The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

New York Times: "The stock market began the week burdened by geopolitical worries, but by the close of trading on Thursday it had bounced back to achieve one of its biggest upswings in recent years. Soothing words from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, saying that it would be 'patient' on raising interest rates, drove the surge, analysts said. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday, to 2,061.23 — its biggest one-day gain since January 2013. That came on the back of a 2 percent rise on Wednesday."

CNN: "U.S. airstrikes have killed two top-level and one mid-level ISIS leader, a senior U.S. military official tells CNN. Haji Mutazz was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq; Abd al Basit was his military emir in Iraq; and Radwan Talib was his Mosul emir. Their deaths resulted from multiple strikes going back to mid-November -- it has taken until now to determine conclusively they were killed."

AP: "Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates' historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013."

New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, from prison as he continues to appeal a prosecution that Republicans say exposed pervasive corruption in state government but Democrats regard as a case pursued for political retribution."

Boston Globe: "Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stood in federal court in Boston this morning for a brief pretrial hearing, which was punctuated by an interruption in Russian and English from a woman in the gallery. Several journalists reported she exclaimed 'stop killing innocent people' in English as she was escorted out for yelling in Russian. The woman identified herself to reporters as a relative of Ibrahim Todashev: a friend of Dzhokhar’s brother who was killed by an FBI agent during an incident that arose from the investigation of a Waltham triple homicide."

AFP: "Two owners and 12 former employees of a US pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the country, prosecutors said. Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro owned the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which lost its license in 2012 after inspectors found it guilty of multiple sanitary violations. the pharmacy, located in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts in the US northeast, voluntarily shut down and recalled all products following the unprecedented outbreak of fungal meningitis."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

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

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

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

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Thursday
Aug302012

The Commentariat -- August 31, 2012

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times: "While a majority of jobs lost during the downturn were in the middle range of wages, a majority of those added during the recovery have been low paying, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project. The disappearance of midwage, midskill jobs is part of a longer-term trend that some refer to as a hollowing out of the work force, though it has probably been accelerated by government layoffs." CW: this is exactly the kind of trend a Romney presidency -- would exacerbate. From quashing unions to defunding education to whacking the social safety net to encouraging outsourcing to cutting government to just plain disrespecting the ordinary American (or what David Firestone calls "contempt for the mainstream"), gutting the middle & upper-middle economic class is almost the bedrock of the Romney/Ryan plot.

Corey Robin makes the argument, based on historical analysis, that Democrats, not Republicans, are the real austerity/deficit hawk party. Via Digby, whose commentary is on point.

John Cassidy in Fortune: President Obama's biggest economic mistake was retaining Ben Bernanke as Fed chair. Bernanke, a Republican, did a pretty good job for a Republican president, but "Bernanke's performance since 2009 has been less impressive, and this year it's been pretty awful." Oh, why did he do it? -- he took Tim Geithner's advice. CW: frankly, I think hiring Timmy was Obama's biggest mistake. Thanks to my husband for suggesting I link this post.

Rebecca Robbins of the Harvard Crimson: "Harvard College's disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: 'Introduction to Congress' last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class' final take-home exam." CW: what more appropriate place for "nearly half" of the students to cheat than in a class about an institution where "nearly half" of the members are crooks & liars?

Priest Takes "Blaming the Victim" to a New Low. Colleen Curry of ABC News: The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, "a well-known Catholic priest who hosts a weekly religious television show, said in an interview this week that child sex abusers are often seduced by teenage boys and should not go to jail on a first offense.... He also referred to convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as a 'poor guy.' ... The comments were removed by the website that published them and replaced by an apology from the priest and the site's editors."

Presidential Race

Steve Holland of Reuters: "Mitt Romney has moved into a narrow lead over U.S. President Barack Obama in a small bounce for him from the Republican National Convention, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Thursday. Romney entered the week four points behind Obama.... But the most recent daily rolling poll gave Romney a two-point lead...." CW: this is worrisome only if Romney's lead holds after the Democratic convention next week.

Jackie Calmes of the New York Times has a chat with David Axelrod: "Top [Obama] advisers said they would seek to make the Republican candidates' statements into a larger issue of character, one that they hoped would reinforce Mr. Romney's image among many voters as a shape-shifting politician who has reversed position on abortion and gay rights, gun control and other issues -- as his Republican rivals complained throughout their long nomination battle.

