The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, February 11, 2016.

AP: "Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole Wednesday for fatally shooting Robert F. Kennedy after a confidante of the slain senator who was shot in the head forgave him and repeatedly apologized for not doing more to win his release. Paul Schrade's voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony on his efforts to untangle mysteries about the events of June 5, 1968. The 91-year-old former labor leader said he believed Sirhan shot him but that a second unidentified shooter felled Kennedy."

White House Live Video
February 11

1:00 pm ET: NOBEL Women presents Girls, Gigabytes & Gadgets

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

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
Aug312012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 1, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

The Real Welfare Queens

Thanks to readers for the above tasteful political commentary.

Presidential Race

AP: "Several groups, including labor organizations and those opposing President Barack Obama's positions on various issues, plan to demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in the coming days. On Sunday, protesters will take part in the March on Wall Street South -- a demonstration that will focus on economic inequality, social injustice and other issues." ...

... Socks as Lethal Weapons??? Michael Biesecker & Mitch Weiss of the AP: "... protesters and free speech advocates ... fear authorities could trample on people's constitutional rights in the name of protecting public safety [at the Democratic convention]. The changes to city ordinances adopted earlier this year for 'extraordinary events' ban a long list of actions and items that would otherwise be legal from a more than 100-square-block zone. The area includes spots as much as a mile from the sports venues where the Democratic Party events are to be held.... Someone walking through Charlotte's central business district could run afoul of the law by carrying water bottles, hair spray, socks or magic markers."

President Obama spoke at Fort Bliss yesterday afternoon:

Carrie Dann of NBC News: "... Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Ohio auto country [Friday] to blast the Romney-Ryan convention speeches as 'not on the level,' accusing the GOP vice presidential nominee of fudging details of a closed auto plant.... [Also,] referencing a recent article in Rolling Stone that indicated Romney-led Bain Capital received federal assistance for its reorganization, Biden contrasted that attitude with Romney's opposition to a full auto industry bailout. 'It was one thing when a million middle-class jobs were on the line,' he said of Romney's alleged seeking of federal assistance. 'It was another thing when his own financial interests and those of his partners were on the line.'"

It is the height of hypocrisy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to make a pretense of showing sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Isaac when their policies would leave those affected by this disaster stranded and on their own. If Paul Ryan and his fellow House Republicans had succeeded in blocking disaster relief last fall, there would have been no aid for the victims of Isaac today. And Paul Ryan's budget would gut disaster funding, making it much harder to get aid to our fellow Americans in their time of need. -- Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senate Majority Leader, on Romney & Ryan's visit to the Gulf Coast

Mitt Romney needs to say whether or not he supports his running mate's plan to keep emergency disaster aid out of the federal budget. -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

David Alexrod tells the panel on "Morning Joe" that the GOP convention felt like open-mic night for 2016 presidential candidates.

... Paul Waldman of American Prospect: at the GOP convention "it seemed like every speaker had to relate their hard-luck tale of a rise from poverty.... If they're going to tell us about their grandfathers' weary hands, at least make the connection to what they want to do now. If there's a real relationship between that (possibly vicarious) experience and your policies, just make it clear. Your grandfather sold turnips from a handcart, and that's why you want to eliminate the capital gains tax? ... All in all, it reminds me of this:

... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress notes that the Republican platform declares Medicaid and other social safety net programs unconstitutional. Here's the language from the platform statement: "Scores of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants with mandates attached."

A Post-Convention Off-Script Moment. Katie Glueck of Politico: Austin, Texas, teacher Sean Duffy appeared alongside Jeb Bush at the GOP convention to speak about education, but he subsequently said he "leans more toward Obama." "Duffy said he's heard Obama talk some about education -- he cited the president's desire to make college more affordable, and that he hasn't 'necessarily heard the same' from Romney -- but added that he's still waiting to hear more on the subject from both candidates. He wasn't, however, impressed with the education portion of Romney's keynote.

Jon Stewart reflects on Romney's speech:

Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress: Romney "devoted only 202 words to national security and while his speech completely ignored the war in Afghanistan and any homage to American servicemembers, it contained a shocking number of misstatements and false and baseless attacks on President Obama.

