The Ledes

Sunday, November 23, 2014.

Washington Post: "Marion Barry Jr., the Mississippi sharecropper’s son and civil rights activist who served three terms as mayor of the District of Columbia, survived a drug arrest and jail sentence, and then came back to win a fourth term as the city’s chief executive, died early on Nov. 23 at United Medical Center in Washington. He was 78." Barry's New York Times: obituary is here.

Washington Post: "Negotiators working to slow Iran’s nuclear program and ease sanctions pressed forward with talks Saturday amid indications that they are at an impasse with two days left before a deadline for an accord." ...

... Reuters: "Iran says it will not be possible by a 24 November deadline to reach a comprehensive deal with world powers aimed at resolving the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, the Iranian Students News Agency ISNA reported on Sunday." ...

     ... New York Times UPDATE: "With a deadline for an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program just a day away, American officials finally acknowledged Sunday that the two sides would not reach a deal by Monday’s deadline but would probably extend the talks a second time to explore a series of possible solutions."

Guardian: "The Obama administration announced the release of another Guantánamo Bay detainee on Saturday, rebuking recent calls from congressional Republicans to stop the transfers entirely. A Saudi man who has spent 12 years at the wartime detention facility, Muhammed Murdi Issa al-Zahrani, will return to Saudi Arabia and enter the kingdom’s rehabilitation program. The transfer brings the detainee population of a prison Barack Obama has vowed for six years to close down to 142 men, 72 of whom the Pentagon considers pose little enough threat as to be eligible for transfer."

The Wires

CW: Looks as if the Google News & stock market widgets are kaput & the Reuters widget is intermittent. We'll see what happens over the next few days with these.

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President laid out the steps he took this past week to fix our broken immigration system. Enacted within his legal authority, the President’s plan focuses on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks and taxes":

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
November 21

7:30 am ET: Vice President Biden and President Poroshenko of Ukraine deliver joint statements in Kyiv, Ukraine (audio only)

8:30 am ET: Vice President Biden attends a roundtable discussion on anti-corruption & reform efforts in Kyiv (audio only)
3:55 pm ET:President Obama speaks at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada

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

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

Elaine Maine at the AFI Awards honoring Mike Nichols' lifetime achievements:

Frank Rich remembers Mike Nichols.

Erik Wemple: Bill Clinton discusses why his mother-in-law Dorothy Rodham watched Fox "News."

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post: "Bill Cosby’s dazzling, decades-long career as one of America’s most beloved entertainers appeared to be toppling this week amid a succession of allegations painting Cosby as a serial sexual predator." ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "In the latest fallout from the sexual assault accusations involving the comedian Bill Cosby, NBC and Netflix have set aside projects with Mr. Cosby, and a lawyer for him issued a denial of a new claim from a woman who said he raped her decades ago. NBC said on Wednesday that it had dropped plans to develop a new situation comedy starring Mr. Cosby. The decision followed a week of revelations about accusations of rape and sexual assault against him." ...

... In an interview earlier this month, Cosby tried to get the AP to "scuttle" his "no comment" out of the videotape, suggested the reporter would not be considered "serious" if the AP didn't comply:

A Man for All Women. Jessica Roy of New York: "Karl Stefanovic is a beloved anchor on Australia's version of the Today show.... Over the weekend, Stefanovic made a startling confession: He's been wearing the same exact knock-off Burberry suit on-air every single day for a year, and — shockingly — nobody noticed. Stefanovic says he pulled the stunt to make a statement about how women on TV are judged much more harshly than men, particularly for their appearances. 'No one has noticed; no one gives a shit,' he said in an interview with Fairfax Media.'Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear.'"

David Carr of the New York Times offers belated kudos to John Oliver & conceded, among other things, that Oliver was responsible for bringing "attention to the debate on net neutrality.... The show’s sudden influence was felt most acutely on the arcane issue of net neutrality, which Mr. Oliver introduced this way: 'Oh my god, that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen! That is even boring by C-Span standards.' But after a string of jokes explaining the technology, the stakes and the power dynamics, Mr. Oliver concluded with a call to the underbelly of the Internet to urge the F.C.C. not to cave to moneyed interests and demand that the web remain a level playing field." Read the whole post. ...

... "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery":

... Matt Seitz of New York: " Last Week is doing what media watchdogs (including the Peabody Awards) keep saying that The Daily Show does — practicing real journalism in comedy form — but it's doing it better, and in a simpler, yet more ambitious, ultimately more useful way. If Stewart's show is doing what might be called a reported feature, augmenting opinions with facts, Oliver's show is doing something closer to pure reporting, or what the era of web journalism calls an 'explainer,' often without a hook, or the barest wisp of a hook."

Brian Stelter of the New York Times on how Stewart, Colbert & especially Oliver put net neutrality on the radar:


Clyde Haberman of the New York Times on the story of Lindy Chamberlain, the Australian woman who was convicted of killing her baby in the midst of a media blitz, then later exonerated. "... it took nearly three more decades before a coroner, in 2012, finally issued what the now-divorced parents had long sought: full vindication in the form of a death certificate formally ascribing Azaria’s fate to a dingo attack." With video from the Retro Report.

