The Ledes

Sunday, April 26, 2015.

New York Times: "A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,900 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks."

New York Times: "A largely peaceful protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody, gave way to scattered scenes of chaos [in Baltimore] on Saturday night, as demonstrators smashed a downtown storefront window, threw rocks and bottles and damaged police cruisers, while officers in riot gear broke up skirmishes and made 12 arrests near Camden Yards. Shortly before 10 p.m., Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake convened a news conference at City Hall, where she appeared with several others — including Mr. Gray’s twin sister, Fredericka; a prominent pastor, Jamal Bryant; and City Councilman Brandon Scott — to appeal for calm. By that time the disturbances had largely settled.

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President lays out why new, high-standards trade agreements are important for our economy, our businesses, our workers, and our values":

The Ledes

Saturday, April 25, 2015.

New York Times: "Pledging to shut down the city, thousands of demonstrators jammed the streets of Baltimore on Saturday to protest the death of a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody." ...

... Baltimore Sun: "A day of peaceful rallies into the death of Freddie Gray turned violent as dark fell over Baltimore with protesters smashing the windows on police cars, blocking traffic near the Inner Harbor and shouting, 'Killers!' at officers dressed in riot gear." ...

     ... The Sun also is loveblogging the demonstrations.

New York Times: "An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu. People in the capital described scenes of panic and collapsed buildings, and the United States Geological Survey predicted severe damage to villages near the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles from Katmandu." ...

     ... New Lede: "A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,300 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks." ...

... At 9 pm ET, the Washington Post has the death toll at 1,500. By midnight, the Post was reporting 1,800 dead. ...

... The Guardian is liveblogging developments. ...

... NEW. Washington Post: "An Indian army mountaineering team found 18 bodies on Mount Everest on Saturday, an army spokesman said, after a massive earthquake in Nepal unleashed an avalanche on the world’s tallest mountain at the start of the main climbing season." ...

Katmandu's historic Dharahara Tower, before & after the quake.... NEW. Washington Post: "The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that violently shook Nepal on Saturday left more than human casualties in its wake. The country also saw a number of its iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites and most popular tourist attractions -- some dating more than 1,700 years -- reduced to piles of rubble."

AP: "The University of Florida suspended one of its fraternities on Friday after allegations that its members hurled drunken insults and spat at a group of disabled military veterans at a Panama City Beach resort."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
April 24

Sorry. This is yesterday's livefeed. Since the White House doesn't date their schedule (despite my repeated requests) I just can't tell. I probably won't have time to republish today's schedule, should the White House ever get around to publishing it.

10:00 am ET: President Obama makes a statement

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

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus (audio only)

2:15 pm ET: President Obama honors the Super Bowl champs

4:55 pm ET: President Obama speaks at the Organizing for Action summit

7:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at an Israel Independence Day ceremony (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

Wild Things Interrupt President Obama's reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the White House's Easter Egg Roll:

... Don't Worry, Bee Happy. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The pint-sized guests Monday might not have listened to him, but the president’s National Pollinator Initiative will forge ahead. Last June Obama launched an inter-agency task force charged with developing a federal strategy to protect pollinators, which help sustain crops ranging from almonds to blueberries and broccoli, and it should be unveiling a detailed plan in a matter of months."

The Coolest First Lady in the History of the Nation:


Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post: "For her forthcoming book, “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House,” Kate Andersen Brower managed to elicit stories from domestic staff who witnessed up close the loneliness of President Nixon as he faced impeachment, the weariness of Hillary Clinton as her husband’s sex scandal exploded and other surprisingly intimate moments involving the first families. Most of these stories — from Nancy Reagan’s tirade over three broken tchotchkes to the tearful hug Jackie and Bobby Kennedy shared with a favorite doorman in an elevator — are attributed to staffers by name, not wrapped in the cloud of anonymous sourcing that usually cloaks reporting about the inner workings of the White House." ...

