The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

BBC News: "The Democratic Action party [of Venezuela] says Luis Manuel Diaz[, a regional leader of the party.] was killed by a man who approached the stage after a public meeting in central Guarico state. Opposition leaders blamed militias supporting the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). President Nicolas Maduro denied this and said an inquiry had been launched."

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

The Ledes

Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Guardian: "Sex abuse allegations against priests at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota were revealed in stark detail on Tuesday with the release of confidential documents concerning five priests accused of child sex abuse."

Reuters: "A 23-year-old Indiana man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a medical museum and stealing preserved human brains that he then sold online. David Charles, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to six charges including receiving stolen property and burglary in a Marion county court. Magistrate Amy Barbar sentenced him to one year of home detention and two years of probation, county prosecutor spokesman Anthony Deer said."

White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

Go to


Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

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

Contact the Constant Weader

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


The Commentariat -- Oct. 12, 2012

Presidential Race/Whew!

Helene Cooper & Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: President Obama "will hole up in Williamsburg, Va., starting on Saturday to get ready for debate No 2 on Long Island next Tuesday, and then will do the same thing next weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in rural Maryland." ...

... Based on their focus group research, conducted during the first presidential debate, James Carville & Stan Greenberg tell the President what points he must/didn't make to reach swing voters: "To come back strong, the president must address future policy choices in a much bolder way -- and he must make this election about choosing a country that stands up for and elevates the 47 percent versus a country that tells its seniors, veterans, the working poor, the disabled, and, yes, the struggling middle class: 'You are on your own.'"

Here's a full transcript of the vice-presidential debate, via the New York Times.

David Fahrenthold & Felicia Sonmez write the Washington Post's report on the vice-presidential debate.

Jonathan Weisman analyzes the debate for the New York Times.

Karen Tumulty analyzes the debate for the Washington Post.

Daniel Politi of Slate has a good rundown of the punditocracy's reactions to the debate, with links.

Given all that, Charles Pierce says it best in one post. A truly impressive recap/analysis.

New York Times Editors: "Thursday night's vice-presidential debate was one of the best and meatiest political conversations in many years, showing that real differences on public policy can be discussed with fervor, anger, laughter and real substance. In contrast to the dismal meeting last week between President Obama and Mitt Romney, this debate gave voters a chance to evaluate the positions of the two tickets, in part because Paul Ryan's nonanswers were accurate reflections of his campaign."

The Obama campaign put out this Web video this morning:

Dana Milbank: "The emphasis on congressional Republicans was key to Biden's strong performance in Kentucky, because it provided a more favorable way for Democrats to frame the campaign: not as a choice between President Obama and some abstract alternative but a choice between Obama and the dimly regarded Republican-led House, which would be in a dominant position under a President Romney."

E. J. Dionne: "It will now be Obama's task to pick up where Biden left off, but the vice president clearly brought his president back to a much better place."

     ... Ryan's comeback: Romney just misspoke & didn't mean it. "I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way." ...

     ... Biden's retort: "But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney."

Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "Let me say a few words about the really astonishing person who appeared at the vice presidential debate on Thursday – the moderator. Martha Raddatz of ABC News didn’t ask puffy questions like Jim Lehrer did at the presidential debate. Or let the candidates get away with vague non-answers, as Jim Lehrer did. Ms. Raddatz acted like a working journalist instead of a television personality...." ...

... Adam Martin of New York magazine: "ABC News's Martha Raddatz distinguished herself in just about every way from Jim Lehrer. She asked pointed questions, kept the candidates roughly within the time constraints, and switched topics smoothly, such as when she asked Paul Ryan and Joe Biden to talk about Iran." ...

... Josh Voorhees of Slate: not everybody loved Raddatz. Righty-right wingers thought she was picking on Paulie & Bloomberg's John Barro thought she asked too many questions about the Middle East while ignoring the rest of the world.

Rachel Maddow reports that a CBS flash poll of undecided voters found that 50 percent said Biden won, 31 percent said Ryan won, & 19 percent called it a draw. Update: according a CNN snap poll of voters, 48 percent said Ryan won, 44 percent said Biden did.

The New York Times liveblog/fact-check for the vice-presidential debate is here.

CW: Biggest question for me is the post-debate discussion. Can the talking head of Chris Matthews refrain from exploding & blowing any Biden gaffes, etc. out of all proportion? ...

     ... Update: Matthews managed to hold his head together & said that overall Biden won the debate.



