Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President discussed climate change and how the most ambitious climate agreement in history is creating private sector partnerships that are advancing the latest technologies in clean power.":

Hill: "President Obama will send a budget to Congress that increases the amount of funding toward clean energy research and development by about 20 percent, he said Saturday."

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 5

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Timess: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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Saturday
Oct132012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 14, 2012

Presidential Race

Nate Silver Today: "President Obama halted an 8-day winning streak for Mitt Romney in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Saturday, with his chances of winning the Electoral College ticking up to 62.9 percent from 61.1 percent on Friday. One should be careful about making too much of this: Mr. Romney has made very strong gains in the forecast over the past week-and-a-half to draw the race nearly even. It is unlikely that there will be a major change in the landscape until Tuesday's debate in New York." ...

Nate Silver Yesterday: "Mitt Romney continues to surge in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, and Friday may have featured his best set of polls all year." ...

... Andy Sullivan of Reuters: "Obama leads Romney by 59 percent to 31 percent among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks." ...

... Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling: "PPP's newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading 51-46, a 5 point lead not too different from our last poll two weeks ago when he led 49-45. The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they've already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven't voted yet...." ...

... Sam Youngman of Reuters: "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is recovering ground in the critical swing state of Ohio as he rises in the polls and crowd numbers swell after his strong debate performance last week against President Barack Obama. Despite pundits and pollsters dismissing Romney's chances in the state in late September, the Republican is now either tied or just barely trailing Obama in Ohio ahead of the next presidential debate on Tuesday night."

AP: "Bruce Springsteen will be back campaigning for President Barack Obama. The musician will join former President Bill Clinton at a Thursday rally in Parma, Ohio, two days after the second presidential debate. Obama will not attend the rally. Springsteen also will appear at a campaign event Thursday in Ames, Iowa."

Annie-Rose Strasser of Think Progress: "The fact that Mitt Romney's tax plan is mathematically impossible was reinforced again on Friday, when Mark Zandi, a former John McCain campaign adviser and Chief Economist at Moody's Economy, admitted as much. Speaking on CNN's 'Starting Point,' Zandi acknowledged a study by the Tax Policy Center that shows Romney's plan to lower taxes by 20 percent across the board, while making up those losses in government revenue by closing loopholes on the wealthy, doesn't add up. Zandi even went so far as to say that "the arithmetic doesn't work as it is right now." ...

... Matthew O'Brien of The Atlantic runs down the "six independent studies" Rmoney & AynR. are always citing as absolute proof their magical numbers work. Hilariously, one of the "independent studies" was cooked up by the Romney campaign. ...

... John Amato of Crooks & Liars says "Obama should slam Romney on his 'six studies' falsehood." CW: yeah, Steve Benen comes up with about 30 things every week Obama should slam Romney for. Good luck with that.

Danny Hakim of the New York Times: "During Mr. Romney’s four-year term as governor of Massachusetts, he cumulatively spent more than a year -- part or all of 417 days -- out of the state.... More than 70 percent of that time was spent on personal or political trips unrelated to his job.... Mr. Romney ... took lengthy vacations and weekend getaways. But much of his travel was to lay the groundwork for the presidential ambitions he would pursue in the 2008 election, two years after leaving office. During his last year as governor, he was largely an absentee chief executive." CW: sorta the Sarah Palin of Massachusetts, though at least she flat-out quit.

Sam Baker of The Hill: "Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) did not appreciate Paul Ryan calling him a supporter of the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan during Thursday's vice presidential debate.... Wyden made clear on his Facebook page that he does not support the plan Romney and Ryan are advancing, despite his past partnership with Ryan."

Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: "The Getty Images photo was taken at a Romney/Ryan campaign event in Lancaster, Ohio on Friday. A Romney spokesperson commented that the shirt was 'reprehensible and has no place in this election.'" ...

... David Neiwert of Crooks & Liars: "Now, candidates can't really be blamed for all the nutcases they attract. But what exactly did Republicans think was going to be the outcome when Romney and Co. began indulging in a campaign employing barely-disguised racial dog whistles anyway?" ...

OR, if you own a retail business, you can showcase a racist smear right in your big ole storefront window, as this guy in Spring Lake, New Jersey, is doing. CW: don't you love the way people cite the First Amendment as an excuse for the most indefensible expressions? "The Constitution made me do it."

Maureen Dowd knocks Obama, Biden, Ryan, lets Romney off the hook.

