The Ledes

Sunday, August 30, 2015.

New York Times: "Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain’s strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,' using his patients’ disorders as starting points for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 82." ...

... Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times: "Dr. Sacks ... was a polymath and an ardent humanist, and whether he was writing about his patients, or his love of chemistry or the power of music, he leapfrogged among disciplines, shedding light on the strange and wonderful interconnectedness of life — the connections between science and art, physiology and psychology, the beauty and economy of the natural world and the magic of the human imagination."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week's address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century":

The Ledes

Saturday, August 29, 2015.

Washington Post: "Thai authorities arrested a foreign man Saturday they said had been holed up in a suburban apartment with bomb-making equipment and stacks of passports, the first possible breakthrough in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago."

New York Times: "An Egyptian judge on Saturday handed down unexpectedly harsh verdicts in the trial of three journalists from the Al Jazeera English news channel, sentencing them to at least three years in prison on charges that human rights advocates have repeatedly dismissed as political in nature. The journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, had said they were expecting to be exonerated or sentenced to time already served. Egyptian officials have strongly suggested they were eager to be rid of the case, which had become a source of international embarrassment for the government...."

Washington Post: "Tropical Storm Erika was losing its punch as it drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path, killing at least 20 people and leaving another 31 missing on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said."

Public Service Announcement

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

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."

White House Live Video
August 28

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Maureen Dowd: Trump has got the best of Jeb! & Hillary: "Trump’s 'gusto,' as he likes to call it, has thrown into sharper relief the grinding-it-out, impatient entitlement, the overthinking and overcorrecting of Jeb and Hillary. Both campaign like they are owed, not because of their great national achievements, but because of their byzantine family dynamics."

The Oliver Brief. We do note, however, that the so-called 'Insular Cases,' which established a less-than-complete application of the Constitution in some U.S. territories, has been the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism. See, e.g., Juan Torruella, The Insular Cases: The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid, 77 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1 (2008); Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories, Youtube (Mar. 8, 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE. -- Footnote, Paeste v. Guam, Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon

Jordan Golson of Wired: "Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage. The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars — there’s no flying beams of light, no 'pew! pew!' sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down. People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t.... Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents — that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet."

"The cream cheese is too damn much." Scott Lemieux and I agree.

Sunday Morning Come-Down. Politico: "Al Sharpton is leaving MSNBC's weekday dayside lineup, and moving to Sunday mornings. Sharpton's last weekday 'PoliticsNation' will be Sept. 4. He moves to Sundays a month later on Oct. 4, according to a memo sent to MSNBC staff by the channel's president Phil Griffin Wednesday evening."

Washington Post: "Stephen Hawking believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes."

Washington Post: "The case for canonizing [Sister Blandina Segale,] the 19th century Italian-born nun, whose run-in with Old West outlaw Billy the Kid is the stuff of legend, was presented at a ceremonial 'first inquiry' in Albuquerque on Tuesday. If approved, her name will be sent to the Vatican, where it will head down the long (and somewhat secretive) path toward sainthood."

New York Times: Can't sidewalk scaffolding be attractive? Yes, it can.

Terror in Toledo! ABC News: "A man caught on video the moment a public art installation in Toledo, Ohio -- a giant, 250-pound red ball -- decided to run away and start rolling down streets lined with parked cars. Part of a Toledo Museum of Art exhibit, the RedBall Project had been wedged between Roulet Jewelers and Ice Restaurant in downtown Toledo when a thunderstorm and strong winds this past Wednesday evening knocked the ball loose and caused it to start rolling away, according to Kelly Garrow, the museum's director of communications."

... AP: "America’s two foremost Democratic families, the Obamas and the Clintons, mingled on Saturday[,August 15,] as politics mixed with summer repose on swanky Martha’s Vineyard."

Washington Post: "Offering such perks as 'free' bags and 'free' airline tickets, [some credit] cards are big on promises, but they often fall short on the delivery. And although these financial instruments are legal, experts say they are not always worthwhile."

Kori Schulman of the White House: "Today (August 14), the White House joined Spotify — and our inaugural playlist was hand-picked by none other than President Obama. When asked to pick a few of his favorite songs for the summer, the President got serious. He grabbed a pen and paper and drafted up not one, but two separate summer playlists: One for the daytime, and one for the evening." ...

... CW: If you're subscribed to Spotify, you can play the President's list from the linked story (at "Today".)

