The Ledes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Jesse Ventura won his defamation case against the estate of author Chris Kyle, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who said he punched out the former Minnesota governor for criticizing the SEALs’ role in the Iraq war. The jury awarded a total of $1.845 million: $500,000 in defamation damages and $1.345 million for 'unjust enrichment' — or to be specific, $1,345,477.25. Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict, as instructed. Instead, with the consent of both sides, they voted 8 to 2 in Ventura’s favor."

AP: "A senior PLO official has called for a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza war, saying he is also speaking in the name of Hamas."

Guardian: "Gaza endured a night of relentless bombardment that brought some of the heaviest pounding since the start of the conflict three weeks ago, in the hours after the Israeli political and military leadership warned of a protracted offensive. Palestinian officials say more than 110 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, July 28, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in a letter on Monday."

New York Times: "The United States and Europe put aside their differences and agreed on Monday to sharply escalate economic sanctions against Russia in a set of coordinated actions driven by the conclusion that Moscow has taken a more direct role in the war in Ukraine. After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. In some cases, the Europeans may actually leapfrog beyond what the United States has done, forcing Washington to try to catch up."

Guardian: "Dutch and Australian police have failed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a second day as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area." ...

... Washington Post: "The Ukrainian military on Monday captured a strategically important swath of territory close to the debris field of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a spokesman said, dealing a blow to pro-Russian rebels but raising new questions about whether an investigation at the site will ever yield conclusive evidence about the attack on the airliner."

NEW. Washington Post: "Israel will press its air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, preparing his country for a longer and bloodier campaign and dashing hopes that the three-week-old conflict would end soon." ...

... Washington Post: "International efforts to end the devastating three-week-old Gaza war intensified Monday with the U.N. Security Council calling for an 'immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' in the conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,035 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers. The ravaged coastal enclave was relatively quiet Monday as Palestinians started celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Israel mostly held its fire overnight, shelling only a site in the northern Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from there." ...

     ... UPDATE: "Explosions rocked a major hospital and a neighborhood of Gaza City on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead, witnesses reported." ...

... New York Times: "On Sunday, however, [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry was having difficulty accomplishing even ... a succession of temporary cease-fires..., despite a phone call in which President Obama, in a sign of mounting impatience, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to embrace an 'immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' while the two sides pursued a more lasting agreement. ...

... A White House readout of the conversation between Obama & Netanyahu is here.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 29

10:10 am ET: White House Agricultural Champions of Change meet

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

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

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

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

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

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Thursday
Aug162012

The Commentariat -- August 17, 2012

Presidential Race

If the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign. -- Jim Messina, Obama campaign manager to Matt Rhoades, Romney campaign manager; via Greg Sargent ...

... As Steve Kornacki says, "an offer Mitt will definitely refuse" ...

... Update from Felicia Sonmez, et al., of the Washington Post: "Mitt Romney's presidential campaign Friday rejected a new call from the Obama campaign to release five years of tax returns, while trumpeting a surge in support for the Republican ticket since Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate."

John Stanton of BuzzFeed: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office isn’t backing down from its charges Mitt Romney may have not paid taxes over the years and demanding he release a decades worth or returns -- despite Romney's assertion Thursday that he's paid at least 13 percent in taxes over the last decade. 'We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns," Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told Buzzfeed ... Thursday." ...

David Firestone of the New York Times: "At some level, Mr. Romney doesn't seem to understand that voters don't automatically trust the assurances and promises of politicians. He and his wife seem genuinely shocked that they are being pressed to provide paperwork.... This haughty trust-me attitude -- why can't we escape these pestering questions and run on our own obvious goodness and decency? -- extends to the rest of Mr. Romney's campaign."

... Ezra Klein: "I find it a bit difficult to believe that Romney has paid more than 13 percent every year.... One thing he could be doing when he says he paid more than 13 percent every year for the past 10 years is referring to the rate he paid on his taxable income as opposed to his [adjusted gross income]. That would make it easy for him to say that he paid more than 13 percent, but he wouldn't have paid more than 13 percent by the normal standards of accounting." ...

... David Dayen: "Also, there's the matter that 13% is an obscene federal income tax rate for someone with the income of a Mitt Romney." Dayen's whole post is quite good. ...