Nice to see this headline on the front page of the New York Times: "Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches." In an article originally headlined "Ryan's Speech Contained a Litany of Falsehoods," Michael Cooper lists some of the lies Ryan &, incidentally, his running mate, told in their speeches. Unfortunately, Cooper felt compelled to prominently feature a couple of "both sides do it" grafs, which is the journalistic gold standard these days. ...

... Rosalind Helderman has a better & more balanced piece, appearing on the front page of the Washington Post, on fact-checkers. Here's the lede: "Did Paul Ryan bend the truth? The verdict, rendered by a slew of media fact checkers, was immediate and unequivocal: In his first major speech before the American people, the Republican vice presidential nominee repeatedly left out key facts, ignored context and was blind to his own hypocrisy."

This Is News Analysis: Chuck Todd of NBC News says Democrats wish they had as many non-white leaders as Republicans have. Via Josh Marshall of TPM in a post titled, "Okay, That's the Stupidest Thing I Ever Heard":

In case you missed it, the "Daily Show" obtained a copy of the moving Romney bio-op that aired during the GOP convention. Very touching:

A beginning, a muddle and an end. -- Ezra Klein, describing Romney's speech

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday by making a direct appeal to Americans who were captivated by President Obama's hopeful promises of change, pledging that he could deliver what the president did not and move the country from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression." ...

... Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post fact-checks Romney's speech. Apparently the part about his loving his family is true.

... New York Times Editors: "Mitt Romney wrapped the most important speech of his life, for Thursday night's session of his convention, around an extraordinary reinvention of history -- that his party rallied behind President Obama when he won in 2008, hoping that he would succeed.... The truth, rarely heard this week in Tampa, Fla., is that the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security.... [On foreign policy,] apart from outsourcing his policy to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements, it's not clear what Mr. Romney would do differently. But after watching the Republicans for three days in Florida, that comes as no surprise." ...

... David Firestone of the New York Times: Romney's "disappointment" in Obama was phony. ...

... Tim Egan: "The empty chair that a befuddled Clint Eastwood spoke to had to compete with the famous empty suit of Mitt Romney.... A man whose father walked out on the Barry Goldwater convention of 1964 because it was too extreme let the heirs to those toxic politics write a platform that would move the country backward by two generations." ...

... In a post titled, "Mitt Romney -- More Effective than Clint Eastwood," Jonathan Chait of New York magazine writes, "Romney attempted to disarm [the difficulties Obama faced in 2009] by acknowledging the bad hand, but implying Republicans wished Obama well. The GOP as a whole 'wanted Obama to succeed,' he said, adding that he personally shared this wish, making Obama's failure to eradicate the impact of the crisis entirely his own fault. In reality, Republicans planned from before Obama took office to withhold cooperation and thus regain their majority, and Romney himself was obviously running to defeat Obama the entire period." ...

He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government. -- Mitt Romney, explaining in his convention speech why Obama has failed

But if business experience is the key qualification for a president, why did Romney pick Paul Ryan, who has spent even less time in the private sector than Obama, to be his vice president? -- Ezra Klein (Klein's whole post, which covers several aspects of Romney's speech, is worth a read.) ...

... Steve Benen: "... last night, I kept waiting for something, anything, that resembled substance, but it never came. About the closest thing Romney came to a meaningful policy idea was his stated goal of using public funds to subsidize private school tuition. That's a horrible idea, but I'll concede it at least counts as an idea.... Once again, the Romney campaign message boiled down to: President Obama hasn't done enough; I'll do more; just trust me.... But therein lies the rub: Romney hasn't given Americans any reason to trust him." ...

... CW: I swear Mitt Romney is looking more and more like Richard Nixon. By November you won't be able to tell which is which. I muted the sound during his speech, so if he said, "I am not a crook," or "My wife wears a good Republican cloth coat," or "Checkers loves riding on the hood of the car," I totally missed it. ...

... While Nixon Rmoney was speaking, I read Michael Shear's interview of President Obama. That was kinda depressing, too. ...

     ... I see David Dayen of Firedoglake agrees with me.

Elizabeth Williamson of the Wall Street Journal: "Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood, the Republican National Convention's much-touted surprise guest, delivered a rambling, awkward speech that was the highly orchestrated evening's first off-script moment." Includes video.