 

Anna Silman of Salon: "As long as there have been Aaron Sorkin shows on air, there have been parodies of Aaron Sorkin shows. His signature tropes — the Sorkin sermon, the high speed walk-and-talk — have been parodied so extensively that they’ve become cultural artifacts unto themselves, recognizable even to those who never watched the shows that spawned them. [Thursday] night on 'Late Night With Seth Meyers,' the Sorkin parody machine reached its self-referential apex, not just parodying these familiar tropes but also naming the tropes as they parodied them."

... Silman has embedded a number of other Sorkin parodies in her post.

"Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)" by Andy Warhol. Would you pay $82 million for this picture? BTW, you can get a swell copy of it for $29.99 on ebay.... New York Times: Christie's has its biggest auction night evah. CW: The super-rich are still super-rich.

The Guardian claims it will tell you here everything you need to know about the Rosetta comet landing. CW: Oh yeah? The data it sends back will probably just lead to a lot more of those bogus "scientific theories."

Jon [Stewart]'s problem is he has his head so far up Obama's ass he cannot see clearly, he is obviously better suited to reading his joke writers material, and making his clapping seal audience happy. -- Sean Hannity, supporting Stewart's point that Hannity is "the most loathsome dude" at Fox "News"

The New Yorker begins a metered paywall today, November 11. It will allow you to link to six free articles a month.

Washington Post: "They have spawned parodies from 'Ellen' to 'South Park' to 'Saturday Night Live,' but Lincoln is laughing all the way to the bank thanks to its commercials starring Matthew McConaughey. There was more from the Hollywood Reporter: 'Lincoln announced that its overall sales were up 25 percent last month, the strongest October for the beleaguered marque since 2007.'" ...

... Here's one of the McConaughey ads:

Jim Carrey nails it in an SNL skit:

... AND Ellen Degeneres takes the bull by the horns in another:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Wednesday
Oct102012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 11, 2012

Presidential Race

Here's the latest on the polls from Nate Silver. Bad news/good news.

Matt Miller, writing in the Washington Post, has some pretty good advice for Vice President Biden on the approach Biden should take in the debate tonight.

     ... Paul Ryan, Authentic Goober. If Ryan looks smug & happy & Bambi looks sad to you, it's because the right-to-lifer is overjoyed he just shot Bambi dead with his little bow-and-arrow.

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: somebody press Romney & Ryan on their Medicaid policy, please. "They ... want to reduce the money [Medicaid] gets from the federal government.... They would expose the elderly and disabled, as well their loved ones, to the kind of suffering this country spent decades trying to eradicate. Sometime tonight, or perhaps in the two remaining presidential debates, I hope the Republican nominees get a chance to explain why they think that's such a great idea." Read the whole post.

Robb Mandelbaum of the New York Times debunks Romney's debate claim that raising taxes on higher earners will cost the nation 700,000 jobs.

Meenal Vamburkar of Mediate: "In an interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Wednesday, President Obama reflected on the first presidential debate, and pinpointed the reason for his almost-universally agreed upon lackluster performance. He was simply too polite." You can hear the full interview & read the transcript here. It's worth a listen. ...

      ... Betty Cracker of Balloon Juice has a follow-up to the interview in a post titled "President Obama Is Aware of All Internet Traditions." ...

Here's the Jim Fallows post which Akhilleus makes reference to in a post in today's Comments. However, it's harder to accept Fallows' analyses now that we know he's a bona fide Neanderthal (tho despite his boasting about it, apparently not all genetic scientists are convinced by "Neanderthal DNA."

CW: how can we take PolitiFact seriously when they give a Pants-on-Fire rating to President Obama for the Big Bird ad which claims Romney wants to fire Big Bird -- after Romney said he would defund PBS? PolitiFact's argument: Sesame Street has significant other sources of revenue. Oh, please.

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Ignoring a request from the mother of one of the Navy SEALs killed last month in Libya, Mitt Romney today once again told a campaign audience of meeting with her son at a Christmas party two years ago. After Romney told his story of meeting Glen Doherty during a campaign rally yesterday, Barbara Doherty -- mother of Glen Doherty, one of the Navy SEALs killed in the Benghazi attack -- had asked Romney to stop using her son's memory to advance his political agenda." In an update, Lewison writes, "Romneyland is now trying to beat a hasty retreat.... Funny how the campaign didn't care about her wishes until the national media started asking questions." ...

... Update. Libby Denkmann of MyNorthwest.com: a close friend of Glen Doherty's says Doherty recounted his meeting(s) with Romney much differently from the story Romney has been telling on the campaign trail: according to the friend, "Mitt Romney approached [Doherty] ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale." The friend said "Doherty remembered Romney as robotic."

