The Ledes

Friday, October 9, 2015.

New York Times: "The Islamic State registered significant gains Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing heavily, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. Late in the day, there were reports that rebels had reasserted control in one of the villages."

Houston Chronicle: "One Texas Southern University student was killed another wounded in a shooting Friday at a student housing complex on the campus in southeast Houston."

New York Times: "Israeli soldiers killed six young Palestinians on Friday in the Gaza Strip, including a 15-year-old boy, as they opened fire to quell crowds that hurled rocks and rolled burning tires close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel, Israeli military and Gaza health officials said."

New York Times: "The National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday 'for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011'.... The quartet comprises four organizations: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. But the Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasized that the prize 'is awarded to this quartet, not to the four individual organizations as such.'”

AP: "Officials say one person is dead and three others are wounded following an early morning shooting at Northern Arizona University. School public relations director Cindy Brown says the suspected shooter is in custody." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "G. T. Fowler, the chief of campus police, said that Steven Jones, a freshman, had opened fire after two groups of male students were involved in a confrontation. The police were able to take Mr. Jones into custody after he stopped firing the weapon and “everything calmed down for a few minutes,” Chief Fowler said."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 8, 2015.

New York Times: "Paul Prudhomme, the chef who put the cooking of Louisiana — especially the Cajun gumbos, jambalayas and dirty rice he grew up with — on the American culinary map, died on Thursday in New Orleans. He was 75.

Air Force Times: "Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.... Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times, "... He is currently in stable condition." Sacramento police tweeted: 'The assault incident is not related to a terrorist act.  Assault occurred near a bar, alcohol is believed to be a factor.'”

Motherboard: "On Wednesday, a jury in Sacramento, California, found Matthew Keys, former social media editor at Reuters and an ex-employee of KTXL Fox 40, guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. In 2010, Keys posted login credentials to the Tribune Company content management system (CMS) to a chatroom run by Anonymous, resulting in the defacement of an LA Times article online. The defacement was reversed in 40 minutes, but the government argued the attack caused nearly a million dollars in damage."

New York Times: "The leadership of world soccer’s governing body plunged into chaos on Thursday, as three of the game’s most powerful figures, including Sepp Blatter, the longtime president of FIFA, were suspended amid an investigation by the Swiss authorities into suspected corruption. In addition to Mr. Blatter, Michel Platini, who is a FIFA vice president and the head of European soccer’s governing body, and Jérôme Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general who was already on disciplinary leave, were “provisionally banned” from the sport. The suspensions took effect immediately."

Reuters: "The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to near a 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring."

New York Times: "Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday 'for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,' the Swedish Academy announced."

Washington Post: "The United Auto Workers union narrowly avoided a strike against Fiat Chrysler of America early Thursday morning, announcing an agreement less than two days after threatening to pull as many as 40,000 workers off the job while contract negotiations soured."

The Week: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his wife, Landra Gould, filed a product liability lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County, Nevada, against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid said was behind an accident in January that injured his eye."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post [Sept. 11]: "Aggressive treatment of high blood pressure can sharply cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths in people 50 and older, according to a landmark federal study released Friday that urges doctors to bring their patients’ blood pressure well below the commonly recommended target. The new research advises people with high blood pressure to keep their “systolic” pressure — the top number in the reading that health-care providers routinely tell patients — at 120 or below.

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

White House Live Video
October 9

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Here's a break from the parade of horribles in the left column:

A friend sent me this version. You'll want to supersize it:

MoviePilot: Quite a few people think the film "The Martian" -- which depicts an Earthly astronaut stuck on Mars -- is "based on a true story." ...

... CW: Reminds of Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. History Channel: "Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, 'New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!'”

New York Times: "Europe’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people’s digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how seamlessly global technology giants — the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — can continue to collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday’s ruling."

One More Reason Not to Let Jeff Bezos into Your House. Bloomberg: " Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t 'interact well' with Prime Video." ...

... Karl Bode of Tech Dirt: "Amusingly, Amazon unloads what has to be one of the larger piles of ambiguous bullshit in defense of an anti-competitive position seen in some time: "Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,' Amazon said in [an] e-mail [to sellers]. 'It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.'" Hilarious. Except it's up to developers to embed Chromecast support into their services and apps, and both Google and Apple publish open software development kits that allows any application to be utilized on both devices. In other words, it's Amazon's choice that Chromecast and Apple TV won't play nicely with Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. It has nothing to do with the devices not 'interacting well' with Amazon's services." ...

