The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

TMZ: "Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa has retained a law firm that will file a major lawsuit over her mom's death ... TMZ has confirmed.... The firm -- Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz will file a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic where Joan stopped breathing and the doctors who were involved."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 30

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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Tuesday
Nov122013

The Commentariat -- Nov. 13, 2013

CW: It appears the Comments section is working again. Save your work & give it a try. I apologize for the glitch Tuesday.

Amy Goldstein, et al., of the Washington Post: "Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project. The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time -- about half its intended capacity...." ...

... Former President Bill Buttinsky. Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday joined the intensifying criticism of the botched health care rollout, urging President Obama to accept a change in the law that would allow all Americans to keep their current health insurance plan.... Jay Carney ... addressed the comments Tuesday afternoon by noting that Mr. Obama had said something similar in an interview last week." ...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "On issues ranging from the debt ceiling fight to Syria to rhetoric towards the rich, Clinton has parted company with the White House party line -- often at crucial times that leave the current president in a tough spot and exacerbate tensions that date back to the 2008 campaign." ...

... Michael Shear & Robert Pear of the New York Times: "After the president's apology last week for wrongly assuring Americans that they could retain their health plans if they wanted, senior White House aides said the president wanted to ensure that people who were forced off older policies with less comprehensive coverage were not stuck with higher monthly premiums to replace their insurance. But administration officials declined to say how they might achieve that goal, how much it would cost or whether it would require congressional approval. At the same time, officials signaled the president's strong opposition to calls from across the political spectrum -- including one Tuesday from a key ally, former President Bill Clinton -- to support bipartisan legislation that would allow people to keep their current insurance plans even after provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect next year." ...

... NEW. It's Insurance, Stupid. Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic: "Bill Clinton is wrong. This is how Obamacare works." Cohn doesn't say anything that regular readers of Reality Chex don't already know. (Maybe Bill Clinton should read Reality Chex.) But Cohn provides a good overview of the principles behind ObamaCare. Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link. ...

... Greg Sargent: "This Friday, House Republicans are expected to vote on a proposal -- championed by GOP Rep. Fred Upton -- that would allow insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year, in response to the loss of plans that has taken place despite Obama's vow otherwise. The White House points out that this will undermine the law. Dem leadership aides have predicted that some House Dems will vote for the plan. And CNN's Dana Bash stirred up chatter today when she Tweeted that 'lots' of House Dems will vote for it if the White House has not put forth its own fix by the end of the week -- in effect giving the White House a deadline." ...

... Igor Bobic of TPM: Speaker John "Boehner used Clinton's comments as a reason why Democrats should pass Republican legislation that would allow insurance companies to for one year continue to offer the existing individual market plans to their customers." ...

... Dana Milbank: ObamaCare troubles are hurting vulnerable Democrats running for re-election. ...

... Why You Should Be Dick Cheney. Here's the link to Gwen Ifill's interview of Dick Cheney, which P.D. Pepe mentions in today's Comments. CW: I couldn't stand to watch it, but I read the transcript. After Cheney complains about the "complicated" (Heritage-inspired) ACA, etc., his advice on how to get good health care in a system which is already "the best in the world" (more bull) seems to be "Become president or vice president."

... Amy Goodnough & Reed Abelson of the New York Times: "Six weeks into the rollout of President Obama's new health care law, some of the online insurance exchanges run by states are continuing to have serious technological problems, often mirroring the issues plaguing the much larger federal exchange."

Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "The latest volley in the judicial confirmation wars arrived Tuesday evening, when Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was the second such nominee to that court blocked in the past two weeks, producing yet another round of saber-rattling about changing the Senate's filibuster rules. But there is nothing particularly new about these nominations battles. Both sides have been at war for years over the federal appellate courts in general, and the D.C. Circuit in particular."

David Savage of the Los Angeles Times: "A 2009 police search of a Los Angeles gang member's home will be examined Wednesday by the Supreme Court in a case that could further define Americans' 4th Amendment protections. The case of Walter Fernandez vs. California is the latest requiring the court to determine when police may enter and look around a home without a search warrant. At issue is whether a consent to search provided by one resident of a private home is enough to override an objection from a spouse or roommate, if the objecting party is not present." ...

... New York Times Editors: "The justices should reaffirm that principle and require police who wish to search a home to get a warrant, even if the only person standing in their way is in a holding cell."

