The Ledes

Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

New York Times: "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty Wednesday as the government declared three days of official mourning and grappled with the aftermath of an attack on a school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 145 people. The national flag was lowered to half-staff on all official buildings and prayer services were scheduled across the country." ...

... The Washington Post profiles "Mullah Radio," the leader of the Taliban attack on schoolchildren & teachers.

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

New York Times: "In one of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks in recent years, scores of people were killed after a group of Taliban gunmen stormed a school in northern Pakistan, officials and rescue workers said on Tuesday. Hundreds of students remained trapped inside the compound as security forces exchanged fire with the gunmen, officials said. The toll of dead and injured remained uncertain, but the local news media, citing government officials and hospitals, reported 126 dead, more than 100 of them children. The army press office announced that five attackers had been killed."

New York Times: "President Obama has decided to sign legislation imposing further sanctions on Russia and authorizing additional aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it will complicate his efforts to maintain a unified front with European allies, the White House said on Tuesday. The legislation calls for a raft of new measures penalizing Russia’s military and energy sectors and authorizes $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including antitank weapons, tactical surveillance drones and counter-artillery radar. The bill was approved unanimously by Congress, but Mr. Obama hedged for days on whether he would sign it." ...

... Washington Post: "Russia appeared headed Tuesday into a full-fledged currency crisis after the central bank imposed a massive, middle-of-the-night interest rate hike but failed to halt the plummet of the ruble."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "In one of the region's deadliest shooting rampages, an Iraq war veteran shot and killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives early Monday, terrorizing four upper Montgomery County communities and sparking a manhunt that continued deep into the night, officials said.The suspect, Bradley W. Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, had a 'familial relationship' with all of the victims, officials said. Besides his ex-wife, he allegedly killed her mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. The couple's two daughters were unharmed....A 17-year-old boy, Stone's former nephew, was shot and wounded."

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
December 17

12:01 pm ET: President Obama makes a statement about Cuba

1:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

4:15 pm ET: President Obama speaks at a Hanukkah reception

8:00 pm ET: President Obama speaks at a Hanukkah reception

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

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

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

CW: For those of you who don't like hassling with DVDs, I accidentally found a cheap alternative to Netflix. Although I will continue to subscribe to Netflix's streaming videos, Netflix doesn't stream most decent movies. Instead, you have to maintain a (second) monthly subscription, then order & return the DVDs. However, YouTube now allows you to stream movies (you can watch them -- more than once -- during a 48-hour period.) There's no monthly fee, & you can play the movies on your TV via various devices. I have a Google dongle on one TV & a Blu-Ray box on another. The YouTube streaming videos work on both (you have to download on the Chrome browser). Setting up an account was very easy. Since I watch few movies, this works perfectly for me. When Ben Bradlee died, I watched "All the President's Men" for the umpteenth time, & today I watched "Good Night & Good Luck." Big advantage: instant gratification! I'm not sure if YouTube is good for more recent movies.

The Rockefellers Are Leaving the Building. New York Times: "By this time next year, they will have vacated the 56th-floor aerie [in 30 Rock] they have occupied since 1933 and moved to somewhat less rarefied headquarters across 49th Street. One of the country’s great dynastic families is downsizing."

Contact the Constant Weader

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Wednesday
Oct172012

The Commentariat -- Oct. 18, 2012

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "President Obama's chances of winning the Electoral College were 64.8 percent as of Tuesday's FiveThirtyEight forecast, down slightly from 66.0 percent on Monday.... Tuesday featured an interesting set of surveys, however. While Mr. Obama's numbers were middling on the whole, one set of them implied that the polls may be inclined to overstate the effect of events like the party conventions and the debates."

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Mitt Romney has taken a six-point lead over President Obama in the latest Gallup national tracking poll -- his biggest lead to date and the first time he has led outside the margin of error. The latest seven-day tracking poll of likely voters shows Romney at 51 percent and Obama at 45 percent, up from 50-46 on Tuesday and 49-47 on Monday." ...