Courtesy of Time magazine. You can see every hilarious photo here. ...

... Kevin Robillard of Politico: "In a photo series taken in December 2011, Ryan is shown lifting dumbbells while wearing a red baseball cap backward and elaborate ear buds. The photos appear in this week's issue alongside a profile of the GOP vice presidential nominee.... The photos were posted online Thursday morning, and it didn't take long for the snark to start." ...

... Jim Acosta of CNN: "An aide to Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan accused Time Magazine of 'poor judgment' in its decision to publish photographs of the Wisconsin congressman working out on the day of his debate with Joe Biden." ...

... Dan Amira of New York magazine: "In December of last year, a time when Paul Ryan must have known that he would be on any candidate's V.P. short list, Time approached the Wisconsin congressman about posing for a series of intimate weightlifting photos, and he was like, 'Yeah, sure, I can't see why not.' ... Is this any less silly than Dukakis in the tank or Kerry in the Woody Allen sperm suit? It's like the mimbo from Seinfeld is running for vice-president." ...

     ... CW: I find the mimbo way more appealing than Paulie.

... Hamilton Nolan of Gawker: "Hey Paul Ryan, nice little red hat, did you bring that little red hat to the photo shoot yourself? Yeah, I bet you did. Does your little red hat help you with your concentration curls? Yeah. I bet it does. Fuck this guy."

James Ball of the Washington Post: "President Obama used a rally to activists in Miami on Thursday to reiterate his campaign's post-debate efforts to portray former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as a hardline conservative posing as a moderate."

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney delivered his most pointed criticism to date of President Obama's handling of the lethal attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, a possible foreshadowing of how Rep. Paul D. Ryan will address the issue in the vice-presidential debate."

Paul Krugman: "... the Obama administration has been wrong about some things, mainly because it was too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. But Republicans have been wrong about everything.... Republicans ... are committed to an economic doctrine that has proved false, indeed disastrous, in other countries."

Joe Vardon, et al., of the Columbia,Ohio. Dispatch: "A Mitt Romney administration overhaul of President Barack Obama's health-care law would provide those without insurance who have a pre-existing condition the opportunity to gain coverage, the Republican presidential nominee told The Dispatch yesterday." CW: Great! In that case, people, Romney's overhaul would have to provide for the individual mandate or something like it (in Massachusetts Romney wanted the uninsured to post bonds). So, um, Romney's "overhaul" would be -- in essence -- just like ObamaCare. You might call it RomneyCare. Except this is another Big Lie. ...

... Kate Pickert of Time tries to decipher/extrapolate/guess what Romney's plan is for covering healthcare costs for people with pre-existing conditions. CW: it is ridiculous for reporters to have to play Guess the Policy with nearly every aspect of the Romney Plan to Screw America outside of ditching Big Bird & Planned Parenthood.

Since we've done some great photos of the GOP's vice-presidential candidate, it seems only fair to include one of the top dog. Here's an AP photo published October 8:

     ... The original caption was "Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va." As Dylan Byers of Politico reports, "after drawing fire from and other conservative websites for what some dubbed a 'cheap shot' against the candidate." the AP changed its caption to read, "Republican presidential candidate..., blah blah. A student, right, reacts as she realizes Romney will crouch down directly in front of her and her classmates for the group photo." Still, I thought one Akhilleus suggested was far superior to the AP revision: "Too bad impressionable students have to find out so early in life what a real asshole looks like."

Josh Marshall of TPM: "A lot of reporters seem to have gotten it into their heads that you can't accuse Mitt Romney of both being hard-right and also a flip-flopper.... This is silly.... On simply logical terms, someone can be hard-right and would govern hard-right but is consistently shape-shifting and running away from their positions to suit the politics of the moment and gain power. In other words, he's not leveling with you. He's trying to fool you. That works since that's basically what Romney is doing."

Congressional Races

When Democrats Debate Each Other -- Make Sure A Peace Officer Is Nearby. Under California's new law, candidates in the general election are the top two vote-getters in the primary, no matter what their party. So what with redistricting, one Congressional district has two Democratic Congressmen running against each other: Brad Sherman & Howard Berman. Gene Maddaus of L.A. Weekly reports: During a debate at Pierce College, "Berman took a step toward Sherman. Sherman warned him not to 'get in my face,' and then moved even closer, grabbing Berman around the shoulder and saying, 'You want to get into this?' As the crowd of college students cheered and hooted, a deputy stepped up to the stage to make sure the confrontation didn't go any further":

Other Stuff

Ian Austen of the New York Times has more on Lance Armstrong's doping; his story concentrates on how Armstrong & other U.S. team members got away with it. What a dispiriting tale. ...

