The Ledes

Thursday, April 24, 2014.

... New York Times The Lede: "Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine released the American journalist Simon Ostrovsky on Thursday, three days after he was taken prisoner in the town of Slovyansk while filming a video report for Vice News. The Brooklyn-based news organization confirmed his release in a statement, which was followed by a tweet from the correspondent."

Guardian: Ukrainian troops are moving against pro-Russian separatists. The Guardian's liveblog is here. ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Russia announced on Thursday that it was immediately starting military drills involving its army and air force along the border with Ukraine, harshly criticizing the government there for moving against pro-Russian forces occupying various government buildings in a show of force that left a still-undetermined number of people killed and wounded." ...

Washington Post: "Three American medical staff members died when an Afghan security official opened fire Thursday at an American-run Christian hospital in Kabul in the latest violence targeting foreigners in Afghanistan."

Guardian: "Pupils at the elite Southbank International School in London were victims of serial paedophile teacher William Vahey, the school has confirmed. The scale of the abuse is expected to be revealed later on Thursday in a letter to parents.... Vahey, a 64-year-old American who taught at Southbank between 2009 and 2013, killed himself after being found with 90 images of boys. The FBI believe the children were drugged with sleeping pills and molested in assaults dating back to 2008."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Guardian: "The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional. The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences.... The court's reversal on Wednesday came hours after a resolution by an Oklahoma House member to try to impeach some of its justices."

New York Times: "The latest accord between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization appeared more serious than past attempts, experts said, and came as hopes faded for a resolution to peace negotiations with Israel."

New York Times: "Russia continued Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the government in Kiev, warning that events in eastern Ukraine could prompt a military response and again accusing the United States of directing events there."

Not All Fish Are Created Equal. Time: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro."

Reuters: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter Simon Ostrovsky."

AP: "When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she resurfaced, expressing support once again for the pro-Russia insurgents — but possibly no longer as mayor."

AP: " A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from Canada's embassy in Moscow in retaliation for Canada expelling a Russia diplomat as tensions grow over the Ukraine, Canadian officials said Tuesday."

AP: "A Moscow judge on Tuesday left open the possibility of jailing President Vladimir Putin's main critic for years, a sign of Putin's increasingly hard-line rule against opponents. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was fined $8,400 on Tuesday for slandering a lawmaker. His second trial starts Thursday, and prosecutors who previously secured his house arrest are widely expected to ask for jail for him pending trial, with Tuesday's verdict making him a recidivist. If there's a guilty verdict at that trial, he could get a prison term."

AP: "A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "An Army soldier convicted of leaking classified military and diplomatic records persuaded a Kansas judge Wednesday to legally change her name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning."

Time: "President Barack Obama paid a visit to the small community of Oso, Wa., on Tuesday, exactly one month after a massive mudslide there claimed at least 41 lives. He promised survivors that the entire country will be on hand to help for 'as long as it takes'”:

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 24

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

Jon Stewart raises a good point: Why is this man parading around with the flag of a country he claims doesn't exist? ...


Jonathan Topaz of Politico: "The Hannity-Stewart feud: Day Three. During an 11-minute segment on the 'The Daily Show' Wednesday night, Jon Stewart called out Sean Hannity for what he perceived as hypocrisy on the Cliven Bundy issue and called the Fox News host 'The Arby’s of news.'”

CW: It's worth remembering that Stewart was the guy who brought down CNN's shouting pundits show "Crossfire." Of course the Blitzer Channel is, by comparison to Fox "News," a paragon of journalistic excellence.

Jon Stewart on the Cliven Bundy story:

... AND on Sean Hannity's support for Bundy:

... AND Hannity is pissed off. Apparently, it upsets him to hear his own blatant hypocrisy ridiculed.

New York Times: "David Letterman introduced his successor, Stephen Colbert, on his 'Late Show With David Letterman' Tuesday night on CBS with a monologue joke and some cordial conversation — but no measuring of the drapes":

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Paul Fahri of the Washington Post: The ratings for "Meet the Press" are so bad that NBC hired a psychologist to analyze Greggers. ...

