The Ledes

Friday, October 24, 2014.

Guardian: "European leaders have struck a broad climate change pact obliging the EU as a whole to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030. But key aspects of the deal that will form a bargaining position for global climate talks in Paris next year were left vague or voluntary, raising questions as to how the aims would be realised."

New York Times: "American security officials said Thursday that they were looking into a new report that Islamic State militants had used chlorine gas as a weapon against Iraqi police officers last month near Balad, north of Baghdad."

Bloomberg News: "Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of Ebola, opening a new front in the international effort to prevent the outbreak of the deadly viral infection from spreading further."

New York Times: "Frank Mankiewicz, a writer and Democratic political strategist who was Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s press secretary, directed Senator George S. McGovern’s losing 1972 presidential campaign and for six years was the president of National Public Radio, died Thursday at a hospital in Washington. He was 90."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 23, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Islamic State still generates tens of millions of dollars a month in illicit income despite a U.S.-led effort to cut the financing streams that have helped turn the once-obscure militant group into a terrorist organization unlike any previously seen, a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official said Thursday."

Guardian: "The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, vowed a tough and uncompromising response to a brazen gun attack on the national parliament on Wednesday that left a soldier dead and a nation in shock. As calm fell on Canada’s idyllic capital, where hours earlier Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had forced his way into the parliament building in a hail of gunfire before being killed by a ceremonial official, Harper delivered a sombre television address declaring that the country would not be cowed by terrorism." ...

... Toronto Globe & Mail: "Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999." ...

... New York Times: "A day after a terrorist attack convulsed the heart of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, the city’s police chief said he was satisfied that it was the work of a lone gunman, who shot dead a soldier before being killed in a hail of gunfire in the Parliament building.... In the hours following the raid, police officials had said that there might be as many as three armed men."

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 24

12:45 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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

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.

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.

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:

Selina Gray, on right, saved Arlington House treasures during the Civil War.Michael Ruane of the Washington Post: "When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house. Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children."

"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.

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Sunday
Aug122012

The Commentariat -- August 13, 2012

Jim Crow Republic. Natasha Kahn & Corbin Carson of the Washington Post: "A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent. The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters."

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks. Farmers are complaining loudly to their representatives, editorial boards across the heartland are hammering Congress over its inaction, and incumbents from both parties are sparring with their challengers over agricultural policy."

New York Times Editors: "President Obama signed a new law last week that broadens federal limits on protests at military funerals for members or former members of the Armed Forces." It may be unconstitutional.

CW: This might be a first. The New York Times has an op-ed written in Portuguese. I think it's titled, "In the name of the future, Rio is destroying its past."

I, Nephi." Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews 4 books about the history of Mormonism & its meaning. Mark Twain's analysis of the Book of Mormon is worth the price of admission. ...

... Arnold Friberg's ... image of Nephi [left] is canonic among believers, and, it must be said, looks exactly like Mitt Romney. -- Adam Gopnik

 

 

 

Presidential Race

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "In his first public remarks about Paul Ryan's pick to be the presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate, President Barack Obama called the lawmaker 'a decent man' but painted him as a champion of 'top down' economic policies that favor the rich." CW: Sorry, BarryO, there's nothing "decent" about a person who would let children go hungry so Mitt Romney can pay taxes at a rate of less than one percent. In a January debate, Romney himself said of Ryan's budget, "Under that plan, I'd have paid no taxes in the last two years." (Gee, I wonder if we'll be seeing that line in Obama campaign ads.)

Ben Smith of BuzzFeed: "Mitt Romney appears to have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate over the objections of top political advisors, offering a glimpse at the leadership style of the Republican nominee in the most important decision of his campaign."

ABC News: "Rep. Paul Ryan says he will only release two years of his tax returns -- the same amount Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has agreed to release.... A Romney adviser says Ryan gave the campaign 'several' years of tax returns when he was being vetted, but wouldn't specify how many."

** Joan Walsh eviscerates Paul Ryan. It's a must-read. ...

... AND here's a tidbit Walsh includes of which I was unaware: there's a rumor Obama will appoint Erskine Bowles Treasury Secretary. If that's true, I may join those of you who are sitting out the election. I'll check it out. Update: looks as if the rumor started -- in print, anyway -- with Ezra Klein. Here's the offending Klein the post. ...

