The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

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."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

New York Times: "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty Wednesday as the government declared three days of official mourning and grappled with the aftermath of an attack on a school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 145 people. The national flag was lowered to half-staff on all official buildings and prayer services were scheduled across the country." ...

... The Washington Post profiles "Mullah Radio," the leader of the Taliban attack on schoolchildren & teachers.

Public Service Announcement

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 18

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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

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.

CW: For those of you who don't like hassling with DVDs, I accidentally found a cheap alternative to Netflix. Although I will continue to subscribe to Netflix's streaming videos, Netflix doesn't stream most decent movies. Instead, you have to maintain a (second) monthly subscription, then order & return the DVDs. However, YouTube now allows you to stream movies (you can watch them -- more than once -- during a 48-hour period.) There's no monthly fee, & you can play the movies on your TV via various devices. I have a Google dongle on one TV & a Blu-Ray box on another. The YouTube streaming videos work on both (you have to download on the Chrome browser). Setting up an account was very easy. Since I watch few movies, this works perfectly for me. When Ben Bradlee died, I watched "All the President's Men" for the umpteenth time, & today I watched "Good Night & Good Luck." Big advantage: instant gratification! I'm not sure if YouTube is good for more recent movies.

The Rockefellers Are Leaving the Building. New York Times: "By this time next year, they will have vacated the 56th-floor aerie [in 30 Rock] they have occupied since 1933 and moved to somewhat less rarefied headquarters across 49th Street. One of the country’s great dynastic families is downsizing."

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Thursday
Jul122012

The Commentariat -- July 13, 2012

Annie Lowrey of the New York Times: "Despite the recent run of disappointing economic data, a broad range of experts and forecasters expect the economy to improve slightly in coming months, thanks to lower oil prices and new signs of life from sectors like automobiles and housing. Call it a firming up, if not quite a comeback."

"Geithner Tried to Curb Rate-Rigging in 2008." Ben Protess of the New York Times: "When Timothy F. Geithner ran the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he acknowledged fundamental problems with the process for setting key interest rates in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis.... Mr. Geithner, who is now the United States Treasury secretary, questioned the integrity of the benchmark as reports surfaced that Barclays and other big banks were misrepresenting the rates." ...

... Jia Lynn Yang has the Washington Post story here.

Nikita Stewart of the Washington Post: Washington, D.C. "Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign inaccurately documented at least $100,000 in expenses in records filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, according to campaign treasurer Betty R. Brown.... Her comments underscore the extent of the legal troubles concerning Gray's official mayoral effort, including guilty pleas from three associates in a federal probe of the campaign.... According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, more than $653,000 was secretly poured into a separate 'shadow campaign' whose spending was never reported."

Somini Sengupta of the New York Times: "Richard O'Dwyer, an enterprising 24-year-old college student from northern England..., started [a Website] that helped visitors find American movies and television shows online. Although the site did not serve up pirated content, American authorities say it provided links to sites that did. The Obama administration is seeking to extradite Mr. O'Dwyer from Britain on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a United States prison." CW: it's okay to help your Hollywood campaign contributors beat pirates, but isn't this too much?

"Perfect Attendance. Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) cast her 5,000th consecutive vote Thursday, earning her the third-longest consecutive-vote streak of any senator in U.S. history. Standing at her desk shortly after 2 p.m., Collins beamed before her name was called on a vote to table a proposal on tax cuts for small businesses.... Not only has her vote streak consecutive, but it accounts for every vote held in the Senate since she joined the chamber in January 1997."

New York Times Editors: "For all its right-wing political muscle, ALEC has long enjoyed tax-exempt status as a nonpartisan charity under section 501(c )(3) of the tax code, which is supposed to bar it from influencing legislation as a substantial part of its activities. And because it is a charity, its donors are allowed to deduct contributions from income taxes.... Marcus Owens, the former chief of the I.R.S. division in charge of tax exemptions, has recently filed a complaint with the I.R.S. charging ALEC with illegal lobbying and partisan violations that should lead to revocation of its tax exemption. We agree."

New York Times Editors: "As the nation moves toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, there should be at least five justices willing to say that."

