The Ledes

Thursday, May 21, 2015.

New York Times: "John F. Nash Jr., a mathematician who shared a Nobel Prize in 1994 for work that greatly extended the reach and power of modern economic theory and whose long descent into severe mental illness and eventual recovery were the subject of a book and a film, both titled 'A Beautiful Mind,' was killed, along with his wife [Alicia], in a car crash on Saturday in New Jersey. He was 86."

New York Times: "Anne Meara, who became famous as half of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time and went on to enjoy a long and diverse career as an actress and, late in life, a playwright, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85. Her death was confirmed by her husband and longtime comedy partner, Jerry Stiller, and her son, the actor and director Ben Stiller."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country":

The Ledes

Saturday, May 23, 2015.

New York Times: "The United States and China on Friday escalated their dispute over contested territory in the South China Sea, after the Chinese repeatedly ordered an American military surveillance plane to abandon flights over areas where China has been building artificial islands.The continued American surveillance flights in areas where China is creating new islands in the South China Sea are intended to challenge the Chinese government’s claims of expanded territorial sovereignty. Further raising the challenge, Pentagon officials said they were discussing sending warships into waters that the United States asserts are international and open to passage, but that China says are within its zone of control."

Guardian: "An inflatable dam in drought-stricken California was damaged on Thursday, causing the loss of nearly 50,000,000 gallons (190m litres) of water. Police said vandals caused 'irreversible damage' to the inflatable dam in Fremont, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The vandalism caused water meant for local residents to instead flow into San Francisco bay."

Washington Post: "The man convicted in the 2001 killing of federal intern Chandra Levy is likely to get a new trial after prosecutors on Friday dropped their long-standing opposition to defense efforts to have a new jury hear the case. Since 2013, attorneys for Ingmar Guandique, 34, have argued that a key witness in the 2010 trial had lied when he testified that Guandique, his onetime cellmate, confessed to him that he killed Levy."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 22

10:00 am ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony (audio only)

11:00 am ET: President Obama speaks at the Jewish American Heritage Month celebration

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

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

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."

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Wednesday
Jul182012

The Commentariat -- July 19, 2012

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "Justice Antonin Scalia said in a television interview on Wednesday night that the Supreme Court's bitterly divided decision upholding President Obama's health care law had not led to a falling out with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr." You can watch parts of the interview here. If you can't find anything to piss you off this morning, watch the top segment where Scalia blames Al Gore for Bush v. Gore. ...

... CW: what was more important about the interview was this:

'Thomas Jefferson,' Justice Scalia responded, 'would have said the more speech, the better. That's what the First Amendment is all about.' Then he added a proviso, one that put him at odds with many Republicans who oppose the disclosure of the sources of such spending. 'So long as the people know where the speech is coming from,' Justice Scalia said. He later underscored the point, one endorsed by eight justices in the Citizens United decision. 'You are entitled to know where the speech is coming from -- you know, information as to who contributed what,' he said.

      ... Seven other members of the Court agree with Scalia on this. I don't know if there are any suits wending their way through the lower courts on this, but there should be. It seems to me that the Supremes would find undisclosed advertising by superPACS & "non-profit issues" groups unconstitutional. ...

... Adam Liptak: "The American public's satisfaction with the Supreme Court, which had already been low by historical standards in recent polls, dropped further in the wake of the court's 5-to-4 ruling last month upholding President Obama's health care overhaul law."

Fire Tim Geithner:

"The Feckless Fed." Paul Krugman: "I really believe that we have reached a point where the Fed is afraid to do its job, for fear of being accused of helping Obama."

Steven Mufson of the Washington Post: "... the oil rush in North Dakota has also brought soaring home prices, makeshift camps for workers, overbooked hotels and an explosion of heavy truck traffic and crime. Towns are gritty and cheerless. Stacks of pipe lie along the roads, waiting to be buried." CW: life in Boomtown is pretty much like life in "Deadwood." Times change; people don't.

Ali Gharib of Think Progress: "On the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repudiated Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) McCarthyesque witch-hunt to root out the alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government. The flap started when Bachmann all but directly accused Secretary Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin of working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in a letter with four colleagues to the State Department's Inspector General demanding an investigation":

New York Times Editors: "Give credit to John McCain, too often a wayward voice in recent years, for taking to the Senate floor Wednesday to skewer a crackpot allegation of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to infiltrate the government.... It was heartening to hear him back on deck condemning Know-Nothingism, especially in a week that started with his vote against a campaign finance disclosure act that should have had his strong backing."

Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post: "As Apple and Samsung escalated a multibillion-dollar war over one of the hottest consumer gadgets of our time, the tablet computer, a little-known judge did for Apple what the company couldn't do on its own: She shut down the competition. The stunning move by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh to temporarily order Samsung's tablets off the shelves last month rippled across the tech industry because her decision came as sales of the devices are surging. Samsung's Galaxy Tab was one of the few 10-inch screen tablets that could go toe-to-toe with Apple's iPad."

Presidential Race

Crooks & Bundlers. Philip Rucker & Dan Eggen of the Washington Post: Mitt Romney will be dialing for dollars next week in London among the stars of the LIBOR scandal. "The hosts of Romney's high-dollar reception and dinner on July 26 overwhelmingly represent banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions, some of which are embroiled in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.... One of the event's co-chairs is Patrick Durkin, a Washington-based lobbyist for Barclays, which agreed last month to pay $450 million to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor before and after the financial crisis. Durkin has helped raise $1.1 million for the Romney campaign, according to U.S. disclosure records. This month, the Boston Globe reported that Barclays' chief executive, Bob Diamond, withdrew as a co-host [of the Romney fundraiser]." Diamond has resigned from Barclay's. CW: not sure how much hay Obama can make with this since his own Secretary of the Treasury is implicated, too.

Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "Congressional Democrats are using the legislative process to pressure Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release more tax returns and information about his investments in offshore accounts. In the House, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) is proposing legislation that would require presidential candidates to release 10 years worth of tax returns and disclose any overseas investments. And in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) are proposing beefing up financial disclosure forms for all candidates for federal office to require disclosure of overseas investments, including Swiss bank accounts."

Abby Huntsman & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney has been determined to resist releasing his tax returns at least since his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has been confident that he will never be forced to do so, several current and former Bain executives tell The Huffington Post. Had he thought otherwise, say the sources based on their longtime understanding of Romney, he never would have gone forward with his run for president."

Perfect! --

     ... Charles Blow: "Whether a Mitt the Vicious will be more effective than Mitt the Victim at shifting attention away from the 1,500-pound dressage horse in the room remains to be seen."

Sam Youngman of Reuters: "Republican Mitt Romney shrugged off growing pressure on Tuesday to release more of his tax returns, and his campaign lashed out at President Barack Obama in an effort to turn the campaign debate away from Romney's business and financial record."

Zach Carter & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney has not released his full tax records from 2010, including key documentation connected to his Swiss bank account." Read the whole thing: pretty interesting. The one year Romney said he released he didn't fully released & has refused to do so to the HuffPost. CW: Is he secreting something in those once-secret Swiss accounts? I think he must be. ...

... David Dayen of Firedoglake: "This ought to lead to more speculation about that Swiss bank account, and whether Romney took the tax amnesty on that (a de facto admission of illegal tax dodging) in 2009.... An absence of the account on previous returns would be essentially an admission of tax dodging, as Romney's team has already acknowledged he had the Swiss account since 2003."

Blue Texan in Crooks & Liars: the Romney campaign's evah-so-original new rhetoric that "Obama hasn't been vetted" "is deeply nutty."

Jonathan Chait of New York: "The primary goal of President Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney's business career is to define him as a self-interested financier and thus to soften him up for attacks on the Ryan budget later on. But it also seems to have accomplished a secondary, and perhaps unintended, objective: to rattle Romney and his campaign.... The apparent plan is to mutter darkly about Chicago and drug use and sundry other biographical details that conservatives believe they wrongly shied away from four years ago." ...

... Ditto Kevin Drum: "Operation 'Piss Off Mitt' Seems to Be Working: Obama is unquestionably running a tough campaign, but if Romney is losing his cool over questions about his taxes and his stewardship of Bain Capital, he's just showing he's not ready for the big leagues." ...

... AND Doug J. of Balloon Juice: "I meant to start my blogging vacation today but I love the smell of Republican panic in the morning."

Paul Krugman has a series of posts on Romney's brand of Gordon Gekko capitalism. I recommend you just go to his blog & scroll down. Here's a good one: "... predictably, Romney is accusing Obama of 'attacking capitalism' and 'dividing America'" by raising questions about Bain and those hidden tax returns.... The special Romney twist -- aside from the willful misrepresentation of what Obama actually said about business success -- is Mitt's desire to have it both ways. He's proud of his business record and his success, he says, but at the same time wants us to believe that he had nothing to do with Bain's actions over a three-year period when he was still its CEO, and is completely unwilling to let us see the tax returns that would tell us something about exactly how he achieved his current wealth."

Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "If [the Romney people] want to run the rest of their campaign on the fact that Obama knew Rod Blagojevich and did coke when he was a teenager, I'm sure the Obama campaign would reply, be our guest."

Richard Oppel, Jr., of the New York Times: "The Romney campaign unveiled an advertisement on Wednesday that contends that under President Obama, stimulus money went to the president's political donors and to overseas companies.... Much of the ad is false, including its first claim." ...

I am ashamed to say that we’re seeing our president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors, when he gave money, $500 million in loans to a company called Fisker that makes high end electric cars, and they make the cars now in Finland. That is wrong and it's got to stop. That kind of crony capitalism does not create jobs and it does not create jobs here. -- Mitt Romney

Adam Peck of Think Progress: "... during a campaign appearance in Ohio on Wednesday, Mitt Romney misquoted Obama, before agreeing that tax payer-funded programs help all American businesses succeed."

AND YET. CBS News: "President Obama and Mitt Romney are effectively tied in the race for the presidency, according to a new CBS News/New York Times survey. Forty-seven percent of registered voters nationwide who lean towards a candidate back Romney, while 46 percent support the president. Four percent are undecided. The one percentage point difference is within the survey's three point margin of error." ...

... Jim Rutenberg & Marjorie Connelly of the New York Times: "Declining confidence in the nation's economic prospects appears to be the most powerful force influencing voters as the presidential election gears up, undercutting key areas of support for President Obama and helping give his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, an advantage on the question of who would better handle the nation's economic challenges, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll."

... BUT. Latino Decisions: "Latino Decisions released new national poll of Latino registered voters showing Barack Obama winning 70% of the Latino vote compared to 22% for Mitt Romney. The poll ... illustrates an increase in support for President Obama, and comes after a month of outreach to Latino voters, starting with the June 15 Dream announcement, appearances by the President and Vice President at NALEO and NCLR conferences, and comments opposing Arizona's SB1070 immigration law."

Gail Collins reviews the literary efforts of possible GOP running mates. She is very kind & quite funny. You are not likely to rush out & buy any of the books, though the Shaker one does sound okay.

Right Wing World

Shocking Exposé! Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) caught hugging female journalist. Journalist reveals on Facebook page she also kisses Brown "so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen." CW: And, yes, journalist is right -- Brown is "really cute."

Local News

Laura Myers of Reuters: "Washington will become the first U.S. state to allow eligible residents to register to vote through Facebook, in an initiative due to launch this month.... Online voter registration has existed in Washington since 2008, but the latest effort to increase voter participation is designed for users who already have a Facebook account."

CoMa! Dylan Byers of Politico: "The war between Rep. Connie Mack and Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith continued today when the Republican representative told Smith to his face that he wasn't a real journalist." CoMa -- my very own horrible Congressman -- is a candidate for the Senate seat of Bill Nelson (ConservaD); he's running a primary race now. Adam Smith is a Florida treasure.

ToMa! Reuters: "FBI agents early on Wednesday raided the home of Trenton, New Jersey, Mayor Tony Mack, who has been accused of nepotism and mismanagement since taking over the crime-plagued, economically depressed city in 2010. FBI spokeswoman Barbara Woodruff said the raid took place at about 2 a.m. EDT, but she declined to say what the agents were looking for or what they may have removed from Mack's house." The Trenton Times story is here. CW: well, it's New Jersey.

News Ledes

New York Times: Tom Davis, Al Franken's comedy-writing partner on "SNL," died today.

New York Times: "The attack on a tour bus carrying Israeli vacationers outside the airport here was carried out by a suicide bomber carrying fake American identification, officials said on Thursday."

AP: "Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman, deposed president Hosni Mubarak's top lieutenant and keeper of secrets, died Thursday, the country's official news agency reported. He was 76. Suleiman, who said little but had a finger in virtually every vital security issue confronting Egypt, was dubbed by the media as the 'the black box.'"

Reader Comments (12)

As South Africans (most of them) celebrate the birthday of Nelson Mandela, it's worthwhile to consider how the concept of apartheid has been addressed in this country.