     ... CBS News has the full transcript of Eastwood's speech.

Bonus Quote. Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali. -- Ben LaBolt, Obama campaign spokesperson, on Eastwood's speech

... "Disaster." Kevin Cirilli of Politico: MSNBC, Fox "News" analysts react -- or not -- to Eastwood's speech.

CW: There's a big shebang going on up the road in Tampa. I was going to try to watch a bit of it, & I did -- about 17 seconds was all I could stand. For all I know, I was invited to attend: this afternoon a fellow named Mitt Romney robo-called me. At least I think it was a robo-call. Hard to tell with Mitt. Don't know what he had to say as I hung up after, "Hi, I'm Mitt Romney." Hope I hurt his robo-feelings.

Quote of the Day: Just because someone tells you different facts than you remember from when you were there watching the event happen doesn't mean that he is lying. It may just mean that he is trying to be elected to something. Besides, there is literal truth and story truth and narrative truth and speech truth, and, of the four, literal truth most seldom gets invited to parties. Conversation as we know it would end. Politics consists of assembling a convincing story about events out of the facts at your disposal and seeing how many people prefer your story to your opponent's. We all start with the same fabric of fact, but a lot of art goes into the draping. There are lies, damned lies, statistics and Things Your Opponent Did to Grandma. -- Marc Theissen of the Washington Post, defending Paul Ryan's dishonest convention speech, or what Charles Pierce calls "for the most singularly stupid piece of writing [the Post] likely ever will publish, even if it renews Marc Thiessen's contract for the next 20 years.

Steve Kornacki of Salon: "A compelling, fact-based defense of the content of Paul Ryan's vice-presidential acceptance speech last night is impossible. The deception was so flagrant, so thorough, so sloppy and so unending that, as one observer on Twitter put it, Politifact probably melted down.... Most casual voters don't read editorials and fact-checker columns and probably don't get much beyond the headline, picture and (maybe) first paragraph or two of a news story about a speech like Ryan's. The Romney campaign is clearly counting on this." ...

... Ditto from Dan Amira of New York: "Ryan's pants are on fire, but all America saw was a barn-burner." ...

... "Fact-Checkers Are No Match for Romney & Ryan." Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "Romney and Ryan are obviously engaging in some simple cost-benefit analysis.... There are some other conditions that could raise the costs -- let's say if Paul Ryan had a Palinesque on-camera humiliation, in which an interviewer confronted him with his Janesville auto plant absurdity and forced him to explain himself. If that happened, afterward he might be afraid to bring it up again, lest everyone replay that interview." CW: Don't hold your breath till that happens. ...

... Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress notes that even when reporters call out lies, they use euphemisms: "factual shortcuts," "perceived inaccuracies," "questionable claims," etc. Beauchamp calls out specific reports.

... Paul Krugman is more optimistic: "It's starting to look ... as if the life cycle of the Ryan myth is proving a lot shorter than the [George W.] Bush version. Even people who were fanatical Bush defenders and Krugman-haters seem to have had enough of Ryan's shtick, thanks to the most dishonest convention speech ever. And I think this matters. Ryan's true constituency isn't the Tea Party, it's the commentariat; strip him of his unjustified reputation as an honest policy wonk, and he's just another mean-spirited ideologue. Indeed, his character may itself become an election issue." ...

Krugman: "... many people are wondering why Ryan keeps using the closed Janesville GM plant to illustrate the failure of Obama's policy -- when the plant actually closed under George W. Bush.... [Maybe] he's branched out from Ayn Rand, and is now also listening to this guy:

... In his column today, Krugman writes, "Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative." The Romney-Ryan "Vouchercare" plan "would mean higher costs and lower benefits for seniors." ...

... BUT what if facts don't matter? Philosopher Jason Stanley analyzes the assumptions & rationale behind the blatant Romney/Ryan campaign lying machine. ...

