The Ledes

Friday, October 9, 2015.

New York Times: "The National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday 'for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011'.... The quartet comprises four organizations: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. But the Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasized that the prize 'is awarded to this quartet, not to the four individual organizations as such.'”

AP: "Officials say one person is dead and three others are wounded following an early morning shooting at Northern Arizona University. School public relations director Cindy Brown says the suspected shooter is in custody." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "G. T. Fowler, the chief of campus police, said that Steven Jones, a freshman, had opened fire after two groups of male students were involved in a confrontation. The police were able to take Mr. Jones into custody after he stopped firing the weapon and “everything calmed down for a few minutes,” Chief Fowler said."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 8, 2015.

New York Times: "Paul Prudhomme, the chef who put the cooking of Louisiana — especially the Cajun gumbos, jambalayas and dirty rice he grew up with — on the American culinary map, died on Thursday in New Orleans. He was 75.

Air Force Times: "Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.... Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times, "... He is currently in stable condition." Sacramento police tweeted: 'The assault incident is not related to a terrorist act.  Assault occurred near a bar, alcohol is believed to be a factor.'”

Motherboard: "On Wednesday, a jury in Sacramento, California, found Matthew Keys, former social media editor at Reuters and an ex-employee of KTXL Fox 40, guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. In 2010, Keys posted login credentials to the Tribune Company content management system (CMS) to a chatroom run by Anonymous, resulting in the defacement of an LA Times article online. The defacement was reversed in 40 minutes, but the government argued the attack caused nearly a million dollars in damage."

New York Times: "The leadership of world soccer’s governing body plunged into chaos on Thursday, as three of the game’s most powerful figures, including Sepp Blatter, the longtime president of FIFA, were suspended amid an investigation by the Swiss authorities into suspected corruption. In addition to Mr. Blatter, Michel Platini, who is a FIFA vice president and the head of European soccer’s governing body, and Jérôme Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general who was already on disciplinary leave, were “provisionally banned” from the sport. The suspensions took effect immediately."

Reuters: "The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to near a 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring."

New York Times: "Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday 'for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,' the Swedish Academy announced."

Washington Post: "The United Auto Workers union narrowly avoided a strike against Fiat Chrysler of America early Thursday morning, announcing an agreement less than two days after threatening to pull as many as 40,000 workers off the job while contract negotiations soured."

The Week: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his wife, Landra Gould, filed a product liability lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County, Nevada, against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid said was behind an accident in January that injured his eye."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post [Sept. 11]: "Aggressive treatment of high blood pressure can sharply cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths in people 50 and older, according to a landmark federal study released Friday that urges doctors to bring their patients’ blood pressure well below the commonly recommended target. The new research advises people with high blood pressure to keep their “systolic” pressure — the top number in the reading that health-care providers routinely tell patients — at 120 or below.

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

White House Live Video
October 9

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Here's a break from the parade of horribles in the left column:

A friend sent me this version. You'll want to supersize it:

MoviePilot: Quite a few people think the film "The Martian" -- which depicts an Earthly astronaut stuck on Mars -- is "based on a true story." ...

... CW: Reminds of Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. History Channel: "Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, 'New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!'”

New York Times: "Europe’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people’s digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how seamlessly global technology giants — the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — can continue to collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday’s ruling."

One More Reason Not to Let Jeff Bezos into Your House. Bloomberg: " Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t 'interact well' with Prime Video." ...

... Karl Bode of Tech Dirt: "Amusingly, Amazon unloads what has to be one of the larger piles of ambiguous bullshit in defense of an anti-competitive position seen in some time: "Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,' Amazon said in [an] e-mail [to sellers]. 'It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.'" Hilarious. Except it's up to developers to embed Chromecast support into their services and apps, and both Google and Apple publish open software development kits that allows any application to be utilized on both devices. In other words, it's Amazon's choice that Chromecast and Apple TV won't play nicely with Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. It has nothing to do with the devices not 'interacting well' with Amazon's services." ...

... Alison Griswold of Slate: "It will be interesting to see whether Amazon’s move with regard to streaming content raises any antitrust flags. Generally speaking, a company has breached antitrust laws when it has a monopoly and uses that monopoly to stifle competition."

Congratulations, Aliens! You are no longer in violation of U.S. copyright law:

... Our Long National Nightmare Is Over. Los Angeles Times: "In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, [a federal] judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the 'Happy Birthday To You' song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.... Judge George H. King ruled that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific piano arrangements of the music, not the actual song."

When the posh British PM David Cameron was a lad, he fucked a dead pig. The antics of our own Aqua Buddha Boy pale by comparison.

New York Times: "It was a night of firsts, and a night for establishment cable at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress on a drama series, for her role as a defense lawyer on ABC’s 'How to Get Away With Murder'; Jon Hamm won his first Emmy after seven previous nominations for his role as the tortured Don Draper on 'Mad Men'; and HBO, led by victories for the comedy 'Veep,' the drama 'Game of Thrones' and a four-part limited series, 'Olive Kitteridge,' had a triumphant showing, with 14 victories, including best drama and outstanding comedy series."


Washington Post: "When Pope Francis arrives in Washington this week for the start of a six-day visit to the United States, he might find at least one local spot that reminds him of home. That’s Brookland, a neighborhood in Northeast Washington so chockablock with Catholic institutions that it has been called 'Little Rome.'”

New York Times: "When the comedian Steve Rannazzisi has explained his success, which includes seven seasons starring on a popular TV show, 'The League,' and a one-hour special this Saturday on Comedy Central, he has frequently attributed it to decisions he made after narrowly escaping the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.... Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction."

Washington Post (Sept. 15): "King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain ... arrive in Washington this week for their first official visit.... The couple will meet with President Obama and Senate leaders on Tuesday (which happens to be the queen’s 43rd birthday), open an American-Spanish scientific conference at Georgetown University [where Felipe attended grad school], meet with American chief executives who do business in Spain, and head to Florida to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine."

Perfect! Guardian: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is to replace Donald Trump as the host of the NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice, the network has announced."

New York Times: "For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new subway stop [in Manhattan] is open for business.... The extended subway line is a descendant of the train lines that ran along 11th Avenue from the mid-1800s until 1941." The stop is an extension of the No. 7 line. Exits are at 34th St. & 11th Ave.:



MoDo goes to Paris to check out Google's Google's Cultural Institute, which is on a mission to "digitally replicate and curate all art and culture on earth." CW: The Times should stop giving Dowd these difficult war-correspondenty assignments. Why isn't she in New York, checking out the runways during Fashion Week?

The President Awards the National Medals of the Arts and Humanities:

Washington Post: "New images of Pluto show the amazing diversity of" the planet's landscape. "Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team, added that the surface was 'every bit as complex as that of Mars,' with jumbled mountains, nitrogen ice flows, and possible dunes." Includes slideshow.

Wowza! New York Times: "Acting on a tip from spelunkers two years ago, scientists in South Africa discovered what the cavers had only dimly glimpsed through a crack in a limestone wall deep in the Rising Star cave: lots and lots of old bones. The remains covered the earthen floor beyond the narrow opening. This was, the scientists concluded, a large, dark chamber for the dead of a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi. The new hominin species was announced on Thursday by an international team of more than 60 scientists led by Lee R. Berger, an American paleoanthropologist who is a professor of human evolution studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The species name, H. naledi, refers to the cave where the bones lay undisturbed for so long; 'naledi' means 'star' in the local Sesotho language." ...

... Here's the Life Sciences report. ...

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.


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 & " 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 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.


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


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:

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
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.