... "Lawmen against the Law." Speaking of dope of a different nature, Tim Egan on ballot measures in Washington, Colorado & Oregon to legalize marijuana: "... those on the front lines of the endless drug war, the police and prosecutors, are now citing futility and common sense on behalf of legalization -- at least in [Washington] state. And many of those who now profit from the unregulated medical marijuana industry, and the larger, organized crime gangs that control the illegal wholesale scene, are against legalization."

News Ledes

Reuters: "The deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis expanded to 12 states with the first case confirmed in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, bringing the total of cases to 184. The number of deaths from the outbreak linked to injections of steroid remained at 14 on Friday, the CDC said."

AP: "In the latest embarrassing spectacle for the Secret Service, one of its officers was found passed out and apparently drunk on a Miami street corner less than 12 hours after President Barack left the city following a day trip to campaign, police in Florida said."

New York Times: "The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its 2012 peace prize on Friday to the 27-nation European Union, lauding its role over six decades in building peace and reconciliation among enemies who fought Europe's bloodiest wars, even as the Continent wrestles with economic strife that threatens its cohesion and future."

Washington Post: "A computer virus that wiped crucial business data from tens of thousands of computers at Middle Eastern energy companies over the summer marked the most destructive cyberattack on the private sector to date, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday night in a major speech intended to warn of the growing perils in cyberspace."

AP: "A spokesman for the Taliban's Swat Valley chapter says its leadership decided already two months ago to kill a 14-year-old activist, who was shot and seriously wounded this week -- and then sent out a hit squad to carry out the job." ...

... The Atlantic: "Pakistan has arrested three suspects in the remote Swat Valley for the shooting of 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai. Police say the three men, aged 17 to 22, were involved in the attack, but that they all said the mastermind was a man Attaullah, who is still at large. Yousafzai was shot in the head on Tuesday on her way to school, in retaliation for her criticism of the Taliban."

AP: "China's newly named Nobel laureate for literature expressed hope Friday that an imprisoned Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be freed, putting a dent in the ruling Communist Party's attempts to burnish its credentials with the latest prize. Mo Yan, the first Chinese writer to win the literature Nobel, made the comments about dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the Peace Prize while serving a prison sentence for opposing single-party rule, in response to a question at a news conference."

Reuters: "When scientists selected a rock to test the Mars rover Curiosity's laser, they expected it to contain the same minerals as rocks found elsewhere on the Red Planet, but learned instead it was more similar to a rock found on Earth. The rock was chemically more akin to an unusual type of rock found on oceanic islands like Hawaii and St. Helena, as well as in continental rift zones like the Rio Grande, which extends from Colorado to Chihuahua, Mexico."

Reader Comments (35)

Mr. Siegel
By all means, build your grand Abbey. BTW, how many "illegals" will you hire to care for the grounds?
And you can kiss my "Cracker Ass".

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Marie: I actually wrote to MSNBC and requested that Matthews and Schultz not wet their pants after the debate. It was so unprofessional.
Now I'm watching Current.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.Victoria D.

@Victoria D. What a good idea! Wish I'd thought of that.


October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Joe Biden smacked that grannie starver!!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: yeah, & he made it pretty clear that the granny starver is a granny starver. And someday, kids, you too are going to be a granny or a grampy, so you better vote for Obama & save your own self.


October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Kate, were U listening when Biden explained the importance of the Supreme Court appointments! Thought he had some very good moments and clearly won the night. Ryan's failed attempt to make Biden look like a doddering old guy when he turned to Joe and said "I know you are under duress" made Ryan look real small (except for his nose and ears). Biden wasn't the one having to guzzle water to maintain his cool.

Biden was definitive and strong on almost every issue and FINALLY, a statement on women's health care and Roe v Wade.

Victoria, I wish I had thought of current TV ahead of the debate. The reluctance of those MSNBC folks to strongly support a very good performance on Biden's part is tiresome. I'm not looking for fantasy. However, I believe Obama lost more points than warranted in the polls, after the debate, based on media hysteria and Democratic pantie twisting.