It is a pipeline, so, therefore, it leaks. TransCanada is an oil company, so, therefore, it lies. Once you accept the truth of those basic principles, the whole thing becomes quite easy to understand. -- Charles Pierce of Esquire

One of the photos in Public Citizen's gallery of Keystone XL pipeline integrity problems. View all photos here.... Public Citizen: "As the Obama administration considers whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline's northern segment, owner TransCanada faces serious questions concerning construction and pipeline integrity issues on the Texas portion of the pipeline that throw its safety into question, Public Citizen said today. In light of the problems -- documented in Public Citizen's newly released report, 'TransCanada’s Keystone XL Southern Segment: Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline' -- citizens and elected officials should call for a delay in startup until an investigation into its safety is completed." ...

They're coming after your doughnuts! -- Sen. Rand Paul (RTP-Ky.), on to the FDA's decision to ban trans-fats

Of course, it is possible to make very delicious doughnuts without trans-fats -- Krispy Kreme seems to be doing quite well, as is Dunkin Donuts.... -- Charles Pierce

Frank Newport of Gallup: "Americans' approval of the way Congress is handling its job has dropped to 9%, the lowest in Gallup's 39-year history of asking the question. The previous low point was 10%, registered twice in 2012."

Tom Edsall of the New York Times: "This year's mayoral contests in Boston and New York were shaped by income and class rather than by race or ethnicity. Both Bill de Blasio in New York and [Martin] Walsh in Boston won with coalitions dominated by downscale voters. Because the race in Boston was closer, the class and income divisions were more clearly delineated.... Insofar as race continues to lose salience in big-city elections, the beneficiaries are Democratic candidates and the Democratic coalition." CW: Somebody should explain this to White Dinosaur Richard Cohen. ...

... CW: Digby illuminates why I never read Richard Not-a-Racist Not-a-Homophobe Cohen of the Washington Post. ...

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York -- a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts -- but not all -- of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all. -- Richard Cohen, Washington Post "liberal" columnist ...

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "Richard Cohen was paid by the Washington Post ... to claim that gagging at the sight of a white man and a black woman married with two children is an expression of 'conventional views.'" ...

... Ryan Grim & Katherine Fung of the Huffington Post: "Richard Cohen says that his latest piece was not intended to be and shouldn't be read as racist." ...

... Alex Pareene of Salon: According to Cohen, "conventional white people" are "not racist, they're just disgusted at the prospect of miscegenation. And it's a perfectly natural revulsion!" ...

... Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic: "Right. I'm not racist. I just don't recognize my country. Also, the sight of you, and your used-to-be-lesbian black wife, and your brown children make me sick to my stomach. It's not like I want to lynch you or anything." ...

... Hamilton Nolan of Gawker: "In conclusion, fire Richard Cohen."

... Sorry, Hamilton. That's Not Going to Happen Just Yet. Tom Kludt of TPM: "The editorial page editor of the Washington Post largely defend a column by Richard Cohen that's come under intense scrutiny on Tuesday, but acknowledged that he 'erred in not editing' the sentence in the piece that's drawn so much criticism. Fred Hiatt told TheWrap that Cohen wasn't being racist...." AND ...

... Tom Kludt: "Before Richard Cohen's latest column sparked widespread outrage, the publisher of the Washington Post praised the piece. Katharine Weymouth tweeted a link to Cohen's column on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) relationship with the tea party, which she hailed as 'brilliant.'" CW: Isn't it about time for Jeff Bezos to take over the Post? ...

... Matthew Yglesias of Slate: "I'm not sure what, if anything, Jeff Bezos will do to try to turn around the financial fortunes of the Washington Post. But Richard Cohen's column today suggests one small step that the owner of the daily paper in a majority-black city could take -- reconsider whether regularly publishing racist op-ed columns is a wise business strategy." ...

... UPDATE: Paul Farhi of the Washington Post writes an overview of the uproar over Cohen's column.

... AND More Crap from CBS "News": Steve Benen has the details, including a warning that even reporters at CBS "News" should know by now: "... there are two phrases that should immediately raise red flags when put in the same sentence: 'partial transcript' and 'House Oversight Committee.'" (Darryl Issa's bailiwick.)