Other Stuff

** "The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent. Chrystia Freeland in a New York Times op-ed: "The irony of the political rise of the plutocrats is that ... they threaten the system that created them."

Prof. Nicholas Carnes in the New York Times: White-collar millionaires "have a super-majority in the Senate, a majority in the House, a majority on the Supreme Court and a man in the White House.... With so few leaders with experience in working-class jobs..., economic policy routinely tilts toward outcomes that help white-collar professionals at the expense of the working class. Social safety net programs are stingier, business regulations are flimsier, tax policies are more regressive, and protections for workers are weaker than they would be if our lawmakers came from the same mix of classes as the people they represent."

Gretchen Morgensen of the New York Times reads the new book by Sheila Bair, who was FDIC chair during the 2008 financial crisis. News flash: Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke & Tim Geithner were not out to help you.

Steven Yaccino of the New York Times: "Dozens of colleges have begun their own voting registration drives in orientation programs, class registration, intranet Web sites and other interactions crucial to campus life, institutionalizing services that had often been left to outside efforts. As a result, thousands of students registered to vote, updated their addresses or requested absentee ballots from their home states within days of arriving to campus this fall, officials at several universities said."

"Bachmann Family Values." Frank Bruni interviews Michele Bachmann's gay relative, who is hoping the Minnesota referendum on the November ballot banning gay marriage doesn't pass, as she wants to marry her long-time partner. Her relationship with Bachmann is, well, strained.

Profs. Graham Allison & Shea Feldman in a New York Times op-ed: "Mr. Netanyahu's about-face [on an early military strike against Iran] resulted from a long-building revolt by Israel's professional security establishment against the very idea of an early military attack, particularly one without the approval of the United States."

Local News

CBS Tampa: "The Florida State Board of Outrageous Racism Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race. On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level." See, kids, reading is not all that important a skill for field hands. ...

... The lyrics to our Florida state song are here. The state officially revised them way back in 2008 to make them, um, less offensive. I learned the original version when I was in grade school. I expect the Florida Department of Outrageous Racism is fixin' to change the lyrics back.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Arlen Specter, the irascible senator from Pennsylvania who was at the center of many of the Senate's most divisive legal battles -- from the Supreme Court nominations of Robert H. Bork and Clarence Thomas to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton -- only to lose his seat in 2010 after quitting the Republican Party to become a Democrat, died Sunday morning at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82." The Washington Post obituary is here.

New York Times: "Enmeshed in a bruising political battle over new mining rules seen as vital to Afghanistan's economic future, the country's mining minister on Sunday disclosed about 200 previous mining contracts for the first time, portraying the move as an attempt to bring transparency to a process vulnerable to corruption."

 

Space: "An Austrian daredevil plummeted into the record books today (Oct. 14), breaking the mark for highest-ever skydive after leaping from a balloon more than 24 miles above Earth's surface. Add one more feat: Going supersonic. Felix Baumgartner's ... harrowing plunge shattered the skydiving altitude record, which had stood for more than 50 years, and it notched a few other firsts as well. During his freefall, for example, Baumgartner became the first skydiver ever to break the sound barrier...." Video above.

New York Times: "Suddenly, the Portuguese ... have joined the swelling ranks of Europe's discontented, following Greece and Spain, after the government tried to take another step up the austerity path last month. For many here, it was one step too far, driving tens of thousands into the streets in the largest protest of Portugal's crisis."

AP: "Syrian government forces appear to have recently made use of cluster bombs, weapons banned by most countries because of the danger they pose to civilians, a New York-based rights watchdog said Sunday.Human Rights Watch said in a report that Syrian activists posted at least 18 videos on Oct. 9-12 showing remnants of the bombs in or near several towns...."

AP: "The space shuttle Endeavour is finally on the home stretch of its journey through Los Angeles streets to its retirement at a museum. Officials are estimating that the space craft will reach the California Science Museum around 6 a.m. PDT Sunday. It was originally expected to arrive early Saturday evening, but it hit repeated delays throughout the day."

