The Ledes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

New York Times: "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty Wednesday as the government declared three days of official mourning and grappled with the aftermath of an attack on a school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 145 people. The national flag was lowered to half-staff on all official buildings and prayer services were scheduled across the country." ...

... The Washington Post profiles "Mullah Radio," the leader of the Taliban attack on schoolchildren & teachers.

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

New York Times: "In one of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks in recent years, scores of people were killed after a group of Taliban gunmen stormed a school in northern Pakistan, officials and rescue workers said on Tuesday. Hundreds of students remained trapped inside the compound as security forces exchanged fire with the gunmen, officials said. The toll of dead and injured remained uncertain, but the local news media, citing government officials and hospitals, reported 126 dead, more than 100 of them children. The army press office announced that five attackers had been killed."

New York Times: "President Obama has decided to sign legislation imposing further sanctions on Russia and authorizing additional aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it will complicate his efforts to maintain a unified front with European allies, the White House said on Tuesday. The legislation calls for a raft of new measures penalizing Russia’s military and energy sectors and authorizes $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including antitank weapons, tactical surveillance drones and counter-artillery radar. The bill was approved unanimously by Congress, but Mr. Obama hedged for days on whether he would sign it." ...

... Washington Post: "Russia appeared headed Tuesday into a full-fledged currency crisis after the central bank imposed a massive, middle-of-the-night interest rate hike but failed to halt the plummet of the ruble."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "In one of the region's deadliest shooting rampages, an Iraq war veteran shot and killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives early Monday, terrorizing four upper Montgomery County communities and sparking a manhunt that continued deep into the night, officials said.The suspect, Bradley W. Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, had a 'familial relationship' with all of the victims, officials said. Besides his ex-wife, he allegedly killed her mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. The couple's two daughters were unharmed....A 17-year-old boy, Stone's former nephew, was shot and wounded."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 17

12:01 pm ET: President Obama makes a statement about Cuba

1:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

4:15 pm ET: President Obama speaks at a Hanukkah reception

8:00 pm ET: President Obama speaks at a Hanukkah reception

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

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

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

CW: For those of you who don't like hassling with DVDs, I accidentally found a cheap alternative to Netflix. Although I will continue to subscribe to Netflix's streaming videos, Netflix doesn't stream most decent movies. Instead, you have to maintain a (second) monthly subscription, then order & return the DVDs. However, YouTube now allows you to stream movies (you can watch them -- more than once -- during a 48-hour period.) There's no monthly fee, & you can play the movies on your TV via various devices. I have a Google dongle on one TV & a Blu-Ray box on another. The YouTube streaming videos work on both (you have to download on the Chrome browser). Setting up an account was very easy. Since I watch few movies, this works perfectly for me. When Ben Bradlee died, I watched "All the President's Men" for the umpteenth time, & today I watched "Good Night & Good Luck." Big advantage: instant gratification! I'm not sure if YouTube is good for more recent movies.

The Rockefellers Are Leaving the Building. New York Times: "By this time next year, they will have vacated the 56th-floor aerie [in 30 Rock] they have occupied since 1933 and moved to somewhat less rarefied headquarters across 49th Street. One of the country’s great dynastic families is downsizing."

Contact the Constant Weader

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Tuesday
Oct092012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 10, 2012

I submitted a column to my editor at the New York Times eXaminer many hours ago, but I think he is traveling covering the protests in Athens, Greece, so I just slapped up the column myself. I do heartily recommend Dean Baker's rebuttal to David Brooks, which I've linked at NYTX. I've just added my two cents.

Presidential Race

Time for Scare Tactics:

P.S. I think the Big Bird ad has been disappeared. * No surprise: Sesame Street objected. Dave Weigel of Slate: Romney's "Big Bird remark ... wasn't a gaffe. It was a statement that Romney had made many times.... PBS's government check makes up less than one-thousandth of one-percent of discretionary spending. Voters don't know that.... At the debate, Romney repeatedly promised to start balancing the budget despite gigantic tax cuts and spending increases, but the only specific cuts he offered were Obamacare and PBS. I liked the way Matt Taibbi summed up Romney's answer: 'I'll cut PBS, which is about one millionth of the federal budget, and some other stuff.'" ...

