Sargent: "In picking Ryan, Romney is confirming his commitment to full-flown economic radicalism - something that he had kept well disguised until the Tax Policy Center study unmasked it." ...

... Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker: "Romney, who has been extremely vague about what he would do if elected, will now own Paul Ryan's ideas, which include privatizing Social Security, turning Medicare into a voucher program, bloc-granting and drastically cutting Medicaid, and reducing discretionary spending to levels that would affect every popular government program.... Even before this (apparent) announcement, Democrats were planning on tying Romney to Ryan's policy platform. Now Romney has done it for them." ...

... Mark Murray & Domenico Montanaro of NBC News have their own list of Ryan's strengths & weaknesses, which largely coincides with Lizza's. ...

... Here's Krugman's "Flim Flam Fever" post re: Ryan. ...

... Andy Borowitz: "The race to become the Republican vice-presidential candidate seemed hopelessly deadlocked today as Mitt Romney announced he would choose between former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan 'as soon as I can tell them apart.' ... The campaign has even resorted to creating flashcards with the likenesses of Messrs. Pawlenty, Ryan, and Portman on one side and their names on the back, but to no avail. 'It's gotten so frustrating, last night Mitt suggested that maybe we should choose someone who wasn't white or male,' the aide said. 'He was kidding, of course....'" CW: guess Willard had a breakthrough.

Harry Reid's Accusation Is Not Preposterous. James Stewart of the New York Times: "... this summer the Internal Revenue Service released data from the 400 individual income tax returns reporting the highest adjusted gross income. This elite ultrarich group earned on average $202 million in 2009, the latest year available. And buried in the data is the startling disclosure that six of the 400 paid no federal income tax. The I.R.S. has never before disclosed that last fact. Not even Mr. Romney, with reported 2010 income of $21.7 million, qualifies for membership in this select group of 400. But the data provides a window into the financial lives and tax rates of the superrich.... Besides the six who paid no federal income tax, the I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent.... What's abundantly clear, both from Mr. Romney's 2010 returns and from the returns of the top 400, is that at the very pinnacle of taxpayers, the United States has a regressive tax system."

Greg Sargent: Jon Huntsman, Sr., who says that speculation that he is Harry Reid's source is inaccurate also "forcefully called on Romney to release his tax returns. This matters, because Huntsman is a longtime backer of Romney -- he has long been close to Romney; he supported his early campaigns; he was the national finance chairman of Romney's 2008 presidential campaign; and he has raised a lot of money for him over the years. (He backed his own son in the latest GOP primary.)"

Paul Krugman: "The big story of the week among the dismal science set is the Romney campaign's white paper on economic policy, which represents a concerted effort by three economists -- Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, and John Taylor -- to destroy their own reputations. (Yes, there was a fourth author, Kevin Hassett. But the co-author of 'Dow 36,000' doesn't exactly have a reputation to destroy). And when I talk about destroying reputations, I don't just mean saying things I disagree with. I mean flat-out, undeniable professional malpractice." Krugman thinks the economists have fallen prey to the "Culture of Fraud" that pervades the Romney campaign: "... this is a campaign that's all about faking it -- fake claims about Obama, fake claims about policy, fake claims about Romney's personal history."

Charles Pierce: while Willard was being the governor who never raised taxes, he was being the governor who "raised fees on practically everything. Including being blind."

Charles Blow answers the question "What's the matter with Romney?"

No Fair Picking on Me. Sabrina Siddiqui of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney appears to be seeking an agreement with the Obama campaign to remove his business record from the conversation, a sign that the repeated attacks on his tenure at private equity firm Bain Capital may be getting under the presumptive Republican presidential candidate's skin." CW: in The Sociopath's Guide to Election Etiquette, that's in the chapter that explains Romney can tout his business acumen as his major qualification for the presidency, but Obama can't criticize Romney's business record.

