Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office":

The Ledes

Saturday, December 20, 2014.

Reuters: "Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department took at least 73 adults and one minor into custody during the protest that blocked Interstate 43, which runs through the city, according to the department's Twitter feed."

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Lowell Steward, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 100 missions during World War II, died Wednesday, according to Ron Brewington, former national public relations officer for the Tuskegee Airmen. Steward was 95."

NBC News: "The Army has concluded its lengthy investigation into the disappearance of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in eastern Afghanistan and must now decide whether Bergdahl should face criminal charges. Bergdahl reportedly walked away from his base into the hands of the Taliban and was held hostage for five years. Based on the investigation, the Army must now decide whether Bergdahl should be charged with desertion or a lesser charge of being 'absent without leave,' AWOL."

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

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

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

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

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

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

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

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


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

... BUT ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is quite cool:

 

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

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

Contact the Constant Weader

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Monday
Oct082012

The Commentariat -- October 9, 2012

Brendan Nyhan in the Columbia Journalism Review on some major media outlets' irresponsible handling of the right-wing jobs report conspiracy theory. ABC News & Bloomberg News were among the worst, & other media picked up the Bloomberg story. Via Jonathan Bernstein.

** Based on a book by Yale law professor Akhil Amar, Stanley Fish writes a terrific primer on interpreting the Constitution.

Jon Stewart addresses the conspiracy to artificially lower the unemployment rate:

Presidential Race

Jeffrey Jones of Gallup: "Registered voters' preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday's presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters." ...

... Nate Silver analyzes the latest presidential polling data.

Fact-Check. Bradley Klapper & Calvin Woodward of the AP: "Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives." Read the whole article. Here's a surprise: Romney told one lie after another. ...

... President Obama has shown time and again that he is a tough, responsible and steady commander-in-chief. Mitt Romney has shown throughout this campaign that he would be the exact opposite. Behind the tough talk, he has been erratic, unsteady and irresponsible in his audition on the world stage. -- Ben LaBolt of the Obama campaign ...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "What [Romney's] campaign billed as a major foreign policy address didn't have much new in it and left some analysts unimpressed. The speech, they said, was much like Romney's previous swings at laying out a foreign policy: couched in broad ideology and big ambitions and lacking the specifics for how he'd bring any of them about." ...

... Spencer Ackerman of Wired: "Mitt Romney thinks Barack Obama is a terrible president. When Romney looks at Obama's foreign policies, he sees a president who projects 'passivity' in a dangerous world, as he argues in a big speech on Monday, leaving allies and enemies confused about where America stands. Which makes it curious that the policies Romney outlines in his speech differ, at most, superficially from Obama's." ...

... Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "Romney's speech ... seems to have focused less on introducing new policies as introducing a new Mitt." ...

** ... Dana Milbank: "Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom famously predicted that the candidate would use an Etch-a-Sketch approach in the general election to erase his previous positions. But nobody predicted that the entire exercise would occur in the space of one week -- and just a month before the election. Stranger yet, Romney hasn't been shifting all his views to the center in recent days. While his domestic policies are moderating, his foreign policy is moving to more of a neocon hard line. The only consistency is inconsistency: Whatever Romney's positions were, they are no longer."

... Steve Benen: what Romney says about Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in public is notably different from what he says in private.

Ezra Klein: Mitt isn't moderate, & he would govern as a conservative. Klein explains why.

CW: what this all boils down to is that Mitt's policies don't matter because he has no principles. He is completely unpredictable. He would be the Schizoid President.

Mike Allen & Jim VandeHei of Politico write what I think is a hilarious story: This Week's Willard is all the doing of -- wait for it -- Ann & Tagg Romney. "This story is based on campaign sources with direct knowledge of the events. The sources insisted on anonymity in order to discuss internal disputes and operations." Yeah, right. This story is what is technically known as a sack-o'-shit leak, designed to burnish the reps of Ann & Tagg & "explain" how This Week's Willard is the Real Romney.