... Alison Griswold of Slate: "It will be interesting to see whether Amazon’s move with regard to streaming content raises any antitrust flags. Generally speaking, a company has breached antitrust laws when it has a monopoly and uses that monopoly to stifle competition."

Congratulations, Aliens! You are no longer in violation of U.S. copyright law:

... Our Long National Nightmare Is Over. Los Angeles Times: "In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, [a federal] judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the 'Happy Birthday To You' song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.... Judge George H. King ruled that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific piano arrangements of the music, not the actual song."

When the posh British PM David Cameron was a lad, he fucked a dead pig. The antics of our own Aqua Buddha Boy pale by comparison.

New York Times: "It was a night of firsts, and a night for establishment cable at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress on a drama series, for her role as a defense lawyer on ABC’s 'How to Get Away With Murder'; Jon Hamm won his first Emmy after seven previous nominations for his role as the tortured Don Draper on 'Mad Men'; and HBO, led by victories for the comedy 'Veep,' the drama 'Game of Thrones' and a four-part limited series, 'Olive Kitteridge,' had a triumphant showing, with 14 victories, including best drama and outstanding comedy series."


Washington Post: "When Pope Francis arrives in Washington this week for the start of a six-day visit to the United States, he might find at least one local spot that reminds him of home. That’s Brookland, a neighborhood in Northeast Washington so chockablock with Catholic institutions that it has been called 'Little Rome.'”

New York Times: "When the comedian Steve Rannazzisi has explained his success, which includes seven seasons starring on a popular TV show, 'The League,' and a one-hour special this Saturday on Comedy Central, he has frequently attributed it to decisions he made after narrowly escaping the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.... Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction."

Washington Post (Sept. 15): "King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain ... arrive in Washington this week for their first official visit.... The couple will meet with President Obama and Senate leaders on Tuesday (which happens to be the queen’s 43rd birthday), open an American-Spanish scientific conference at Georgetown University [where Felipe attended grad school], meet with American chief executives who do business in Spain, and head to Florida to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine."

Perfect! Guardian: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is to replace Donald Trump as the host of the NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice, the network has announced."

New York Times: "For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new subway stop [in Manhattan] is open for business.... The extended subway line is a descendant of the train lines that ran along 11th Avenue from the mid-1800s until 1941." The stop is an extension of the No. 7 line. Exits are at 34th St. & 11th Ave.:



MoDo goes to Paris to check out Google's Google's Cultural Institute, which is on a mission to "digitally replicate and curate all art and culture on earth." CW: The Times should stop giving Dowd these difficult war-correspondenty assignments. Why isn't she in New York, checking out the runways during Fashion Week?

The President Awards the National Medals of the Arts and Humanities:

Washington Post: "New images of Pluto show the amazing diversity of" the planet's landscape. "Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team, added that the surface was 'every bit as complex as that of Mars,' with jumbled mountains, nitrogen ice flows, and possible dunes." Includes slideshow.

Wowza! New York Times: "Acting on a tip from spelunkers two years ago, scientists in South Africa discovered what the cavers had only dimly glimpsed through a crack in a limestone wall deep in the Rising Star cave: lots and lots of old bones. The remains covered the earthen floor beyond the narrow opening. This was, the scientists concluded, a large, dark chamber for the dead of a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi. The new hominin species was announced on Thursday by an international team of more than 60 scientists led by Lee R. Berger, an American paleoanthropologist who is a professor of human evolution studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The species name, H. naledi, refers to the cave where the bones lay undisturbed for so long; 'naledi' means 'star' in the local Sesotho language." ...

... Here's the Life Sciences report. ...

Contact the Constant Weader

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The Commentariat -- July 7, 2012

I think I wrote my favorite David Brooks column Friday. It is titled "Every David Brooks Column Is about Mayberry." The NYTX front page is here. ...

In today's Comments, contributor P. D. Pepe excerpts the Brooks-Dionne exchange on last night's "PBS NewsHour." Here's the whole thing. CW: not sure I can stand to watch:

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

New York Times Editors: "Mr. Obama's big mistake was to turn prematurely from the need for stimulus to a focus on cutting the budget. He may have hoped to co-opt the Republican emphasis on deficits. He would have done better to slam them on their cynicism in lamenting the deficit after enabling the tax cuts, wars and financial crisis -- all Bush-era creations -- that have deepened the debt. What he is not responsible for is the continued Republican obstructionism, even in the face of a weakening economy." ...