Presidential Race

President Obama on the biggest mistake of his first term:

     ... President Obama believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story. Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. -- Mitt Romney, reacting to the President's remarks

... CBS News: "President Barack Obama questioned presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's economic credentials, saying that while his tenure at private equity firm Bain Capital doesn't 'disqualify' him from running for president, it won't necessarily translate into job growth for Americans":

      ... CW: Obama could have been, um, more forceful. He seems a lot less comfortable than we are about slamming Rmoney. P.S. Charlie Rose won his V.S.P. merit badge, didn't he?

Robin Wells in the Guardian: "From images of corporate raiding, to luxury speedboats, to offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, to mega-mansions in the Hamptons, this week's stories suggest that the candidacy of Mitt Romney -- poster-boy for the symbiotic relationship between big money and the modern Republican party -- is in serious trouble.... The domination by the super-wealthy means that Republicans not only have no interest in the welfare of the rest of the 99.9%, they have no understanding of why this is a problem. The noblesse oblige days of the old money, such as the Bushes, the Kennedys and the Roosevelts are long gone...." ...

... Paul Krugman: "... the 'we are V.I.P.' crowd has fully captured the modern Republican Party.... If you're really concerned about the [tax] incentive effects of public policy, you should be focused not on the rich but on workers making $20,000 to $30,000 a year, who are often penalized for any gain in income because they end up losing means-tested benefits like Medicaid and food stamps."

** Bombshell! Callum Borchers & Christopher Rowland of the Boston Globe: "Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.... The timing of Romney's departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date. Contradictions concerning the length of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital add to the uncertainty and questions about his finances." ...

... This piece by Josh Marshall of TPM, published July 10, covers the territory the Globe reporters expand. ...

... AND this from David Corn of Mother Jones, dated July 2: "... documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission ... list Romney as an active participant in the investment [in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics].... Responding to a recent Washington Post story reporting that Bain-acquired companies outsourced jobs, the Romney campaign insisted that Romney exited Bain in February 1999, a month or more before Bain took over two of the companies named in the Post's article. The SEC documents undercut that defense...." CW: We should give more credit to bloggers who so often lay the groundwork for MSM reports that get all the attention. ...

     ... CW: Oh, looks like even the Globe agrees with me. From Dylan Byers of Politico: "Globe editor Martin Baron said Thursday that the paper failed to credit other news organizations, such as Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo, that had previously reported on the story. Baron said it was a 'mistake' the passages giving credit were removed and that the paper will remedy the error online but added that the Globe 'advanced the story with a more comprehensive and complete look that broke significant news.'" ...

     ... In an interesting update on the Globe story itself, Dylan Byers reports that the Rmoney campaign asked for a correction, and the Globe said no. Byers has the "no" memo from Globe editor Martin Baron, which is pretty good.

... Mackenzie Weinger & Dylan Byers of Politico: "The Obama campaign went on the attack Thursday after a bombshell report revealed that Mitt Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital for years longer than he has previously admitted. Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said this new disclosure shows Romney is 'the most secretive candidate to run for president since Richard Nixon.'" ...

... John Aravosis of AmericaBlog: "1. Romney told the SEC that he remained the firm's 'sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president' up until 2002. 2. But Romney said in a more recent financial disclosure form that he left Bain in 1999 -- so the two federal forms contradict each other, at least one is a lie." ...

... Jennifer Epstein of Politico: "Mitt Romney either lied in federal filings that show he worked at Bain Capital through 2002 and could be guilty of a felony, or has lied to the American people in saying he left the company in 1999, the Obama campaign is arguing in light of news reports on the firm’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 'This is serious business,' said Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign's counsel, in a conference call for reporters...." ...

... Steve Benen: "When the editors of FactCheck.org initially took Romney's claims at face value to reject Democratic criticisms, they said the candidate must be telling the truth about his Bain departure date, because if he didn't really leave until 2002, then 'Romney would be guilty of a federal felony by certifying on federal financial disclosure forms that he left active management of Bain Capital in February 1999.' FactCheck.org meant that to be proof that Romney's claims were true. Now that there's ample evidence to the contrary, it's worth considering that whole 'guilty of a federal felony' question again." ...