AND, speaking of hilarious, contributor Julie L. links this Obama campaign ad:

     ... John McCain is not amused. ...

... Sorry for all the "Daily Show" stuff, but this is an instant classic -- "This Week with George Snuffleupagus":

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the AP does a nice job of politely debunking Romney's claims that he plans to provide health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. Headline: "Big Gaps in Romney Plan on Pre-Existing Conditions."

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic runs down a few of Romney's more severely conservative positions: "Romney had more than a year of campaigning to position himself as a moderate. He chose not to do so. That tells us a lot -- more, surely, than anything he says now."

Paul Ryan gets pissed off, walks out of interview by Flint, Michigan reporter. Via Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed:

... John Aravosis of AmericaBlog: "It was clear that Team Romney won't permit Ryan to do an interview, or continue an interview, with anyone who seems prepared to question the Romney campaign's lies."

Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution, writing in Salon, on the gay vote. Why would gays vote Republican? Ever? Um, jobs or something. So far, Log Cabin Republicans have chosen not to endorse Throwback Mitt.

Congressional Races

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "A potent combination of Congressional redistricting, retirements of fed-up lawmakers and campaign spending by special interests is pushing out moderate members of both parties, leaving a shrinking corps of consensus builders."

Alison Cowan of the New York Times: through an associate, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) (Staten Island & parts of Brooklyn) has ties to the Gambino crime family.

Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: Rep. Todd Akin (jRTP-Mo.) is gathering support for his candidacy & has closed the 10-point gap that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) enjoyed after Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks. And evangelicals love him!

Right Wing World

Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times has more on former state legislator Charlie Fuqua, who is running to take back his old seat. In his book God's Law: The Only Political Solution, Fuqua writes that "the guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children ... in Deut 21:18-21 ... would rarely be used, if it were the law of land, [but] would give parents authority." Even more frightening: Fuqua is a former lawyer for the state department of human services. Fuqua's campaign gets financial support from the state Republican party. CW: shouldn't a lawyer who advocates the occasional murder of brats be disbarred?

News Ledes

New York Times: "As tens of thousands took to the streets in protest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens on Tuesday in her clearest gesture of European solidarity since the debt crisis began."

New York Times: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for elections early next year instead of as scheduled in October 2013, saying that conversations with his coalition partners had proved it would be impossible to pass 'a responsible budget' with deep cuts."

AP: "Senior State Department officials on Tuesday revealed for the first time certain details of last month's tragedy in the former Libyan rebel stronghold, such as the efforts of a quick reaction force that rushed onto the scene and led the evacuation in a fierce gun battle that continued into the streets. The briefing was provided a day before department officials were to testify to a House committee...."

AP: "A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers. Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said."

Reuters: "The unprecedented price spike that added more than 50 cents a gallon to California pump prices last week ended as quickly as it began, market analysts said, and consumers should see prices fall dramatically in the coming week. Political outrage, however, was still heating up as Senator Barbara Boxer joined calls for a federal investigation into possible market manipulation."

ABC News: "Jerry Sandusky didn't take the stand during his child sex-abuse trial this summer, but Tuesday at his sentencing he will declare that he is innocent despite the 45 verdicts finding him guilty, his lawyer said Monday, as Sandusky made the same claim in a new audio recording." ...

     ... Philadelphia Inquirer Update: "An emotional Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison today for molesting 10 young boys he encountered through his charity for disadvantaged youth."

Guardian: "Julian Assange's supporters have been ordered to forfeit £93,500 in bail money after the WikiLeaks founder sought political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London."

Reader Comments (30)

CW,
On the election season in general-
Author Toni Morrison on the election season and race....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-19827316
mae finch
note: tried to post during the day (10/8) but kept getting script error and a frozen computer.

