The Wires

The Ledes

"For safety's sake, don't humiliate him."

Just this past week, Akhilleus linked (now I can't find his link) to this clip from "Young Frankenstein":

... and I found myself missing Wilder. I wondered what had happened to him. Now I know. As Gilda would say, one time in the same fatal context, "It's always something."

Monday, August 29, 2016.

New York Times: "Gene Wilder, who established himself as one of America’s foremost comic actors with his delightfully neurotic performances in three films directed by Mel Brooks; his eccentric star turn in the family classic 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'; and his winning chemistry with Richard Pryor in the box-office smash 'Stir Crazy,' died early Monday morning at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83."

New York Times: "An Australian aid worker who was kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for four months has been released and is doing well, Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said on Monday. The aid worker, Kerry Jane Wilson, who is in her 60s and is also known as Katherine Jane, had been working in Afghanistan for about 20 years and had most recently run Zardozi, an organization that promoted the work of Afghan artisans, particularly women.... Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, said in a brief statement that its special forces had carried out a raid to free Ms. Wilson." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

"Giovanni della Robbia’s 'Resurrection of Christ,' made for an entrance gate to the villa of the Antinori family outside Florence." Brooklyn Museum photo. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "One of the most innovative art-as-advertising firms in late-15th- and early-16th-century Florence was the della Robbia workshop, a family concern that prospered for three long-lived generations. Its specialty was a brand of glazed terra-cotta sculpture that was physically durable, graphically strong and technologically inimitable. (The exact methods for producing it remain a mystery to this day.)... The Museum of Fine Arts [in Boston is mounting] “Della Robbia: Sculpting With Color in Renaissance Florence”..., a show of ideal size and scholarly weight that includes among 46 pieces one of the tenderest Renaissance sculptures in existence — 'The Visitation' by Luca della Robbia — on first-time American loan from its Tuscan church."

Michelle & Barack -- The Movie. Richard Brody of the New Yorker reviews “Southside with You,” "a drama about Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date." Brody calls the film "a fully realized, intricately imagined, warmhearted, sharp-witted, and perceptive drama, one that sticks close to its protagonists while resonating quietly but grandly with the sweep of a historical epic." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Requiring longer passwords, known as passphrases, usually 16 to 64 characters long, is increasingly seen as a potential escape route from our painful push toward logins that only a cryptographer could love."

The New York Times features photos of the exteriors of Bill & Hillary Clinton's residences over the years.

Brian Hickey of the Philly Voice: When Leroy Black died at age 55, he got two obituaries in the Press of Atlantic City: " In the first obit, his 'loving wife, Bearetta Harrison Black' gets top survivor billing. In the second, however, Bearetta is nowhere to be found, but 'his long-tome (sic) girlfriend, Princess Hall' appears in her place. A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because 'the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.'" ...

... CW: Kinda reminds me of the headstone a widow placed on her husband's grave in the Key West cemetery: "Harry, I Know Where You're Sleeping Tonight."

New York Times: "A surprisingly specific genetic portrait of the ancestor of all living things has been generated by scientists who say that the likeness sheds considerable light on the mystery of how life first emerged on Earth. This venerable ancestor was a single-cell, bacterium-like organism. But it has a grand name, or at least an acronym. It is known as Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old."

Ian Crouch of the New Yorker: "For a few days, at least, [Stephen] Colbert abandoned the political equanimity that he’d adopted when he started his 'Late Night' job." BTW, here's Laura Benanti's segment:

Washington Post: "Benny" (for Ben Franklin), the mystery philanthropist of Salem, Oregon, has given away more than $55,000 in $100 bills, which s/he hides in odd places like "pockets of clothing, in diapers, in baby wipes and in candy." -- CW 

Jumping Jupiter! New York Times: "Ducking through intense belts of violent radiation as it skimmed over the clouds of Jupiter at 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s Juno spacecraft finally clinched its spot on Monday in the orbit of the solar system’s largest planet. It took five years for Juno to travel this far on its $1.1 billion mission, and the moment was one that NASA scientists and space enthusiasts had eagerly — and anxiously — anticipated. At 11:53 p.m., Eastern time, a signal from the spacecraft announced the end of a 35-minute engine burn that left it in the grip of its desired orbit around Jupiter." -- CW ...

... Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post has more on the importance of the mission. CW: This, BTW, is another fine example of your government actually at work.

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Thursday
Jul192012

The Commentariat -- July 20, 2012

CW: I will be at an undisclosed location all morning, but should be back by 1:00 pm ET-ish. ...

      ... Update: here's the undisclosed location, disclosed:

     ... Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Obama reflected in highly personal ways about the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater on Friday as he cut short a campaign trip and urged Americans to reflect on the fragility of life." President Obama's full remarks are here.

     ... Here's Baker writing his report. He was sitting just behind me, so of course I gave him hell for all that "he said/he said" reporting. Really, I did, tho I was evah so polite about it. And he was very nice. Plus, as Sherrod Brown's wife might say, "He's really cute":

Congresswoman Bachmann's comments are baseless, irresponsible, and beneath contempt. Having said that, I think I would have chosen her as my running mate over Mitt Romney. -- Sen. John McCain (or so Andy Borowitz claims) ...

... Molly Hooper of The Hill: "At a press conference Thursday, [House Speaker John] Boehner (R-Ohio) defended Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). Boehner said he did not know Abedin well, but that 'from everything that I know of her she has a sterling character. I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.' Boehner is the latest high-profile GOP official to criticize the charges by [Rep. Michele] Bachmann [RTP-Minnesota] and four other GOP lawmakers that Abedin could be using her position at the State Department to aid the Muslim Brotherhood.” CW: Could this be the beginning of the end of Tea Party histrionics? Let's see if Boehner gets after Allen West (RTPCrazy-Florida). ...

... Alexander Abad-Santos of The Atlantic: Ed Rollins, Bachmann's former campaign manager, told her in a Fox "News" op-ed, to apologize on the floor of the House. ...

... AND Bachmann says the letters she wrote "are unfortunately being distorted."

His Troubled Ass. Neil, I have been the most fucking transparent Secretary of the Treasury in this country's entire fucking history! ... No one has ever made the banks disclose the type of shit that I made them disclose after the stress tests. No one! And now you're saying that I haven't been fucking transparent? -- Tim Geithner to Neil Barofsky, then the special inspector general for TARP. Thanks to Kate M. for the link

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe: "An Obama campaign official confirmed to the Globe Wednesday that US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is ­being considered as a possible keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C."

Presidential Race

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. -- Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life. -- Ann Romney

Ann Romney's Marie Antoinnete Moment." Rita Ciolli of Newsday: "The stir over the 'you people' faux pas ... is overshadowing what Romney said about not releasing the returns just before the 'you people' line. 'There are so many things that will be open again for more attack.... And you just want to give more material for more attack. And that's really -- that's just the answer.' ... Romney's response underscores that she doesn't understand the real question." ...

... Dan Amira of New York doesn't think Romney said "you people." CW: even if she didn't, it's clearly what she meant. ...

... Digby: "Dear me, it appears that Lady Romney has lost her patience with the riff raff and their unseemly questioning about money. One simply doesn't respond when the lower orders begin to believe they're better than they ought to be.... The very idea that a man of Mitt Romney's obvious superiority could be questioned about his finances is utterly offensive. Enough." ...

... Ed Kilgore: "You have to wonder if in future Mitt is going to 'outsource' all questions about his finances to his wife, and then object that anyone who complains about it is engaging in personal attacks on his family." ...

... "Pathos of the Plutocracy." Paul Krugman: "Not only do many of the superrich feel deeply aggrieved at the notion that anyone in their class might face criticism, they also insist that their perception that Mr. Obama doesn't like them is at the root of our economic problems.... Mr. Romney..., too, argu[ed] that because the president attacks success 'we have less success.' This ... is crazy (and it's disturbing that Mr. Romney appears to share this delusional view about what ails our economy).... Clearly, Mr. Romney believed that he could run for president while remaining safe inside the plutocratic bubble and is both shocked and angry at the discovery that the rules that apply to others also apply to people like him."

Aw. No more dressage videos. The DNC is heartily sorry to have offended Lady Romney. (See yesterday's Commentariat.)