     ... Politico Update: Obama advisor Robert Gibbs "said Wednesday the campaign had no plans to stop using Big Bird in its advertising."

... The pundits hate the Big Bird ad -- except for Dan Amira of New York magazine, who says it reminds voters that Romney is that guy who doesn't care about them & their kids. ...

... And Romney is still attacking Big Bird. ...

... "Forget Big Bird." Dana Milbank: "At the Denver debate, Romney said he would eliminate Obamacare (doing so would actually increase the budget deficit, because of related tax hikes) and the public-broadcasting subsidy, which is ... little more than one one-hundredth of 1 percent of federal spending. But Romney proposes to cut federal spending by trillions of dollars -- more than $5 trillion over the next decade, assuming he follows the sort of blueprint laid out by his running mate, Paul Ryan. That threatens much more than Muppets and monsters. Human lives are at stake." ...

... CW: Victoria D. & I like "The Daily Show" take on Mitt Romney's policies. If President Obama had said what Jon Stewart said in these segments, he would have won the debate:

(... You can download or watch the Stewart-Bill O'Reilly "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorum" here. It's $4.95.

Jim Rutenberg & Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times write a doom-&-gloom story about the Obama campaign, but I think it's larded with a tasty dose of crap. Also, Andrew Sullivan is an idiot. I know some of you are fond of him, but there's a reason I don't read or link his stuff: he's an idiot. ...

... On the other hand, there's this reality check from Nate Silver: "Following another day of strong polling on Tuesday, Mitt Romney advanced into the best position in the FiveThirtyEight forecast since the party conventions. His chances of winning the Electoral College are now 28.8 percent in the forecast, his highest since Aug. 29. For the first time since Aug. 28, President Obama is projected to win fewer than 300 electoral votes. And Mr. Obama's projected margin of victory in the national popular vote -- 2.0 percentage points -- represents the closest the race has been since June 27." ...

... Frank Newport of Gallup: "Mitt Romney holds a slight edge over Barack Obama -- 49% to 47% -- in Gallup's initial 'likely voter' estimate, encompassing interviews from Oct. 2-8. Preferences tilt the opposite way among registered voters, 49% vs. 46% in Obama's favor." ...

... Greg Sargent: "Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg ... told me ... that his new research persuaded him that Mitt Romney beat Obama in the debate for a simple reason. Unmarried women -- a critical piece of Obama's coalition -- did not hear Obama telling him how they would make their lives better. By contrast, they did hear Romney telling them he'd improve their lives." ...

... One word -- women. -- Nancy Pelosi:

Michael Scherer of Time: "Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have new television spots up today (Tuesday) designed to appeal to Spanish-speaking voters. But only one candidate endeavors to speak to those voters in their native language.... Now, which one do you think will be more effective?":

A Nice Hit Job on Gov. Ima Hippocrite. Sharon LaFraniere & Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "As a candidate, Mr. Romney uses China as a punching bag.... But his private equity dealings, both while he headed Bain and since, complicate that message." Bain companies have been moving jobs to China & touting the low wages there.... Bain's interest in China dates to when Mr. Romney ran the firm. During a panel discussion at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston in February 1998, he told of touring an appliance factory in China where 5,000 employees 'were working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour.'" Romney has millions in Bain companies that have outsourced U.S. jobs to China.

The Two Faces of Mitt. Elise Foley of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney said Tuesday he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion, a softer stance from a candidate who has said he would 'get rid of' funding for Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. 'There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda,' the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview. The Romney campaign walked back the remark within two hours of the Register posting its story. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the National Review Online's Katrina Trinko that Romney 'would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.'" CW: yeah, he also told Mike Huckabee he would "absolutely" support "personhood" legislation, which would make even some kinds of contraception illegal. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link. ...

     ... Jennifer Jacobs' Des Moines Register story is here.