Calling the Race. Jonathan Easley of The Hill: "Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos, whose polls are aggregated into mainstream averages to show where the presidential race stands in the swing states, said he's finished polling in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia because President Obama has no shot of winning those states."

Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly argues -- effectively, I think -- that what moved the polls to Romney was the public perception he engendered in the debate that he was a reasonable man who wanted to fix things. What Obama & Biden must do is demonstrate -- through exposing Romney's & Ryan's records of statements & votes -- that these two guys are dangerous, far-out extremists. "... if Democrats can't mine the vast record of extremism compiled by the GOP and its ticket over the last two years, and show that it's a more shocking and uncompromising version of what the party stood for prior to 2008, then they really can't expect to win."

Just watch:

Michael Barbaro & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "... the appearance at this late stage of a modulating Mitt Romney risks reopening a long-running debate about his authenticity, given that he has described himself as 'severely conservative,' dismissed 47 percent of voters as government dependent, and picked a bold conservative as his running mate."

Travis Waldron of Think Progress writes "The Definitive Timeline of Romney's Ever-Evolving Tax Plan." Pretty helpful. Bottom line: "At this point, it is no longer clear what tax plan Romney actually supports." ...

... Suzy Khimm: AND Romney just made his tax math fuzzier. CW: that's the idea, isn't it? ...

... Jonathan Bernstein in the Washington Post: "Hey, reporters! Next time you interview Mitt Romney and he repeats this formula about lower taxes for some and the same taxes for everyone else, ask him how that goes with his pledge that he won't increase the deficit with his tax plan. And while you're at it, push him on the real key question: if it turned out that his fantasy math falls short and the experts are correct, what would he give up: the big cut in rates? Tax levels for the middle class? Or revenue neutrality? It has to be one of them. Because not even Dumbledore could make Romney's basic 'principles' work."

... Thanks to Jeanne B. for sending along this rundown of Romney's positions on a woman's right to choose:

... Charles Pierce: "All Romney's doing is making the same argument theoretically that DeJarlais [see linked story by Michael McAuliff below] tried to run by his girlfriend. It's all about expediency. There are very few people who actually are pro-life.... Push most of these people to the wall, especially the Penis-Americans in the congregation, and they're dialing the clinic faster than almost anyone else. In our politics, anyway, the fight against reproductive freedom always has been a fight over women's control of their own bodies and their right to make their own health-care decisions without the meddling of Bible-banging secular hypocrites and the Clan of the Red Beanie.... Congressman DeJarlais was all right with his girlfriend's getting an abortion as long as he got to make the decision and as long as the procedure made his life a little more convenient. Romney, I assure you, would be perfectly fine if one of his boys came to him with a similar problem. He's running for office, for Pete's sake." ...

... Let's not forget Forcible-Rape Ryan:

... Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico has a moderately informative story on Whiplash Willard, the Kama Sutra Man who can change, contort & invent new positions in a day two hours. What's important to remember is that a President Willard would sign any piece of crap a conservative Congress put in front of him. And it will, sadly, be a conservative Congress. The only brief sightings of Moderate Mitt were when he was lying running for office in Massachusetts & when he was governor in that state, where a veto-proof majority of Democrats controlled the legislature. Underpinning it all is this: Willard hates your middle-class guts.

** Adele Stan of AlterNet, writing in Salon, has a terrific post titled "Nine Ways Mitt Is Morally Bankrupt." CW: I didn't know about the first one.

Gail Collins: "Maybe Democrats should try to be more like the Republicans, and reduce stress by blaming all bad news on incorrect information, cooked up by cabals of political partisans."

AND Awk-ward! John Cook of Gawker: "After we published nearly 1,000 pages of Bain Capital's confidential financial records -- including audits revealing for the first time that Bain employed a potentially illegal tax dodge currently under investigation by the New York attorney general -- we thought we might hear from the good folks at Mitt Romney's former private equity firm, perhaps asking us to take down the documents. Well, Bain finally got in touch yesterday. And they want to explore investing in Gawker Media." Um, that is, until Cook told the Bain guy about the docu-dump.

Hamilton Nolan of Gawker: David Siegel, CEO of a Florida company that builds & manages timeshares, & who is building himself a 90,000-sq.ft. house patterned after the Palace of Versailles, sent an e-mail to his employees threatening layoffs if Obama is re-elected & he has to keep paying taxes & all. Hilariously, Siegel cribbed his warning letter from a 2008 fake chain letter. Nolan writes, "Huge mansion. Huge fortune. Profitable company. What could David Siegal have to complain about? Well, the demonization of the 1% by Barack Obama, for one thing." CW: do yourself a favor & read the e-mail. Just another opportunity to remind yourself, "Hey, I'm better than a billionaire." Yes, you are. ...

... For one thing, you have way better taste, not that the chair & the dead thing on the piano aren't totally elegant:

Photo via Think Progress.

Lynn Parramore of AlterNet, writing in Salon, has a brief overview of six billionaires obsessed with their marginal tax rates & unseating President Obama. Siegel is at the top of the list.