Here's What $75MM Buys:

... Orange County Register: "President Richard Nixon's Western White House, an oceanfront San Clemente estate owned by retired Allergan CEO Gavin S. Herbert, is for sale at $75 million. Herbert, 83, is selling the 5.45-acre estate after owning the property for 35 years." Includes slideshow.

New York: "Here's a spoiler for people who haven't finished House of Cards season three yet: Frank Underwood doesn't die, because Netflix [April 2] announced that it had renewed Cards for a fourth season."

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday afternoon, just about lunch time, a 'flying saucer' was undergoing a spin test in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The saucer is technically a 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound aerodynamic test vehicle. It is designed to help engineers try out new technologies for landing spacecraft, and someday people, on Mars."

Guardian: "Comedy Central is standing by its new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, after the 31-year-old South African comedian set to replace Jon Stewart was criticized for a series of controversial jokes he tweeted before his appointment." ...

... Jessica Winter of Salon: "Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt." Besides being a misogynist pig & an anti-Semite, Noah isn't even funny."

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Tuesday
Jul172012

The Commentariat -- July 18, 2012

Mary Walsh & Michael Cooper of the New York Times: "The fiscal crisis for states will persist long after the economy rebounds as they confront rising health care costs, underfunded pensions, ignored infrastructure needs, eroding revenues and expected federal budget cuts, according to a report issued here Tuesday by a task force of respected budget experts." ...

... New York Times Editors: "Around the country..., states continue to face a fiscal crisis because of rising costs and Republican-driven cuts in federal aid. While some governors and lawmakers are searching for new revenue sources, others are using the downturn as an excuse to end a long tradition of states being the final backstop for society's neediest."

Matt Bai in a New York Times Magazine piece on why the Citizens United decision probably didn't make much difference. CW: it's a point of view, and some of Bai's POV might be right. ...

... For an excellent view to the contrary, Bill Moyers & Michael Winship outline some of the bad effects of Citizens United & tie those bad effects, not surprisingly, to the demise of the DISCLOSE Act this week (not a single GOP Senator voted for it). "... at the time of the ruling..., eight of the nine justices also made it clear that key to the decision was the importance of transparency. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, 'The First Amendment protects political speech and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way.'"; Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post: "New laws in 10 states requiring voters to show IDs could present serious challenges to voters without financial resources and transportation, according to a report released Wednesday. The study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, which opposes the new laws, found several obstacles that could keep voters from being able to cast ballots, including limited access to offices that issue the IDs required under the new measures."

Steve Kornacki: "... just because a president does what voters tell pollsters they want him to do on taxes doesn't guarantee voters will understand it that way -- especially if one of the two major parties is loudly and unanimously arguing that the president has done something completely and totally different from what he says he did." CW: the bottom line here is that Republicans lie a lot & Democrats don't defend themselves against the lies. And goobers are goobers.

Ta-Nehesi Coates in the New York Times: "The problem here is not that [Joe] Paterno shamed Happy Valley, but that Happy Valley, through its broad blindness, has shamed itself."

Lisa Rein of the Washington Post: "The acting chief of the General Services Administration will announce Tuesday that he is canceling almost all bonuses for executives this year and freezing hiring after a spending scandal that prompted a major shake-up at the agency.... Of 75 career senior executives, 67 received bonuses in the last fiscal year.... The average was $9,600, the same award given to Jeffrey Neely, the organizer of the now-famous Western Regions conference. Neely got his bonus even after the inspector general" had briefed GSA leaders "on the excessive spending." CW: Um, why are bureaucrats getting bonuses anyway?

Sally McGrane of the New York Times: Denmark's "cycle superhighway, which opened in April, is the first of 26 routes scheduled to be built to encourage more people to commute to and from Copenhagen by bicycle. More bike path than the Interstate its name suggests, it is the brainchild of city planners who were looking for ways to increase bicycle use in a place where half of the residents already bike to work or to school every day." ...

