Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President spoke from the place where his political career first began in the Illinois State Senate ... [about] the state of American politics":

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February 11

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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: "Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man. ...

... The Times is publishing previously unpublished photos of black historical figures & events every day this month. You can see those published to date here.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

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 Times: "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.'”

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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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