The Ledes

Monday, July 28, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in a letter on Monday."

New York Times: "The United States and Europe put aside their differences and agreed on Monday to sharply escalate economic sanctions against Russia in a set of coordinated actions driven by the conclusion that Moscow has taken a more direct role in the war in Ukraine. After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. In some cases, the Europeans may actually leapfrog beyond what the United States has done, forcing Washington to try to catch up."

Guardian: "Dutch and Australian police have failed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a second day as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area." ...

... Washington Post: "The Ukrainian military on Monday captured a strategically important swath of territory close to the debris field of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a spokesman said, dealing a blow to pro-Russian rebels but raising new questions about whether an investigation at the site will ever yield conclusive evidence about the attack on the airliner."

NEW. Washington Post: "Israel will press its air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, preparing his country for a longer and bloodier campaign and dashing hopes that the three-week-old conflict would end soon." ...

... Washington Post: "International efforts to end the devastating three-week-old Gaza war intensified Monday with the U.N. Security Council calling for an 'immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' in the conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,035 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers. The ravaged coastal enclave was relatively quiet Monday as Palestinians started celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Israel mostly held its fire overnight, shelling only a site in the northern Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from there." ...

     ... UPDATE: "Explosions rocked a major hospital and a neighborhood of Gaza City on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead, witnesses reported." ...

... New York Times: "On Sunday, however, [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry was having difficulty accomplishing even ... a succession of temporary cease-fires..., despite a phone call in which President Obama, in a sign of mounting impatience, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to embrace an 'immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' while the two sides pursued a more lasting agreement. ...

... A White House readout of the conversation between Obama & Netanyahu is here.

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 28

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

3:05 pm ET: President Obama awards the 2013 National Medal of Arts & the National Medal of Humanities Medal

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

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Sunday
Jun242012

The Commentariat -- June 25, 2012

CW: Everybody is writing about health care in anticipation of the Supreme Court's ruling -- expected this week -- on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, so I guess I should share:

This is the year of the Supreme Court’s Obama smack down. -- Adam Winkler, law professor

... Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "The impending health care ruling by the Supreme Court has become this city's O. J. Simpson verdict crossed with a papal conclave -- polarizing, maddeningly unpredictable and shrouded in mysterious signaling. The ruling is expected to come this week, either shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday, the last scheduled day of the term, or on an extra day later in the week." ...

... Peter Wallsten of the Washington Post: "Some prominent legal scholars say a series of tactical decisions by President Obama's legal team may have hurt the chances of saving his landmark health-care legislation from being gutted by Supreme Court conservatives. The warnings are a preview of the finger-pointing certain to ensue if the law is overturned." ...

... Bob Drummond of Bloomberg News: "The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years. Only eight of them predicted the court would do so." ...

... Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "Death and taxes aren't the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too.... The Affordable Care Act won't help all [Americans].... But it will help an awful lot of them. In fact, it's already starting to make a difference.... A decision to strike down even part of the law would have grave consequences -- for the court's legitimacy and, perhaps, the norms that make our constitutional system function." ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York magazine on the moral issue: The Republican party "is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world" that holds that citizens should be deprived "of basic medical care" if they can't afford it. ...

... Chait on how badly the Court may "screw up Obamacare." Chait explains, BTW, what will happen this week: the Court is "announcing whether Anthony Kennedy hates health care reform a lot or only a little, because everybody assumes the other four Republican justices hate it so much they'll declare it unconstitutional," despite the fact that it is obviously constitutional. ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post writes about the Obama administration's poor showing in cases before the Court, but the administration's losses, as Barnes documents, are not all attributable to the conservative-liberal divide. ...

... AND E. J. Dionne gets to the heart of the matter: "if [the Court] throws out all or part of ... 'Obamacare,' we will need a fearless conversation about how a conservative majority of the court has become a cog in a larger right-wing project to make progressive political and legislative victories impossible." ...

... ** FINALLY. CW: Jim Fallows expresses exactly what I was getting at yesterday -- in fact, he traces the recent history in one sentence: "when you look at the sequence from Bush v. Gore, through Citizens United, to what seems to be coming on the health-care front; and you combine it with ongoing efforts in Florida and elsewhere to prevent voting from presumably Democratic blocs; and add that to the simply unprecedented abuse of the filibuster in the years since the Democrats won control of the Senate and then took the White House, you have what we'd identify as a kind of long-term coup if we saw it happening anywhere else."