Betting against the U.S. Tim Egan: "Anyone who wants to lead this nation, and stashes millions of dollars in foreign banks, overseas financial havens and byzantine accounts in countries without tax or regulation, had better be prepared to defend that financial betrayal."

** Joseph Tanfani, et al., of the Los Angeles Times: "When Mitt Romney launched Bain Capital in 1984, he struggled at first to raise enough money.... So he and his partners tapped an eclectic roster of investors, raising more than a third of their first $37-million investment fund from wealthy foreigners. Most of the foreign investors' money came through corporations registered in Panama, then known for tax advantages and unusual banking secrecy.... Bain Capital was enmeshed in the largely opaque world of international high finance from its very inception."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Sylvia Woods, known to so many as the Queen of Soul Food, died at 86."

Bloomberg News: "A former Bank of America Corp. executive was indicted for allegedly participating in what prosecutors said was a 'far-reaching conspiracy' to defraud municipal bond investments through bid rigging. Phillip D. Murphy, former head of Bank of America's municipal derivatives desk, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., wire fraud and conspiracy to make false entries in bank records, according to the indictment filed yesterday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina.... So far, 13 individuals from banks including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and UBS AG (UBSN) have pleaded guilty in the Justice Department's investigation. Bank of America, JPMorgan, UBS, Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and General Electric Co. have paid more than $700 million in restitution and penalties."

Reuters: "Stocks broke a three-day winning streak on Friday as Europe's debt crisis engulfed markets with renewed fears that Spain may be unable to dodge a costly bailout."

Bloomberg News: "President Barack Obama raised $45.9 million last month and entered July with $97.5 million in the bank.... He started July with more money in the bank than presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who brought in $33 million and reported $22.5 million cash on hand. Obama has now raised more than $307 million for his campaign, compared with more than $156 million for Romney."

Bloomberg News: "The suspect in the Colorado shooting bought two pistols, a semiautomatic rifle and a shotgun since May, avoiding federal reporting requirements and taking advantage of the state’s failure to pass significant firearms legislation since the Columbine massacre 13 years ago." ...

... Here's the latest on the Aurora shootings from the Denver Post. The Denver Post front page currently has links to related stories.

Reader Comments (16)

Thanks to Paul Krugman for verifying my diagnosis of Mitt's NPD. The key words are "the discovery that the rules that apply to others also apply to people like him." Seriously, that type of attitude is a classic example of NPD characteristics. And the best part of Mrs. Mitt's comment is not the 'you people'. It's the 'There are so many things that will be open again for more attack'. Really? Didn't she just admit that his tax returns contain very bad things? Anywhere else in the world and Mitt would be toast. I'll bet that half our fellow 'citizens' don't even know his tax returns are an issue.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Lady Romney would have an exceedingly difficult time making the transition to First Lady Romney, where she would have to answer to "you people."

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

The most upsetting and pathetic thing to me right now is that MittWitt, with shit pouring all over him--as he is strapped in his crate on top of his undisclosed tax returns--is that the latest polls show him LEADING Obama by one or two points. Or running even.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR STUPID VOTERS? Or is it the STUPID corporate pollsters?

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Marie,

If you see Darth Cheney while visiting this undisclosed location, could you do us all a favor and give him a swift kick in the balls? Just for old times' sake?

If you had a shotgun I'd ask you to take him duck hunting, but a good kick will suffice.

Thanks a bunch.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

On a more sobering note, NRA poster boys have been showing their support for the second amendment this week, first in Alabama, and early this morning in Colorado.

Two gunmen, nearly 70 innocent people shot, 14 of them dead. So far.

Think the NRA's water carriers in congress will have anything to say about this? I know what David Brooks will say.

Hippies are to blame.

Just another day in conservative paradise. A gun in every (cracked) pot.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

RE: We the people. Peepos, very special peepos; we're the luckiest peepos in the world. I see a cartoon in the New Yorker by the artist who draws those parlor scenes with the drooling, ball licking dogs and the guys wearing the "Stella!" T-shirts. He would be reading the newspaper and talking to his apron-wearing wife. The caption would be, "Yea, those people, right on again Mrs. Howell."