Congressional Races

CW: This Story Makes Me Crazy! Michael McAuliff of the Huffington Post: "A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post. The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.... DesJarlais is currently leading Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart in the polls."

Emily Schultheis of Politico: "Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is out with a handful of new ads today featuring direct-to-camera appeals from female sexual assault victims in the state." Here's one:

Contributor Diane reports in today's Comments on the Warren-Brown Senate debate in Massachusetts. You can watch it here on C-SPAN. You have to click on the "Video Playlist." Martin Finucane reports for the Boston Globe on the debate. Here's a high point:

Other Stuff

Keystone Kops Go to Congress. Dana Milbank: "When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA's cover.... The lawmakers reminded us why 'congressional intelligence' is an oxymoron." The blabbers? Jason Chaffetz & Darrell Issa, of course. CW: By chance I saw Kelly O'Donnell's coverage of the hearing -- twice -- on NBC News, & there was nary a hint of this or of Republicans' cutting embassy security funds. People watching only TV news -- that is, most people -- don't know WTF is going on.

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "With the future of affirmative action in higher education hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court on Wednesday grappled with two basic questions, repeated by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in various forms at least a dozen times. He wanted to know how much diversity was enough. And he wanted to know hen colleges would be able to achieve an acceptable level of diversity without using racial preferences." ...

... Emily Bazelon of Slate takes a deeper dive into the Justices' questioning. The Supremes should release the audio tomorrow. ...

... Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Regardless of how the case turns out, though, it is clear that there is a political problem with contemporary affirmative action."

Juliet Macur of the New York Times reports on a just-released report that reveals Lance Armstrong was the ringleader of the U.S.P.S. cycling team's sophisticated doping ring. "At the same time the drug use was nonchalant, it also was carefully orchestrated by Armstrong, team management and team staff, the antidoping agency said. 'Mr. Armstrong did not act alone,' the [U.S. Anti-Doping] agency said in its report. 'He acted with the help of a small army of enablers, including doping doctors, drug smugglers, and others within and outside the sport and on his team.'" The full report is here.

Nicholas Kristof: in Pakistan & Indonesia -- and around the world -- educating girls is still controversial. ...

... Former First Lady Laura Bush, in a Washington Post op-ed, on the same subject.

Right Wing World

Katie Glueck of Politico: "Prominent conservative commentators on Wednesday largely dismissed a story that suggested ABC News' Martha Raddatz will be a biased moderator of Thursday's vice presidential debate because President Barack Obama attended her wedding two decades ago. Conservative outlet The Daily Caller accused the network of trying to 'downplay' that Obama attended Raddatz's 1991 wedding to Julius Genachowski, whom the president later named to head the Federal Communications Commission (and to whom Raddatz is no longer married). The story, which led Drudge Report on Wednesday afternoon, noted that Obama and Genachowski worked together on the Harvard Law Review." ...

... CW: Questions Raddatz plans to ask: (1) "Mr. Vice President, what is the best thing about working for my old friend President Obama --(a) that he's brilliant, (2) that he's kind-hearted or (3) that he never stops thinking of ways to improve the lives of the American people? You can choose more than one answer." (2) "Yo, Paulie, when you tell one of your habitual lies, would you prefer that I (a) turn off your mike, (2) press my "Liar! Liar" buzzer, or (3) go the dunk-tank route? You can choose more than one answer." Seems impartial to me.

News Ledes

Reuters: "The cost of sending a letter in the United States will go up by a penny next year.... 'Forever' stamps will cost 46 cents starting on January 27.... Consumers can use those stamps to mail 1-ounce letters anywhere in the country. As the name implies, they are always valid, even after stamp prices rise."

Bloomberg News: "Applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today." CW: notice how Bloomberg hedges on the validity of the data, which I'm thinking is the Jack Welch Effect: suddenly numbers which have been reported with anodyne commentary are somehow suspicious or can be explained away by data collection methods & seasonal changes.

New York Times: "The Swedish Academy announced on Thursday that it had awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to Chinese author Mo Yan, the cultural high point of a week of accolades to scientists, writers and peacemakers."

New York Times: "Adding to strains with Turkey over the conflict in Syria, Russia demanded an explanation on Thursday after Turkish warplanes forced a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara on suspicion of carrying military cargo." CW: I have been thinking for a week that the Turkey-Syria border skirmishes were reminiscent of the seemingly localized beginnings of World War I. Well, welcome to the conflict, Russia.

AP: "Yemeni security officials say a gunman has assassinated the Yemeni chief of security at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. The officials say Qassem Aqlani, who was in his fifties, was shot dead while on his way to work early on Thursday. They say a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at him and fled the scene. Aqlani had been working for the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital for nearly 20 years."

Washington Post: "The proposed merger of Europe's biggest defense and aerospace contractors collapsed Wednesday after European political leaders failed to agree on terms. The combination of London-based BAE Systems and Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence and Space would have created a colossus to rival U.S. giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as concerns at the Pentagon about such a huge foreign-owned contractor."