I feel somewhat uplifted. Not happy crazy but a nice little buzz.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Atlas Mugged.

I don't care what anyone says, I love Joe Biden! He means what he says!

Best debate tweet I saw:

Nick Confessore ?@nickconfessore

MT @justinwolfers: The six studies that Paul Ryan was citing in defense of his tax plan? 4 are blog posts or op-eds. (via @jbarro)

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Diane-Yes, I agree! Biden won the night! His mention of the Supremes made MY night--and probably the rest of my week. He may make "gaffes," but this man truly GETS IT! He is the real deal. Barry is lucky to have him as VP. In fact, he sounded way more Presidential and on top of it than did Obama in his first debate.

Paulie Ryan is a panderer. He is not bothered by facts, and his speaking of "people he had met who....." was pathetic. This man is a lightweight--even if he is a buff bodybuilding obsessive.

I am hoping that Obama makes some hay in his next debate by talking about the Supremes. It will make Akhilleus and me very happy--and may win him the election. If people thought for a minute about the possibility of two or more justices being appointed by Romneybot--like Thomas and/or Scalia--this would be a no brainer!

GO OBAMA! Remember the Fucking Supremes!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Perhaps I missed it, but I was waiting for Biden to call Ryan on the "abortion should not be decided by unelected judges." Since the GOP are so Constitution crazed, he could have asked what Ryan has against our Constitutional system of government with the system of checks and balances.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralphonsegaston

Dave, best lead line so far. I love it.

Much of the media either doesn't know what to say or has decided that Biden was mean and disrespectful to poor altar boy Paulie, who behaved rather well and was a good little tyke who didn't wee wee his diapey on stage.

No kidding. Jonathan Karl, ABC's pretend political analyst, after the debate, lauded Ryan for--get this--his outstanding command of the facts and his deep knowledge of foreign policy. So he pronounces the name of a foreign country mostly correctly and now he's fucking Dean Acheson? Also, Ryan wouldn't know a fact if it came up and pissed on his shoes. He demonstrated that pretty much all night.

CNN's people, for their part, apparently have no idea what to say, their editorial board must have been running around the newsroom chasing each other's tails wondering how to keep from declaring Biden the winner, and so instead of attempting actual, you know, journalism, came up with the deathless lede: "25 Funniest Tweets During the VP Debate".

Seriously? That's all you got? Pathetic.

I'll have to read other outlets tomorrow, but for my money, Biden bitch slapped that little punk. The Fraud lived up to the name by avoiding even the tiniest detail of the R&R magical math and right-wing fantasy world view.

And the president now needs to retract every mean thing he's ever said about ol' Joe.

(Also, Martha Raddatz! Yeah. She'll be on every Republican dart board in the country tomorrow for not kowtowing to their boy and letting him lie with impunity.)

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

By the by, at first glance I thought those lovely pictures of Congressman Douchebag were nicely done, and hilarious, Photoshop work. It's a lot funnier when you find out they're real. I wonder how long it took that moron to perfect that goofy grin. I mean he must have worked on that sucker for years. No one can work up that stupid a look in a single photo shoot. Did he think he was trying out for a reboot of Jersey Shore? I bet he had Rage Against the Machine on his iPod just in case some cute PA asked him what he was listening to.

Can you imagine the suppressed howls by the photographer and his or her assistants during that shoot. Gales of laughter as soon as doucheboy left. They probably couldn't wait to send shots off to their friends of this freakin' imbecile.

And this is the guy who is constantly putting off explaining to people how he will save the world because his plan is just too "wonky"?

Not JUST a fraud. A stupid fraud. And STILL a supercilious prick.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Just like to congratulate all those in the VP debate. First, kudos to the moderator for a job very well done. The best political debate I think I've seen. My heart went out to Joe when he replied to the question of whether the US troops needed to be in Afghanistan till 2014. He must have been dying to exclaim that he had wanted them out for the last 31/2 years. Thanks to Ryan for showing up and doing a good job of representing his parties platform and providing many, many chuckles for Joe. Ryan's twisted smirk, like Romney's, must be the Republican's idea of disdain. Hopefully for the next presidential debate Barry can catch the flue or have an appendicitis attack and send Joe in his place.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan

@alphonsegaston: good point.

"We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination." -- Paul Ryan

Ryan is saying here that the Congress should pass legislation outlawing abortion. This is in direct conflict with what Romney said way back two whole days ago when he told the Des Moines Register he didn't have any abortion legislation on his agenda. (Maybe he had his fingers crossed behind his back & was thinking, "I don't, but my sidekick Paulie does."