I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. -- Mitt Romney, speaking of his wife during his convention speech

He doesn't say women should go back to the kitchen, stop working, and instead do the much harder and more important job of raising kids full time. But he doesn't want to spend any money or burden any business with any kind of rules or programs that would push us to a new more egalitarian equilibrium. -- Matt Yglesias of Slate

Yo, Matt, you just don't understand class differences. What Mitt means is this: women of the privileged class should have the luxury of staying home & rearing their children. All other women should get off their asses and earn their way in "real" jobs. Too bad if they're pregnant because they can't afford contraception; too bad if they're sick because their lousy employers don't provide coverage; too bad if their non-union jobs barely cover the cost of child care much less gas for the car, work clothes; etc. -- Constant Weader

Economist Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute has a fabulous post in which he proves that the Romney/Ryan "economic recovery plan" is the exact same plan George W. Bush & John McCain produced in 2008, 2006 & 2004. "Which is another way of saying that the Republicans have no plan for how to actually deal with this specific crisis we face." It's pretty amazing. ...

... "The Definition of Insanity..." Paul Krugman: "I would just add to Mike's take the historical experience. Romney says that his plan would create 12 million jobs in his first term. Leaving aside the fact that this is about what forecasters on average predict in any case, surely we should ask how the identical policies worked out in Bush's two terms. And the answer is: zero job growth in term one (and a fall in private sector employment), one million in term two. Oh, and private sector employment lower when Bush left office than when he arrived."

I was born in the middle of the century.... To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. We went to bed at night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world. -- Mitt Romney, in his convention speech

He also lived in an America where state universities provided excellent, low-cost education, the government was building infrastructure (like the interstate highway system), unions helped keep wages high for most (white) Americans, the tax code topped off at about 70 percent, income inequality was at its flattest in history, & the FHA & VA helped Americans buy homes they could afford, the Congress was passing laws to help Americans in need, & the courts were expanding civil rights. That's the America Misty-Eyed Mitt wants to destroy. -- Constant Weader

Steve Benen continues his chronicle of Mitt's Mendacity. He up to Vol. 32, & found 30 baldfaced lies Mitt told this week.

Michael Barbaro & Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "A senior Republican involved in convention planning said that [Clint] Eastwood's appearance was cleared by at least two of Mr. Romney's top advisers.... This person said that there had been no rehearsal, to the surprise of the rest of the campaign team." ...

... Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "... the Eastwood incident ... is one of many examples of how just when you are convinced that Mitt Romney runs the tightest ship in the business, run by ruthless cyborgs who insist on reducing the margin of error to nothing, something like this always seems to happen.... It ought to make at least a few people nervous about how this Genius Business Leader's hand-picked underlings might function if they are in charge of the country next January."

... Commentators -- including President Obama -- react to Clint Eastwood's "conversation with an empty chair." NBC's E!Online has more here:

... Michael Moore in the Daily Beast: "The people of the future will know nothing about Dirty Harry or Josey Wales or Million Dollar Baby. They will know about the night a crazy old man hijacked a national party's most important gathering so he could literally tell the president to go do something to himself (i.e. fuck himself). In those few moments..., he completely upended and redefined how he'll be remembered by younger and future generations."

CW: I think the whole convention was a disaster, not just the appearance of a dotty old movie star to lead off the network TV coverage on Mitt's Big Night. The speakers, as David Axelrod pointed out, were all auditioning for president in 2016, & they barely mentioned the guy who got the nomination in 2012 -- the one they were supposed to be boosting. If Romney or his "people" vetted these speeches, they're idiots. If they didn't, they're idiots.

Paul Ryan -- Marathon Liar

Episode 1. At the top of his report on his interview of Paul Ryan, winger Hugh Hewitt wrote. "Because biography is character and character often matters much more to voters than policy prescriptions, I chose to focus on Ryan's youth." Yes, character does matter to voters, Hugh. thanks for pointing that out. Hewitt added, "I was also surprised to hear Ryan has run a sub-3 hour marathon. Add another interest group to the list of groups like Catholics, hunters and Miami of Ohio grads who are going to connect easily with this candidate." Yes indeedy. During the interview, Hewitt asked Ryan what his "personal best" marathon time was. Ryan said, "Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something."