... CW: one aspect of Romney's MYOB statement I meant to zero in on yesterday was: "But every year I've paid at least 13 percent and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, well the number gets well above 20 percent." First, the "gifts to charity" are of course tax deductions, so his charitable giving is a loss to the government. Second, we know from the part of his 2010 tax returns he's released that the Romneys' contributions to "charity" are overwhelmingly to the Mormon Church. So every year he is literally taking millions from Washington & sending it to Salt Lake City. Third, it is notable that in Romney's mind, paying taxes to the federal government & more-or-less tithing to his church are kinda the same thing. He seems incapable of separating church and state. That is not surprising -- his faith teaches that Jesus made a special post-resurrection trip to the U.S. & that the U.S. Constitution is a sacred document. The First Amendment, from this point-of-view, would be a sacrilege. And I would guess anything other than an originalist interpretation of the Constitution would be, too.

Ginger Gibson of Politico: "... after the 10-minute and 11-second news conference [yesterday], Romney shed no new light on how he would overhaul the 47-year-old federal health care program for senior citizens and how (or if) his program differs from that of his running mate's much-maligned proposal that is part of an effort to slash the federal budget deficit." CW: Gibson all but says Romney either doesn't know what he's talking about or he's obfuscating. This is a straight news story. ...

... Sam Baker of The Hill: "Republicans insist they're playing offense on Medicare and argue the fall campaign will prove that Democrats do not have the upper hand on the issue.... [Ryan's] budget proposals for the past two years kept the $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he is now attacking, while repealing the rest of the healthcare law. That has led to an awkward handful of news cycles in which Romney had to distance himself from his new running mate's embrace of Medicare cuts.... Democrats argue the Ryan pick has shifted the focus from jobs to Medicare, where they feel they have the advantage, while muddling Romney's Medicare attack against Obama. And neither Republican is making a detailed pitch for his Medicare plan."

... Kate Pickert of Time has a good explanation of what the ObamaCare cuts actually do. "The idea ... that the Affordable Care Act struck a dangerous blow to Medicare that will change the program in fundamental ways is untrue. Under the new law, Medicare will remain a wildly popular, public single-payer health insurance system that provides comprehensive coverage to millions of Americans."

New York Times Editors: "A careful presidential campaign would put distance between itself and a businessman like [Sheldon] Adelson [whose business is under investigation for a number of possibly illegal activities]. Instead, this one is cultivating him. Mr. Romney recently met with him in Israel, and Mr. Ryan this week paid homage to him and other big donors in a private casino for high-rollers on the 36th floor of Mr. Adelson's Venetian hotel. By allowing Mr. Adelson to have such an outsize role in their race, the candidates themselves are placing a very risky bet.

I'm not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money. -- Paul Ryan, 2010

In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce 'energy consumption' in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash. -- Gregory Krieg, ABC News

I never asked for stimulus. I don't recall … so I really can't comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn't work, it didn't work. -- Paul Ryan, Wednesday

After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn't recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it's clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again. -- Paul Ryan, yesterday in a statement

Watch, especially, Maddow's discussion with Ezra Klein, which begins at about 12:30 in.

... Alan Semuels of the Los Angeles Times: reporters keep hounding Paul Ryan on why he's just flip-flopped on major positions he's held for years. ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon: "Ryan has built his image on being a straight-talking intellectual statesmen who is willing to fight for what he thinks is needed, regardless of the political costs. This is likely part of the reason why Romney, who suffers from a perception of being overly malleable, selected Ryan as his VP." CW: so how's that workin' out for ya, Paul?

Sandra Fluke, in an NBC commentary, lists some of the stunning "anti-woman" votes Paul Ryan has cast. Fluke's larger point is that "Ryan's record on women's issues is so far outside the mainstream that many find it unbelievable.... If voters assume no one could be that bad, and don't learn the truth about Ryan's record, Romney/Ryan will have the opportunity to put their vision for women's health and economic security into action." ...

     CW: This is a problem on other issues -- like their planned cuts to social welfare programs. The other day I made a comment on Politico (I think it was) where I mentioned George Bush's unfunded wars. I got the same response Fluke did -- people wrote in saying things like "prove it." (I did, in a follow-up comment.) People who take the trouble to read and comment on political articles obviously are actively interested in politics. Yet many are woefully ignorant. Millions of voters probably view GOP policies as "too bad to be true."

Fun & Games with Paul Ryan. Matt Miller of the Washington Post teaches you on how to recognize when altar boy Paul Ryan is lying. (Yeah, I know -- when his lips are moving.) Miller is really offended.

     ... CW: The video Miller links to crashed my Adobe Flash program 5 times. The 2-minute clip that (I think) the Miller-linked video covers begins 4:50 into the video below. I watched the whole segment; despite his best effort, Hume was never able to get Ryan to give truthful answers to his major questions:

I mean, I think that he's a practical conservative. He's got a very conservative voting record, but he's not a knuckle-dragger, all right? -- John Boehner, in praise of Paul Ryan ...