Reader Comments (17)

I am sick and tired of Maureen Dowd tarring President Obama for not being a backslapper. I submitted the following comment to the Times, which means if it gets published at all it will be tomorrow:

Romney has no coherent plan for anything. Not creating jobs, not closing the deficit, not shoring up women's right to equal pay or even control of their own bodies, not foreign relations or national security. Yet Dowd keeps letting him off the hook because Obama is too "aloof."
Aloofness would seem to be beside the point in deciding on a president. It's doubly strange when one considers that Romney himself is certainly anything but a people person. In fact, to call him merely aloof would be paying him a compliment.
If for argument's sake the two candidates are tied in the aloofness department, that should certainly dictate supporting the man with policies and values that will advance us as a country. And that candidate is surely President Obama.
Even Ms. Dowd would have to admit that.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria: Yes, the Queen of Snark is anything but even-handed. She deserves a good skewering. I'm just waiting for Marie to give her the same treatment Marie gives David Brooks at least once a week.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Thank you to Victoria -- for your spot-on comment to the MoDo screed -- and to Calyban for your suggestion -- which I second -- that Marie devote one of her delicious take-downs to The Dowdy One. I was going to request it myself, but I'll content myself with seconding yours.

I do hope Bachmann's relative will be able to marry. Today, at my guild meeting, I got to see pictures of the recent wedding of a dear friend of mine and his partner. They had to go to New York to marry, but after 18 years together they're finally legally wed. I asked him if they would now have the same spousal rights as heterosexual couples in Michigan and he said, "unfortunately, no." As he put it, Michigan is a state with a few liberal (I would say "evolved") enclaves, like East Lansing and Ann Arbor (my home town), surrounded by a vast wilderness of ignorance and superstition. Several years ago a marriage equality proposition was placed on the ballot and ultimately defeated.

I'm amazed we're not showing up in the polls as a deep red state, but as my friend says, there are all those unionized auto workers, plus the liberal enclaves -- and then there's Detroit. At one time Michigan had a Romney we could all embrace: George Romney was a successful auto executive and a decent governor. Sometimes I think his son must be a changeling. He looks like his dad, but there, the resemblance ends. George was popular even with us lefties, because he was a kind of Republican that has been missing from the scene for decades, the kind that might have differed with Democrats in theory, but who, like them, ultimately cared about good governance. And who, to that end, could work in the kind of bipartisan way that we haven't seen for far too long in our state legislatures or national congress.

Willard, on the other hand, isn't popular even with Republicans today. Only with his fellow aliens -- you know: Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dowd....

Go get 'er, Marie!

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRose in Michigan

Dowd seems to frame every male politician through the lens of her own psychological conflicts with father figures. To me her writings feel like they are at the emotional level of a pre-teen girl writing "dear diary" entries. Clearly she's well educated and literate, which for me, makes her stuff kind of creepy. No snark intended - seek professional help.

I stopped reading her columns about the 100th time she called Obama "aloof". She uses superficial snark to try and disguise the emotional holes. I don't see much value in her columns to either readers or as a method to improve her own psychological health. She may be successful but she's also sad.

I was born and raised in Michigan, left in 1981 at 27 for CA. As a small kid, I vaguely remember George Romney but more so after, his lasting legacy. He was well liked and respected by members of both parties. I truly believe he would be appalled at what the GOP has become and especially the total moral bankruptcy of his son. Rose, Go Blue! my Alma Mater.
Finally - Netanyahu has moved away from his very aggressive stance on Iran because he doesn't have the backing of enough of his constituents. No one wants nuclear engagement, unless you 're Dan Senor. Netanyahu put on his bully hat and tried to force a hard line commitment to invasion from Obama by trying to pit Obama against Romney. Netanyahu had no definition for his OWN red line. Lord Small Balls jumped at the bait, but sporting that woeful set of small balls, he couldn't really follow through. Netanyahu has had to call elections early precisely because he doesn't have the backing for an Iranian invasion. Doesn’t really look like he’ll be able to round up enough backers. Biden, hyperbole and all, ( "I've known Bibi for 39 years") handled it just right when he cautioned everyone to " calm down". If the US engages in another war, I can't see how it could be accomplished without reinstating the draft.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Diane's "Dear Diary" take down of the Dowdy One is apt; and telling.

I've pretty much given up reading her. Even her once every 3 month or so readable effort requires wading through the usual uncontrollable name dropping, the same tired, banal, backbiting and her hyper-critical fault finding which leaves no room for solutions and instead reserves every last syllable for snark with extra snark on the side. Just in case too much is not enough. She's like that long time friend who was funny in high school, annoying in college, and as an adult, became so insufferable you simply avoid at all costs, every encounter with whom you resent, feeling your life being drained away with each passing second.