Reader Comments (31)

So Politifact can't wrap it's mind around a little humor in an ad....perhaps if the ad said, "Romney doesn't care if Big Bird lives or dies" it would have been okay?
Meanwhile, they compare the Pants on Fire rating they five to this playful ad to what they deem is the Dems' "scare tactics" in saying that Republicans are trying to end Medicare. And they don't even provide a link!

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Watched the Warren / Brown debate on C-Span. Warren tied Brown's Grover Norquist pledge, his voting record on women's issues, and his tax position around his neck like a 3 day old catfish that had lain in the sun the entire time. Her answers were clear, direct and concise, while he stared into the camera like a man contemplating the lead in a zombie movie or alternately, a return to nude modeling. He kept repeating the "I won't raise anyone's taxes" line and running the fake "I'm so bipartisan it hurts" sales pitch. He ventures into the job creator no tax territory briefly, once.

Warren has a short learning curve on debate performance. It was delightful and not a little uplifting.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Diane- thank you so much for the excellent first-hand account of the Warren-Brown Deabate. It's so nice to hear she's made such progress. Is this their last debate?

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria D

There is one more debate between Brown and Warren - October 30.

@Diane

Love your account of the debate!
I also watched it on cspan. She definitely did much better this time around, she spent more time talking about the issues and no time defending herself over trivial attacks by Brown, i.e. her Harvard salary.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

I too am delighted by Elizabeth Warren in this debate. No doubt about it: she is the REAL DEAL. Scott Brown is a not-very-smart, well coached, but completely unable to be think-on-his feet Tea Partier--what's new?

I so hope that Elizabeth can win this election! She should be the person to represent our most liberal state--not our ex-Cosmo centerfold. I think Barry could take instructions from her on how to debate lying assholes! Wish he would.

P.S: RTFC (Remember the "fucking" Supremes). I have stolen this from Akhilleus--just to make it more interesting. (:
However, I still have the same unrelenting passion for this "necessity!"

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

It would actually be refreshing for Martha Raddatz to ask the question Marie suggests for Lyin' Ryan. His google eyes would pop out of his head and all the teabags would squirt out after them. (Pay attention though, none of that tea was Made in the USA...)

Anyway, it will be nice to have a real reporter as a moderator. Despite his faults in the previous debate, I like Jim Lehrer. He's just used to a much different world in which interviewees don't lie quite so ferociously and then kick you in the teeth if you try to rein them in.

Raddatz is not a stenographer. She covered the Pentagon and State when very few other women were given those beats and I never saw her back down. She's got the right stuff. And Ryan, who wets his pants and cries like a baby whenever he has to go off script and account for his lies, or even field a followup question like a thinking adult, must be huddling in a corner with his blankee and baba if he's ever seen some of her interviews with Pentagon generals and high ranking State Department officials who hone their denial skills for years.

It could be fun.

But don't worry, wingers, I'm sure your stalwarts all have a good story ready if your little boy comes home with a bloody nose. The "Raddatz was a liberal plant!!" meme is ready to go.

Now if only the right Joe Biden shows up.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I watched the Key Stone Cops last night and it could be described as idiots with egg on their faces trying to uncover the chickens who laid those eggs. I also happened to catch an interview with Souladad (sp?) and Chaffetz in which she did remind him, twice, that he and other Republicans were responsible for cutting the budgets for state, but Chaffetz ignored it and blathered on about lack of security.

Here in New England, otherwise known as the East Elite, we have always had precarious weather––within a day we could have cloudy, sunny, rain, warm, cold––we have a saying about all this: "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute." You can well imagine how much more erratic our weather has become given we have that little thing called global warming/climate change. It occurred to me that Romney personifies this pattern perfectly. How can we count on someone who changes like our weather especially since he'd take away all the umbrellas. Maybe an ad like this with hurricane winds blowing in the background would wake up the undecided and underdeveloped who are under the impression that the Republicans will bring us blue skies and smooth sailing.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Yep! Matt Miller of the WAPO gives very good and sensible points to VP Biden for tonight's debate.

However, I rather like what my friend Barbara, (a former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-ite) who ran into Biden recently in Michigan, advised him, "Mr. Vice-President, PLEEEEEEEEEEASE WIPE THE FLOOR WITH HIM!"

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Paul Ryan smiling over a dead animal - a metaphor for what we have to look forward to should the American voter once again let the country down.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Victoria,

More to the point, did he need that animal for food? Did he need its skin to clothe his kids? Was the animal stalking him? Did it attempt to kill him? Was it a rabid deer who needed to be put down? Or was it just an animal of the forest living its life and minding its own business until yet another bloodthirsty right-wing scumbag came trooping into its domain with thoughts of killing on his mind, a necessary feature for pansy-ass punks like Ryan who need to constantly demonstrate their manhood for fear that the other kids will make fun of them if they don't kill harmless creatures on a regular basis (or starve grannies).