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

Mae Finch : What a relief, I thought something was wrong with my computer when I got the "script error" prompt. Have to hit close twenty or thirty times to get it off page. First time it happened, I had to shut down to get rid of it.

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Yesterday's comments about problems in latin America should be a warning to us all. These countries are a demonstration of the fact that people will not starve or be continually abused quietly. If we continue on the course of creating economic inequality we will end up a "banana republic" and an unsafe situation for everyone.
This is our destiny unless we stem the fall of working America. With the weak Obama it will take a while to self destruct.
A tea party led Romney will do it quicker. Neither candidate nor party seems to realize that we cannot accept eight percent unemployment and a fifteen percent under employed and growing numbers of poor.
Exceptional America will soon be looking up to Argentina. Brazil, and Chile. Canada and all the OECD look down on us already.

e

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@Carlisle,
I could not get off the page with error script at all.
Here is my little (very little) knowledge of shutting down everything.
I hit Ctrl, Alt, and Delete buttons-
and voila, computer would shut down- and reboot.

mae finch

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

I think the problem was the "This Week" videos I'd embedded. I've removed them, & I won't post "This Week" videos again, unless I find copies on YouTube.

Marie

October 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Carlyle-

YIKES! Did I read your comment right? Hope not. Sounds like you are interested in a Romney victory. Holy Scalia! I thought you had been listening to me all of these months when I have whined and wailed: REMEMBER THE SUPREMES!

Am I mistaken, or do I need to become extremely needy and manipulative? Please tell!

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Kate Madison :
Obama is dandy, but Romney is quicker.
We are in a lose, lose and Obama is too weak to lead us out. Only the savior that follows the Republican disaster will have the support for the needed radical changes and redistribution.
A devastated public will finally demand real change.
Kate, this is not a preference, it is a prophesy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Carlyle, I have had the same thoughts that we need to fall farther and hurt more before, as Obama is trying to ask for in his speeches, the people recognize and take back the power they are unwittingly relinquishing as they selfishly turn on each other. Most people don't recognize how willing people like Romney are to throw them under the bus in their quest for money and power because he is their version of America - pious and wealthy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@carlyle. There are no "saviors" in politics. We have a system that -- by design -- saves us from saviors, a/k/a megalomaniacal dictators.

Since Kate Madison's run-in with a leftist purist this past weekend, I've been thinking about how to reach people like that purist. Logic doesn't work any more than it works on people who insist the world is 6,000-10,000 years old & a supernatural being created it in seven days.

So here's one thought. Think of Bernie Sanders. Most people on the left love Bernie Sanders. I do. If the Congress declared Bernie Sanders Day & automatically passed every bill and Constitutional Amendment Bernie presented in a day, & the president agreed to sign all the bills into law, this would be a far better country. Imperfect still, but far better.

Now, think about Bernie Sanders' voting record. With nearly every vote, Bernie votes against the type of bills he would submit on Bernie Sanders Day. Nearly all of Bernie's votes are contrary to his strongly-held beliefs & principles. He constantly votes for bills that are just not good enough. The same is true for a few others in the Senate: Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse, maybe Barbara Boxer. Is Bernie Sanders a flaming hypocrite for voting for the not-terrible over the terrible? I don't think so. (It might help you to read the John Paul Stevens review I linked yesterday. His argument for why the framers reluctantly agreed to the constitution of the Senate makes a similar case.) Being an effective member of society means doing the best you can, not sitting in a corner & stamping your feet feet because what's possible is far less than perfect. Pragmatism is a quiet form of heroism.

I hope this helps.

Marie

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Marie, if our political system can't save us from Romney, it can't save us from his successor. Romney may be followed by a military dictator or we may get real lucky and find another Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I am certain Romney, if elected will be our Hoover, sadly without Hoover's good intentions, only his ignorance.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

I found myself clicking on the Ryan clip. I was curious as I grew up near Flint, family/friends still there. His solution for the problems in inner cities was to "provide opportunities" by "teaching character and discipline". Yup, I want me some character and discipline - that'll feed the kids. What he really meant was just drop a 10 ton bomb on urban areas and wipe out all those annoying poor people who usually vote Democratic.