Well, it so happens that the Supremes ruled in a little opinion on a case styled Roe v. Wade, & 20 years later in Planned Parenthood v. Pennsylvania, that abortion is legal in the U.S. So what does that imply? That Romney would appoint only anti-abortion "unelected" justices, justices who would rule the Ryan abortion ban lawful.

There was a lot to Ryan's one little sentence, a sentence in which he promised to manipulate all three branches of government in his never-ending effort to deny women their reproductive rights. And some would say Paul Ryan is an ideologue. Howevah could they?


October 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader


PBS post debate moderators noted Ryan's long pause after the question: “If a Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?”

Yes they should.

Brooks, of course lacking anything else, framed it as a debate between
generations. I saw it as debate between a genuine man, comfortable with himself and his beliefs, and that smarmy guy running for Senior Class President in high school. Real vs artifice, humanity vs puppetry.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

"... people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination ..."

OK, and in addition to what folks have posted above, while I listened to this on CSPAN radio on today's commute (not having watched the show), I heard, also, echoes of "this should be decided in state legislatures", which is a theme of RR for just about anything that is hard.

Why does no one raise the fact that the GOP (and about half of the Supreme Court) seems to want to shred the Constitution and go back to the Articles of Confederation, which was all about states' rights, and didn't work? Or, in a more modern context, that the GOP preference for "doing it in the states" is called "the European Union" on the other side of the Atlantic? One thing that has made this country really, really successful is the power of consolidated strength that The Union brings together ("E Pluribus Unum," but also "Unitate Fortior.") The GOP line seems to be that we should let that unravel to allow a patchwork of mini-republics create a huge Balkans with nuclear weapons? Scary. And really bizarre.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

I have a reevaluation of a previous estimate on the human race. I divided the group into three categories, the good, the bad and the ugly.
My previous estimate was 45%, 45% and 10%. It is now 45%, 25% and 30%.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Re: Joe American and the annoying little prick; My focus group watched the debate and came up with the following woofs.
The annoying little prick must be going out tonight, he's drinking enough water to mark every fire hydrant in town.
Yea, but the annoying little prick won't scent higher than a short chihuahua.
He reminds me of the beagle that LBJ held up by the ears.
Sure as cat shit stinks the annoying little prick will say the dog ate his budget plan.
What's with the groomer spit curl on the annoying little shits forehead? He looks like a poodle on the way to Westminster.
Ol' Joe likes 99% mutts better than purebreds, you can feel it.
Ol' Joe wags more than the annoying little prick barks.
The focus group then voted to make some popcorn and watch the rest of the Yankee game because Ol' Joe was on guard and on point.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

After a night's sleep, I still feel the same little cheerful buzz. I'm hopeful that Obama can catch the very few things Biden missed when the President meets the blizzard of mendacity that is Lord Small Balls. The bipartisan meme is way past annoying, I was so hoping Biden would repeat the O'Connell line about the primary goal of the Republicans - limiting Obama to one term. O’Connell was seen running through the crowd, during the inauguration speech yelling "this is not possible, for God sakes, YOU'RE black!" Romney’s plan , right after he repeals ACA and signs the bill overturning Roe V Wade, is to have congress ( only the Democrats) build a platform. Then he can fire them all in the spirit of bipartisanship.

We also need much more talk about the critical danger we face from Republicans, who are pissing their tidy whities in fear over the power of women and people of color, blatantly trying every trick in the book to reduce us to infantile status. That is a huge hurtle for the President as many many people do not see that their basic freedoms are in imminent danger.

Radditz was a rock star in comparison to Lehrer but what in God’s name was that question about what unique, personal character, blah blah blah do you bring to being VP?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@Patrick. Excellent point. What should be obvious to these great "patriots" is that the more functions that are turned over to the states, the less we are the "United States."

I don't see a particular virtue in local government, though I suppose there is virtue in having choices & "celebrating our differences." If you really want to live in Tea Total Town, you could find one. Or if you want to make sure your kids get a creationist public education & understand Phyllis Schlafly is a national treasure, you could find such a place -- somewhere in Texas maybe. Want to carry a concealed weapon to your college class? There must be a place. Conversely, I would choose to live in places that weren't steeped in those particular traditions.