Paul Krugman: "Why won't the Fed act [to stimulate job growth]? My guess is that it's intimidated by those Congressional Republicans, that's it's afraid to do anything that might be seen as providing political aid to President Obama, that is, anything that might help the economy. Maybe there';s some other explanation, but the fact is that the Fed, like the European Central Bank, like the U.S. Congress, like the government of Germany, has decided that avoiding economic disaster is somebody else's responsibility. None of this should be happening.... The fundamentals of the world economy aren't, in themselves, all that scary; it's the almost universal abdication of responsibility that fills me, and many other economists, with a growing sense of dread."

The Washington Post excerpts Little America, a book by Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who writes that "infighting and incompetence within the American government" -- i.e., the Obama administration -- characterized the Afghanistan war effort: "a war cabinet arrested by vicious bickering among top national security aides; diplomats and aid workers who failed to deliver on their grand promises; generals who dispatched troops to the wrong places; and headstrong military leaders who sought a far more expansive campaign than the White House wanted. Through their bungling and quarreling, they wound up squandering the first year of the surge." ...

... Anne Gearan of the AP: "As President Barack Obama considered adding as many as 40,000 U.S. forces to a backsliding war in Afghanistan in 2009, Vice President Joe Biden warned him that the military rationale for doing so was flawed, a new book about Obama's expansion of the conflict says. The book, 'Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan,' also says that in planning the drawdown of troops two years later, the White House intentionally sidelined the CIA. Obama purposely did not read a grim CIA assessment of Afghanistan that found little measurable benefit from the 30,000 'surge' forces Obama eventually approved...."

Washington Post Reporters: John "Boehner [R-Ohio] is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms. The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions ... in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15." Here are links to related content.

Josh Israel of Think Progress: "Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that the White House decision to invoke executive privilege to prevent the release of some documents related to the 'Fast and Furious' investigation indicated some sort of admission of a White House cover-up. Today, pressed by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) admitted that there is absolutely no evidence to back up Boehner's allegation." With video. ...

... BUT. Alexander Bolton of The Hill: "House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) predicted Sunday that Republicans and Democrats would vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this week." CW: yeah, and as we learned from Chris Hayes yesterday (see link in June 24 Commentariat), the Oracle Issa got a little help from the NRA, which is scoring votes on Holder.

Rachel Donadio of the New York Times has a good follow-up story on the Vatican's hiring of Fox "News" correspondent & Opus Dei member Greg Burke as a "message strategist." (See link in yesterday's Commentariat to the AP breaking story.)

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched a campaign calling on British Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the extradition to the U.S. of U.K. student Richard O'Dwyer, who is facing alleged copyright offenses because he posted links to sites that allowed viewing or downloading of TV content usually not available outside the U.S. Wales' op-ed in the Guardian is here, with links to related content.

Presidential Race

** Ruthless Romney & the Junk Bond King. Michael Kranish & Beth Healy of the Boston Globe: "...at the height of the 1980s buyout boom ... Mitt Romney went in search of $300 million to finance one of the most lucrative deals he would ever manage. The man who would help provide the money was ... famed junk-bond king Michael Milken. What transpired would become not just one of the most profitable leveraged buyouts of the era, but also one of the most revealing stories of Romney's Bain Capital career.... It is one that Romney has rarely, if ever, mentioned in his two bids for the presidency, perhaps because the Houston-based department store chain that Bain assembled later went into bankruptcy.... At the time of the deal, it was widely known that Milken and his company were under federal investigation, yet Romney decided to go ahead.... He used junk-bond financing to turn a $10 million investment into a $175 million profit for himself, his partners, and his investors." CW: this is a 4-pager & worth reading.

     ... Via Margaret Hartmann of New York magazine.

Local News

Katharine Seelye of the New York Times: "Three years after voters in Maine rejected same-sex marriage, they will consider the matter again in November. This time, advocates say they have reason for optimism."

News Ledes

Boston Globe: "President Barack Obama, campaigning in Mitt Romney's backyard, criticized his Republican rival anew Monday for what his re-election campaign says is a record of shipping American jobs overseas." ...