... James Surowiecki of the New Yorker: Ryan "says he wants a 'full-throated defense' of the Republican agenda, but he's adept at disguising the radicalness of his proposals, as when he describes his proposed cuts to things like Medicaid as 'strengthening the social safety net.'" In the long run, his plan would eliminate almost all government spending except defense: & return the government to "something like its nineteenth-century role -- and early nineteenth-century at that."

Bill Keller of the New York Times, who is fairly conservative himself, provides a scary rundown of what to expect from a Romney presidency.

New York Times Editors: "Less than 24 hours after Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday, his campaign was already trying to distance itself from Mr. Ryan's politically toxic budget plan.... Mr. Romney made a clear statement in choosing the most extreme of the vice-presidential possibilities, both in Mr. Ryan's economic views and his positions on social issues, like his opposition to contraception coverage under the health care reform law for employees of religiously affiliated institutions, repeal of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, and sensible gun control. More than any small differences that eventually develop between the men, it is their shared and troubling goals that bind them together." ...

... Robert Pear of the New York Times: "Though best known as an architect of conservative fiscal policy, Representative Paul D. Ryan has also been an ardent, unwavering foe of abortion rights, has tried to cut off federal money for family planning, has opposed same-sex marriage and has championed the rights of gun owners."

Front page of Sunday's Miami Herald. Via Maggie Haberman of Politico.     ... The news story, by Marc Caputo, is here. Near the top: "Ryan... is the architect of the Ryan budget plan that makes big changes to Medicare and Medicaid and could allow for some privatization of Social Security.... Ryan ... once opposed the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a now-reversed stance that concerns some in Miami-Dade's exile community, which is overwhelmingly Republican and had hoped that one of its own, Sen. Marco Rubio, would have been picked as Romney's running mate. The county's elderly Cuban population also relies heavily on government assistance, particularly Medicare." And as luck would have it, the Herald has a Spanish-language edition, which features Caputo's story: "Ryan podría ser un problema para Romney en la Florida." AND the story is currently (11 pm ET Sunday) the most popular story in the Spanish-language paper. ...

... The Obama campaign talks to Florida voters about Medicare:

     ... P.S.: Don't kid yourself, people. Erskine Bowles would not protect Medicare.

Thomas Edsall in the New York Times: "... Democratic strategists and the hard right are united: they fervidly support Mitt Romney’s decision to choose Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, as his vice-presidential running mate."

Michael Barbaro: "On his second day as a vice-presidential candidate, Representative Paul D. Ryan emerged Sunday as a tough-talking sidekick and flattering biographer for Mitt Romney, playing roles that Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, has sometimes struggled to master."

Greg Sargent: "Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wisconisn..., is recovering economically in no small part because of money from the stimulus and other federal grants.... Romney and Ryan ... suggest Obama's argument -- that the success of business is enabled partly by government investment ... means he thinks only government is responsible for people's success.... This distortion is the only way Romney and Ryan can paint Obama's vision as radical. But it isn't radical at all -- as the recovery of Ryan's own hometown demonstrates."

Jerry Markon of the Washington Post: "Ryan accepted nearly $60,000 in contributions from businessman Dennis Troha and his family, records show. Troha was later indicted on campaign finance charges over an Indian casino he sought to open. During the casino application process, Troha said, Ryan (R-Wis.) called federal regulators at his request. Ryan also supported a bill in Congress that benefited Troha and his trucking company, legislation that drew the interest of federal prosecutors.... Ryan was not found to have violated any laws.... Troha was convicted of funneling illegal donations to other politicians, not Ryan, and Ryan donated Troha's contributions to youth programs when the businessman was indicted."

CW: I watched a couple of minutes of Bob Schieffer's "60 Minutes" interview of RmoneyRyan, & it was disgraceful. Schieffer let those two repeat one lie after another, without challenging them. I hope somewhere in the rest of the interview, Schieffer called them out, but I doubt it.