... Floyd Norris of the New York Times: "The disappointing jobs report for June will increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more. It will add to hopes (among Republicans) or fears (among Democrats) that a slowing economy could damage President Obama's re-election prospects. May I suggest an alternative explanation? The recovery has been chugging along slowly for a couple of years, and while it may have slowed a little in the last few months, that change has been minor." ...

... BESIDES. Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "Most voters do not follow this sort of news, at all.... In other words, the basic partisan divisions in a highly polarized electorate are unlikely to change much between now and November."

Dahlia Lithwick has some thoughts on why liberals aren't beating up on the Democratic appointees to the Supreme Court who ruled against Obama administration policies in the way conservatives are whacking Chief Justice Roberts. See also Adam Liptak's report.

Josh Hicks, standing in as the Washington Post fact-checker: "On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew called [individual mandate] a 'charge' that would apply only to a small fraction of the population, and that 'more middle-class people are going to get a tax cut.' ... We found nothing to dispute Lew's statements. The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans. The White House chief of staff earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark for his remarks...."

Joe Nocera of the New York Times: "Britain and America have reacted to the Libor scandal in completely different ways. Britain is in an utter frenzy over it, with wall-to-wall coverage, and the most respectable, pro-business publications expressing outrage. Yes, Barclays is a British bank, and the first word in Libor is 'London.' But still: The Economist ran a headline about the scandal that read, in its entirety, 'Banksters.' Yet, on these shores, the reaction has been mainly a shrug."

Where Are They Now? This serious-looking young man grew up to be mayor of a major American city. In case you can't guess who he is, answer in yesterday's Commentariat. Thanks to reader Bonnie for the link to this high-school yearbook photo.



Presidential Race

Charles Babington of the Associated Press: "History repeats itself, until it doesn't. That musty truism is worth remembering as pundits speculate on whether the lumbering economy will doom the re-election hopes of President Barack Obama, who has shown a knack for beating odds and breaking barriers."

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "On the heels of another anemic employment report, President Obama found himself acknowledging again that the economy was not generating enough jobs, that the recovery was not taking hold fast enough, and that too many Americans lacked basic financial security."

He's keepin' on keepin' on:

Jobs! Steve Benen: "Obama's agenda would create jobs right away, would be fully paid for, and would reduce the deficit over time. Romney's agenda wouldn't create jobs right away, isn't fully paid for, and would apparently increase the eficit over time. Or as Jeffrey Liebman recently put it, 'What would Gov. Romney do to create jobs now? In a word, nothing.'" ...

... Jamelle Bouie of The American Prospect: "Mitt Romney is back to accusing President Obama of having no plan for economic growth.... The only jobs plan on the table right now is the one proposed by the Obama administration. Republicans should be pressured to pass it, and Romney should be challenged on his assertion that the White House has nothing to offer." ...

... Andrew Rosenthal: Republicans are the reason the unemployment rate remains high. CW: they know that; it has been their plan all along.

Paul Krugman: "Bain's activities are part of the really big story about America these past three decades, which isn't about jobs moving overseas, but about the rewriting of the social contract, with income shifted away from ordinary workers and toward the Masters of the Universe."

"That Other Curious Romney Account." Brian Beutler of TPM: "... a Vanity Fair article about Mitt Romney's tangled web of investments has thrust his foreign holdings and complicated tax strategies back into the center of the 2012 campaign. But questions have persisted ... about an individual retirement account held by the Romneys valued at upwards of $100 million -- a stunning amount for a savings vehicle designed to provide middle class retirees comfortable, but non-lavish retirement. His IRA raises two key questions, both of which his campaign has consistently declined to answer: How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney's IRA grow to over $100 million? And did he avoid any U.S. taxes on its enormous returns?" The answer, Beutler learns, is -- yeah, probably so. ...

... Paul Krugman: "... the existence of this huge account, which may well be legal but clearly flies in the face of the spirit of the law, poses questions that voters should have answered."

Romney -- Not as Bad as He Says He Is. Kevin Drum: when focus groups were told "Romney supported the Ryan budget plan -- and thus championed 'ending Medicare as we know it' -- while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing." CW: I don't know how you beat that.

