The Ledes

Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

Guardian: "Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, has been sentenced to death by a court in Tripoli. Saif, once seen as his father’s heir apparent, was condemned to death along with eight other figures from the former dictatorship, including the former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and Gaddafi’s last prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi."

Reuters: "FIFA boss Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his stewardship of soccer's governing body, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired by Swiss broadcaster RTS on Monday."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, July 27, 2015.

Boston Globe: "Boston’s Olympic bid is dead. In a joint statement, United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun and Steve Pagliuca, chairman of bidding group Boston 2024, characterized the decision to pull the plug as a mutual one."

New York Times: "Peg Lynch, who wrote and starred in 'Ethel and Albert,' one of television’s earliest situation comedies, died on Friday at her home in Becket, Mass. She was 98.... Ms. Lynch, who wrote nearly 11,000 scripts for radio and television without the benefit of a writer’s room committee (or even a co-writer), was a pioneering woman in broadcast entertainment. As a creator of original characters and a performer of her own written work — every bit of it live! — she might be said to have created the mold that decades later produced the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Schumer."

Public Service Announcement

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."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 28

6:35 am ET: President Obama speaks to the African Union

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."

NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."

Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."

For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.

Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."

Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...

... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."

New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."

New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.

New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."

Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:

Sean Hollister of Gizmodo: "The Mozilla Firefox web browser now blocks Flash by default. And when I say “blocks,” I don’t mean it asks you nicely if you’d really like to use Flash. I don’t mean it automatically pauses Flash videos like Google Chrome. I mean Mozilla has decided that Flash is going down.... Why such a hard-on for Flash? Why now? Well, it could be that the world just rediscovered just how prone Flash is to nasty, nasty vulnerabilities. When the Hacking Team — an Italian security company that sold intrusive spy tools — got hacked, one of those tools got out into the wild. A nasty hole in Flash that Adobe has yet to patch.... It’s probably worth noting that [Monday July 13], Mozilla’s Facebook’s chief security officer publicly asked Adobe to kill off Flash once and for all.... Update: Adobe has already released a newer version of Flash, 18.0.0.209, which Firefox doesn’t block by default. You’ll want to manually download it."

Contributor Nisky Guy takes us back in time to February 2006, when Lewis Black complained, "I can't wait that long":

Washington Post: "On its approach to Pluto, the spacecraft [New Horizons] obtained the most arresting image yet of the dwarf planet. Pluto is not a bland and featureless ball of ice, but rather a complex, variegated, mottled world with broad snowfields, structures that look like cliffs or fault lines, and a strikingly bright heart-shaped area that could be the eroded remnant of a giant impact crater."

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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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    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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