That supercilious little prick is one of the most repulsive mother humpers to pop out of the pod.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@Diane. Thanks for your precisely accurate interpretation of the Romney/Ryan Plan for Urban Moochers & Takers.

Marie

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Carlyle,

More than a few times my views have been presented, here and elsewhere, in a way that, shall we say, does not lack for stridency. I have been accused, over the years, by friends and foes alike, of being a rank idealist. I believe it's essential that we have ideals, naturally. But just because I will go along with a less than perfect solution to the many problems we face doesn't mean I've kicked off my ideals like comfortable slippers to which I can return when everything's warm and cozy again. Marie's Bernie Sanders lesson is a fine description of what it means to hold this sort of position.

Another way to think about the place of ideals is to make a quick gloss of any number of Plato's dialogues, or take a dip into The Republic. The old boy places a high premium on Ideals but he also realizes that they are exactly that: something to strive for. Plato tells us that it is unlikely that we shall reach many or most of our ideals in this world, but that doesn't mean we don't try.

I get--entirely--your dissatisfaction with how things are going. But here's another thing to consider when you suggest that the whole shootin' match should just be blown up so we can start over. The nature of our system, our country, the media, all of it, is pretty much structured to resist that sort of solution. Think of it. Even when things have been terribly bad in this country, there has been no serious call for revolution (or at least none that would actually pay off). I too am concerned with who or what will slither out from the right after Romney, but I still have a kind of faith in our fellow citizens, most of who seem led like sheep quite a lot of the time, but who may, at last, turn away from the treacherous, the religious zealots, the haters, and the xenophobes. History has a way of evening things out after time. Romney and the current GOP have bet the farm on one single belief which has brought them great success but may yet be its downfall:

Americans are Stupid.

That's it. That's all they got.

They believe that if they tell enough lies, enough people will buy their bullshit and they'll be back in the catbird seat. Their leaders don't trust democracy, don't like or trust most Americans, and don't have any compunction against doing or saying anything in order to hold on to power.

But I think that only carries you so far. You have to offer something more than hatred, more wars, and currying favor with the wealthy. There is no soul left on the right. It's hollow.

So as much as I despair at what may happen to us as a nation, I don't let myself go too far down that road. Pragmatism may not be a straight road to the ideal (more of a zig-zaggy way to do it) but it's better than the alternative.

Anyway, hang in there. We're not all sheep.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Romney and Ryan should spend a week in Flint, the one time home of Buick and a good portion of the automobile industry in Michigan.
A CIO birthplace and site of the first sit down strikes.
Once prosperous, Flint is loaded with people R&R do not give a shit for. Unfortunately, almost half of the citizens of Flint will vote for R &R. Perhaps our Founding Fathers fear of the rabble was justified.
On the other hand, this rabble, beaten down even farther, and frightened and confused may help establish a demagogue like Huey Long or Sinclair Lewis or Father Coughlin or a General, whoever promises relief and is believed.
We got lucky last time.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@Diane - You were too kind to Ryan. Other than that, I agree with your assessment completely.
Let's hope the "little prick" gets huffy and walks off the debate stage this week.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Akhilleus: Of course you are right. This election will be a referendum on the intelligence of the American voter and the malfeasance of the media.
I am fearful.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Thanks to Marie for the link to that excellent no-punches-pulled CJR review of the execrable crap offered in place of actual journalism in the coverage of the right’s recent heart attack over improving employment statistics “But things just CAN’T be getting better! We need Americans to SUFFFFFERRRR!”