Washington Post: "Google, one of the best-known brands on the planet, on Monday[, August 10,] radically restructured itself under the corporate name Alphabet, an almost unprecedented shift that reflects the company’s far-reaching ambitions and the vast Web it helped evolve. The move represents Google’s biggest push yet to ... turn the company into a multifaceted General Electric for the digital age."

Bureaucracies Move in Mysterious Ways. New York Post: "The city [of New York] moved to fire an employee for missing about 18 months of work, even though he had the best excuse of all time — he was dead. Bureaucrats at the Human Resources Administration filed charges against Medicaid-eligibility specialist Geoffrey Toliver accusing him of going AWOL — even though his death by cancer was reported in an online obituary.... 'It is my understanding that . . . his employer was fully aware that he was not able to come back to work,' Toliver’s brother Anthony told The Post. 'It is my understanding that my brother’s family spoke directly to his supervisor during his long hospitalization and informed them of his death.'” ...

... CW: Doesn't surprise me at all. When I lived in Manhattan, my mother sent me a gift which came directly from the catalog company from which she had bought it. My father had died a few years earlier, but my mother was still getting these catalogs in his name. So my father's name, not hers, appeared on the package as the giftor. He had never lived in New York City. He was not the addressee on the package. The package didn't come from New York City. And my father was dead. But never mind all that. A few months after I received the gift, I got a letter at my New York home addressed to my father. It was a notification from the city ordering my father to show up for jury duty. Or else.

 

Josh Feldman of Mediaite: "For years and years, plenty of websites (Mediaite included) have written about the many times Jon Stewart has 'destroyed,' 'annihilated,' or 'eviscerated' anything from terrorism to race relations to Fox News. Well..., on his penultimate night, Stewart discovered that he didn’t actually do any of that":

Exit Laughing. John Koblin of the New York Times: "Since [Jon] Stewart started hosting 'The Daily Show' 16 years ago, the country’s trust in both the news media and the government has plummeted. Mr. Stewart’s brand of fake news thrived in that vacuum, and turned him into one of the nation’s most bracing cultural, political and media critics. With his over-the-top presentation of the news — his arms swinging wildly, his eyes bulging with outrage, followed by a shake of the head and a knowing smile — Mr. Stewart attracted a generation of viewers ready to embrace an outlier whose exaggerations, in their view, carried more truth than conventional newscasts." ...

...Stewart hasn't done any interviews prior to ending his run on the "Daily Show," but he did sit down with "Daily Show" producers for an "exit interview" on Episode 20 of the "Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart." You can listen to it here.

Los Angeles Times: "Donald Sterling filed for divorce Wednesday[, August 5] in Los Angeles Superior Court, almost a year after a contentious legal fight with his wife, Shelly, led to the sale of the Clippers.... However, the court later rejected Wednesday’s filing because it was incomplete, according to a spokeswoman. The matter is expected to be re-filed."

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.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Monday
Aug132012

The Commentariat -- August 14, 2012

** Kim Barker of ProPublica: "Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show. These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don't have to disclose their donors to the public.... Crossroads GPS ... is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity ... is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and spent an estimated $18.2 million."

** Joe Stiglitz & Mark Zandi, in a New York Times op-ed: "Housing remains the biggest impediment to economic recovery, yet Washington seems paralyzed.... A mass refinancing program would work like a potent tax cut.... Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, has proposed a remedy.... Mr. Merkley's plan would speed the healing."

Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post: in a few short weeks, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has defied predictions by standing up to the military & restoring the power of the presidency.

First Lady Michelle Obama on healthcare reform. You can see other segments of her Leno interview here:

Presidential Race

Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "President Obama came out swinging at Mitt Romney's running mate on Monday, accusing Representative Paul D. Ryan of standing in the way of aid to farmers and ranchers who have been hurt by the severe drought."

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Representative Paul D. Ryan received a raucous baptism into public speaking as a vice-presidential candidate, State Fair-style, when he encountered determined hecklers on his first day of solo campaigning." ...

... Dana Milbank went to the fair, & -- watching Ryan attempting to speak -- realized why Romney had chosen him: "Ryan is almost as awkward as Romney."

Jonathan Chait of New York: "The non-extremist defense of Ryan is that his extremist plan is a 'negotiating' position designed to lead to a bipartisan fiscal adjustment with tax and entitlement reform. But literally nothing in his actual record (as opposed to his rhetoric) supports this interpretation." ...