... AND, by contrast, Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times on couch spuds: "... a group of groundbreaking new reports ... suggest that voluntary physical inactivity, a practice once confined mostly to North America and parts of Europe, is spreading rapidly to the rest of the world and likely contributing materially to global gains in tonnage and declines in health." CW: it isn't just a greater level of income equality that makes Danes the happiest people in the world.

So, okay, I didn't watch this hour-long interview:

       ... But here's a typical quote, courtesy of Taegan Goddard:

Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful. But I have no desire for fame and power anymore.... I crawled out of the swamp and I'm not crawling back in. -- George W. Bush

Charles Pierce on "David Brooks, Joe Klein & the Courtier Press."

Presidential Race

Maureen Dowd: "Campaigning Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Romney called Obama's course as president 'extraordinarily foreign.' But it is the Mitt-bot who keeps getting caught doing things that seem strangely outside the norm to most Americans."

Ultra-conservative Byron York in the ultra-conservative Washington Examiner on why the Romney campaign is floundering. Greg Sargent calls this a must-read. It is a good summary of Romney's problems.

Alex Altman of Time on Romney's Olympic Games credentials. Even they are not as impressive as Mitt would have you believe.

Felicia Sonmez & Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "The political pressure on Mitt Romney to release more of his personal income tax returns is causing some divisions inside the GOP presidential candidate's camp, according to a Republican strategist close to the campaign. Although some advisers are arguing privately that Romney needs to release additional filings to curb the political fallout, others are resisting that suggestion...." ...

... A Helpful Rebuttal. Manu Raju of Politico: "Mitt Romney's tax returns had nothing to do with Sen. John McCain's decision to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, according to the Arizona Republican, saying he chose the former Alaska governor because she was a 'better candidate.' McCain received more than two decades worth of Romney's tax returns as the former Massachusetts governor was undergoing the vetting process four years ago, far more than Romney has released publicly in the 2012 campaign. Democrats have questioned whether McCain saw something untoward in those tax returns and decided to choose Palin instead." ...

... Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Yesterday, former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt rebutted the insinuation that Mitt Romney's tax returns cost him the vice presidential selection by saying that it was Romney's wealth, not his tax returns, that cost him the job. But while Schmidt was clearly trying to suggest that Romney's returns are clean, by the end of the day, he acknowledged that he'd never actually seen them." With video. ...

... Brett LoGiurato of Business Insider: "Fifty-six percent of Americans think Mitt Romney should release his tax returns from the last 12 years while 34 percent think he should not, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling. Among Independent voters,61 percent want Romney to release his returns, while just 27 percent say he shouldn't." ...

... Several tax experts tell Greg Sargent it's very likely the Romneys paid very low taxes in the years Romney is refusing to release his returns. ...

... Joshua Green of Business Week on why the theory that Romney paid no taxes in 2008 and/or 2009 is plausible. ...

... AND Matt Yglesias has another plausible theory: in 2009, perhaps Romney took advantage of an amnesty that the IRS offered Americans who evaded taxes by holding secret Swiss bank accounts. Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, had cut a deal with the IRS to disclose 4,000 accounts held by Americans. Yglesias' reasoning is solid: "Romney might well have thought in 2007 and 2008 that there was nothing to fear about a non-disclosed offshore account ... precisely because it wasn't disclosed. But then came the [UBS] settlement.... Failing to apply for the amnesty and then getting charged by the IRS would have been both financially and politically disastrous.... But even though the amnesty would eliminate any legal or financial liability for past acts, it would hardly eliminate political liability."

Garrett Haake & Michael O'Brien of NBC News: "The Romney campaign ratcheted up its language on Tuesday in a conference call on which former New Hampshire governor and White House chief of staff John Sununu said he wished President Obama 'would learn how to be an American.' Sununu led a series of Romney surrogates in questioning the president's commitment to economic freedom, dredging up the president's ties to Tony Rezko; another speaker on the conference call said Obama's policies were akin to 'socialism'":

     ... As McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed writes, "Earlier Tuesday, Sununu made several of the charges in an interview with Fox News, suggesting that his words on the conference call were part of a new Romney campaign effort to turn the focus of the race away from questions about his time at Bain Capitol":

Obama has no idea how the American system functions. And we shouldn't be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S., he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago. -- John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor & Romney surrogate on Fox "News" Tuesday. Coppins has the video.