** November 2013 Election

Democratic Sweep! Maybe. Alex Rogers of Time: "The difference between a vote cast and a vote counted was nowhere clearer than in the Virginia race for attorney general. A week after Election Day, Democrat state Senator Mark Herring proved victorious over Republican state Senator Mark Obenshain by a margin of 163 votes out of over 2.2 million cast, according to multiple media reports. The unofficial Virginia State Board of Elections tally had Herring up by 106 votes as late as 8:20 a.m. Wednesday. Localities had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to report numbers to the state.... Virginia election law also allows Obenshain to request a recount since the margin is less than one percent, and the state will pay for it since the margin is less than one half of a percent. (The current margin, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections is .01%.) Obenshain did not admit defeat Tuesday."

Presidential Race 2016

Dave Weigel of Slate takes a hard look at "2016 fantasia." Also, Barack Obama is black. Elizabeth Warren is white. CW: Yes, yes, I love post-racial America.

Local News

Jennifer Medina of the New York Times profiles Anne Gust Brown, wife of & aide to California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Reader Comments (30)

Test. Now is the time for all good women to come to the aid of their party.

November 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Clinton reaffirmed my long standing disgust for him. His move against Obama and the ACA is simply petty and mean spirited. It may look like he is trying to distance Hilary from Obama for her run in 2016, but really, I believe its about Clinton himself. His moves are always in furtherance of his own ego. The result is further erosion of progressive policy. Jeebus, he was the definition of a hold your nose Democratic.

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I'm not rejecting Clinton's suggestion just yet. I've not read any analysis on this idea and I am no expert, but I wonder if an adjustment might offer a short-term fix (it's a small slice of the market) while work continues on fixing the website (I figure that will take months. The likelihood is that the present design is all wrong and starting over is best.). Let them have their lousy insurance plans for a year or two. I'm betting they will want to switch once there is a lot of history out there concerning ACA plans with much better coverage without much additional cost or maybe even some savings. I think the political damage caused by the combo of the broken website and "breaking his promise" is damaging enough that the risk of adjusting the law should be taken.

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

Please, fellow commenters, remember how long it took to get Medicare up and running! At least 2 years. We are "instant gratification" junkies here in the US of A. Besides which--the ACA is not really "universal care." Far from it--it is an improbable bargain with the insurance giants and Big PhaRma to help them keep their tremendous profits, while giving Americans, who were here-to-fore denied ANY insurance, the chance at least to be covered for basic medical care. Let us face it: Single Payer is the only sane way to go. Medicare for all. Fuck the greedy insurance companies. I think Elizabeth Warren would. Hillary--not so much. Probably--not at all.

Too bad Elizabeth Warren does not stand a chance in 2016. Hill has "The Street" and Hollywood all tied up in a big, red bow. Will I vote for her? Of course! Talk about the lesser of two weevils. No choice here really!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Didn't save and can't remember all of it, but herewith a second rendition of this morning's contribution in the too-frequent "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" category, slightly edited from the author's original.

"In league with (them) are the isolationists who....think we should withdraw from the UN; politically ignorant economic conservatives who see no difference between Socialism and Communism; the Machiavellians who pretend not to see any difference...the anti-feminists; the extreme economic conservatives (who combine to) undermine public confidence in those groups that oppose its programs--labor groups, minority groups....liberal Democrats, liberal Republicans...liberal journalists, writers, educators and other professional people."

"The elements...of the anti-freedom crusade....might be called (God help us) an elite; they have good deal of influence, a great deal of money and even some ideas, twisted and erroneous as those ideas might be. But they are backed up by a popular support--people who have little money, no influence except as they derive it from numbers and nothing that could be called ideas; but plenty of emotion."

No it's not a contemporary description of today's right wing. It's a quotation from a speech delivered by Elmer Davis in the early 1950's, references to his subject, McCarthyism, omitted.

But the second paragraph could have been about the Teanuts, couldn't it? All that's missing are the funny hats.

As Richard Hofstadter and others have pointed out, the paranoid style in American politics has been with us for a long time.

Maybe for the Teanuts, the hats represent progress.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

“The middle has fallen out of the American economy—precipitously since 2008, but it’s been falling out slowly and cumulatively for the past 40 years. Far from a statistical oddity, 1974 marked an epochal turn. The age of economic security ended. The age of anxiety began.”