     ... CW: Here's the rub. Fahri writes, "The impossible burden for Gregory, of course, has been to follow the beloved Russert. As one NBC colleague describes it, Russert is a 'ghost' who still haunts Gregory’s tenure at 'MTP' six years into his run." This is strictly VSP bull. Russert was a mediocre interviewer, who continually let politicians get away with evasive answers. He left big shoes to fill only because he had big feet.

MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

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Tuesday
Oct022012

The Commentariat -- October 3, 2012

Robert O'Harrow of the Washington Post: "An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators. The nationwide network of offices known as 'fusion centers' was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats. But after nine years ... the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.... In a response Tuesday, the department condemned the report and defended the fusion centers, saying the Senate investigators relied on out-of-date data." ...

... James Risen's report for the New York Times is here. According to Risen, The DHS "cannot account for as much as $1.4 billion."

New York Times Editors: "If New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, cannot bring banks and bankers to justice for the mortgage debacle, it won't be for lack of trying. It will be for lack of resources and political will that only federal partners can provide, including the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and, most important, President Obama.... Unless and until federal prosecutors and regulators are willing to follow up Mr. Schneiderman's actions with broad suits based on violation of federal laws, the full range of potential wrongdoing by banks will go unaddressed. And the rule of law, as well as the opportunity for redress, will suffer irreparable harm."

Ari Berman of The Nation: "By my count, Pennsylvania is one of eleven voter suppression laws passed by Republicans since the 2010 election that have been invalidated by state or federal courts in the past year, including in crucial swing states like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.... It's important to note, however, that voter suppression laws passed since 2010 have not been blocked unanimously.... That said, the pushback against these laws in court has been rather extraordinary, sending a strong signal that restrictions on the right to vote are unconstitutional, discriminatory and unnecessary." With maps. ...

... NEW. Michael Van Sickler of the Miami Herald: "On Tuesday, new details emerged that Strategic Allied Consulting knew of problems in Florida earlier than reported in what is now a case of possible voter registration fraud in a dozen counties." ...

... People, Suppressing Their Own Votes. Amanda Michel, et al., of the Guardian: "A Guardian survey of six of the most crucial swing states upon which the outcome of the presidential ballot is likely to depend has found that new voter registrations recorded between January and August this year are markedly down compared with the same period in 2008. The drop is particularly pronounced in several states for the Democrats -- a likely indication that Barack Obama's re-election team has been unable to match the exceptional levels of voter excitement generated by his candidacy four years ago."

Eli Lake of Newsweek: "In the five months leading up to this year’s 9/11 anniversary, there were two bombings on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and increasing threats to and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi. Details on these alleged incidents stem in part from the testimony of a handful of whistleblowers who approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the days and weeks following the attack on the Benghazi consulate. ...

... Maureen Dowd: "Susan Rice's tumble is part of a disturbing pattern of rushing to pump up the president on national security, which seems particularly stupid because it's so unnecessary."

Presidential Race

The legendary Newton Minow, in a New York Times op-ed: "The [presidential] debates are an institution now, and among the most watched television events in America. They are one place in the modern campaign -- perhaps the only place -- where the voter is treated with respect.... Once derided as a creature of the parties, the [presidential debate] commission has gradually become independent of them."

Uri Friedman of Foreign Policy has an excellent "Top Ten Debate Moments on Foreign Policy." This is more substantive than the usual blooper reels of the "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" genre. With video.

Jake Tapper & Mary Bruce of ABC News: "On the eve of the first presidential debate, the conservative website The Daily Caller Tuesday circulated previously unreported clips of a five-year-old speech in which then-Senator Barack Obama praised his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and suggested the federal government discriminated against the victims of Hurricane Katrina." ...

... Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed has video & audio. ...

... David Graham of The Atlantic has the transcript. ...

... Howard Kurtz of Newsweek: "Under a banner headline, Drudge said that 'Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society.' But nothing on the tape supports that."

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "After [Vice President] Biden described the middle class as having 'been buried the last four years,'" Republicans pounced, treating it as an unwitting admission of President Obama's failures. The vice president was criticizing the Republican ticket for pursuing a tax overhaul that would raise taxes on the middle class, he said. 'How can they justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years?' Mr. Biden said at a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C."