      ... Update: A Romney adviser said, "'I mean, [Obama] is a guy who admitted to cocaine use, had a sweetheart deal with his house in Chicago, and was associated and worked with Rod Blagojevich to get Valerie Jarrett 'appointed to the Senate.... The bottom line is there'll be counterattacks.' The reference to Obama's past drug use seems to suggest that ... John Sununu wasn't going off-script after all when he dinged the president for spending 'his early years in Hawaii smoking something' during a Tuesday morning Fox News appearance."

... Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon has as excellent post on why John Sununu , of all people, should know better than to attack President Obama's ethnic & cultural heritage.

Kevin Robillard of Politico: "A day after forcing YouTube to pull a Mitt Romney campaign ad featuring a snippet of Barack Obama singing Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together,' a major music publisher is doing likewise with videos of the president's crooning. Romney's ad disappeared Monday, and the Obama clips — shot at a January fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem -- began coming down Tuesday."

Andy Borowitz: "Manufacturing workers from across China flooded downtown Beijing to show their gratitude for Mr. Romney's robust record of job creation in China while at the helm of the private equity firm Bain Capital. While Mr. Romney's feats of outsourcing have taken a political toll at home, they have made him a national hero in China, according to workers like Qiu Huang, who attended the rally."

Right Wing World

Still at It. AP: "Investigators for an Arizona sheriff's [Joe Arpaio] volunteer posse say President Barack Obama's birth certificate is definitely fraudulent." CW: I have serious bad news for the birthers: even if the certificate were fraudulent -- which it is not -- Sheriff Joe's volunteer posse would have to prove that Obama's mother was not a natural-born citizen, as her American nationality grants Obama automatic citizenship.

News Ledes

New York Times: "A Senate committee advanced a measure on Wednesday to normalize trade relations with Russia for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union while also sanctioning officials implicated in human rights abuses."

New York Times: "The nation's consumer watchdog on Wednesday delivered its first enforcement action against the financial industry, fining Capital One for pressuring and misleading more than two million credit card customers. Capital One, one of the nation's biggest banks and credit card lenders, agreed to pay $210 million to resolve a pair of regulatory cases, the latest legal setback for the financial industry."

Washington Post: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers Tuesday that the central bank did all it was required to do after learning in 2008 of the manipulation of the Libor interest rate, including notifying counterparts in Britain. But Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, addressing Parliament earlier in the day, said ... 'The New York Fed did not raise any evidence of wrongdoing with regards to Libor.' ... King said that he received only a memo of suggestions from then-New York Fed President Timothy F. Geithner...." CW: ah, the "all that was required" defense. A little like "just following orders." Fire 'em all.

Washington Post: "Syrian state television said Wednesday that a bombing in Damascus killed Defense Minister Daoud Rajha, the latest and most dramatic sign of upheaval in more than 16 months of civil revolt." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "A suicide bomber attacked a meeting of the most senior ministers and security chiefs in central Damascus on Wednesday, according to state television, killing both the defense minister and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law who is the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian military." ...

     ... Story has been updated. New lede: "A lethal bomb attack in Damascus struck at the heart of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle Wednesday, killing at least three of his most senior aides, including his minister of defense and brother-in-law, in the most audacious challenge to the government's grip on power since the Syria uprising began 17 months ago."

Washington Post: "A chunk of ice twice the size of Manhattan has parted from Greenland's Petermann glacier, a break researchers at the University of Delaware and Canadian Ice Service attributed to warmer ocean temperatures."

Reuters: "Days after a blistering report accused [Joe] Paterno of covering up the child sex abuse of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to shield Penn State's reputation, Paterno's alma mater, Brown University in Providence, R.I., said it stripped his name from an annual athletic award."