But, speaking of creationism, if someone wants to argue that certain "leaders" want to take us back not just to pre-Constitutional days but to prehistoric days, you won't get a rebuttal from me.

October 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

What, I wonder, did we do before this plethora of punditry, this vast number of the population instantly weighing in on everything? Must have been something like contemplation and days before the words got out so that one had time to THINK and come to certain conclusions and then perhaps have discussions with others who may or may not have reached similar thoughts. Now it's all a race in time––the game of instant coverage and as good as that may be, it's also overload with a lot of nitwits* spouting their effluvia. I went to bed last night full to the brim with the many critiques coupled with visions of Biden and Ryan: Biden's smiles and forceful thrusting, at one point revealing the stutter that took him years to control, feeling glad that he did as well as he did; Ryan's smirk or permanent look of condescension, wondering how he could maintain that look throughout the debate and coming to the conclusion it was the water he drank that kept his face from deflating by hydrating. So there––now I have joined the long list of voices giving my dish of dimes in this great democracy of OPINION.

* one of these nitwits is Rich Lowry––he of the "I almost wet my pants over Sarah Palin" person––who said Ryan was spectacular and Biden was rude, that it was a definite win for R&R. He is a little weasel of a man who once said McCain was brilliant in his pick of Palin and they were going to win "fer sure."

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

As a recent NYT editorial pointed out: States rights are important to Republicans because the state house is notoriously more corruptible than the Federal government. ALEC has been writing legislation for passage at the state level for quite a while now.

If the Republicans manage to amend the Constitution, however, who needs states rights to get the job done?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

Apologies upfront for such a long post. A lot on my mind today.

Several points made this morning bring to mind problems experienced by our old friend Thomas Paine.

Interesting, don’t you think, that Paine is the one Founder never mentioned by the right? It’s no accident.

You will never hear Ryan the Fraud touting the brilliance and influence of Tom Paine because Paine’s thinking, as essential as it was to the formation of the United States and to the development and fruition of our democratic republic, is anathema to the modern GOP, an organization about as disdainful of democracy as the wealthy oligarchs of ancient Greece who tried to smother it as it lay in its crib.

Bertrand Russell, in his study of Western Philosophy, recalls a passage from Aristotle’s Politics which describes a group of rich men, much like those who attend Romney’s swanky closed door whining sessions. They saw, like Romney and his kind, that democracy meant that they couldn’t do whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. At least some of the time. That meant their greed and power could be curbed by the great unwashed masses, and who the fuck wants that?

So they took an oath. Wanna hear it?

“I will be an enemy to the people and will devise all the harm against them which I can”.

Sound like anyone you know? Anyway, Russell goes on to opine that “…nowadays reactionaries are not so frank.” Well, Bertie, I beg to differ. Grover Norquist is exactly that frank. But now that I think of it, neither Norquist nor Romney nor Ryan are reactionaries.

Reactionaries wish to return to some heretofore believed-in never-never land where everything went according to Hoyle (the right-wing Hoyle, not the other guy).

For most of them this means a white picket fence, Brillcream Mayberry where brown people picked up the trash, washed the clothes, and never said boo to their betters, where pesky feminazis were unknown and where know-it-all liberals could be taken out and beaten up, all in the name of AMERICA and FREEDOM, natch.

Where simple folk tipped their hats or curtseyed to bankers and where a single word from a pinch-hearted preacher could ostracize anyone deemed uppity or too free with their thinking.

These people are nothing less than revolutionaries who would overthrow centuries of American democracy in favor of the ascension of unbridled capitalist oligarchies underpinned and supported by the moralistic Savonarolas slithering out of the religious right. Control the masses with religion then shear them like sheep and tase them if they don’t get on their knees and thank you for fucking them over. Think I’m kidding? How many Occupy protesters have been tased? How about another 50,000 volts for good measure, motherfucker? Remember to Vote for Romney!

But this is exactly the sort of thing that irked Paine and it was his downfall. In his book The Age of Reason, he wrote blistering attacks against organized religion and in favor or rationality in place of superstition. He complained of “…the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the bible is filled…”

He described Christianity as little better than an ancient sun worship cult that had replaced the sun with the figure of Jesus. For these sins against organized religion (specifically Christianity) and as well for his call for the abolition of slavery and equality for women, including the right to vote, he has been relegated on the right, to the black hole of national memory. His name is occasionally trotted out (largely because there may have been no United States without him), but none of the teabaggers who have made religious hegemons out of their hand-picked founders ever acknowledge him.