     ... CW: Stanley may have exaggerated the public's low expectations of political candidates, but he's surely on the right track. The dogwhistle appeals to racists work because they reassure racists that Romney & Ryan "get it" and are on their side. There is more than racism at work here, tho. Some time back David Brooks misused a study about attitudes toward the minimum wage. When I read the actual study results, instead of relying on Brooks' distorted gloss, what I learned was that people earning just above the minimum wage were opposed to raising it. This isn't about racism per se; it's about people not wanting to be at the bottom of the ladder, which is indeed one of the motivations to racism -- if we deserving white people can keep minorities down, we'll never be the bottom rung. Racism in this sense is not the cause but the effect of status anxiety. ...

... AND the Best Little Fact-Checker of Them All. Seriously:

... BUT Stephen Colbert defends the "big ideas" in Paul Ryan's speech -- like "Lying Is Handy":

News Ledes

Washington Post: "A federal judge ruled Friday that Ohio must allow in-person voting on the weekend before the presidential election, a victory for Democrats who claimed Republican efforts to close down early voting were aimed at discouraging voters most likely to support President Obama.... Ohio has allowed in-person voting the weekend before the election since 2005, and U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus said Friday that the state did not offer a convincing argument as to why it was changing the rules now."

New York Times: "The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, delivered on Friday a detailed and forceful argument for new steps to stimulate the economy, reinforcing earlier indications that the Fed is on the verge of action.... Mr. Bernanke did not announce any new steps in his speech, delivered before an annual monetary policy conference.... Nor did he offer a timetable, although many analysts expect the Fed to act at the next meeting of its policy-making committee on Sept. 12 and 13."

AP: "Isaac crawled into the nation's midsection early Friday, leaving a soggy mess in Louisiana. Neighborhoods were underwater, and many homes that stayed dry didn't have lights, air conditioning or clean water. It will be a few days before the soupy brown water recedes and people forced out of flooded neighborhoods can return home."

AP: "Under pressure from a U.N. nuclear agency probe, Iran is urging member countries to revamp the [International Atomic Energy] Agency in a way that would dilute the power of nations that fear it may be trying to make atomic arms, while giving its allies more authority."

New York Times: "A Japanese court rejected Friday patent claims made by Apple against Samsung, a victory for the Korean company after its crushing defeat in the United States last week and a reminder of the global scope of the patent war between the two technology giants."

ABC News: "The Pentagon has determined the former Navy SEAL who has authored a book about his role in the Osama bin Laden raid is in 'material breach' of non-disclosure agreements and warned him it is considering legal action against him as a result. It added that it is considering legal action against all those 'acting in concert' with the SEAL on his book, 'No Easy Day,' which is scheduled to be released Tuesday."

ABC News: "A former Marine who was working at a U.S. consulate office in China has pleaded guilty after trying -- and failing -- to spy for China, the Department of Justice said today. Bryan Underwood, 32, pleaded guilty to one charge for attempting to pass photographs and access to the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China to China's Ministry of State Security.... Underwood had "Top Secret" clearance...."

Washington Post: for murdering his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, George "Huguely [V] was sentenced to 23 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire, who chose to impose a shorter term than the 26 years recommended by the jury.... Huguely, 24, and Love, who was also a successful lacrosse player, were within weeks of graduation from" the University of Virginia.

Reader Comments (16)

Understand that Mitt Romney is a Patriarch and Bishop of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Patriarchs get special treatment and have the authority of being perfect within their patriarchys. Of Course Mitt eats first and goes to the head of all lines.
My grandfather was the patriarch of a large family. One of the eleven children was assigned the task of putting one hot pancake on his plate as he finished one. His word was law and though he was often wrong, some of his foolishness survives him. The whole family fears the government.
Mitt fancies being number one in a much larger patriarchy than the Morman Church. A diet of cold pancakes is likely as none of his plans will bring anything but disaster to the countery.
If Ryan and Romney are elected we will all be enrolled in a "dear school ".

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

I know we are all frustrated by the fact that the MSM does a really lousy job of calling out the lies, but I have something that pisses me off far more. When we 'discuss' the Republican plans for Medicare and Medicaid nobody, even Dr. Krugman, says the real fact. The Republicans plan to kill, murder, millions of Americans. It will save a lot of money. Lets call them by there real names, Adolf Romney and Josef Ryan.

And BTW, a recent study shows that 'preventable deaths', those that could be prevented by proper medical care are twice as high in the US than France. Wait, with the Ryan plan we are just getting started.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

If you can't beat them, join them? I think we should all pool our money, buy a struggling business and drive it into the ditch - ala Bain.