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Yesterday Victoria suggested a good comeback for President Obama when Willard the Rat sniffs that Obama doesn’t understand business because he’s never been a businessman, to which Obama could retort that Romney doesn’t understand the presidency because he’s never been president. (Although he could also say that Romney has never been a businessman either. He’s a carrion eating vulture.)

I like it. But Obama had never been POTUS either before 2009. I think the real issue is the difference in vision each has for the country. In 2008 we all needed a sense that things could get better after the depravity, murder, war-mongering, treason, mendacity, and calumny of the Bush years. "Change you can believe in" was a cri de coeur many voters could rally to. McCain's "More of the same" was not.

This time around Romney's call to arms is "More of the same, only worse. Much worse."

One might surmise, given that, that anything Obama comes up with, short of "Gonna get me a shotgun and kill every whitey I see" should fulfill all conditions necessary and sufficient.

SHOULD be. But likely WON'T be.

Obama will have to come up with something far more persuasive and compelling to overcome the hatred and lies being spread by Romney, his brownshirt apparatchiks at Crossroads, and the sycophantic courtiers lining up to kiss the royal ass.

But even more damaging than "you've never been POTUS" might be the declaration that "you have no idea what the job entails, and don't care." It's not so much that he doesn't have the experience. He has no clue what the job of president is all about. And couldn't possibly care less.

The level of caring on the part of both Romneys about anything other than themselves, money, and power is screechingly clear now that we’ve all gotten a good look up Queen Ann’s upturned nose, an appendage she is obliged--frequently, no doubt--to pinch while on the campaign trail in order to protect the royal olfactories from the stench of average, non-rich Americans. It’s a wonder she doesn’t keep a scented handkerchief pressed against the august visage whilst stepping gingerly through crowds of the great unwashed. So delicate, those royals.

We can make fun of it (and should) but it’s yet another indication of how weirdly different the Romneys are. Just imagine the apoplexy in the MSM and especially the nutball far right media had Michelle Obama or Teresa Heinz Kerry offered such an unvarnished admission of privileged superiority.

The howls would have been biblical.

(I’m tempted to suggest that her royal highness relax a little and take a hint from another historical queen, Catherine the Great. I mean she’s already down with horses, isn’t she? She’d probably have a much better time than with King Rat.)

But, even more disturbing than Lord and Lady Romney’s (I’m reminded here of the old SNL sketch featuring Lord and Lady Douchebag—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_b3oPslctA) innate belief in their own transcendence, is the fact that, as Kate has pointed out, King Rat is in a dead heat with Obama. I really don’t think any of Romney’s multitudes of lies, his sense of entitlement, his tax evasions, and the raising of his middle finger to voters regarding his secret life has made the tiniest dent with most voters. People already in Obama’s camp will vote for the president. People who hate Obama would vote for a smelly piece of cheese so voting for the royal Romneys is, well....a piece of cake. Those in the middle are probably too busy dreaming about their own Cayman Island accounts or wondering how come the Knicks didn’t re-sign Jeremy Lin.

I’m refraining from saying “we’re screwed” but Obama better start making his case against Richie Rich in a much more forceful way (and the case for himself), or Marie Antoinette will be sharpening the guillotine for all of “you people”.

I say again: intolerable twits.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Kate's question: It's something quite puzzling, isn't it? The fact that Romney is doing as well as he is in the polls. We've always believed the populace had a distain for the elite, the moneyed people who run for office. Poor John Kerry got tomatoes (them that's in that Heinz Catsup) flung at him for being erudite and rich. Both LBJ and Nixon had a hatred for the upper classes––the former called them "the Harvards," the latter called them, "The Franklins" (an elite group in college that wouldn't bother with someone like Nixon). So both of these men tried to appeal to the country as being just regular folks––"I understand you, I'm just like you are, I feel your pain along with your need to gain a leg up." Kennedy aced it because at that time the country was hungry for glamour, for that myth of Camelot, for youth and panache. And now when the little people are furious at being such little people you would think they would rally round the guy that's trying to give them some legs, but sadly, for many, they rally round the guy who is going to screw them––the guy with the big bucks and is further apart from them then any one of our recent presidents. Heck, this guy didn't even like their cookies!