"My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney's trash." A great spot by the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees:

A new Obama Web video, based on the New York Times story on Romney's taxes, linked in yesterday's Commentariat:

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times: when Paul Ryan said, "… it would take me too long to go through all of the math" explaining the Romney-Ryan tax plan, "There's a reason why it would take too long -- infinitely long, you could say -- to go through the math that holds this policy proposal together: because math will never hold this particular policy proposal together.... There's an $86 billion shortfall -- the difference between $251 billion in tax cuts and $165 billion in potential tax increases on this high-income group." ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "In other words: -$251 + $165 + 0 = 0 In my 7th-grade pre-algebra class, this bit of arithmetic wouldn't have passed muster. Maybe they taught math differently at Cranbrook." ...

... Steve Benen: "If you think Paul Ryan is telling you the truth, you need a better calculator." ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York: "Today Bloomberg News spoke to Ryan and promised he could have all the time he wanted to get into the math. Guess what? He still didn't." Video here.

Sahil Kapur of TPM: "Under pressure to provide more details about his tax reform proposal, Mitt Romney floated an idea Tuesday to help fill a revenue hole in his plan. As an option you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction; and you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others -- your healthcare deduction....' ... In other words, cap the total amount individuals can benefit from tax loopholes."

Congressional Races

Rep. Todd Akin (RTP-Mo.) is only one point down in his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Dave Weigel of Slate goes to Southwest Missouri to find out why.

Monica Davey of the New York Times: "Campaign advisers for Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who has been undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, say he is on the ballot to stay and is awaiting permission from his doctors to return to public life. A tour of his district on a recent day turned up no evidence of billboards, new yard signs or surrogates on the stump, and a campaign office that was locked during business hours."

Local News

New York Times Editors: "Gov. Jerry Brown of California dropped the ball on Sunday when he vetoed the Trust Act, a bill aimed at keeping harmless immigrants out of the deportation dragnet -- not out of misguided compassion, but to bolster public safety. The police in immigrant communities depend on the cooperation of witnesses and victims; when local officers become federal immigration deputies, fear overrides trust, and crime festers.

A City of San Diego sanitation truck. See Comments for context.

News Ledes

New York Times reporters are liveblogging/fact-checking the presidential debate.

Reuters: "Turkish artillery hit targets inside Syria on Wednesday after a mortar bomb fired from Syrian territory killed five Turkish civilians, while NATO called for an immediate end to Syria's 'aggressive acts'. In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey hit back at what it called 'the last straw' when a mortar hit a residential neighborhood of the southern border town of Akcakale."

Guardian: "Republicans in Congress have written to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, claiming to have evidence of a previously undisclosed attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and threats to American ambassador in Libya in the months before he was killed. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a subcommittee on national security, are demanding Clinton hand over information about previous attacks and threats as Republicans step up pressure on the White House with accusations of incompetence and a cover-up over the assault that killed the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other American officials last month." ...

... Foreign Policy: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) Tuesday afternoon to pledge the State Department's full cooperation with Congress in getting to the bottom of the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans."

Al Jazeera: "A Chinese-owned company has filed a lawsuit against US President Barack Obama for blocking its purchase of wind farms near a US military base on national security grounds, court documents showed. Obama signed the decree on Friday banning the sale of four wind farms in Oregon to the Ralls Corp and its Chinese affiliate, Sany Group. In the decree, Obama said companies linked to Chinese nationals 'might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States'."

AP: "Investigators were scouring a rugged area near the U.S.-Mexico line looking for evidence in the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent. Nicholas Ivie and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, about 100 miles from Tucson, when gunfire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Border Patrol. Ivie, 30, was killed. The other agent, whose name hasn't been released, was hospitalized after being shot in the ankle and buttocks." ...

     ... Reuters Update: "Mexican troops arrested two men on Wednesday suspected of involvement in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot dead in Arizona while responding to a tripped ground sensor, Mexican security officials said."

Al Jazeera: "Four blasts ripped through a government-controlled district close to a military officers' club in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 90, opposition activists said."

Reuters: "Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in Syria's civil war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces. Moscow further called for restraint between NATO-member Turkey and Syria, where violence along their shared border has strained relations between the former allies."

Reader Comments (27)

Please, dear Universe, save us all from Southwest Missouri! And from Todd Akin and his supporters. This has made a very nice day rather shitty--because it is another reminder of how dumbed down and ignorant some people are, and proudly so. Imagine saying it is commonly known that women under stress do not get pregnant! Yikes.