... "I Did Not Have Economic Relations with That Company." Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "It doesn't seem too hard to believe that while Romney was in Salt Lake, he also continued to be involved in the major decisions at Bain -- even if he wasn't available to pitch for the company softball team.... But if he were to admit that, then he'd have to answer specific questions about his knowledge of the steel mill that went bankrupt, the outsourcing companies, and so on. And there is nothing in the world Mitt Romney wants to do less than have to answer specific questions about Bain and what he did there." ...

... Henry Blodgett of Business Insider: "Sorry, Mitt Romney, You Can't Be Chairman, CEO, And President Of A Company And Not Be Responsible For What It Does...." ...

... Kevin Roose of New York magazine tells Romney's side: "It depends on what the meanings of "manager" and "CEO" are." ...

Oh, There's More. David Corn: Romney "decries China poaching US jobs. But at Bain he held a large stake in a Chinese company that did just that." ...

... Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Mitt Romney sure picked a bad day to call the President a liar." ...

... "Projecting Mendacity." Ed Kilgore on the Rovian Rmoney attack ad on Obama: "... the new gambit from his campaign is probably also designed to (a) chip into Obama’s continuing advantage in personal favorability, while (b) reinforcing among GOP 'base' voters the meme that the whole Obama enterprise is a vast Potemkin Village disguising his radicalism and unsavory association with America-haters and Christ-haters." ...

... Jonathan Bernstein, writing in the Washington Post, remarks that these financial bombshells are just coming out now because Rmoney's amateur opponents in the primary didn't do any serious oppo research. CW: I suspect the Obama team was preparing to make the case John Aravosis so succinctly crystallize. The "sources" Aravosis cites are pretty much out in the open: they're public documents that any oppo team would check. That's why the Obama campaign ads accused Rmoney of doing stuff that took place after 1998. Fact-checkers have panned the ads, but the Obama camp had it right all along -- and I think they knew it.

... Dierdre Walsh of CNN: "The chief of the House Republicans' campaign arm said Thursday it was 'fair game' for people to ask for more information about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's personal financial records. 'His personal finances, the way he does things, his record, are fair game,' Texas Republican Pete Sessions told CNN."

The blind trust is an age-old ruse. -- Mitt Romney, 1994, on Ted Kennedy's blind trust ...

... Todd Purdum of Vanity Fair: Romney "assures us that his assets are held in a 'blind trust' over which he exerts no control. But just how blind are such trusts, anyway? In Romney's case, apparently not quite blinkered enough to keep his trustee -- who is also his personal lawyer and longtime friend Bradford Malt -- from investing more than $10 million of Romney's money in an investment fund managed by Romney's son Tagg." Via Greg Sargent. ...

      Also from the Purdum post, which is well-worth reading in full:

As a freshman senator, Barack Obama — whose wealth comes almost entirely from his book royalties -- set up a blind trust but later that same year sold all of his stocks and closed the trust because he decided that even such an arrangement could not protect him from the appearance of a conflict. Most of his wealth is now invested in U.S. Treasury bonds and diversified funds -- about the most transparent option available. What's good for the country is good for Obama, and vice versa, to coin a phrase.

Yo! Those welfare queens booed me at my NAACP gig because I'll make sure the government doesn't give them any 'more free stuff.' -- Mitt Romney, at a fundraiser, paraphrased (but not off the mark)

Jay Rosen of NYU: "Suppose a major party candidate for president believed we were in a 'post-truth' era and actually campaigned that way. Would political reporters in the mainstream press figure it out and tell us? I say no. They would not tell us. Not in any clear way."

AND Andy Borowitz forwards a note from Willard's doctor attesting to the candidate's memory loss.

News Ledes

On CNN, "... Mitt Romney offered a vocal defense Friday of his tenure [at Bain] and strongly disputed reports he left the firm years later than he has previously said." CW: "A vocal defense"? Does that mean he wasn't singing AND dancing? Here's the CNN interview:

Romney says Obama owes him a apology:


Same story at ABC News. Here's the transcript of Jonathan Karl's interview of Romney.