... CW: Digby has a very substantive post on Boehner & Ryan. But what struck me was the gaffiness of Boehner's remark. He is calling his teabagger buddies "knuckledraggers." Since Boehner made his comments on Fox "News," they probably were all watching. I don't think dissing his knuckledragger caucus improves Boehner's chances of retaining his leadership position.

Paul Harris of the Guardian looks into "Opsec," the group that is swiftboating President Obama.

Andy Borowitz publishes Paul Ryan's "Song of Himself." Apologies to Walt Whitman. Thanks to Kate M. for the link.

@alan: not sure about that:

Congressional Races

Alex Koppelman of the New Yorker uses moderate Republican Chris Shays' whopping defeat to wrestler lady Linda McMahon in Connecticut's U.S. Senate Republican primary as inspiration for a review of the state of the Congress -- and the polarization of the nation.

News Ledes

New York Times: "The first criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood came to an abrupt end Friday when Kansas prosecutors dropped all charges against a local affiliate accused of failing to determine the viability of fetuses before abortions were performed."

New York Times: "The anxieties of an unexpected landing in war-ravaged Syria were compounded for passengers on an Air France flight when they were asked by the crew if they couldn't possibly, you know, come up with some cash to help out with the refueling."

AP: "Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide."

Salon: "In a decision as predictable as it was stomach-churning, three members of the Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were found guilty Friday of hooliganism for a protest in a cathedral last winter. The judge declared that they had engaged in 'homosexual propaganda' and 'imitated demonic attacks.' The women, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -- who have already spent six months in jail -- received a sentence of two years imprisonment." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "At his daily briefing, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration is 'disappointed by the Pussy Riot verdict. While we understand the group's behavior was offensive for some, we have concerns about the way these young women were treated by the Russian judicial system.'"

Guardian: "A major diplomatic row over the fate of the fugitive Julian Assange erupted after the WikiLeaks founder was offered political asylum by Ecuador to escape extradition from Britain over allegations of serious sexual assaults. The [British] foreign secretary, William Hague..., said Assange would be arrested if he leaves the embassy in London where he has lived for nearly two months. Ecuador's decision has also angered the Swedish authorities...."

AP: "A federal court on Thursday gave five Florida counties four extra days of early voting in this fall's elections. The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the state's number of early-voting days to 8 from 12. But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the changes won't happen in Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe counties, which are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

AP: "Iraqi officials said Friday that a blistering string of attacks across the country the previous day ultimately killed at least 93 people, as the extent of the violence grew clearer and mourners started to bury their dead."

Reader Comments (15)

Now for some fun local news. NJ headlines: "Jersey's jobless rate hits 9.8 percent" the highest in 35 years. Gov. Christie's revenue projection "lags as much as $524 million behind forecast". It's Christie's "COMEBACK". We have now come back to 1977. Somehow I doubt that this information will be part of his convention speech.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Does anyone else think that Paul Ryan looks an awful lot like Ellen Degeneris? Just wondering...

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralan

In today's Republican Party, saying that someone is not a knuckle-dragger is to question his bona fides.

Izzit possible that Johnny B. would be glad were Ryan to lose both his races this year?

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Re the Guardian article: We've reached a point of irony in that the electorate isn't bright enough to make a negative inference. Had the raid been as lamely executed as Bush's attack on Tora Bora and bin Laden had gotten away, are these guys saying that they would have blamed anyone but the President?

Good try guys, but as a Boston Red Sox fan, I know that when our team wins, the players take the credit, but when it loses, it must be the manager's fault.

However, these guys are just preaching to the choir, because any "independent" that is swayed by this gallimaufry of hatred has been trolling for a "legitimate" reason to vote against civic responsibility and, of course, the black guy.

Oh, that last statement? I mean every word.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Re: God's work. The good Lord helps those who help themselves.
"I believe I'll help myself to another share." Mitt.
"I don't want'a share." Pauly.
" My new horse is named Charity." Ms. Mitt.
" What a pile." Charity.
As one who believes in taxing religious industries such as the Catholic church or any of the TeeVee ministries, or the corporation known as LDS out of SLC I have a hard time with idea of tax free donations. Charity means giving something and getting nothing in return; not giving something and writing it off on your return.
"Let's get a needle and stuff some rich people through it." God

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Let's be fair to Nitt and Faul. There is a large segment of American citizens who have evolved a wonderful set of ideas that makes them very happy. All the Republicans are doing is supporting these folks.
The ideas include:
Exceptionalism: We are so wonderful there is nothing else we need to do.
Individualism: I am such a wonderful person that I need no goverment.
Religion: If there are any problems, all I need to do is prey.