Nope. Into the Brooks-Douthat Remainder Bin with all those terrible books you pass by in bookstores on your way to the good stuff, wondering how in fucking Publishers Clearing House Hell they ever made it that far in the first place, right next to deathless titles like "Chicken Soup for Racists" and "How to Remove Your Own Bladder in Thirteen Easy Lessons (scalpel included)".

That being said, I'd like to address the problem of the Missing Links who keep saying they'll vote for Romney and Ryan rather than put Obama back in the White, White House. Or any other house, for that matter.

Let's try a little thought experiment, kids.

Let's substitute the word "President" with "Surgeon".

So, you have some terrible problem, which you suspect might be a tumor. You're not sure if it's malignant or not so you visit Doctor Obama. He orders a series of tests based on actual scientific and medical precedent. He suggests a treatment based on the evidence and indicates that proper attention to your problem will have positive results, but it might take some time, so you need to follow the plan and be patient. His bedside manner leaves something to be desired, but he is, after all, a respected doctor with a successful track record in dealing with very difficult cases. Plus he has an actual degree in medical science.

You're not sure so you get a second opinion. You go to Drs. R&R.

Their office is nice and shiny with rich leather chairs and expensive appointments but right away you notice that neither of them are actual doctors. They pooh-pooh any tests. Instead, they bring out leeches and suggest a good bleeding will have enormous results overnight. You look at Dr. Romney's track record and you see all the other patients he's bled in the past.

They're all dead.

But what the hey, he's a nice guy, he's got an expensive suit and great hair. He doesn't frown like the other guy. In fact, his partner never stops grinning. The fact that he's wearing a baseball cap, backwards, and works out with weights the whole time is a little off-putting (plus the dead deer carcass in the corner is odd) but he reassures you that the huge fee they're going to charge you will guaran-fucking-tee that you'll be all better really, really, really quick.

You tell them to go ahead and start bleeding you.

And they do.

You don't like the real doctor so you sign on with the witch doctors?

You get what you deserve, morons. You need a surgeon? Hire one. You want to be bled to death? Dr. Romney will see you now...

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Two thoughts this morning.

One of my children who is in a graduate school program and who is solidly democratic and who supports Obama, thought that the vice president was rude for interrupting Paul Ryan in the debate. We discussed that a bit and that dynamic may be coming from her youth and that age group which identifies with Ryan's age group. The visual image that comes from watching the debates is very important. Obama kept shaking his head up and down when Romney was lying, and Biden is "rude" when he "laughs" and smiles and interrupts when Ryan lies. I suspect that many individuals would realize there was a substantive difference in how they viewed the results of the debate if they watched it with the sound off and then read the transcript, and there might be a different substantive rating of the debate from that of viewing it first and listening later, if they read the transcript and then watched the debate with the sound off. I know that if I dictate and then have transcribed some writing of mine, or type it up myself, the result is two very different products and I am convinced part of the difference is in how it is processed in my mind because of the oral vs. physical component of the process. The instant feed back of the written word on the screen creates a different thought process with the instant feedback loop. Perhaps its the listening which at first requires some personal feedback to be able to say "I get what he/she just said" verses the visual, immediate effect which puts a truth or false, or scared or calm, or some other internal "feeling" about what the words you listen too after seeing the person bold faced lie.

This mechanism gives Romney (looks convincing) a big advantage in the debates - it does not matter if he is lying when he is selling you the idea - because he is a practiced lier and I thing because of his pathologic nature may actually believe he is telling the truth. This comes out in the image and it does not matter what he is substantively saying.

Secondly, I recently was on vacation in rural Maine and New Hampshire where I witnessed supporters of Romney/Ryan with a booth at the entrance to a major public event with the booth ringed by posters of the President with a Hitler style mustache drawn on the President's upper lip. This is such an offensive smear and yet the people behind the booth were unapologetic about the images and were even defiant. I don't know what to say about this smear campaign (10 to 15 thousand people probably went by this booth for the week long event) as it relates to the followers of Romney/Ryan.

Both of these thoughts are scary to me. I think the mechanism behind them are related but I cannot articulate how. I fear for our country. I am not hopeful right now.

