The Ledes

Sunday, November 23, 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

The Wires

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

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

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

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
November 21

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Rich remembers Mike Nichols.

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

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

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

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

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

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

... "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery":

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Carrey nails it in an SNL skit:

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

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Monday
Oct152012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 16, 2012

Presidential Race

Annie-Rose Strasser in TruthDig: "Five Facts to Commit to Memory before Watching Tonight's Debate."

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "the second presidential debate is designed to be a little less stiff -- a free-flowing question-and-answer session between the candidates and a studio audience. But behind the scenes, little is left to chance." CW: and here I was, hoping for a cheesy pizza preference question when the leadership of the free world is at stake (see yesterday's Commentariat).

Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed: "Two weeks ago, Obama tried to stay above the fray, backing down from nearly every attack he and his campaign have been firing at Romney by proxy -- both on television and in solo rallies across the country. Tuesday at Hofstra, will throw all the punches he pulled two weeks ago, his aides promise."

Matt Miller in the Washington Post: "Team Obama shouldn't be planning to refight the first debate. It should be prepared for a Romney who'll show up with new surprises.... Above all, it means laying out a bolder vision for a second term than the poll-tested small ball that passes for Obama's agenda thus far -- an agenda designed to help the president limp to victory, rather than address the country's real needs." CW: I've been thinking the same thing for two weeks: the next two debates will each bring a new "October Surprise" from Rmoney, just as the first one did. (I don't think Miller is necessarily right about what Romney's surprise will be, but it will be something designed to throw Obama again.) ...

Michael Tomasky of Newsweek has some excellent advice for Obama on how to approach the debate with Romney. Too bad Tomasky wasn't on Obama's debate prep team -- not that Obama would have listened to him.

Adam Serwer of Mother Jones isn't so sure, based on Obama camp spin, that they know the difference between a "debate" and a "town hall" -- not that the presidential debate shows are truly debates or the town-hall show is really a town-hall meeting. If Obama behaves more as Al Gore did in the clip Serwer includes than as Bill Clinton did in the Serwer clip, we're looking at President Romney. CW: while these clips may be extreme examples, you can really see why Clinton won & Gore lost, not on substance but on style.

Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed: "Vice President Joe Biden will appear on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, less than 10 hours after President Barack Obama faces off against Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate."

Nate Silver: "National polls showed a modestly favorable trend for President Obama, allowing him to gain slightly in our forecast. (Mr. Obama's chances of winning the Electoral College are now 66.0 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight model, up from 63.4 percent on Sunday.)" ...

... Say What???? Susan Page of USA Today: "Mitt Romney leads President Obama by four percentage points among likely voters in the nation's top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank." ...

     ... Nate Silver tweets: "Looking at breakouts of 'swing states' from national polls is just dumb when there are dozens of actual swing state polls out every week."

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama and his wife, Michelle, announced on Monday that they would both vote early, and Mrs. Obama was photographed holding an absentee ballot for Illinois that she later dropped in the mail. Mr. Obama followed up her announcement by saying that he would vote early, in person, on Oct. 25, the next time he planned to be in Chicago.... They are throwing their weight behind the Obama campaign's aggressive push for early voting...."

NEW. Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker on what women want. "When some, usually more affluent, women can easily obtain birth control, and others cannot, that has real economic implications, both for individuals and for social equity. Romney and Ryan would prefer that you forget it, but women's issues are everybody's issues." CW: let's hope Obama takes Nancy Pelosi's advice of last week & reminds voters of how different their policies are on women's health care: i.e., Romney sez, "Girls, you're on your own. P.S. If you need an abortion, go to a private clinic in Europe. Otherwise, you're going to jail in the U.S."

Falling on Her Sword. Secretary of State Clinton says she takes responsibility for the lack of security at the Benghazi consulate:

Ashley Parker & Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have begun a late push to raise tens of millions of dollars in the closing weeks of the election, cash that will finance a last-minute barrage of advertising that Mr. Romney's aides believe is critical to beating President Obama. In an e-mail to top donors and fund-raisers on Monday afternoon, Mr. Romney's campaign said that it had raised $170 million in September, almost as much as the near-record $181 million raised by Mr. Obama, but the campaign added that it needed to bring in even more money in October to capitalize on Mr. Romney's surge in polls in swing states like Florida and Ohio."