With a deal like that, no responsibility for anything, who could have a better life. The biggest problem is not that the Republican politicians are playing on this game, it is that most actually believe it.

P.S. Sorry, I think I made some typos.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

The R&R Express.

It’s on a roll, people. The Rat and the Fraud together again for the first time. Does that make sense? Of course not. But then things don’t have to make sense on the R&R Express. They only have to sound like they might, sorta, could be maybe in another world at some other time make sense.

Or not...

Like Romney and Ryan pelting the president for non-existent problems with current welfare regs modified to help Republicans, for crissakes, or the giant economy size box of outrage poor Willard was forced to open regarding Obama’s deletion of $700 billion from future Medicare budgets. It’s true. What’s not true is where the money is deducted from. The Rat’s latest lie is that the president will steal that money from services to Medicare beneficiaries (like Romney gives a rat’s ass about any of those people anyway) when in fact it comes from expected cost savings. And we won’t mention the fact that The Fraud’s Plan actually DOES take $700 billion from Medicare services.

Oh the humanity! The hypocrisy! The magic underwear of it all!

The big question is whether or not the press will cover this and shine a big ol' prison break searchlight on the exposed asses of R&R as they try to escape the high walls of their own lies, miscues, historical antipathy, complete lack of compassion, economic sleight of hand, budgetary shenanigans, innate sense of superiority, oh, and did I mention lies?

Instead what we’re inundated with are stories about Paul Ryan: Nice Guy, Paul Ryan: Could have been a PROFESSIONAL SKIER!, Paul Ryan: Buff Congress-muscle-man, (Could be gay?)Paul Ryan: Check out those biceps, boys!, Sad Paul Ryan: found father dead in bed, adopted by Ayn Rand, went to Washington just like Jimmy Stewart!, Paul Ryan: Smalltown former altar boy makes good in big bad liberal Washington by being a nice guy, Paul Ryan: dreamboat congressman, should have been a movie star!!!!!!

Some of the serious press (not a complete oxymoron--yet) will cover the gaffes, the glitches, the greed, the lies, the manufactured back-stories, etc, but will any of this break through the glazed aurora of confectionery sugar surrounding this fraud and his new best buddy, the Rat?

And on another note, nice to see that Cheeto Man Boehner, in a statement that has all the earmarks of a drunk who has just tumbled off the wagon, outs himself as someone who can’t stand those “knuckle dragger” Teabaggers. Sorry Johnny, you signed over your soul to those knuckle draggers, now, like whackadoodle, illiterate, unhygienic, crazy Clampetts who have just moved in next door with their smelly hound dogs, confederate flags, blaring gospel music, and gun shootin’ matches every dang night.......you’re stuck with them.

And unless the press starts reporting more about the dark side of R&R and less about Mitty’s hurt feelings, Ann Romney’s gallant battles, Joe Biden’s meanness, and Sad Paul’s Pectorals, we’ll be stuck too.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Matt Miller of the Washington Post has it right - - "The most important issue facing the country isn’t when we’re going to balance the budget. It’s how to get growth and jobs reignited in the near term and how to renew the country’s promise and competitiveness after that (an agenda in which long-term budget sanity is just the ante)." Krugman tells us how - get GDP growing at a faster rate by priming the pump to increase demand.

The Reagan era was the test for supply siders (trickle down) and that flunked. The trickle down fairy only exists in mythology. But yet people believe - cut taxes for the rich. Let's not only continue the Bush tax cuts, let's double or triple down and give more to the ultra rich - this just has to work!!!! What a bunch of bull-shit.

The deficit hawks have been drinking the Kool-aid for years and a huge portion of the electorate refuses to engage their collective brains to recognize the fallacy of the "cut, cut, cut" mentality.

I am very much afraid that sanity will not prevail and no one is brave enough to really invest in this country and its common, decent, hard working middle class. We may just be screwed.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrom-the-Heartland

I was thinking about how people build their lives and then need substantiation for what they've done and thought through politicians and politics that mirror their ideas. The only problem is they are wrong or duped or saps or believe in some nutty mythology that an all-powerful old white guy is going to help them. Ignorant and proud can't be reasoned with.
The older I get the more I realize that perhaps one of the greatest courages is the one that lets you change a long set idea. The Greedy Old Party has revealed its ideas and base personality clearly the last several years.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercitizen625

Citizen625,

I would have to agree that critical thinking, the kind of self interrogation of motives, beliefs, and desires that allow for dynamic processing of information and recalibration of positions on important topics is in drastically short supply on the right. As far as they are concerned, they're right no matter what.