We’re in a funk. Not just my husband and me, but the country as a whole, and I think Harold Myerson offers a good explanation as to why in this article in the American Prospect:
http://prospect.org/article/40-year-slump

Has the Walmartization of America killed our optimism and idealism? Can we get it back? I don’t know. That’s why I’m in a funk.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Last night on the PBS Newshour Gwen Ifill interviewed Dick Cheney who is hopping about on talk shows hawking his book, "Heart" which is hilariously funny when you stop and ponder the discrepancy. Here is the last segment of this interview before Gwen just wraps it up and says, thank you:

GWEN IFILL: What about people with your health profile who don't have those kinds of advantages?

DICK CHENEY: Well, the care I got in terms of the procedures and the medications and so forth is available to anybody who is in the system.

So I didn't get anything extraordinary there. What happened to me, because, as vice president, obviously, the country has an interest in the health and capability of the president and vice president, that's why there's a thing called the White House medical unit, just like Secret Service protection -- it's a part -- it goes along with the job, but it's not a perk.

It's something that the country has an interest to seeing to it that we keep the president and vice president as healthy as possible."

Did you get that? Anybody can get the kind of care and procedures if they are in the system. That's his answer and then proceeds to talk about himself again. And Gwen, bless her heart, never followed up. So another so called interview in name only–––such rubbish!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Now come on people. There are no backsies on this. You can't go back and tell people, "OK, kings x, we didn't mean it." The cancellation notice you received because your insurance is a piece of shit should you get a real illness wasn't meant to be real. The actuaries in all of these corporate profit centers can't have the sands shift under their feet. So, what is the solution?

Brain storming thoughts: Everyone who is going waaaawaaaa because the federal government is making them step up and get insurance that gives them a bit of preventative health care and doesn't discriminate with women and covers preexisting conditions, gets a Federalized Medicare Card (a get healthy and stay heathy card) and they can eventually supplement that coverage if they wish - yes, if they have the money they can end up with a Cadillac plan.

For those that don't want one, fine, but they get one anyway (yes, for those extreme libertarians this is their punishment) the first time a provider applies for payment of unpaid medical bills to this federal entity - yes even without the person's approval - because the person receiving treatment doesn't pay a medical bill incurred in an emergency room, or they discover they have cancer which is advanced because they have not been getting preventative checkups and can't pay, they get a Good Health Card -- a Good Life Card.

Sorry, you get the "card" and it sticks to you for life. You have Federal Medicare coverage and are registered in the national database by name and birthdate and SS#, so if you go to another ER and don't actually have the card, the provider finds out in an instant that payment is assured, and if you move to a new job in any other state your coverages don't change, if you get divorced your coverage doesn't change, you just never lose this coverage - ever. Hey, give their children the Good Life Cards upon the triggering event of a mom's or dad's or sib's Federal Medicare claim. Surprise! No private health insurance coverage, no problem.

These ideas are no more impossible than Clinton's assertion that we pass some kind of law that people can keep the shitty coverages that insurance companies have cancelled because of the new standards set by Obamacare.

Thoughts?

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfromtheheartland

And Ken, wanted to tell you that your "Maybe an odd thought to have on Veterans' Day, when we rightly honor those who traveled abroad and risked so much to defend freedoms that others are working so hard to erode here at home[,]" is profound and terribly sad.

Your other points made this morning bring home again the red stain of the far right that has been with us for a long, long time. It's interesting to me that all the hoopla around Kennedy now––really good two night series on his life on PBS––the vitriol towards him in Dallas has been downplayed. Really ugly stuff went on there calling Kennedy all sorts of vile names. A woman even smashed a placard on Adlai Stevenson's head. And Kennedy's hesitation to interfere with the horror that was going on in the South because he didn't want to upset Southern Democrats is so infuriating and yet then it was business as usual–-the old political machine in action.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re; projectile vomiting; As a conventional person I have a terrible time holding down dindin when I read this; "Well, the care I got in terms of the procedures and the medications and so forth is available to anybody who is in the system."; Dick (He needs no second name).
Have we come so far as a nation of third generation morons not shame Dick and his interviewer for this kind of absolute bullshit?
Again, somebody better get me a bucket.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

One of the things that has struck me about most of the crybabies who are having to pay more for insurance is that they are in their 50s or early 60s & have enjoyed reasonably good health. I've got a newsflash for them: they are at the age when something will go wrong. And that something is likely to result in medical bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. I had a little ole "mole" (turned out in the subsequent biopsy to be cancerous, but the hospital didn't know that at the time of my surgery), & my bill for the half-day outpatient hospital stay alone was in the neighborhood of $20,000. The surgeon's, anesthetist's, etc. bills were another $10,000, as I recall.