... Markos Moulitsas: "Romney's entire advantage in this poll comes from a massive lead in the South. Now sure, some of that may be Florida, but the state-level polling certainly doesn't show that. So Romney is driving up big margins in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi and other such presidentially irrelevant states? Good for him! I'm sure that'll be cold comfort as he loses the states that actually matter in the Midwest and West." Thanks to Dave S. for the link.

Nielsen: "An estimated 65.6 million people tuned in to watch the second debate between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday, October 16."

Steve Benen: "For voters who are still paying attention and who consider the economy an important election issue, the Romney/Ryan argument that the economy's getting worse is now literally unbelievable.... With every new report showing better and better economic news, the president will be missing a major opportunity if he fails to take advantage of the news: after inheriting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the president took the lead in saving the nation. Nearly four years after taking office, by literally every relevant metric, the nation's economy is stronger and more secure than it was when he started." ...

... Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider: "This is really the big story of the moment.... New housing starts are shooting straight up. Retail sales growth: re-accelerating. The Unemployment Rate: Collapsing. And car sales are surging. Revolving consumer credit: back to growth. Gallup Economic Confidence is the best since May. Consumer discretionary stocks surging towards all-time highs. Homebuilder stocks highest since 2007. Wal-Mart has finally busted out, and surged past its 2000 high." With charts to prove it all. Via Greg Sargent.

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama and Mitt Romney took to the road on Wednesday to capitalize on their fiery second debate, with Mr. Obama's muscular performance recharging supporters in the state that propelled him to the presidency in 2008." ...

... Landler again: "For all the relief among President Obama's aides over his energetic performance during the presidential debate on Tuesday night, there was less exuberance. After his listless showing in the first debate, Mr. Obama's aides believe the second debate essentially reset the race to where they long expected it to be: the president holding a narrow lead in enough battleground states that they hope he will eke out victory over Mitt Romney."

Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "The battle for women's votes helped shape Tuesday night's debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, pushing issues such as equal pay for women and access to contraception to the forefront of the closely fought race."

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "As the debate on Tuesday made clear, neither campaign is taking the support of women for granted. Mr. Obama, in particular, seemed eager to make the case for his policies -- and to criticize Mr. Romney's -- after having been criticized by many high-profile women for not doing so in the debate two weeks ago in Denver."

Tom Toles of the Washington Post.Kevin Robillard of Politico: "Mitt Romney’s eldest son [Tagg] joked in a radio interview that he wanted to 'take a swing' at President Barack Obama after Obama called his father a liar. 'Jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the stage and take a swing at him,' Tagg said, laughing. 'But you know you can't do that because, well, first because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because that's the nature of the process.'" ...

     ... CW: oh, wait, I thought of another reason: Barack Obama is POTUS. You can't "respect the office" if you "take a swing at" the man. Or even say you'd like to take a swing at the man. Let's be clear here. Tagg Romney is not a child. He is 42 years old -- old enough to be POTUS, as a matter of fact. He is not Billy Carter. He is a Harvard MBA (I can't tell you how Dubya, Willard & Tagg have lowered the prestige of a Harvard MBA), a businessman. He has worked on three of his father's campaign & is an official campaign advisor. Now ask yourself if there would be an uproar on the right if David Plouffe (roughly Tagg's age) went on the radio & made a public statement that the only thing keeping him from decking Romney was his Secret Service detail. P.S. Obama did not use the word "liar," even though it would have been appropriate to do so. Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link. ...

... AND, speaking of that photogenic Romney clan, here's son Josh at Wednesday's debate. A friend heartily recommends that you turn to Rebecca Schoenkopf of Wonkette to learn more about Josh:

(Thanks to Tastefully Offensive for the pic & caption.)