Re: Majority of Jobs Pay Low Wages, Study Finds (NYT). No kidding!! But, as my scientist friend often points out, one always has to PROVE the obvious. Maddingly, the facts often fall on closed minds.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

The low wage article hits particularly close to home. Two of my children have seen their circumstances significantly reduced from just five years ago. As I watch what happened to them, I began to believe that this is exactly where the “job creators” were headed—people will be forced to work for lower wages because they need to support families and keep so many bodies and souls together. Combine desperation with the continued assault on unions and we are well on our way to the creation of serfdom-hood as a way of life.

My daughter works in the mortgage industry. For many years she freelanced from her home and did very well. When the housing crisis struck, she was forced to go back into the regular work force. She took a job at a title company for $11 per hour. One of the conditions of her employment required her to sign a “no compete clause” form saying if she quite working for them, she couldn’t work in the industry for one year or take any of her clients with her—she’s a loan processor and assistant, what clients? Fast forward three years of no salary increases, no overtime, working all Federal holidays save Memorial and Labor Days, having her work hours involuntarily reduced to 35 per week during slow times, no bonuses for excellent performance, and a four-month delay in paying her for extra duties she performed because she was the only person in the office who knew the procedures, and she is approached by a different title company to take a job with them.

This company offered her a significant pay raise, paid overtime, all Federal holidays off, 401k benefits, and guaranteed raises after time in service. During her interview, she told them about the no compete form, and they said they wouldn’t hire her unless she could get it rescinded. With great trepidation she asked to be released from the form and was promptly told, “No.” Big surprise there, eh?

In my opinion, my daughter’s situation is just the canary in the coal mine of things to come for the workers of America. An aside, she lives in Utah and her employers are really, really good Mormons. Willard the Rat would be so proud.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

Marvin,

Your observation is nowhere near as crazy as it might sound. I'm not sure either of these lying little weasels (well, okay, Ryan's the only weasel; Romney is a Rat) would admit, even to themselves in their petrified, dessicated little heart of hearts, that eviscerating medical care in this country for all but the wealthy is a good way to kill undesirables (minorities, those who might vote Democratic, and their children) but it has the exact same effect.

The more you think about what kind of country this would be with these two moral dwarfs in charge, the more frightening it becomes. First, neither is as tough or smart or in charge as they like to think and want everyone to believe. Five seconds after the inauguration, they would both be ushered into a room where the real power behind the Republican Party would give them their marching orders. Those contributors to Rove's Super Pacs, the Kochs, and other assorted right-wing billionaire crooks. The Rat and his vice-weasel would be given permission to play at being in charge, but that's it.

And I doubt any of that sort would raise an eyebrow should a few million poor, elderly, or indigent (due to health care costs) middle class Americans be wheeled to the side of road to die. Hell, they even talked about it during the fucking primaries. Why should anyone be surprised that they have no qualms about putting such plans into action?

These scumbags are evil personified.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

This cartoon in my local paper on August 30, 2012 captures my sentiments: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/168066136.html

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMagdal

Jacquelyn,

Any time I hear someone described as a "Good Mormon" or "Good Christian man" etc, I go into high alert. It may be that quite a lot of these people are in fact good, decent men and women. But it may also be that they are the fucking anti-Christ. After all do you recall that a standard description of Bush was that he was a "good Christian man"? My standard response was that he was none of the above. He was an evil, vicious, smirking war monger and deserter. An amoral slug who left a trail of slime, death, and destruction wherever he crawled.

But you're absolutely right. Willard the Rat would definitely be proud of his fellow Mormons for sticking it to your daughter. As far as he is concerned, nationality does not matter. People like Romney don't care about countries. They care about their money and their power. They care about the rich. Don't forget that the Rat himself said that he wasn't concerned about the poor. And for the Rat that means anyone who wouldn't be invited to one of his country clubs. There are only two castes for such as the Romneys. Themselves, the rulers, and everyone else. The serfs.

Interesting, isn't it, that a terribly written book by a misguided, tortuously terrible writer, being flogged endlessly by right-wing screamers like Beck and Limbaugh, predicted that progressive economic and political policies would lead us all down the Road to Serfdom when in fact it is right-wing oligarchs like the Rat who have already paved that road. He even has helpful signs posted along the way: "Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect Anything. Go Straight to Fucking Hell. signed, W.M. Romney, Boss."