... Garance Franke-Ruta of The Atlantic looks at Paul Ryan's so-called "legislative career" -- during his Congressional career, he has sponsored a total of two bills that passed into law, one naming the Janesville post office & the other changing tax policy on arrows (he's a bow hunter). It is a "... symptom of the corruption and divisiveness of contemporary Washington that a man who has not passed a single piece of substantive legislation, ever, can be hailed as a substantive and deep thinker and the voice of budgetary sanity while racking up an actual record consisting overwhelmingly of renaming post offices, honoring Ronald Reagan and Wisconsin, providing for the issuance of commemorative coins, and increasing the deficit through massive tax cuts.... [He has been] a force for gridlock and the sort of legislative failure that has come to characterize the 112th Congress.... Since he took over the chair of the House Budget Committee, the budgeting process has been even more of a mess than usual."

A Really Scary Thing about Paul Ryan I Didn't Know. Matthew O'Brien of The Atlantic: "Ryan is scared of the inflation monster under his bed.... He thinks that trying to bring down unemployment will unleash the inflation monster -- and that's why he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal back in May of 2008 calling on Congress to revoke the Fed's dual mandate to target both low inflation and low unemployment.... He has sharply criticized Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for printing money, and issued melodramatic (and incorrect) predictions about 'currency debasement.' ... Where did Paul Ryan get such a truly nutty idea?" Literally, literally, from Ayn Fucking Rand.

Gene Robinson: "Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores the central question posed by this campaign: Should cold selfishness become the template for our society, or do we still believe in community? ... At least three times in recent days..., Romney has told campaign audiences...: 'When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don't give the bus driver credit for the honor roll.' ... What I hear Romney saying, and I suspect many others will also hear, is that the little people don't contribute and don't count."

Holly Bailey of Yahoo! News: "Speaking to reporters on the tarmac outside his campaign plane at [Miami International A]irport, Romney repeatedly declined to get into the specifics of where he and Ryan differ on federal budget proposals. Asked specifically to say where he disagrees with Ryan, Romney twice dodged the question."

Jeff Spross of Think Progress: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is pushing back against Mitt Romney's claim that he and Paul Ryan "co-led a piece of legislation to make sure we can save Medicare." Wyden issued a statement, which reads in part, "I did not 'co-lead a piece of legislation.' I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. Governor Romney needs to learn you don;t protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments today sure won't help promote real bipartisanship."

Catalina Camia of USA Today: "Americans don't believe GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney hit a home run with his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, with more of the public giving him lower marks than high ones. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is seen as only a 'fair' or 'poor' choice by 42% of Americans vs. 39% who think he is an 'excellent' or 'pretty good' vice presidential choice."

** Alec MacGillis: if Romney and "Sad Paul" get away with their lies while pretending to take the high ground, blame the press, which is unable to distinguish between a bald-faced lie and innuendo. ...

     ... CW: much has been made of the fact that members of focus groups, conducted by Democrats, just couldn't believe Ryan's budget was as draconian as it really is. Maybe, just maybe that is because the public reads/listens to the MSM, and the MSM simply won't tell the truth about Republican policies. ...

... Paul Krugman: The Ryan pick "is ... about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media.... Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan's case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality.... So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn't seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he's betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we'll see if it works." ...

** ... Matt Miller of the Washington Post: "The striking thing about Paul Ryan's ascent is the gulf between his proposals and the way the media have characterized them. Since Mitt Romney named Ryan to the ticket on Saturday, the news has been filled with talk of the 'fiscal conservative' (NPR) 'intent on erasing deficits' (New York Times) who has become 'the intellectual heart of the Republican Party’s movement to slash deficits' ( The Post). All of this is demonstrably false."

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic on the Romney-Ryan "cynical Medicare Strategy." It's complicated, but among other things, "... the Romney campaign is attacking a proposal that Romney and his allies endorse." The difference: where ObamaCare moves $$ from Medicare to other healthcare cost savings, Ryan takes the money & runs.

Dylan Byers of Politico: "The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided on the moderators for this year's debates." As Jeanne B. writes, why not Rachel Maddow?

It Don't Begin Til the Fat Boy Sings. AP: "Chris Christie, the sometimes abrasive but always entertaining governor of New Jersey, is set to be announced Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the Republicans' national convention later this month." ...

... CW: Democrats, in a move of monumental idiocy, decided to hold their convention at a little place called Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina (a "right-to-work" state, the better to infuriate unions). The DNC thinks it can get around acknowledgment of some of its monumental idiocy by not calling it BoA Stadium. Oh, and by finally getting around to moving its money out of BoA & into Amalgamated Bank, "which is the only union-owned bank in the United States."