I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years. -- Mitt Romney, during the town-hall debate

Liar, liar, liar, liar. (Or something like that.) -- Dana Milbank

New York Times Editors: "On Tuesday night, [Mitt Romney] bumbled his way through a cringe-inducing attempt to graft what he thinks should be 2012 talking points onto his 1952 sensibility.... [Romney said] 'Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.' Perhaps Mr. Romney forgot that he vetoed a bill as Massachusetts governor in 2005 that would have given women who were raped access to emergency contraception, or that he supported an amendment this year that would have allowed any business to opt out of the contraceptive mandate, or that he has said he would support a state constitutional amendment that would declare that life begins at conception -- potentially making some kinds of contraceptives illegal." ...

... Digby: "Romney made a great case for affirmative action, something his party adamantly opposes. But it's so common sense that he could say it in the debate and nobody even noticed. Not even Fox."

... Dancing the Shuffle with Lilly Ledbetter. Sam Stein of the Huffington Post: "Had Mitt Romney been president in 2009, he would not have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, [Ed Gillespie,] a top adviser to the Republican nominee, told The Huffington Post Tuesday night. Now that the law has been passed, Romney has no plans to get rid of it..., Gillespie added. But Romney didn't support it while it made its way through Congress.... Hours after this story was published, the Romney campaign sent a statement from Gillespie walking back the comments he had made the night before. 'I was wrong when I said last night Governor Romney opposed the Lily Ledbetter act,' the statement read. 'He never weighed in on it. As President, he would not seek to repeal it.'"

E. J. Dionne: "Under pressure this time..., [Mitt Romney] displayed his least attractive sides. He engaged in pointless on-stage litigation of the debate rules. He repeatedly demonstrated his disrespect for both the president and Candy Crowley, the moderator. And Romney was just plain querulous when anyone dared question him about the gaping holes in his tax and budget plans.... The most instructive contrast between Debate I and Debate II was the extent to which Romney's ideas crumbled at the slightest contact with challenge. Romney and Paul Ryan are erecting a Potemkin village designed to survive only until the polls close on Nov. 6."

Jon Stewart has three good segments on the debate, all of which you can view here. (He also interviews Nate Silver.) This is my favorite of the three; it reminds me of the Washington Post story of young Mittster's leading a severely nearsighted high school teacher into a closed door -- because he thought that was really funny. Sometimes, o lord, there is poetic justice, even if ye taketh decades to exact it:

     ... Stephen Colbert is truly excellent, too.

Dana Milbank: "Key to the success of Romney's Etch a Sketch movement has been the cooperation of conservatives, who have been unusually docile in the face of the candidate's heresies: pledging not to enact a tax cut that adds to the deficit, promising not to decrease the share of taxes paid by the wealthy, vowing not to slash education funding, praising financial regulations, insisting that he would make health insurers cover preexisting conditions and disavowing his earlier claim that 47 percent of Americans are parasites living off of the government.... It has been a rare outbreak of common sense in the conservative movement. Romney should enjoy it while it lasts."

"Binders, Keepers." David Brooks & Gail Collins have a conversation about the conversation Tuesday night. Collins ends it with, "Anybody who's wondering whether a second term could be better than the first can look at Obama's performance in the second debate and take heart." ...

... Collins again: "When it comes to the ever-evolving identity of Mitt Romney, we tend to think of Massachusetts Mitt as the progressive, empathetic version. But there were actually several different Bay State incarnations. The one who got elected governor wanted to ban assault rifles, close down polluting power plants and had emotional memories of a relative who died from an illegal abortion. About halfway through the term, that guy began to evaporate. He was replaced by a Presidential Prospect Mitt who opposed stem cell research, refused to cooperate with other governors on clean air initiatives and lost interest in the binder."

"Why Romney Screwed up the Libya Question." Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "The facts surrounding the Benghazi attack are damning enough on their own. But thanks to their penchant for cherry-picking information, the GOP left their presidential nominee on stage with his mouth agape, struggling to understand how something he knew for a fact wasn't a fact at all." ...