Now imagine if -- as is highly likely -- these people with junk insurance needed treatment for something more serious than mole removal. Most of the complainers can pay a $30,000 medical bill -- though it might make a pretty big dent in their savings -- but can they pay a $150,000 bill? Maybe not. So guess who pays? The rest of us, through increased premiums, because hospitals & doctors jack up costs to cover the deadbeats.

The crybabies are gambling on either (a) having unusually good health for someone their age, or (b) having you & me foot their medical bills. So besides being crybabies, I'd call them gamblers & one diagnosis away from deadbeats.

Among Obama's misstatements was the claim that "you can keep your doctor if you like him/her" (or words to that effect). So I do have some sympathy for those who lose their doctors because they have to switch insurance plans to get an affordable premium. However, this has happened to most of us more than once -- companies that provide insurance benefits switch plans or offer new, more economical policies that use a different doctor pool from the one employees had before. This is sometimes a hardship for someone who is ill, & it's at least an annoyance for a healthy person who sees her doctor infrequently.

I continue to fault Obama for repeatedly saying something he & his staff had to know would not be true for millions of Americans. All he had to say was "most Americans will be able to keep their current policies & doctors." Just add one word. Does that "sell" as well? Maybe not. But that old anti-Nixon campaign button that read "Would you buy a used car from this man?" may be replaced by one with Obama's picture.

Marie

November 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Bill Clinton is wrong. This is how the ACA works says Jonathan Cohn (good article).

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115570/bill-clintons-obamacare-comments-are-wrong

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@ CW: Your post reminded me of a passage from Mark Twain's autobiography:

“The coat of arms of the human race ought to consist of a man with an axe on his shoulder proceeding toward a grindstone. Or, it ought to represent the several members of the human race holding out the hat to each other. For we are all beggars. Each in his own way. One beggar is too proud to beg for pennies but will beg a loan of dollars, knowing he can’t repay; another will not beg a loan but will beg for a postmastership; another will not do that but will beg for an introduction to “society”; one, being rich, will not beg a hod of coal of the railway company but will beg a pass; his neighbor will not beg coal, nor pass, but in social converse with a lawyer will place before him a supposititious case in the hope of getting an opinion out of him for nothing; one who would disdain to beg for any of these things will beg frankly for the presidency. None of the lot is ashamed of himself, but he despises the rest of the mendicants. Each admires his own dignity, and carefully guards it, but in his opinion the others haven’t any.”

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoodge

Who knew there was a secretive, underhanded scheme behind the messy sign-ups for ACA?
Why it's the ominous "SINGLE PAYER PLOY"!

"Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands" This over on CNBC.com: where you can read and/or watch video clip with (former PA Governor ) Ed Rendell & (former NH Senator) Judd Gregg in an interview (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101187368) Yep. We're gonna become Canada. We'll wait years for surgeries, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Then check out of John Harwood's article NYT online :
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/us/politics/republicans-target-health-law-before-it-takes-hold.html?hp

...with input from such conspiracy-minded souls as Douglas Holtz-Eakin "You pull more people in, and the benefits become more generous,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said. “Congress knows how to fix an inequity — write a check.” and then continuing the alarm: Ron Haskins. Haskins a former Republican Congressional aide and adviser to Mr. Bush, who said “They see it as a subterfuge leading to single-payer,” government-run health care."

Yep! Lousy interfaces, bad technology, messed up sign-ups, Web page crashes — a ploy? Who'd have thunk it that the progressives came up with such a masterful and devious method to get us to single-payer? All I can say is, "OK!'