CookieGate -- The Sequel! Reid Epstein of Politico: "As President Obama's motorcade rolled across the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, his campaign informed reporters that in Pittsburgh they would be treated to cookies from Bethel Bakery in Bethel Park, Pa., a locally-famous establishment whose 15 minutes of campaign fame followed an unfortunate description of them by Obama's GOP rival, Mitt Romney. 'I'm not sure about these cookies,' Romney said in April upon being presented the sugary delights. 'They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven, bakery, or whatever.'" ...

Right Wing World *

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Michigan) thought he might be elected president this year. Instead, he is today a "sovereign citizen," whatever that might be (King Thad?); it is not a U.S. Congressman, because he quit that job yesterday. He was not going to be re-elected to Congress anyway because, as Aaron Blake of the Washington Post reports, "McCotter failed to qualify for the primary ballot after most of his petition signatures were recently found to be fraudulent. State officials are investigating the matter.... The Detroit News reported that he had written a TV pilot with a rather odd premise -- McCotter himself hosting a crude variety show that joked about flatulence and female anatomy, among other things." (America's Le Petomane?) ...

... The Detroit News story, by Marisa Schultz, is here, and it is truly sensational. ...

... Laura Gonaway of the "Rachel Maddow Show" invites you to diagram this sentence from McCotter's resignation announcement:

Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must 'strike another match, go start anew' by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen.

      ... Gonaway publishes some of the efforts of first responders.

Oliver Burkemann in the Guardian: "Perhaps you've heard [CW: I hadn't] the news that failed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has launched his own online television channel, or "website", at ... Sadly, however, Cain TV is so authentically bizarre that it's hard to make ... snide jokes [about it]." With absurd, bizarre video!

* Where all presidential candidates must be 35 years or older, natural-born U.S. citizens and insane.

Answer to July 8 PhotoQuiz: Hillary Clinton.

News Ledes

Los Angeles Times: "The state Senate authorized initial funding for California's high-speed rail project, handing a victory to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration, which have been pushing hard for the first-in-the-nation bullet train."

AP: "Libyans started voting on Saturday in the first parliamentary election since last year's ouster and slaying of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, with jubilation at this major step toward democracy after decades of erratic one-man rule tempered by boycott calls and violence in the country's restive east." ...

... Reuters Update: "Crowds of joyful Libyans, some with tears in their eyes, parted with the legacy of Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship on Saturday as they voted in the first free national election in 60 years. But in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of last year's uprising but where many now want more autonomy from the interim government in Tripoli, protesters stormed a handful of polling stations and publicly burned hundreds of ballot papers."

Reader Comments (10)

Looking at the picture of the cookies from Bethel Bakery, I have to observe: no WAY do they look like they came from 7/11, or any similar purveyor of mass-produced garbage. They look home-made.
Romney must really be an idiot.
(Thank you for letting me vent, Marie, and for everything you do. )
I hope everyone has a fabulous week-end. It is going to get above 70 degrees here in the northwest corner of the northwest. We're all excited!

July 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

On Mayberry and Jobs:

Fine Griffith/Brooks column, Marie, in which you highlight the uncritical tropisms that victimize Brooks and his set. For him and for much of the political party he works so hard (you can often see and hear the creaks in his reasoning's rusty machinery) to support, the old days were always better for all the reasons you mention: no non-whites, no women causing trouble, and I would add, in the mythic Mayberry everyone had jobs and enough to eat, its mild class distinctions were innocuous, and while it's been a long time ago, I do not recall an episode built around social strife of any kind.

Seems odd, though, that Mr. Brooks and his well-educated ilk see no connection between national policy and their chosen Edens. They are drawn to a simple(!) homespun life that few of them have lived, where most people are happy and where the minor problems that animate the script can always be solved locally with a joke or some drawled tidbit of common sense.

But what of problems a little larger? Problems and issues that just like those in Mayberry do have some common sense answers. Brooks seldom asks the questions and when he does, he is careful to provide only airy, theoretical solutions that never stand up to examination. The kind that give education a bad name.

Let's try a little Mayberry logic on today's jobs report.

Why is unemployment so high? Common sense would tell us that they're aren't enough jobs to go around. Why is that? Because demand for goods is too low. So what would Andy do about it? Put more money in consumers' hands maybe? How would he do that? Revise our tax policy to benefit the lower and middle classes because simple logic tells us that the top two percent can't and don't buy enough to keep the wheels of a whole nation's commerce turning. Maybe pass a jobs bill that injects money directly into our faltering economy?