... Candy Crowley defends her remarks re: Libya/"acts of terror":

... Scott Shane of the New York Times provides a time line on who said what when about the terror attack in Benghazi.

Nicholas Kristof's college roommate Scott Androes was uninsured and died of treatable illness. "Let's pray that this presidential election will be a milestone in bringing to an end this squandering of American lives, including [Scott's] your own."

** Tim Noah of The New Republic writes an absolutely fascinating history of the term "trickle-down government," a term Romney has employed in both presidential debates.

Jason Zengerle interviews David Axelrod for GQ -- with annotations.

AND Jim Naureckas of FAIR is totally energized by Tom Friedman's helpful column on the debate. Naureckas's colum is titled "Judging Candidates on Their Resemblance to Thomas Friedman. ...

... PLUS Dean Baker likes to play "The How Many Wrong Statements Can You Find In Thomas Friedman's Column Game."

Local News

John Wagner, et al., of the Washington Post: "Maryland voters are leaning toward legalizing same-sex marriage next month, something that has never happened at the ballot box anywhere in the nation, a new Washington Post poll finds."

Other Stuff

Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "President Obama is prepared to veto legislation to block year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, collectively known as the 'fiscal cliff,' unless Republicans bow to his demand to raise tax rates for the wealthy, administration officials said. Freed from the political and economic constraints that have tied his hands in the past, Obama is ready to play hardball with Republicans, who have so far successfully resisted a deal to tame the debt that includes higher taxes, Obama's allies say."

Linda Greenhouse: in an affirmative action case, the conservatives on the Supreme Court embarrass themselves by asking trivial, taunting, stupid questions.

Jim Fallows takes photos inside the FoxConn campus in Southern China.

CW: Matt Harding is my hero. Thanks to contributor Dan for the link:

News Ledes

New York Times: "The Bangladeshi man who was arrested Wednesday on charges that he plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had an accomplice [named Howard Willie Carter II] in San Diego, who was arrested later on unrelated child-pornography charges, a law enforcement official said on Thursday."

Reuters: "Google's ... quarterly results were released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hours ahead of schedule. Earnings were far less than analysts expected and Google shares immediately plunged as much as 10.5 percent, knocking $26 billion off its market capitalization...."

Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald: "Libyan authorities have named Ahmed Abu Khattala, a leader of the Benghazi-based Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, as a commander in the attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens last month." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel.... No authority has even questioned him about the attack, he said, and he has no plans to go into hiding...."

AP: "Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase represents a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors."

AP: "One of the two Taliban militants suspected of attacking a teenage girl activist was detained by the Pakistani military in 2009 but subsequently released, intelligence officials said Thursday. Malala Yousufzai, 14, was shot and critically wounded on Oct. 9 as she headed home from school in the northwest Swat Valley. The Taliban said they targeted Malala, a fierce advocate for girls' education, because she promoted 'Western thinking' and was critical of the militant group."

AP: "Confidential files kept by the Boy Scouts of America on men they suspected of child sex abuse are set to be released after a two-year-long court battle. The anticipated release of the files on Thursday by Portland attorney Kelly Clark will reveal 20,000 pages of documents the Scouts kept on men inside -- and in some cases outside -- the organization believed to have committed acts of abuse." ...

     ... Update: "An array of local authorities -- police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and town Boy Scout leaders among them -- quietly shielded scoutmasters and others who allegedly molested children, according to a newly opened trove of confidential files compiled from 1959 to1985.... As detailed in 14,500 pages of secret 'perversion files' released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence."