Reader Comments (15)

Re: Real American; I want to be first on board to comment that John Sununu is a first rate no count prick (can I say that?) What motherfucking bullshit! (betcha I can't say that.) He knows what he said. You can't take those words back. Words do matter. That was a call out to all the racist assholes that populate this great land of ours. His words spit on every person of color and every person who gave his life for the red, white and blue. Fuck him. Rich dumb fucks I can put up with. Greed I understand. But this God damn country belongs to all races and all creeds. Never, never underestimate the level that the Republicans can sink to. It is called race baiting something I thought was left behind in the sixties. I repeat, fuck him.
I really apologize for all of the above.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@JJG-

Pu-leez do NOT apologize for what you wrote. I was with you until you did. Truth is harsh. And words to describe truth can be even harsher. Just ask Akhilleus!

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Matt Bai: " You aint seen nothin yet". The super pacs are just starting the defamation push.
"Should learn to be an American".
"Has a foreign view of business."
"A socialist."
"Hates America."
The big blast in September and October will have the public believing Obama should be in jail or Guantanamo.
The Right is convinced that H. L. Mencken was absolutely right
"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
Since G. W. Bush was elected twice, the odds favor the wing nuts.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

From Ross Douchebag tonight on the possibilty that RawMoney will win the election:

..."There is historical support for this case. The last two times an incumbent president was defeated by a challenger – Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George Bush in 1992 – the hinge moment arrived only in the last few months of the campaign. In 1980, it came after the lone debate, when Ronald Reagan’s smooth, reassuring performance turned a tight race into a walkover."


What Douchebag did not say, and what most of us think will happen, is that come late September and all of October--the Republican SuperPacs will dump close to $1 billion worth of Tee Vee ads on dumbed down, Kool Aid drinking Amuricans watching their beloved reality shows. Across the networks. Of course, they don't need to pay Faux News. And one of the hacks will find out that Obama's father fucked and impregnated one of his African daughters, and Barry knew about it but did not tell--or similar crazy crap.

I am checking out real estate in Costa Rica.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Thanks JJG. Confession is good for the soul. Therefore, mea culpa:

I apologize for thinking what a great country this is when:

an Arab American can start throwing around racial slurs just like an entitled white guy;

a member of a cult that once had to decide between its tenets and statehood and concluded that not EVERYTHING on the invisible golden plates was actually true decides to run for President and to convince me that his afterlife, which involves interstellar travel, is "Christian," or in other words the cult with which we're all comfortable;

a fat little prick who probably read Machiavelli too many times is given yet another chance to influence the votes of those too dumb or lazy to do their own research;

a woman who claims that vaccinations cause autism because she read it on the back of a cereal box is taken seriously enough to prompt bored bloviator debate when she claims that Congress has been taken over by a furrin group she read about;

a child of an Indian immigrant can move to the Deep South, become a Republican, and get elected governor so as to then remove funding from public schools and give that money to schools that teach little children who really don't know any better that the Loch Ness Monster is real and thus proves that Jesus created the whole thing in 7 days.

I'm sorry that I'm so proud of my country. With downcast eyes, we right-thinking Americans regret wishing that you pansy liberals would move to France and let us get on with the party. Amen.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Carl Sandberg has a few words for Mr. Sununu:

Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is
not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots; they
walk off proud; they can't hear you calling—
Look out how you use proud words.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa

@JJG wrote in yesterday's comments: " Re: Marie; Go with some nice sconces on dimmer switch for room lighting and some well placed cans for area and spot lighting. Call it good and get back to the keyboard. Your letter to the editors was not up to snuff when compared to your normal column retort to Mr. Brooks."

You're right. I was hoping to score a correction to Brooks' column, which would be a very mini-coup, but it comes as no shock to me that that is not likely to happen. As for picking out puck lights, I have to do a lot more to do than that. Yesterday I spent a good part of the day in plumbing supply stores & I'll be back there today, but only after I do several other chores.