As a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.... One of the reasons I support President Obama is because he has consistently shown he understands that our commitment to our servicemen and women may begin when they put on their uniform, but that it must never end. -- Former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (R-S.D.)

Ari Berman of The Nation: "Ohio's GOP secretary of state in 2012, Jon Husted..., has banned early voting hours on nights and weekends in Ohio, when it is most convenient for most Ohioans to vote, has fired Democratic election commissioners who challenge his voting restrictions, and is now appealing a court decision reinstating early voting on the three days prior to the election -- which the GOP eliminated except for members of the military -- to the US Supreme Court. Early voting has already begun in Ohio, but four weeks out until the election, Husted is doing his damndest to confuse the hell out of Ohio voters and undermine their voting rights." Read the whole post. ...

... Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "Ohio asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a federal appeals court's ruling that the state must allow all voters to cast ballots on the weekend before the election, not just those in the military." ...

... President Obama urges Ohioans to vote early:

When you give conservatives bad news in your polls, they want to kill you. When you give liberals bad news in your polls, they want to kill themselves. -- Unidentified Nonpartisan Pollster ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "... the polling I saw suggests that viewers polled during the debate thought it was about even; viewers polled right after the debate though Romney had won; and viewers polled a little later still thought it was a rout. I can't think of any good explanation for this aside from the effect of the talking heads right after the debate and the firestorm of liberal criticism that quickly turned into a feeding frenzy of outrage." ...

... Maureen Dowd: "At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney's star turn, saying 'what was being presented wasn't leadership; that's salesmanship.' It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked 'URGENT.' But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years." CW: Dowd argues that like Bill Clinton, albeit for different reasons & with less drama, Obama slacks off when he's ahead. I think that's a common pathology among politicians & probably a necessary one: you have to get good at performing under pressure & against long odds -- something most of us do only occasionally -- & there must be a real rush in beating those long odds -- such a rush that some people will set themselves up for it.

... In a longish post, Markos Moulitsas makes two points: (1) "Every time you think he has learned that Republicans want to utterly destroy him, he comes back with his rhetorical embrace of the enemy, telling everyone that we should all come together because we're not really all that different!" and (2) the polls aren't that bad for Obama, assuming "Biden and Obama won't screw up the remaining three debates."

CW: when you're less informed than Tom Friedman, you're pretty ignorant. Here's Friedman today: "If [Romney's foreign policy] speech is any indication of the quality of Romney's thinking on foreign policy, then we should worry. It was not sophisticated in describing the complex aspirations of the people of the Middle East. It was not accurate in describing what Obama has done or honest about the prior positions Romney has articulated. And it was not compelling or imaginative in terms of the strategic alternatives it offered. The worst message we can send right now to Middle Easterners is that their future is all bound up in what we do. It is not." Friedman goes on to recommend Secretary of Education Arne Duncan be put in charge of the U.S.'s Arab states policy. And Romney is dumber than that.

I don't know if you guys saw the debate last week. I take a lot of pride in that, because -- I don't know if you noticed, but I was -- me and my brothers were responsible for my dad doing so well. We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over. And we'd say the same lie over and over. And my dad learned then, not to believe it. While we didn't go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff. So as a father, he learned how to debate an obstinate child. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun watching the debate. -- Josh Romney, introducing his father at a rally

Evidently lying through your teeth is a well-entrenched Romney family tradition. Good grammar, not so much. -- Constant Weader

Other Stuff

Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor: Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) & Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) have both made political hay of the lax security in Benghazi, Libya, claiming "the administration ignored pleas for more security from Libya embassy officials.... Mr. Chaffetz has been among those leading the Republican effort to pin the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi on the Obama administration." BUT "Since retaking control in 2010, House Republicans have aggressively cut spending at the State Department in general and embassy security in particular. Chaffetz and Issa and their colleagues voted to pay for far less security than the State Department requested in 2011 and again this year.... It's a bit rich to complain about a lack of US security personnel at diplomatic missions on the one hand, while actively working to cut the budget to pay for US security personnel at diplomatic missions on the other." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Lori Montgomery & Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post: "An issue that has taken center stage in the presidential campaign -- how to rewrite the U.S. tax code -- is rapidly moving back onto the front burner in Washington as policymakers brace for another epic battle over the budget days after the Nov. 6 election. On Tuesday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, rejected the goal of cutting the top tax rate, an objective embraced by both parties. [Really?] Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators gathered at Mount Vernon ... for a three-day retreat aimed at producing an alternative debt-reduction strategy to replace the 'fiscal cliff,' including a tax overhaul that reduces rates but raises more money."