Or does Brooks think Andy would recommend more austerity, fewer public workers (like him?) and an avalanche of legislation aimed at restricting abortion, all because common wisdom tells him that these are the things we need to do to create jobs?

In short ('bout time), what policies would have the best chance of creating and supporting a Mayberry for all? Brooks will never say. Instead he will continue to avoid all the issues that confront the nation we really live in. First, as you say, by positing an idealized social order that has no big problems at all, and second by never making use of the common sense he would claim to so much admire in Andy and the boys.

July 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

This a comment from yesterday's New York Times.

Nicholas Kristof, who is a simple throw back to the Englishtenment of the 17th Century wrote a column on a wonderful success story about a Kenyan women who went into the homemade donut business.

Then her husband stopped drinking and womanizing. All from a mini-loan. He even hired workers to work his land.

He doesn't mention what will happen in 20-50 years when population of the country doubles.

July 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJefffrey

Marie's conceit on Mayberry's Brooks was masterful. I love it when something like this all fits together. Below is part of the transcript of last night's discussion on PBS. Mark Shields was off and E.J. Dionne took his place and what a difference. Dionne, in his clear and cogent way disputed much of Brook's ramblings, but this took the cake:

BROOKS: So after the health care decision, Romney could have come out there. He has a health care plan. And it's pretty detailed, at least within, I would say, this little box he keeps in the subbasement of his 12-car garage in deep secret.


DAVID BROOKS: He's not letting anybody know it, but it is a secret plan, and it's a pretty good plan.

And I would like him to say what it is, in part so he can say, this is what I believe.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You know that he has a plan, but you are saying. . .

DAVID BROOKS: Well, he has announced the outlines of his plan. That's public. I also know that he has the private details of the plan which is in secret.

But it's just fleshing out the plan he has announced publicly.

E.J. DIONNE: And the problem is, it looks like the plan that John McCain put on the table four years ago, which President Obama, then Senator Obama, trashed to great effect in the election.

I don't think the plan would be popular if he put it out there, which is why it is in the subbasement.

DAVID BROOKS: It happens to be popular with people like me.


JUDY WOODRUFF: So that's why he's keeping it secret.

E.J. DIONNE: Right.

DAVID BROOKS: That's why, yes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Because you are in the minority. You are a columnist.

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I like. . .

E.J. DIONNE: He leaks it to you, but not to the public.

DAVID BROOKS: I like being a part of the reality principle.

So there you have it. Enamored with a secret health care plan that no one has seen, but he seems to know what's in it and by George, he likes it! How's that for a reality principle.––––"OH––Come, come,come to the church in the WILDWOOD..."

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie, you must have a really strong stomach to be able to read and comment on Our Miss Brooks. I can no longer bear to read him or watch him on TV. When I see him with that simpering expression, I think of some kind of rodent.

I found youin the comments section of the NYT. Now I need my Realitychex fix every day. Thank you for your hard work and your rational voice.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa

Re: Hollywood crackers and Aunt Bee's cookies. I see Andy's world as a cartoon drawn up by teevee writers and producers from New York City and Hollywood. That idyllic waterhole never existed and anyone with a half a brain was aware of that. (Mr. Brooks is excused fractionally). Irony is only ironic when never exposed. The writers and producers never let on that the show was really a spoof on the slow southern life that was championed on the show itself. Later Hollywood brings the third generation squirrel eaters out to Beverly Hills for more fun and another successful teevee show. We lament the dumbing down of Americans but you can't sell soup to the audience by running episodes of "To Kill a Mockingbird" every week. Mr. Brooks is harking back to a time that never was. Soon he will be hosting masquerades at his mansion where the invited will dress as French peasants and milkmaids and all will frolic as only the underclass knows how.
Re: swimming with the fishes. You sav'em if you can. I'll pull your dumb ass out of the water in spite of that fact. Double drowning happen a lot because people will recklessly endanger they own lives to save another. Swim at your own risk and swim in front of a life guard stand. ( Hope to hell the riptide pushes me over to a mercenary life guard; oh fuck, there's a weight limit!)

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Joe Nocera laments about the lack of coverage re: the Libor scandal. PBS News covered it last night and Robert Scheer of Truthdig had an article up two days ago titled: Crime of the Century and began like this:

"Forget Bernie Madoff and Enron’s Ken Lay—they were mere amateurs in financial crime. The current Libor interest rate scandal, involving hundreds of trillions in international derivatives trade, shows how the really big boys play. And these guys will most likely not do the time because their kind rewrites the law before committing the crime."