CW: Jerry Markon of the Washington Post has a long piece on Romney's management of the Big Dig. Turns out he was very, very good at it -- for about 5 minutes, after which he lost interest. Sounds as if he has a short attention span.

Dana Milbank: "What makes Romney's welfare gambit dispiriting is that, as a member of one of the most persecuted groups in American history, he knows more than most the dangers of fanning bigotry. Yet now he has injected into the campaign what has for decades been a standard device for race-baiting.... Romney made the racial component official when his Republican National Committee hosted a conference call the next day with Gingrich, who, sure enough, reprised his food-stamp assault.... Thursday, the RNC hosted a call with Santorum, who did everything but revive the 'welfare queen' attack of the 1980s."

Alex Becker of the Huffington Post: "The Franciscan Action Network (FAN), a Catholic faith-based advocacy and civic engagement organization, is strongly criticizing Mitt Romney's recent ads and rhetoric regarding welfare programs and welfare recipients, urging him to spend some time in low-income communities." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Romney -- Worse than Bob Dole. Marcos Moulitsas cites some variables that suggest Romney won't get much of a convention bump.

AND in Steve Benen's 29th week of chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, he comes up with -- 29 lies. Let's shoot for 30 lies next week, Mitt. We know you can do it.

Congressional Races

Scott Brown Takes a Stand for Voter Suppression. Peter Schworm of the Boston Globe: "US Senator Scott Brown today criticized the state's welfare department for sending voting registration forms to 478,000 people on public assistance, saying the mass mailing was a ploy to boost the ranks of Democratic voters and benefit rival Elizabeth Warren's campaign. The state ... last month sent registration forms, along with prepaid return envelopes, as part of a settlement over a lawsuit accusing the Patrick administration of violating the federal 'motor voter' law. It requires states to provide voter registration at motor vehicle and public assistance offices." Brown also is pissed because Warren's daughter chairs one of the organizations that brought suits against a number of states, including Massachusetts. ...

... Globe Update: "U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is calling on Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren to reimburse Massachusetts for the cost of mailing voter registration letters to welfare recipients.In a statement released Friday, Brown alleged the letters were sent to nearly half a million welfare recipients, as part of a court settlement, in an effort to 'aid' Warren's Senate campaign." CW: As usual, the Warren campaign's response was, in my opinion, flat-footed & totally inadequate. They've let slip yet another opportunity to make a laughingstock of Brown.

... Alec MacGillis of The New Republic: "Yes, it is now apparently considered politically acceptable -- in Massachusetts, the birthplace of American democracy! -- for a candidate to object publicly to the registration of low-income voters. Used to be one had to say such a thing in veiled terms...."

News Ledes

** New York Times: "Mitt Romney is scheduled to announce his vice-presidential candidate on Saturday in Norfolk, Va., with several signs pointing toward Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin emerging as the leading candidate for the position. Mr. Romney is set to disclose the selection as he tours the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, the campaign announced Friday evening." ...

... Washington Post story here. ...

... NBC News Update: "Mitt Romney's campaign has announced that the presumptive GOP nominee has chosen House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate." ...

... Update: You can also watch the hoohah here or here. ...

... Here's an updated New York Times story.

National Catholic Reporter: "At the end of its annual assembly Friday in St. Louis, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said it will proceed with discussion with the Vatican 'for as long as possible' but will reconsider if the sisters are 'forced to compromise the integrity of [their] mission.'"

AP: "A federal jury in San Diego on Friday convicted two former Border Patrol agents of human smuggling in one of the highest-profile corruption cases in the last decade. After a five-week trial, Raul and Fidel Villarreal were found guilty of conspiracy to bring in illegal immigrants for financial gain and other counts. Raul Villarreal was long a public face of the Border Patrol who frequently appeared on television as an agency spokesman."

