The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Hill: "The Defense Department accidentally sent live anthrax to labs in nine states and is working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to contain it, the Pentagon said Wednesday. 'The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,' said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman."

AP: "A second submariner has pleaded guilty to sharing videos of female officers undressing for a shower, continuing a case that a prosecutor calls a 'black eye' for the Navy's integration of women into the nation's sub fleet.... Electronics technician Joseph Bradley entered pleas Wednesday in a court-martial trial. He was sentenced to 30 days' confinement and a reduction in rank.... On Tuesday, missile technician Charles Greaves received two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for making the videos. Five more male sailors face charges in the case."

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.

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

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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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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