The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, May 21, 2015.

Washington Post: "California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County late Wednesday after an onshore pipeline burst, spewing thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean — blackening beaches and endangering West Coast wildlife. The area, a popular camping spot some 20 miles from Santa Barbara, known for its palm tree-lined seashore and pristine surf, has been “closed indefinitely.” The extent of the damage is not known."

New York Times: "Islamic State militants on Thursday solidified their rout of Syrian government forces in the historic desert city of Palmyra, moving to the outskirts to seize its airport and the notorious Tadmur Prison, according to residents and statements from the group. It was the first time that the ISIS militants seized an entire city from Syrian government forces; it won control of its first major city, Raqqa, from Syrian insurgents and the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front after the two became rivals."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 22

10:00 am ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony (audio only)

11:00 am ET: President Obama speaks at the Jewish American Heritage Month celebration

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

Contact the Constant Weader

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

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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