Meridian, Mississippi Is Still Meridian, Mississippi. ABC News: "The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has released investigative findings determining that children in predominantly black Meridian, Miss. have had their constitutional rights violated by the Lauderdale County Youth Court, the Meridian Police Department, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services in what civil rights investigators allege is a school to prison pipeline with even dress code violations resulting in incarceration."

Reader Comments (10)

I am sure by now that everyone on this highly informed Commentariat has read the Huffington Post article by Jon Ward that says MittWitt is set tomorrow (Saturday) to nominate Paul Ryan as his VP running mate. Romney/Ryan. Both exciting (if you believe voters will get it) and scary (if you are quite sure they do not!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/11/paul-ryan-mitt-romney_n_1684794.html?igoogle=1

Be sure to read Ryan Lizza's profile of Paulie in the August 6 "New Yorker." Called "Fussbudget." Another guy for Wisconsin to be proud of--just like his friend, Scotty Walker, only nicer and somewhat more"literate," i.e., requires all his staffers to read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead." And counts her as probably the most influential person in his thinking. Eeeeek!

What have we come to? Waitin' to hear from you on this one, Akhilleus!

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Can't help myself! Every time I see a picture of Paul Ryan, I think he's Peewee Herman without the bow tie!

Someone included a link to an old Paul Krugman column with one of the NYTimes comments, "The Flimflam Man" (back in August 2010)...Paul said/says it better than anyone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/opinion/06krugman.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1344679313-yC8r3ydmlH5U+CJXie962w

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

I think these two oldie but goodies are appropriate to read again:

http://www.alternet.org/story/154700/the_horrors_of_an_ayn_rand_world:_why_we_must_fight_for_america%27s_soul

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/23-9

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

So Romney has gone out on a limb. Instead of choosing one of the two P's in a pod, he's picked someone whose vision for this country is completely opposite from Obama's which will make the choice between the two candidates crystal clear. The hope, of course, is that Ryan will put that pizzazz into Mitt the mountebank's mediocre campaign. Our blue eyed Wisconsinite who Ayn Rand captured decades ago will certainly enliven the situation, but just as Rand's philosophy is a cold, dictatorial screed whose shrillness is without reprieve, it's dogmatism without appeal, Ryan's embrace of this slog might just be enough to do the trick or be just enough to completely kill any chance for Romney.

And the Flimflam man always has to mention that, he, unlike Rand, is not an atheist. Well, shucks, then that makes everything honkey dory, don't it?

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Terrific NYTimes story linked on the right-hand column about the Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest. A great antidote to contemplating the Romney VP pick of a man with a strikingly narrow view of the value of working together for the common good and the role that public organizations can play.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I learned a new dog whistle this morning listening to the windup for the Ryan-Romney ticket announcement. George Macaca Allen, in the salutation to his spiel, said "Hello to all you people who have jobs and to all you people who want jobs." Southern Republicans, in particular, must have hundreds of these "messages to good, white people." George Macaca Allen apparently knows them all.

August 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Check out Jonathan Cohn's "Five things to Know About Ryan––and Romney" in The New Republic. It's chilling––makes one want to think about moving elsewhere if these two get elected. Akhilleus might seriously entertain the idea of going back to Mars and spend his days playing checkers with Chubby while Marvin plays "The Way We Were."

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I happen to be a one of Americas nice places, Portland Or. so I woke up to the news that the Republican Party has officially changed its
name to the American Fascist Party.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Everyone! Just google, Paul Krugman The Flim Flam Man column and it pops right up. Everyone should read it and send it around the country.
Re Ryan: " He is often described with phrases like "intellectually audacious"
But it's the audacity of dopes. Ryan isn't offering fresh food for thought; he's serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flim flam sauce"
"The Ryan plan is a fraud that is no useful contribution to the debate over America's fiscal future.".
Dr. Krugman does a good job of demonstrating that the Ryan plan is like Oakland, "there's no there there"

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

A few quick notes about the Ryan choice.