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Frank Schubert, a former corporate public relations executive, ran the $40 million, come-from-behind push for Proposition 8 in California in 2008. He went on to mount successful campaigns to defeat same-sex marriage in Maine and North Carolina. Now, with marriage initiatives on the ballot in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington State and Maine, Mr. Schubert is the chief strategist in all four at once.... Every time the issue has been on the ballot, in 32 states in a row, voters have come out against same-sex marriage." CW: Schubert says he's committed to his "cause," but it sounds to me as if he's just in it to make a buck. Oh, and God has a plan for his life. Just for the record, I can understand how people believe that some kind of supernatural entity created the heavens & the earth, but I cannot for the life of me understand how otherwise intelligent people think that same supernatural being is taking time out of her busy universe-creating schedule to plan the lives of millions of insignificant earthlings, right down to making sure they do their damnedest to oppose gay marriage.

How Thin Is Thy Skin? Welch Can Dish It out, but He Can't Take It. Stephen Gandel of Fortune: Jack Welch has said he won't write for Fortune any more after Fortune writers criticized his conspiracy theory that the Obama campaign faked the September jobs report & "Fortune.com ran a story detailing Welch's record as a job destroyer. GE lost nearly 100,000 jobs during the 20 years in which Welch ran the company." ...

... Here's the Fortune.com story. It happens to be by Gandel: "... when it comes to job creation, Obama's record appears to far better than [Welch's], who spent two decades on top of the one of the world's largest companies. GE lost nearly 100,000 jobs while Welch was at the helm of the company -- a tenure that spanned two of the most robust periods of economic growth in American business history." ...

... Update: oh, look. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has given Welch a platform to spew his crazy conspiracy theory. So he does, in an op-ed titled "I Was Right about That Strange Jobs Report." Uh-huh.

AND Tilda Swinton Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard tears up "the Leader of the Opposition" after he accused her party of sexism & misogyny. Oh, if only we had a Parliament. Via Adam Sorensen of Time:

     ... Monica Attard of CNN has the backstory. ...

     ... Amelia Lester in the New Yorker: "... supporters of President Obama, watching Gillard cut through the disingenuousness and feigned moral outrage of her opponent to call him out for his own personal prejudice, hypocrisy, and aversion to facts, might be wishing their man would take a lesson from Australia."

News Ledes

AP: "A panel of three federal judges upheld a South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification, but delayed enforcement until next year, in a decision announced Wednesday, less than a month before this year's presidential election. In a unanimous ruling, the judges said there was no discriminatory intent behind the law, ruling that it would not diminish African-Americans' voting rights because people who face a 'reasonable impediment' to getting an acceptable photo ID can still vote if they sign an affidavit."

New York Times: "President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and a combat veteran who led a regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan."

New York Times: "The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons and be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict." ...

... New York Times: "With Syria's civil strife coursing through major cities and convulsing neighboring countries, the Turkish military sounded a somber warning on Wednesday that it may respond more forcefully after days of shelling from Syria."

AP: "Americans Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka won the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals. Such studies are key for developing better drugs. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two researchers had made groundbreaking discoveries on an important family of receptors, known as G-protein-coupled receptors."