New York Times: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York learned in April 2008, as the financial crisis was brewing, that at least one bank was reporting false interest rates.... Although the New York Fed conferred with Britain and American regulators about the problems and recommended reforms, it failed to stop the illegal activity, which persisted through 2009.... Timothy F. Geithner, who served as the head of the New York Fed during the crisis years, and other regulators raised concerns about Libor. But they did not stop the problems."

Bloomberg News: "JPMorgan Chase & Co. had already lost more than $700 million on synthetic credit bets and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon was told that number could climb to almost $1 billion when he dismissed press reports about the positions in April as a 'tempest in a teapot.'"

New York Times: "A county judge in Alabama has temporarily shut down a system in a town near Birmingham where people fined for speeding and unable to afford the ticket are handed over to a private probation company and sometimes sent to jail, where additional fees are imposed."

New York Times: "Mitt Romney will submit to five network and cable television interviews this afternoon after several days of being hammered by President Obama’s campaign on his personal wealth and his time at Bain Capital."

The Hill: "President Obama mocked Republicans on Friday for seeking to repeal the healthcare law 33 times instead of working to pass a tax extension that would help the middle class. Kicking off a two-day, five-stop bus tour in Virginia, Obama sought to hammer home his latest message to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those making under $250,000 a year as part of an effort that, he says, would help the middle class."

Washington Post: "A D.C. police officer who worked as a motorcycle escort for White House officials and other dignitaries was moved to administrative duty Wednesday after he allegedly was overheard making threatening comments toward Michelle Obama, according to several police officials."

Al Jazeera: "Syria's opposition has urged the UN Security Council to pass a binding resolution against Damascus following reports by activists that regime forces massacred at least 150 villagers in the central province of Hama."

Guardian: "China's growth has slowed to its lowest rate since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009, though analysts voiced optimism on Friday that the economy may have bottomed out already. Second-quarter growth of 7.6% -- down from 8.1% in the previous three months -- was in line with expectations...."

Reader Comments (19)

A sidelight on the Boston Globe report is the extremely misleading way that the Times reported it. The Times headline reads: "Report on Romney’s Bain Tenure Seized On by Obama Camp," making it seem as if the Boston Globe report was simply fodder for political partisanship, rather than highly relevant and devastating evidence that Romney has either lied to the SEC or lied to the voters about when his activities at Bain ceased. Moreover, why did it take the Boston Globe, with far fewer reportorial resources than the Times, to uncover these documents? Shame and double shame on the Gray Lady!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

This campaign is turning out to be fun. Romney's inept crackers seem to have forgotten that all those unwashed bloggers know where the facts lurk. Sure hope my tequila doesn't run out before my next SSA check... would hate to have to make sense out of this shit while sober.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Calyban,

Your point focuses attention on the way news is dispersed with a barely traceable taint of partisanship. Why would a NYTimes editor approve such a dissembling headline??? WHY?

I cannot even vouchsafe a proper answer. I can, however suggest some rationale. First, the Times, as has been clear since at least the first stolen election by right-wing dullard, war criminal, and financial mountebank, George W. Bush, has been scared out of its wits to present the unvarnished truth or offer anything other than some treacly, puking estimation of what they think the right will accept as unbiased truth (meaning, keening kowtowing to their version of reality).

Second, they fear retribution from the ranks of the screaming, drooling harlequins. Courage in the face of ideological idiocy has vanished from the ranks of nearly all media outlets. They simply cannot abide the spanking stupidity rendered by right-wing zealotry.

Cowardice is what we used to call this.

Finally, much of the media would have not the slightest problem eviscerating a Reverend Wright for an out of control world view, but a figure like Willard the Rat with his slick suits, perfectly coiffed looks, monogrammed shirts, and idiot celebrity spawn perfection evinces only, at best, a kind of surly obeisance.