First it wasn't much of a choice. For once Romney has had to listen to voices outside his own head and his "You the boss, Mitt" inner circle. Choosing Ryan is, I'm guessing, a response to the polls released over the last few days showing the Rat being stuck running around in mazes looking for the cheese while that danged socialist Kenyan kicks dust in his furry little face. Picking Ryan might take the spotlight off those polls but I seriously doubt it will help him at the voting booth.

Why?

Think about it. Does choosing Mr. "Serious" encourage any Republican to vote Romney who might not have done so before. Absolutely not. Most of them are not voting for the Rat anyway. They're voting against Obama.

Will Ryan's presence on the ticket ramp up independents to vote for the Rat? Maybe a few, especially Ron Paul/Ayn Rand morons. But they were unlikely to vote for Obama anyway. Other independents, with operating brains (well, it's questionable as to exactly HOW operational their brains are if they still haven't decided) may, once they realize that Ryan is nothing more than a fraud and a shill, and once they learn that his "budget" will destroy the economic future of perhaps 80% of Americans, may be put off enough to pull the lever for Obama.

Something Willard may not have counted on was the additional scrutiny that Ryan's budget plans will now have to undergo. It won't just be Krugman and obscure economic analysts who will be pointing at his abominations and laughing. Granted there will always be the bottom feeding syconphants (this morning Fluffy--aka David Gregory--stupidly claimed that Ryan had the right stuff to be able to take any and all criticisms of his work. Is this guy alright?? Did he not notice that Ryan, when his "budget" was roundly ripped by the really serious people, nearly broke down in tears, accusing them of character assassination? This guy is a coddled little faker who has built a Potemkin reputation out of fluff and fairy dust. He'll fold like an old lawn chair under the heat lamps) but plenty of others who have shied away from considering the "Ryan Budget Plans" will now be forced to take a close look at it. And very much like Willard's "plans" for America, the essential emptiness of it all will be very much on display.

And here's another thing. Comparing the Ryan pick to Cheney offers some instructive lessons. Bush didn't pick Cheney. Cheney picked himself, and little Georgie went along. But he saw Cheney as a good pick because they both had agendas. Cheney wanted to declare war on Iraq as quickly as possible. Bush wanted to implement a full stop and reverse on any and all progressive policies in the United States and to ensure the hegemony and control of the business sector and his rich friends. He felt that Cheney could help him do that and if he wanted a war, no problem. More money for his friends in the defense industries.

The Rat has no goal other than making sure he and his rich friends become even richer. He's been hoping that he could bluff his way in without ever having to think of anything else. Christ, he doesn't even know anything else. In many ways he's not even a fucking dilettante. He doesn't even rate an amateur standing in things like foreign policy and the inner workings of government. Most of us would wipe the floor with him on almost any domestic or foreign policy issue. That's why he has assiduously avoided any and all questions in those domains by waving his hand and triggering that nervous robot laugh--"ha-ha-ha". The Ryan choice means that he is now tied to a budget plan that has actual goals. Killing Medicare and Medicaid for starters. And NOW the Rat has to start coming up with answers. Answers to questions he doesn't even fucking understand.

And the best surprise (for Willard, that is) is that Ryan's budget was never serious. RYAN is not serious. He's a nickel slug fraud and his budgets have been nothing more than flags he could wave to right wingers and pundits too stupid to pay attention. They were dog whistles writ in numbers and lying statistics and ill considered policy dead ends. He never had to create serious budgets. He only had to make them look serious and send a message to the droolers that he was on their side. He never in his wildest dreams expected any of these things to have to be made to work because he surely knows they can't.

But now the Rat is tied to a rancid piece of cheese.

The real test will be what the media will do with this. If they decide to coronate the Rat and the Fraud as "serious" people, then it might be a real battle.

If anyone is awake and takes even the most cursory glance at Ryan's fabrications, it will be proof positive that Romney is trying to foist two frauds on the American public.

Ryan and himself.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus
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