The Ledes

Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

AP: "Syrian rebels, including fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group, seized control of a frontier crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights on Wednesday after heavy clashes with President Bashar Assad's forces, activists and rebels said. The capture of the post along Syria's de facto border in the Golan held more symbolic value than strategic, but rebels said it would provide relief to nearby villages that were under siege by government troops."

Washington Post: "An open-ended cease-fire between Hamas and Israel was holding Wednesday after seven weeks of warfare that killed more than 2,200 people."

Washington Post: "Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of stepping up military activity in the annexed territory of Crimea and sending in troops to help separatists near a key seaport in southeastern Ukraine."

New York Times: "Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said on Wednesday that French prosecutors had placed her under formal investigation over a murky business affair that dates to her time as finance minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, August 26, 2014.

New York Times: "The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index reached a milestone on Tuesday, closing above 2,000 for the first time ever, if just barely. It was a lazy day of trading that picked up on some encouraging signs in the United States economy, but not enough for sustained optimism in the market."

ABC News: "A third American hostage held by ISIS has been identified as a 26-year-old American woman who was kidnapped a year ago while doing humanitarian relief work in Syria. The terror group is demanding $6.6 million and the release of U.S. prisoners for the life of the young woman, whom a representative for the family requested not be identified."

New York Times: "A 33-year-old American who was fighting for the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was killed in recent days in a battle with a rival group in Syria, a senior American official said on Tuesday. The authorities identified the man as Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego. According to a human rights group that tracks the conflict in Syria, Mr. McCain was killed in a battle in Marea, a city in northern Syria near the Turkish border. Mr. McCain had been on a watch list of potential terrorism suspects maintained by the United States government, American officials said."

New York Times: "Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday reached a long-term cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting, according to officials on both sides, halting the longest, bloodiest battle either side has experienced in years — but without resolving many of the bigger issues underlying the conflict."

New York Times: "Burger King Worldwide agreed on Tuesday to buy the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons for about $11.4 billion, creating one of the biggest fast-food operations in the world – with a little help from Warren E. Buffett. As part of the transaction, however, the American burger giant will move its home to Canada, where the combined company’s biggest market will be."

Washington Post: "Ukraine said Tuesday its forces detained a group of Russian paratroopers who crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, and the U.S. ambassador to Kiev warned of a possible “Russian-directed counteroffensive” by pro-Moscow separatists, raising tensions between the two countries as their presidents attended a regional summit."

Public Service Announcement

New York Times, August 15: "The Food and Drug Administration has approved Avastin — made by Genentech, a unit of the Swiss drug maker Roche — for a new use against late-stage cervical cancer, the seventh indication for the biotech drug, which had global sales of $6.25 billion last year."

White House Live Video
August 27

12:45 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

1:00 pm ET: White House Veteran Entrepreneur Champions of Change forum

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

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

New York Times: "The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was a win for broadcast and cable television, which earned numerous awards as the digital gate-crasher Netflix was nearly shut out. AMC’s 'Breaking Bad' scored big on Monday night, winning a total of five awards, including its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series. The crime drama, about a high school teacher who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer and starts selling crystal meth with a former student, concluded its final season." Here's the L.A. Times' coverage.

... Via Slate.

Looking for a bucolic retreat where the townspeople will protect you from curious outsiders? Got about $700K to burn? Then you might be interested in purchasing the former home of fiction writer J. D. Salinger. the property is located in Cornish, New Hamphire:

... Many more pix & a virtual tour here.

Kevin Roose of New York: "How to make $200MM in 28 months." CW: Yeah, I know. Twenty-eight months is a lo-o-o-ong time.

Stupid Wiki Tricks. Telegraph: "Wikimedia, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because a monkey pressed the shutter button and should own the copyright."

The Wrap: "James Corden is taking over for Craig Ferguson as host of 'The Late Late Show' on CBS, an individual with knowledge of the situation has told TheWrap.... Corden stars in Disney's 'Into the Woods' and can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again.'”

John Oliver on "native advertising." Via Juan Cole:

Justice Ginsburg on the Tumblr site Notorious R.B.G.:

Washington Post: "Former president George W. Bush has been writing a book about his father, former president George H.W. Bush. The book will be published in November."