The news of the theatre shootings breaks my heart. How easy was it for this deviant to purchase all those "way cool" guns that he used to kill, at random? Just how easy?????

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Hi Akhilleus! We could also say Mitt doesn't understand the Constitution because he has never studied it, let alone taught it. He doesn't understand the average American's needs because he has always been wealthy. Etc.
This whole business of using his - as you say - Vulture Capitalism experience to leverage himself into the position as best qualified to lead the country is pretty ridiculous. My hope is that voters eventully see that, when they start paying attention. ....if they start paying attention.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

More nonsense from the Rat.

As Krugman points out in his fine column today, rich fat cats like Romney and their shills in the WSJ, on Fox, and, yes, in the NYTIMES, frequently point out that the business environment stinks because…why?

Because the president doesn’t like them.

Boo-hoo.

As Krugman points out this is patently ridiculous. I would add “borderline pathological”. I realize that logic and rationality are vague and fleeting concepts for most conservatives, especially wealthy ones, but bear with me for a moment while I indulge my own fetish for the real world.

In what universe would it be possible for the suspected inner feelings (not even voiced, mind you) of one person to affect—in any way--a multi trillion dollar economy? Let’s stipulate that this person is not a supreme being and even if he were, unless those feelings were A.) real and B.) able to manifest themselves as a force in the world, feelings are still just that.

So in no way can how someone feels (or more to the point, the way certain individuals believe they feel) about a thing or a group or a concept, have the slightest effect on the concrete universe. None. Unless perhaps one were to posit that the groups/individuals held in such (presumed) low regard allowed that belief to seriously affect their own state of mind, judgment, and psychological well being. Were that the case however, the individuals in those groups would have far bigger problems than crying because someone doesn’t like them.

C’mon already. These guys are supposedly the Masters of the Universe. Builders, shakers, movers, JOB CREATORS. Should they fold up like an old lawn chair because someone they’ve never met might think they aren’t so hot? Just imagine how short the Gilded Age would have been had robber barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Jay Gould, and the other rapacious buccaneers of that era, all fell on their oriental carpets and kicked and screamed and threatened to hold their breath because Teddy Roosevelt said mean things about them. They didn’t give a shit what Teddy said. Until his trust busting ways got their attention. And even then they didn’t whine like Romney and WSJ editors about hurt feelings. And they actually HAD something to complain about. The Sherman Act and Roosevelt’s public battles with many of them (except the ones he went hat in hand to for campaign contributions) must have seriously inconvenienced their thieving ways.

Today corporations pay fewer taxes and have to deal with less regulation than any group in decades. But still they whine. And still King and Queen Romney demand that we all bow and scrape and treat them like Royalty.

Planet Romney must miss its monarchs. Time to send them back to lord it over the monkeys in the Caymans. That is, if their feelings won’t be hurt too terribly.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Nothing annoys me more than having to look at images of the scumbag that murdered 12 in Colorado. The MSM does it all the time with such events. Hello assholes, that is exactly what the bastard wants to see!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Dunno, Marvin. At least now we know he wern't an A-rab or one of them foodstamp people. Don't look Jewish neither. Course they coulda fotoshopped the picture.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

I am so saddened and horrified by this latest gun violence in Colorado! But like you, James Singer, I am relieved to see this was another crazy WHITE guy--not an Arab, African American, Hispanic, Asian, or any other minority. He even has a very WASPY name--though that does not mean much.

I am really, really upset that Obama has not spoken up for gun control; he must do it NOW! Fuck the NRA! This kind of outrageous crime could not have happened with a knife!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Second amendment to the constitution.

Question: Are the actions of the NRA, by fighting to defeat any and all regulation of firearms, unconstitutional? The language above specifically states that militia's must be regulated.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

rats...I only meant for the quote to be bold italic.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

I submitted the following in comments to Charles Blow's column this morning. I don't believe it made the cut (mebbe the language):

The question we need to ask is, "Has the U.S.A. become the N.R.A.'s bitch?" Are we so terrified of confrontation that we kowtow to any cult of nuts who yell loud enough? I believe the answer is "Yes," and all this discussion is merely therapeutic, an attempt to make ourselves feel better by pretending that we just might take a stand one of these days.

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney
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