RomneyMath. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: Mitt Romney's promise to create 12 million jobs during his first term in office -- a labor increase that Moody's said will likely happen anyway -- doesn't add up: "This is a case of bait-and-switch. Romney, in his convention speech, spoke of his plan to create '12 million new jobs,' which the campaign's White Paper describes as a four-year goal. But the candidate's personal accounting for this figure in this campaign ad is based on different figures and long-range timelines stretching as long as a decade -- which in two cases are based on studies that did not even evaluate Romney's economic plan. The numbers may still add up to 12 million, but they aren't the same thing -- not by a long shot."

Wait, wait. There's there's a link to the details at RomneyTaxPlan.com. -- Victoria D.

"Arithmetic over Illusion." In a Web video, the Explainer-in-Chief explains Romney's tax plan:

     ... CW: Have you ever heard Obama so clearly state the Romney flim-flam tax plan? Or much of anything else "my opponent" proposes? No, I didn't think so. And pay attention to Clinton's demeanor. I think I mentioned the other day that he can take down an opponent's false claims without anger or out-and-out derision. Instead, he appears to speak to voters as a friend who is helping them out. He is a master. ...

... New York Times Editors: "... members of Washington's reality-based community have a habit of popping up to point out the many deceptions in the [Romney] campaign's blue-sky promises of low taxes and instant growth. The [Congressional] Joint Committee on Taxation ... [found that] ending all those deductions would only produce enough revenue to lower tax rates by 4 percent. Mitt Romney says he can lower tax rates by 20 percent and pay for it by ending deductions. The joint committee's math makes it clear that that is impossible.... The Romney campaign claims it has six studies proving it can be done, but, on examination, none of the studies actually make that point, or counterbalance the nonpartisan analyses that use real math."

Whoopi! Huffington Post: "Barbara Walters announced on Monday's 'View' that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney canceled on the ABC daytime talk show. His wife Ann will still appear on Thursday's show." With video.

Debunking Dad: The Real George Romney. Several Reality Chex contributors recommended this piece by John Bohrer in yesterday's BuzzFeed, which sheds new light on George Romney's character & political career. Rather than portraying George as a principled politician, Bohrer describes him as an opportunist who did what he needed to do to sell himself. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, after all. ...

... One man cited in Bohrer's piece -- has a different view of George Romney. Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "A longtime aide to George W. Romney issued a harshly worded critique of Mitt Romney, accusing him of shifting political positions in 'erratic and startling ways' and failing to live up to the distinguished record of his father.... Walter De Vries, who worked for the senior Mr. Romney throughout the 1960s, wrote that Mitt Romney's bid for the White House was 'a far cry from the kind of campaign and conduct, as a public servant, I saw during the seven years I worked in George Romney's campaigns and served him as governor.' ... Mr. De Vries, who said he wished to the see the Republican Party return to its moderate roots, said he intended to vote for Mr. Obama on Election Day."

** New York Times Editors: if Romney wins, abortion rights go. "We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe. We know from our own country's pre-Roe history and from the experience around the world.... Women's health, privacy and equality would suffer. Some women would die. Mr. Romney knows this, or at least he used to. Running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts in 1994..., Mr. Romney spoke of a young woman, a close relative, who died years before as result of complications from an illegal abortion to underscore his now-extinct support for Roe v. Wade. In a report in Salon last year, Justin Elliott ... found that when the young woman passed away, her parents requested that donations be made in her honor to Planned Parenthood. That's the same invaluable family-planning group that Mr. Romney has pledged to defund once in the White House."

Sharon LaFraniere of the New York Times has a useful piece explaining Romney's & Obama's differences on trade with China.

With Armaggedon approaching -- or, to borrow from Akhilleus'commentary, a crossing of the Rubicon about to occur at Hofstra -- let us bask in the memory of happier times -- way last week:

Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week 'ramrodded their way' into the group's Youngstown, [Ohio,] soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall." ...

"I keep my good-works photo-op apron crisp & clean by only washing dishes that are already clean."... Um, the dishes didn't need washing. Oh, and there were no people there having soup. Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker has the pathetically hilarious details. But, hey, Paul Ryan looks really compassionate when he's railroaded press photographers in to take his picture looking compassionate.