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Not to throw kerosene on the fires of burning books and Romney tax returns left burning in Tampa after the Orgy of Haters, Racists, and Billionaires, but after reading Krugman's piece on how the Rat and the Fraud plan to destroy medical care for Americans, I had a thought. A bad one.

After making a typically excellent and well supported argument for understanding the enormity of the con game being played by Republicans, the Rat, and his vice-weasel, Krugman muses that it's just possible that they might get away with it due largely to indolence and ignorance on the part of the public, unless the media can step up and do their jobs.

But just think about that for a moment. Have any of you heard anyone on a broadcast network or major radio affiliate (outside of PBS and NPR) present the facts as Krugman has? I certainly haven't. And I don't really expect to. You may hear about it on Comedy Central and Rachel Maddow, but do you think Fuzzy Gregory will be jumping up and down screaming "The liars are coming, the liars are coming"?

Nope.

And here's why, besides the fact that Gregory is a suppurated pus chamber:

As Mark Felt once told Bob Woodward, follow the money.

ABC:
Owned by Walt Disney, Co. world's largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue with assets of over $72 billion.

NBC:
Owned by Comcast Communications, largest cable operator and third largest telephone services provider in the US. with assets of over $137 billion.

CBS:
Owned by the CBS Corporation with assets of a measly $26 billion.

Fox:
Owned by Beelzebub, who has zero interest in truth, justice, or the American way.

Clear Channel Communications:
Owns and operates more radio stations in the country, by far, than any other company.

Owned by (wait'll you hear this):

Bain Capital.

HA!

So, surprisingly, the media very likely WILL do their jobs, but I doubt it will be the jobs that Professor Krugman hoped, or the jobs that most Americans expect.

Given who owns them, the size of the probability that the media will blow the whistle on the Rat and his vice-weasel can be seen only with the aid of an electron microscope. Their jobs will be to deflect, deter, demur, delete, misdirect, and misstate.

But hey, don't miss "Wipeout" later tonight at 9:00 eastern, 8:00 central! You'll laugh until you wake up a serf.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Jacquelyn: thank you for sharing your daughter's story. It is heartbreaking, all the more so because so many capable, highly-qualified Americans are in the same boat. Most businesses -- Mormon-run or otherwise -- won't voluntarily give their employees (except top management) a fair shake out of some altruistic belief in the "greater good."

There are no short-term "fixes," though in the long term, low unemployment & unions could return American workers to highly-prized -- & therefore fairly compensated -- "elements" of the market system. This is currently true in a few fields, where specialists have the advantage over employers. But as long as Washington & state legislatures serve as the hand-maidens to business interests, there will be little movement toward the kind of strong middle class this country built half-a-century ago. High unemployment is, after all, a distinct advantage for businesses, particularly those that can sell products in foreign markets (not true of your daughter's situation, of course).

I'm aware of the "non-compete clause" which may be more-or-less fair in some highly-specialized fields where employees could carry one company's secrets to a competitor, but is ridiculous to impose on workers in more generalized fields like your daughter's. I read on one Website that "In some states, non-compete clauses are not enforceable unless the Employer has provided training or some other benefit to the Employee such that it would be unfair to allow the Employee to then directly compete with the Employer. The Employer should keep accurate wage and hour records as well as document any formal training or on-the-job training provided." This Utah lawyer has some advice for employers on how to write no-compete clauses. The lawyer explains -- in general terms -- under what circumstances Utah courts will enforce no-compete clauses. Your daughter might want to start by reading what he has to say. It seems likely her job is one in which the non-compete clause is unenforceable in Utah.

Good luck to her.

Marie

August 31, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Akhilleus: if Beelzebub were a (U.S.) Southerner instead of an Aussie, would he be Beelzebubba? Maybe that's Haley Barbour or Rick Perry or Mike Huckabee or or or....