I know there a lot of serious hunters who do bring home their kills for food. Bow hunting may require more skill than sitting in a blind with a high powered rifle, telescopic sight, GPS devices and a bottle of Jack Daniels, but it's still not much of a sport.

It sure ain't sport for the animal being hunted. I'm pretty sure they didn't get up that morning thinking "Hey, Paul Ryan's coming out today to try to kill me. What fun!"

Does the animal really have a chance? This is especially true of hunters using rifles. For my money, it's only a sport if the animal has the same chance as the hunter (seriously, would you call football a sport if one team was composed of 6'5" 275 lb players in full pads and helmets and the other made up of 9 year olds in soccer uniforms?). And by the same chance, I mean life or death. You lose. You die. You don't get to go back to your huge SUV and crack a beer with your buddy who says "Tough luck today Paulie, you'll get 'em next time." No. You either succeed or you end up dead on the forest floor, your carcass eaten by scavengers. Or your dead, naked body is hung up on a tree while the deer who gored you to death stands next to you for a photo op before cutting your head off to hang on some tree to show off to his friends.

You want sport? Great. Go into the woods with a knife--make that a stone knife you made yourself--and a loincloth. Now take that animal down with your bare hands (and NO little Paulie, you can't go after squirrels). The animal can at least try to defend itself and gore or kill YOU.

NOW it's a sport.

Otherwise, even with the additional difficulty of bow hunting, it's just a well equipped, camouflaged human with every possible advantage, stalking and killing a harmless animal who has no chance to defend itself. Killing the animal not for food, not for clothing, not for self-defense.

But for a fucking picture on Facebook.

That's not sport. And it most certainly is not what makes you a man.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The first hand account of Libby Denkman is as astonishing as it is juicy. Here we have Romney using this phony chummy exchange with Glen Doherty, with whom he had to introduce himself to numerous times, as a political ploy. It takes your breath away! If the Democrats don't use this then heaven help them.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie offers a link to Nate Silver's latest polling information, pertinent perceptions and possible prognostications.

The estimable estimator was interviewed on last night's Fresh Air:

http://www.npr.org/2012/10/10/162594751/signal-and-noise-prediction-as-art-and-science

Worth a listen. He's an interesting guy. Former poker player.

And one word (okay, maybe more than one...) about the polls and the election jitters they've been provoking.

Marie's pal, Jim Fallows, in his Atlantic musings, has some sage and (somewhat) calming thoughts on how the first debate and the subsequent squealing on both sides seems to have tilted the universe.

His take is that several things will happen between now and election day. The next presidential debate has to be better. First, consider that Romney had the best "debate" of his life. He is unlikely to recapture the Moderate Magic, the effluvium of strutting lies. And Obama is unlikely to let himself be kicked around again by that lying weasel.

The next piece of the puzzle involves the insatiable maw of the media. The Resurrection of Mittens is already wearing thin except on Fox where hosts and guests alike do everything they can from sticking their hands down their pants and masturbating on-air. The media needs the Next Big Thing which, Fallows suggests, may be the Obama Comeback. If the Rat got mileage out of his lie-a-thon, which geared up his base, it's certainly reasonable to expect that Obama, with a couple of solid performances, can do the same. Plus the next, as I understand it, is a town hall format, something Obama excels in. The Rat, not so much.

I don't think of this as whistling in the graveyard.

At least not yet.

So all I can say right now is "Go Joe!"

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

It drives me crazy that a supposedly savvy businessman like Romney apparently doesn't know the difference between a dividend and a capital gain. Both are taxed at the same low rate, but only dividends are also taxed at the corporate level. Capital gains represent an increase in the value of an investment, which has not been taxed.
If you purchase a "widget" as an inventory item, and you re-sell it at a higher price, this is called profit, and you pay income tax at the ordinary income tax rates. If you purchase a share of stock and re-sell it at a higher price, well, that's not profit, that's investing and shouldn't be penalized by taxing it (so the Republicans/rich people say). After all, if people didn't invest in companies, they wouldn't be able to pay their CEO's over the top salaries, oh sorry, meant to say "grow their companies".

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercakers

@cakers. Thanks for the explanation. I was aware Romney was full of it when he made his "double taxation" claim, but I hadn't figured out why quite so clearly as you explained it.

The argument of course is that fewer people will invest if they don't get a big fat tax incentive (i.e., business subsidy) to do so. How much sense does that make?

Lets say I have extra cash sitting in my bank savings/checking/CD account where it is earning 1.5 percent interest. (Doesn't the IRS tax that big ole interest income as ordinary income? Not sure, but I think so.)

I could take my money out of that account & invest in a portfolio of stocks & bonds where I would more than likely -- at least over time -- do way better than 1.5 percent. Yeah, I'd have to pay a tax on my earnings, but my earnings would be much higher than they are with my money in the bank. And if I lost my shirt in the market, I could take a capital loss.