CW: if I haven't previously linked to articles that counter the false charge that Obama "robbed Medicare" -- a charge the Double Rs made on Schieffer's Gift to the GOP -- I'm doing it now. Igor Volsky of Think Progress explains the particulars.

Susan Thistlewaite in the Washington Post: "We are falling prey, in the United States, to the temptation to equate 'freedom' with selfishness.... The selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's pick for vice president throws this problem into stark relief.... The extreme of the "freedom agenda" is actually a counsel of despair.... This national election has now become a referendum on whether we will choose the value of selfishness or of compassion."

Adam Goodheart, et al., in the New York Times: where Paul Ryan & Mitt Romney see eye-to-eye with deceased Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver.

AND Rick Herzberg: "Just as 'Romney' is an anagram of 'R-Money,' 'Ryan' is an anagram of 'Ayn R.' Spooky. Besides nailing down any wavering Objectivists, that should wrap up the cryptic crossword vote."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Helen Gurley Brown, who as the author of 'Sex and the Single Girl' shocked early-1960s America with the news that unmarried women not only had sex but also thoroughly enjoyed it -- and who as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine spent the next three decades telling those women precisely how to enjoy it even more -- died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger."

Washington Post: "Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is undergoing treatment for bipolar II depression, according to a statement issued this afternoon from the Mayo Clinic."

New York Times: "An independent inquest into the mass killings in Norway last summer by a fanatical anti-Muslim extremist sharply rebuked the country's police and intelligence services Monday, saying they could have averted or at least disrupted his plot to bomb downtown Oslo and shoot unarmed people unimpeded at a summer youth camp."

AP: "The founder of a bankrupt Iowa-based brokerage was indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on 31 counts of making false statements to regulators in connection with a $200 million fraud scheme. Peregrine Financial Group Inc. CEO Russ Wasendorf Sr. could face up to 155 years in prison if convicted on all counts...."

Washington Post: "Google’s aggressive push into the travel business continued Monday as the company snapped up the Frommer's brand of guidebooks."

New York Times: "Syrian jets fired on areas in and around Aleppo again on Sunday, continuing an escalation of force that has led activists and rebels to demand that foreign forces establish a no-fly zone to counter the government's air superiority.

AP: "Laws strictly curbing school sales of junk food and sweetened drinks may play a role in slowing childhood obesity, according to a study that seems to offer the first evidence such efforts could pay off."

ABC News: "A man whose jet ski failed him in New York's Jamaica Bay swam to John F. Kennedy airport, where he was easily able to penetrate the airport $100 million, state-of-the art security system. Daniel Casillo, 31, was able to swim up to and enter the airport grounds on Friday night, past an intricate system of motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras designed to to safeguard against terrorists, authorities said.... Casillo was arrested after the incredible adventure that has stunned security officials." CW: this guy should be arrested? Really?

Reader Comments (10)

You're right Marie:

BS tossed one softball after another. I had two take aways:

MR pretty much gave the game away when asked about the role of the VP. It would be B/C all over again with PR in charge of legislation. Pierce has been right on every count about MR's character.

When asked about tax returns PR was lying. Watch his body language. MR asked him for more returns than he is willing to release himself.

If the American people are fooled into electing these two, or the R's manage to rig the elections, we have truly entered banana republic territory.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

There's no subtle way to put it: Romney is KKK, card-carrying and lynch-rejoicing. This *fact* needs to be worked into the rhetoric of the media thoroughfare before there can be any sort of a traverse to a proof-grade publication of sorts. Let's be clear, Romney is not even pro important, fair-skinned Whites. At his roots, he's anti-human. He's entirely possessed by a destructive 'machine-mind'. Not to be confused with otherwise user-friendly, soft-spoken, humanoid robotic automatons. He's a program and an agenda of benefit to no living being. Don't be fooled by his easy-to-dismiss act.