Episode 2. Scott Douglas of Runner's World: "Runner's World has been unable to find any marathon results by Ryan. Requests for more information from Ryan's Washington and Wisconsin offices, and from the Romney-Ryan campaign, have so far gone unanswered."

Episode 3. Scott Douglas: "A spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign e-mailed Runner's World today to say Ryan ran Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, while a college student in 1991. Ryan's name does not show up in the 1991 race results provided by Grandma's. Runner's World ... found a finisher in the 1990 race by the name of Paul D. Ryan, 20, of Minneapolis.... The finishing time listed was 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds. We are awaiting confirmation from the Ryan camp that the vice presidential nominee is the Paul D. Ryan listed in the race results -- and, if he is, whether he ran any other marathons faster than 4:01:25." (Same link as Episode 2.)

Episode 4. Scott Douglas: "In a statement issued to Runner's World by a spokesman Friday night, Ryan said of his marathon experience: 'The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin -- who ran Boston last year -- reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.'" (Same link.)

Epilogue: So, Hugh, what was that about the importance of character & runners "who are going to connect easily with Ryan"?

AND the Romneys Are Just like You. Lady Ann Romney says Mitt's turning down a $30 million-a-year job in 2008 was easy. "We're used to kind of passing up offers like that." CW: yeah, I can relate.

Congressional Races

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Even as Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan exhort Republicans to embrace their proposed Medicare changes and spending cuts, the party's rank and file is growing less enthusiastic about the fight than the top of the ticket. Republican lawmakers and candidates are distancing themselves from the Ryan budget plan.... Republicans say the party now belongs to the more senior -- and historically more malleable -- member of the ticket, Mr. Romney, and not Mr. Ryan...."

Alexander Burns of Politico: "Karl Rove phoned Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to apologize for having joked about killing the Republican congressman, an Akin spokesman confirmed to Politico.... Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier that Rove told a gathering of donors in Tampa that Akin had to be forced out of the Senate race, and joked that if Akin were 'found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts.' ... Rove called the embattled Senate candidate and 'spent about three minutes' explaining that he didn't know there had been a reporter in the room and that he would not have made such a comment if he'd been aware of her presence." CW: If a tree falls in the forest & there's no reporter to cover it...

News Ledes

Soggy Holiday. AP: "What's left of Isaac has been plodding north into states that badly need moisture. The worst drought in decades stretches from Ohio west to California. Isaac will move straight through some of the hardest hit states: Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Lesser rain is expected to the west in portions of Oklahoma and Kansas. State emergency agencies, city and county leaders and utility crews have been preparing for the deluge."

AP: "Federal authorities say they're closing their abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona without filing charges against him."

Politico: "Federal prosecutors are not seeking any jail time for a former top aide to Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Doug Hampton, in connection with Hampton's admission that he violated a federal ethics law by lobbying former colleagues within a year of leaving the Senate. Hampton is set to be sentenced in federal court on Wednesday in what seems likely to be the final chapter in a messy saga that exposed Ensign's extramarital affair with Hampton's wife Cynthia, ended both Hamptons' Senate employment and ultimately led to Ensign's resignation from the Senate last year."

The Great Maple Syrup Heist. AP (via NYT): "The police said Friday that thieves had stolen a considerable amount of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec.... It was too soon to determine the exact quantity or value of the syrup stolen from the warehouse, where more 10 million pounds -- about $30 million worth -- is stored."

AP: "Samsung on Saturday accused Apple of resorting to litigation in an effort to limit consumer choice after the iPhone maker said it was seeking to stop the sale of Galaxy S III smartphones in the United States. Fresh from its $1 billion court victory over Samsung Electronics Co<, Apple Inc., in a separate case, asked a federal district court in San Jose, California, on Friday to add four more products to a list of Samsung goods that Apple says infringe its patents."

Reader Comments (18)

The video that leads off this issue is a prize winner... funny and to the point.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Kate Beckinsale and company rock...a terrific parody on the stupidity of the Republican role as vagina police.
On another subject: does Reince Priebus remind anyone else of Mr. Bean?

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Felt kinda sorry for Clint, myself, now having seen snippets of his doddering performance. Maybe I'm too close to 82 to take much pleasure in his embarrassing presentation; and weak-minded as I am, I've never been comfortable laughing at the obviously handicapped, which should we live long enough, we all become.