Reader Comments (12)

The New York Review- Our Crisis of Bad Jobs by Jeff Madrick
Seventeen percent real unemployment is not new nor is forty six million Americans living in poverty. What is new is some documentation about job quality. Most jobs lost paid fourteen to twenty dollars per hour.All but about twenty percent of the lost jobs were replaced by jobs paying from 7.70 to 13.80 per hour.
Restoring our minimum wage to its original value would bring it to about ten dollars per hour and would have a big impact on the sixteen million non-managerial workers in the retail trades. This would be a push up, not a trickle down.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Kevin Drum's point that the extent to which respondents polled thought Romney had won increased dramatically as time went on means that the PUNDITS were the influencing factor completely accords with my impressions. I watched the debate thinking, Hmmmm, Romney is sure slinging it and looks hyped up. The minute it was over Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz jumped all over Obama and seemed ready to explode. I have to confess that altered my perceptions, although did not bring me all the way into their camp. Personally, I think the press did a superficial, shameful job that night. It was a content free analysis. And it has reverberated in an echo chamber to become received wisdom.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria D. Drum didn't mention it, but that's also what happened in the first Bush-Gore debate. Overnight polls showed the public thought Gore won. Then the media started on the "Gore sighed too much" meme, the teevee audio guys cranked up the volume on the sighs & gradually -- it turned out Bush won the debate! I remember being just stunned that anyone with any intelligence or nonpartisan perspective could draw that conclusion.

Marie

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

I'm starting to get very concerned, anybody happen to watch Frontline's "The Choice" that aired this evening? The media smells blood in the water. Obama may not have apologized for America abroad, but in his past few major public appearances, he has apologized for his own personal shortcomings. Can a 'lovable' loser be reelected president?

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheldon

Alas, Jon Husted is doing his damnest to live up to the reputation for corruption of our 2004 Sec.of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell. Such concern he shows for the poll workers! As did Blackwell when he had certain precincts cut way back on voting machines. One of those was in Gambier, where the threat of the Kenyon student vote was great.

We can't have too many people voting! Why not go back to the time of our Founding Fathers, when only white male property owners could vote? That would be a big plus for the GOP.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

@Sheldon-

I did watch Frontline's "The Choice" tonight. Unlike you--I came away with comfirmation that Mitt Romney is a textbook example of Eric Fromm's "Market Personality," described in "Man for Himself." Here is a his perception. (Note this was written in the 1940s.)

Marketing orientation: The marketing orientation describes the mindset in which a man perpetually molds himself into society's image in order to fit the expected norms of society. He sees the world as a marketplace, where new symbolizes good and desirous, wheras old becomes ugly and useless to him. Fromm described this mindset as saying, "new is beautiful," as opposed to the historical mindset which has been one of keeping and maintaining possessions for later, commodity - oriented use: "old is beautiful."
Marketing characters exhibit signs of extreme conformity and solve their problems as if they were simply manifestations of the market. These people look for mates as commodities to be scrutinized for positive traits which may have little to do with love, and create barriers between themselves and others defined by abstractions such as religiosity, monetary value and social status. Families which own or manage businesses or encourage conformity and a scholastic focus on the job market - that is, most families in industrialized nations today - tend to create marketing characters. This personality, Fromm said, only started to emerge with contemporary society and its focus on marketability. (And he added, is our most pathological.)

Marketing orientation: The marketing orientation describes the mindset in which a man perpetally molds himself into society's image in order to fit the expected norms of society. He sees the world as a marketplace, where new symbolizes good and desirous, wheras old becomes ugly and useless to him. Fromm described this mindset as saying, "new is beautiful," as opposed to the historical mindset which has been one of keeping and maintaining possessions for later, commodity - oriented use: "old is beautiful."
Marketing characters exhibit signs of extreme conformity and solve their problems as if they were simply manifestations of the market. These people look for mates as commodities to be scrutinized for positive traits which may have little to do with love, and create barriers between themselves and others defined by abstractions such as religiosity, monetary value and social status. Families which own or manage businesses or encourage conformity and a scholastic focus on the job market - that is, most families in industrialized nations today - tend to create marketing characters. This personality, Fromm said, only started to emerge with contemporary society and its focus on marketability.

