The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, February 4, 2016.

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

New York Times: "Maurice White, the founder and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, whose genre-defying music made it one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, has died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 74."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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