"Homophonia." Caroline Moss of Business Insider: "An education blogger in Utah is out of a job today after writing [righting] a blog post explaining 'homophones' for the Nomen Global Language Center. Tim Torkildson said he was fired by [buy] his boss and NGLC owner, Clarke Woodger, for [four] promoting a gay agenda." Here's Torkildson's blogpost on his firing. Thanks to Akhilleus for the link.

Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times: "New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission would do well to turn down the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion, which imagines replacing a prized garden on East 70th Street in Manhattan with a clumsy addition. The city should avoid another self-inflicted wound, and there are other options." CW: As I recall, the garden is that it is difficult to see from the street. I love the garden court & have spent a good deal of time there.

Martha Stewart has a drone.

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Friday
Oct052012

The Commentariat -- October 6, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

My column in the New York Times eXaminer is titled "A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to the Presses" and examines the way the New York Times has handled Mitt's Mendacity, Debate Episode.

Christopher Rugaber & Scott Mayerowitz of the AP: "Sasquatch might as well have traipsed across the White House lawn Friday with a lost Warren Commission file on his way to the studio where NASA staged the moon landing. Conspiracy theorists came out in force after the government reported a sudden drop in the U.S. unemployment rate one month before Election Day. Their message: The Obama administration would do anything to ensure a November victory, including manipulating unemployment data." ...

... David Graham of the Atlantic reports on three Right Wing World theories about who conspired to cook the books to make the September jobs report look so fabulous not great, but better than expected: (1) the "Chicago guys" running Obama's campaign, who ordered a group of Bureau of Labor Statistics civil service employees to alter the stats; (2) BLS employees who decided on their own to surreptitiously help Obama (as Graham observes, conservatives suddenly believe heretofore totally incompetent, superfluous bureaucrats can work together to pull off huge undercover ops); (3) ordinary out-of-work Democratic citizens, tens of thousands of them, who got together & decided to tell the BLS they got jobs last month even though they're still sitting at home, mooching off the government. CW: Probably used their free ObamaPhones to arrange the scam. Great move, all you lazy, unemployed, dependent Obamabots! Your "I Am the 47 Percent!" button is in the mail. ...

Lanhee Chen, Romney's policy director, politely declines to join the crazed Stuart Varney: in his book-cooking kitchen at Fox "News":

... Catherine Rampell of the New York Times explains to the wingnut conspiracy theorist that jobs "numbers are always tremendously volatile, but the reasons are statistical, not political." Don't expect anyone over there in fact-optional Right Wing World to hear her. ...

... "Crazy, Stupid, Scary." Paul Krugman: "The thing is, although such antics are funny in a way, they're also menacing. By attacking anyone who presents awkward facts, the right exerts an intimidating effect. It won't get the BLS to retract today's jobs report, but it might bully news organizations into avoiding objective economic analysis, and maybe even into blurring their reporting right now." ...

... Joe Nocera of the New York Times: "the idea that a handful of career bureaucrats, their jobs secure no matter who is in the White House, would manipulate the unemployment data to help President Obama, is ludicrous.... There is something truly absurd about having the presidential race hinge on the unemployment rate.... The harsh reality is that no president has much control over the economy. That is especially true of President Obama, whose every effort to boost the economy these past two years has been stymied by Republicans.... Whether the Republicans like it or not, the economy is slowing getting better. Awful, isn't it?" ...

... YEAH BUT. Hamilton Nolan of Gawker examines some really convincing evidence that comes to him by way of Right Wing World. It turns out economists at the BLS are completely immoral Obamabots who would do anything for Barry when they're not too busy looking up little girls' skirts.

CW: Jim Surowiecki of the New Yorker writes about the way Mitt Romney thinks about government, but if you want to know basic Republican political philosophy, Surowiecki articulates it: "Romney may say that he wants small government, but what he's pushing for is a government that's small when it comes to helping people and big when it comes to helping business."

Presidential Race

Jeff Mason of Reuters: "President Barack Obama's campaign and its Democratic allies raised a record $181 million in September for the president's re-election effort, adding to a fundraising haul that could prove crucial in the final stretch of the White House race."