Reader Comments (21)

The Gallup Daily Tracking polls recent results are very troubling. Coupled with the results of polls whcih gave Obama only a modest victory in last night's debate, it begs the question whether the bulk of the American voters have basic sense or reasoning ability. "Oh, if Romney promises to reduce everyone's taxes and balance the budget of course I believe it." "If he says he hired a lot of women while completely ignoring the question of whether he supports equal pay, I'm satisfied." I just don't know what's wrong with these people.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

One can only hope there's more wrong with the Gallup poll than with the people come November. Remember, though, that in 2000, Gore won the popular vote and still lost, in that case to the Supremes (the ones we trust some of the voters will remember.) Seems, though, that Obama is still doing well enough in the projected electoral vote tally to have a good chance of pulling off a victory even if the popular vote is close, which it will be simply because he's black. America is unfortunately not all that hard to figure out.

As for yesterday's discussion of "trusted commenter" status over at the Times, my own experience parallels many of yours. Considering my Left Coast location and my occasional need for sleep, I nonetheless used to do pretty well in the "recommend" tallies, as well as in the number of Times Picks I garnered. But the Facebook requirement? Seemed like a Madison Avenue gimmick to me. If I won't Facebook or Tweet my few close friends, why would I want that kind of relationship with and Old Gray Lady? So I respectfully declined.

Since then I have also found the Times columnists have become so predictable and the responses so much equally so, I have lost much of my former interest in them and these days do not comment nearly as often. When you could write a column yourself before reading it, one could hardly call it informative or provocative, let alone an inspiration to write.

Then I followed the Constant Weader, with whose admirable Times submissions I was already familiar, to the Nirvana of Reality Chex....

and that's The Rest of the Story.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

One has to remember that the Gallup poll is a right-leaning (to be kind) organization. They predicted Hoover would prevail over Roosevelt and Dewey would prevail over Truman.

Have a salt shaker handy when reading their prognostications.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@ Victoria D-

I have absolutely no question about why MittWitt appears to lead Obama in the Gallup Poll at this point. We all know that most voters lack the ability to think critically, but I have thought for some years now that many (if not most) of them habitually overdose on grape Kool-Aid. This is known to destroy the cerebral cortex, among other areas of the brain--which is why so many lack completely any semblance of humor or irony. For this reason, among several others, they are a good fit for the flighty righties.

One of the things I truly appreciate about Obama is his delicious sense of irony. This requires intelligence and critical thought. I think his humor sadly is lost on most Kool-Aid drunk Amurikans. Too bad. This is depressing--even if Obama somehow does leak out a victory by winning Ohio.

Sigh.....Just Remember the Supremes!

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

DailyKos puts the Gallup Poll in perspective:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/17/1145957/-About-that-Gallup-poll?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Re: New favorite bumper sticker; "Stop the war on achievement" with an Obama sign crossed out. At the following stop sign I got the man's attention and politely suggested he try harder. I achieved my goal.
"Obama; fighting achievement on every front." Victoria D; they're pin heads, that's why.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

O'Donnell had a good rewrite spot last night on the debate commission's decision to have only undecided voters ask questions. After the never ending year long campaign, how could you be undecided? More specifically, why were these nimrods allowed to exercise their lack of interest and stupidity on TV. He showed the SNL undecided voters spot to reinforce, i.e.Who is the incumbent and is he running?

A group of undecided Ohio voters were questioned after debate and asked if they were now decided. Yikes, something like 8 out of 10 on the "panel" still couldn't correctly identify their 1st born child. Drool buckets all around. One Mensa member stated that she was now voting for Lord SB. This 30something women with 2 kids, "living pay check to paycheck" gave her reason - "he'll take care of us and he has a good track record." She better hope her and her place of employment never meet Bain. She and those 2 kids will be selling matchsticks on the corner, earning less than the male matchstick seller while lobbying to get her resume in a special binder.

The ignorance roils through this country like a tsunami without end. People placidly sit on the couch watching the latest reality show about who can roll the largest booger (by weight), neglecting and/or overindulging their kids while getting plastic surgery on their big toe so it looks like a portrait of the Madonna . Most are either hoarders, wife swappers or interventionists of some sort.
I'm not sure what is worse, the endless blah blah blah of morally bankrupt Republicans peddling endless shit storms of lies or the lemmings that greedily suck it up without a clue that it will result in their demise.