Here is a link to other Fromm works and ideas, if you are interested:
http://dean.roushimsx.com/fromm.htm

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@alphonegaston: Even though your question about going back to only allowing white, male property owners to vote was rhetorical, I think it describes the way many in the Republica party actually feel. Some of them have stated openly that only property owners should vote. In dampening turnout around college campuses in Ohio they are more or less securing this objective. The goal of according the vote only to whites is achieved by making sure there are not enough voting machines/hours for people in cities to cast their ballot. If they could only figure out a way to thwart the female vote, Romney's victory in Ohio would be assured.
The length to which Husted is going to suppress the vote is unbelievable.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@ Kate: Fromm was one that guided me on my "search for self" process and I remember with clarity the excitement and insight I gleaned from his writings.

Which brings me to an insight I had last night watching "Frontline." The fact that Barack or Barry as he called himself then, was being parented by two alcoholics must have had a severe impact, and given that he, himself, was deep into Mary Jane* at the time ––"Thanks Ray for the good times" he wrote under his year book picture (Ray being his dealer) is significant. The irony here is that the whole family at that time was awash in escape––a method of coping with a world that really wasn't that welcoming. Contrast this scenario with Romney's early life and it couldn't be more diverse. Yet here we have the coddled guy playing a role, lying* to get what he wants and the other guy who had to play a role to just survive is trying––and he better try harder–-to give us what we need.

* Mitt's father George sealed his fate when he told the truth about Vietnam––a moral lesson here that the son has not incorporated.

* Punahou, the private school that Obama attended in Hawaii, is not a cozy, small school. It's campus is like a college campus with beautiful grounds, impressive buildings and state of the art technology.( Our youngest son taught there in the early aughts and we made several visits during that time). It's no wonder Obama had to organize his own school gang while there––one could get lost in a school like that.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Don't know how my comment got screwed up--ending up with two paragraphs on Eric Fromm's "Market Orientation." It was fine when I submitted it, but I did notice it had not gone up when I went to bed--which would be 3AM EST. (Only midnight out here on the edge of the world.) Anyway, I have been reading a few others have had posting problems, so I think perhaps MittWitt's Mormon tooth trolls are causing mischief. (:

Hope you were able to decipher my comment.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

As we dig deeper and deeper into psycho analysis of candidates I become increasing alarmed about the potential out come of this election. Obama's back is against the wall due to his first debate performance. If he is truly a person who must create an obstacle to get a rush by over coming it, which I suspect he might be, he has certainly created himself a hell of a hole to climb out of in his next two debates. I hope he gets his rush.
For cripes sake, enough with the humble pie, apology shit. He's scaring the crap out of his followers, people want a leader who knows where the hell he's going.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

The biggest investment of the broadcast media is to foment drama without regard to consequences beyond the ratings. TV ringmasters aren't in it to demonstrate integrity or accuracy. When it is all said and done, the "who me" group of TV ringmasters will be strident in their insistence on their "balanced" reporting. I vomit a little in my mouth each time I hear "balanced" come out of a TV pundits' crooked mouth.

I am eternally tired of Maureen Dowd and her neurotic obsession with ANY President as Daddy. Get some therapy....please. She has long since destroyed her chances to be the next Dorothy Parker.

OK I admit to some naivete. However, Obama has been constantly attacked or faced with very serious issues from every direction, domestic and foreign, Democrats and Republicans. No, he's not been progressive enough for me and yes, get out of Afghanistan. Maybe Romney lying like a John caught in the alleyway with an underage boy was just too much and he momentarily lost his smart. On many occasions, Obama has responded in answer to a question about his best characteristics. He maintains it is his perseverance. I see that - so Mr. President pick yourself up and persevere.

But like Kate reminds us every day THE SUPREMES!!!!!

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Just watched the Aussie video: Wow! What a woman! Julia Gillard (and yes, Tilda Swinton could indeed play her quite nicely) giving her all out harangue to the Leader of the Opposition––Gilbert and Sullivan could do wonders with this––When, in this country, have we ever watched something like this–-maybe Barbara Jordon came close, but this kind of cutting critique coming from a woman? And Marie, I second your wish for a Parliament here––would have given two fingers for one during the Bushie years.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe
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