Other Stuff

Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "If he gets another four years in the White House, [President Obama] already has plans to go right back on the campaign trail to build support for his deficit-reduction framework, Democrats say, and administration officials are debating whether Mr. Obama should make some concession to Republicans to spur negotiations." CW: sure sounds familiar, doesn't it? It would be nice if, instead of "building support for his deficit-reduction framework" & "making some concession to Republicans to spur negotiations," Obama took Jon Chait's advice (see link in yesterday Commentariat) & just stuck it to Congressional Republicans, something he would easily be able to do because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

Monetary policy, while highly accommodative by historic standards, may still not have been sufficiently accommodative given the economic circumstances.... With the benefit of hindsight, monetary policy needed to be still more aggressive. -- William Dudley, President of the New York Fed

No shit. -- Constant Weader

A doctor writes to Paul Krugman adding another way that emergency rooms do not care for patients with life-threatening illnesses. CW: Mitt Romney doesn't care if they die. See also Krugman's column linked in yesterday's Commentariat.

Kevin Roose & Joe Coscarelli of New York magazine have a little on Vikram Pandit's ouster as CitiGroup CEO (see today's News Ledes) but not much.

News Ledes

New York Times: "An officer for the Central Intelligence Agency was killed on Saturday in a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan, American officials said Tuesday."

AP: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for voters in the battleground state of Ohio to cast ballots on the three days before Election Day, giving Democrats and President Barack Obama's campaign a victory three weeks before the election. The court refused a request by the state's Republican elections chief and attorney general to get involved in a battle over early voting."

New York Times: "A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the terrorism conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden whose case has been one of the most tangled to emerge from the war crimes trials of detainees held by the military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The court found that Mr. Hamdan's conviction by a military commission for providing material support for terrorism could not stand because, under the international law of war in effect at the time of his actions, there was no such defined war crime."

Reuters: "Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Vikram Pandit has resigned effectively immediately, the company said on Tuesday in a statement from Chairman Michael O'Neill." CW: oh, there will be more to this story, which at this point is just an item. ...

     ... Update: here is more from the New York Times, but nothing really definitive as far as I can see to explain Pandit's "surprise" resignation. ...

     ... Update Update: more from the Times.

AP: "The White House, under political pressure to respond forcefully to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target."

AP: "Several paintings have been stolen from a museum in the Dutch city of Rotterdam that was exhibiting works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh."

Reader Comments (20)

Jon Stewart's take on the vicepresidential debate was tremendously funny and sharp, even by his very high standards.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Let's face it. Obama is not a very good politician. He is an excellent speaker, but does not excel at debate. He can inspire only when he has positive feedback from an enthusiastic audience. Mitt RawMoney is a heartless fighter. He does not care what it takes to "win." Nor does he care who is against him, or about the veracity of his arguments.

Winning through nasty "combat" is such a mistaken, ill-conceived concept when it comes to electing someone to lead our sad little country. Whatever else Obama might lack, he does not lack for decency, thoughtfulness and human concern. RawMoney is an empty suit--a chameleon who can change color depending on the empty suit he is inhabiting.

I hardly can bear to watch the debate tomorrow night, because I know Obama is going to be anxious--and he is just not up to skullduggery. If he tries, he quite possibly will get it wrong. Mitters will not. He will say whatever he intuitively knows will get Obama on the ropes. Truth will be the loser, as it almost always is in our so-called "free" electoral process.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

I hesitate to make a prediction before hindsight improves its accuracy, but I'm guessing the President will do much better tomorrow than he apparently did the first time around.

If I were giving advice (and if anyone on the White House staff were listening or reading Reality Chex, which should be a daily assignment in the oval office), I'd suggest he come armed with a dozen or two of the Mittster's largest, most evident lies, those most damaging to the country, and drop them into his comments/answers one by one. Something along the lines of "But Governor Romney, you yourself said...." And since the Mittster has said nearly everything on every side of every issue, selecting an arsenal of the most egregious whoppers and finding one even tangentially related to every likely topic should should not be too hard.

Mittster the Liar should be tomorrow night's theme, hammered on and home at every opportunity. Previous debates prove such comments don't have to stand sequitur's test to be effective; they just have to be repeated pleasantly, yet forcefully and often.

And best of all, pointing out the Mittster's lies is just telling the truth...something we should require and expect of any President.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

On the Ryan Family pearl diving adventure at SVDP kitchen:

"Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, said that the visit by Ryan had been intended to highlight the work of the soup kitchen volunteers.

“Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need,” Maloney said."