In the many years I worked as a therapist, I had as clients more than a dozen women who had become pregnant through rape. They indeed were under stress, but nevertheless became pregnant. Most carried their child to term and put him/her up for adoption. Only one kept her baby, but her parents raised him. All suffered from PTSD--which is why they sought treatment.

Another phenomenon I remember is that quite a few women I saw became pregnant after their first sexual encounter as young teens--which must have been highly stressful. All of these women have suffered throughout their lives from getting pregnant at such a young age, and being treated as sluts as a result. Some were "sent away" by their families (to Florence Crittenden "homes" for unwed mothers), and gave birth to babies--who they were never allowed to see or to hold, and their babies were put up for adoption immediately. This for them has been a lifelong trauma--even if they reunited with their children as adults.

These pregnancies occurred before Roe vs. Wade (1973)--before abortion became legal in much of this country. I wish I had made tapes of some of my sessions with these women, and could take Todd Akin and his supporters into a locked room with armed guards. I would force them to watch the tapes all the way through. Might break through their denial and scorn--then again, probably not.

I am joining the MoveOn fact-checkers tomorrow night during the debate, and will "tweet" (had to open an account) lies and untruths I hear. Hope some of them have to do with "legitimate rape," refusal to supply birth control and banning of abortion--even for those women who were victims of rape and incest. GET ME OUT OF HERE!

To another matter: Remember the Supremes!

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Kate,

In China, the emotional and psychological damage experienced by human beings is routinely dismissed. So it is as well by many (especially right wingers ) in this country.

The take in RomneyWorld is that women should shut up, suck it up, and not bother the MEN.

Todd Akin is NOT a misunderstood PATRIOT as teabagging douchewads would have you believe.

He represents the shriveled heart and soul of movement conservatives

In short he is one of the army of pricks whose hatreds and stupidity have sent so many poor girls and women to seek succor and support from you and all your noble colleagues.

We can't thank you enough.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

It quite fascinating how some pundits/journalists can take something and make it into SOMEthing other than what it is. Reading Dowd's diatribe this morning I was struck by her first paragraph which neglects to give poor Susan Rice a first name and sounds more like Rice snubbed Maureen at one time and now it's payback or maybe Dowd's love of Shakespeare spurs her on to tell tales of black intrigue and conspiracy. If I recall correctly Susan Rice prefaced her first remarks by saying "This is what we think we know now," in other words, look folks, until we do the extensive investigating and since we have to tell you something, our best guess is...

And Rumsfeld? Darrell Issa? Plunked down in her column as credible?

The video of Richard Hayes is dumb. Most garbage collection trucks have an automatic lifter that hooks on the cans ––unless there is additional "stuff" not in the cans the workers need not get out of the truck. What exactly is the message here? That Hayes is one of the 47% that Romney can't reach or is Hayes complaining about his bad back because he has to lift (dubious) heavy "stuff" and nobody gives a shit, especially the Romneys who live in that great big house on that tree lined street?

@Kate: Have you watched the PBS––two nights––Nick Kristof and his wife's documentary on the treatment of women –-can't remember what it's called––it's excellent ––makes you want to cut off a lot of lower members of the male species.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: Ouch! Hey P.D.; as a lower member of the male species I'm more than a little offended by your suggestion. Just what was your intent? Cut off, as in chop, slice, saw, fillet, de-bone? Or cut off, like you're never gettin' what you want ever, ever...ever. Neither sounds good. Maybe I'm not getting something, like the mid-wife said,"We don't know if it's a girl or a boy, the newborn has a brain and a dick."
Re: Ms. Dowd is missing something too; Betcha ten thousand the mission in Libya was to pay cash for unused Stingers. The deal went south because guns and cash always go south. Chris Stevens was there because he was a hands on guy. Just guessing though.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Given that Republicans are trying to drum up a scandal based on the conflation of the Bengazi attacks with 9/11, and launching various dog and pony show "investigations," this article in Media Matters exploring and deconstructing the various Republican talking points is worth reading:
http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/09/26/myths-and-facts-about-the-benghazi-attack-and-p/190150