I don't think it's possible to appreciate what Mandela means to South Africans. He is a combination of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Tubman, who carries with him the fantastic jolt of still being alive despite decades of imprisonment and torture by his right-wing racist white captors.

It's true that Mandela engaged in and conducted operations designed to free his brethren from the captivity and social slavery inflicted by white masters who sought imprisonment and death for any black Africans who dared question their control. But had he been a white man struggling against a black ruling elite he would be placed, by many American conservatives, on a par with the greatest freedom fighters of all time.

Instead, we have Republican racist mouthpiece Rushbo Limbaugh castigating Mandela for his actions, declaring him a criminal communist and crying out for a return to apartheid after Mandela was elected president.

Does anyone doubt that this asshole, who once told a black caller to "take that bone out of your nose" and ripped the press for supporting quarterback Donovan McNabb who led a dysfunctional team to the Superbowl, purely because he was black, detests the advances made by African-Americans in this country? Limp-baugh, along with most congressional Republicans, would have been "standing tall" next to Bull Connor as he unleashed dogs to attack Americans marching for their rights. And leave us not forget racist pig Dick Cheney who voted against a resolution calling for the end of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. Cheney viciously ripped Mandela and supported his continued lifetime imprisonment.

Seriously, has there ever been more evil, slimy snakes than Cheney????

These scum-sucking pigs are clearly seen as the racist turds they are on this, a day of celebration for everyone in the world who raises a glass to one of the great men in the struggle for human rights and TRUE FREEDOM.

Here's to you Nelson. Thank you for ALL you've done for freedom and justice in the world, and thank you for giving all of us such an outstanding example of what it takes to overcome the perfidy of right-wing hatred and moral turpitude.

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Terrific question in one of the posts on Krugman's blog today:

How many years of tax returns has Romney demanded his VP picks give him?

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Just gotta say it, Akheilleus: I loves ya, Man! "Limp-baugh" indeed! And I adore Nelson Mendala too.

Marie: Is your bathroom done yet?

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@ akhilleus-
You remember where the political bodies are buried, and serve them up in excellant prose. Thank you for your posts in general, but especially today's.
And CW? three deep bows for having this site.
Mae Finch

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

Marie: Two of Gail Collin's VP candidates managed to disparage Europe and our Republican candidate is spreading rumors that Obama has European ideas. Perhaps if Americans knew a little more about Europe they would not be influenced by such nonsense.
To the best of my knowledge we lead the OECD countries in two catagories, citizens incarcerated, and gun deaths. . I bet you or some of your readers can give us easier access to comparisons of America with Europe and the OECD countries.
More knowledge might make negative asides about Europe seem foolish to more Americans.
Some European Democracies have not been purchased yet and may be unruly but Democracy is stronger in many European countries that it is here.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

OK. So I have been off the comments for many months. I think I just burned out on thinking and writing the good thoughts. I have continued to read and relish all of your comments. Everyone!

This is my bottom line on Rmoney. Anyone who is running for President of this great country who refuses to release multiple years of income tax returns, and I mean up to the dozen that his father released, and surely those returns that document what he took from Bain from and including 1999 through now, ought to be disqualified from leading this country. He is a disgrace! . . . and I do believe, a felon! Not technically so. I believe he was involved in illegal income tax evasion. But who will know? John McCain? McCain’s staff probably took a cursory look at what I’d bet were fairly incomplete returns for the years provided and seeing that they would have to dig further to answer some serious questions about Swiss and Cayman bank accounts and transactions, gave them back to the Rmoney camp like dropping a hot potato.

I grew up with parents who were solidly Republican. They worked hard, went to church, supported their small community, helped run the elections, put three kids through college without leaving us a dime in debt upon graduation (with $1.10/bushel corn), and voted Republican down the ticket. They are both rolling over in their graves as they view what the Republican Party has become. R. Reagan made a Democrat out of me and I thank him daily for doing that.

All of you keep up the good fight!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrom-the-Heartland

Calyban,

Excellent question, indeed.

Clearly Romney has something to hide. It must be a doozy too if he's willing to be kicked around like this even by gangster slimeballs like Haley Barbour and effete narcissists like George Will, not to mention having the previous leader of the party state unequivocally that a nodding ignoramus like Sarah Palin was a better fit to be a heartbeat away from supreme power than Willard the Rat.