So, where are the photos of those SVDP volunteers to whom the campaign wanted to bring attention? Stone soup, my friends, stone soup. And let's not even get into the history of "taking the soup" back in Ireland, 160 years ago, when The Ascendancy, complete with Ladies Bountiful, used the soup to force conversion of immiserated Irish peasants. The gentry are kind and generous.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Re: "With the benefit of hindsight" that's popularly known as "Our heads were up our asses." Even Casey Jones knows when you're drivin' that train there's trouble ahead. Why do the big cheeses think the benefit of hindsight excuses their excesses? Not much difference with the proposed tax plan by the RichRats except the benefit of hindsight is going to be a poke in the eye for all of US.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Speaking of Pinocchios, for a good chuckle go to this website:
www.romneytaxplan.com

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Like most everyone else who isn't already consumed by the dark side or languishing in the torpid latitudes amongst the infamous (and infamously stupid) "uncommitted", I long for the president to smack the Rat upside his rodent head with the rotting fish of his many lies. However, It may be too late for that. He should have been doing this all along (I suppose he has, but his message, through the neglectful offices of a supine, gullible, and lazy press, has never reached its intended audience).

Here's what will happen if Obama spends the time to "correct" the Rat-Lies. First, the Romney Mechanism is programmed not to care about the truth and its programming has been tweaked to spit out even more lies when confronted with past whoppers. He knows that people like us and certain actual journalists will fact check his claims and find every single one of them knee-slappingly false, but he also knows that none of the brainless uncommitted will. Why do you think they're still uncommitted?

So at this point, he can get away with anything--ANYTHING. He can go in there tonight and claim that Obama is trying to convert good white boys and girls into inner city criminals, gangstas, and socialists who will be required, through an Oval Office approved initiation, to experiment in sadomasochistic same-sex rituals followed by an acceptance of satan as their personal anti-savior, all the while urinating on the bible and an autographed picture of Ronald Reagan.

And he'll get away with it.

At this point he can pretty much say whatever he wants. So can the Fraud. He drags reporters into an empty soup kitchen where he cleans already clean pots and pans. They KNOW it's a fraud. But they snap, snap, snap, anyway. But who will know? The AP will offer these pictures and newspapers in flyover states will publish them with relish, captioned with "Oh what a nice boy he is" rubbish. What I want to hear is someone like Very Important Pundit Tom Brokaw ridicule such mendacious nonsense.

Chances of that happening? Vegas lists it at 5,000,000 to .01.

So I admit it. I'm worried. Polls out this morning show increases across the board for the Gnawing Rodent and the uncommitted brainiacs at the debate tonight are just as likely to nod their heads in stupefied agreement as the Mechanism spits out an even larger assortment of lies than usual. Watch for crowd shots of these imbeciles, nodding ignoramuses all, as the Rat sells them a fresh bucket of dead fish heads.

I'm officially Really Worried, my brothers and sisters.

I'm worried that no matter how well the president does tonight, iacta alea est. *

The press has what it wants. The imbeciles will get what they want (but don't really understand, yet, what that means.)

I'm hoping this is just a "bit of bad beef" as Dickens might have said, but there may be a few more October surprises from the Dark Side before November.

The Rubicon was just a muddy little stream but it swept away the Roman Republic and put in place Romney-like god-emperors.

* CW: "The die has been cast." "... attributed by Suetonius (as iacta alea est [ˈjakta ˈaːlea est]) to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy." -- Wikipedia. Madame Dummkoph here hadda look it up. Apparently the Greek Akhilleus also speaks Latin.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Patrick,

The right is still trying that old conversion trick. In Romney World, if elected, assistance for all but the wealthy will be outlawed. If you're sick, broke, broken, homeless, you will be pointed to helpful fundamentalist churches who will feed you as long as you convert. As long as you renounce democracy and your own religion and show up faithfully for 6 hour daily bible readings.

Don't take my word for it. It's been happening for years.

And it will be the only recourse for many if the Rodent gets the cheese.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

On a slightly different topic, it was interesting to see Hillary Clinton take responsibility for the Benghazi situation. She's showing the All Talk No Action Republicans what it means to be a stand-up guy. All they can do is shout and scream and toss off epithets. They also voted to de-fund the State Department's ability to provide the kind of adequate security the right is now screaming that Obama should have had. Fucking hypocrites.