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I got some great personal news this morning. The NY Yankees game tonight will determine the winner of the AL east. Therefore I have a excuse not to watch 90 min. of political crap.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

To JJG, member of the male species: Sorry, sorry, sorry––didn't mean males like you, I meant the males in Somalia who insist on having their females–-starting at seven or eight––castrated––and then impregnating them as often as they can which because of the castration causes difficult and painful births which many times end in the death of the mothers; the extensive prostitution in India (and selling of) of young girls; the rape of females as young as three years old in some other African countries. The point of the documentary was to show the horrendous conditions of women's lives, but also how they have been helped by forming strong alliances and given education and money to start their own businesses thereby giving them the power they need to free themselves from this slave labor and degradation.

For me to express myself as I did means I am besides myself with fury at the aforementioned situation, because truth be told, I have always loved men and have favored them throughout my life so please forgive my vitriol which was aimed only at those males whose members would do well with a slice and dice.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@P. D. Pepe: I'm with @JJG on this one. And the opening line of the ad: "My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney's trash." is worthy of Dinesen -- "I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills...." or, aptly, Ralph Ellison -- "I am an invisible man." I think it's a terrific ad, but obviously -- if people aren't getting it -- I just might be wrong.

If Richard Hayes says he has to lift trash cans, I believe him. Maybe his/Romney's town doesn't have the newfangled trucks.

When I was growing up in Miami, the driver was white & all the men who collected the trash were black. The cans were not on wheels, & the men had to walk in back of the houses where everybody kept their cans, pick them up full of stuff & carry them to the truck, then heave the contents in the truck before carrying the cans back to the rear of the houses. The white driver just sat in the truck like a bump on a log.

In the summer, my father gave mangoes from our mango tree to the men who carried the cans. He did it as an act of friendship, not of charity. That was one way I understood they were the same as us white people. Also, kids had to sit on the back of the city bus, so riding home from school on rainy days, I was one with the black people. If you're lucky, you find out as a kid what's what.

Marie

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

@ Marie: Not liking that ad does not mean in any way I am not sympathetic to people like Hayes. I just thought it was a dumb ad. Like you, I am well aware of the drudge hauling and lifting of garbage collectors before the automatic lifters were put on the trunks, which apparently have not been appropriated on all. But I would think in Romney's neck of the woods they would have those kinds of trucks.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@P. D. Pepe. Hayes works for the City of San Diego. He picks up trash from Romney's La Jolla home. According to the caption on the photo above, "Rear loading garbage trucks are not so common in San Diego anymore. Most are now the side or top loaders with arms that hoist the cans into the compactor area." So I'm guessing Hayes works off a rear-loader like this one. It's possible they're smaller &/or better at maneuvering the narrow, winding streets in La Jolla.

P.S. Quit making me do so much homework!

Marie

October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Put out your can, put out your can, here comes the garbage man; I haven't looked at the video of the trash collector but I was puzzled by PDs response too. Collecting garbage is a tough job with or without a mechanical arm to sling the cans. Go out on a hot summer day and smell your waste can. So I"m with Marie even though I haven't seen the ad. Long time ago Mike Royko wrote a column about the striking garbagemen in Chicago and in it he wrote people are always saying, look at their wages they get paid way to much. Mike's response was, do it for a day and see if they are getting paid too much.
PD; about what I did comment on: there is only one group universally still held in slavery and that's women. I'm sorry I made light of a world wide injustice. Women need to control their own bodies and men need to learn to respect women.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Ok. One more time: With or without automatic lifters on garbage trucks I agree that this kind of job is hard work, low paid, stinky, sweaty, and certainly the kind of job Romney does not give a moments thought about. But I think the ad lacks punch. That's all.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

To put the garbage man story another way, just think of what out world would be like if no one regularly picked up the garbage. In other words, we could live without Mitt, but America would fall apart without the garbage men. And I really mean that.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Couldn't get in on the 'trash-talk' earlier, was watching the Waste Management guys collect the garbage here in my little subdivision! In the rain, no less! Afraid we don't have the fancy kind of self-loading pickups either...but, I do agree with PDP the video didn't quite work as well as it might have. It had message potential...but definitely short on savvy editing!

