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Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

Click on the picture to see larger image.... Low Society News. AP: "... Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin’s) married a Scottish actress. Mnuchin exchanged vows Saturday night with Louise Linton at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Mrs. Trump wore a pink blush dress" CW: which, if you follow Reality Chex, you will know was enhanced by some really costly baubles that remind the bride of Grace Kelly or happy times or something.

New Yorker: "In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago. And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent — and the Sahara — in Morocco." -- CW ...

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers." -- CW 

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends." -- CW

Washington Post: "Two months before Monday’s [May 8] announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group would pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and add to its dominance as the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, a top executive at Sinclair beamed a short commentary piece to many of the company’s 173 stations.In the segment, which looks like it belongs in a newscast, Sinclair vice president for news Scott Livingston stands before a wall of video monitors and warns that 'some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.' He accuses the national media of publishing 'fake news stories' — a direct echo of President Trump’s frequent complaint — and then asks viewers to visit the station’s website to share 'content concerns.' The piece was a 'must-run,' meaning news directors and station managers from Baltimore to Seattle had to find room for it.... While partisan coverage is a familiar staple of cable networks — Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left — it remains mostly unheard of in broadcast TV, where it has generally been accepted that public airwaves should be used in the difficult-to-define public interest.” -- CW 

CNN: "21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, one of the nation's largest television broadcasting companies, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday. The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture." -- CW 

New York Times: "Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday. The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet." -- CW 

If you're curious as to how realistic the New York City apartments of TV sitcom characters are -- in terms of what the characters could reasonably afford -- the Washington Post checks out several of the hovels & dream rentals of a number of shows. Kinda fun. CW: My husband & I (he paid the rent) had a fairly spacious two-bedroom with a galley kitchen (dishwasher included!) & dining room plus teensy closets on Washington Square in the 1980s & '90s. NYU owned the building & helped considerably with the rent.

Politico: "Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year's entertainer for the White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, the association's president announced on Tuesday. Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' where he has performed caustic bits on ... Donald Trump, liberals and others in between. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner." -- CW 

AFP: "After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature at a jovial, champagne-laced ceremony on Saturday, [April 1,] the Swedish Academy announced. The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old troubadour would use a concert stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October." -- CW 

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Sunday
Jun172012

The Commentariat -- June 18, 2012

The Most Transparent White House Ever:

Copy of an Office of Legal Counsel memo Charlie Savage of the New York Times received after making a Freedom of Information Request for it. The OLC memo is by Bush counsel Jack Goldsmith. WTF is the Obama Administration hiding? Other than everything.

Uninsured & Clueless. Alec MacGillis, writing for Kaiser Health News, visits a weekend free clinic in Tennessee. When he asked patients what they thought about the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on "the new national health care law," here's the kind of response he got: "What new law? I've not heard about that." Via Adam Sorensen. We get the government we deserve.

CW: I can't believe I'm linking to an op-ed by Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post's editorial director: Republicans used to swear they favored full disclosure of those responsible for every type of political ad. "Now Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have introduced legislation that would — without limiting a single act of political speech -- promote disclosure, sunlight and disinfectant. Not a single Republican has signed on."

Paul Krugman, Myth Buster: "... the origins of [the Greek economic] disaster lie ... in Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin, where officials created a deeply -- perhaps fatally -- flawed monetary system, then compounded the problems of that system by substituting moralizing for analysis. And the solution to the crisis, if there is one, will have to come from the same places.

Bill Keller urges Roman Catholics "of open minds and open hearts" to leave the Church.

Congress is Back from One of Its Many Vacations. Russell Berman of The Hill: "The focus for congressional leaders ... will be on the highway and education [student loans] bills. As campaign fever engulfs the Capitol, deals on those two issues could be among the last agreements before Congress takes its July 4 recess. But they are no sure thing."

Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post on the Jerry Sandusky trial: "There's a shadow trial underway, because if the prosecution's case is correct, many people and important institutions failed to keep Sandusky from preying on boys despite direct eyewitness evidence that he was a pedophile."

Christine Haughney of the New York Times: "Three years after telling his shareholders that he would not buy a newspaper at any price, [Warren] Buffett has moved aggressively into the business, buying 63 papers and revealing a 3 percent stake in Lee Enterprises, a chain of mostly small dailies based in Iowa. In a letter Mr. Buffett sent to the publishers and editors of all Berkshire Hathaway daily newspapers, he described himself as a newspaper 'addict' who planned to buy more papers in the future."

Peter Boyer of Newsweek writes a long encomium on Chris Christie. He mentions New Jersey's great economy. (See Marvin Schwalb's comment in yesterday's Commentariat for a Reality Chek there.) CW: what impressed me was how Christie had mastered the "divide & conquer" strategy against public workers.

