The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

AP: "Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates' historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013."

New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, from prison as he continues to appeal a prosecution that Republicans say exposed pervasive corruption in state government but Democrats regard as a case pursued for political retribution."

Boston Globe: "Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stood in federal court in Boston this morning for a brief pretrial hearing, which was punctuated by an interruption in Russian and English from a woman in the gallery. Several journalists reported she exclaimed 'stop killing innocent people' in English as she was escorted out for yelling in Russian. The woman identified herself to reporters as a relative of Ibrahim Todashev: a friend of Dzhokhar’s brother who was killed by an FBI agent during an incident that arose from the investigation of a Waltham triple homicide."

AFP: "Two owners and 12 former employees of a US pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the country, prosecutors said. Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro owned the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which lost its license in 2012 after inspectors found it guilty of multiple sanitary violations. the pharmacy, located in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts in the US northeast, voluntarily shut down and recalled all products following the unprecedented outbreak of fungal meningitis."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

New York Times: "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty Wednesday as the government declared three days of official mourning and grappled with the aftermath of an attack on a school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 145 people. The national flag was lowered to half-staff on all official buildings and prayer services were scheduled across the country." ...

... The Washington Post profiles "Mullah Radio," the leader of the Taliban attack on schoolchildren & teachers.

Public Service Announcement

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 18

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

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

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

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.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

CW: For those of you who don't like hassling with DVDs, I accidentally found a cheap alternative to Netflix. Although I will continue to subscribe to Netflix's streaming videos, Netflix doesn't stream most decent movies. Instead, you have to maintain a (second) monthly subscription, then order & return the DVDs. However, YouTube now allows you to stream movies (you can watch them -- more than once -- during a 48-hour period.) There's no monthly fee, & you can play the movies on your TV via various devices. I have a Google dongle on one TV & a Blu-Ray box on another. The YouTube streaming videos work on both (you have to download on the Chrome browser). Setting up an account was very easy. Since I watch few movies, this works perfectly for me. When Ben Bradlee died, I watched "All the President's Men" for the umpteenth time, & today I watched "Good Night & Good Luck." Big advantage: instant gratification! I'm not sure if YouTube is good for more recent movies.

The Rockefellers Are Leaving the Building. New York Times: "By this time next year, they will have vacated the 56th-floor aerie [in 30 Rock] they have occupied since 1933 and moved to somewhat less rarefied headquarters across 49th Street. One of the country’s great dynastic families is downsizing."

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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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