Speaking of videos, the one with Howard Kurtz & David Brooks came across as totally amateurish. Appeared to be a homemade video. Hey? Aren't these guys in the media biz! Best I could figure, they had the camera rigged to an office chair with casters and were moving it back-and-forth with their feet to capture themselves speaking. Can't believe they'd even want it released! Yikes!

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Here in small town southern Wisconsin we don't have many minorities picking up garbage. Cities used to do it before Waste Management took over the monopoly.
City used to hire college kids in the summer when full time employees took vacations or did street construction. My son did it for two summers. The experience turned him from a so,so student into an engineering school graduate with honors near the top of his class.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

@ "Roger Henry"-

What is your point--that college kids do hard manual labor on garbage trucks during regular employee's summer vacations, and turn out to be honor students--because why? What is your not-so-hidden message about the (I am sure) much older permanent workers who do this difficult labor day in and day out--who likely are supporting families and who never had the opportunity to attend college? Also, you say no minorities do this work? Hmmm......southern Wisconsin. Where? Could it be you are talking about Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, where few minorities live?

I come up with a bad feeling about. Sounds like you're are one of those "independent-free-market-Tea Party-friend of Paul's." Why doncha just say so? I don't do well with veiled racism.

Here is a link to a statement about Janesville's diversity:
http://www.bestplaces.net/backfence/viewcomment.aspx? id=47AD9150-6C27-4E6C-B161-98FB1371EAFC&city=Janesville

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Re: garbage man

I think everyone here agrees that being a garbage man is indeed tough work, and these people can be invisible or looked down upon by others. This is true for many low paying but essential
occupations in society.

When Massachusetts was in the process of passing Romneycare, I recall having arguments with some republican friends who were against it (and now against Obamacare). At the time his father was receiving care in his home by a home health care aide. This aide had no health care benefits, and certainly did not earn enough to buy insurance. Exasperated, I bluntly asked, "don't you think the women who wipes your father's ass should have health care"? He said, "if people want health care they should get a job with benefits". Say what?

I don't get it! In some folks view of the world not all hard working people deserve the necessities of life, nor respect.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

@Julie. Ha ha. Your friend sounds as sensible as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who during the ObamaCare debate answered a constituent who complained he didn't have health care insurance that was as good as Grassley's : "If you want a plan as good as mine, go work for the government." Never mind that Grassley wants to reduce the size of government; Grassley's solution to healthcare coverage is that everybody quit their lousy private-sector jobs & get gummit jobs. Video here.

October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Kate Madison: I took @Roger Henry to mean that his son realized how tough "real work" was & decided he'd better further his education if he didn't want to spend the next 40 years breaking his back -- as Hayes says he has. Like so many of us, Henry's son was able to get a post-high-school education, & he contributed to the cost of that education.

I didn't take Henry's remark to be even mildly racist; just a statement of fact about what the situation is in his hometown. I suspect he only mentioned race because I did, & I mentioned it in the context of who did the hard work in the town where I grew up.

Marie

October 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Garbage in, garbage out; I've been checking out some other sites, lefty and nutty, and I just want to say that Reality Chex is the only site that is smart, funny and civil. I'm not sure why; I think it's Marie first and then the rest of the locals. I am afraid we(I include myself, just 'cause I know where the "I" is on the keyboard) are fighting the rearguard position. Am I channeling my own father when I write all the polite people are old? Anyways,Marie, thanks for an oasis of calm manners in a www of anger, fear, and loathing.
PS. I sense fear in most all right wing comments. Fear of change; fear of the unknown, fear of the price of the ticket for riding the roller coaster of life. Ak quoting Jim Morrison, "Nobody gets out alive."

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

There are several points to be ascertained from my comment.
1. When municipalities handled services such as garbage pick-up, employees got vacations and earned enough to use them.
2. Young people who experience the physical working world young in life even though they have the opportunity to go to higher education tend to find more meaning in their education.
3. Working with working people helps to understand the human condition no matter what your station in life evolves to be.
4. I mentioned race because the dirty work of this world is not performed uniformly by one race anywhere.

