The Ledes

Sunday, September 21, 2014.

New York Times: "Afghanistan’s election commission on Sunday pronounced Ashraf Ghani the winner of the country’s presidential election, but it withheld an announcement of the total votes won, despite an exhaustive and costly audit process overseen by the United Nations and financed by the American government. The suppression of the vote totals was apparently the final step necessary for the two presidential candidates to sign an American-brokered agreement to form a power-sharing government, giving the runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah, substantial powers in what is, in effect, the post of prime minister."

New York Times: "NASA’s latest Mars spacecraft, Maven, arrives Sunday evening to study the mystery of what happened to the planet’s air. A 33-minute engine firing, beginning at 9:37 p.m. Eastern time, will put Maven in orbit around the planet. Acknowledgment will reach mission controllers 12 1/2 minutes later, the time it takes for a radio signal to travel to Earth from Mars. NASA’s website will provide a live broadcast beginning at 9:30 p.m."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President thanked Congress for its strong bipartisan support for efforts to train and equip Syrian opposition forces to fight ISIL":

The Ledes

Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Guardian: "The United States has quietly released 14 Pakistani citizens from military detention in Afghanistan, where the US holds its most secret cohort of detainees in its war on terrorism. The US military transferred the 14 to Pakistani government custody on Saturday. It did not publicize the release, as is typical with releases from the detention center on the outskirts of Bagram Airfield which is known formally as the Detention Facility in Parwan. A Pakistani human rights group instead announced the transfer and said it was the largest number of Pakistanis the US has thus far released."

New York Times: "Polly Bergen, an actress, singer and businesswoman who won an Emmy in 1957 for her portrayal of the alcoholic torch singer Helen Morgan and was nominated for another 50 years later for her role on the television show 'Desperate Housewives,' died on Saturday at her home in Southbury, Conn. She was 84."

New York Times: "The two candidates for president of Afghanistan have agreed on a power-sharing deal that will give the losing candidate substantial influence in the next government, initialing the American-brokered deal Saturday night and promising to sign it at a formal ceremony on Sunday. The deal promised an end at last to the tumultuous, five-month-long aftermath of the Afghan presidential elections, although previous settlements have repeatedly collapsed at the last minute despite the candidates’ promises."

New York Times: "A Texas man who scaled the White House fence made it through the North Portico doors on Friday night before being apprehended, the Secret Service said. The intruder, Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, was arrested just inside the doors and taken to George Washington University Hospital after complaining of chest pains, said Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman. None of the Obamas were home when the security breach occurred about 7:20 p.m., but White House staff members were evacuated as a precaution, officials said. President Obama and his daughters had left for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., just minutes before the incident." ...

     ... New Lede: "The Secret Service will conduct an internal review of its security procedures around the White House after a man who jumped the fence Friday night at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue managed to make his way through the front door of President Obama’s home before being stopped, officials said Saturday." ...

     ... ** Washington Post UPDATE: "Within seconds, the man who relatives said served as a sniper in the Iraq War got to the front double doors of the North Portico, turned the brass knob and stepped inside the vestibule. There he was grabbed and subdued by an officer standing post inside the door. He was carrying a folding knife with a 2-1/2 inch serrated blade." ...

... Fox "News": "A New Jersey man was arrested Saturday outside the White House after driving up to a gate and refusing to leave, less than 24 hours after another man jumped the fence and got inside the presidential mansion before being arrested, which has resulted in increased security and a “comprehensive internal review,” according to the Secret Service."

New York Times: "Forty-nine Turkish hostages who had been held for months in Iraq by Islamic State militants were returned to Turkey on Saturday after what Turkey said was a covert operation led by its intelligence agency. The hostages, including diplomats and their families, had been seized in June from the Turkish consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul." ...

     ... Too Good to Be True? AP UPDATE: "Turkish authorities say they have freed 49 hostages from one of the world's most ruthless militant groups without firing a shot, paying a ransom or offering a quid pro quo. But as the well-dressed men and women captured by the Islamic State group more than three months ago clasped their families Saturday on the tarmac of the Turkish capital's airport, experts had doubts about the government's story."

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
September 19

10:00 am ET: Annoucement of Department of Defense awards on biofuel production

10:15 am ET: President Obama & Vice President Biden host a White House event to launch the "It's on Us" campaign

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

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

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

CW: Here's some cheery news. The MacArthur Foundation has named the newest recipients of its "genius" grants. I hope none of them is somebody you personally dislike (thus keeping it cheery). The AP article linked includes a slide show with mini-profiles of each grant recipient.

** CW: The best, most provocative piece of writing in the "news" today is A. O. Scott's piece in the New York Times Magazine on "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." If you don't watch a lot of TV & never see stupid movies, you will struggle with Scott's exemplary references. You may not accept all of his premises, & I think he falls short on defining "adulthood" (though maybe, like pornography, we're supposed to recognize it when we see it.). ...

... Adam Sternbergh responds in New York.

Jeff Weiss, in the New York Times, profiles comedian Bill Maher, who is in the midst of a schtick aimed to defeat the U.S.'s worst Congressperson. You would be a good idea to read Weiss's piece with A. O. Scott's essay in mind. Maher (& even Weiss, who -- in ticking off "bad things" about Maher -- never mentions Maher's offensive attitudes about women) is a fine example of Scott's thesis.

Guardian: "Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, the royal family said on Monday morning. The announcement was made from Clarence House on Twitter.... The Duchess of Cornwall is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with her first pregnancy, and is being treated by doctors at her apartments in Kensington Palace."

Washington Post: "After less than a year at the top of Politico’s masthead, veteran New York Times editor Rick Berke has resigned as the publication’s executive editor.... Friction had been on display in the newsroom almost from the beginning of his tenure. Berke, according to several current and former Politico employees, tried to impose some of the values of the world he came from — where multiple editors might weigh in, demand multiple drafts, and shape bigger, more ambitious stories — on Politico’s fast-moving, reporter-driven newsroom."

 

Jimmy Fallon & Maroon 5 singer & Voice judge Adam Levine stage a "musical impressions-off." This clip, from a show that aired this week (September 2), already has more than 8MM hits:

New York Times: "The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine. The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she 'cracked' and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.... The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch."

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

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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