Congressional Races

Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "It only took two hours after the Paul Ryan vice presidential announcement for Republican congressional candidates to get their talking points on how to spin the Ryan budget and Medicare attacks. 'Do not say: "entitlement reform," "privatization," "every option is on the table," the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. 'Do say: "strengthen," "secure," "save," "preserve," "protect." ... The internal email ... was a clear and immediate sign that Republicans knew Ryan could create trouble down ballot for GOP candidates in tight congressional races." ...

... Cameron Joseph & Alexandra Jaffe of The Hill: "Republicans strategists are worried that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) addition to the presidential ticket will cost their party House and Senate seats this fall. Their concern: Democrats will successfully demonize Ryan's budget plan, which contains controversial spending cuts and changes to Medicare."

News Ledes

New York Times: "The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, denied on Tuesday a report on the Web site of The Guardian that he had decided to grant asylum to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 'Rumor of asylum for Assange is false,' Mr. Correa said in a post on his Twitter account. 'There is still no decision.'"

New York Times: "Syria's former prime minister, [Riyad Farid Hijab,] who defected to Jordan last week, appeared in public on Tuesday for the first time since his escape, telling a news conference that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was collapsing and controlled no more than 30 percent of its territory."

New York Times: "A new release of stolen corporate e-mails by WikiLeaks has set off a flurry of concern and speculation around the world about a counterterrorist software program called TrapWire, which analyzes images from surveillance cameras and other data to try to identify terrorists planning attacks.

Reader Comments (18)

The man Willard the Rat has determined should be president in 9 years demands civility.

At the Iowa State Fair, Paul (the Fraud) Ryan, was heckled (heavens to Murgatroyd!) by citizens who have not drunk the Kool-Aid he has been peddling and who want answers from Mr Serious Genius. He, however, like most modern Republicans, is not used to speaking before unvetted crowds which, like George Bush's campaign visits, are menaced by armed guards and security goons ready at an instant to beat up and toss out any who didn't bow before the Boy King. Clearly, these pretenders, charlatans, and mountebanks have never gotten the message that politics ain't beanbag.

To their way of thinking, people should do what they're told and shut the merry old fuck up while they are handing down the word of the GOP gods.

As Dana Millbank illustrates, Ryan, with his faux (custom scuffed) cowboy boots and Broadway "Oklahoma" get up, thinks that all he has to do is show up and crowds will just genuflect at the feet of his awesome intellect.

Considering this along with the paucity of Ryan's actual congressional record demonstrates the incredible, and I do mean incredible, amateurishness, intellectual laziness, and slovenly politicking now being foisted on the American public as signs of a "serious and thoughtful and honest" politician.

The fact that this pig boy can't hold his own in the face of voters demanding to know what their children will do once he's through with them, the fact that he demands that they treat him with kid gloves, the fact that he has no fucking clue what real Americans need and what their problems are and furthermore, doesn't give a Willard the Rat's ass how his proposed "solutions" will deepen those problems a hundred fold, AND the fact that "serious" pundits and useless TV types (David Gregory, etc) are treating him as if he were the second coming of fucking Ozymandias, offers a clear indication of the depressed state we are in. First, if any of these morons had ever read Shelley's poem, they might realize that Ozymandias was one of the great pretender losers of history (at least literary history, but you know what I mean). Also just think of the irony of this pig fucker, this thug, this evil piece of shit asshole demanding to be treated with kindness. "That's not how we treat people in Wisconsin" he whined.

No Paulie boy, at least not you. YOU slash their throats and piss on their bleeding bodies while giving out with a zombie giggle. Is THAT what you mean by treating people with proper respect? The way you treat others? Well then, if that's what you want, you're lucky those people didn't tie your scrawny ass to a cow catcher and ram you into a train stop at 90 miles an hour.

Fucker!

The nerve of these fucking people. You want to be Vice President? Learn to run with the big dogs. Stop rolling on your back and licking your own balls and thinking that others admire you for your technique. You're just a ball licker. And an arrogant one to top it off.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Hard to follow Akhilleus and his brilliant scatological take downs! But I want to say something quite different--i.e., to celebrate and be grateful for our junior senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkley! I worked hard for him in 2008 and have never regretted that--as I sometimes have the time I spent on the Obama campaign. Merkley is the "real deal." He defeated a rich, establishment Senate Republican, Gordon Smith, and promised he would never take money from PACs, because he wanted to "stay honest." He has been true to his word, and has--as a freshman senator--proposed some of the most thoughtful legislation to help the beleagured middle class in this sad country.