David Leonhardt & Mark Landler of the New York Times: "... with Friday morning's jobs report..., Mr. Obama -- and the economy -- received some unexpected good news." ...

... AND Shaila Dewan & Mark Landler of the New York Times: "The jobless rate abruptly dropped in September to its lowest level since the month President Obama took office, indicating a steadier recovery than previously thought and delivering another jolt to the presidential campaign. The improvement lent ballast to Mr. Obama's case that the economy is on the mend and threatened the central argument of Mitt Romney's candidacy, that Mr. Obama's failed stewardship is reason enough to replace him." ...

... PLUS David Fahrenthold & Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Since the very first speech of his campaign, [Mitt Romney] has used a simple figure to bolster his argument that President Obama couldn't fix the U.S. economy: 8 percent.... For Romney, any number above 8 percent proved he was right and Obama was wrong.... The 0.3 percent dip in unemployment in September, from 8.1 to 7.8 percent, deprived Romney of one of his central campaign themes.... It wasn't because the figures showed a healthy economy -- they didn't -- but because the economy had crossed a threshold that Romney had implied it would never cross without him." ...

... Steve Peoples of the AP: "Declaring that the nation is in a 'jobs crisis,' ... Mitt Romney is charging ahead with his economic arguments in spite of unemployment dropping to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office. Romney all but ignored the positive jobs numbers while campaigning Friday night in Florida...."

... Rampell, Again. Romney Making Up Stuff, Again: "In Virginia on Friday, Mitt Romney said that 'if the same share of people were participating in the work force today as on the day the president got elected, our unemployment rate would be around 11 percent.' ... [Romney] ignores the fact that the baby boomers are hitting retirement age.... Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution, estimates that half of the decline in the labor force participation rate 'can be traced to an aging population.' [Romney's] calculation also ignores the fact that a higher share of young people are going to college, and are staying out of the work force temporarily." ...

     ... CW: ha! That would change if Romney were president because he's already said he'd cut student Pell grants & give the few that remain back to the banksters. Plus all those boomers would have to get back in the work force when he voucherized their asses & whacked ObamaCare. They have savings & pensions, you say? Fact: the market -- which partially determines the value of pensions & some savings plans -- goes up more during Democratic administrations than in Republican ones.

Governor Bipartisan? Nope. Romney, Making Up Stuff, Again. Michael Wines of the New York Times: "Mr. Romney said in Wednesday's debate, 'I figured out from Day 1 I had to get along, and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done.' ... But on closer examination..., bipartisanship was in short supply; Statehouse Democrats complained he variously ignored, insulted or opposed them, with intermittent charm offensives. He vetoed scores of legislative initiatives and excised budget line items a remarkable 844 times, according to the nonpartisan research group Factcheck.org. Lawmakers reciprocated by quickly overriding the vast bulk of them." Unlike the Times' usual fare, this is a pretty good "Liar! Liar!" piece.

Willard's Whoppers, Ctd. In Week 37 of Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Steve Benen comes up with a whopping 50 whoppers Mitt told JUST THIS WEEK. ...

The Obama "Truth Team" puts out a series of Web videos countering Romney's debate lies & flipflops:

     ... Who thought Mrs. Greenspan would be helpful?

... Jed Lewison, the best political "Let's Go to the Videotape" guy: "The real Mitt Romney debates the fake Mitt Romney ... and they don't agree on anything." Lewison also posts the transcript of the Two Mitts (or however many there are):

Igor Volsky of Think Progress: far from the madding crowd, the Romney camp walks back his big lie that about half the green companies that got stimulus money have failed.

"Don't Mess with Big Bird!" Charles Blow: "I don't really expect Mitt Romney to understand the value of something like PBS to people, like me, who grew up in poor, rural areas and went to small schools. These are places with no museums or preschools or after-school educational programs. There wasn't money for travel or to pay tutors. I honestly don't know where I would be in the world without PBS."

Frank Rich on the debate -- always informative -- & entertaining: "... in the real world, what I think the less committed public saw, especially in the crucial first half-hour, was a mostly tedious exchange of dueling numbers.... When there was a sudden, unexplained boom behind the two debaters in the early going, I wondered if it was a stagehand fainting from boredom."

Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "While we may be confused about the Real Romney, there is no confusion about the Republican Party. There's no reason to think they would tolerate Moderate Mitt in the Oval Office, or that Mr. Romney would even ask them to."

AND, despite evidence like this (I especially like the palm-off to the kid at the end of the debate) --

      ... Tommy Christopher of Mediaite isn't buying Hankygate. But his analysis is fun to read anyway.

Jim Lehrer defends his debate performance, says it was his goal to stay out of the picture.

Other Stuff

Pigs in Crates. Stephanie Strom of the New York Times: thanks to a Humane Society campaign, U.S. retailers are beginning to purchase pork only from hogs that have been raised in large group pens where they can move around. Farmers complain this will raise the price of pork. "Would they tell Microsoft how to make computers?" Dear Consumers: Eat less meat. Buy more expensive cuts. Guess what? Animals raised humanely taste better.

Donald McNeil of the New York Times: "The first rapid home-testing kit for H.I.V. has just gone on sale for $40, marketed as a way for people to find out privately if they have the virus that causes AIDS. But some experts and advocates say that another use, unadvertised, for the OraQuick test -- to screen potential sexual partners -- may become equally popular and even help slow an epidemic stuck at 50,000 new infections each year in the United States." CW: a mighty cheap form of preventive medicine. If you think it's expensive, maybe you should cut down on the number of new partners you're hooking up with.

Congressional Races

Gail Collins has a swell column running down how things are going in some of the Senate races, but she ends with a House race: Nancy Pelosi vs. Some Guy who is running an attack ad featuring zombies. This has to be the Worst Campaign Ad in History, at least for anyone running for high public office:

News Ledes

AP: "Turkey and Syria traded artillery fire for the fourth day in a row Saturday as rebels clashed with President Bashar Assad's forces near the border, heightening fears that the crisis could erupt into a regional conflict. Also Saturday, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij vowed to crush the rebellion and bring the violence that has engulfed the country to an end."

Reuters: "The Israeli air force shot down a drone after it crossed into southern Israel on Saturday, the military said, but it remained unclear where the aircraft had come from."

Washington Post: "A federal appeals court on Friday sided with President Obama's reelection campaign and said that if Ohio allows military voters to cast ballots in the three days leading to Election Day, it must extend the same opportunity to all voters. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said the state had not shown why voting during the Saturday-Sunday-Monday period should be offered to only one group of voters."

AP: "As the tally from a deadly meningitis outbreak rose Friday, health officials identified the medical clinics across the country that received steroid shots for back pain now linked to the illnesses."

AP: "An ailing extremist Egyptian-born preacher and four other terrorism suspects arrived in the United States early Saturday under tight security to face trial after losing their lengthy extradition fight in England.... The preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, was taken to a lockup next to the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan to face charges that he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and that he helped abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998." ...

     ... Update: "A partially blind extremist Egyptian-born preacher charged in multiple terrorism plots entered a U.S. court for the first time Saturday without the use of his arms, complaining that prosthetic hooks he uses were taken away as he and four other terrorism defendants were flown to New York overnight from London."

AP: "The pope's butler was convicted Saturday of stealing the pontiff's private documents and leaking them to a journalist in the gravest Vatican security breach in recent memory. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the Vatican said a papal pardon was likely. Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre read the verdict aloud two hours after the three-judge Vatican panel began deliberating Paolo Gabriele's fate."

Reader Comments (15)

This is a true story which I think represents the enormous gulf between fact -based liberals and moderates - and everyone else. A good friend told me that her daughter Sarah , who has been a practicing veterinarian for several years, was thinking of opening her own vet clinic. But her boyfriend Matt warned her to beware, because under Obamacare she would have to provide health insurance to her employees. He himself, a small business owner, wanted to hire a few more full-time workers but is waiting, hoping the act gets overturned somehow.
Wait, I said to my friend, does Matt employ over 50 people? When the answer was a definite "no " I informed her that the act didn't apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees. She was so relieved! I asked her where Matt got most of his news. "FOX," was the response.
I think so much of the confusion about what the Obama administration has done, and is doing, is caused by a systematic disinformation campaign.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria D-

This is a good definition of A "low information voter." Your friend's daughter's boyfriend, who watches only FOX News, is a big time low information voter. One might ask--was he not interested enough in the growth of his business to check other sources about "Obamacare?" And, perhaps, get different information? Ah....obviously, not! Big problem in our sad little country--people who are not curious enough or who lack critical thinking ability-- making important life decisions on what they hear on the Tee Vee. Really crazy. And very, very sad. Not hopeful for our future.