Switch now to build a wave that converts his base.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAppie Kelling

@ Dickens: So far, I have read of no Ryan plan to take care of those starving in the streets or slowly dying because of the lack of a safety net.
It is logical to assume that thousands suffering in the streets would become an embarrassment to the administration, I hope thay have plans for a poor house system, privatized naturally.
It is just not the thing to have all that suffering in public view.
The poor house has a long and important history.We should all read Dickens again.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Re "Jim Crow Republic":

I've always thought that these so-called voter-fraud-prevention laws were overwhelmingly motivated by a Republican desire to disenfranchise those groups who would be likely to vote against them.

Certainly these "laws" should be challenged by all legal means available.

But that they currently exist at all also demands three additional forms of challenge:
1) large-scale public protest
2) economic boycotts
3) paradoxically, compliance.

Let me explain what I mean by my third point. Think Berlin Airlift. Of course the Soviets had no legal right to deny land access to West Berlin, and the U.S. could have gotten into a direct confrontation that might not have gone well. The actual strategy adopted --- of flying everything in --- was actually brilliant. Though enormously costly, the airlift was cheaper than going to war, produced immediate beneficial results, was quite inspirational and unifying for West Berlin, demonstrated great resolve and commitment, and fairly effectively short-circuited the blockade. The Soviet blockade was therefore not just largely ineffective, it was actually counterproductive, and the Soviets eventually abandoned it.

Now think what a large-scale voter registration campaign by Democrats, Greens, and/or progressives aimed at assisting those who the Republicans would disenfranchise would do. The parallels to the Berlin Airlift are multiple. It would certainly produce immediate tangible benefits, would be inspirational, would provide an opportunity to politically interact with people of the affected demographics to an extent probably not otherwise possible, would demonstrate resolve and concrete commitment of a type/extent not seen since perhaps the Freedom Riders, and more. Think of the cost as simply a necessary cost of dealing with those who would oppress --- and as a way of turning the tables on them.

There are two important caveats:
1) Many people being disenfranchised are being impacted via the cost of compliance (i.e. the cost of obtaining documents, transportation, etc.), so these things must be subsidized by external donor individuals and/or organizations.
2) Assistance with documents must be from trusted, vetted, certified sources, so that a registration campaign doesn't become a means for unscrupulous people to wage identity theft on vulnerable demographics.

Onward!

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFred Drumlevitch

Re: Famous quotations exam, true or false, Circle the correct answer, no looking at the paper next to you, Akilleus.
no.1 " And it came to pass" Knute Rockne T or F

no.2 " We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world" Brigham Young T or F

no. 3 " I want to shrink government down to the size of my penis" Paul Ryan T or F

When you are finished place your test on my desk and read quietly until time is up. Tests with no name on them will receive a zero.
JJG; your book report on "Under the Banner of Heaven" is late and at best you receive a "D".
Extra Credit quotation
"That f'ing penguin is out to get me" JJG T or F

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

We can thank the Latter Day Saints for Sherlock Holmes. The detective and Dr. Watson first appeared in a diatribe against Mormans in a short novel, " A Study in Scarlet." Mormans were very unpopular in Britain because the were proselytizing members of the Church of England. They had a history of evil doing since the Mountain Meadow massacre had been widely reported in England.
In America, Zane Grey wrote about a band of ruthless Morman avengers killing and kidnapping.
The Church of Latter Day Saints has become respected over the last seventy years primarily because of the fine public service of Morman leaders like the Udall family and our current Senate leader Reid.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

A veritable potpourri of creditable and interesting comments this morning.

First, Dave, I think “banana republic” describes a potentially far more humane culture than that obtained under a Romney/Ryan flag. The country they would create would be a vicious, dark world of hatred, divided across an unbridgeable economic abyss. We should WISH for a simple banana republic.

Appie, I don’t think Willard the Rat is completely anti-human. Oh, he’s a robot alright, but like an unshakeable parasite, he feeds off the host body of the collective humanity he sees as living only to serve him. So he’s entirely pro-human as long as they provide him with service and the necessary work to deliver to him his just deserts. Of course, he never feels compelled to give anything back. That’s only for humans. But not Republican humans. Other humans. The kind he hates but needs.