... New York Times: "Elizabeth Warren opened for President Obama at his Boston fund-raiser on Monday, ripping into his rival, Mitt Romney ... using themes from her own campaign."

Montana campaign law "summarily reversed" 5-4. Update: the order is here (pdf). ...

** Per SCOTUSblog, Justice Kennedy announcing Arizona case. "Most of the key provisions of [Arizona] SB1070 (3 of 4) are invalidated. One provision is held not to be proved preempted; it must be construed.... The provision that the Court says is not yet preempted is the 'check your papers' provision that commands officers to check immigration status. Update: here's the opinion on Arizona v. U.S. "The upshot of the SB1070 ruling is that, for now, Arizona can apply the 'check your papers' provision. And the Court's opinion is a guide to the State on how to apply that provision without being invalidated.... The Court's decision on the 'show your papers' provision strongly suggests it will have to be read narrowly to survive.... On net, the #SB1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration. It got almost everything it wanted. Scalia would uphold Az. law in toto. CW characterization: Scalia, totally pissed off, is reading his 7-page dissent from the bench. ...

... The healthcare ruling will be Thursday at 10am. The SCOTUSblog liveblog will start at 9am at the latest.

... AP Item: "The Supreme Court has reaffirmed its two-year-old decision relaxing limits on corporate campaign spending [i.e., Citizens United]. The justices on Monday reversed a Montana court ruling upholding state restrictions.By a 5-4 vote, the court's conservative justices said the decision in the Citizens United case in 2010 applies to state campaign finance laws and guarantees corporate and labor union interests the right to spend freely to advocate for or against candidates for state and local offices." ...

... ** New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a split decision on Arizona's tough 2010 immigration law, upholding its most controversial provision but blocking the implementation of others." ...

... ** Washington Post: "The Supreme Court on Monday rejected much of Arizona's controversial immigration law, but upheld other provisions, giving a partial victory to the Obama administration."

New York Times: "As more high-ranking Syrian officers were reported on Monday to have defected to Turkey, the European Union urged the government in Ankara to show restraint in a crisis over the downing of one of its jet fighters by Syria, an episode that has heightened regional tensions over the 16-month crisis there." ...

... AP: "Dozens of members of Syria's military defected to Turkey overnight with their families, a Turkish official said Monday, at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish military plane. The state-run Anadolu news agency said 33 soldiers crossed into Turkey overnight and the group -- 224 people in all -- included a general and two colonels." ...

... AP: "Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman says his country has 'no hostility' toward Turkey as tensions soar between the former allies three days after Syria shot down a Turkish plane. Jihad Makdissi said on Monday that the Turkish plane violated Syrian air space. Turkey said the plane had unintentionally strayed into Syria's air space, but was inside international airspace when it was brought down."

New York Times: "Documents unsealed in a fraud case against Pfizer suggest that research officials were less than forthcoming about the safety of the arthritis drug Celebrex during an early trial study."

Guardian: "Lawyers acting for the convicted serial paedophile Jerry Sandusky have said that they tried to withdraw from the case at the beginning of proceedings because they had insufficient time to prepare a proper defence. The claim, from Sandusky's main defence lawyer Joe Amendola, lays down a possible line of argument should he decide, as expected, to appeal his sexual abuse conviction."

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    Response: mork
    REALITYCHEX.COM - Constant Comments - The Commentariat -- June 25, 2012

Reader Comments (9)

Greg Burke: "This is tough stuff." Right. Putting lipstick on a pig always is.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, around 4,000 years ago I think, we had something like a Supreme Court whose primary interest was justice or, failing that, law, including a respect for legal precedence and a looking out for what was best, legally speaking, for the country, as opposed to what was best for their political party and could be most supportive of victory for their personal ideology.
That all ended with the election of Trickus Dickus. Trickus Dickus, as you all know, spent a good portion—ah, hell—his entire career, climbing over the backs of people he had shivved. Deep in his heart of darkness, he sensed the power of the dark side and blazed the trail for future Republican politicians down that road paved with the reputations, hearts and souls of women and men far better than any of them. Dirty tricks, lies, surveillance of enemies, hidden slush funds, untraceable millions available for all manner of skullduggery, disdain for the constitution, for law, for morality. Hatred of all whom he opposed and who opposed him.