The vicious amalgamation of right-wing fundamentalism and conservative oligarchy currently supporting R&R is much more akin to something cooked up and supported by monarchists or royalists, not citizens of a democratic republic.

This plays directly into the way Romney and Ryan and their ilk in congress seek, little by little, piece by piece, to dismantle American governmental and social institutions, to hand control over to the preachers and the poachers; the clerics and the masters of the universe. They realize however that they can’t do this in broad daylight, so they must cloak their treason with distractions, wars, culture clashes, and spurious alarums over the imminent loss of their FREEDOMS!!!!! See, for instance, the wonderful new groups espousing the causes of religious freedom popping up in places like Florida (surprise, surprise) where breathless calls to arms turn the prison watch tower spotlight on anyone, like Paine, attempting to escape their bible-thumping clutches and who point out what a complete crock of stinking crapola they’re trying to sell. But this is the stuff that O’Reilly and Limbaugh and Hannity and Coulter and the rest of the amoral howler monkeys use to cover up what’s really going on. And this is what Ryan is attempting to do with his “unelected judges” sleight of hand. This is some seriously treacherous shit.

What’s really happening is something Paine feared. Paine proferred the concept of an open public spirit that brought together all manner of men and women into a tapestry of thought, a fecund, productive environment in which ideas can be freely exchanged without the parlous influence of princes or priests.

The modern GOP, under Romney and Ryan want exactly that kind of influence. They want to do away with anything connected to Paine's concept of public. For them, PRIVATE is the new black. Private equity, private charter schools, privatization of every public entity, and complete control of your privates.

The ancient Greeks had a word for it (surprised?). They called it “pleonexia”, and a Wikipedia definition of it is perfect: "…ruthless self-seeking and an arrogant assumption that others and things exist for one's own benefit" Again, sound familiar? The Rat has this tattooed on his ass. That's what the little girl was gasping at in that picture.

So Romney and Ryan will use religion and the innate right-wing hatred and suspicion of democracy and average Americans to control and to indulge in their pleonexic manias.

S this is why you never hear Thomas Paine mentioned by the right-wing oligarchs or their nose-ring followers in congress. Paine sought a much different America. Conservatives fling the word “founders” around like some magic shibboleth but they leave out one of the most important of that group, because his thinking clashes with their desire to control us, to tell women what they are allowed and not allowed to do with their own bodies. And to pick our pockets while we argue over dreck and watch another season of Survivor.

Tom Paine notably regarded government as a necessary evil, but he also saw that the lack of a government or a bad (GOP style) government was far worse. He realized that a well run government had many things to recommend it. Poor Tom was jailed for his beliefs and died a pauper’s death. A handful of people attended his funeral. He was made a pariah for his inability to kowtow to the preachers and the money men, a man who spoke his mind and preferred reason to bully-boy power tactics and straight jacket religious control.

A man feared and loathed by the likes of Paul Ryan and Mittens Romney. His Common Sense has no place in their world view.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The media, obsessed as they are with labeling every debate as a "knock down fight," or "battles of the VP's," or some other lazy sports metaphor, to point out the ill logic of Ryan's or the GOP's position on abortion. Ryan, who says he's an observant Catholic, supports the legislation that would mandate the start of life beginning at conception... which is the Vatican's position too...but allow for an exception for rape, incest, and life of the mother, and Romney has said he would sign a law overturning Roe v. Wade but has not said what would replace it.
But if life begins at conception, then how does Ryan and the GOP square the morality of ending an innocent life even in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother? No questions about this obvious dodge, and certainly no answers from Ryan.
The real answer was given by Biden, i.e., 'I believe, and follow, the Catholic position for my self, but I cannot impose that position on others.' The Ryan/GOP position would return American women to the Dickensian era of the late 19th century England where women died in child labor because of difficult births and where girls and rape victims were forced to have their babies only to have them taken away without consent and sent to homes where care was supposedly better but dubious at best. Good luck Mr. Ryan in your too obvious con of all women!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdan

Best line of the day; Charles Pierces' last, What is the difference between Sara Palin and Paul Ryan? Lipstick!!
The corporate media pundits lament that Biden didn't show proper respect to Ryan. Excuse me!! Respect must be earned, Biden showed far more respect to the flea brained, lightweight, wonk faker than was ever deserved.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Altar Boy Economic Genius v Crazy Uncle Joe.