I am afraid our country is full of people like this. Please let me know where this veterinarian practices, Victoria. I would never want to take my beloved animals to a person who obviously does not ask very important questions and is unable (or uninterested) in proper research.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Hi Kate - actually my friends' daughter is a liberal who is working hard to pay off thousands of dollars in student loans, keep up with the latest in her field, and volunteer her time for animal rescue. She is an excellent vet .However she, and many her age, simply do not have the time to devote to politics and current events that many of us mature folk do. She undoubtedly would have found the answer on her own eventually ....but I'm glad I could provide the research links. On the other hand, she may learn to question her boyfriend's views on things political and regulatory And that's a good thing! Heck, he might even learn to question FOX.
My main takeaway from this incident is how hard it must be for the Administration to break through the wall of misinformation about its policies and legislation. And all these individual misunderstandings add up and have cumulative effects, one of which is to drag down the economy.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Sorry Victoria-

I just do not buy that argument. I, and some of my liberal friends, were struggling graduate students, with student loans (a few of us with kids), some of us single parents--who managed to stay tuned to the world in the 1960s. We were activists--as time permitted--in Vietnam war protests, and kept abreast of political news of the time. (Maybe not in the detail we all can afford now, as older and less busy people.)

Nevertheless, I think young (and old) people who get all of their information from a single source (either right or left wing) are sadly misinformed! Especially if that source is Fox News, which is notoriously a biased tool of the plutocracy! And mean-spirited as well.

I understand better--when people like my rich brother and richer brother-in-law, watch only Fox News and think all of us on the Left are out to destroy their world. (They are partly right.) After all, they are RICH, and stand to lose if there is less income inequality. And rich, in my book, mostly equals greed and selfishness. Your friend's daughter's boyfriend may be a struggling veterinarian, but he is not widening his world view, or showing a questioning mind. Not a good sign personally or professionally.

My veterinarian here in little Newport, Oregon has a large practice and a larger staff. He provides benefits for his employees and takes less pay for himself. He and his wife, also a veterinarian, do community service for the local animal shelter and wolf sanctuary. We have worked side-by-side for several years to get petitions signed for more money for our underfunded animal shelter. They bring their kids along, and these young kids talk to people about "helping poor animals." I call this "walking the walk," and I am sad to see that far too few people are willing to do this.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

It's funny the connections you can see when you follow events more closely than is allowed by phony organizations like Fox.

The person responsible for the "Chicago Guys" quote (see Marie's list of conspiracy theories oozing out of Right-Wing World's Laboratories of Evil to beat back the news that unemployment has dropped below 8%), Jack Welch, former CEO of GE and self-described Very Important Person, is merely returning a favor for an old friend. In Nick Lemann's review of the career and warped world view of one Willard (The Stinking Rat) Romney, Welch is mentioned in glowing terms by the serial liar running for president under the Republican Skull and Crossbones. Romney refers to him as "brilliant", someone who made it clear to Mittens how much smarter people like they were than just about everyone else.

But there could be another reason that Welch suspects book cooking. Maybe because GE was fined $50 million for its own hot stove accounting. It seems that Welch's company for YEARS manipulated numbers to artificially increase its stock price. Here's Dan Fisher from an article in Forbes a few years ago:

"Like a professional baseball player revealed to have been dabbling in steroids, GE prolonged a nearly decade-long record of meeting or exceeding analyst expectations by resorting to tricks including “selling” locomotives to financial institutions in transactions that looked a lot like loans, and fiddling with the accounting for interest-rate hedges."

Oh, and that business about transactions involving "sales" of locomotives? The Lemann article refers to guys like Romney as
Transactional Men, a new breed of slick operators who aren't actually interested in developing new products, starting new and useful businesses, or creating jobs as much as they are in the slimy manipulation of assets, buying and breaking up businesses and selling what's left at enormous profits before moving on to the next "transaction".