I don't see where there's much incentive to keep my money in the bank/under the mattress -- even if I have to pay taxes at the same rate -- or slightly higher -- than my regular income tax rate. Rather, the incentive is to put it somewhere where I have a good chance of making more money -- income a fair-minded person would expect to pay taxes on.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Akhilleus : You are giving ammunition to the NRA with your anti hunting statements. The NRA describes itself as the only thing protecting hunters from "bunny huggers".
In the "fly over" parts of he country, hunting is an important if atavistic part of life. Many middle America men can tell you when their dad handed them the shot gun and said, "don't shoot your dog, I'll wait in the car."
I was thirteen. The fear of "bunny huggers" is what keeps the NRA alive. They will take the guns "from these dead hands" as one important advocate said.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Re: and then depression sets in; I was at a client's home to do a little pick-up work to make the place ready for sale; price; 7.700.000, Owner asked me my opinion of the last weeks debate. I said it was pretty clear to me that Mitt was not in my corner. Asked the owner if he had a problem with the fundie right wing nut cases. He says Mitt used them, pleased them, and now has pushed away from their ideology because he got what he wanted from them. Asked him if it bothered him that Mitt was that cynical. He said no, business is about getting what you want for a price. He said Obama caters to a different group; the 47%ers; same deal. I told him that I had recently heard a line attributed to Frank Zappa; "Politics are the entertainment division of the military industrial complex". He left me to my door hanging. I'm a good door hanger.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Carlyle,

To be more exact, I was making the case for removing the activity of hunting from the list of sporting endeavors. It's not a sport. At least not the way probably 99.9% of hunters practice it.

I'm not against hunting per se. If you are bringing home food for your family or yourself to eat, having, perhaps, something against buying meat in a store or not having enough money to do so (in which case, if you stop at a McDonald's or order a steak at a restaurant, your argument goes to shit), I am certainly not against that. I may think there are better ways to do it, but that puts me in the position of making a moral judgement in a situation where I might not have all the facts.

But to kill something just so you can say you did and have your picture taken, grinning like a fucking moron over a dead animal, which you will then post on Facebook or circulate to your friends and admirers to demonstrate your manhood, then fuck you pal.

And the NRA can go fuck themselves too.

I realize it's a tradition that goes back generations in many families. Great. Have at it.

Just don't think you're some kind of sportsman if you do.

Because you ain't.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus-

I am so with you on being against hunting as practiced by American (and British) sportsmen! It is no sport. In fact, remember how Cheney hunted on a game REFUGE in Texas that was stocked with thousands of doomed birds. He and his cronies were driven in their limousines to a spot where birds were openly clustered. They got out of their car with their big guns to kill as many birds as they thirsted for. Then back to the car and on to the next site. YUK!

But we all do remember that Darth misfired and hit a good friend in the face with some buckshot. The friend survived and made a joke of the situation--HA! Cheney never said a word until he had thrown down a few shots of Makers Mark--then said it was a terrible accident, that his friend had gotten in his blindspot--or some such bullshit. Hard to believe, but they have gone hunting together since, probably in the same place. Obviously no lessons learned.

My twin brother (yes, the right wing, NRA member), was shot in the head at age 17 by a buddy he had gone hunting with in Wisconsin. Fortunately the bullet glanced off a tooth and shattered in his cheek. He has significant nerve damage, and looks like he has Bells' Palsy, but he was very, very lucky not to be killed. He, like Cheney, laughs it off now--and thinks it is a sign of machismo. Another wingnut, another case of no lessons learned. Sigh.

RTFS!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@CW: IF Raddatz is indeed "an old friend" of Barry she should reject the position of moderator for being biased. If she thinks Barry is "brilliant" that immediately qualifies her as never having seen him in action in the first debate where he played the part of the errant schoolboy to Romney's outraged principal. Barry is indeed kindhearted. What other Democrat would have freely given 3% of the electorate to Mitt? If only Barry thought less and acted more this election would be settled by now.
The function of a moderator is to present the subject of debate and see that both debaters have an equal opportunity to make their points not fact check what is said as long as it is on topic. If Lehrer erred in the first debate it was in allowing Barry to run four minutes over his allotted time. It was of no use because, by my count, Barry had 7minutes and 47 seconds of umms, ahhs, and dead time in his talks while Mitt spoke twice as fast, more effectively, and presented something unknown to Barry, numbers. It is up to the debater to refute the opponents errors, not the moderator. That's how to differentiate a debate from an interview. But then in America what interviewer would dare challenge a politician's statements?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan

Why the fuck are we calling him Barry? His name is Barack; he's not a little boy.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@cowichan: you are seriously taking my jokes too seriously. Raddatz used to be married to Julius Genachowski (Obama attended their wedding in 1991 -- more than 2 decades ago), whom Obama appointed to head the FCC. I have no idea what she thinks of Obama or any of the other candidates. Maybe she despises Obama because he was friendly with her ex.