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Thanks PD. Very good article. Health care must move toward a best practices model that's chief goal is not obscene profit for the medical sector. On an individual level, a best practices model is sometimes annoying but is smart and necessary. I am covered by Kaiser, a HMO that follows best practices and uses outcome protocols. That means that sometimes I have to go through the steps before I get what I think I need and want. Oh well. It works best for everyone and will keep health care costs down when docs don't immediately comply with a patient who wants the most expensive treatment whether it has shown success or not. The cultural view of give-it-too-me-I-don't-care-if-it-works health care is neither sustainable nor effective. The effectiveness of antibiotics is steadily diminishing because of such on-demand treatment. I have some chronic health issues and survived ovarian cancer as a young woman, so I have been really scared and understand the impetus to want a TX just because you don't want to die.

Clinton's position is purely political. If there is a decision between personal image and the greater good, Clinton will tip toward personal enhancement.

The ACA is facing more flack than necessary because of the pedestrian handling of the online enrollment and Obama' statements about keeping your doctor. I am torn about the "lie". I suspect that if Obama had been forthcoming, we wouldn't have even the shaky reform we now have. I continue to fantasize that the ACA is the 1st steps toward single payer.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

This is a test.

Kind of like that thing you hear on TV and the radio sometimes where the guy comes on and says "This is test" and blasts your eardrums with a 750 dB screechy noise, and then comes back on to let you know that you are still alive because had it not been a test, we'd all be shadows on what used to be the backyard patio.

Yeah. That kind of test. Except without the awful noise, the guy's voice, the radio, the TV, and the highly inconvenient thermonuclear device detonating three miles above your backyard part.

Just to see if the Comment Post Deity is awake or has slit its own wrists after accidentally ingesting too much Palin Drone. Kind of like a palindrome, but not really. Although Palin is the same stupid frontwards as she is backwards.

Okay. That's enough now. If this post goes through I guess I'm back in the good graces of the Comment Post Deity. Bqhatevwr.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

[Well, that last one finally worked. So I'll try this one. Tried to post this yesterday. Now it’s old news and a lot of people commented on this idiocy yesterday, but, oh well, the sentiment is still the same. So...speaking of Palin...]

Over the years I have been known to visit the Hyperbole Well, drawing the occasional draft with which to besprinkle the odd rhetorical device. But even my most extravagant embroideries were easily distinguishable from less flamboyant expressions. Not so with proclamations from the Land of Baggers.

Does anyone believe that for Sarah Palin, comparing the Chinese acquisition of US debt to slavery is an exaggeration on her part? Abso-fucking-lutely not. Wingnuts compare all kinds of things they hate to horrific stuff they seem to know nothing about.

And I realize this is Palin we're talking about here. It is a little like criticizing a rock for being dense. That's its nature. But her apoplexy and her rhetoric are representative, I would suggest, of an enormous number of equally dense 'baggers and wingers.

First the issue. China buys US debt because we have a huge trade imbalance with them. They have boatloads of greenbacks. What to do with them? Buy Treasury bonds, natch. They don't make a killing, what with the interest rates so low, but they don't seem to care. But this also means that the US benefits through what amounts to trillions in low cost loans. Very low cost. There is no debt in the world safer than US debt so both China and Japan buy it up. They're doing us a favor. It ain't "slavery", Sarah. You nitwit. Can you believe this idiot would have been a misplaced banana peel away from being president??

And what about that comparison? Slavery? Really? It just shows you how absolutely little these twits know about the horrors that other people in the world have gone through (and are still going through). It's no different than other wingnuts who compare the ACA to slavery or the Holocaust or who relate the poor and the sick to mooching slackers who lounge on the beach eating pâté on garlic crostini.

This morning on NPR I heard a story about a photography exhibit opening in Sao Paulo focusing on slavery in Brazil at the end of the 19th century. They had a fascinating idea. The pictures were actually commissioned to show how happy all these slaves were (where have we heard before how happy all those slaves were on southern plantations? Why, from other 'bagger morons like Palin).

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Oops...forgot the second part of the previous post.

The curators of the exhibit decided to blow up the images to wall size which reveal minute details that give the lie to the "happy" slaves trope and allow viewers to study the routine brutality of the system. As the century was drawing to a close, Brazil began to phase out slavery and slave owners decided they didn't need to worry about not working slaves to death anymore. They wanted a return on their money and who cares if none were alive when slavery ended? I was wondering who needs photographs to be able to see the brutality in the institution of slavery.

When I read Palin's comment, I realized my mistake.