Carlye, thank you for reminding all of us to return to Dickens now and then to see the kind of world Republicans have in mind for the rest of us. Having recently wended my way through the fevered world of Bleak House with its hideously corrupt courts and stultifying lanes, I concur that Dickens' familiarity with debtors’ prison and the sorry denizens of poor houses and poor farms allowed him to craft a grave warning to any who might vote for a return to the kind of country ruled by and for the wealthy and well connected, in other words, Romney World. I can’t think of Romney now without seeing him as a kind of One Percenter’s Uriah Heep. I don’t know if Ryan will turn out to be a Bill Sikes, but I'm pretty damned sure he’s not Tiny Tim. The only prayer uttered by these pigs is for themselves.

Fred, I think the best solution to the Republican War on Democratic Voters is an all out frontal attack. Fight back against these hypocritical liars and their bald-faced scheme to make voting a privilege granted only to right-wingers. The world that Karl Rove, the Kochs, and most certainly Romney and Ryan seek, is one in which only they get to touch the levers of power, and to ensure that, they must eliminate the franchise for everyone who might get in their way. They have the Supremes on their side. Now if they can only get rid of those pesky voters…

JJG, okay, I’m going to say that the first three questions are all true. The extra credit question is false. It was a quote made by Adam West from the old Batman TV show, who, after trading shots of vodka with Burgess Meredith on the 20th Century Fox backlot for 12 hours straight, suffered a bout of alcohol poisoning and a slight break with reality. Not to be confused with Romney and Ryan who have severed all ties with the real world.

The bad thing is that they now want to sever the rest of us from the Republican landmass and hope we’ll just drift quietly out to sea. Not past the Caymans though. Some other sea. We have to be sure Romney’s money always has a pleasant view. He certainly cares a hell of a lot more about his money than he does about people.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Carlyle,

Funnily enough, I've just recently read both The Scarlet Letter (part of my chronological Holmes reading project) and Riders of the Purple Sage.

I have to say that Conan Doyle had little knowledge of real Mormons and pretty much reiterated some popular misconceptions with an added dose of bloodthirstiness. Zane Grey's Mormons are a bunch of VERY BAD DUDES. Borderline crazies who rule the countryside with bullets, intolerance, and hatred. I don't know exactly how familiar Grey was with Mormonism, but he had it out for them. Or, it could be that he had it out for organized religion in general. Or both.

At one point his hero, Lassiter, expresses the feeling that preachers and priests and religion should make the world a better place, instead, they do the opposite. Ronald Reagan, who declared Zane Grey one of his favorite writers along with Louis L'Amour (you just knew it wouldn't be Dickens, didn't you? Or Amiri Baraka), probably took no notice of that line. Either that or he really didn't care since he set the tone for the Republican Party's cynical, hypocritical use of religion for its own electoral end. Funny how that worked out.

Nonetheless, as weird as Mormonism is, I doubt it was ever as vicious and murderous and out and out insane as those cults depicted by A.C. Doyle and Zane Grey. Then again, I could be wrong. My only direct connection with the heart of Mormonism was a tour of the Mormon Tabernacle I took during a cross country jaunt while in college.

But hey, the Mittster could open up a whole new chapter in Mormonism . Preach about god then pick their pockets and shiv 'em in the back when they ain't lookin'.

Zane Grey might have liked it.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Marie's concern about Erskine Bowles is verified by a video out there showing him giving a speech in 2011 somewhere where he says, and I'm paraphrasing here: "I wish Paul Ryan was here today to tell you himself what a great plan he has...I'm telling you this guy is so smart, he runs circles around me mathematically––(that last sentence gives me chills) he's someone we all have to pay close attention to..." and so forth. WTF?

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

The right-wing scream-o-sphere has apparently anointed Bowles its latest hero for sucking up to Ryan's pile of unprocessed dung. Even the Breitbart site has great things to say about him.

If Obama rewards this idiot Bowles with a choice plum like Treasury Sec'y after giving this kind of comfort and aid to the enemy now that Romney has pinned the Ryan's tail on his own ass, giving Democrats something much more defined than Willard's amorphous mewlings, then he's a lot stupider than I ever could have imagined. He calls Ryan's intellectual anthill of a budget "straightforward, honest, and serious."

Where do these people come from and can they go back now, please?

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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