Romney, natch, thinks of himself as a Great Savior of America who should be worshiped for his great transactional acumen and simply cannot understand why the rest of us don't fall to the ground when he waltzes by on a cloud of purloined money and stolen dreams.

Manipulation and sleight of hand tricks are the heart and soul of the economic well being of giants like Welch and Romney. No wonder they feel free to castigate numbers that don't suit them.

Pricks R Us.

Here's a link to the Forbes piece:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/04/ge-immelt-sec-earnings-business-beltway-ge.html

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

That Pelosi attack ad is so devoid of facts and reasoning it is a stark example of the sad state of affairs we find ourselves as a society.

Misinformation and Hollywood smokescreens have now become the preferred method of 'information' digestion among the general populace. This toxic pollution of the national discourse by the Hollywoodian Advertising Execs in tandem with shallow politicians and their $$$ machines is only going to get loonier as our unaddressed problems mount and inequalities stretch our delicate national fabric beyond recognition.

Read a book? Naw, don't have the time. Read the newspaper? Sports section every mornin'! Watch the news much? Yessir-e-bob. I switch between CNN and Fox News to get the WHOLE story.

Our media is managed by the same plutocrats who pay for these smoke bombs whenever truth might be bubbling to the surface. CNN is no Faux News but it's still he said/she said lukewarm bullshit.

I'm teaching English in France to pay for my studies (No stock options to fall back on unfortunately). The students are learning methods of communication so I decided to do a current events unit on the Presidential elections. I chose to analyze American general culture through the years of Presidential political advertisements. In France these political ads on teevee are nowhere to be seen, it's an American anomaly that's hard for them to understand while it seems so 'normal' to us as we've been conditioned over the years.

Staying ideologically neutral, I've stuck to the more routine ads breaking them down in different ways to analyze the tactics behind the scenes of how to get their message across. A few curious students did some out-of-class research and came back to me asking about such famous ads as the "Demon Sheep" ad attacking Tom Campbell in California and the 2010 Pamela Gorman ad for Arizona showing her sharp shooting skills and pretty smile.

They asked me about the question of Democracy in informing the general public and the role of the media and Representatives in doing so. I just smiled and shook my head, thinking to myself how do I explain this bordel that is the illegitimate marriage of the media and American politics. I told them to reflect on their own question and come back to me later. Should be a fun conversation.
Any ideas from those of you with a few more decades of experience would be welcome.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Welch. As in Jack WELCH, (can't help but think) how aptly named. Over the years, after 'hearing' him during his various appearances on CNBC and other shows, I've come to think of him as "Mr. Squeakers."

Thanks to Akhilleus for bringing up the background details on JW that the MSM seems to forget—as this myth of the 'most successful CEO/manager/king-ever' continues.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Re: Rain turns to manna; Republicans outraged; Does anybody want the unemployment ranks to grow? Apparently yes. Cancer rates up. Yes. Air and water pollution raises. Yes. Poor people down to their last nickel. Yes. The Party of No; turns out to be the Party of Yes.
Back to the debate on the debate; talked to a level-headed friend of mine; mid-west grown progressive, his take was Obama was looking down and around because he knows you can't debate lies. Mitt will say anything to suit the occasion. The more people that see Mitt flip-flop the less likely they will vote for him. Obama lost the televised debate but has 90 minutes of Mitt on rewind proving himself to be a double-talking, lying bully. Food for teevee ads. The video of Mitt debating himself is prove in point.
Re: My daughters friends barbers cousins boyfriend; sorry Vic D. I'm with Kate. The guy has a successful enough business that he's looking to hire people but Mittobamacare prevents him. I know shineola when I hear it. I knew the cut-off was at fifty employees, and I know next to nothing; but I do know shineola.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@safari, guiding learners into developing their critical thinking skills involves not taking sides, as you have acknowledged. I am retired as a teacher at a community college where one of my courses was the capstone. The class would form into teams of four and select a topic to research and, ultimately, to present their findings to the class ~ both verbally and in writing. They could select their own topic, which had to be approved by me. And, no two teams could have the same topic.