August 31, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: friend of the devil is a friend of mine; CW, Ak; Calling Murdoch Satan gives the devil a bad name. The coming election is, as Marie has written, a IQ test for America. I wonder how many write-in votes will the devil get? I have such low expectations. Will Mitt riding the godmobile fueled by the devil win over the hearts and minds of non-informed voter? Ak points out who owns the MSM. The devil don't wear a red dress, the devil wears green greed suits and gold desire shoes. The devil wants your lunch. Fork it over.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Obama's heading out Monday to view the storm damage in Louisiana... and that raises the question, where's Brownie? Remember him? The former dressage judge turned FEMA expert? See, I knew there'd be a connection (six degrees of Kevin Bacon) to Mittens. Dressage. Betcha didn't know it's a kind of social medium.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Skipped most of the three night Repugnant daisy chain. Read today that a voter analysis suggested conservatives prefer football to John Stewart. Guess that made me a conservative last night. My congenitally low expectations rendered channel flipping between two bad games the far preferred alternative.

The first two nights I read Dennis Lehane's "The Given Day," a 700 page unembarrassed soap revolving around the 1919 Boston Policemen's strike. Lehane tosses together in his novelistic salad a Boston police family, a black man, terrorists, unions (the authorities, of course, confuse the latter two) with guest appearances by John--who later went by "J."-- Hoover, Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson and lot of screen time for Babe Ruth.

As we all know the strike did not end well for the workers...

Fun to read anyway, probably not worth the 700 pages but a painless way to see the painful future eerily mirrored in the past if the Repugnants have their way. And I'd like to believe a far better use of my time than the convention fare would have proved.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Beelzebubba.

Ha. I'm definitely stealing that one.

Well I know one southern senator who absolutely fits the Beelzebub type but would probably be better known as Beelzebuddah.

And that asshole has completely thrown away his dog whistle. Just before the Orgy he recorded a "public service announcement" so he called it, in which he declared hatred for Obama because Obama declined to take him up on all his wonderful suggestions, you know, like supporting businesses who want to keep out minorities. In this little diatribe Aqua Buddah boy informed the droolers that the president (don't you love how none of these douchewads ever refers to the guy as President Obama; he's always Obama, or something worse) had thrown out the American Constitution because he HATES it (natch) and has replaced it with an African Constitution. Had he said it was being replaced with a Sambo Constitution it couldn't be much more racist.

These are the true pig people.

But Beelzebubba is a keeper. Thanks, Marie.

And JJG, I agree that Rupe is a poor substitute. At least the devil has standards. Murdoch has none. But even if you don't believe in a hereafter, I'd like to think that Dante/Virgil was correct about that special rings of hell for traitors. Can't you just see the line up now? Murdoch, Limbaugh, Beck, McConnell, Romney, Ryan, Cantor, DeMint, DeLay, it goes on and on.....all trapped in the ice at the core of hell.

See? Hell can freeze over. At least Dante thought so.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I’ve been holding on to this one for a few weeks.

Recently I found a new translation of an old work supposedly written as a guide book to success in politics by Quintus Tullius Cicero to his much more famous older brother Marcus.

In it, the younger Cicero suggests many of the same kinds of dirty tricks and disreputable, slimy maneuvers on display in the speech and actions of the Rat Romney and his vice-weasel Ryan. For instance, Quintus instructs anyone seeking elected office to pretend friendship where none exists, to smear opponents at every turn even if these smears are unfounded; to be two-faced whenever it suits a purpose, and to lie outright to the voters promising them the most incredible things even (and especially) when possessed of full knowledge of an inability to do so.

So, the high points are: lie, cheat, lie some more, and be generally not only disingenuous but downright deceitful. To sum up: be an asshole.

Some of this strikes me as a little odd coming from the younger brother of one of the men considered a singularly responsible public figure during the end days of the Republic (even if Quintus was a bit of an asshole himself at times). I’ve read that some scholars who study that period don’t believe for a second that this low rent “Prince” was written or read by either Cicero.

But that’s beside the point. The casual reader might think this sort of advice bizarre, dishonest, and scurrilous. You know who doesn’t?

Guess.

"In his election advice to his brother Marcus, Quintus Cicero shows himself to be a master political strategist with a clear understanding of opposition research, organization, and turnout (though a little weak on message). Fresh, lively, and sharp, this primer provides timeless counsel and a great read for the modern political practitioner."--Karl Rove (Rove's blurb appears on the book jacket.)

Surprised?

Still a long way to the election. Fasten your seatbelts. The Assholes are Coming.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Try this, the title says it all.
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/87be7156f5/republicans-get-in-my-vagina

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb
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