I would point you all to the lyrics of one of the giant figures from the Golden Age of Calypso, one Neville Marcano, known in musical circles as Growling Tiger. These are the lyrics to his magnum opus, Money is King:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMlfUirBs4E&feature=related

If you have money to buy in a store

The boss will shake your hands at the door

Call them clerks to take down everything

Whiskey, cloth, earring and diamond ring

He may send them to your house on a motorbike

You can pay the bills whenever you like

Not a soul will ask you a thing

They know very well that money is king

A man with a collar and tie and waistcoat

Ask the Chineeman to trust him and float

To extend him credit for food.

"Me no trus' am," bawl out de Chineeman
"
And you better move on from me frying pan

You college man, me no know ABC

You wantum accra, gie am penny!
"
De worm start to jump in de man's belly

And he cried out, "A dog is better than me"

A dog can walk about and take up bone

Fowl head, stale bread, fish tail and pone

If it's a good breed and not too wild

Some people will take it and mind as a child

But when a hungry man goes out to beg

They will set a bulldog behind his leg

Forty policemen may chalk him down too

You see where a dog is better than you.

If you have money and things going nice

Any woman will call you honey and spice

If you can't give her a dress, one new pair of shoe

She'll say she have no uses for you

When you try to caress her, she will tell you,
"Stop!
I can't carry love in the Chinee shop
"
I'm sure most of you will agree that it's true

If you haven't money, dog is better than you

Growling Tiger nails it.

The True thrust of the Romney presidential juggernaut is that if you're not rich like him?

Dog is better than you.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Omg! I am so f-ing wicked happy!!! Thank you Ms.(?) Burns... Your posting of this, all of this, has freaking made my night!
Mitty is, to paraphrase Franklin(via Buster, nonetheless!) a freak bitch! Ha ha, you smug motherfucker!! Let's see you weasel out of this one, you mass-hole!
What a great 2 days, first the NAACP snafu, now this... Hate that motherfucker, I really do....
Now, who can we vote for besides Obama???
(I know, I know.....)
....I really just wanted to kinda say thanks for the site. Got a little out of hand...First thing I read in the morning, every morning. Really appreciate all the heavy lifting you do. Your so cool!!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralan

Do I hear the word felony as in jail? This could be serious fun.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Regarding Akhilleus' assessment of today's Times, if memory serves, didn't Lyndon Johnson complain that he couldn't run the Vietnam War with the New York Times, the greatest newspaper in the world, taking sides against him? Gee, what a difference a few decades makes; and oh, how the mighty have fallen.

We can talk of Romney's felonies and lies, but in the end, to what purpose? Will he go to jail? Not likely, the right will start their "elitist, liberal media, hater, both sides do it, etc., etc., etc., crap; he'll become a hero to the low-information voters because he's being victimized (think Sarah Palin); George Soros will be named as a "he did it too and nothing happened to him"; and we will spend countless new cycles listening to each side hurl accusations at the other. Laws are for little, non-politican people not the masters of the universe like Mitt (as Ms. Burns writes) Rawmoney.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

And here is the frosting on the cake for MittWitt! It is from no other than Robin Wells--the partner and "shaper-upper" of our favorite Nobel economist, Paul Krugman. She is not only his equal; she has turned the Professor into a CAT FREAK! Yea!

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/12381-romney-of-billionaires-for-billionaires-by-billionaires

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

A thought from Tom Hayden--in response to Linda Greenhouse's op ed in the NYT yesterday about Justice John ("I'm Cool") Roberts. I am in the Hayden camp, though I know it is a minority opinion. I thought this before Roberts' declared himself, and I still do--with due respect to Greenhouse. Here is the first paragraph of what Hayden has to say:


The Roberts Court; Enemy of Democracy

..."While progressive Democrats are giddy over the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Obama health care law, the Roberts' decision can be interpreted as cushioning the reputation of the Court from rising public questioning of its balance and legitimacy. Indeed, salvaging its reputation was one of the reasons for its decision in the case...."

Here is the link: http://tomhayden.com/home/the-roberts-court-enemy-of-democracy.html

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

The heat is on. Mitt's failure to disclose has been an issue from the beginning but now it has moved to a new level. Yes, the Republicans are going to scream 'politics', but the noise will only make the question of disclosure more obvious. Why not? Well now we know. Let's hope the MSM actually spends some time looking into the question that a candidate for POTUS may have committed a crime. I have an idea for a cheap add for the Obama campaign. Just a quick one liner to flash on the screen.

