The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, February 11, 2016.

AP: "Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole Wednesday for fatally shooting Robert F. Kennedy after a confidante of the slain senator who was shot in the head forgave him and repeatedly apologized for not doing more to win his release. Paul Schrade's voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony on his efforts to untangle mysteries about the events of June 5, 1968. The 91-year-old former labor leader said he believed Sirhan shot him but that a second unidentified shooter felled Kennedy."

White House Live Video
February 11

1:00 pm ET: NOBEL Women presents Girls, Gigabytes & Gadgets

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man. ...

... The Times is publishing previously unpublished photos of black historical figures & events every day this month. You can see those published to date here.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

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Friday
Jul062012

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 CainTV.com? ... 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.

(LAUGHTER)

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.

(LAUGHTER)

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:

IRAN ACKNOWLEDGES ALCOHOL PROBLEM

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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