I'm operating on four hours sleep, which is not enough for me. Since it often takes me more than 4 hours to write a column, you will have to speak to Mr. Romney about bending time, as even on no sleep, I could not get a column writ within the limitations of a 24-hour day.

I'm dancing as fast as I can.

Marie

July 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Once again conservatives, in their attempt to insult and denigrate Democrats, a Democratic president, and, by extension, anyone who doesn’t pull on Republican jackboots every morning, have instead demonstrated the startling paucity of their own understanding of HOW THINGS WORK.

So John Sununu wishes to drag out that hoary old myth of the stalwart individual (somewhere, Ayn Rand’s skeletal remains are rattling with glee) standing tall against government and the machinations of evil liberals whose “socialist” ideas get in the way of conservative dominance and success. Too many finer writers have pointed out the laughable contradictions in the proposition that those giants of conservatism would prosper without any help from anyone, especially from government and liberal “handouts”. So let’s consider some of the things liberals have conferred on Americans through constructive and effective use of governmental projects and rulings.

Some liberal is responsible for the clean water you and your kids drink. If you live near a river or lake and they are not befouled with chemical waste products and you don’t fear to have your kids play near them, you can thank some liberal. Another bunch of liberals made sure that when you drive to work your car won’t explode because of shoddy workmanship prompted by greedy corporations, and when you get to work, you can thank other liberals that your workplace is protected—by law—from dangers that could cripple or kill you. As much as you might hate unions, you can thank some liberals that you can actually join one (while they last) without being bludgeoned to death by thugs hired by the owner. You drive on (largely) safe roads thanks to the work of liberals.

And when you deposit a check in your bank you can thank a liberal that the bank president can’t abscond with your money and leave you broke anytime she or he gets into financial difficulties of their own making. If you get laid off from your job you can thank a liberal that you can collect unemployment benefits so your kids don’t starve and you don’t lose your house while looking for another job. I know Rush Limbaugh doesn’t think this is painful enough, but you can thank a liberal that you don’t have even more pain to deal with in instances like this. And when you retire, you can thank a liberal that Social Security will (until Republicans completely loot it) ensure that you don’t end your days in poverty and misery. And now, you can thank a liberal (sort of) president that you and your kids (most of you) have medical coverage.

And as others have pointed out, every one of these benefits of living in America—EVERY SINGLE ONE--has been fought against tooth and nail by Republicans who are STILL working to pull them down.

So when bloviated, churlish gascons like John Sununu start running people down for not being as AMERICAN as he is, pay no attention. Remember that this loudmouth, who casts aspersions on the President for not “understanding how our system works” really means that Obama, unlike Sununu, hasn’t been spending the taxpayers’ money hand over fist for personal use, by commandeering military aircraft for a visit to his dentist in Boston and a ski trip to Vail which Sununu charged to all of us--a personal vacation that cost taxpayers nearly $90,000. I guess that’s what he means by understanding how the system works. And don't forget. This is the guy who was essentially fired by Dubya--DUBYA, fer crissakes--for being too far around the bend! This guy was too extreme for the most extreme president in history. But he's A-OKAY with The Rat.

Seriously, the hypocrisy of these fools is staggering. But you know what? Keep on keepin’ on, John. Your idiocy may even awaken the dolts and dullards mired in reality TV and the daily bread and circus served up by corporations to distract us from what's really going on.

But then again, as Marie suggests, sometimes goobers are still goobers.

Nonetheless, if Willard the Rat wants to change the subject from lies and greed to character assassination and personal insults, have at it. This is the kind of presidential candidate the right deserves. As I said yesterday, this is the world they’ve made for themselves: insular, solipsistic, dark, depraved, without a soul, without rationality, without a heart, hollow at the core, supported only by spider legs of hate and greed.

That might be their idea of America. It ain’t mine. And if a lout like Sununu truly believes that Madison and Jefferson, were they around today, would give him a great big "attaboy", he's in need of serious psychological assistance. I suggest a trip to Doctor Kate.

She'll set his ass straight. I'm thinking.....electroshock therapy. Lots of it.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

JJG,

Don't apologize fer nuthin'.