But today I see that Willard and his honking bus are in Boston (Roxbury, actually. I bet he got out of there in a hurry, Willard not being very comfortable around people of color. Hope he gave them a chorus of "who let the dogs out", in his own inimitable singing style, of course, before disappearing back into the safety of his Rich White People Only conveyance).

He's on again with that line about Obama not understanding anything about business, and about how the president doesn't appreciate that businessmen like himself build things by themselves from the ground up, dammit! Engines of Capitalism and advancement.

Yah.

Like Romney has built anything in his life. His entire career has been one of taking businesses that others have built and either running them into the ground, flipping them for a huge payoff, or outsourcing their work and squeezing as much profit out of them as possible before razing them, firing everyone and pocketing their retirements, shunting that money, no doubt, into one of his many double-secret Cayman island tax shelters.

He's never built anything. He lives off the hard work of others.

In the animal kingdom, they call that kind of thing a parasite. A mooching, mouthbreathing, lowdown, clamping, slimy parasite who crawls up on the backs of others, sucks out their lifeblood and leaves them for dead after stealing all he can.

Nice job Mitters. So that's what YOU understand about business?

The Rat is just way too out there for normal people. Cayman tax shelters, hidden Swiss bank accounts, magic underwear, secret handshakes, inhuman laugh, robotic demeanor, oddball ideas. He'll have to find someone much more in tune with average Americans than he is for his VP. Someone not nearly so weird. A regular Joe with the common touch, much more connected than Mittens to the real world.


How 'bout Tom Cruise?

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus. Tom Cruise would be... interesting, to say the least. And it would be fun to watch the Scientologists exchanging bear-hugs with the Mormons. Talk about a tinhat confab. Whee.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

James,

Tinhats, like you read about.

Wow, can't you just picture a Joseph Smith/L.Ron Hubbard smackdown?

I can see Tom insisting that Willard take a course in Dianetics in order to recall traumatic life experiences like attacking a fellow student because he was gay.

Oh...wait.

That wasn't traumatic for the Rat, only for everyone else involved.

Beating on a helpless boy whom he believed was gay, assaulting and degrading him wasn't traumatic for Willard.

It gave him a woody.

One of only six in his life if you count the ones that resulted in the births of his sons.

What a guy! Presidential timber, I tell ya.

In the Petrified Forest.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Oh, one other thing.

I've just read that Marie Antoinette....sorry....Her Royal Highness Mrs. Romney, has declared, nose hoisted high, that "We've given you people (sniff) all you need by way of tax returns. Now GO AWAY."

She left off the part about "or my husband, the KING, will have you imprisoned in the Bastille."

Seriously?

Can these people be any more unlike the 99.999999 % of Americans they demand vote for them??

Intolerable twits. That's what they are. Queen Romney should stick with her dressage horses and STFU. Maybe she could learn a thing or two from Catherine the Great where horses are concerned (true or not, it's a great story).

I'm pretty sure she'd have more fun than with King Rat.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: It's funny you should mention Tom Cruise in connection with Mitt Romney, because for the last few days everytime I see clips of Romney speechifying with his overheaed rhetoric and wild gesticulations, I can't get the image of Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch out of my mind. They both seemed slightly deranged.
As to one of your other points, how about this for a comeback by Obama to Romney's charge that Obama could never understand business because he had never been in the "business sector:" Well, Mitt, you have never been POTUS - time to pack your bags and go home as you obviously don't have the experience for this job.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Yves Smith, in "Econned," has a chapter called "Looting," in which she explains what happens in a corporate culture when the current value of a company's assets (physical plant, pension funds, etc.) is greater than the long-term value of the company. "Control fraud" is perpetrated by those in charge who can remove value from the company while loading the company with debt and welshing on the workers' retirement packages, which are implicitly or explicitly guaranteed by the federal gummint. William Black writes a good history of such behavior, along with the political swag necessary to keep regulators at bay, in his history of the S&L grand theft.

However, the more I read about how much money the big banking houses "lost" (and were reimbursed out of our pockets) in their genius foray into MBS, and how future "profits" that were never likely to be realized were booked by traders and their supervisors in time for massive yearly bonuses (that to my knowledge have not been returned or clawed back), the more I believe that we're living in a Potemkin economy, a bogus Rock Ridge if you will, propped up like a movie set while those who know where the money is hidden pile it into their cars. That IS a whole shitload of dimes.

Yes, corporations are people. Unfortunately, they're like your least favorite relatives, the ones that fart during Christmas dinner and then steal the spoons.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney
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