Even Joseph Stiglitz applauds Merkley's new program--a mass refinancing--that would help so many with underwater mortgages. Hard to believe that someone who is not rich, and does not have ambitions to become so, could be so effective. I think this is the way it is "sposed to be!'

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@ akilleus--Tell us what you think!

I especially like the doggie reference.

As far as the Rat and the Fraud allusion, though, I have to say that Ryan is nowhere so entertaining as Toad.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

@Kate

Thank you for sharing a bit of positive news regarding your junior senator! It gladdens the heart to know we have some honest politicians.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

The linked article states that foreign donations to political campaigns and candidates is against the law, and that Romney could be prosecuted for his overseas fundraisers. Is this true? If so, why is it not being discussed?

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/14/romney-broke-the-law-by-raising-money-from-foreign-donors-should-he-be-disqualified/

Thanks.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

@Jack Mahoney. In theory, Romney only raised cash -- directly or indirectly -- from people who hold U.S. citizenship. If it is proved that some of the money he receives -- wherever he is when he gets it -- comes from foreign nationals, he would just return the foreign contributions & say, "whoops." As I recall, the Clintons had some huge whoopsies as their bundler buddies were taking up collections in nations far and wide.

August 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Ball licking in publick. I asked my group of advisers; one aged pit bull, three rescue chihuahuas, and a fluffy french mix, how they felt about ball licking in general. Four paws in favor, one undecided( the little girl chi). However it was pointed out that since none of them still have their balls the licking is more symbolic than actual. The discussion then turned to the question of whether Paul Ryan still has his balls. The majority guessed no.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Paul Ryan’s meager (really, read what he has accomplished. You probably did more on your high school student council) legislative accomplishments can be placed alongside his voting record on some of the most newsworthy bills before congress over the last three years to provide an even more focused portrait of lameness buttressed with ideological knee jerking tricked out as independence, courage, and decisiveness. No ipecac needed. Just look at this record.

Predictably, he votes with money and power and against the poor and disconnected and middle class. Surprise, right?

Okay, get ready to hurl or smirk. Or both.

Longterm jobless benefits to support those whose lives have been upended by Republican fiscal chicanery. NO

A bill capping punitive damage awards against medical malpractice at $250K. YES

The Paul Ryan Wicked Serious Budget. NEED YOU ASK?

Bill to prevent the Justice Department from investigating or putting a halt to GOP voter ID shenanigans. YES

A bill changing environmental standards under the Clean Air Act supplanting health concerns in favor of economic impact. YES and Double YES

Repeal of the ACA. GUESS

A bill to remove congressional members who voted to repeal the ACA from receiving the standard health benefits to congress, making sure that they do not receive better health care than the constituents they had just tried to stiff. NO (natch)

A bill to trim the 2013 defense budget by a measly billion dollars. NO (says fiscal responsibility boy)

A bill to audit the Fed also allowing politicians to have a say in monetary policy such as the setting of interest rates. YES

Weather related regulations. Puh-LEASE

Republican tax cuts for billionaires. OF COURSE

A bill supporting the findings of climate change scientists. THOSE FAKERS!

A bill maintaining home mortgage deductions. NO (this one is a big one—many people have no idea that this asshole wants to take away their ability to receive a tax break on their mortgages.)

A bill to delay derivatives regulation. DERIVATIVES RULE!

Expanded offshore drilling. DRILL, BABY, DRILL

A Bill to enhance and fast track blockage of any actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. HELL YES

Bill weakening and attacking unions. YES

Disclose Act, designed to require interest groups, unions, and corporations to identify themselves in political ads they fund.
CERTAINLY NOT

Bill to help avert teacher layoffs by stepping down funds earmarked for purposes of war. BOMBS, NOT TEACHERS

Extension of unemployment benefits. WHAT? SUPPORT LAZY LOSERS???

So you get the idea. The idea you, of course, already had. But when you look at the long list of things this scumbag votes for and against, it shines an even brighter light on the fact that he is pretty much on the wrong side of everything. Immoral, intellectually dishonest, unethical, arrogant, dismissive of the needs of average Americans in a bad situation because of his actions and those of his Republican partners in crime. A bad actor all around, portrayed now as an honest, decent, regular guy.

