The Wires

White House Live Video
February 10

2:10 pm ET: President Obama addresses the Illinois General Assembly

2:30 pm ET: Vice President Biden participates in a discussion of the "cancer moonshot" (audio only)

4:25 pm ET: President Obama speaks at the Hoogland Center for Arts in Springfield, Illinois

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

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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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