The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 30

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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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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