The Ledes

Monday, August 3, 2015.

Guardian: "Former City trader Tom Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after becoming the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the Libor interest rate. Hayes, 35, a former UBS and Citigroup yen derivatives trader, was convicted of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud."

New York Times: After being closed for five weeks, the Greek stock exchange reopened today, & prices plummeted.

AP: "Fire officials called for thousands of evacuations as numerous homes remained threatened by Northern California wildfires Monday, while more than 9,000 firefighters battled 21 major fires in the state, officials said. Wildfires were also burning in Washington and Oregon as the West Coast suffered from the effects of drought and summer heat."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Los Angeles Times: "The Rocky Fire exploded overnight, burning 47,000 acres as of Sunday morning and threatening 6,000 structures in [California's] Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties. The U.S. Forest Service said "fire activity dramatically progressed"  late Saturday, forcing the closure of several state highways in the area. The fire is just 5% contained; about 12,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. Nearly 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze and more are coming into the area."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
August 3

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks at the Young African Leaders Iniative

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing with Energy Secretary Ernest Munoz

2:15 pm ET: President Obama speaks on the Clean Power Plan

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

New York Times: "Jason Fine, the editor of Men’s Journal, will take over as the managing editor of Rolling Stone as part of what the magazine’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, described as a 'shake-up.'”

"Where Are My Pancakes?"

The Word Salad King. If Donald Trump's good friend & possible running mate Sarah Palin is the Word Salad Queen, it stands to reason that the Donald would be the king. Slate challenges you to diagram this "sentence." To help you out, Slate has transcribed the words in the order delivered. Not that the order delivered matters much:

Obama Slept Here

For a mere $22.5MM this Martha's Vinehard house on 10 acres can be yours. The Obamas stayed in the house for 8 days in 2013. The current owner bought the property, which has expansive views of the Atlantic & Chilmark Pond, in 2000 for about $3MM. So, hey, the price is negotiable. Slide show.

The Birth of Franklin. Washington Post: After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Glickman, a white California mother wrote to cartoonist Charles Schultz urging him to introduce a black character to his "Peanuts" cartoon strips. When Schultz demurred, saying he was afraid "it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends," Glickman got two of her "Negro friends" who backed the idea to write to Schultz. A short time later, Schultz introduced Franklin. Oh, yes, & strips showing Franklin in an integrated! classroom upset Southern editors, according to Glickman.

Jane Hamshire of Firedoglake: "... I have decided to pass the torch on to Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein, who will launch their own media organization called Shadowproof that will build on the success of FDL."

Dylan Byers: "MSNBC has formally decided to cancel three programs -- 'The Cycle,' 'Now with Alex Wagner' and 'The Ed Show' -- as part of a larger effort to shift its daytime lineup away from opinion programming.... Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, a 'Cycle' co-host and MSNBC's chief legal correspondent, will remain with the network. Ed Schultz, the host of 'The Ed Show,' will leave the network, as will 'Cycle' co-hosts Abby Huntsman, Krystal Ball and Toure.... In September, MSNBC will add a 5 p.m. program hosted by 'Meet The Press' moderator Chuck Todd, while Brian Williams, the former 'Nightly News' anchor, will serve as the network's breaking news and special reports anchor."

If you can memorize & learn to use the University of New Hampshire's long list of "bias-free language," you can be the most politically-correct person in your neighborhood. Via Jonathan Chait. ...

... CW Etiquette Tip: calling out your friends for using outmoded terms like "overweight" & "rich" is not politically correct. Simply try to steer the conversation in a more "inclusive" direction. So if your friend says to you, "My rich neighbor got so overweight he has to use a wheelchair now," you say, "Oh, that person of material wealth has become a person of size who is wheelchair mobile? Wow! He's your neighbor? I remember him when he was a person experiencing homelessness who lacked advantages that others have." It sounds so natural, your friend will never realize you've corrected his biased, dated stereotypes. ...

     ... UPDATE: Turns out the university's president is biased against the bias-free language guide & he was unaware of its existence until this week. Also, a Republican state legislator is "outraged" & finds the guide a good excuse to cut funding for the state university. Naturally. Thanks to MAG for the lead.

Will Oremus of Slate likes Windows 10. CW: I haven't had the courage to try switching over yet. I'll lose EVERYTHING!

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done for you, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

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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