The sad fact is that the stenographers who pretend to be actual journalists (none of these aspire to being actual journalists; pretense is just fine) are complicit in lobotomizing this society. The response of the fourth estate to the post-factual world built by and for the right is nothing less than shameful. One ABC hack termed the employment statistics an “October Surprise”. Really? Seriously? The numbers were good but nowhere near that good. Go back and see what a real October Surprise is, numbskull.

This same “reporter” recently turned in another story in which he parrots Romney lies as if they were handed to Moses on Mt. Sinai. His breathless headline is “Romney Promises $17,000 in Tax Breaks for EVERYONE!!” Well, actually, no, he didn’t. Most of these hack-bombs offer the merest attempt at judicious reportage, usually in the last 8 words of a 1,000 word piece, in tiny 7 pt type: “oh by the way, the other side disagrees.”

This is how the Lying Rat and his partner the Supercilious Prick (thanks, Diane) can just open their mouths and let the lies flow freely. They have no fear of EVER being called on it. At the very least, half of the media outlets will simply repeat their lies without context or fact checking. A few will demur, and the rest will do a he said/she said treatment.

Read this CJR article. This is the way to deal in an upright, straightforward manner with incompetents and liars.

Could we have more like that one, please?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

This Onion really makes me cry, so painfully true:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/romney-proudly-explains-how-hes-turned-campaign-ar,29845/

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Carlyle,

Your mention of the possibility of various personalities, such as a general, coming to power through a popular belief in their perceived ability to rescue a restless and downtrodden populace reminded me that just such a problem presented itself in France in the late 19th century.

The outcome might be heartening.

General Georges Boulanger, a rabble rouser and warmonger, constructed a career for himself that many current right-wing politicians would envy. Boulanger presented himself, to the power brokers, as a supporter of the destruction of democracy and the return of the monarchy, but to the public, he cultivated an image of savior of the people. He was pretty cute about playing all sides off against each other in his quest for the presidency. He skillfully played on the fears and hatreds of conservatives, convincing them that everyone was out to get them, even going so far as to instigate an unnecessary war with Germany to demonstrate his power (sound familiar?). War was averted but his supporters worshiped him as the kind of powerful blowhard Romney now presents himself as, attack first, ask questions….well, no need to ask any questions, is there?

Boulangisme became a feared force in French politics in the late 1880s and many believed the country to be a coup d’etat away from a military dictatorship. But Boulanger misplayed his hand. His scheme became less obscure and eventually an arrest warrant for treason was issued.

Rather than suffer inferiors to touch his person and allow himself to be dragged to prison for his plot to overthrow the government, Boulanger put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. A rat bastard coward right to the end.

The bad guys don’t always win. (And wouldn't you love to see a bunch of these creeps perp-walked in handcuffs, arrested for treason?)

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus, the 'Willard the Rat' label, while appropriate for describing the feeling of disgust his lies,behavior and attitude arouse in us, is totally inadequate in describing this sociopathic predator. Willard the Hyena would be more accurate, for he is now the leader of a pack of rapacious creatures, bent on plundering all they can survey.
His nervous laughing attitude matches the laughing of the hyena pack on the trail of carrion or another kill. Willard, like the hyena does his deeds out of sight, under the cover of darkness. Truly a son of Pluto, the prince of darkness.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Lisa,

Funny/sad....Laugh? I thought I'd cry.

But a good reminder to resume my Onion addiction. Other favorite headline:

Reince Priebus Forced Back Into Ancient Puzzle Box After Being Tricked Into Saying Name Backwards

"It was the strangest thing,” conservative blogger Christine Parnell said. “One second Reince was talking about the importance of a two-parent household, and the next he turned into this ugly, shrieking little troll and began levitating across the podium. But as soon as the box snapped shut around him, all the lights came back on, the wind stopped, and it was as if he never existed at all.”

If only....