"Hay Mitt, if you nothing to hide, why are you hiding".

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Another day in dumpster heaven for me. I spent most of the day running from tile store to tile store yesterday, and I'm not done with that project by any means. When I called my husband somewhere in there to see how he was doing & if we had any properly-running toilets, the answer was that we had no running water at all: seems some old pipes burst from the vibration of the demolition.

@Calyban: I'm going to work on the Times' reaction to the Globe story for my NYTX column. Thanks for highlighting it.

@Kate Madison: I skimmed Tom Hayden's post, & I don't think he says anything counter to Linda Greenhouse's post. I don't know of any progressives cheering Roberts as a new liberal hero; they're just saying in a more positive light exactly what Hayden is deriding: Roberts saved the Court from going over the cliff. I don't doubt they're still going down that same cliff, but Roberts' save was to temporarily slow down the journey. The Court is on a ledge instead of at the bottom of the abyss, but they're working their way into the abyss. Unless both -- (a) a conservative Supreme leaves the Court & (b) a Democrat (Obama) nominates a replacement -- happens, the Court will hit bottom.

July 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

The court will hit bottom. When the super pacs really go to work with their flood of negative ads, Obama's support will falter. Negative ads do not backfire, they work even if blatantly false.
The constituency that elected W. two times will elect Willard.
"There is of course, a good chance that the Republicans will control both Congress and the White House next year." Paul Krugman, July 13th.
While this will be a temporary disaster, Republican over reach will create an environment that will make the need for major change evident to everyone. Starving people can be led to food. We are perhaps only eight or twelve years from salvation.
"You can't get there from here." is our current political situation. Without radical change we will suffer for decades in a diminished Democracy.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

OMG, Carlyle. I hope you're wrong.

Given the frighteningly timid temperament of Obama and the Democrats, and the boundless cash available to the Rat and his Super PAC friends, the Kochs, Rove, et al, the voter suppression efforts, the coming election fraud and vote stealing which have become de rigeur for Republicans with national elections on the line, and the soon to come barrage of negative ads describing Obama as a murderous foreigner, a Muslim Stepin Fetchit, tanked up on socialism and crank, a black man with a license to steal, rape, murder, and assault white virtue and American Values (and those will be the good ones), I think two things: first, the charges against Romney lying about the date of his relinquishing command at Bain and what he said when and to whom won't matter a whit. No one will care. No cares now.

They WILL care about the lies being spread about Obama however. This ground has been tilled for three years. So there is every chance that we will have another crook in the White House. And we all know what that means for the Supreme Court. Then John Roberts' temporary burst of conscience or this ploy or whatever it is, won't matter a'tall.

My fear is that Obama won't be roused from his wonkish wonderland until it's far too late to rally the troops and slam the door on the murderous conservative onslaught. It will be like the Orc assault on Helm's Deep in the Lord of the Rings except without the last minute cavalry charge with Gandalf saving the day.

An army of drooling, slack-jawed Fox watchers marching behind the dark lords Rove and the Kochs will descend on the polls in November.

If Obama doesn't act soon (it looks like he may be starting to respond) it will be too late. If he's waiting for the convention, that's too late as well. He needs to be out there NOW, today, slamming the shit out of this asshole, and talking up the ACA, telling Americans how he has helped move us toward a better place and how his opponents want to keep them in their place, without jobs, without decent health care, without hope. Telling them clearly without any dainty language how Republicans' sole goal over the last three years was to hurt Americans in order to win this election.