Apparently none of the candidates has expressed discomfort with her moderating the veep debate or the committee would have found another moderator. Lighten up. People who work in Washington know each other.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

Chiming in here on the guns and hunting issue: I have been told by my brother––yes, Kate, the conservative Obama hating one in Wisconsin––that deer hunting is good for thinning out the breed which would, if not for hunting, multiply ten fold and not finding enough food in the wilds would then tippy toe through your tulips (deer eat the heads off of early growth) and cause havoc in the suburbs. We have already seen this situation in many parts of the country where we have industrialized deer's habitat. In my own yard I have whole families of deer on a continual basis, but we have deer resistant plantings––learned from experience as these beautiful creatures will chomp away at many a bush or flower garden. But back to the hunting of–––my father was an avid deer hunter as is my brother. I was taught how to hold a gun, then taught to shoot, although I refused to kill anything. For these kinds of hunters it is almost a sacred thing––my father had great respect for animals and his forays into hunting territory in upper Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada gave him an almost religious experience and something that I now understand probably was one of the best things in his life. The game that he brought home––deer, duck, pheasant, fish was eaten and frozen for future use. Akhilleus' distaste for all this is understandable and I, myself, tend to be in his corner on all this, but there is that other side that needs to be presented.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I quite agree with James Singer.
And I would like to add, that given the choice between President Obama, who has done a steady ; effective and, at times, very courageous job these last 4 years and someone who talks more smoothly for 90 minutes, I'll take Mr. Obama.
Some things I like about his policies and point of view:
Women's rights
Gay rights
Healthcare
Consumer issues
Environmental areas ( he understands science)
Foreign affairs
He killed Osama bin laden
Educational policy (no more giveaways to banks)
Tax policy ( the top earners should pay more)

Trade all of the above for a 90 minute slick talker? No thanks.
Oh yeah, the SUPREMES!
P.S. And I forgot to mention: Mitt lied a LOT. 27 times in 38 minutes.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@JJG: thanks for sharing your multi-millionaire story. Love the punchline. You've become an excellent writer.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@P. D. Pepe. As someone who used to live in Western New Jersey & had deer in the front yard, deer in the tulips, deer in the headlights (a friend of mine had two hard highway encounters with deer & I was always watching for them -- and, fortunately, seeing them in time -- I agree with you that on the East Coast, the herds need to be thinned. In fact, I think in some states they even "shoot" does with some kind of long-lasting sterilization drug.

I do think that a qualification for a hunting license should include proof of shooting ability & passing a written test about gun & woods safety. If there are any states that do that, good for them. I think mostly the qualification for a hunting license is the price of the license.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

I detect a definite anti hunting attitude here amongst the REALITY CHEX regulars. The NRA is right, the Eastern libruls are after their guns. All of the Northern Mid West states are loaded wih gun owners,The average home in rural Michigan has usually at least five guns. These people do not understand your problem with guns, Neither they or their neighbors have robbed, killed or threatened anyone. Most of these people are very aware of the dangers associated with guns because they have been around them all of rheir lives. NRA idiocy is accepted as a price to pay for the only institution protecting hunters from the "bunny huggers."
Gun control talk keeps the NRA powerful in huge sections of the Country. The NRA has disproportunate power and anti hunting talk is giving it to them.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@carlyle: I don't see where requiring hunters to know what they're doing before they head for the woods is evidence that "Eastern libruls are after their guns."

But I do find it appalling -- if the figure is accurate -- that the average home in rural Michigan has five guns. No doubt farmers -- particularly those who keep animals -- need to have guns. People who live in isolated rural areas may need guns for security. And obviously hunters need guns (unless, like Paul Ryan, they're into bows & arrows). But an average of five guns? That means many households have well more than five guns. That seems excessive to this Eastern librul.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Marie, I had the first gun my father gave me and I had the first shot gun I bought. When I could afford it I bought the Ithaca featherweight I always wanted. I had a 22 rifle and a 30 caliber lever action deer rifle. That was five for me and most of my married friends had wives and children that had guns. With only the carbine, I was looked down on by many local hunters.
The fall hunting catalogues are out from Bean, Dicks and Cabella, you should all look at one . Gander Mountain has the most guns.
Do not under estimate the importance of this issue and have some fear of the growing power of the NRA. They are crazy and dangerous and have the ear of too many Americans. Gun control and anti hunting issues are a big loser in all but urban America.
Poiticians should avoid this issue as it gives power to the NRA every time it comes up.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

By the way, I came home from Korea in in the summer of '54 and I hunted pats and ducks and bambi. I got married in '55, moved to Jersey and have not hunted since, gave my last gun away in '86, a lovely double 20 gauge.
However I think there is a lack of understanding about the political problems of gun control. Asking a poliician to embrace gun conrol is asking for trouble with a large part of the electorate.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@carlyle: the majority of NRA members (not the NRA, their membership) do favor some forms of gun control, such as criminal background checks & limits on concealed-carry permits. I think a majority of Americans still favor assault weapons & ammo restrictions, too.

There is no reason not to talk about these things. More people should stand up to the NRA, not fewer.

Marie

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

James Singer:
I watched the presidential debate and that wasn't Barack. That was Barry and he certainly did act like a little boy.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan
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