It's funny on one hand, but on the other, it's another example of how conservative ideology makes people stupid. Or maybe it's the other way around. Whatever the case, stupidity abides. It's become a defining characteristic of conservatives.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: Yes, it definitely occurred to me when I discovered that the Comments weren't working yesterday that the Fates were punishing me for Too Much Palin. Nice to think the Fates aren't stoopid.

Marie

November 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Some thoughts about the ACA and the much belabored website.

First, and I know this is bringing this horse back from the dead to beat it some more, but this whole megillah and the problems with the backstabbing, greedy rat fucks in the Insurance industry who are canceling plans without bothering to tell people they can still get insurance, are reasons number 1 and 1a why we should have a single payer system.

A corollary to this is yet another example of how trying to work with Republicans will always come back to bite you. What Obama needs (and should have had on the payroll in January of 2008) is a GOP apostate looking to go into some kind of witness protection program after a crisis of conscience (they should all be treated like gangsters and hoods. Most self respecting criminals with the track record of the Modern GOP would have sought protection years ago) that can serve as inside advisor telling them exactly what kind of skullduggery, treachery, and evil shit they can expect from the right as a counter to any move the administration might make. That way he would have realized years earlier that the sole goal, the raison d'etre of the Republican Party, is to Fuck.Him.Up. Period, full stop.

All the fancy dancing he and the Democrats did trying to make nice with delusional three year old psychopaths was all for naught.

Now about the website.

Anyone who has worked on software, or with software (just about everyone), realizes how tough it is to fix a bad program. Might as well scrap it and start over. I work with a vital system every day that was initially developed as part of a larger program. At some point, the company decided to scrap the larger part and run with the smaller one. The problem with this is that now you have an application that only needs a few thousand lines of code running services that were built on a base of hundreds of thousands of lines. A tech support guy described it to me like this: App A was originally designed as a flea on the back of an elephant, the larger application, but the elephant has since died. Now the flea has to carry the elephant. Efficient, it ain't.

Anyone who used earlier Windows operating systems remembers what a nightmare they were (except maybe Windows 95 and 98). Why? Because they were all built on top of an ancient operating system (MS-DOS) that was still in place and running processes underneath it all. The Nightmare from Redmond.

So the I don't think the ACA website should be fixed. They should try patches, etc, to address the major bugs, but right now, today, they need to find a sharp group of developers to build a new site from scratch and roll it out after proper testing.

Government procurement procedures are too cumbersome for most small companies so you often end up with clunky monsters that do the paperwork correctly but deliver equally clunky, monstrous code.

The moral of the story?

Don't ever trust Republicans. Do what you think is best and fuck the begrudgers. And fix those damn procurement procedures. I know why they were put in place originally, but the DoD has a special waiver when they want to hire IT work. Healthcare is just as vital as defense.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Like Akhilleus, guess I should have tried a test. OK this is my test (since my comment of earlier hasn't appeared). If this test works, I may try again later as I did save a copy. OK 1-2-3 testing...

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

I was going to say something about Richard (not a racist, but gagging all the same) Cohen, but why bother?

The Times pays intellectual frauds like Doucheboy and Miss Brooks-- actual money, they give these guys--to puke all over the page and drool on their shoes. I guess the Post feels it has to keep up with the Ochs-Sulzbergers.

The Post's mission, to serve as a retirement home for neo-con apologists, ex-Bush Speechwriters (crayons optional), and wild-ass wingnuts, has diminished its attunement to the real world to the point of complete social, cultural, and political dyslexia so what's one Richard Cohen, more or less?

I swore when they booted writer Dan Froomkin for telling the truth about Bush that I would never visit their site again, and I haven't. Plenty more should do the same.

Bezos has a lot to prove before I consider the Post as anything more than a mat for wet boots.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

People like Richard Cohen victimize all of us. If you're a non-white, you approach every white stranger with suspicion. If you're white, you must make some overt -- if coded -- effort to demonstrate that you're not a flaming racist. What Cohen does is raise the suspicion level & make a normal one-on-one connection harder to achieve.