But let's get in the Way-Back Machine and see how Numero Uno Stand-Up Guy, Saint Ronald of Reagan handled a much worse debacle. Let's see just what these Republican tough guys are made of.

October 23, 1983. Beirut International Airport. Marines Reagan had sent, completely unprepared, woefully unprotected, and, as usual, bereft of any knowledge of the local languages, customs, history, or significant knowledge of the conflict(s) raging in and around Lebanon at the time, were attacked by suicide bombers who drove a truck laden with high explosives straight into the barracks. Over 240 dead.

You know who took responsibility for hanging those Marines out to dry?

No one.

Reagan gave the usual "dead or alive" sort of speech that all modern GOP whiners give, but there was no retaliation. No investigation that turned up anything. And Reagan and Poppy Bush, who declared that we weren't leaving, "Nope, not gonna do it. Not gonna leave", eventually cut and ran.

Mission Accomplished. Stand-up guys sit down. So then, what are they made of? Jello. Except without the integrity.

The Republican Way.

Hillary has more balls than all of those rat bastards. Put together.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

For those of you who are obsessively checking polls every day, a number of commentators on Nate Silver's NYT post today have raised some serious issues about the Gravis results:

Mike in Denver, for example, writes:

"Gravis never released a poll before Aug 9, but since then they have released more polls in swing states than any other pollster, despite the fact that they appear to be owned by a fax spammer without any supporting education or experience in polling, and no apparent revenue. They've published results that are mathematically impossible! I'll take DU's investigation with a grain of salt, but it's an interesting read.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021539890#post32

This is a story mainstream journalists need to investigate-especially after all the Republican complaints about biased polls before the debate...it might be the a real story. If any hack with a criminal background can start a "polling" firm overnight that shapes the dynamic of the presidential race...that's frightening concept."

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

With The Rats election Roe v. Wade is gone, women's rights will suffer a terrible set back. Just as important, Stem Cell research will be dealt a dramatic blow as the superstition of the Catholic church will be imposed upon it's pursuit. The rest of the world, not inhibited by such superstition, will continue to pull ahead of the US in discovery of treatment methods for a multitude of health problems. Perhaps it doesn't matter, for our insurance industry dominated health care system will refuse to pay for these "unproven experimental treatments" anyway.
Akhilleus, Kate I'm afraid I share your early remorse. The practitioners of Conditioned Response are simply overwhelming the less glamorous deliverer of knowledge from the mountain. Bill Clinton , I love ya man. Too bad our presidents get smarter AFTER they leave the White House.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

"If any hack with a criminal background can start a "polling" firm overnight that shapes the dynamic of the presidential race...that's frightening concept."

But not one, unfortunately, that will interest most "journalists". Too much feet-on-the-ground investigating and not enough feet-on-the-desk stenographing.

If this is true, it is, as Calyban suggests, outrageous. One would hope that Nate Silver would be a bit more circumspect about publishing numbers from "Ex-Convicts for GOP, Polling, LLC", but in this election season nothing surprises me.

Thanks for the new info.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

I'm thinking the only way to win a debate -- especially in this phony town-hall setting -- is if the other guy screws up. Obama had all the advantages in the first debate because Romney is such a phony he has to keep his policies secret. Obama had a simple task: expose Romney. He didn't even try; in fact, in his remark that he & Romney agreed on Social Security, he (a) told a lie, & (b) gave Romney an undeserved boost. In the town-hall format he'll have to go at debunking Romney in a very roundabout way. I don't think he'll have enough of a chance.

Romney has screwed up before in answering questions posed by "real people," & he could screw up tonight. Then again, so could Obama. Wait till someone asks him if Romney is "likable enough." I have a two-part answer for that, but I had to think about it; I doubt I could have come up with a crisp answer on the spot.

When you look at those two town-hall clips that Adam Serwer posted -- both of which are famous -- it's hard not to think Obama is more like Gore than like Clinton. This is not a character flaw, but it is a presentation flaw. Romney is a closer -- that's probably what he did in the big deals at Bain. It remains to be seen if Obama can be a closer. I've watched a bit of his 2008 town-hall event with John McCain, & that would suggest the answer is "yes." He says he's gonna try. So we'll see.

Marie

October 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

PLEASE, she blurted between sobs, Remember the Supremes!