I gave them steps to follow in doing their research: 1) Differentiating between fact and opinion, 2) Recognizing and evaluating author bias and rhetoric, 3) Determining the accuracy and completeness of information presented, 4) Recognizing logical fallacies and faulty reasoning, 5) Comparing and contrasting information and points of view, and 6) Making judgements and drawing logical conclusions.

Each team would have to present to the class a verbal and written report at the end of each step. Their classmates would then critique each team's presentation, verbally and in writing (using a form that I created). My job was to guide them in asking questions that related to the particular stage of the research that was being presented and never to give my opinion ~ most challenging.

I hope this helps you ~ I am happy to follow up if you have questions. What you are doing sounds exceptional. Bravo!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Well, finally someone addressed my question about Romney's China inclusion. Thanks to Steve Benen who is the dogged chronicler of Mitt's mendacities:

". Romney said, "What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test -- if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it."

The implication here is that U.S. debt is financed by the Chinese, but this isn't true -- China only holds about 8% of the nation's debt."

It is amazing––surreal–-mind-boggling– that a candidate is able to fashion the bulk of his rhetoric around lies and when called out just continues spreading this fodder. I watched Chris Mathews yesterday practically climb through the tube and strangle that slime ball, Jack Welch, yelling at him for his stupid "cooking the books" remarks. Chris, for my taste, has always been a little over zealous and emotional, but maybe this is what is needed now. I'm not a vindictive person–-I don't harbor lots of murderous thoughts in my bosom, but I must confess, I'm feeling hatred here–-I'm about ready to pop my cork.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Found this on Crooks and Liars the AM. Too funny!

Enter what your political leaning on issues are, and RoboRomney.com will produce statements by Mitt Romney that agree with you completely.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Sorry! You have to put the above--RoboRomney.com in your browser to open the link. Try www.RoboRomney.com and it should open up immeduatlee.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

I am very "talky" this AM, and wanted to pass this on. I wrote a comment on Bob Herbert's column last night on Common Dreams, wherein ALL of the commenters were dissing Obama, delving into their disappointment and urging everybody to vote Green. Here it is:

..."Sooo....would all of you commenters rather vote Green, therefore giving votes to MittWitt (a la Ralph Nader), and watch as the Supreme Court gets a couple more Scalias? And watch the demise of our imperfect government under a centrist Democratic president--as MittWitt and his NeoCon cronies take office? I have encountered people on several leftist blogs who are willing to do just that. I say: that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But....I see many of you as stubborn and unyielding in your purist views. That is why we got Dubya in 2000 and 2004--and if we get Romney in 2012, we can, in part, thank all of you. Thanks, but no thanks, for building the bridge to nowhere."


Here is the response to me from Amy L. Sacks:

.."If there's literally no way to vote except for one of two horrible men who both love themselves and the almighty dollar above all, why should I even bother to vote? I think that's your "bridge to nowhere" right there.

On the other hand, I could ignore your stupid, baseless claim that Obama owns my vote. I could go ahead and use my vote as I see fit, and leave you to use yours as you see fit.

Wake me when you get sick of scapegoating other voters, and can acknowledge that your party treated us like shit and needs to do something about it if they ever want something from us other than an upraised middle finger."


This response, or something close, is what I usually receive when I plead on other sites (with furious, disappointed progressives) to "Remember the Supremes." Note she thinks my comment demands that she vote for Obama! (:

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Re: Voter wrongs; Kate, Ms. Sack is so right she's dead right. There's no compromise in Ms. Sack, she's no push over, she demands her principles and by god, she'll vote any damn way that pleases her. So there.
I'm at a intersection and there is a large truck not giving way to me on my bike; I have right of way according to the rules of the road. I take my right of way and I'm flattened like a June bug in July. I'm right; I'm dead right. Good idea?
The Ms. Sacks of the world irritate the living shit out of me. Of course we all want Utopia and hot fudge on our ice cream; guess what Ms. Sack, you don't always get what you want. Whiners/complainers, suck it up Ms. Sack, there's no "I" in US. fuckin' crybabies. Put on your astronaut diapers and take one for the team. But I do respect your right to vote your vote; dumptruck.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Yikes, Kate, Ms. Sack proves that critical thinking skills are lost on the ill informed.

Remember The Supremes!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba
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