I'm right there with you, brother.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Romney's relevant experience that allegedly qualifies him for the nation's highest office boils down to this: Four years as governor of the state of Massachusetts. No foreign policy experience, no military experience, no legislative experience at the local, state or national level..
Why isn't the punditocracy - and everyone else - talking about THAT?

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Marie; I hope you know I was just fooling with you. If I could I would be the job site runner. I get spoiled with your rebuttals and I respect and am in awe of your debating skills.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Marie,

Dance as slowly as you need, but PLEASE keep on dancing!

JJG, Kate, Carlyle, Jack, Akhilleus: your words inspire, console, and strike great fear in my heart. I often wonder if the "very important people" making decisions that have such profound consequences for "we the people" ever read blogs like Reality Chex and get a sense of the frustration that is permeating the land.

It is also a constant source of amazement to me that people can have such little empathy for their fellow human beings. But then when you read the words of "the Decider," "Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful," they really say it all, don't they. What chance do we have against the rich and powerful? What will ever be enough for any of these people?

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

Given the treasonous past (and present) of the Republican Party, something the Obama people must certainly be concerned with is another October Surprise.

There have been a few of these maneuvers in the past, several have been alleged against Democrats. The big difference is that none of the Democratic surprises involved anything illegal or treasonous, as has been the case with most of the Republican schemes.

In 1968 Lyndon Johnson announced some headway in peace talks with North Vietnam. Nixon, through his attack dog and hit man Henry Kissinger (Hitchens was 100% right about this pig of a criminal), communicated to the communists that they’d get a better deal from a Republican administration. North Vietnamese representatives got up from the negotiations table and walked, condemning thousands more Americans to death just so Nixon could win an election.

Four years and all those thousands of lives later, Nixon and Kissinger came up with another lie. This time, just days before the election, Kissinger announced that the end of the war was near (“peace is at hand”), a fabrication that drove the final nail into George McGovern’s electoral coffin. Nixon would likely have won anyway, but he never was one to allow a little lying to stand in the way of ensuring a personal victory.

Of course the biggest October Surprise was concocted and carried out by agents of St. Ronald of Reagan, that good old soul who made an illegal (and treasonous) deal with Iranians to put off releasing American hostages until he had secured the White House. An earlier release would have been a huge plus for Jimmy Carter, never mind the further pain and suffering it would have ended for the hostages and their families and loved ones. But pain inflicted on little people is a specialty of Republican political schemes, and the Gipper had no problem using Americans as pawns in his plans for the White House. You may recall that Iran, as planned, released the hostages 20 minutes after Reagan was sworn in. The Republican spin was that the Iranian mullahs were deathly afraid of big strong Ron and released the Americans hoping to appease his wrath.

Any buyers for that whopper?

There weren’t any then either. At least not anyone who wasn’t already in the bag.

In 2004 Bush got his good hand-holding buddy Prince Bandar to initiate a precipitous drop in oil prices just in time for the election. That, and plenty of fraud, electoral shenanigans and vote stealing in Ohio and other states allowed Bush to steal his way into a second term.

Obama should not expect to be treated any differently. To Republican schemers like Rove and the Kochs, there are no legal, moral, or loyalty concerns too important to be overthrown when their power and money are at stake. NOTHING is beyond the pale for these creeps.

Take the most outrageous and blindingly baldfaced slander, multiply it by the number of dead, maimed and displaced created by the last Republican president, and you won’t even come close to the level of depravity and mendacity acceptable to such as these.

Obama’s people should start running the most heinous scenarios and getting ready for the bombs to come. October, not April, is the cruelest month and Republicans are ready to turn everything into a Wasteland in order to get their way.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Do I remember this correctly?
Sununu > stamp (or coins) collecting > improper use of government aircraft for non-government business???

Wasn't that big mouth forced to resign? ("...need to spend more time with the family." whatever!).

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

After reading this article we can able to understand that the what happening in the middle of the politicians.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterInterview Questions
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