But, remember the Supremes.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfromtheheartland

If only these would be Obama's talking points in the debate:

1. Economic Darwinism -- Republicans want the Poor to Pay
2. Payroll Tax -- Republicans want the Middle Class to Pay
3. Job Shrinkage -- Republicans want Young People to Pay
4. Retirement Planning -- Republicans want the Seniors to Pay
5. Public Fire Sale -- Republicans want Society to Pay

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/08

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@FromTheHeartland: it is difficult to know how to express disdain for a liar, particularly when you know half the viewers have no idea the lying liar is lying. Some pundit I read wrote that he listened to the first half of the veep debate on the radio while traveling, & he too thought Biden was being rude. Then the writer got to his destination & watched the second half of the debate, & he didn't think Biden appeared to be rude at all.

Obama's excuse for his initial debate performance was that he was "too polite." I suppose it's okay to be polite in a debate where the outcome doesn't matter. But it is ethically wrong to be "too polite" when your opponent is running for POTUS, & he is lying to the viewers. I don't know that it's necessary to continually interrupt the guy, but it is necessary to say again & again -- in the strongest of terms & looking into the camera -- "This guy is not telling you the truth." There are at least 50 good ways to say this -- without equivocating -- & Obama should employ every one of them. It would be nice if at some point Romney asked, "Are you calling me a liar?" The answer should be "Yes," or "Yes, and your whole performance here has been a serial lie. I find it shocking that you would run for president just telling one lie after another. This is a moral failing that disqualifies a person for high public office. Am I saying that I don't think you're qualified for the presidency? Yes, I am."

It would be good for Obama to channel Bill Clinton in his 'tude. Clinton can say this kind of thing & sound sad to have to inform the American people that Romney is perpetrating a giant hoax. It's a gift.

Marie

October 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Still fightin' the white. Freedumb to wear my racism t-shirt. Freedumb to show the world that America was founded by and created for Caucasian males. Freedumb to stand by a scripture that promises "Freedom and liberty for all" and ignore the "all". Freedumb to fan the fires of difference to fuel the fat of greed.
Rude? I'll give you rude. Rude is a national political party that gathers covert racists to try to control the inevitable march of progress.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@Right on! (Yes, I'm in that generation) Marie! Wish Obama played politics the way he plays basketball: no quarter asked for or given!

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Re Dowd and the Problem with Punditry:

Once a paid pundit has established a voice and a point of view, too often it is the combined approach of the two that dictates what the pundit has to say, not those shifty things like facts or reality. Contemporary pundits are so tied to and dependent on meeting the expectations of their blindered bases, they dare not deviate from them. To do so would require thought and worse, run the danger of confusing and alienating their audiences.

In Dowd's case, her subject is mostly method or manner, which often hit the mark when she applied it to Bush II and the tastelessness and intellectual emptiness of his White House kennel of frat-boy wonders. It's easy and accurate and even useful to make fun of the banal, especially when it's so dangerous. There's a lesson there worth teaching. The same method applied to the last four years and the current administration, though, just comes across as snotty cleverness in search of a subject. That's why I don't read her any more. Even when she's occasionally funny, the humor doesn't feel right because it's wit without worth.

By the way, and reading the accumulated comments, it sounds like we picked a good debate to miss.

Missed you guys.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

The pioneers of advertising and subliminal mind control, armed with early psychological studies, refined the understanding and use of symbolism in touching areas of the mind deeper than intellect can penetrate. Josef Goebbels was an early practitioner of these arts. Appealing to intellect or truth telling is limited in its' effectiveness when fear mongering, race baiting, and sexual stereo typing touch these areas of unexpressible feeling.
The 2008 Obama campaign was much more effective at tapping into these depths of feeling. For some reason this campaign is more academic and mechanical in feeling. I guess it is Obama's attitude.
God, Bill Clinton is giving some of the best speeches of any political time, the man understands symbolism. Joe Biden, for a man of 69, is really putting out energy like a nuclear reactor. If Obama can't lite a fire under his college professor ass next week, he will soon be back in a classroom.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

For a pretty thorough profile on Romney's "go-to economist" Glen Hubbard go to the business page of the NYT. If Romney wins this guy might become Sec. of Treasury and since Hubbard was instrumental in the last Bush administration, woe unto us.

Discussion this morning re: the frustration we feel when people we encounter can't distinguish the facts from the fabrications. Seeing that picture of the skinhead with that disgusting message on his back reminds us––as though by now we need reminding––that the asininity caliber of "those folks out there" is rampant.