Dreams of My Father? More like Fables about Family & Friends, according to Ben Smith's reading of David Maraniss's new biography of the young Barack Obama. ...

... Jim Fallows reviews Barack Obama for the New York Times Book Review. ...

... AND you book-readers might want to read Dan Amira's review of Rielle Hunter's tell-all book about her affair with handsome John Edwards. As far as I can tell, Amira hasn't read the book, but that takes nothing away from his insightful take. ...

... Russell Goldman of ABC News has more. Also at the ABC link, a video so you book-readers who don't like to read words won't have to. And this tease: this Friday at 10 pm ET on ABC's "20-20," "Hunter will reveal the current status of her relationship with Edwards."

Julia Preston & Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "In recent weeks, the White House faced intense pressure from some of its closest allies ... to provide some relief for immigrant communities. The urging came from Harry Reid of Nevada and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois ... and the Hispanic caucus in the House of Representatives, as well as Latino and immigrant leaders across the country.... And last week, students without immigration papers started a campaign of sit-ins and hunger strikes at Obama campaign offices in more than a dozen cities...." ...

... In a Time magazine essay, "The President explains his decision to no longer deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children." ...

... Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times: "Republicans were angered by Obama's [immigration] move, seeing the new policy as circumventing Congress but also deriding it as job-stealing amnesty (by that view, they must think [Sen. Marco] Rubio's [R-Fla.] proposal, which would create nonimmigrant visas, was amnesty as well.) But even as Rubio had yet to release his proposal, the dynamic has shifted. Republicans have dug in and Democrats may now feel that anything short of the full Dream Act is unacceptable." Via Greg Sargent.

Presidential Race

The only difference between negative and positive ads is that negative ads have facts in them. -- Mike Murphy, GOP campaign operative ...

... Frank Rich: "The serious questions raised by the early Obama ads [attacking Romney] are not whether they were too much but too little.... The president, any president, should go negative early, often, and without apology if the goal is victory. The notion that negative campaigning is some toxic modern aberration in American democracy is bogus." Top this, Barack:

In his public statements about Homeland Security's new deportation policy, including the Time magazine essay linked above, President Obama of course doesn't say a thing about screwing Romney. But the new policy does screw Romney. And Romney knows it. ...

... Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "... Mitt Romney declined to say on Sunday whether he would reverse the president's decision if he takes up occupancy of the White House.Although Mr. Romney said during the Republican primary debates that he would veto the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, he was more equivocal about Mr. Obama’s order last week." ...

... Greg Sargent: Romney refused to answer Schieffer's repeated question as to how he would pay for the massive tax cuts on the wealthy he has proposed. ...

... Philip Rucker & Dan Balz of the Washington Post, in a straight reporting piece, repeatedly write that Romney's campaign speeches are all about criticizing Obama policies without specifying any of his own.

Emily Friedman of ABC News: "President Obama's senior campaign strategist David Axelrod condemned the protesters who showed up at two of Mitt Romney's campaign events in Ohio today while taking a dig at the GOP candidate.... Axelrod wrote on Twitter, 'I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt's route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide.'" ...

... Gwen Florio of the Missoulian: at the Montana state GOP convention, "an outhouse labeled 'Obama Presidential Library' [was] parked outside Missoula's Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.... The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets. Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven controversy over the president's origins. It was stamped 'Bull--;.' A graffito advised 'For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)'"

News Ledes

New York Times: baseballer "Roger Clemens ... was acquitted Monday of all charges that he lied to Congress in 2008 when he insisted he never used steroids or human growth hormone during his long career."

New York Times: "Saudi Arabia's Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who was governor of Riyadh for nearly 50 years until his recent promotion to Saudi Arabia's defense minister, was officially named crown prince on Monday, making him the heir apparent to the 88-year-old King Abdullah."

AFP: "The leaders of the world's major powers will seek to buy the global economy some breathing space at the G20 summit Monday with new support for an IMF financial firewall and for Greece."

Here's Al Jazeera's liveblog for Egypt. What a mess! ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Faced with the popular election of the first Islamist head of state in the Arab world, Egypt's ruling generals sought on Monday to soften the appearance of their supreme authority as they entered a period of negotiations with the prospective president over the balance of executive, legislative and military power."

Reader Comments (4)

Those Republican outhouse jokes sure are thigh slappers. It's clear that in the septic tank that is the Republican party, the scum has risen to the top.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Marie has written an interesting take on Maureen Dowd's piece on Heroes and whispering whistlers, trying this together with Thomas Moore plus ends with a lovely tribute to the real heroes, the common man that toils hard and lives honestly and well––the washerwomen on their knees and the fathers (and mothers) that step up to the plate day after day.