Sounds like the modern GOP? Sure does. But that’s because they all memorized the playbook and inhaled the Kool-Aid. The Apotheosis of the Dick.

Beginning with Nixon, Supreme Court nominees began to take a different shape and since then, of the 15 nominees put forward for elevation to the high court by Republicans, all but three been significantly more conservative—to the point of outright ideologues—than those they replaced. The three were David Souter (chosen by Poppy to demonstrate his bona fides as a non-ideologue), Anthony Kennedy (only marginally non-ideological, but chosen after troglodyte Robert Bork was given the thumbs down), and John Paul Stevens, selected by Ford who probably thought it was best not to rile the natives while the fires of Watergate still burned brightly among the rubble).

But the rest have been abysmally ideological not to say downright insulting. When Poppy sent up Clarence Thomas’ name he declared him the best candidate in the country. Maybe. But which country? Pixieland?

It’s curious to consider that two candidates sent up by President Dickus, both of which were laughed out of the chamber, would likely have made it to the big show in today’s world of celebrity journalism and ideology-first conservatism. Not only that, they would have been welcomed with open arms as brothers in the fight for ideological dominance by the Right. G. Harrold Carswell and Clement Haynesworth, both indefatigable battlers against civil rights, voting rights, and equal rights for women, would fit right in with the current GOP’s laundry list of things they need to destroy if they are to maintain their dominance well into this century. At the time however, even many Republicans knew they were shoddy seconds that had no business on the court. In the case of Carswell, a Republican senator from Nebraska opined that even though he was a mediocrity, that shouldn’t count against him because, hey, even mediocrities “…are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters, and Cardozos.”

Yikes! How sad then that a true mediocrity like Clarence Thomas makes Carswell look like fucking Oliver Wendell Holmes.

But now we await the decision by Little Johnny and the Dwarfs as to whether or not health care for most Americans outweighs their heart’s desire for a right-wing boot on the throats of those same citizens, the shredded remnants of the Constitution decorating its steel toe.

They will look, as they always do, for some cover in the tiniest minutiae of specious legal quibbling. Scalia has already sniffed that the Commerce Clause (the same one he cited as giving the state the right and ability to control small gardens of medical marijuana for personal use) does not allow the government the right to influence the distribution of medical care in this country, a small budget item that amounts to not much more than 20% of GDP. Small potatoes for Republicans.

After all, what’s 20% of anything? They want it all.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I wanted to say something about Kate Madison's recent complaint about the politicization of the media, at the very least through default, but likely with as much to do with some agency on their part.

She has pointed out that surveys of the MSM landscape indicate that they have heavily weighted the arguments surrounding the ACA on the side of the begrudgers, that their ledes favor a description of the battle as having a wealth of constitutional difficulties when, in fact, there are NO constitutional issues here. They're all manufactured by the right.

So how come the double talk and lies?

Two answers come to mind, one less evil but no less pernicious. First, laziness. Conflict and drama, especially if they can be summoned up with a minimum of effort--and if that drama not impinge on their corporate masters' ability to make money--are always to be desired by "pundits" and "writers". Why go to all the trouble to suss out and report fairly on the actual issues? Fuck that shit. Print the easy stuff. Besides it sounds so much better. "Democrats and Obama want to snuff your granny. Republicans strive to stop evil unconstitutional schemes against kindly insurance industry!!" Yeah, that's the ticket.

The other, much more disturbing answer, is that they've been warned off trying to support an idea out of favor with the Masters of the Universe.

Some combination of the two is likely what's happening.

It's funny how FCC regulations, when the Communications Act of 1934 was passed, made it clear that the airwaves belonged to the public, not to communications entities, and in order to be worthy of such largesse, those entities were required to present news and information with something along the lines of fairness.

Huh.

Reagan got rid of all that. He set the groundwork for the eradication of fairness. By the updated version of the Act, passed with glee and gusto in 1996, there was no mention of the public. Lip service was paid to the rights of the public, but fairness was right out. So were rules about cross ownership. After that, upstanding citizens like Rupert Murdoch could then own all the TV stations and newspapers in a single city. Oh wait. Did I say upstanding AND citizen? Sorry, he was neither. But he was still allowed to buy up everything he could and control the flow of information.

