The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson and the FAA. At least one person was killed." MSNBC is saying two were injured as well.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

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
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

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

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

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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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