I love my bulldog, Ms. Frida. Even with her pitiful little one marble brain she has more going for her than many of the folks who can vote.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Don't let the polls get you down; take a minute; take a deep breath, then get up and DANCE!

Now click on the link for a few moments of joy.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdan

@Trish Ramey, in a comment in the following post, cites Nicholas Kristof's column. Let me just add that Kristof's friend Scott probably would not have fared well under Romney's plan, which is to send sick, uninsured people to the emergency room.

As far as I understand it, had Scott presented at his local ER, they probably would have sent him away with a bill for a couple of hundred dollars & advice to see a urologist -- something he could have figured out for himself. Scott did go to a free clinic when his symptoms worsened, & the doctor there gave him antibiotics for an infection, when what Scott had was prostate cancer. So it's possible the ER doctor would have prescribed the same useless medication the free clinic doctor did. Would the ER have run a P.S.A. test? I don't know the answer to that, but my guess is, no. But the ER doctor very likely would have advised him to get one.

If there are any ER doctors out there, please let us know what protocol would have required if Scott had showed up saying he "had difficulty peeing," which is how he describes his first symptoms.

BTW, according to the Mayo Clinic, "Organizations that do recommend PSA screening generally encourage the test in men between the ages of 40 and 75, and in men with an increased risk of prostate cancer." Very likely, if Scott had had insurance & was getting regular well-patient physicals, his doctor would have ordered a routine PSA screening before Scott experienced symptoms.

Often those "unnecessary, wasteful tests" Republicans complain freeloading Medicare & Medicaid beneficiaries are getting are not so unnecessary & wasteful.

Marie

October 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

If you're in need of a big 'ol grin, watch Dan's video.

Barring imminent personal tragedy, if you're not smiling within the first 30 seconds of this video (and still smiling even after it's over), I never want to meet you, and that's that.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Breaking News!!!

The latest Gallup poll shows a large herd of undecided dimwits in a bind whether to vote for their personal interests or cheezy cheese pizza.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

As a public service, I now present a prediction of how RomLie campaign promises will fare after his sons beat up the president and he steals the election:

In addition to the 12 million jobs from his 5 (count ‘em, 5) point plan, the Mittster promises that they’ll all be CEO level salaries, one million dollars and up. At least 5 million are guaranteed beach houses with elevators in the garages. No one who looks immigranty need apply. Or Blahs.

Economic problems all solved by May 1st. Everything deregulated. Wall Street cheers.

Iran nuked with good ‘ol American Nuc-ular Warheads. Mittens calls BFF Bibi to give him the good news. Bibi asks "Who is this again?"

More binders of full of women delivered to the Oval Office. Mittens hands them off to Lady Ann to see if she can find anyone who can cook a decent roast and get all that smelly stuff cleaned from around the bottom of the toilet, chop, chop.

Mittens declares war on China. China, fearful of tough guy Mittens, surrenders, agrees to become 51st state if Willard will give them a few months to learn English and convert to Mormonism. Cheap iPads and iPhones grandfathered into the deal.

Four Supreme Court justices, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, all found dead of suspected mysterious terrorist attack. Mittens vows to get to the bottom of this. “Within the next 25 years, we’ll find out who did this.” Just in case, Muslims around the nation rounded up and jailed in stadiums along with immigrants who resist self-deportation.

Special interim appointments made to fill four vacancies of dead justices: Wayne LaPierre, Jamie Dimon, Bay Buchanan, and Tagg Romney are all sworn in by Willard. Romney horse also sworn in as alternate, as consolation prize for sucking in the Olympics.

Rowe v Wade repealed by special session of Supreme Court, convened at 2AM the next day. Session lasts only 3 minutes. Scalia complains bitterly; had a lot more to say.

SEC disbanded. Wall Street hails progressive campaign by Romney to outlaw impediments to wealth and, you know, free enterprise.