Longtime, finely honed media narratives die hard.

As Roger and others have pointed out, most of the lazy shirkers in MediaLand prefer to rely on old, time-tested tropes rather than break new ground by, you know, thinking for themselves.

Plus, this way, they don't have to concern themselves with the actual arguments. They can jettison any serious weighing in on Ryan's largely inept, detail free jitterbug and concentrate instead on how mean Crazy Joe was to that nice boy they all like so much because, at least for a malicious right-wing toad, he doesn't drool on his shoes. Hell, the fact that he's even WEARING shoes makes him A-Okay for guys like Luke Russert and Fuzzy Gregory. "Look Fuzzy, the guy's wearing shoes. And they're shiny! He MUST be a genius."

In a way this points up one of the resounding success stories of right-wing knuckledragger ideology: the ability to communicate and control simple, memorable, uncluttered metaphors.

Romney: LEADER
Ryan: GENIUS, well I suppose NOT WHITE is all they need.
Biden: CRAZY
Democrats: TAX AND SPEND

It doesn't matter how connected to reality these metaphors are, in fact, reality has the undesired effect of clouding the message.

This is an Obama failing too, thinking that voters, when presented with the facts, with the truth, will open their eyes and say "Oh is that what they mean? Holy shit!"

Instead they open their eyes, many of them, and still say "We have a black president? Holy shit!"

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Thanks, Akhilleus, for the brief on Thomas Paine. It is important to be reminded that 'history repeats itself' far more often than we realize.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Roger Henry: Great post! Ryan indeed got more respect than he deserved.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.


I like your construction "Ill logic". It nicely communicates the kind of sick thinking that lights up the slimy synapses of right-wing brainiacs as they concern themselves with how, when, and where they will take away a woman's right to choose.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


You are quite welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Paine's Common Sense was a Molotov cocktail through the window when it first came out, and when compared to other influential political philosophers of the enlightenment such as Locke and to a lesser extent Hume ( my man ), Paine's writing still jumps off the page, puts you in a full Nelson and screams "Pay attention! These fuckers want to permanently enslave you." No doubt the contemporary Paul Ryans were sniffing that Paine had no ideas and was just trying to scare the rabble, as our very own version did last night when Biden called him on his plans to starve millions of grannies.

Common Sense was written in simple, straightforward, and uncompromising language; language that would make modern GOP hacks and shills like Ryan run screaming to the lawyers for protection from Truth.

Paine was a serious thinker able to speak to all Americans--especially the 47% of his day in a way that allowed them to feel the power of true democracy. To show them that they don't owe their existence to lying pricks like The Rat and his sniveling, curling, backward baseball cap wearing fraud of a royalist sidekick.

Plus, Common Sense outsold the Bible when it was published.

Can you think of any other reasons for the fundies and royalist oligarchs to despise and fear Thomas Paine?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus, Thomas Paine was an upstart rabble rouser who was shaking the status quo ~ and, we know how the fundies and royalist oligarchs are threatened by that happening.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba


Right on.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: Re: Ryan dumbbell poses---I assume you are straight,
so here is the reason the gimme' cap is turned backwards. When you
go down on the photographer or personal trainer, the hat must be
turned around or it would get in the way. He obviously forgot to
turn it back around after that encounter, and also, he is a swallower;
because you can't keep that smirk on your face with a mouth full.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

@Akhilleus: I join Mushiba in thanking you for expounding on
Paine. "Common Sense" is noted as the most radical and important pamphlet written in the American Revolution and one of the most brilliant ever written in the English language. Another important writings of his was his "American Crisis" series, essays that appeared throughout the war with Britain. The most famous, as you know, is the one which opens with those memorable lines: "These are the times that try men's souls..." Here was a man whose ideas were trampled and spit upon––who was always a man out of joint with his times and yet in this time we honor him and revere his sagacity. Well, some of us honor him––others, like in his day, would shove him aside accusing him of trying to "unchristianize" the masses. Some things never change, do they? Again––thanks for remembering and bringing it to our attention.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD It appears that with or without Tom Paine the masses are becoming unchristianized.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer


Maybe that was why he had that smile on.

A happy ending for the photographer (depending, of course, on Ryan's relative skill), and another protein shake for the Fraud.

Now if only we could get him to visit a few more photography studios we could keep him away from politics where he can hurt people.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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