These big boys––any big girls?–––keep playing this game and it's a wonder how they actually believe they are untouchable. Even after they bring the house down invincibility reigns in their nether regions; all those hard ons during these hard times.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

PD Pepe: Thanks for posting the interchange between Brooks, Woodruff and Dionne, which is truly remarkable - it reads like satire. Please don't tell me you were kidding !
Speaking of secret plans, didn't McCain have one to catch Osama bin Laden? Meanwhile, Obama didn't speak of his plan during the campaign - he just executed it once elected.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Ken Winkes. I think you've proposed half a season of scripts. Here are a few treatments:

People in Mayberry are out of work so:

Andy hires a new deputy. Barney is jealous & spreads the story around town that taxes will go up because of the new guy. Then the new guy foils a robbery at the sweet shop, and folks in town start talking about firing Barney instead. Andy diffuses everyone's anger with a homily about the team spirit that makes America great.

Andy chats with some old boys sitting around the general store whittling. They tell him they've got nothing to do because they can't find jobs. Andy gets the local banker to set them up in a cane- & kewpie-doll-making factory which is a fabulous success.

The dentist tells Andy folks aren't coming in for their teeth-cleaning & annual check-up because times are hard. He might have to close up shop. Barney gets a toothache & Andy realizes the town needs a dentist. He talks the dentist into taking barter for his services. A farmer brings in a couple of live chickens in exchange for a filling. (Inspired by some loopy Tea Party lady who was running for Senate in Nevada, I think it was, in 2010, & opined that barter would beat ObamaCare.)

Andy arrests some college kids who engage in a protest march when they can't find summer jobs. Andy gets to chatting with them & discovers they're all English lit majors. Andy discusses "Hamlet" with them, but they all agree there's not much future in English lit. Andy encourages them to establish a newspaper in Mayberry. It too is a fabulous success.

Andy finds work for a wayward musician when he forces the musician & a music promoter to share the one & only Mayberry jail cell. Oh wait, that's been done.

Part 1 of a Two-Parter. A columnist from the Noo Yawk Times comes to Mayberry to find out why the town has full employment & everybody is fat & happy when folks in other parts are struggling. The columnist, who lives in a $4-million house, takes Andy for a rube until he sees how the people of Mayberry love & respect Andy as a natural-born leader. Andy's example changes the columnist's viewpoint forever after. He tells another columnist at the NYT about Andy, & the next time that there other columnist writes a column about running a third-party candidate for president, he substitutes Andy Taylor's name for whoever it was he had picked to be president a few week back.

Part 2. Big city folks come around trying to get Andy to run for president. What with all the flattery, Andy gets a little too big for his britches and kinda ignores his Mayberry friends. Finally, Barney has a heart-to-heart with Andy, and Andy realizes that Mayberry values are more important than national fame & fortune. With his old friends & the big-city pols gathered around, Andy delivers an eloquent soliloquy on the rectitude of small-town virtues. One of the big city pols listening to Andy's speech is named Roger Ailes. He writes down the speech. Months later, it is delivered, verbatim but minus the North Carolina drawl, by Ailes' new boss Richard Nixon. The Moral Majority is born.

Not all endings are happy, even in Mayberry.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Constant Weader

A little change of subject. America has a way to "dominate" Iran! No kidding. Forget killing their nuclear engineers and putting nasty viruses in their computer systems--which then come back to haunt us. And don't even think about drones--unless they are used to drop alcoholic beverages. Iran and America: more alike than different. Both full of alcoholics. Only difference: we let them drive and send them to rehab when they crash; in Iran, if caught, they get killed. It is only a matter of time before they open bars and become happy drunks with a bit of non-nuclear violence thrown in. Think Prohibition!

Below from The Daily Beast:


Despite an outright ban on alcohol and moral police who set up checkpoints at night in search of those defying it, Iran has a drinking problem. For the first time, officials in Iran, where the strict version of Islam enforced by authorities coexists uneasily with a young population, have acknowledged the prevalence of alcoholism in the country, as well as the damage it can cause. Part of the problem stems from the fact that even as Iran increasingly sees alcohol abuse as a public-health issue, the country continues to treat it as a sin and a crime—recently, two men in the country’s northeast were sentenced to death for having had a drink on multiple occasions.

July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison
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