To Kate Madison: What happened? Did you grab the sandpaper instead of the Charmin this morning?
Your assumptions about me are rude and insulting and based on nothing in my comment. Thank you Marie for helping point that out.
I am NOT a fan of the fact challenged, crazy eyed, granny starver from Janesville.
It appears that when you view yourself as a hammer everything you see looks like a nail.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Be still my beating heart:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/03/1139322/-BREAKING-Is-Krugman-Heading-To-White-House-Job

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

The other day, I bookmarked a NYT article that was of interest to me. 'Words of wisdom' to keep in mind and consider what I write/say about things ..and it seems rather apropos to share the link today! (See below):

"On their own, sentences are implacably honest. They may be long, short, simple, complex, clear, ambiguous, even incoherent. But they don’t try to hide those qualities. They are what they are and they say what they say. It’s as plain as the words on their faces. The trouble is that most sentences have writers, a fact that readers are well aware of. That makes it hard to consider sentences entirely on their own. Other questions arise. What’s she saying? What did he mean?" —VERLYN KLINKENBORG

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/the-trouble-with-intentions/?hp

Cheers!

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

It seems the Presidential debate spirit has brought out some sparring in Reality Chex world also. Let the debates begin!

I'm gonna join the joust because being the devil's advocate is always entertaining, though often done in jest.

I'm gonna have to side with the Constant Weader regarding Roger Henry's comment. WHEN you have other options available, a few summers riding behind the dump truck can be an incredible life lesson and could quickly put things into perspective. I can tell the same tale after washing dishes year-round at 16 years old alongside a very interesting character who had been there all his life but unfortunately wasn't going much farther. We're both white guys if that matters. He always had a great spirit considering the hand he was dealt but that experience made me look at books in a very different light as I prepared for post high school reality. Washing dishes is no trash man job (no fancy trucks in Kansas either, just lift, toss, and collect the debris that escapes), but a humbling experience nevertheless.

@JJG The generational generalizations are tiring for those that don't fit the "mold". Only older people are polite? Perhaps, generally speaking. But how many bitter old farts have I come across who have nothing better to do than wag their fat little fingers at me and tell me in their day yadda yadda. My frisbee landed in your yard so I had to walk on your lawn to get it, so terribly sorry. Obviously I do my best to learn from my elders because life is the best teacher and they've been schooled decades longer than myself. But let's not over generalize here. It's mostly the elder generation of the South that's providing life support to the modern neocon GOP. You think those folks are polite....?

I come from the Midwest and I've been instilled with Midwestern values. Where I come from people hold doors for strangers, we ask how you're doing and actually mean it, we give a wave to strangers when passing each other on the country roads. I can't tell you the city because we like to keep this community civility a secret from the coldness of modern societal norms. I agree younger generations these days lack respect for their elders, but it's not as catastrophic as some would have you think. At least where I grew up, this lack of respect most likely comes from a lack of real world experience. Too many pampered kids never being faced with the character-building tests of real life.

On another note, cheers to Romney reboot 46.527!
Now's his time to introduce himself to the American people...only weeks before the election. Here's to hoping he blows a fuse, short-circuits his memory and this time introduces Obama as the next President of the United States.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Roger Henry-

Mea Culpa! I was very wrong about your intentions, and I apologize for what I wrote. I think it was a combination of a long phone conversation this AM with my racist, right wing brother and your sentence about your son being an honor student. (That always gets me going--especially those bumper stickers!) I saw nothing in your first comment about the sorry plight of garbage men and people who do hard labor for a living. Your second note clarified what you meant, and I am in agreement with what you say. No matter, I certainly did jump to conclusions unfairly. I will make no more comments on Reality Chex after phone conversations with my brother, and will check my Tea Party paranoia at the door--except when a troll writes positively about Todd Akin. But.....I'd have to line up behind the other commenters on that one, for sure.

Meanwhile, can you spare some Charmin?

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Re: surfin' sarfri: of course old and young have nothing to do with manners, good call. Oh, Rusty the pit bull has your frisbee; he's really old and really grumpy, good luck.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@ Kate Madison, I don't want to beat this to death, but thank you. I have admired your insightful comments on Marie's Magnificent Adventure for many months now. You are vastly more articulate than I, therefore my meanings are often misunderstood. It is a curse that came with an early education in a one room school which didn't help to organize a wandering brain.
I painfully remember the Supreme's each day.
The silver tongued snake who sells magic underwear wowed the after debate spinmasters tonight.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry
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