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November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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’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


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


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.


August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus



Degeneres no. Eddie Yes:

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS
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