It's still that way.

This is what Republicans call a free and fair marketplace of ideas. They don't tell you that all the ideas are theirs. No others are considered except as cannon fodder for Fox "reporters". And that's one reason we have this nonsense spewed around about health care.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Regardless of where the Supremes go with this the Affordable Care Act will do nothing to make health care in America affordable. Today I had to deal with a problem where a pathologist has the right to collect money for the 'interpretation' of a test where the results are almost always negative. In other words we pay for an electronic scribble on a computer generated result which is no different than a blank piece of paper. That is a tiny amount but is truly reflective of the real problem. Medicine in America is all about making money.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

My brother who lives in Wisconsin who was once a reasonable person with a great voice has somehow through the years developed a conservative bent which has been tough going relationship wise. Ever since Obama was elected he sends me these horrid right-wingy emails depicting Obama as some kind of impostor who is trying to ruin our country. These are the kinds of slanderous screeds that many, many people tune into especially those that don't read and only watch Foxy type news. It seems they have a powerful impact. I would never be privy to these nasty tidbits if it wasn't for my brother whose email pals all seem to be leaning way over to the right. The latest one, which is mild compared to most is a large picture of Reagan standing in front of, what else, the AMERICAN FLAG; the caption below in large letters is: THIS MAN (on top) DID NOT SPEND HIS ENTIRE FIRST TERM BLAMING JIMMY CARTER.

I usually ignore, but sometimes, like this one, something grabs me by the lapels and directs me to respond–-see below:

That’s right cuz he spent a lot of time dyeing his hair to compliment his role of a lifetime. I am sick to death of people lionizing this man. The sad, shared secret of the Reagan White House was that no one in the presidential entourage had confidence in the judgment or capacities of the president. Often, they took advantage of Reagan’s niceness and naiveté to indulge competing concepts of the presidency and advance their own ambitions. Pragmatists and conservatives alike treated Reagan as if he were a child monarch in need of constant protection. They paid homage to him, but gave him no respect. Since few people read history these days they believe anything that backs up their agenda, giving us the crap known as information such as this stupid poster whose message is “unlike Obama who blames Bush for everything.” The facts belie this, but no matter, stupidity reigns these days unlike, of course, those eight wonder years of GW and especially those years with “This Man” whose “Morning in America” was the beginning of the end.

and since Akhilleus brought up our favorite dick I'll add his name to the list whose hijinks (cute name for dirty tricks) nearly brought the house down.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@ Marvin. I'm sure you're right. I spent most of the useful energy of my adult life working to a) get health services into the backwaters of Appalachia, b) establishing farm-worker clinics in the central valley of California, and c) trying to ameliorate the stupidity of Reagan privatization of California's medicaid program (Medi-Cal). The problems are systemic, and way beyond ACA's gloss.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@PD Pepe

I am so sorry that we seem to have the same brother. Mine used to live in Wisconsin, as did I, but abandoned that landscape for the riches of Atlanta, GA. If you have any advice on how to relate to an obnoxious right wing sibling (whom you love but do not like), please tell me. I am at the end of the line with my brother. And, sad to say, he is my twin. ):

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

The problems Foxy News has caused in families are legion, from demented grandmas to righter wing brothers. I know a disabled young man (well, 40 is young) who has to live at home but is being stressed to the danger point by his parents' Fox insanity. Instead of being able to pull together in the old age and bad health of the parents, the family home has become a battleground. This is no insignificant addition to the evils of Fox.

My brother, meanwhile, has added to the common burnt-out bitterness of a law-enforcement professional the hopelessness of doing anything at all to make a difference in the political climate. He is starting to become someone who thinks all politicians are crooks. Fox News is not in the equation--NBC is depressing enough. So far he is still voting Democratic; we won't lose him to the Republicans, but to indifference.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

Just thinking about the demented grandmas--one example, in the family of a close friend, reports that her well-educated, moderate Republican mother-in-law, watches Fox all day and has become terrified by what she hears. What an accomplishment, frightening elderly ladies. The last time I saw the woman, she mixed up the names of her sons but was unfailingly friendly and gracious. So sad.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston
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