That, of course, is what Romney and Ryan and their GOP brownshirts are hoping for; an incurious, cement headed voting brigade who won't ask tough questions or even realize that much of what R&R are proposing will screw them as well.

The real problem with the upcoming election is that voter ignorance and apathy coupled with what has now become a decade long effort on the part of Republicans to steal presidential elections through vote suppression (another win for the GOP in PA last week), election equipment "malfunctions", voter misinformation, voter ID laws that allow NRA members to use their glow in the dark BIG GUN plastic decoder rings (with the bad guy killing laser attachment) as certified IDs at polling places but disallow students from using photo IDs issued by their college or university, and, in extreme cases, simple old fashioned ballot box stuffing and/or shredding of Democratic ballots, will be prolific enough to supply "support" the Romney/Ryan ticket could never hope to achieve honestly and on its own.

The plan that allowed Ohio to be successfully pilfered in 2004 is still in place. The machines purchased by Republicans from a company whose CEO was chairman of a committee to re-elect Bush are being wheeled back into the service of the GOP.

And practically no one is talking about it. Because the single biggest success story in this country over the last generation has been that of the right wing forcing nearly all media outlets into portraying any story purporting to uncover their machinations as unwarranted partisan attacks on their "honesty" and "integrity".

Anyone daring to talk or write about the election rigging going on right in front of us (the Pennsylvania house majority leader came right out and declared that if the GOP succeeded in passing their voter ID law it would enable them to hand the state to Romney. These people aren't kidding around and they don't care if you know it or not. No one is going to stop them. Certainly not the Supreme Court. They perfected election stealing.) that writer or pundit will be pilloried as an out of control partisan zealot. This scares the pants off the David Gregorys and Chuck Todds other Sunday morning gasbags as well as columnists in high places (the NYTIMES, eg). No one relishes the power of Fox and the right-wing Waffen SS attacking them.

So everyone leaves it alone.

And it really doesn't matter whether GOP voters or independents don't care about adjusting their thinking based on facts. It doesn't matter that R&R lie and cheat and dissemble. They only have to hang on long enough and stay close enough ( McCain v Obama, 2008, lesson learned) for the vote suppression schemes to start making a difference as the gap between Republicans allowed to vote and Democrats who have been cut off starts widening.

The only hope is for renewed responsible journalism which points fingers in the direction of the many states now hustling into place vote suppression plans, plans to disenfranchise as many Democratic voters as possible.

And hope that Obama can put enough distance between himself and the Rat so that the even most successful election stealing conspiracy will have trouble keeping up with honest votes.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: The 'hood; Sweet baby Jesus, Ak; I had no idea you're my new neighbor. Sorry about the hounds and the still. Tonight we'll crank up The Marshall Tucker Band so you won't hear the shootin' match.
Hey some of my best friends are Southerners; and how about Southern writers past and present? There is a good and bad to all of us.
How do you know that the toothbrush was invented in South?
Anywhere else and it would have been called a Teethbrush.
So put on some Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and have a good time or listen to some Dixieland, can't hurt ya.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

JJG,

Ha. Ya got me.

I admit that rant went too far over the edge of categorizing teabaggers as mostly ignorant hillbillies (I guess I should have stopped at mostly ignorant...). I suppose it's part and parcel of my living a severely (and in too many ways, a severely ignorant) red state, so I hear this shite all the time.

But you're entirely correct. A lot of great southern writers to spend time with. Always been a fan of Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, and a huge Cormac McCarthy fan (getting ready to re-read Blood Meridian--working myself up for the madness). And the Marshall Tucker Band is okay, but I think I'll put on Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore. Or maybe Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. A little Petty can never hurt either. Zombie Zoo is a great song.

If we declare ourselves foes of discrimination, it doesn't do to be too crazy about lumping everyone into one bowl.

Thanks for the course correction. We all get by with a little help from our friends.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Oh boy! More great news for the Republican convention keynote speaker: "N.J. loses more jobs than any other state in July; unemployment rate is 4th highest in U.S.". I can't wait to hear NJ's bullshit artist-in-chief tell how wonderful he is.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Marvin, of course you know the answer to the Garden State's employment problem. Obama did it. In keeping with Jack's Red Sox analogy, had the Coach from Kenya allowed Big Chris to swing for the fences NJ would have the lowest unemployment in the world so it's all Obama's fault. Sorta like John MacNamara leaving Bill Buckner in the game. On the other hand, if NJ had a stupendously low unemployment it would all be due to the outsized genius of Republican virtue as exercised by Governor (halfway house) Christie.

QED.

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@alan

likenesses:

Degeneres no. Eddie Yes:

http://herblondness.tumblr.com/image/29576871894

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS
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