As promised, no ipecac needed. Just hand me a picture of Paul Ryan and I'm good.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

JJG,

I guess that would make Ryan, with his fake testicles, a supporter of the Sim-ball-lick.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Last night's reply to Krugman's post of the Ryan pick that apparently arrived too late to be deemed of East Coast interest:

"Also think the Ryan pick has much to do with the appalling dearth of candidates the Right has to choose from. Once you get past the can't stand Obama because he's black and the they're gonna take my guns and put contraceptives in my milk audiences, the Right has no credible arguments to offer and certainly no one who can make their empty arguments sound convincing to a wider audience.

Drop taxes even further on the rich? Go to war with everyone? Vaginally probe half the population? Privatize everything? Would be tough for anyone to make those cases as long as some sanity remains.

That's why they're resorting to misleading sound bites and two moderately photogenic faces...It's the best they can do.

Just occurred to me one of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged was a pirate. Though Ryan has lately disavowed Rand, his favorite philosopher manque, somehow the pirate thing fits."

@Akhilleus: According to Maddow, Ryan's legislative accomplishments also include co-sponsorship of bills conferring personhood at the moment of conception and some sort of Federal ultrasound mandate. Maybe the Iowa Fair women knew something about that aspect of his lunacy, his desire to become the Bob McDonnell of the whole country. My guess is, as the campaign proceeds, he will.

BTW, wondered last night if corporate personhood should be legally conferred at the moment of conception. If so....I have this great idea....

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

So another case of plagiarism among the punditry. Last week, Jonah Lehrer, this week, Fareed Zakaria, whose (temporary) banishment from Gasbag World has prompted this great headline from Jeff Goldberg of the Atlantic:

Fareedenfreude (or, Alternatively, Schadenfareed)

There's a Greek literary term for this kind of construction but I'll be damned if I can recall it.

But this event has given me access to some insight about Zakaria on a question that has been puzzling me for some time. Is he the most conservative liberal around, a liberal conservative, or is he just a conservative pretending to be a middle of the roader who can, on occasion, speak at least pidgin Liberal.

The answer? Well who do you think has come Zakaria's rescue? Far right whack job John Podhoretz who has suggested that it wasn't Fareed at all who ripped off Jill Lepore's New Yorker piece, but a copy boy or intern or lackey researcher. It actually does make sense since most of these guys churn out so much stuff (and Zakaria has complained in the past of not having enough time to read...in which case one has to wonder where all the material comes from) but it's a clear indication that if a conservathug like Podhoretz is throwing a lifeline, it can only be because he considers him a useful cog in the conservative machine.

Anyway, just a thought.

Ken, "manqué philosopher" is right on the money. Rand is a two-bit sleazy carny barker which makes Ryan, what? The hustler in training who sweeps up the elephant shit?

Fakers and frauds, all.

Schadenfareed for everyone.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I an waiting for the rest of the story. What is the plan for those that become terminal after being kicked off medicaid? There must be some plan as having lots of sick folk dying under bridges will cause problems.
The eskimos are alleged to have put the old and unproductive out on the ice and let nature take care of them. What does Ryan suggest?He must have a plan to get the dying and the starving out of sight.
It seems to me that if we are going to destroy the safety net we must have some low cost way of getting rid if the human detritus.
Perhaps a national chain of minimum service hospices, privatized of course, will be a low cost method. We really need to have the problem of getting rid of the old and the starving addressed.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Marie: I don't think (maybe I missed it) the scary article in the Times about the obscene profits that Bain and other private equity firms have made from their investment in Hospital Corporation of America. This is truly disgusting!

Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/business/hca-giant-hospital-chain-creates-a-windfall-for-private-equity.html?hp

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Carlyle,

What to do with all the dead bodies of the beneficiaries of the R&R medical plan?

Ever seen "Soylent Green"?

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Mitt must be sorely disappointed that the Brits had a very successful Olympics without his "help."

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa (Bob Hicks)

Ryan's healthcare plan is simple, right after the sperm does a hit on the egg, drop dead.
To sum up what is wrong with healthcare in America (and America in general) is the fact we have a word associated with healthcare that no other country has, it's called INDUSTRY. That says it all.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Marvin,

Bullseye, brother.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

If they're not worried about their kids getting educated in privatized Christian schools using Bob Jones textbooks, they sure as hell are not going to be worried about the bodies left under the overpass.

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon
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