Yesterday my husband went to our local green grocer fruit and vegetable place––features fresh local or/and state grown produce. We know the owner by now, having been customers for over two decades. Dennis, the owner, is a small business man that frequently complains to us about the problems he faces running a business like that–-problems that any one running a business like that would have. But yesterday when Joe, my husband, encountered Dennis among the cantaloupes and asked how things were going the conversation veered toward politics. Dennis is voting for Romney, he said, because –––well, just because he doesn't think Obama has done a good job. This set Joe on a missionary zeal and for almost an hour Joe and Dennis, at times voices raised, so that passerby's slowed down to listen and at one point several of the workers shouted, "Go Obama!" In the end Joe had convinced Dennis not to vote for Romney and instead, Dennis said, he'd write in a vote for Ron Paul which as Joe told Dennis, "At least now you are voting with your principles."

The Matt Taibii piece was terrific ( Kate––I sent it to my brother after I received a "must read" interview with Steve Forbes). I thought it the best run-down of the VP debate yet.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@marie. I wasn't meaning to imply I agreed with my son/daughter's impression of the debate. She get's it because we have in our family had discussions about truth in politics. Your assessment in these comments is right on the mark. And, every time Biden looked into the camera I thought he was extremely effective.

Our President needs to talk right into the camera a say to US that "He is not truthful on . . ." Now say to the moderator, or back to Romeny "You are not telling the truth." The President needs to make eye contact with US voters and tell it like it is really - "That is not true and here's why . . . ." Much more effective. Don't even acknowledge the audience or moderator or Romney.

The Tiibii piece was terrific as PD Pepe said. These charlatans need to be called out immediately for their lies. Obama needs to call out Romney every time. He needs to respond to the outright boldfaced lies, some of which may require interrupting even in this upcoming town hall format rather than waiting for his turn which may never come.

Thank you all for the wonderful posts!!!

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfromtheheartland

The SNL VP debate parody was pants wetting funny. There was a wonderful illustration of just what Dave Roberts was talking about in the article (linked by Marie 10/13) on Martha Raddatz. Likely you have all seen it, but just in case....http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/snl-vp-debate-video-145419790--election.html

Lawrence O'Donnell, on The Last Word had a very good "rewrite" segment Friday on Presidential/VP debates. It's still on the Last Word site. He suggested that we aren't really electing a "debater-in-chief" and wonders what value there is in judging snap answers and zingy comebacks in the context of the job of the Presidency. Presidents are rarely if ever faced with a situation that requires a snap answer without thought, information, discussion and input from others. He concludes that a lot needs to change including giving the questions ahead of time, if we are really measuring fitness for the Presidency. The piece got me thinking.
They are contests in the most artificial sense, in the mold of a reality show, some more Jerry Springer than others. Its part expectation by a public programmed for 24/7 superficial snippets, a culture that over diagnoses ADHD and programs media accordingly but mostly a lot about ratings=money. The few serious politicians are heavily criticized and penalized for not playing along with the model of snappy answers - lies or not, pressured speech, sound bites and a frenetic speaking pace.

You can see the disdain that Obama has for that kind of discourse. That doesn't mean he is not passionate or committed. I've never seen him as aloof, I see him as thoughtful. In 2008, a lot of the energy was contained in the personal dreams and stories of populace. Obama was "the first". Not only "the first" but apparently, before anyone saw that as a possibiity. He'll never be the first again and he can never live up to the pride, joy and exuberance that accompanied him to the Presidency. It is predictable, there is severe pressure to return us to the old (white guy) status quo. Change is way scary, especially for those whose time is passing.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Diane: I saw O'Donnell's Rewrite and though it was spot on in its two main points. Do we really want to toss out of our collective brains everything we know about Mitt and everything we know about Obama and base our vote on how smoothly they presented themselves one particular night, as "debaters?" Secondly, the whole idea of getting to the truth by ambush is illogical. As O'Donnell said, that is not how governing works. Even if we were the subject of a surprise attack, the WH would take some time to gather facts before launching a counter assault. As, in fact, history has shown.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Rose in Michigan; Your story of friends going to NY state to get
married reminds me of dozens of couples I know who have done this,
and, of course, it does nothing to legalize things between two people.
Case in point: I live in Michigan and want to be cremated at the end.
State law says it must be approved by your husband/wife, or immediate family. My life partner has no say in this; state law.
Many gay people have no immediate family if rejected. Anyway,
you live in paradise (A2). What I would give for a Zingermans
corned beef right now (better than NYC).

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris
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