Schools instructed to cease teaching evolution, climate change, and civil rights history. Re-segregation started in nearly all southern school districts. Mittens explains that “The Blahs asked for it. What can I do?”

Mittens makes oil and gas industries official departments of the United States government. Fracking begins under the national headquarters of the NAACP in Baltimore. When asked why, Willard replies "Why not?"

Teabaggers firebomb the UN. Anyone not white or wearing weird things on their head, or dressed in funny clothing, shot on sight. Mittens declares that wasn’t exactly how he would have handled it. Promises an investigation. Appoints Joe Arpaio to look into it.

Unions outlawed. Union leaders rounded up and put in stadiums with immigrants and Muslims. Football fans complain that bathrooms will be nasty by the time football season begins again. Romney agrees.

Mass deportations to the Ross Ice Shelf begin immediately. Women hired from binders at 50 cents an hour sent in to clean up the mess.

And that’s just the first 6 months!

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Why aren't the undecided getting it? Possibly because they barely pay attention (unlike the intensity of everyone following every bit of political news/video/blogs as WE ALL ARE here) whereas the little bit of info they glomb onto comes from a sporadic diet of FAUX News — between episodes of DWTS/Fat Stories & Hoarders, et al. How to reach them? I haven't a damn clue.

And just reading Akhilleus' 'public service' prediction...I get chills just thinking how dangerously close to the mark he is on this. (Thank goodness, I could be distracted by Dancing Matt 2012).

And, in a way I can relate to Tagg Romney's wanting to take a swing...I DID, TOO while watching the debate. But, my target was not POTUS!

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Check out these reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Avery-Durable-Binder-EZ-Turn-17032/product-reviews/B001B0CTMU/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&tag=pimma-20&fb_source=message

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Dan, thank you for brightening my day ~ the video is wonderful, uplifting and lighthearted.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Uplifting video on how to defeat the Tea Party and save a library in Troy, Michigan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoT13m8-Kxo

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Re: dancin' with Mr. D; Thanks Dan, made my day. Can't sing, can't dance but when I do it looks like I got ants in my pants. And Matt is a fuckin' genius.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

This is not exactly political but I will bet that this woman is voting for Willard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI8UPHMzZm8&sns=fb

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Well, I had been feeling a tad better about the coming election, but not now. First, there is the nearly unimaginable idiocy of "uncommited" (stupid) voters. But then comes the reason the Rat and Rove and the Kochs are so unflaggingly certain of the outcome: election rigging.

Run out and get the current issue of Harper's. Read Victoria Collier's excellent and superbly researched article. For all of the GOP screaming about election stealing, there is only one party that has relied--almost exclusively--on such vote theft in important contests.

The wealth of evidence and the smirking hubris of Republican operatives even in the face of clear losses (turned mysteriously into GOP victories) will make you want to scream.

Hre's an example. In 1996, Nebraska's Democratic governor, Ben Nelson, was up substantially over GOP challenger Chuck Hagel. Suddenly 3 days before the election, Gallup said the race was a toss-up. On election day Hagel suddenly won by an astonishing 15 points.

The machines used to tally the "votes" were all the products of an election systems company run by....Chuck Hagel. Six years later Hagel, in a re-election bid amounted a jaw dropping 83% of the vote. One of the largest totals in state history. The election machines were all Chuck's.

Just IMAGINE if a Democrat had been elected under such circumstances.

Read this article.l

This is another reason why the Rat believes that he can say anything he wants and why Obama's actual margin in 2008 should have been closer to 12 or 13 points.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I am marginally heartened about the election when I remember the Hunt brothers attempt to corner the silver market. It makes me think the Koch brothers will reap the same rewards trying to corner the election market. I have a kind of New Deal faith that not everyone--yet--is quite as stupid as they assume.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@dan

Thanks for the uplifting video!!!! I needed it, and sent it to all my friends.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts
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