HOWSOMEEVER: I can't help but think Clint Eastwood is a perfect representative of the current Repugnants. He's old, white, and privileged. He obviously hates the young, smart, black President. His case against him relies on wholly imaginary things that man never said. And he's obviously lost his mind. No wonder Romney wanted him featured. He's kin. Eastwood is his soul- and mind mate, wrapped into one.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I think Clint Eastwood had a few too many scotches before his RNC speech--either that, or he's a DNC plant. How much stoopider could RawMoney's staff look--not vetting the speech before he spewed it?

IMHO, the Republican Convention was a brilliant rehearsal of the disaster to come!

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

If Romney wins he will probably appoint Clint as U.N. ambassador.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Yes, Kate, a DNC plant entered my mind also––wouldn't that be a kick! Old Eastwood sabotaging Mitt's big night––but, alas, I'm afraid it was just a really, really bad performance by someone who went crackers to the chagrin of the guys that proposed this and hence reflects on the slipshod control of the Romney/Ryan comedy team.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

How to Organize a Disaster

(1) As the Houston Chronicle reported, "Ron Paul ... says he’s declined an opportunity to speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa because Mitt Romney’s campaign imposed two conditions on any Paul speech — that it be reviewed by the nominee-to-be’s team and that it include an endorsement without hesitation or reservation." This of course totally pissed off Ron Paul -- who will not endorse Romney -- and his supporters, who raised various ruckuses at the convention.

(2) Eastwood is a libertarian who has said he likes Ron Paul.

(3) According to the Times article, linked in the Commentariat, Romney advisers just gave Eastwood some talking points; they did not review Eastwood's speech; Eastwood did not rehearse; Eastwood didn't have a teleprompter; he asked for the chair at the last minute, which organizers assumed was because he was 82 years old & wanted to sit down.

So they wouldn't let Cranky Old Man 1 speak unless he played strictly by their rules. Then they begged Cranky Old Man 2 -- a supporter of Cranky Old Man 1 -- to speak, & they imposed no conditions whatsoever. WTF did they think would happen?

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Baby, baby, baby; you're out of time. Clint is pretty deep in the seventh stage of man, huh? Ken W. has it right, he is a profile of the Republican Party; old, scared and forgetful. I think one of the drawing points for Mitt is that the older folks find security and comfort in moneyed people. Grey Old People desperately seeking their 'rosebud'. You could make a point by stating the Republicans want yesterday today and the progressives want tomorrow today.
One of the snippets of the convention I saw was lyin' Ryan tell the audience about his musical tastes. He named AC-DC and Lead Zeppelin as some of his faves. I thought, how wierd, he listens to the music of a generation before him. What about D.O.A., the Minutemen, Black Flag or my personal faves from the younger side of the bandwaves, X? Pauly did not listen to his own growling youth, instead he got stuck in the past. Watching Clint I recalled the theme song of my generation; "Hope I die before I get old" and as long as my mind is able to grasp new ideas and reject the past bad ones I won't get old. Of course I can't hear worth a shit, and I'm as weak as a wet kitten and it takes me a minute to straighten up after being on my knees working, but otherwise I'm a spring chicken.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

BTW, talking to an empty chair is not a stretch for a film actor. They do it, or the equivalent, quite often. For instance, when you see a scene in which two people are arguing at the dinner table, for the close-up one-shots, the actor playing the dinner companion has left the set, & the speaker is arguing with his empty chair with the camera behind it. In the final cut, it appears to the viewer that he is seeing the actor/speaker from the POV of his dinner companion.

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Great title: Jon Stewart's "The Old Man and the Seat."

This was a dreadful performance! However, wasn't it just some months ago that Clint Eastwood was lauded for his voice over on the comeback of the auto industry commercial?
It (he?) seemed to support the bailout. The Obama bailout!