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

As my nerves go to over over drive with worry, I repeat Kate's
"Remember the Supremes"!
How many years til Nov 6th? Anyone?
mae finch
PS
CW- thank you and all the posters. All send me everywhere, and give me lots to think about.
Coming here is like being hungry and sitting down to a banquet.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

I want to see Uncle Joe debate the Faux Phlegmer again.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Marie,

At this point, pretty much any prognostication over tonight's outcome is reduced to a species of intellectual wanking.

We have no idea how the president will respond to the Rat's new raft of lies, nor how the audience will react. Remember though, that the questions have been screened and they are, after all, questions from people who are--by definition--unreconstructed morons.

And that's giving them all the best of it.

Uncommitted? Hey, folks, this ain't about whether you prefer home fries to hash browns. This is more like "would you rather live or die?" The question is that stark. Or if you prefer a touch less hyperbole, we can boil it down to "Sparta or Athens?". "Are you for Sparta, where they subject infants to exposure to cold and wild animals in order to see who will survive to serve the wealthy warlords, or are you for Athens where every citizen is seen as important, every life valuable (okay, except for the slaves), and where human spirit, industry, art, learning, and democracy are prized as virtues of a noble society?"

If you have a problem figuring that out then you really shouldn't be allowed to vote. Hell, you shouldn't even be allowed to drive a fucking car. Or do any other damn thing requiring a modicum of problem solving through critical thinking. "Ah...let me see. It says railroad crossing. Oh look, there's a choo-choo. Let's drive real fast and beat it to the crossing!"

That being said, I think Obama must, in addition to exposing the Rat as a flagrant and chronic liar, without being led astray by his connivances, map out what he has done for the country (or tried to do, Republican intransigence notwithstanding) and where he wants to take us.

While the Rat may be a closer, he is no less subject to l'esprit d'escalier than any of the rest of us. His zingers are scripted and practiced, so he is still subject to whatever is in his program. Obama may not be as quick on his feet as Bill Clinton or Jack Kennedy, but he has one huge asset the Rat does not. He is a human being.

I don't know if that will help him, but he needs to show up ready to rumble because Kate is not the only one whose mantra is "Remember the Supremes".

Karl Rove has it tattooed on his sloping hominid forehead. And you wouldn't believe his short list from which the Rat will choose the next new Supremes. The Five Families would weep with joy to see his compilation of corruptibles.

So....RTFS, Barack. For all our sakes.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Uncommitted voters? Thom Hartmann suggests, as does Akhillius, that anyone uncommitted by this time is dumb or woefully ignorant. I'm a bit more skeptical than that. How many would simply claim to be uncommitted just to get their phiz on TV? Not an insignificant number in a nation whose citizens all crave their 15 seconds of fame. And how many of those will craft questions that promote their own so far hidden agendas?

Guess we'll find out in four hours. I may watch the baseball game.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Buck up folks. It's far from over. If this is any indication, thingd might not be as bleak as they might seem:

http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2012/oct/14/obama-best-choice-president-ar-2689120/

.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Dave,

A fine commendation from the Winston-Salem Journal who see fit, now, to countenance an Obama second term.

The problem, as we have all perceived, is that many of those whom the Republican Party are allowing to vote, have decided that facts and reality don't mean jack.

The editors of the Winston-Salem Journal may have seen the light, but the vast majority of those who pulled the lever for McCain (and even some who didn't but whose levers pulled themselves for McCain) are still living in the 13th century and LOVE the Willard Mechanism. For one thing, he's confident (a practiced liar), he's rich (having stolen millions from other Americans), he's good looking (blemishes are unknown to robots), and he professes to be a good, holy, religious man (see that bit about being a practiced liar), plus he's a member of the Kill Anything That Moves Party.

To pretty much everyone who is voting for, or considering voting for, the Rat, truth matters less to them than the History of Socialism, introduction by Hugo Chavez, forward by Francois Mitterand, and edited by Terry Eagleton.

So they really won't give two Wal-Mart brand cheap vegetable oil assisted fucks about what the Winston-Salem Journal has to say. In fact, any North Carolinians who happen upon this piece can check in with their local Fox affiliate or Fox online to "learn" that there is simply no truth in this assessment.

The Rat is the one they must vote for in order to maintain their standing as TRUE AMERICANS.

Idiots, line up right here, toe to heel, toe to heel, that's it. Don't worry about a fucking thing. We've got your back. Pull that lever for the Rat and his assistant pig, the Fraud.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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