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November 27

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Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Contact the Constant Weader

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


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.


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


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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