Recently, a columnist wrote about Eastwood's previous conflicting views on assorted topics (gay marriage, women's rights) ...some consistent with the general GOP line, but others definitely more liberal leaning. I had thought that the reason behind the provocative postures of many actors/performers we haven't heard from in a while is to stir up interest in their lagging careers. SNL's Victoria Jackson and Jon Lovitz come to mind.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Below is a post from reader Josy Will to Gail Collins' current column. If this is correct, I am one of the people she cites in the "didn't realize" category. I think it is worth passing along:
"I'm a little worried that the worst lie is not being pointed out completely. It is not that Ryan, hypocritacally calls for the same cuts in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals as Obama; but rather Obama doesn't really cut the total reimbursement to hospitals at all--while Ryan would.

Everyone keeps missing the Medicare point. Reimbursements to hospitals are overpaid because hospitals carry the extra expense of providing care to the uninsured for which they aren't reimbursed. The Obama plan essentially insures that hospitals continue to get the same amount of total reimbursement--less from medicare but more from the previously uninsured because they will be required to have insurance under Obamacare (shouldn't be ashamed to call it that).

The Ryan plan is an actual cut--because they are not going to require the uninsured to get insurance. HUGE difference that seems to be ignored in the sea of Ryan prevarication."

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Born in 1928, I resent the implication that Clint's age had anything to do with his witless performance. We old folk cannot run as fast as we used to ,but our thought processes are unimpaired.
In fact, Clint Eastwood is a wingnut and thought he was doing a big job for

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Born in 1928, I resent the implication that Clint's age had anything to do with his witless performance. We old folk cannot run as fast as we used to ,but our thought processes are unimpaired.
In fact, Clint Eastwood is a wingnut and thought he was doing a big job for Willard.
Sadly, there is always the possibility of dementia.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@ Victoria: Glad you pointed that out here––Rachel covered that issue also a few nights ago. That certainly is a marked distinction and should be shouted from the hill tops––where's Maria when we need her.

The other major thing missing in the RNC rhetoric is any discussion of global warming. Let us recall when in the first weeks of the Bush administration the White House reneged on a promise to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. According to Bill McGibben, "Cheney arranged for the president to send a letter to Congress repudiating his campaign pledge without so much as informing Christine Whitman, in advance. Whitman called Paul O'Neill to break the news. 'Energy production is all that matters,' she said. 'Cheney', O'Neill responded, 'couldn't have been clearer––We just gave away the environment.' "

If Romney wins, we will have a redux and more heads in the sand.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@Victoria D. Josy Will is right. ObamaCare reinvests the MediCare savings in other ObamaCare programs. Ryan took the same $716 billion out but uses it "to reduce the deficit"; i.e., it's just less spending; he does not reinvest the money. As Will writes, Ryan makes true "cuts," but he leaves all the people who would have benefited from the reinvestment -- including seniors -- to fend for themselves.

Enter Mitt Romney to make things worse than what Josy Will wrote. Romney has made a big deal about returning the $716 billion in MediCare which Obama had "robbed." More benefits for old folks? No way. More premium costs. Under Romney's brilliant plan, because Medicare costs are higher for the inefficient programs ObamaCare cuts (think Medicare Advantage), seniors' Medicare premiums go up -- initially in the range of $300-$400 a year & to $500-$600 in 10 years (my figures may be off, but they're close). Meanwhile, of course, those who would have benefited from the reinvestment get no care; Romney is going to repeal ObamaCare, sez he. Ryan now says he goes along with Romney's plan.

So you've got good (Obama), worse (Ryan), & worst (Romney).

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

PD Pepe: The man himself gave the RNC anthropogenic global warming plank: "President Obama promised to stop the oceans from rising (pause for laughter with facial contortions) and to heal the planet (pause for laughter with facial grimace), I promise to help American families. As the Daily Show asked its audience "How many here from planet earth?"

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan

P.D. Pepe: Romney did refer to global warming, perhaps obliquely, in his acceptance speech. He MOCKED President Obama for having promised to address the rising seas and "heal the planet." And the audence laughed loudly and uproariously. This sent chills down my spine. Who in heaven's name are these stupid people?

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Could someone with the time and research capability put on this web site the $$$ that corporations get in tax breaks and outright federal and state $$$ so this idea that only poor people get government handouts?
Also could someone do a comparison of Taliban rules and regs and right wing philosophy. (both are for the death penalty, both are punishers first and forgivers never, both subjugate women, etc)

September 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermm
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