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Roger,

The Willard Mechanism is indeed a bone picking scavenger. Whatever it/he is, "human" ain't on the short list.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I wish Obama would start the next debate with an explanation. He should blame his last performance on the spiritual awakening/out-of-body experience he had there on the stage when the reality of the past four years were revealed to him. Little did he know that when Republican Congressman Joe Wilson cried, "You lie,' that he was foretelling the GOP's modus operandi, the defining campaign tactic of his next opponent and the mission of the corporate media. During this awakening, the words of the Founding Fathers rang in his ears, while he stood there and listened to a dishonest man lying to hide how he planned to radically transform this nation that was built on the premise of We the People. Obama could feel the soul being sucked out of the American dream......and then he could get all Obama-eloquent and fight for what is right and expose Romney for the man that he really is. He should also carry a "Gish Gallop" handkerchief that he pulls out and offers to Romney every time he spews his BS.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Lisa,
Obama also could just show up wearing a rubber sheet and say that he was now better prepared to listen to the other guy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Carlyle-

..."We are in a lose, lose and Obama is too weak to lead us out. Only the SAVIOR that follows the Republican disaster will have the support for the needed radical changes and redistribution."

Methinks you are excessively hopeful! This is the "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and "rise from the ashes" philosophy I have encountered on other progressive sites. I agree that most of us are terribly disappointed in Obama, but see the system as unchanging in our lifetimes. Just think if RawMoney is elected who he will appoint as Secretary of State. He has more than once mentioned JOHN BOLTON! Yikes.

Then, of course, there is the matter of the Supremes. I know, I know--I am completely obsessed. But I think this is the bottom line in voting for Obama. We just cannot afford to have Stevens and Ginsburg replaced with Junior Scalias--and you may be sure MittWitt will appoint young justices!

Are we having fun yet, she asked hopefully?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Tomorrow, Little Johhny and the Dwarfs ( featuring 18th C Nino on the Texualist Tambourine--hey Mr. Tambourine Man play that song for me, in your jingle jangle wanderings, we'll go followin' you...), will answer the question about whether certain Americans who have been denied equal treatment for hundreds of years need to be stepped on some more.

Nino, Johnny, Sammy, and, perversely, Long Dong Clarence, who benefitted from this exact plan and who will now urinate prodigiously upon same, will once again do the intellectually dishonest ideology tango in order that their view of America, NOT the founders', gets to dance the Right-Wing Triumphalist Two-step.

Marie has suggested a very interesting read, Stanley Fish's review of Akhil Reed Amar's book on the unwritten Constitution.

Amar raises issues that envelop and strangle the insidious and selective intellectual mung proffered by Nino as incontrovertible evidence supporting his parched, simplistic, and un-American views.

Right-wing screaming to follow.

More later...

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I like the Big Bird ad put out by the Obama campaign but PBS has objected, presumably to the use of the image. I can see why they wouldn't want either side to use the Muppets for partisan purposes.
Even wihout the image, it would be an effective ad.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

This just leaked from the Romney campaign.
The October Suprise

Mitt has announced that he will throw in the floor mats AND the clearcoat. Offer good on Nov. 6 only, so act now.

Joe "Isuzu' has my vote.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Dan,

You get the Late 80s Slimy Pitchman Revivalist Remembrance Award.

Joe Isuzu, an inveterate and slimy liar, would be a perfect shill for the Modern GOP and, especially, for Willard and his sidekick, Pussy Boy Liar Ryan.

The most interesting thing is how the character of Joe Isuzu, a pathological liar, was embraced by American consumers who bought the products he pushed.

I recall one ad in which he described a list of unbelievable qualities for Isuzu products, after which he proclaimed "If I'm lying, may my mother be hit by a lightning bolt" with an onscreen text disclaimer "Good luck, Mom".

Good thing Romney's mom is already dead.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Crap, I forgot to include, in my first installment of the imminent Right-Wing Jihad against justice, the Scalia/Roberts/Alito/Thomas and maybe Kennedy attack on decency, a reiteration of Kate's mantra:

REMEMBER THE (fucking) SUPREMES.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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