It is outrageous that a columnist -- who is to some extent a spokesperson -- for a major U.S. newspaper (in a majority-minority city, BTW) would let on that it was pretty natural for white people to be physically ill just at the sight of a couple walking down the street, minding their own business. And it isn't remotely true. I expect even overt racists who disapprove of interracial marriage manage to get thru their days without having acid reflux reactions upon seeing mixed-race couples. But here is Cohen saying that it's "normal" for "decent" white people to be physically sickened by the sight of a white hand holding a black one. Cohen isn't being politically incorrect by raising a real issue that dare not speak its name; he is lying. He is raising an "issue" that exists only in the minds of a few sickos like himself. He is making a false charge against politically conservative Americans by attributing to them his own psychological problem.

The purpose of a newspaper opinion column is to offer a reasoned argument for a political policy or whatever. Ascribing strong racist tendencies to Iowans is not reasoning; it's race-baiting. Cohen should be invited to retire. Now. And Jeff Bezos, who has asked Katharine Weymouth to stay on, should reconsider.

Marie

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Who knew there was a secretive, underhanded scheme behind the messy sign-ups for ACA?

Why it's the ominous "SINGLE PAYER PLOY"!

"Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands"

This over on CNBC.com: read and/or watch video clip with (former PA Governor) Ed Rendell & (former NH Senator) Judd Gregg in an interview (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101187368) Yep. We're gonna become Canada. We'll wait years for surgeries, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Then check out of John Harwood's article NYT online :
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/us/politics/republicans-target-health-law-before-it-takes-hold.html?hp with input from such conspiracy-minded souls as Douglas Holtz-Eakin "You pull more people in, and the benefits become more generous,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said. “Congress knows how to fix an inequity — write a check.” and then continuing the alarm: Ron Haskins. Haskins a former Republican Congressional aide and adviser to Mr. Bush, who said “They see it as a subterfuge leading to single-payer,” government-run health care."

Blame it all on lousy interfaces, bad technology, messy sign-ups, Web site crashes — a ploy? Who'd have thunk it that the progressive came up with such a masterful and devious method to get us to single-payer. Then, I say, "Yaaah!'

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

@Marie, Ak; Thanks for the thoughts on Post essayist(?) Cohen. I alluded to his statement in my earlier post but really I was wordless as to explain my feelings when I read the word "conventional". Wordless, as in; "You fuckin' asshole, the President of the United States is of a mixed race parentage. How about I gag you with a spoon? You asswipe, how about all the boys that came home from overseas with Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese wife? How about Jews that marry Muslims? You prick; and worst of all, you piece of shit; how about love? You murdered love with your statement. Love is what makes people reach out to the "other"; Love is not only what makes the world go around, it makes the world one. So stuff your "conventional" where the sun don't shine."
See? speechless.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

JJG,

You go, brother.

The word "conventional" is defined as something that is generally believed. And Cohen is probably correct about "conventional" people gagging on their tabbacky chaw when seeing mixed race couples. If he was born in Alabama in 1845.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I wonder what Cohen experiences when he sees a nice Jewish boy walking down the street, hand in hand ,with his WASP girlfriend.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI!

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/13/208446/questions-about-60-minutes-benghazi.html

Woe is me that when I was trying to do journalism, I had no sinecure so I could fuck around for a year and publish a half-assed report. I envy these young'uns.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

My husband claims he has severe hearing loss because of my constant talking so I thought losing some posts in cyber oblivion was just confirmation by the fates.

I wanted to say some more about Clinton's loose talk but Charles Pierce did a better job than I could today. Although, I am not inclined to be at all charitable toward Clinton. Perhaps it will be spun as his attempt to distance Hilary from Obama for the 2016 run, however, I think he's completely ego driven. Its always about him. He's trying to play the I'm-a-better-President than you game. Clinton may well derail what forward progress there's been for ACA by undermining the law that is designed to benefit the many to appease the few. The proposed change for the few is the antithesis of the basis for the ACA. In my mind Clinton is much like his Republican counterparts who embrace stupidity because the media gives them a platform for grandstanding and quotes.

I stopped reading WAPO a few years ago based on the caliber, or lack thereof by commenters. I suspected the paper would have to cater to their readers sooner rather than later. I am curious what Eugene Robinson will have to say about his colleague's column.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@Diane. Completely agree about Clinton. He's the main reason I've never warmed to Hillary. The thought of four or eight more years of Bill triangulating the universe as defined by Rubin and Summers is more than I can stomach.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer
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