And the story goes re: Thomas Moore's false allegations about Thomas Wolsey: Moore claimed that that Wolsey breathed into the King's face while whispering in his ear when he had the French pox, intending to infect the monarch.

"...imagine living inside the Lord Chancellor's head. Imagine writing down such a charge and taking it to the printer, and circulating it through the court and through the realm, putting it out there to where people will believe anything; putting it out there to the shepards on the hills, to Tyndale's plowboy, to the beggar on the roads and the patient beast in its byre or stall, out there to the bitter winter winds, and to the weak early sun, and the snowdrops to the London gardens." (From Wolf Hall)

And we are still reaping the results, aren't we?

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I realize this is a somewhat delayed response but I sent in a comment on Friday before leaving for the weekend but I must have pressed the “Into the Mystic” button instead of “Submit Comment” one.

But it comes apropos of today's comments here on RC, noting the sludge and the stink and the lies that emanate from those high and low in right-wing world.

Anyway, that comment had to do with Romney’s juvenile “strategy” of having his bus drive in circles around an Obama crowd while leaning on the horn, like an ignorant adolescent who wants to show the adults exactly what they can do with their appeals to maturity.

Last week Letterman took a moment to ask a serious question about Romney’s judgment. His concern was how anyone could trust the discernment, intelligence, and even rationality of a guy who would strap a dog to the roof of a car for a journey of hundreds of miles. I realize the Seamus thing has been beaten to death, but substitute your next door neighbor for Romney. You find out that this guy just drove to Canada with his dog tied down on the roof and thought this was perfectly okay. Would you trust this guy to do ANY thing for you? Pick up a ‘scrip at CVS? Water your lawn? Collect your mail while you were on vacation? Fuck no.

You’d think the guy, at best, was a dangerous eccentric and at worst a sociopath. And you certainly wouldn't want him near your kids, never mind the family pet. So NOW would you want this guy running the country? It really is all about judgment; sound judgment, not the judgment of some propeller hat looney tune. No wonder Gail won’t give it up. It’s enormously revealing (as is Romney’s “inability” to recall a felony gay bashing assault which others involved recall as one of the great regrets of their lives. It might be a low blow to bash a candidate for something they did in high school, but for them to lie about it as an adult throws it back into the ring).

So too is having your personal Presidential Campaign bus with your name plastered in 8 foot tall letters on both sides, ostensibly touting your soundness of mind and fitness for the highest office in the land, drive around in circles near an Obama crowd honking the horn like a 16 year old who had just downed his first six pack. Seriously? What’s next? Cherry bombs in White House trash cans? Mooning the president? Ringing his doorbell and running?

I don’t know who is emulating whom, but that’s pretty much what this ignorant asshole Neil Munro, of the Daily Caller did in the Rose Garden during a presidential statement. Just IMAGINE the lividity levels on the right had ANYone dared to interrupt Bush or Reagan during one of their statements. There have been outraged phony recollections from the right of Sam Donaldson yelling questions at Reagan, but I can never recall any time at which he did this while Reagan was still speaking. He usually did it as the Old Actor was running away after the presser, trying to avoid questions. We all remember him standing on a runway or next to Marine One pretending he couldn’t hear the questions about why he sold weapons to terrorists. I’d have been yelling too.

Interestingly, the comments to this story on the US News site are equally revealing of the mindset of the right. First, the president is referred to by some as 666Obama. Then the usual raft of lies is floated about how Obama is trashing the Constitution and making his own laws using signing statements. Then a comment is run up the red pole declaring that evil liberals were upset when Bush used signing statements but don’t seem to realize that Obama has, in three years, used this tactic more times than Bush did in eight. A 100% pure RNC approved lie. But don’t expect any red meat chewers to check this “fact”. Two things about this. First, Obama uses signing statements because he is stymied at every turn trying to enact policies by a do-nothing Republican house that is striving to ensure his (and America’s) failure. Bush got nearly everything he asked for from congressional Democrats. He used many signing statements to neutralize and deface laws he didn’t like and to weasel in a number of his less legal schemes.

Second, Bush used this maneuver 161 times. Obama has done it 19. In what world is 19 > 161?

Why, in Right Wing World, of course. Where dropping your trousers in public and acting the craven churl is considered good judgment.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: uninsured and under-educated. All answers about "why" are exposed in the KHN article. How to change the "why" to "wonder why" is the challenge of the Democratic Party. The message has to reflect the audience it is intended for. The election is about "You, your family, your life." The Republicans are offering nothing but false promises. Wonder why.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG
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