The clock is already running.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: Thurston "Mittless" Howell IV. Of course he wasn't in charge when he was in charge, that's why you have Gilligans around. Gilligan you, Gilligan me, holding the bag when the shit comes down. Does anyone else enjoy the paradox of the 'Party of Responsibility' having a standard bearer who is not even responsible for what comes out of his own mouth? I envision Mitt as a bank account number accessible only to himself. If corporations are people why not off-shore accounts too?
Re: Akhilleus; you've got a way with words, help me out with "Mitt's Money" just a little ditty, you can all join in.
" Where to hide my bags of money?
Where to hide my bags of money?
How about where it's warm and sunny
taxes are few and accents are funny.
Where to hide my bags of money,
Where to hide my bags of money?
Mango trees and an ocean breeze
glad I moved my money over seas.
Where to hide my bags of money,
Where to hide my bags of money?
Don't care too much about the poor
long as I got my stash off-shore.
Where to hide my bags of money,
where to hide my bags of money?
Tell me the country's going bust
well that's ok, I got my secret trust.
Where to hide my bags of money?
Re: Marie; I always tell my clients that the demo starts when everything to be installed new is in garage; tile,lighting and plumbing fixtures, pulls, mirrors, cabs, down to the toilet paper roll dispenser and no change orders if you want to come in under budget and on time. Of course, it's your dime and I can spend it faster than you can say "Kohler." I have no experience with Florida construction, only the west coast, out here the scale goes from first rate to shoddy. I did visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina and was shocked on how crappy the fit and finish was on the house I was staying at. Crap, the new standard; kinda like today's political scene. OK let's make some noise, noise is progress, progress is good.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

I couldn't get my piece together on the NYT both-sides-do-it story, mostly because the so-called fact-checkers have doubled down on their "Romney left Bain in '99" claim. I don't believe there is a chance he had no idea what Bain was doing from '99 to '01; I'm sure he approved all the major stuff, & there's some evidence that he was in the middle of some of it. When you're talking about multi-million $$ deals, you don't just say, "Let's not tell Mitt. He's busy arranging the ice-dancing events."

@JJG: the de-constructors revealed a stunning example of why you don't let plumbers anywhere near sharp implements: to accommodate the tub's plumbing, one of them cut out 18" of a stud on a bearing wall & "connected" the two pieces with a 1x2". That is, they left 18" of air. If I hadn't seen similar examples before, I'd be amazed. But I've seen it. So I'm not.

Marie

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Constant Weader

Yes, I agree with what you say about Tom Hayden's views on Johnny (I'm Cool) Roberts. I did not mean to imply (nor did he) that progressives are cheering him on as the "new liberal swing justice," only that Johnny could see the cliff ahead and saw his vote with the crazoids fast pushing the Court over the edge. He does worry constantly about his reputation, since he made a comment several years ago that he did not want HIS to be a "failed Court," as so many have been in the past.

I think Johnny is a very smart, but shallow, dude who does not understand the historical importance of the Court--except as it relates to the Chief Justice. So he has great concern about HIS place in history. And he is not so blind that he cannot see CRAZY all around him in black robes.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

JJG,

Here's a few lines:

Where to cache ill-gotten gains?
Someplace where it rarely rains

I take your company, it’s doing fine
Next thing you know, your ass is mine.

You’re on the street, nowhere to go
Me? I’m off to the Caymans, bro.

But I’ll take care of all your coin
Your retirement, now purloined

Your business, like others, belly up
Don’t complain. Just shut up.

I buy ‘em up, I break ‘em too
Makes no difference what I do.

No laws or rules apply to me.
This is my land, land of the free.

But where to hide my bags of dough
That’s for me to say, not for you to know.

Any day now I'll be president
But your life is over, it came and went.

So vote for me, maybe I'll allow
your kids to finish school somehow.

It might sound strange, or even funny
But screw you and yours. I've got your money.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: Akhilleus, you put the bling in the ring. I'll call you when P. Ditty gets in touch. Where are we going to hid the cash? I"m thinking dog biscuit futures and casks of Irish whiskey.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

JJG,

I didn't realize there was such a bull market for canine cookies. Well, if everything's going to the dogs I suppose they'll take a break now and then from a hard day's ravaging for a quick biscuit or three or four.

The Irish whiskey idea is great but first we'll have to empty the casks. Any ideas? Victor McLaglen, as Sgt. Mulcahy in Fort Apache, when told by his CO to get rid of a keg of illegal whiskey, took the indirect approach to this assignment. "Boys" he said to his fellow soldiers, "tis a man's work we have ahead of this day."

I always liked Victor's style. We may all need some whiskey before this election season is over.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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